Microsoft is going to take a rather large financial write off thanks mostly to a buyout of a company that it acquired way back in 2007. That company was aQuantive, an Internet advertising firm that Microsoft thought at the time was worth $6.3 billion in cash five years ago.
That's not the case anymore. Today, Microsoft announced it would take a "non-cash, non-tax-deductible income statement charge" for its Online Services division, with most of that charge coming as a write down of the aQuantive buyout. Microsoft will take a $6.2 billion charge as a result of that one time event, which basically means that Microsoft feels that the aQuantive buyout was actually worth just $100 million.
In explaining the move, Microsoft said, "While the aQuantive acquisition continues to provide tools for Microsoft's online advertising efforts, the acquisition did not accelerate growth to the degree anticipated, contributing to the write down." As far as the Online Services division itself, Microsoft said that while it has seen growth in its Bing search service, along with its partnership with Yahoo, " ... the company's expectations for future growth and profitability are lower than previous estimates."
Microsoft said that it does not expect this one time charge " ... to affect its ongoing business or financial performance."