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Class-action Suit Filed Against Microsoft Over Surface Write Off 212

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the forgot-to-mention-that dept.
New submitter used2win32 writes with news that at least one investor is unhappy with the Surface inventory write off, claiming that Microsoft mislead investors who purchased stock during Q2 and Q3 by not announcing just how slow inventory was moving at the time "The class action lawsuit claims false and misleading information regarding sales performance of Windows RT based tablets. Microsoft has earned a U.S. $900 million write off and a market share of less that 1% to show for its Windows RT endeavors. Asus, Lenovo, HP, Samsung and HTC discontinued their models leaving Dell as the only OEM producing a Windows RT tablet."
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Class-action Suit Filed Against Microsoft Over Surface Write Off

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @07:53AM (#44563583)

    Stockholders win the lawsuit and each get 10 bucks. Microsoft stock takes a huge hit. Stockholders lose a lot more than 10 bucks.

    Nevermind, I forgot about the lawyers. The lawyers always win.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:00AM (#44563627)
      Actually, you have a good point. The suit was probably started by a lawyer and not by a "real" plaintiff. But if we are going to start suing businesses for poor business decisions and a little bit of lying - hell, there are a LOT of businesses that need suing. I would estimate that at, well, every one of them.
      • by Bert64 (520050) <(bert) (at) (slashdot.firenzee.com)> on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:18AM (#44563813) Homepage

        When it comes to poor business decisions, it's ultimately for the shareholders to decide amongst themselves if they want the business they own to be operated by people who make such poor decisions. And if you're only a minor shareholder and the other larger shareholders don't agree with your position then that's that. You knew this *before* you bought these shares, and still decided to buy. Buying shares is gambling, if it doesn't pay off them you have only yourself to blame.

        When it comes to lying however, those responsible should be held criminally accountable. Lying in order to secure investment (ie to make your shares appear worth more than they should be and get people to buy them) is fraud and should be treated as such.

        As to wether the business decisions were really poor, the problem here is that far too many shareholders are taking a short term view - they want profits NOW and don't care about the long term viability of the company. The fact is MS may currently be highly profitable, but the majority of that profit comes from mature and declining markets, and eventually that source of revenue is going to dry up, and if they have nothing ready to replace it then they will end up bankrupt.

        They have generally shown themselves to be rather incompetent at entering new markets, with products that are mediocre to poor and in many cases refusing to fully embrace the new market for fear of getting too far away from traditional markets, and thus being held back. The only real advantage they have is huge cash reserves allowing them to keep slinging enough mud until some of it sticks.

        • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:39AM (#44564071) Journal
          All good points, but bear in mind MSFT was not trying to get people to buy shares for the benefit of MSFT... this is not an IPO situation. At this point it is all shareholders trading amongst themselves. So whatever information is known, is known to all - and sellers as well as buyers both make their decisions on the same reports.

          Unless there are allegations of insider trading, in which case you should go after those individuals who profited unfairly, not the company.
          • by gl4ss (559668)

            wha wha whaaaaaaaaaaaat? you think that if there's not an (re)issue of stock you can just sit on information relevant to the stock price and not inform the public ?? in a company where the board who is informed of this shit consists of stock holders themselves?

          • All good points, but bear in mind MSFT was not trying to get people to buy shares for the benefit of MSFT... this is not an IPO situation. At this point it is all shareholders trading amongst themselves. So whatever information is known, is known to all - and sellers as well as buyers both make their decisions on the same reports..

            Correct that this is not an IPO, and shareholders are trading amongst themselves (i.e., a "secondary" stock market). However, MSFT and all corporations, public and private, have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders, even minority shareholders. Telling the truth is part of that duty, and breach of that duty is grounds for a lawsuit.

            Problem is, where a majority of a company's shares are held by people in league with management, suing is pretty much the only way for minority shareholders to voice their

        • by unixisc (2429386) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:05AM (#44565475)

          I agree that such a lawsuit makes no sense, since the MS board represents the shareholders, and the MS officials - CEO and other VPs - report to the board, so indirectly, the decisions made by the company were endorsed by a majority of the officials. The short term vs the long term attitudes of the investors is a major reason these companies are under pressure, and make decisions that look great short term, but are inane long term.

