updated 11:20 am EDT, Mon April 2, 2007
Microsoft Bleeding Cash
Microsoft's cash reserves are less than half what they were two years ago, according to a report. The Redmond developer, which once had as much as $64.4 billion in 2004, is now down to $29 billion at its most recent tally. The company claims that the shrink been a deliberate choice to buy into smaller companies and to reward investors.
"We're focused on striking the right balance between investing in the company's growth and returning capital to shareholders," said Microsoft's investor relations manager Colleen Healy.
However, the change may also be a reflection of the company's unappealing prospects, the article notes. The company has in recent years gained security by settling an antitrust trial for its Windows OS and has seen its share price largely unmoved, selling below $30 since 2001. Buying back shares, which the company plans to do until 2011, is a way of persuading the stock market that its shares are undervalued.
By contrast, the company's historical rival Apple has seen rapid growth of its at once diminutive stock, seeing a pair of 2-for-1 share splits while increasing to over $90 per share during the same five year period that saw Microsoft's stocks effectively remain stale.