Dueling Fools Dueling Fools
May 06, 1998

Pearly Gates or Gates of Steal?

Where do you want to Duel today? (At this point, cue up "Start Me Up" and mail out that $10 million check to Mick and the Stones). Finally, Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT). We all know Bill Gates. And this week it won't be much of a reach saying that the very name of the world's largest software company conjures up different images in our respective heads.

Bully? Brilliant? Both? Welcome to Duel 98 -- beta version 10.4. This week Jim Surowiecki (TMF Cinder) and Paul Larson (TMF Parlay) are back to continue their heated rivalry. Ultimately you will find that they both love the company, but only one is smitten by the stock.

So, get ready for some fireworks -- this ain't no cold boot.

You Get to Vote!

After reading all of the arguments, cast your vote for the winner of the Duel. We'll tabulate results each week and revisit them from time to time to see whether you were right! As always, we invite you to join us in the Microsoft Message board to continue the duel.

[Any suggestions, comments, praise, or flames, please send them along to the Dueling Fools Team.]

The Bull...
At a price-to-earnings ratio of more than 60, Microsoft can hardly be called a value play. Of course, in a market where the S&P 500 is trading at somewhere between 27 and 28 times trailing earnings, there aren't going to be too many value plays to be found. And in the context of this market, Microsoft is not just fairly valued. In fact, it's a stock that for the long-term investor will continue to be pure gold, the kind of gold that Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), Gillette (NYSE: G), and Disney (NYSE: DIS) have been over the last decade.
The Bear...
I must be insane to have told Rick Munarriz, the Dueling Fools organizer, that I was bearish on Microsoft. A Fool that does not like Microsoft? Blasphemy! That's almost as bad as not liking Iomega! With the Cash-King folks adoring the company and some of the company's top brass taking time to chat with Fools in the past, I think it is safe to say that the majority of the folks clicking in here like Microsoft. Heck, I like Microsoft too! I happily use several of its products on a daily basis. Nevertheless, I find nothing to love in the stock's valuation.

Results for last week's Coca-Cola Duel

Answer Percentage
I can't make up my mind


Louis Corrigan's Bull argument


Rick Munarriz's Bear argument


They were both excellent


They were both lame


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