          I don't think that MS is unwilling to embrace new markets - look at Windows 8, where they've jeopardized a decade long interface for something that looks good on a Lumia, but is absolutely strange on a laptop. Essentially, they're showing the finger to their long time customers of PCs, while trying to get into bed w/ phone & tablet customers who're not interested. Somehow, market segmentation doesn't seem to be MS' strong points, or they would have made Windows 8 look like Windows 7, aside from the underpinnings, while letting Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT be something else totally, and called something else totally, like Metro.

          • by Bert64 (520050) <(bert) (at) (slashdot.firenzee.com)> on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:30AM (#44565769) Homepage

            Yes, market segmentation is their key weakness when it comes to phones/tablets...
            Windows mobile was their first attempt, put a desktop like interface on a phone - it was terrible, despite not even having any serious competitors at the time.

            They need to get away from "windows", and market different products... It worked with the xbox.

            MS are generally far too arrogant, they think that everyone loves windows and that users will put up with any old trash because they love the brand...
            The reality is that people hate windows, and put up with any old trash on the desktop because they don't feel there is any alternative.
            When it comes to other markets, like phones and tablets, users *do* realise that other alternatives exist and so they aren't willing to put up with the usual crap that MS put out.

            Think of it like east german and soviet cars... People wanted them, and would join multi year long waiting lists to get one, because they were the only option available... Once the berlin wall fell and users found out about the alternatives, noone wanted an east german car anymore.

          • They're willing to embrace new markets just like a fat sweaty guy is willing to embrace a hot chick. The problem is not the fat sweaty guy's willingness to embrace, he loves embracing. The problem comes from hot chicks (markets) not liking embracing fat sweaty guys.

        • The issues are considerably more substantive than just poor decisions. The thing that really jumps out at me is the allegation that the Surface RT sales situation was concealed in the previous quarterly report, when Microsoft already had the data and shareholders should have been informed of it. Never mind Ballmer's shameless posturing for the press.

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:02AM (#44563649) Homepage Journal

      I have a new word, for the English language.

      "Ballmer"

      As in "We've been completely ballmered."

      or

      "Bend over, and take your ballmering like a man!

    • by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:03AM (#44563663) Homepage Journal

      ...by showing them that they can't just do any shit they want?

      if you didn't see this coming the day they announced the writeoff on their report then you weren't thinking. huge advantage to insiders, hugely misleading to investors. almost a billion dollars, they knew they were going to write it off and by the rules they should have announced it. you can't with a straight face say that they expected to sell off the inventory in the last month...

      it's a shame the sec didn't penalize them straight away.

      • ...by showing them that they can't just do any shit they want?

        You're missing his point. Stockholder suing the company they hold stock in get paid *with their own money*. "We're so angry that we're gonna make you write a us a check drawn from our own bank account!" Yeah, that'll show 'em.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:09AM (#44563727) Journal

      Is there no value in making illegally lying to investors and potential investors a riskier and potentially more costly activity?

      Obviously, in an ideal world, the penalties exacted from Microsoft would fully compensate the wronged parties, even after the potential hit is taken into account; but even if that isn't possible, never enforcing anything that might cause stock prices to fall means never enforcing anything. It's the publicly-traded equivalent of 'we can't punish anyone because it might make their family sad!'

      • by Trepidity (597)

        The problem here is that the owners of the company are suing their own company for damages, which doesn't really do them any good, since the company they own will have to pay any damages!

        • Only some of the owners (the proposed class consists of people who bought stock during a specific period when the allegedly false/misleading reports were made) are suing the company, which also has (many more) owners who aren't in that class.

          I have no opinion over whether the suit has merit or not; but it would be a fairly simple matter for the members of the class, a smallish subset of the owners, to be compensated by the company at the expense of the people who owned the company during the time when it al

    • by raymorris (2726007) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:15AM (#44563775)
      The complaint alleges that Microsoft's first quarter 2013 financial reports were false and misleading. Much of $900 million write down they acknowledged
      in the second quarter should have been included in the first quarter statements, they say. If it's true that Microsoft executives knew about the problem and
      concealed it in from the investors / potential investors (the owners of the company), that's unlawful, as it should be. That's a fraud on people trying to save
      for retirement.

      The lawyers will take half the money, so people who were victims of the fraud won't recoup their loss, but punishing fraudulent behavior may tend to
      discourage Microsoft and other companies from perpetrating similar lies in the future.

