Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Class-action Suit Filed Against Microsoft Over Surface Write Off

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the forgot-to-mention-that dept.

Businesses 212

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."

cancel ×

212 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

How does this help anyone? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:How does this help anyone? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:How does this help anyone? (5, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year ago | (#44563813)

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.

Re:How does this help anyone? (5, Informative)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about a year ago | (#44564071)

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.

Re:How does this help anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564125)

It could be that these are allegations of lying in SEC reports, which is a criminal offence.

Re:How does this help anyone? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44564153)

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?

Re:How does this help anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564555)

Unless something is considered a trade secret or is for some reason required to be kept secret, then it needs to be public for a publicly traded company. As I hear over and over, the only duty a corporation has is to its share holders. By lying about the performance of the Surface tablets, MSFT did a great disservice to their share holders, especially new share holders that bought because they thought the Surface was a game changer.

MSFT share price has languished around $25-$30 a share for a while now. The rest of the market has passed it by. Rich people don't look at losses the way we poor people do. Rich people consider it a loss when their expectations are not met. My guess is that a target price for MSFT is around $45 a share. There are 8.33 billion (BILLION) shares of MSFT stock out there. You can own one million and still be a a minority shareholder; for a rich person, MSFT not making the $45, ($15 short of the $45 goal) share price translates into a $1.5 million loss for that million share holder investor. Not insignificant.

Contrary to Ballmer's opinion, MSFT is not his or Bill Gates company. It stop being their company when they decided to sell shares.

Re:How does this help anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564423)

Evil is part of the MSFT business plan, IMHO. The customer may benefit, but the customer always gets something bad, also.

Re:How does this help anyone? (1)

cjjjer (530715) | about a year ago | (#44564475)

Let me change that for you...

Evil is part of any business plan, IMHO. The customer may benefit, but the customer always gets something bad, also.

Re:How does this help anyone? (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#44563649)

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!

Re:How does this help anyone? (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44563797)

Or:

"I had to get stitches after that guy ballmered me with a chair ... man, he was pissed."

Re:How does this help anyone? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44564497)

I'm talkin' 'bout ballmer deep
I'm talkin' 'bout Ballmer deep
I'm talkin' 'bout Ballmer deep in loss...

Re:How does this help anyone? (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44563663)

...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.

Re:How does this help anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563791)

Fair enough, but no sane stockholder would sue them and lose even more money just to make sure Microsoft can't "do any shit they want". A lawyer has to be suing them, or convincing a moron to sue them.

Re:How does this help anyone? (4, Informative)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44564337)

most of the shareholders are pension and mutual funds who can't just sell all their shares on a whim. the amount of shares they own, it takes months to buy and sell enough shares to get in or out of a stock. they also depend on the dividends to pay their bills to retired folks and don't like to be screwed by management

Re:How does this help anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564087)

if you didn't see this coming the day they announced the Surface RT

FTFY

Re:How does this help anyone? (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#44564313)

...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.

Re: How does this help anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564441)

You don't understand the lawsuit. Only shares purchased during a small window are party to the lawsuit. If you win $10 a share, you're taking $0.0001 cents from yourself, and $2 from Bill Gates and $1.85 from each of Steve Ballmer and Paul Allen, and so on.

Re:How does this help anyone? (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44563727)

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!'

Re:How does this help anyone? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44564165)

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!

Re:How does this help anyone? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44564243)

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 allegedly misbehaved(though, obviously, other stockholders' liabilities would be limited to the value of their stock).

If all the stockholders were suing the company, you'd have to go after individual executives or directors for it to make any sense; but here only a modest slice of the stockholders are involved. It may or may not be a groundless suit; but the math works.

In theory, savers. In reality, probably lawyers (5, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:How does this help anyone? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44563999)

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.

Re:How does this help anyone? ACCOUNTABILITY (1)

daboochmeister (914039) | about a year ago | (#44564325)

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 lipstick on the pig in public statements all the way to the day they declared they'd just lost $1B, oops.

Why shouldn't they be held accountable?

Boo Whoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563601)

That's what they get for making buying decisions based upon the hype in the business media.

For example: CNBC's commentators have been beating the BUY MSFT drum for months.

Re:Boo Whoo! (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44563667)

Like the hype of the iPad.... yesh, nobody every bought any of those things. God, I rarely see anyone with them.

