Microsoft is in far better shape as a whole than most people perceive. A 44-page report from Bernstein Research takes an in-depth look at the company's financial situation and outlines a few possible scenarios regarding potential threats from tablets, alternative operating systems and cloud computing.
As it turns out, the company is in a good position and should be able to avoid any dire situations.
According to the report, today's share price is reflective of a scenario in which the company's core Windows / Server / MBD division never grows, the online division continues to drain money indefinitely and management ruins value with poorly-decided acquisitions and investments.
As Bernstein senior analyst Mark Moerdler put it, he doesn't believe such a scenario will ultimately play out and feels that any potential threats are manageable.
With regards to tablets, Bernstein estimates that over 200 million units will ship by 2014. Tablet success will cannibalize PC sales to some degree but the report concludes that users will ultimately be buying tablets in addition to PCs, not replacing them. Furthermore, the company expects a large segment of PC sales to come from emerging markets that might not have the extra cash to spend on "luxury" tablets.
But then again, we must not forget that Microsoft is bringing Windows 8 to tablets as well. This will likely be an attractive option for enterprise users in part based on compatibility with existing applications. Microsoft is planning a public beta release of Windows 8 for February; no final release date has been announced as of yet.