In the previous post, we looked at Microsoft valuation from several angles and found Microsoft stock to be not so attractive. In this post, we will take a look at the earnings from the most recent quarter.
The operating margin for the company as a whole declined by 0.25 points in the first nine months of this fiscal year compared to 2006. This isnt a good sign - indicating that XBoX, MSN and other money losing divisions arent executing well.
When looking at free cash flow, the figures arent impressive either. The company gained a bit from exchange rates, increased amortization and slight benefit from stock based compensation. The company spent 5.6 billion issuing new stock and 20 billion buying back stock from the open market. So despite the massive spending on stock buy backs, the outstanding stocks declined only by 4.4%.
Overall, Microsoft's earnings surprise is not built on a solid foundation. The problems with capital allocation continue to persist. In addition, the company isnt making inroads in the search or ad business. The next year would be the make or break year for Microsoft.