The trouble with Mary

The following bit of nuttiness is from Microsoft’s Q2 ’03 earnings call. Analyst Mark Meeker sets some sort of record:

Thanks a lot. John, this is kind of a multipart question, but there’s been a fair amount of discussion about this ’04 in the call. Can you isolate the biggest variable revenue for fiscal ’04 due to the economy, the PC growth and how the other revenue falls off and how that plays out? The unearned revenue has a fair amount of predictability, at least we know what it was in ’03; the economy is what it is. Can you spend a little bit of time talking about PC unit growth? We’ve watched the PC industry for the last 20 years, you know there’s a certain inflexion point that occurs when the new operating system comes out, as you are right now with Windows XP. You know, what the average lifecycle is for PCs, and Bill addressed CES last week, called this a new decade, the digital decade. You’re looking at installed bases with digital cameras combined with the age of PCs in the corporate marketplace, almost in my opinion, the worst — the upgrade cycle hasn’t occurred, which typically would have occurred by now, in large part because of the economy. One could almost argue the worse the PC upgrade cycle is, the better the opportunity there is for an upgrade cycle to happen, sometime in fiscal ’04. But your thoughts on looking out 12 to 18 months for the potential to get either a PC upgrade cycle, or more of a PC operating system upgrade cycle, and how that may play out for fiscal ’04 is part of the question. And the other part, the revenue growth rate that we have, that are out for fiscal ’04, seems to be in line with the thinking. So far. Any thoughts on that as a benchmark out there, and whether operating expense growth will grow at a rate higher or lower? Thanks a lot.
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