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Microsoft stock: Bull or Bear

Is now the time to buy MSFT? I say no.

This morning I received Jason Maynard's (Credit Suisse) note on Microsoft's outstanding financial performance. I never find it surprising when Microsoft makes its numbers. It's a well-known fact that company is great at cash management, (though innovation is a whole other story.) Over on Motley Fool there is an interesting point/counterpoint on the demise or not of the MSFT stock.

Dueling Fools: Microsoft Bear

This was supposed to be Microsoft's final feast, the major last hurrah for its Windows Vista operating entry and its Office 2007 suite of applications before the inevitable embrace of cheaper open source operating systems and Web-based apps.
Very true, Vista has failed to wow, but the impact of that hasn't been felt yet. As the Bull retorts, early adoption doesn't really matter as it's the long tail (ugh) of Windows that keeps paying the bills.

Dueling Fools: Microsoft Bull

Microsoft's biggest customers have been around long enough to know never to be early adopters. The strategy has pretty much always been:
  • Wait for the biggest bugs to be fixed.
  • Wait for the hardware to catch up.
  • Try it out with a few key applications and power users.
  • Then upgrade the end-user base as the PCs come due for replacement.
For the record I do not own any Microsoft stock but it is easy to see why someone would invest in a monopoly--even if it's making giant missteps. I suppose if you have enough money you can screw up for a long time with minimal impact.