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February 28, 2007

Ray Ozzie does Wall Street

Posted by David Hunter at 11:39 AM ET.

Yesterday, Ray Ozzie answered questions for the analyst and investor community at a Goldman Sachs conference in Las Vegas and the good news is that he didn’t tank the stock price (always a risk when Microsoft execs talk to analysts these days) although other market news lowered everyone’s boat quite nicely. The bad news is that Ozzie didn’t really have all that much to say. I listened to the webcast and and my only takeaways were:

Not exactly uplifting stuff. What was conspicuously not forthcoming from Microsoft’s Chief Architect was any real vision of Microsoft’s future or even of just the nascent ad-supported online services initiative that he fathered. There’s nothing wrong with playing your cards close to your chest, but undoubtedly investors would have a warmer feeling if they had been tossed some hints that everything was on track. MSFTextrememakeover summarizes:

If this was meant to be MSFT’s Software+Service strategy equivalent of the Sermon on the Mount, it fell short – and that was despite [perpetually wrong on MSFT] analyst Rick Sherlund’s repeated attempts to throw Ray a slow pitch in hopes he would knock one out of the park. He didn’t. It’s not that I can fault anything Ray said per se, it was all reasonable enough. It’s just that he didn’t say much that was concrete wrt plans or timeframes and it all sounded pretty conceptual at this stage…

Plus, comments like GOOG giving MSFT a “wake up call” … is hardly stock Viagra, especially when folks look at the fact that GOOG actually makes money on this “continuous investment” effort whereas MSFT doesn’t – at least so far.

The net is that while Ozzie survived his trip into the lions’ den, it wasn’t a bravura performance for himself or Microsoft, and did nothing to dispel the nagging doubts about Windows Live and the other new “Live” initiatives.

Filed under Advertising, Coopetition, Executives, Financial, General Business, Google, Investor Relations, Microsoft, Online Services, Ray Ozzie, Windows Live

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