Every so often, I come back to thinking about Microsoft's
finances. Their accounting techniques have been widely
used, most prominently at Enron (or so I hear). Couple that
with the new licensing schemes they're coming out with, and
I think they've found a recipe for their own demise.
There's this Bill
Parish guy that has said that MS is actually losing
money these days. I'm not sure I believe him, though -- his
grammar and spelling is too poor to be very credible ;-) He
also has some ideas that stretch the imagination, such as a
Microsoft pyramid scheme that caused a global downturn in
the economy. However, if it's true that MS is losing money,
that could be one of the reasons why they're changing
From the reading I've done, it sounds like MS pays people
with stock too much. Apparently, the SEC doesn't require a
company to deduct payment in stock from their profit
numbers. If you take that out, Parish says that the company
is in the red.
Microsoft has a lot of money in the bank, but it might be to
cover their ass when employees start cashing in. The
company has been criticized by people like Ralph
Nader for not paying dividends to their stockholders (of
course, I guess Nader is mostly just annoyed because MS
isn't paying very much in taxes).
Personally, I figure Microsoft will probably stick it out
for quite a while. They might go down in five or ten years,
probably after Bill Gates has made a graceful exit from the
In the wake of Enron, I bet the accountants at MS are busily
working to find a way to hide financial issues that doesn't
look like they're hiding something..
Or maybe I'm just paranoid..