Linked by fran on Tue 30th Nov 2010 10:38 UTC
Microsoft "Microsoft is one of the big stock-market success stories - or at least it used to be. The company has got thousands of people rich, through employee stock options or just through smart investing. But with stock under $30, the same place it was 10 years ago, what if Microsoft went private? That was the question posed this morning by Seattle Times columnist Brier Dudley. 'Sure, in the back of people's minds. We've thought about it,' Bill Koefoed, Microsoft's general manager of investor relations, told the Seattle Times."
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Out of context
by Eddyspeeder on Tue 30th Nov 2010 11:49 UTC
Eddyspeeder
Member since:
2006-05-10

This article just screams "taking a quote out of context and dragging it beyond its meaning".

You have to click one link further to get the full article:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/technologybrierdudleysblog/20...

The full quote is: "'Sure, in the back of people's minds. We've thought about it,' he said."

So it was never discussed, it was never on the table, it was never seriously considered. What Bill Koefoed merely said is that it has crossed the minds of individuals, as I am sure have tons of other scenarios. The "going private" scenario was probably dismissed as quickly as it popped into their heads, because how do you explain to all your dedicated employees: "Yes, we KNOW we have given you shares as part of your pay each year, including this year, but we are taking them away from you now because we need to downsize to 300 shareholders."

Microsoft can't afford the motivational dip that it will cause. And that is what makes the foundation of this article utter trash. Brier Dudley (see link) makes an interesting analysis of the context in which (large!) businesses go private, but cut the sensationalism!

Reply Score: 3

Comment by fran
by fran on Tue 30th Nov 2010 15:10 UTC in reply to "Out of context"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

Might not be so out of context as sensationalist as you think.
Reasons being. Execs normally don’t blunder info like this if something like this was not seriously considered and it don’t have its proponents within Microsoft.
My guess is this isn’t so farfetched for the following reasons.
I'm not going to link each point but this was some articles across many sites.
1. Apple is showing phenominal growth and it’s ipad (the cheapest Apple computer) might one day plug into a LCD and replace your desktop. (Far Fetched?)
http://apple.slashdot.org/story/10/11/28/1916235/How-Apple-Had-a-Sp...
2. Linux, especially Ubuntu is starting to show good growth in especially the server market. Also its new paid app section will attract more developers and third party Linux applications will become so polished it will rival Windows competitors.
3. Microsoft's scramble to diversify its core earnings products beyond Windows and Office has had mixed success.
Windows 7 phone is off to a slow start (but I think this will pick up, but will it be enough?)
Xbox might come under pressure from new consoles.
For instance OnLive cloud gaming and the Lenovo console that's in development.
With Cloud/Browser based gaming set to improve a great deal with broadband speed/availability and hardware accelerated browsers gaming will become less OS dependent in the future.
With it’s console prices dropping I also think Nintendo is going to jump the gun and release a next gen console before Xbox and PS3 see a successor. (Xbox 360 was reported to have a follow up only in 4 years)
www.onlive.com/
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20014888-17.html
Microsoft is now venturing into other media as well with a Google TV rival.
There might be to many players in this market and one is set to dominate. Microsoft might be a winner or loser here?
http://www.worldtech24.com/business/microsoft-reportedly-moving-bui...
4. Tablets are going to take an estimated 10% of PC growth next year. This is set to rise. Windows is not the dominant OS on those.
5. The new fast tracked development and evolution of Libre Office and Oracles support for Open Office 3 will put MS Office under pressure.
Oracle has also been reported to work hard on Openoffice 3.
6. Hardware prices is set to fall to such a degree that the OS might become the biggest cost component of PC's in the next decade or so.
7. Google's Chrome OS is predicted to take 60% of the corporate market (Speculation..but unrealistic?)
http://techie-buzz.com/tech-news/google-chrome-os-windows.html
8. Windows struggle to add more polish to Windows because given the nature of its license agreement so many useful things must be opt in and not by default otherwise it's get sued for anti competitive behaviour.
My predictions.
Computers will become so cheap that Microsoft itself will enter the cpu/pc manufacturing market and might change its license agreement to add more value to windows without it being sued.
(Look at how easily apple can remove apps. http://macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/comments/27628/)
Can Microsoft do this with Windows except for very good reasons?
If its venture into the media business like gaming and TV fails Microsoft share price might be so pressured that it might go private to prevent a hostile takeover.
So no the Seattle Times article is not out of context.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by fran
by shotsman on Tue 30th Nov 2010 18:22 UTC in reply to "Comment by fran"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Your 6th point is almost upon us.
Putting Windows 7 ultimate on a netbook (yeah I know its silly but just think about it) and the OS cost (retail price not OEM virtual freebie price) is getting close to the cost of the hardware.
It won't take much more of a H/W price reduction or a MS Price increase to make them equal.

If you add in the cost of Office then the Software costs are far in excess that of the H/W. If MS was made to charge the proper retail price for the O/S I'm sure a lot more people would think long and hard about switching to another O/S especially if one was legally free.

However some people refuse to use Free Software because they think it has been stoled/pirate such is the sucess of the MS brainwashing campaign.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by fran
by fran on Wed 1st Dec 2010 19:15 UTC in reply to "Comment by fran"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

Also add

Microsoft's reluctance to support windows compatibility to other cpu architectures like ARM. This might come back to haunt them. (Windows phones edition the exception)
ARM is the most popular processors on tablets, smartphones and is even showing promise in the server market.
These processors are also about to get 64 bit editions.

(There is speculation although that ARM will be supported on Windows 8.)
http://www.start64.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=48...

http://www.start64.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=48...

To me it's Wintel relationship looks a bit shaky with Intel supporting Linux projects like Moblin and embedding projects like Yocto.

Developer tools are making cross platform developing so much easier. So many more software will have other OS versions from the start.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Out of context
by pgeorgi on Tue 30th Nov 2010 16:00 UTC in reply to "Out of context"
pgeorgi Member since:
2010-02-18

Having employees participate in the success of the company doesn't require being public - handing out stock options just looks slightly less socialist than distributing some of the corporate money as part of a bonus scheme.

Any shares they already handed out have to be bought back (that's the hard part of "going private"), and the company could still propose to convert pending stock options for employees into some cash payment.

The appeal of being private is that you don't have to report that many details to the public (incl. competitors), and you don't have some random investor messing around with your business plan.
I actually wonder why companies put up with the stock market at all once they have the money to buy out of it - seems to be some tradition that large companies have to remain public.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Out of context
by dnebdal on Wed 1st Dec 2010 14:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Out of context"
dnebdal Member since:
2008-08-27

I actually wonder why companies put up with the stock market at all once they have the money to buy out of it - seems to be some tradition that large companies have to remain public.


I guess part of it is that you'd have to spend a lot of money that could instead be invested in whatever it is the company does.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Out of context
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 30th Nov 2010 16:32 UTC in reply to "Out of context"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

This article just screams "taking a quote out of context and dragging it beyond its meaning".

You have to click one link further to get the full article:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/technologybrierdudleysblog/20.....

The full quote is: "'Sure, in the back of people's minds. We've thought about it,' he said."


and that exact same full quote is in this blurb. What on earth are you on about?

Reply Score: 3