      Of course it'll be up to the judge or jury to decide if Microsoft actually did know about the problem by the end of March, in such a way that concealing it
      in the first quarter reports mislead investors.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Stockholders win the lawsuit and each get 10 bucks. Microsoft stock takes a huge hit. Stockholders lose a lot more than 10 bucks.

      Nevermind, I forgot about the lawyers. The lawyers always win.

      Yeah, Microsoft can't even lose money properly. Uh.. Does this mean someone can sue me if I take a lower paying job?!? Lawyers are the new worms.

    • They're required, by law, not to mislead people as to the financials associated with major product lines. They "discover" suddenly that their inventory of one of the most important products they've ever made, key to their future, is worth $1B less than they claimed a couple months ago. The evidence is that they clearly knew that to be the case in time to have reported it in the quarter-ending statements Mar 31 (since basically even those without access to the sales data suspected so). They continued to put
      • by whoever57 (658626)

        Why shouldn't they be held accountable?

        The problem is that they are not being accountable. The company is being sued instead of the executives who decided to publish the deficient reports.

    • by Mabhatter (126906) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @10:38AM (#44565165)

      Legally, Microsoft has to tell everybody about a write down at the same time. They certainly aren't going to discuss a price drop with investors while still selling them at stores... That would be stupid. They aren't going to publish news of poor sales 2 quarters early while paying for a media blitz either.. The Internet laughs at that stuff.

      What Microsoft did was correct. Hang on as long as possible and drop the price when they are forced to cut their losing streak off.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @07:59AM (#44563621) Homepage

    It is unquestionable that Microsoft's compromise by the US government has threatened Microsoft's position in the global marketplace. There may not be an obvious reflection of this damage right now, but things are in motion even now to move away from Microsoft products all over the world. In the past, when governments and business sought to move away from Microsoft, they were drawn back in with special pricing or other deals. And specifically, when the initiatives to move away were pushed by specific individuals, those individuals found themselves attacked and discredited in some way. And when the initiatives were a matter of policy or law, such as a requirement to favor ISO standards compliance products, the Microsoft had set about changing law, policy or forcing through new ISO standards which aren't even being complied with.

    None of these tactics are expected to work against the current cause for Microsoft mistrust.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      There's very little that the management could have done differently in that case... As a US based company they are beholden to US law, and the shareholders cannot demand that they break the law.

    • by jkrise (535370)

      None of these tactics are expected to work against the current cause for Microsoft mistrust.

      However, Microsoft keep trying hard, nevertheless. Until last month, every ad on opening Slashdot was how AccuWeather was generating better weather on Windows Phones compared to Android phones. About how some news agency was able to generate better news on Windows phones.

      If the Slashdot crowd were deemed gullible enough to buy into such meaningless ads; what about poor stockholders?

  • Amazing ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:00AM (#44563629) Homepage

    A near $1 billion write off. That would put most companies out of business, and even Microsoft can't keep taking losses like that.

    Windows 8 is under-performing, people are pulling out of making Windows Phones, the XBone is facing a lot of backlash, their own tablet is becoming a huge flop, and the hardware makers are deciding they want to focus on other things.

    Increasingly it's looking like Microsoft is asleep at the switch and just assuming they'll keep selling as much as they always have.

    Either they need to start fixing some fundamentals, or Microsoft is going to face some serious long-term problems.

    • Re:Amazing ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Prof.Phreak (584152) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:08AM (#44563711) Homepage

      It's strange that everyone except microsoft saw this coming. None of the tech folks I know thought those tablets were gonna go anywhere---why in the world did Microsoft spend so much on such a bad idea? Same with the phones...

      • Re:Amazing ... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:14AM (#44563769) Homepage

        why in the world did Microsoft spend so much on such a bad idea? Same with the phones...

        Well, maybe they assumed "we're Microsoft, people will buy anything we make", or they were completely out of touch with what consumers actually wanted and missed the mark completely, or maybe they're losing a lot of good-will with people who no longer care about them or their products. Tough to say.

        But Microsoft really needs to be asking themselves this. Because this is now several products which are proving to be failures in the market, and the investors aren't going to stand for a company which keeps making billion-dollar gambles on stuff nobody buys.

