A Few Thoughts On Microsoft’s Massive Writedown


This morning marked a long-awaited financial mess for Microsoft, which wrote down more than $7 billion of goodwill related to its purchase of the majority of Nokia’s hardware business.

The charge was not a surprise. The scale of the dismissal was; the total sum deleted is larger than the originally reported purchase price of the assets in question.

Math can be both poetic, and ironic. To see it manage both qualities at the same time in this case is, well, both poetic and ironic. (You can go meta in either direction, though you risk tautology and recursion, in equal sums.)

Regardless, Microsoft continued its hedge clearing by announcing that it will cede 7,800 employees to other companies, while taking a roughly $800 million charge on top of the writedown. So, to be clear, Microsoft’s earnings on a normal accounting (GAAP) basis are hosed in the current quarter.

On a cash basis, Microsoft…

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