Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Reporters “Not Invited” as Microsoft Lays Out Its Financial Future on September 19

With all that is going on at Microsoft these days, you would think that the company’s Sept. 19 financial analysts meeting would be packed with reporters.

Actually, there won’t be a single one.

That’s not, of course, due to a lack of interest in the future of the software giant. Rather, the company has decided for the first time in recent memory to bar the press from attending the event. Instead, Redmond said that reporters, like the public, can watch via Webcast.

There have always been various rules for the reporters allowed to cover the event — only the financial guys get to ask questions, only the formal presentations are on the record, etc. Heck, some years there have even been rules about which tables reporters can eat lunch at. But at least journalists could watch the back-and-forth between Microsoft executives and the analysts and investors who follow the company.

And what with the CEO stepping down, PC sales tanking and the company in the midst of a massive reorganization, presumably that banter might be of interest to those following the company.

Microsoft has also been shifting away from even having the financial analyst meeting. What was once a standalone event each July has become something of a wild card.

In 2011, the company held a financial analyst meeting in conjunction with its Build developer conference in Anaheim, Calif.

Last year, Microsoft skipped the meeting entirely, though Redmond said it has stepped up involvement at various financial and investor conferences.

This year, Redmond hadn’t revealed any plans until CFO Amy Hood announced the September event during the company’s July earnings conference call.

“In late September, we will host a financial analyst event here in Redmond, at which point we will discuss our strategy, our new organizational structure, and any changes to our reporting segments,” Hood said. “We will also give more thoughts on our full-year outlook at that time.”

AllThingsD was already planning to go, even before CEO Steve Ballmer decided that now was a better time than 2017 to retire.

But, alas, we are now told that reporters “are not invited.”

So it looks like we won’t be there in person. But rest assured, we will be covering it closely.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik