Ballmer's Bravado Benefits Us All
Kyle is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
“You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with Jim.” – Jim Croce, Don’t Mess Around With Jim
I know I have had some fun with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), in the past, absorbing more than my fair share of slings and barbs from the MS Message Board Mafia (“Apple is the Lion King, Microsoft is Scar”), and I truly don’t have any disdain for the Redmond, Washington software company. I even used to own shares with them for a time in a former trading life. I’m going to be brutally honest, as usual; I like what CEO Steve Ballmer was quoted as saying at the recent Worldwide Partner Conference: “We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). We are not. No space uncovered that is Apple’s.”
Let me correct myself. I don’t like it, I love it. And shareholders of both companies should embrace the spirit of the declaration. Despite what some people think, I am not a Socialist, I happen to think that competition is not good for the market and the economy, I think it’s great. I realize they are merely words, and Ballmer has been a beautiful butt of jokes in the past (Steve Ballmer dance), but they are strong, sincere and they speak volumes as to the direction he wants to steer the company moving forward.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have an ongoing, long love affair with Apple, and I look forward to upcoming releases and the hopeful, eventual unveiling of Apple TV, as well as my thin slice of a dividend payout. I’m not the only person that thinks Apple happens to be one of the best growth companies to own, or feels that they trade well below average multiples, but the potential to revolutionize what people watch on their flat screens, tablets and smartphones, much the same way they did with the way we listen to music, is mind-numbing.
But I think that there is plenty of space in the clouds for Microsoft, and like any good consumer, I welcome the benefit of choice. Companies should be held accountable when it comes to the services they provide their customers. Competition makes everyone better -- cable, satellite, phone, internet -- we have choices if the providers don’t deliver on the promises for which we pay.
The expectations that Ballmer and Microsoft have presented have been heard loud and clear over at the fruit company in Cupertino, California, and the folks at Google, as well as a number of smaller, lesser-known companies that the big guns depend on to make their bullets. The delivery of Windows 8 has been scheduled for the general public sometime in October, and we should expect that there will be a few hiccups along the way (not everyone gushes over Siri the way John Malkovich does). But at least Microsoft pays loyal shareholders for their patience with a 2.7% dividend yield.
As stated in past posts, I think this summer will be a long grind, especially in the technology sector (Nasdaq is down over 1% as I type this, intraday, July 10, 2012), so there will be opportunities to scale in at some “bargain” prices. While I anxiously await the Apple earnings call July 24, I have Microsoft to keep an eye on, and I look forward to hearing what Ballmer has to say on that earnings call July 19.
kmet312 owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.