        Right now, except for maybe Office and the enterprise market -- it's hard not to think that Microsoft is losing money on every product they make, and trying to make it up on volume.

        • Re:Amazing ... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by cupantae (1304123) <maroneill@nOspaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @09:01AM (#44564277)

          This is just an opinion, so please don't badger me for evidence. I'm not trying to troll anyone, so do reply if you disagree with me.

          It seems to me that Microsoft has no idea why people have been buying their products this whole time. In the last few years, they've been banging on about the "experience" of using Win7/8/Phone, as if the people who buy Microsoft products do so for the unique Microsoft Experience. In other words, that they buy Microsoft products for much the same reason as one might buy an Apple product. I would argue that this hasn't been the case since the excitement of Windows 95. Even XP was only a small step up from 2000 at the time. By and large, people buy their products because a) they believe it to be pretty solid and/or b) it's the standard. If more solid alternatives exist, and the MS product isn't the ad-hoc standard, they don't make a big impact in the market.

          Now, you might say that no, they've been talking about the "experience" because that's what all the cool, profitable kids are up to. That may well be the case, but if you watch their adverts, it goes a step further than trying to convince you of a top-quality experience: they tend to allude to "the Windows/Office/MS Bob experience you love", as if it were an existing truth. It's always struck me as curiously arrogant, coming from a company which deliberately strangled the competition to gain its dominant position. What I don't know, however, is whether they've misread the market that badly, or they're trying to get people to believe there already is such a demand for a specifically Microsoft experience, in order to create this demand.

          • Now, you might say that no, they've been talking about the "experience" because that's what all the cool, profitable kids are up to. That may well be the case, but if you watch their adverts, it goes a step further than trying to convince you of a top-quality experience: they tend to allude to "the Windows/Office/MS Bob experience you love", as if it were an existing truth. It's always struck me as curiously arrogant, coming from a company which deliberately strangled the competition to gain its dominant position. What I don't know, however, is whether they've misread the market that badly, or they're trying to get people to believe there already is such a demand for a specifically Microsoft experience, in order to create this demand.

            I would have to say I agree more with this than your first idea. I think the only reason they try to make it sound like it's always been about the experience is pure marketing. They know it hasn't been about the experience, but they want it to be. So they make it sound like it always was because in marketingland, if you say it enough, it eventually becomes true.

            Maybe it doesn't make sense on the face or when looked at objectively, but there is a psychological effect where confidence and repetition will m

          • Now, you might say that no, they've been talking about the "experience" because that's what all the cool, profitable kids are up to.

            Also I think MS has a tendency to put all the blame on their partners when things don't work out. Then MS does it on its own only to find out that it is not as easy fix. They must have thought PlaysForSure didn't sell well because their partners had inferior players. While the Zune wasn't a bad player, they clearly took too long and didn't offer an advantage. Tablet PCs didn't sell much for years because they were uninspired convertible laptops. MS thought they could do better than the iPad with their

          • I recently got to watch a MS rep doing a presentation about the awesomeness of Win8, and he really seemed to believe it was all that. The Redmond campus can be quite a bubble. I recently switched to Mac, and there are things I miss from Win7...most of which have been tossed in Win8. I still use a lot of MS products because our enterprise uses a lot of MS, and there are some solid reasons for that. But talking about the "MS experience" for an individual user...it's just not there.
            • by gstoddart (321705)

              I recently got to watch a MS rep doing a presentation about the awesomeness of Win8, and he really seemed to believe it was all that.

              Have you ever met a rep from a company who wasn't so besotted by the Kool-Aid as to be a useless source of information? If they're paid a commission, even more so. They're paid to be enthusiastic, not objective.

              We once had a vendor rep offer to give a demo to our user group about an upcoming product release.

              I flat out told them there was no way in hell I'd let a salesman tal

      • I'm guessing MS learned the wrong lessons from the Zune and Windows Phone.

        MS: Zune's only problem was we didn't to market it right. Okay, spend tons of money with dancers in commercials to make Surface cool.

        MS: WP7 and WP8's only problem was that their hardware sucked because of the OEMs. Okay, let's make Surface ourselves.

        There were multiple reasons neither of those products got many sales. Namely both of them didn't offer much of an advantage from the competition but priced almost the same or more. S

      • why in the world did Microsoft spend so much on such a bad idea? Same with the phones...

