Ker-blinking-ching: Microsoft issue results

Microsoft, with its global dominance in PC software, is sometimes said to have a licence to print money. But Microsoft might find it tougher to deploy its cash hoard of $49bn (£30.94bn).

When it released fiscal-year 2003 results last Thursday, Microsoft said it added $2.9bn of cash in the quarter ended June 30. It earned $689m from investments, nearly one-third of its pre-tax income, according to its fiscal fourth-quarter income statement. And on its balance sheet, Microsoft reported $13.7bn in equity and other investments for the period ended 30 June, 2003.

This Thursday, at its Redmond campus, chief financial officer John Connors is expected to tell analysts how Microsoft invests its cash. Microsoft has nearly one-tenth of all cash on hand reported by companies whose shares make up the Standard & Poor's 500 index.

Worth noting: Microsoft's pile of cash is double what it was three years ago, despite an economic downturn and a three-year bear market in equities.

Make no mistake, $49bn is plenty of money. Lay that much in $100 bills end to end, and they stretch more than 47,000 miles, nearly twice around the Earth at the equator.

News source: ZDNet News UK

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