Long-time readers know we are not pro-Microsoft, a company akin to a V8 that fires on two cylinders on its best day. Other than Xbox, Mister Softee hasn’t had anything new that’s been worth talking about in years. (Another in a long line of multimillion-dollar campaigns launches this evening, for the iPad “killer” Surface).
How odd, then, to come across an article in the Saturday Business section of The New York Times this weekend about a “privacy” kerfuffle in Redmond. Like a billion other companies, Microsoft changed some data-handling policies without being upfront with its customers.
So what? Who cares?
We’ve told readers several times before that your biggest “privacy” fears should be directed at:
1) payment processors (see Global Payments, Inc.)
2) retailers, offline as much as online (see TJX Companies, Inc.)
3) inside jobs (see “contractor loses laptop”)
Yet, somehow, this warranted an 1125-word article. Deep within (770 words, to be exact), the two authors tried too late to put the situation in its proper context:
"Online advertising remains a small fraction of Microsoft’s overall business, accounting for $2.6 billion, or about 3.5 percent, of the company’s revenue during its last fiscal year, which ended June 30, according to Microsoft’s filings with securities regulators."
Too bad these two nudniks don’t read Lairig Marketing. They’d know to look at profit, not revenue. And they’d crap their pants to know that Microsoft’s “Online Services Division” (which is more than just “online advertising”) depresses the company’s overall OPERATING PROFIT by 10% every single day, and has, for the past four fiscal years (and that even excludes the SIX BILLION DOLLAR write-off last fiscal year of “online advertiser” aQuantive).
So, if Microsoft can keep billions of dollars of losses a secret from the fabled New York Times, then you have nothing to fear with its plans to pull everything it knows about who you are and what you do into one place. And do God knows what with it.
Besides, Microsoft needs to conserve its computing power for calculating (a) the right time and (b) the right price for its Yahoo acquisition. Another secret that lies just below the Microsoft Surface.