Microsoft Earnings Key Takeaways: Where’s the Search?


The biggest acquisition news yesterday wasn’t Microsoft-Yahoo but Arby’s-Wendy’s. In both cases, search marketers are asking, “Where’s the beef?”

Better yet, analysts on the Microsoft conference call should have asked, “Where’s the search?”

Microsoft search queries and page views are up year-over-year. By how much? No Wall St. analysts asked the question.

Microsoft reported $4.4 billion in net income for the quarter.

Microsoft’s online services business increased revenue 40 percent to $843 million, including $143 million from aQuantive, which added 96 new publishers this quarter to the Atlas Publisher Solutions, the ad management platform that competes with Google’s DoubleClick division.

Online advertising for Microsoft grew 39 percent. If aQuantive ad revenue ($47 million) is excluded, Microsoft was up 29 percent. Microsoft’s online audience is still growing. Live IDs increased to 18 percent to 448 million.

Microsoft remains focused on the online advertising market (doubling by 2010 to $80 billion).

Yahoo would accelerate growth but the core strategy won’t change: drive innovation and search, increase value to advertisers and publishers through innovation and scale and grow user engagement across MSN and Windows Live properties.

The weak U.S. dollar may be Microsoft’s best friend. While about half of Google’s revenue comes from the U.S., two-thirds of Microsoft’s revenue is derived from users abroad. In addition, about 15 percent of revenue is in high-growth emerging markets.

Microsoft’s strategy of reinvesting existing business, pursuing organic and acquisition growth opportunities makes the company a formidable competitor with or without Yahoo – except in search.

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