        The why is actually easy...money, and by money I mean Apple Money + Samsung Money + Google Money + American Express + Old Abusive Monopoly For years. Imagine if Microsoft had 95% share of Phone and Tablet Market share, with everyone else having to use them as their store for electronic goods.

      • As usual, Microsoft held back as new technologies surfaced (smartphones & tablets), then jumped in, assuming that anything with their name on it would overtake the early entrants. In this case, though, because of the GUI change in Win 8, they hit resistance in the PC market from both users and OEMs, and the smartphone and tablet markets were already well-entrenched with iOS & Android and saw little need for a third platform (also see: RIM). There was little innovative in Surface (Asus Transformer
    • Like another poster so eloquently said in another thread, the Windows and Office divisions called all the shots at Microsoft since they raked in the dough and subsidized money-losing divisions. Now those sources are drying up and this is what happens.

    • Re:Amazing ... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by davydagger (2566757) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:37AM (#44564063)
      No, its just that for the first time, they seem to have viable competition they can't FUD or lawsuit away.

      They never made decent products. In fact they've made their best products ever.

      Don't believe me, windows 95, MS bob, etc...

      They have had a string of bad products because people more or less had to buy them to get a computer.
    • All 500 companies in the Fortune 500 have greater than $1B in revenue per Quarter. Sure, $1B is a big deal, but not devastating for any major corporation.

      Windows 8 was pretty lackluster, Vista sucked mightily, Millenium Edition was awful. NT, XP, 7 all turned out to be fabulous, stable OSes. Everybody hates a new paradigm in the GUI when they're used to an older one. iOS7 looks like dog shit with a side of cat puke. But we'll all get over it.

      MS is super-late to the mobile app party, and they've got nothing

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      A near $1 billion write off. That would put most companies out of business, and even Microsoft can't keep taking losses like that.

      Windows 8 is under-performing, people are pulling out of making Windows Phones, the XBone is facing a lot of backlash, their own tablet is becoming a huge flop, and the hardware makers are deciding they want to focus on other things.

      Increasingly it's looking like Microsoft is asleep at the switch and just assuming they'll keep selling as much as they always have.

      Either they need

  • Yet none.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:01AM (#44563641) Homepage

    Were clearance priced / firehouse sold. I'll buy one for $99.00 I need something new to hack on and try to get android/linux running on.

    • Re:Yet none.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:17AM (#44563795) Journal

      Given that part of MS' struggle with RT arises from the desire to not cannibalize their cash cows, I'd be surprised if they ever let something with a copy of Windows(even a gimped one) and a copy of Office (even with restrictive license terms) baked in out the door for $99. Even if they were OK with that, I suspect Dell wouldn't be amused, nor would the various sellers of (modestly less doomed) Atom-based Win8 mostly-tablet things.

      I'd honestly be unsurprised to see them sold wholesale to be stripped for components, or debranded and flashed into mysterious pacific rim non-brand Androids, or otherwise quietly disposed of rather than dumped on the retail market at more than a modest discount.

      HP's little fire sale, to the degree it made sense at all, only made sense because they had no less-doomed products in potentially competing areas, so if blowing them out at retail was the best deal they could get, per unit, it was the best thing to do.

    • Were clearance priced / firehouse sold. I'll buy one for $99.00 I need something new to hack on and try to get android/linux running on.

      Why? Why would you promote at anti-consumer device over the many open and cheap ones out there? Why would you help a company that calls you a criminal for doing just that. I remember the xbox and how excited it was to run xbox media center and linux, and hell quake on my TV. Now look at at Microsoft on their latest xbox its the most anti consumer device in existence. Microsoft has gone back on many of its overreacting and draconian practices, but not because people have worked around them, but because they

    • by citizenr (871508)

      why would you buy one for $100 when dual/quad core chinese tablets with newest android and access to 5mil of apps cost ~$100?
      $200 gets you 9.7' Retina quad core tablet.

  • by bradley13 (1118935) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:03AM (#44563661) Homepage

    Typical sue-happy mentality of the USA: My bad judgement is your fault.

    If these people had made money with the stock, do you think they'd be offering to pay Microsoft part of their profits?

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Typical sue-happy mentality of the USA: My bad judgement is your fault.