Microsoft took a working idea, the tablet, and then let ballmer use his inability to make any sane decision on it. EVERY ASPECT of the Surface was a failure before it left the gate. and all of the failure lies at the feet of ballmer.

Re:Boo Whoo! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563725)

Am I dumb and missing the sarcasm? People don't normally carry their iPads everywhere with them, but I know TONS of people who have them. Most don't even bother with their PC's anymore.

Re:Boo Whoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564035)

Am I dumb and missing the sarcasm? People don't normally carry their iPads everywhere with them, but I know TONS of people who have them. Most don't even bother with their PC's anymore.

Maybe it's just you and your environment...

iPads not that popular. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44564149)

Am I dumb and missing the sarcasm? People don't normally carry their iPads everywhere with them, but I know TONS of people who have them. Most don't even bother with their PC's anymore.

In the context of your quote iPads sales are plummeting. Those may be Android tablet Kathleen Sullivan.

Re:iPads not that popular. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564427)

Android sales are high because everyone starts with the 80 dollar Android tablet and discovers it's junk before they upgrade to something better. No different than the Android phone... so many of those phones break on first drop and the user has to buy a new one. All the while you Fandroids claim it's new activations but a replacement is all it is. I've dropped my iPhone 4 from 6 feet onto concrete with no issues. A nearly three year old cell that has taken drops most other phones can't take with no cover of any kind and a battery that is nearly as good as the day I got it.

Keep talking Android, fanboi. I know the culture and I know the hardware. I won't buy into that mistake again.

Android Market Leaders (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44564523)

Android sales are high because everyone starts with the 80 dollar Android tablet and discovers it's junk before they upgrade to something better.

http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24253413 [idc.com] Sorry those are the latest figures. That is Apple having a sales drop of 14% Year On Year while Samsung rise of 277%, In a market that raised 60% YonY.

The bottom line is Apple need to start competing on more than brand.

Re:Boo Whoo! (4, Insightful)

spacepimp (664856) | about a year ago | (#44563759)

As much as I despise Ballmer, he is a bean counter/finance guy. I don't think you can lay all blame for all decisions in Win8 at his feet. The issue with Win8 is that what works about tablets: Security/simplicty/stability etc weeded out the bulk problems of users. Making Win8 a full OS forced onto tablets took away all of those and left behind the pains of legacy cruft. Now tablet users get to worry about Virus' and malware and services that conflict. New device same problems. Plus the added confusion of WinRT and the fact that you need to jump back and forth to a desktop mode (entirely schizophrenic in practice)

Re:Boo Whoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563765)

EVERY ASPECT of the Surface RT was a failure before it left the gate

FTFY -- The Surface PRO is an awesome device! I have a 128GB model and it works superbly! Personally I think Windows RT should have been declared DoA, it's a virtually useless version of Windows for any/every-one, as useful to most as producing a version of Windows that's available with Klingon as the only language option...

PLEASE STOP CONFLATING the Surface RT and the Surface Pro!! They are entirely different platforms and despite Microsoft's blurring of the lines, they shouldn't be confused with one-another!

-AC

Re:Boo Whoo! (3, Insightful)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a year ago | (#44563869)

We'll stop confusing the two Surface products when Microsoft give them different enough names to make a distinction.

Re:Boo Whoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564563)

We'll stop confusing the two Surface products when Microsoft give them different enough names to make a distinction

So by that logic, it must be difficult, when picking a cell phone, to decide between, for example, Android (Froyo) and Android (Jellybean)? Since appellations don't mean anything to you...

I imagine that it's also pretty tough for you to deal with computers in general, given that you obviously believe that implementations of [Linux|Windows|OSX] are all the same, regardless of what words, letters or numbers appear after those names?

Travelling must be pretty interesting for you, since in your world, only the names of the cities matter. Obviously none of the information after the city-name has any use or meaning...

You should run along now, some village somewhere is clearly missing their idiot...

-AC

Re:Boo Whoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563889)

Please stop being a pedant. We're obviously talking about the Surface which required a billion dollar writeoff.

Re:Boo Whoo! (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#44564019)

your right. Not only that, they had the smarts to figure out that people wanted tablets and smart phones a decade before everyone else.

The first tablets ran windows 95, and were powered by pentiums.

the first smart phones ran windows CE.

