Microsoft Q1 Unveiled Today, but Don’t Expect an October Surprise for New CEO (See You in December)
As Microsoft unveils its first-quarter earnings report later today after the markets close, all ears will be listening for any clues about how the search for its next CEO is coming along.
Expect the sounds of silence.
As AllThingsD and others have previously reported, the selection of a new leader to replace outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer is likely to take at least until the end of the year. While that could change, of course, a number of candidates — from an outsider like Ford CEO Alan Mulally to an insider such as Tony Bates — are still being considered and vetted.
And that’s why it’s going to be hard to know exactly what direction the company will actually take in the coming year, beyond Ballmer’s refocusing its strategy around “One Microsoft” and the devices-and-services meme.
But that doesn’t mean there will not be a lot to talk about, including upcoming releases such as a new Surface tablet, changes to its Windows operating system and the launch of the Xbox One.
The upcoming products follow a time of massive change at Microsoft, including the Ballmer reorg and departure news, and also the $7 billion acquisition of Nokia’s phone-and-devices business to bolster Windows Phone’s fight to survive in a mobile world dominated by Apple and Google.
Also important to watch in Microsoft’s report will be any news of how it is doing with its enterprise efforts, including the move of its products and services to the cloud.
That, too, will be an issue for the new CEO, as well as the fate of its search advertising partnership with Yahoo, how to stop losing money in its online services division, and what its future holds as PC use continues its decline in the home and workplace.
Come to think of it: Who’s crazy enough to take the top job?
Until we know more, here’s what Wall Street analysts expect in Q1 from the Redmond, Wash., company: Earnings of 54 cents per share on revenue of $17.8 billion, which compares to 53 cents on revenue of $16 billion in the same period a year ago.
One good piece of news: Microsoft’s stock is up about 30 percent so far this year.