Can music keep Microsoft growing?

When Microsoft reports its third-quarter earnings tomorrow, expect renewed debate over whether the company still deserves its designation as a growth stock.

Detractors will point to the fact that its next big new product, Windows Longhorn, won't arrive until 2006. While I'm hardly a Microsoft cheerleader, I do think the company has quite a few more surprises in store. For my money (though I don't have any investments in Microsoft), the company's formidable research and development budget gives it ample claim to growth status. Despite its massive R&D operations, Microsoft is often chided for unveiling "me too" technology, advances that merely catch up to the market.

But I'm watching a development from Redmond's Windows Media labs that's scheduled for public unveiling in July. If you're a Microsoft investor -- or a fan of (or investor in) digital-music services -- you'll want to pay close attention as well. The technology is called Janus, and it could significantly alter the existing digital-music market.

News source: CNN

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