Microsoft revenue drops 6%

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For the first time in 23 years software-maker Microsoft has reported a loss in quarterly sales. The company said sales fell to $13.7 billion, missing a $14.1 billion estimate.

MS blames the global PC and laptop market, which is fair enough. This, perhaps, is why the big push behind netbooks has been conveniently occurring this season: cheap notebooks still need Windows products, right? And processors… and boxes… and employees to put them together.

“Expectations were much more tempered now,” said Katherine Egbert, analyst with Jefferies & Co. “People now understand that near-term business won’t be so good.”

On a conference call with analysts, Chris Liddell, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, said the current recession has been “the most difficult economic environment we’ve faced in our history.” He noted that he expects the recovery to be slow and gradual, but again he declined to give a specific outlook for the next three-month period.

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