Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

Summary: Though I'd love to take credit if it were due, I have to say I'm skeptical that Windows 8 rumor from earlier this week is the reason Microsoft stock has been up this week. So what's the real reason?

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Though I'd love to take credit if it were due, I have to say I'm skeptical that my single-sourced report about Windows 8 possibly being released to manufacturing in April 2012 is the reason Microsoft stock has been up this week.

It's not as high as it was in January this year, but MSFT's share price has been hanging around the $26 range for the past three days.

What's going on? Speculation has been all over the map. Some think Microsoft is ready to announce a Steve Ballmer succession plan. Others think Microsoft may be poised to spend more of its overseas cash on another acquisition based outside the U.S. And then there are some who think Microsoft may buy RIM -- or at least announce a major partnership a la Nokia with RIM. Or maybe the Softies are poised to buy Netflix?

A couple other folks I've pinged in the past day have some (to my mind) more reasonable guesses, too.

"There was always speculation that the company raised the price itself (through buybacks, etc) right before review time so the strike prices of options or number of shares issued would be more favorable. It is early for that since the price doesn't matter until Sept. 1st. But earnings are approaching and it could be good news leaking out," said one of my better Microsoft contacts, who requested anonymity.

(If you need a reminder what's happening on September 1, that's the date that Microsoft turns on its new employee review and compensation system, via which Microsoft is adjusting its stock-compensation plan, giving some employees more money in their checks.)

There are other theories, too. "Their stock is up because a) oversold b) higher valued names had big runs, and some lingering macro concerns c) so rotation into lowered valued names d) i think your w8 (Windows 8) pull forward comment vs street view for later '12 helped," said Brent Thill, an analyst with UBS.

Microsoft's fiscal year ends on June 30, tomorrow, though the company won't report its FY 2011 earnings until July 21.

And just in case it's unclear, I do not hold any Microsoft stock, as I report on the company and my doing so could easily create a conflict of interest.

Anyone else have any other theories/guesses as to what's going on with Microsoft this week?

Update (June 30): Now we know at least one reason -- or maybe even THE reason -- the stock price was up. CEO Steve Ballmer is boasting that Microsoft's FY 2011 earnings will be around $70 billion, with between $26 billion and $27 billion in profits. That will be up from $62.5 billion in revenue and $24.1 billion in operating income for fiscal 2010.

See also:

Topics: Legal, Banking, CXO, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, IT Employment, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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56 comments
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  • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

    Maybe it was due to Angry Birds coming to the Windows Phone :)
    texbob
    • Definitely

      @texbob Had a list of things to do today, I still have that list and its now 17:35 GMT. Take a bow Rovio.
      Alansonit
      • End of quarter manipulation

        They do it a lot, which makes you wonder if going public-owned is really a good idea.
        LBiege
    • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

      @texbob

      I like your theory the most. :-)
      betelgeuse68
      • Angry Birds!

        That's got to be it! :) Good thinking!! MJ
        Mary Jo Foley
    • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

      @texbob

      What?!
      jk_10
  • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

    office 365 +First Nokia WP7 !and WP7 On Rim ?! WOW ;)
    MohammadMicrosoft
  • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

    Microsoft is preparing to buy Greece, for an amount in the high 4-figures.
    jdlambert
    • LOL!

      @jdlambert

      And rename it "Microsoftland"?
      Will Pharaoh
      • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

        @Will Pharaoh

        No, no.

        My guess is Windows Country System Country Edition for States.
        SlithyTove
      • LOL! Nice.

        @SlithyTove

        I like yours even better! :)
        Will Pharaoh
    • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

      @jdlambert LOL - Ouch!
      US Is ! Europe-ThankGod!
    • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

      @jdlambert

      hahahahaahahahah
      rjohn05
  • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

    <i><b>" I do not hold any Microsoft stock, as I report on the company and my doing so could easily create a conflict of interest"</b></i>

    Mary-Jo - if only some of your stablemate bloggers had your level of credibiliy, ZDNet would be a far more enjoyable and respected source of IT industry news.

    Keep up the good work.
    bitcrazed
    • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

      @bitcrazed +1
      Skippy99
    • Disclosures

      Thanks. Actually on ZDNet, everyone has to disclose their possible conflicts of interest. If you click on the word "disclosure" in each of our bio boxes, you'll see them... MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

        @Mary Jo Foley

        Interesting. I've never seen Steven Vaughn-Nichols disclose his portfolio of pahrmeceticals who sell 'Bitter Old Man' pills :-)
        omdguy
  • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

    and and and! Oracle demands $2.6 billion from Google
    ha ha ha ha !
    MohammadMicrosoft
    • LOL

      @MohammadMicrosoft
      M$ going up $1 is big news. OMG!
      Other go up tens of $$$ and go unnoticed.
      Linux Geek
      • RE: Why is Microsoft's stock price up this week?

        @Linux Geek Obviously you are clueless...
        US Is ! Europe-ThankGod!