      Not so sure ... Microsoft publicly said "everything is fine" during this. If they knew stuff which was materially relevant and they didn't disclose it, it might be that this has merit.

      I have no idea if that's the case, since I don't know enough about the relevant laws (which will be long and complicated and interpreted differently by all parties).

      But, I do know that when you do your quarterly filings you're supposed to list business ris

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:21AM (#44563841) Journal

        That's pretty much the point of disclosure rules:

        My bad judgement is my fault; but if you are allowed to lie through your teeth to me, the quality of my judgement becomes nearly irrelevant: maliciously crafted garbage in? Garbage out.

      • by RogueyWon (735973) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:26AM (#44563897) Journal

        You're probably right, but...

        It's shocking how little effort shareholders in the tech sector are willing to put into scrutinising the products of the companies they are investing in and asking the crucial question: "how many people are going to pay money for this?"

        We saw it back in the first dotcom bubble - investors ploughing money into businesses which had no plausible path towards generating substantial revenues, let alone turning a profit.

        We've seen it with social networks whose business plan boiled down to "erm... advertising?".

        God knows we've seen it in the video gaming sector, where all investors seem to want to here is the appropriate catchphrase, which, depending on the year in question might be: "the next World of Warcraft", "the next Call of Duty" or "free to play with microtransactions". This usually results in a lemming-like dash towards bankrupcy unless the company in question is one of the industry giants.

        And now we've seen it with a "next iPad" tablet.

        Seriously, is it that hard to look at the product line of the company you're investing in and ask yourself "can I imagine any significant number of people parting with their cash for this?".

        Oh, and look at their marketing strategy as well. If it involves breakdancing, that's probably a bad sign.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          It's shocking how little effort shareholders in the tech sector are willing to put into scrutinising the products of the companies they are investing in

          The stock market stopped being about strong fundamentals before the .COM bubble, as you said. The last decade or more has been about hype.

          Look at Facebook and their IPO -- were there solid financials to merit their price? Or was it just hype? I honestly don't know, but I suspect there was a lot of hype.

          Sadly, this isn't all that different to what led to t

    • by intermodal (534361) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:09AM (#44563723) Homepage Journal

      Be that as it may, there are certain legal obligations placed upon companies as far as what information is and is not provided to investors. That's what this is about. The fact that the write-off was 900bn is actually more of a side-fact on this one.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        The fact that the write-off was $900bn is actually more of a side-fact on this one.

        Umm, it was $900 million, not $900 billion. Microsoft is a big company, but no corporation has $1 trillion. That's still a staggeringly huge amount of money, but it's nowhere near, say, what the US spends on its military every year.

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      Typical sue-happy mentality of the USA

      Totally agree, but TFS does state "false and misleading information" as sustance for the lawsuit. You gotta admit, Microsoft is no stranger to bending the friggin truth.

    • Typical sue-happy mentality of the USA: My bad judgement is your fault.

      Except that *Judgement* was based on information that is deliberately and intentionally misleading. The Judgement was good.

      • it seems only to be a crime, when the people being mislead are stockholders, or others doing their bidding.
  • "A drooling imbecile and his money soon go separate ways?" Seriously, if they hadn't been softed by Microshaft, they surely would've been by somebody else... :p

    • if they hadn't been softed by Microshaft, they surely would've been by somebody else... :p

      Except it was Microsoft. I would love to see Murderers and Rapists using a similar defence.

  • None of these manufactures could see the writing on the wall? The market was saturated with iThings and chinese droids, plus kobos, kindles, nooks, nexuses (nexi??), etc...

    In addition, win8 was universally panned by everyone PRE RELEASE!.

    Could they not see that the ARM version... RT, meant "Really Terrible"?

  • A bunch of stockholders get to sue MS for not making them enough money.

    what about the poor slobs that work there?

    Do they deserve money?
  • by shoppa (464619) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:35AM (#44564043)
    When it is obvious to the consumers that the execs of a company are arrogant lying assholes acting in bad faith and living in a fantasy world, why would would the rich investors bother to put money in?
  • by ggraham412 (1492023) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:54AM (#44564225)
    From TFA:

    Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd has been busy filing similar types of class-action suits, as a quick check on its Web site makes clear. (Or, as the August 12 press release more delicately puts it: "Robbins Geller ... has expertise in prosecuting investor class actions and extensive experience in actions involving financial fraud.")

