Microsoft Doesn't Mind a Weak Dollar

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) simply seems to have the wind at its back right now. Factors way outside the control of even the largest software business in the world are conspiring to make the company look good.

Sure, Mr. Softy beat revenue estimates by about $400 million this time around, to land at $16.4 billion. (Have a closer look at all of the numbers and growth rates in our Fool by Numbers feature). And it just so happens that a flagging dollar helped this multinational behemoth out with a $410 million boost in total revenues. Back that wild card out, and the Street gang was dead-on.

And if the revenue improvement still looks impossibly strong, well, you're kind of right. There are some smoke-and-mirrors tricks at work here. If you bought a Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) or Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) computer in the 2006 holiday season, you probably got a voucher for some free Windows Vista love, to be cashed in upon the software's release. So Microsoft deferred $1.1 billion of sales a year ago to account for the time-shifting action. That makes for some easier comparisons this time around.

That still leaves a sales increase of some $2.8 billion unaccounted for, and there's the real beef. As other worldwide tech giants such as IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) and Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN  ) can attest, the global computing market is anything but weak right now, American credit shenanigans notwithstanding. Wherever computers are sold, Microsoft has a finger in the profit pie -- and this situation is no exception. Windows Vista is selling through rather well, now that PC makers shove you toward the bright light while kicking XP options into a dark corner of the sales floor.

Just in case you need one more reassuring sound-bite about the state of the global economy, Microsoft is happy to oblige. "While we are monitoring the changing economic conditions, we continue to expect double-digit revenue growth," says the 10-Q statement filed along with the usual press release. "We estimate worldwide PC shipments will grow 11% to 13%," along with continued exchange rate benefits. So things are looking good for computer salespeople, but the government can't stop the dollar's southward slide. If you ask Microsoft, that is.

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