Somewhere around 1999/2000. This is back when a "tablet" was called a "PDA". They gained cell modems and became phones long before android or apple.

Somewhere around 2005, Archos and nokia started selling internet tablets with wifi and linux.

Re:Boo Whoo! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564213)

Sadly as a software company they weren't smart enough to actually make software that people wanted the tablets to run.

I think Microsoft listens too much to their customers, following the addage that the customer is always right.

From working in the software industry I found that the customers cannot tell you want they want, and are therefor seldom right. Steve Jobs knew this, the iPhone and iOS was designed to work well for Steve Jobs personally. This gives a lot of focus to the designers of the software and hardware, especially because Steve Jobs has an eye for knowing what is good and what is wrong. Even if he can't design for himself a designer can figure out what Steve wants from this character trade.

Microsoft's way is to aggregate all their current customers and create a list of features that is a mile long, then these features are sorted by the amount of people who wants these features. Because these features are inconsistent because they came from different people, the product itself becomes inconsistent by design. Yea, for design by comity.

Re:Boo Whoo! (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about a year ago | (#44564269)

Has archos ever managed to release a bug free product? I only ask because i've not seen one yet that doesnt promise more than it delivers.

The latest disaster seems to be the gamepad which is so bad they are claiming they are out of warranty even thou they first released them for sale on the 6th of December last year.

After a long series of emails and resets I finally got them to issue a rma since the camera didn't work even without any "buggy" third party software to cause random crashes and freezing and reboots. Once RMA'd they claimed out of warranty. Thats after overcoming the major hurdle that due to the internal (non removable) battery that you couldn't send it by registered post as it wasn't allowed on the plane.

Finding a courier to get it to them at a reasonable price was pretty tricky. I've had 3 other archos devices and each has needed custom firmware to make them usable.

     

Re:Boo Whoo! (3, Interesting)

bored (40072) | about a year ago | (#44564623)

The first tablets ran windows 95, and were powered by Pentiums.

Actually, somewhere around 93/94 time-frame the company I worked for was looking for a device for our customers to use as a carry around input device. I remember one of the devices we considered was a windows 3.1 based "tablet" computer, although I think it was called a "pen" computer back then.

I sort of wish I still had the thing, because it would be good for a laugh now. It was about the size of a laptop (in other words it was about two-three inches thick) and was just a rectangular box with a (12" maybe) touch screen on one side. IIRC it had a floppy and assorted ports arranged around it.

The handwriting recognition was a PITA though. You tapped where you wanted to input text and it popped up a little dialog with a grid (like some paper forms a few years ago) and you were expected to write one letter per box and it would generate the letter it thought you entered below it.

Of the 3 or 4 of us that tired to use it, none of us could get a reasonable recognition rate out of the thing. I think we ended up trying to use it with one of the accessibility keyboards on screen. That by itself was a PITA, but for a device intended to be used while standing up/walking around it was impossible. Holding it in a position with one arm while entering data with the other got tiring really quickly. Probably, because it weighted something like 10 lbs.

In the end I think we ended up using a little calculator sized device with a keyboard. It wasn't great but you could hold it with two hands and type with your thumbs at a pretty decent rate.

BTW: I think it was a 486, and poking around on google I noticed that "Windows for Pen Computing" which is what it was running was released in 1991, a few years before we were trying to use it.

Re:Boo Whoo! (1)

RKThoadan (89437) | about a year ago | (#44564231)

I certainly don't think EVERY ASPECT of it was a failure. Much of the physical design was very nice. the kickstand seemed well designed and that keyboard/cover thing wasn't perfect but was clever and from what I read did the job quite well. The hardware in general was good, if not great. It's the software part of things that sucked, which doesn't bode well for the biggest software company in the world.

Re:Boo Whoo! (5, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44563741)

The summary says that is not what the lawsuit is about. Surface was clearly not doing well in the first two quarters of its release (Q2, Q3) but MS didn't disclose this until Q4 when they took a $900M writeoff. I'm not sure what the rules are on reporting but I'm guessing the losses were just too large not to report. The lawsuit claims investors who bought stock in Q2 and Q3 were misled by this lack of information. MS does put into their financial statements a disclaimer about how poor sales may affect their overall revenue: "significant investments in new products and services that may not be profitable;" The litigants felt that was not enough. I don't think they have much of a case.

