Category Archives: Finance

Financial, Stocks, Economy

Microsoft’s First Quarterly Loss as a Public Company

According to the Associated Press, Microsoft may be posting their first quarterly loss in the 26 years since they’ve been traded as a public company.

Is this the beginning of the end? If so, the “end” of Microsoft as we know it still won’t come for many years. But, as many industry insiders have predicted, the string of bad decisions and lack of innovation had to catch up to the corporate behemoth at some point.

Unfortunately, the only emotion I can convey is one there is no English word for…but there is a German word…you may have heard it:  schadenfreude. It means to take pleasure in the misfortune of another. How can I possibly feel this way? What about potential jobs lost? I believe in the technology industry, as it still continues to grow at an outstanding rate, any lost jobs will be recovered in more successful sectors of tech. There will be minimal or no net loss in the end, as if you stop buying Microsoft Windows, you will start buying Mac OS (for example).

So why the deep feelings of joy and happiness? Microsoft has been profiting hugely off the misfortunes of others for many years. Including school systems (which they were ordered to pay reparations to for illegally overcharging them…schools?! Really?!). Also, the QuickTime video code stolen from Apple in the 1990’s. Microsoft was able to shield themselves legally from this by hiring a small firm called “Red Canyon Software” to develop its “Video for Windows” product. Why would a multi-billion dollar software giant with the largest R&D budget of any tech company in the known universe need to hire a 3-person company to develop such key technology? Deniability. Losing market share to Apple’s QuickTime video technology needed a “no holds barred” solution…Steal it, I imagine were the words between the lines in that RFP.

Finally, Bill Gates, sitting in front of US Lawmakers when defending Microsoft from findings that they abused their market dominating monopoly by unfairly “weaving” their Internet Explorer web browser deeply into the OS. Effectively locking out any competing web browser (e.g. Netscape). What did Mr. Gates tell them when they threatened split their browser business from the rest of Microsoft as a punishment? Bill Gates sat there with a straight face and explained that by decoupling Internet Explorer from the OS and making the browser technology modular, they would be “setting back” technology progress many many years.

Don’t we always like to believe what goes around comes around…

Welcome to the red zone guys.

How Apple’s Success Could Last Longer Without Jobs…But Probably Won’t

It’s no secret that Wall Street questions the longevity of Apple’s long-term, material success since the passing of its founder, and later, savior Steve Jobs. Now, there’s reason to be concerned with it’s mid-term and possibly even short-term market viability.

From a products and consumer perspective, Apple may always have a loyal following. Though, from a management perspective, the specter of Ivy League, Corporate pin-headed decision making haunts Apple, yet again.

On March 19, 2012, Apple announced that it would pay a dividend to shareholders. Now, over 2 months later, while the rest of the market is doing alright, Apple is down over 10% and can’t seem to hold it up.

Tim Cook, Apple’s hand-picked successor to Steve Jobs, seems to be a nice guy, respected and intelligent. It was well-known to industry insiders that there were certain shareholder-related decisions that the board may have been in favor of that Jobs clearly was not. One of which, the decision to pay a dividend on shares, was a well-known difference of opinion. Apple’s near $100 billion dollar cash stockpile has become a topic of discussion, and a dividend offering is a way a cash-heavy company can re-invest to shore up its own share price.

So what went wrong? Apple’s share price doesn’t need any ‘shoring up.’ It was already strong, on fundamentals. The future (at least the near future) looks bright, market share, brand loyalty, etc etc.

So, it seems that the corporate pinheads couldn’t wait long after Jobs’ death to resume corporate short-sighted decision making. And their very first act of defiance has already cost shareholders over 10%. What’s next? Discontinue the iPad? Base the iPhone on Android? Sell out to Microsoft? Whatever shareholders think is right…right?

In October of 2011, the world didn’t just lose a visionary, Steve Jobs didn’t just die, but the promise of Apple may have died with him. I hope I’m wrong, I really do.

By the way, thank you Mr. Cook for forfeiting your $75 million dividend last week. I may have taken it, then donated it to small businesses. So I say “Down With Overpaid Corporate Pinheads.”

For Conservatives, Freedom Is Of Utmost Importance…At Least Until It Affects The Bottom Line

The biggest Internet names are talking about joining forces in an effort to raise awareness for SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act. This is a measure your lawmakers are contemplating passing into law while you’re reading this. Supported primarily by large record labels, movie studios and conservatives in Washington, SOPA would essentially allow judges to arbitrarily order any website to block any content it chooses.

Sound scary? It is. Continue reading For Conservatives, Freedom Is Of Utmost Importance…At Least Until It Affects The Bottom Line

GOP Punishing Americans (Update)

John BoehnerUPDATE 12/22/2011 – It was announced that John Boehner, House GOP leader and stubborn bonehead, has finally relented his weak and desperate position on the the payroll tax cut. It looks like, at least for a couple months, 160 million Americans will get to keep the 4.2% payroll tax rate. Score 1 for Obama and the 99%.

ORIGINAL STORY – John Boehner and the rest of the GOP left to take their holiday vacation time, but not before denying the rest of America the payroll tax cut extension. Continue reading GOP Punishing Americans (Update)