Thursday, January 29, 1998
by Tom Gardner (TomG@fool.com)
ALEXANDRIA, VA, (Jan. 29, 1998) -- The Cash-King portfolio launches today with a shortened report to give you time to read through the initial buy announcement. We'll be adding shares of Microsoft Corporation at some point over the next five business days. We believe there's no better first investment to illustrate our aims in this portfolio.
Microsoft is the truest technology leader in America. The company has methodically grown out of early deals with its cooperating competitor, IBM. With applications from Windows NT to Internet Explorer to Encarta, Microsoft is fulfilling its mission of swarming the desktop computer with ever-improving applications. That mission has certainly broadened in recent years, but Microsoft is bringing the single most underrated aspect of its business with it in each new endeavor.
Tight financial management. Leave all the product debates aside for a moment, and what you'll find is a company that has committed itself to consistent and enduring high-margin growth. In a world where technology companies feel compelled by urgency and exit-strategy opportunities to go public within three years of their inception, Microsoft has run contrary. The company was private for 11 years, working diligently in the big shadow cast by Big Blue, growing their business inch-by-inch. Today, after twelve years in the public markets, Microsoft sits with General Electric and Coca-Cola as the most valuable businesses in all the land.
Study Microsoft's financial performance over the past 1-, 3-, 5- and 10 years with us in the weeks and months ahead, and what will become most evident is that the company's patience and perseverance have reaped unbelievable returns for their shareholding owners, employees, and customers. We believe that their continued success, though by no means guaranteed, is quite likely in the decade ahead given their young management team, their superior financial position, solid marketing plans, and a world that is hungering for new software packages. Even if, as is definitely possible in the next 15 years, Microsoft is broken up by the Justice Department, we'll re-evaluate and likely will happily hold most or all of the split-out components.
Tom Gardner (TomG@fool.com)