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April 16, 2003--In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Microsoft Grabs $7.84 Billion in Quarterly Revenues, Settles with Florida
- Join the HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show
3. CONTACT US
See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
* MICROSOFT GRABS $7.84 BILLION IN QUARTERLY REVENUES, SETTLES WITH FLORIDA
The world's largest software company continued its strong financial gains last quarter, despite generally poor economic conditions across the industry. Yesterday, Microsoft announced a net profit of $2.79 billion on revenues of $7.84 billion for the fiscal third quarter that ended March 31, beating analyst estimates. The company's revenues were up 8 percent year over year.
"We reported another quarter of strong revenue and operating income results in a very tough environment," said Microsoft chief financial officer (CFO) John Connors. "While there is obviously a great deal of economic uncertainty ahead, our ongoing investment in R&D has resulted in a broad product pipeline, including upcoming releases of Windows Server 2003, Visual Studio .NET 2003, Exchange 2003, and Office 2003. We believe that these innovative products will enable our customers to get more productivity and value out of their IT investments."
Connors credited strong sales of Microsoft Office XP and other information-worker products and the company's server products for the gains. Sales of Office XP were up 9 percent, year over year, despite the fact that the company will soon launch a major new version of the productivity suite. Server product sales jumped 21 percent, the company noted. Much of Microsoft's revenue success, however, came from controversial changes to the company's corporate licensing terms. Despite complaints and threats from customers, Microsoft now reports that most of its largest customers committed to multiyear licensing contracts. These contracts will help Microsoft ride out otherwise financially troubled times because they represent guaranteed income.
Looking forward, Connors issued the company's now-standard caution about future quarters being uncertain and discussed the threat from Linux, an open-source OS that challenges Microsoft's server sales. Connors said, however, that the economy is a bigger threat to Microsoft than Linux is.
In related news, Microsoft also announced yesterday that the company settled a consumer class-action lawsuit in Florida, agreeing to pay as much as $202 million. Consumers in Florida accused Microsoft of violating that state's antitrust and unfair-competition laws by overcharging consumers for Windows and Office. Under terms of the settlement, Microsoft will issue vouchers to class-action members that "may be used to buy any manufacturer's desktop, laptop or tablet computers running any operating system, or any software used with those computer products," the settlement reads. Also, Microsoft says it will provide one-half of any unclaimed settlement proceeds to Florida's most needy public schools in the form of vouchers. Those schools can use the vouchers to purchase a range of computer equipment, software, and training from any manufacturer. The Miami-Dade Circuit Court gave the settlement preliminary approval.
"We're pleased by the opportunity to help hundreds of schools all across Florida get the computers and software they need," said Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith. "This settlement allows us to focus on the future and building great software, and avoids the cost and uncertainty of a lengthy trial."
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