Fool Fight: Google vs. Microsoft

Welcome to another Fool Fight. Grab your ringside seat, please.

Our last bout, which featured Ford Motor (NYSE: F  ) and General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) , resulted in a brutal knockout of GM thanks to several passionate Motley Fool CAPS players. Today, live from the Left Coast, we have another thriller. It's geeks vs. nerds in a tussle to be crowned the king of tech.

Tale of the tape
Let's meet our combatants. In the red, yellow, green, and white corner, it's Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , which recently bulked up thanks to a $1.6 billion buyout of YouTube. Plus, the Google Checkout service is picking up valuable retail partners, and the Firefox browser, which Big Goo supports heavily, is eating away at Internet Explorer.

Meanwhile, in the blue corner, it's Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , which is playing an ugly Zune at the moment. But don't let that small-f fool you. Mr. Softy delivered a wallop to rivals when it went Live.com and then toweled off in time to tie the knot with Auntie Beeb. (No wonder hundreds of "Microsoft millionaires" are still out there!)

Get ready to ruuuuummmmmmble!
Who will take the title? Ding! There's the bell! First out of the corner is Microsoft, with this jab from fellow Fool Anders Bylund, known in CAPS as Zahrim:

I think the Redmond giant has been unfairly punished lately, and is a screaming bargain today [written in mid-August]. The risk is, of course, Google doing everything right and taking Microsoft's place in the software world. But that's not happening today, or the next few years.

Google counters with a terrific one-two combination from HotAirBaffoon that lands on Mr. Softy's jaw:

[Google] will continue to dominate other search engine wannabes. Look for Q3 results to again exceed analyst expectations. Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) stumbles with poor execution and [Google] eats their lunch. Target of $500 by Q2 2007.

Wow! What a flurry! Microsoft is back on the ropes, furiously dodging the assault until an opening appears. Foolish colleague Chuck Saletta, known around these parts as TMFBigFrog, delivers the haymaker:

Okay, seriously. The company is priced to perfection on a mythical presumption of growth 4-5 years from now that may never materialize. It'd be worth looking at around 1/2 its current price, and perhaps at 1/4 its current price it might be considered value territory.

Down goes Google! Down goes Google! Can it rally? CAPS player will0126 helps Big Goo get to a knee:

Huge growth and positive surprises continue for at least one more year. Who is the competition at this point? Yahoo?!?!?! Microsoft?!?!? Nobody!

Let's go to the scorecard
Interesting, but it seems the judges were looking for more details. The count begins ... 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5 ... 6 ... 7 ... 8 ... 9 ... 10 . you're out! Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer dance around the ring, reveling in an overwhelming edge in bullish sentiment. Meanwhile, Larry Page and Sergey Brin get a dose of the smelling salts:

Metric

Google

Microsoft

Total ratings

1,603

2,169

Bullish ratings

886

1,826

Bull ratio

55.3%

84.2%

Bearish ratings

717

343

Bear ratio

44.7%

15.8%

Bullish pitches

193

471

Bearish pitches

224

97

Notes: Data from Motley Fool CAPS; current as of Oct. 13, 2006.

Get in the ring!
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. It's almost three years to the day since TheNew York Times said Microsoft would buy Google. Could that still happen? Or will Google rise up off the mat to demand a rematch? Get in the game now and tell us what you think. Or, if you'd rather, choose one of the more than 1,300 stocks that have yet to earn a star rating in CAPS, including biopharmaceutical Lexicon Genetics (Nasdaq: LEXG  ) and document manager IKON Office Solutions (NYSE: IKN  ) . Click here to rate either of them now. It's entirely free. Your Fool cap is waiting.

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Ask us for an all-access pass to the service and you'll be privy to chief advisor Philip Durell's best picks, which collectively are beating the market by nearly 5% as of this writing. You'll also receive instructive lessons on valuation and company analysis. Give Inside Value a try; it's free for 30 days.

Yahoo! is a Stock Advisor pick.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers has 35 picks in his CAPS portfolio, including Computer Horizons (Nasdaq: CHRZ  ) , which he believes is an excellent short candidate. Think he's wrong? Get in the game and add your own rating.

Tim didn't own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. Get the skinny on all of Tim's stock holdings by checking his Fool profile. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is always in fighting shape.


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