Microsoft just posted its fourth quarter results, and for the first time since the tech giant was founded, it lost money. But this isn't necessarly all doom and gloom the beginning of the end—not yet anyway.
Microsoft hasn't had the best few years recently, but its business is so huge and its users so many that it has been able to keep turning profits despite Ballmer's biggest blunders. The loss, according to the AP, was caused by an accounting adjustment. What does that mean? In 2007, Microsoft bought the advertising business, aQuantive. Turns out it was a bad deal, so in its fourth quarter balance sheets, Microsoft decreased the value of its assets by $6.2 billion to address the botched deal, pushing its numbers into the red for the quarter—$473 million in the red to be exact. Without the write-off, Microsoft earned 73 cents per share, which actually beat analyst expectations. Go Microsoft!
These types of accounting shifts are common, it's just particularly shocking because Microsoft is such a powerhouse. Luckily, things have been looking up for the company recently between the forthcoming releases of Windows 8 and the recently announced Microsoft Surface PCs. Let's hope Redmond can turn this temporary frown upside down. [AP via MSNBC]