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Microsoft Changes Earnings Reports; Takes $350 Million Charge

If announcing $350 million charges against profits promised to have similar impacts on its stock position, Microsoft Corp. would probably look forward to more charges.

After announcing a financial reorganization of its quarterly earnings reports on Tuesday, Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) also announced it will take a $350 million charge against profits this quarter in order to comply with Rule 133 of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which outlines new reporting guidelines for all corporations.  Such a charge might be expected to discourage stock traders for a time, but less than two hours before the market closed on Wednesday, Microsoft stocks were up more than a full point.

Microsoft’s quarterly reports will now feature five segments rather than the four previously.  They will be broken down into Desktop Software and Services - Windows operating systems and Microsoft Office; Enterprise Software and Services – Windows 2000 Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server, developer tools, consulting services, and product support services; Consumer Software, Services, and Devices - MSN, WebTV, learning and productivity software, embedded software, mobile and wireless, and games; Consumer Commerce Investments - Expedia, Inc., HomeAdvisor online real estate service, and CarPoint online automotive service, all companies Microsoft has the dominant interest in; and Other - Press, keyboards, and mouse products.

The newly-segmented reports will debut with Microsoft’s third-quarter report, due on Oct. 18. – Ted Williams

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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