Friday, April 23, 2004 - Microsoft Posts 39% Earnings Drop - Microsoft Posts 39% Earnings Drop "Excluding those costs, the company earned 34 cents a share, topping analysts' average estimate on that basis of 29 cents, according to Thomson First Call.
Microsoft's sales in the quarter grew to $9.18 billion from $7.84 billion, exceeding analysts' average estimate of $8.66 billion, as tallied by Thomson First Call.
Microsoft didn't announce plans to disperse any of its cash as a dividend. As the company's cash continues to grow -- it now has cash and short-term investments of $56 billion -- it has come under pressure from shareholders to offer a one-time dividend, raise its annual dividend further or do a large share buyback. Microsoft last year said it to needed to have cash on hand until it resolved several lawsuits.
Mr. Connors acknowledged that Microsoft has recently resolved the largest of those suits. He said the company will "have a lot more to say" about the possibility of distributing cash by the time it holds its annual analyst meeting in July."
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