My Foolish dueling partner is right: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) does have copious amounts of free cash flow and cash with which it can pay for many things, not least of which are research-and-development expenditures to face changing times. However, even with such ample resources, it still gets bogged down in its processes.

Just look at Vista. It took more than five years to release the long-awaited update, and even that launch was delayed. Compare that performance with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which releases so many OS updates that I fear it's about to run out of exotic felines (Tiger, Leopard ... I've been waiting patiently for the Mac Domestic Housecat release.) Just because a company like Microsoft has the resources, that doesn't mean it makes them work to their utmost efficiency -- and again, there's irony in that many small technology start-ups with far fewer resources innovate so quickly and creatively.

Furthermore, while Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft have been locked in a bit of a war of wills, Google seems to have a much easier time foreseeing the future. (Granted, it doesn't seem as though all of Google's products are destined to enjoy such loyal consumer adoption as its search function does, but we'll see how that pans out.) Google's certainly not perfect, but it's definitely more "new-school" compared to Microsoft's old-school attitude. For example, its acquisition of YouTube may have been risky, but it certainly reflects the changing face of technology.  

True, a quick glance at Microsoft's stock suggests that it isn't screamingly overvalued. It's trading at 16 times fiscal 2008 earnings -- that's about on par with its expected growth and is much less heady compared to, say, Apple's comparable numbers. (However, it's interesting to note that Apple and Microsoft have very similar PEG ratios.)

But when it comes to putting one's money to work, it seems to me that Microsoft may very well end up being nothing more than a staid investment when other stocks would yield more impressive growth.   

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. To find out what other stocks Philip Durell has recommended as bargains, take the service for a 30-day free trial. Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.