    These people are like ambulance chasers, and their intended customers are big institutional investors like pension funds and hedge funds. Mom and Pop investors will likely never see a dime. I've been notified about being in-class in two stockholder class action suits like this, and even though I owned the stock in question during the stated period and spent time filling out and filing paperwork in both cases, I was rejected on some capricious technicality both times. A pipefitters local in Ohio and Calpers made out big time, though. Go figure!

    I now regard these actions as akin to Samsung suing Apple over the dimensions of rectangles. And let the casual stock buyer beware, as usual. You ain't getting nothing out of this.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:58AM (#44564257) Journal
    The problem with these class action lawsuits is that, it is mostly started by lawyers. If they win or settle, they first take out all their, "costs" which is highly inflated. Wish some of the class members would sue their own lawyers for malpractice when the costs are inflated, fraudulently. That is a different line. But then they take their fee of 30% or 40% of the total award, regardless of how much is actually distributed to the claimants.

    If the lawyer fees are limited to 30% of the amount actually distributed to the claimants, it would go a long way in creating an incentive for the lawyers to actually make sure the claimants get some money. Right now, once the settlement is done, they lawyers collect all their money and send a form letter to claimants and move on to the next target.

    I think we should make lawyers subject to malpractice laws too when they usurp the right to represent a class of claimants. Due diligence in locating all possible claimants to the class, making sure they all get due compensation, making sure the costs are not inflated etc all should come under malpractice provisions. If the lawyers screw up, the claimants should be able to sue them for malpractice.

    • I think we should make lawyers subject to malpractice laws too...

      Great idea, but the problem with it is that the lawyers are the ones who write the laws. Even if they did pass something like what you're suggesting, they'd word it so carefully that basically nothing would change.

  • This was always part of the plan, they took a page directly out of the Xbox playbook, in that they knew the only way to get into the tablet market space was to subsidize their way. The Wintel market has stagnated as a result of maturity, and Microsoft has to do whatever it takes to get into this new market space. Remember back when they missed the boat with the Internet? They licensed Mosaic for millions and then developed and gave away Internet Explorer for free just to fix that problem. Their a bunch of f

  • But I hate stupid investor lawsuits like this even more.

    It is tiresome when a company underperforms to have investors want to sue them for being "mislead".

    Last I checked, the stock market was volatile and therefore some care and actual thought should go into where you invest your money.

    I mean even if a company blatantly said "Hey, we are going to triple our profits in only one quarter", any investor throwing their money against that claim deserves to lose their shirts in the investment because someone that

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Actually, earnings reports do have a legal obligation to accuracy and deliberately omitting certain kinds of currently-available information is actionable. If you know that your company's sole manufacturing sites got hit by meteors you can't just leave that out of the earnings report. Now, you might disagree with the idea of legally regulated reporting, but that doesn't mean it's not true.

    • by PPH (736903)
      "The first thing we do, lets kill all the lawyers."
  • Misled? (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @10:28AM (#44565073)

    investors who purchased stock during Q2 and Q3

    Investors didn't know RT was going to be a dog by this time? What's the matter with them? Don't they read Slashdot?

  • And you'll find another million unsold Surface tablets stacked below. Ballmer is the Larry Summers of the business world - a genius in his own mind but never right about anything.
  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:01AM (#44565431)
    There's fraud and then there is the usual behavior of MBAs. Microsoft is clearly a company run by MBAs and not the original engineering types. With engineering types deceitful behavior would not be expected and thus would be unexpectedly fraudulent. But with MBAs they will twist any statistic until it bleeds thinking that if they can spreadsheet it then it becomes reality.

    This creates many amusing situations such as MBA types issuing Mortgage backed bonds based on mortgages issued to people with such bad credit that they usually missed their very first mortgage payment. It is the typical MBA's difficult relationship with the truth that resulted in GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) limiting their truth distorting ways.

    So any investor that invests in an MBA dominated company should know that they are dealing with a den of thieves who have degenerated into Bottom Line dominated monsters. So the only change that I would ask is that stock ticker symbols come with a super-script that tells you what percentage of the upper management has an MBA. (or used to be in real-estate / used car sales)

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