Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Microsoft Goes Back on Message: No Recovery in the Works

Say what you will about Microsoft executives, they have been consistently on message during the past year or so. That message: Things aren’t getting better any time soon.

The latest in a string of downbeat declarations comes today, via Steve Ballmer’s visit to South Korea, where the Microsoft (MSFT) CEO warned that tech spending would take years to get back to its pre-recession peak. AP:

“The economy went through a set of changes on a global basis over the course of the last year which are, I think is fair to say, once in a lifetime,” Ballmer told a meeting of South Korean executives in Seoul.

Spending on information technology, which accounted for about half of capital expenditures in developed countries before the crisis, was unlikely to rebound fully because capital was more scarce these days, he said.

“While we will see growth, we will not see recovery,” Ballmer said.

Which is pretty much what he’s been saying for some time.

There’s at least one upside to this kind of relentless and sensible negativity, though: If you deliver any news that isn’t straight-up awful, people get ecstatic. As they did last month, when Microsoft posted a downbeat but better-than-expected earnings report (click on graph below to enlarge).

msft earns

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald