CNBC's Jim Goldman has revisited Microsoft's recent figures
... bear in mind that CNBC is an NBC news service and isn't MSNBC, the online news service jointly owned by Microsoft and General Motors/NBC. So, they're not related, not in the slightest, no way.
Jim points that, although Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division (run by the always quotable Robbie Bach
) made $357 million (£180.5m) profit for the three months to December 2007, we shouldn't forget its $3.06 billion (£1.5b) in revenue.
Jim spoke to Microsoft's chief financial officer (CFO), Chris Liddell, about the figures to get some more perspective, and was told, "...it's all about the "attach rate," the number of games and accessories consumers buy along with the console itself.
"We're now at a stage where we sell about seven games per console and that's a record certainly for any console and relative to history. So people are now actually spending more on the games and accessories than they are on the underlying console, so that business model that we put in place the last couple of years is certainly starting to fire."
According to Jim, "...and because of that, entertainment and devices is hardly a one-hit wonder: this hardware could become the gift that keeps on giving for Microsoft's bottom line".
Now for a slice more perspective, let's have a look at the headline to Jim's story and compare it to a few more headlines in his TechCheck column:
"Microsoft CFO Liddell Talks To Me About Jaw Dropping Earnings"
and some others:
"Microsoft Ready To Challenge Google? Yahoo? Both?" - January, 25th, 2008
"Microsoft Recession Proof? Could Be!" - Friday, 25 January 2008
"Google Plunges: So Just What's Going To Happen Next?" - Wednesday, 23 January 2008
Finally, this was Jim's take in November last year in a story called
, "Microsoft's Xbox Issues: Just How Bad Are They?" regarding the admittedly weak Nunez class action suit
based on Halo 3
"Still, from a PR and competitive perspective, it has the potential of being a big issue, just as Xbox gets itself into the black after four years and billions in losses. Consumers and investors are watching carefully; almost as carefully as Nintendo and Sony.
UPDATE: More than 310,000 Xbox 360 consoles sold in the U.S. for the week of Nov. 18, including Black Friday, rounding out its third holiday season on the market. While Xbox 360 consoles continue to generate great consumer demand, the strength of the Xbox 360 ecosystem remains unmatched by any console on the market."
Just how is this kind of coverage actually providing any kind of insight into the industry? The Liddell quote regarding attach rate for Xbox 360 and its games should have been a valid and useful. However, the lack of supporting information (Aside from Liddell, are these figures supported by, for example, NPD data? What is the accessories to game split?) undermines them terribly. Combine this with the fact that they are enveloped in so much obvious pro-Microsoft 'opinion' and once again it's time for the 'mainstream' media to look to its basic principles before commenting out of hand
and provides negative information.