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.NET Hobbyist Programmer Staying Confused in a Busy World

I think one of the most lucrative jobs a lawyer could do would be to have Microsoft as a client.

Microsoft posted their annual and quarterly results today, and the computer press went gaga over the numbers.  I do not knowingly invest in the company, but I saw something else interesting on their announcement web page.  A large majority of the announcement was a list of caveats that essentially absolved Microsoft from any and all responsibility for events up to and including nuclear war.

I present for your reading pleasure a reformatted version of their excuses for "forward-looking statements."  My explanations are interspersed throughout.

Statements in this release that are "forward-looking statements" are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties.
- They have no idea if anything they say will be accurate past today.

Actual results could differ materially because of factors such as:

entry into markets with vigorous competition,
- Someone may hand us our heads by being better and faster (but never more innovative!)

market acceptance of new products and services,
- We cannot be responsible for fielding a dog of a product even if it goes woof during the keynote demo

continued acceptance of existing products and services,
- Someone else may come up with something better, but, hey, we'll still innovate the pants off the competition, even while we're losing our shirt

changes in licensing programs,
- We'll keep trying to slide the changes by and see if anyone notices, and deal with the fallout later

product price discounts,
- We give the big guys deep discounts and gouge the little people -- no sales at Microsoft!

delays in product development and related product release schedules,
- No matter what we do, those pesky developers never seem to follow a single schedule from Marketing

sales channel disruption such as the bankruptcy of a major distributor,
- Those guys never seem schedule their bankruptcies with us in advance

and reliance on sole source suppliers for key components of that could result in component shortages and delays in product delivery,
- We'll buy them out as soon as we can do it without the Feds interrupting

any of which may cause revenues and income to fall short of anticipated levels;
- Don't hold any of that against us, but we'll add more excuses later when we either think of them or see a competitor get burned

an increase in business investment that isn’t accompanied by an offsetting increase in revenue;
- Some times we need to pour money into weak projects so we actually meet the ship date and not need some of the above excuses

obsolete inventory or product returns by distributors, resellers and retailers;
- Yea, we know some of our stuff is really bad, but we need some write-offs to balance things out

warranty and other claims on hardware products such as ;
- Such as what?

changes in the rate of PC shipments;
- Don't hold us to account if Dell, Gateway, HP, etc. cannot move enough product themselves

technological shifts;
- It's not our fault if we are out-innovated on products like the iPod

the support of third-party software developers for new or existing platforms;
- We have not Borg assimilated everyone quite yet, though we are still trying

the availability of competitive products or services such as the operating system at prices below our prices or for no charge;
- This is the Google and Linux CYA

the ability to have access to distribution channels for MSN that are controlled by third parties;
- We have not convinced governments to write guaranteed access clauses into their laws yet

the risk of unanticipated increased costs for network services;
- Not even we can control how much Akamai charges for their server farms

the continued ability to protect the company’s intellectual property rights;
- We have not sued everyone yet, but we have freed up some legal assets since we bought off IBM and Sun, so we'll get to the miscreants shortly

adverse effects on our business that might result if an unauthorized disclosure of a significant portion of our source code were to occur;
- This has happened already, and we were not ready for it, but we are now, so it can happen again (we hope it is for Microsoft Bob, though)

the ability to obtain on acceptable terms the right to incorporate in the company’s products and services technology patented by others;
- If the threats do not work, we ignore other people's patents by attempting a clean-room solution, make a quick billion or two, turn it into a no-profit commodity, break the other company, then handle the lawsuit for a couple of million -- a win-win for everyone

changes in product and service mix;
- We may need to dump stuff quick when we realize that we are screwing up, but we'll cover it with a few promotions and some reorganizations

maturing product life cycles;
- Some times even we cannot keep on flogging the old dogs

product sale terms and conditions;
- Our Sales Guys sometimes screw up, but we fire them and live with it

the risk that actual or perceived security vulnerabilities in our products could adversely affect our revenues;
- We trust the shrink-wrap license to deter people from actually suing us

implementation of operating cost structures that align with revenue growth;
- This is in the event our costs get out of control and revenue sucks

unavailability of insurance;
- Just in case the insurance industry gets a fit of vapors

uninsured losses;
- We cannot imagine such a scenario, but it could happen

adverse results in legal disputes resulting in liabilities that exceed existing reserves;
- This is really OK, since we have banked billions in previous years, and we have yet to lose a really, really big one (even the IBM pay-off was handled within yearly profits), so we put this one in there to deter pesky, nuisance lawsuits

unanticipated tax liabilities;
- Some podunk county or state may slip something by our censors

the effects of terrorist activity and armed conflict such as disruptions in general economic activity and changes in our operations and security arrangements;
- Redmond is naturally a primary terrorist target, but this should cover the Linux suicide bombers as well

the effects of a major earthquake, cyber-attack or other catastrophic event that results in the destruction or disruption of any of our critical business or information technology systems;
- This is the nuclear war disclaimer, but we include the Dick Clarke “Cyber Pearl Harbor“ clause in case we get nailed when we do not secure our own servers

the level of corporate information technology spending and changes in general economic conditions that affect demand for computer hardware or software;
- We really need to keep people addicted so they buy a computer before food

currency fluctuations; and
- We do not have quite the savvy of a Warren Buffett

financial market volatility or other changes affecting the value of our investments that may result in a reduction in carrying value and recognition of losses including impairment charges.
- We do not control the NYSE and  NASDAQ yet, so we have to acknowledge that someone may call us on our debt financing

There you have it.  The colored text is actually a single sentence of 410 words, 10 commas, 26 semi-colons, one colon, and for which Microsoft Word offers simple advice: Long Sentence (consider revising).

Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 7:06 PM Humor and Fun | Back to top


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