By Ed Oswald | Friday, January 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm
While overall Microsoft seems to be doing quite well, there is a sector of its business that continually drags on its bottom line. The company has pushed heavily to promote its online businesses–including Windows Live services, Bing, and more– but so far, it’s not succeeding at making money on the Web.
As pointed out by Silicon Alley Insider yesterday, Microsoft lost a staggering $543 million in its online division in the last calendar quarter of 2010, and its online losses for the year were nearly $2.5 billion. They’re astounding figures.
Microsoft has been unable to make any money in online since the fourth quarter of 2005. That’s 20 straight quarters of losses. In most business circles, I’d think you’d consider that a failed business. In five of those quarters (including five of the last seven), the losses have come in at more than a half-billion.
One of shareholders’ biggest complaints against Microsoft is the fact that the company’s stock price is so stagnant, and essentially has not traded more than $10 above or below its current stock price in the past decade. How long will investors wait for Microsoft to improve its stock-market performance, when other companies like Apple and Google have run circles around it when it comes to stock performance?