The contrast between Microsoft’s and Google’s results released on Thursday attracted a lot of interest – for the first time in twenty years Microsoft posted a quarterly loss with Google’s profits continue to grow.
While there’s no doubt Microsoft are challenged by the effects of their lost decade and bad decisions made in that time, but the business itself is still extremely profitable.
Microsoft’s posted loss is due writing down 6 billion dollars in their aQuantive investment, an attempt to compete with Google in the online ad placement space.
Despite a six billion dollar writedown, Microsoft only posted a 500 million dollar loss showing the business is still making over 5 billion dollars profit each quarter.
Google on the other hand posted a profit of 2.8 billion, up 11% from the same period last year.
But Google also has some nasty writedowns coming in the future – the purchase of Motorola will see some substantial write downs of that 12 billion dollar deal. It’s conceivable that a very big portion of that investment will have to be written off as well.
Right now, Google’s seeing some benefit from the Motorola acquisition as the phone company’s cashflow is covering a decline in online advertising revenue, a threat to Google’s core business.
It’s easy to be triumphant when the headlines proclaim you’re a winner, but it’s often worthwhile looking at the fine print to see the real story.