Just about all of us have used Microsoft software. Word, Excel, PowerPoint -- no modern office is complete without Microsoft Office. And what operating system is powering the computers that run these programs? Chances are, it's a version of Windows. Even though Apple
Desktop makers, as well as Microsoft shareholders, are particularly excited right now because upgrades to Office and the new Vista operating system have hit the market. Over the next several years, a lot of computing consumers will take advantage of the updated features in Office. And although it's up in the air right now exactly how fast Vista will be adopted by business users, I'd say that the adoptions will eventually come. When they do, Microsoft will be ringing that register.
The Xbox 360 faces a lot of competition from both Sony's
All of the above is nice, but let's talk about money. At the end of the second quarter, Microsoft had $29 billion in cash and short-term investments. It also had free cash flow of $1.5 billion, which was enough to cover the company's dividend obligations, currently at $0.10 per share. I believe there is ample opportunity for dividend increases for many years to come thanks to the company's cash-generating strength.
That's a summary of why I love Microsoft. There's been some lively price action in the stock in recent months, but you can bet that there's a lot of long-term upside left. This Valentine's Day, don't forget to send an affectionate card to Mr. Softy. It's one company that we all should love.
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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns none of the companies mentioned. As of this writing, he was ranked 14,437 out of 22,222 investors in the CAPS system. Don't know what CAPS is? Check it out. The Fool has a disclosure policy.