Microsoft's recently announced $1 billion charge for Xbox 360 malfunctions is expected to take its toll when the company reports financial results for its fourth quarter and 2007 fiscal year after the stock market closes today.
Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had been looking for Microsoft to post quarterly earnings per share of 39 cents, at the high end of the range the company projected when reporting results for its last quarter. However, a subsequent poll by Bloomberg, taking into account the Xbox 360 charge, showed analysts reducing the profit estimates, on average, by 7 cents a share.
As an aside, the Bloomberg story concludes with an eye-catching quote from Joel Hirsh, a Kovitz Investment Group analyst, who is bullish on the stock: "The beauty of this company for us is that other people are bored of it."
Of course, Windows is still Microsoft's biggest product, and this will be an interesting quarter to watch in that regard, because it's the first one to reflect Windows Vista's full availability. (The Jan. 30 retail launch was one month into the previous quarter.) A key barometer is the number of PC shipments, since Windows is primarily distributed through new computers. IDC yesterday reported that the figure was up 12.5 percent for the quarter.
To get a sense for the trend, here's an updated version of our running PC shipments chart, with the latest number added.
Microsoft, Earning, Income, Xbox 360, Windows Vista, Financial News