In an extraordinary document, Microsoft's (MSFT) Frank Shaw, vice president for corporate communications, pressed a case for the company's primacy in the world of technology. It was clearly a reaction to the company's many critics and skeptical analysts on Wall Street. Microsoft's share price is less than half the level it was in 1999, when it traded at $58, and is about the same as its was five years ago. The stock closed at $24.53 on June 25.
Shaw's points are broken into 12 areas, including the company's core Windows division, its business and office products, search, game platforms, e-mail and server-side software. He makes the observation in the first section that Microsoft has sold 170 million copies of Windows 7, making it "by far the fastest-growing operating system in history."
Xbox Live Versus Newspapers and Netflix?
Shaw then argues that 335 million PCs are projected to to be sold this year, compared to a forecast of 7.1 million iPads. He says that Xbox Live has 23 million customers, but only 16 million people subscribe to the 25 largest newspapers in the U.S. The document also state that Microsoft has 360 million Windows Live Hotmail users, the company's email client, compared to 284 million users of Yahoo!'s (YHOO) mail and 174 million users of Google's (GOOG) Gmail.
The document is very persuasive in some sections, but weak when it compares products on a basis that's not "apples to apples." A contrast between Netflix (NFLX) subscribers and people who use Xbox Live isn't particularly germane.
Of course, Microsoft's critics argue that the company's future is more of an issue than its present. Windows may lose market share to cheap or free operating systems. Still, Microsoft has suddenly become extremely aggressive in making the case for its ubiquity and importance. It's trying to show that companies like Apple (AAPL) and Google are followers, not leaders.
One comparison Shaw left out of his blog post: Microsoft's market cap is $214.99 billion. Apple's? $242.68 billion.
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