The economy is fine, at least for Microsoft

Business division CFO says company is watching closely for signs of a slowdown, but Microsoft hasn't seen anything to worry about so far.

Updated 3 p.m., with additional comments from Microsoft on timing of Windows Server 2008.

One of the nice things about being Microsoft is that a lot of money comes in, good times and bad.

Asked Thursday about the impact Microsoft is seeing from the uncertainty in the credit markets, a top Microsoft finance executive said the company has yet to see anything particularly worrisome.

"We're not seeing anything different than what we said back in October (during an earnings conference call)," said Peter Klein, the CFO of Microsoft's business division, speaking at Credit Suisse's annual technology conference. "We haven't seen to date any impact although we are watching it very closely."

He noted that in his unit, which sells Office, Exchange Server, and SharePoint, more than 40 percent of revenue comes from long-term contracts, sales of which have been going rather well.

Pressed for details on when Microsoft might have a full-featured online version of Office, Klein didn't offer any new insight, repeating that company line that Microsoft intends to remain the leader in productivity, a line that suggests that if the company needs to offer an ad-supported or Web-based version, it will.

As for the release of Windows Server 2008, he noted that it will come at the end of the first quarter of next year, after the product's formal launch at the end of February in Los Angeles. "It will ship pretty soon after that," Klein said.

Microsoft had originally planned to ship the operating system by the end of this year, even cutting some virtualization features to try and make that date, but said in August that the code wouldn't be ready until early next year.

Update: A Microsoft representative said that Klein misspoke with regards to the timing of when Microsoft will finalize the code. "We remain on track to RTM (release to manufacturing) by the launch," the representative said.
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    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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