Re:Boo Whoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563929)

And Microsoft's stockpile of Surface tablets was a result of making manufacturing decisions based upon their own hype.

Re:Boo Whoo! (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#44564405)

I have never understood why listening to morons on CNBC, Fox Business, or anywhere else was any different from listening to some guy screaming on a street corner.

They should sue over US government compromises (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44563621)

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.

Re:They should sue over US government compromises (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year ago | (#44563867)

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.

Amazing ... (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44563629)

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 ... (5, Interesting)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about a year ago | (#44563711)

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 ... (5, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44563769)

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 ... (3, Interesting)

cupantae (1304123) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:Amazing ... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44564075)

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. Sure Metro is different than what iOS or Android offers but it's not a lot for someone to change platforms. For new owners, WP7 and WP8 don't offer a lot of apps. The overall number isn't as important as they don't offer many of most popular apps that exist on iOS or Android. Zune's main problem was it was a media player that competed against the portable computing device that the iPod Touch is.

Well this time, MS can't say they fully committed to a device. I think MS realizes that PCs are on their way out but their decades long offerings of lackluster Tablet PCs were not going to go anywhere. Many people here many not remember that Ballmer was trying to hawk Win 7 tablets at CES 2010 [digitaltrends.com] a month before the iPad came out. Everyone was claiming it to be the Year of the Tablet. It was. But it was iPad's year not Tablet PC. So MS has to do a lot.

The Many Billion Dollar Question (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44564109)

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.

Re:Amazing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564181)

Yeah, and none of the "tech folks" I know thought an oversized iPhone was gonna go anywhere, but now we're arguing about how good or bad a device is in the very market it created. Oh, and one somewhat prominent "tech folk" on this very website thought a certain device that lacked wireless and had less space than a Nomad wasn't going anywhere, either. Funny how us tech folk are so stubborn to admit we that, as empirical evidence has shown time and time again, we clearly don't know a single thing about the market we theoretically work in, given our hit/miss record with predictions like that is nearly indistinguishable from random chance.

Who are these Tech Folks? (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44564395)

Yeah, and none of the "tech folks" I know thought an oversized iPhone was gonna go anywhere, ..."tech folk" on this very website thought a certain device that lacked wireless and had less space than a Nomad

Ironically many "tech folks"(sic) not only predicated the tablet, but looked forward to it, and own many of its ealier iterations. The iPad was the most expected device ever, there were surprises...*price* for one. As for the Mp3 quote. The fact that a prominent "tech folk" thought technology would win over brand is maybe misguided in retrospect, although I took advantage of cheap better alternatives. Ironically he can sleep easy now Android dominated 80% of the smartphone market while Apple cling to 14% that he was right all along.

Re:Amazing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564509)

Yeah, I guess you'll be right from time to time if you claim every product a company puts out will fail. That doesn't make you insightful.

Re:Amazing ... (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about a year ago | (#44563863)

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 ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564083)

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.

You can add Server & Tools division to the large cash cows, it is bigger than Windows and closing in on Office to become Microsoft's biggest source of revenue. Entertainment (Xbox) hovers below and above profitable these days (after massive investments), while Online is the only MS division still deep in red.

Re:Amazing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564545)

ermm, did you get this data from ms financial reports or outta your ass? because its bullshit. only exchange, windows, and office make money at redmond. something that makes SOME money after you invest TONS of money (and continually requires more money than it makes back) is still losing money hand over fist. and dont get me started on the hardware division (zune, kin, bob, keyboards and mice, etc).

Re:Amazing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563951)

MS monopolized the OS and other markets they are getting what they deserve as far as I am concerned. They ran on luck for years, and now it is running out, what has killed them is the fact that you have a host of companies creating new things, besides the other big monopolies. And MS is somehow finding a way to destroy that tech with defunct spins offs of there own.

The fact they have been charging out the ass on licenses, copyright, patents, ect. and software, which is unneeded or can be obtained with open source. Is what has kept them alive, I am not believing there numbers over profit, or stock. MS has such an influence they probably can get the numbers they are looking for.

Is it really surprising MS lied? They always have some PR propaganda going on. And the investors should suck it up and deal with it, they didn't do there homework, and saw it was MS "hey what could go wrong"

Re:Amazing ... (3, Insightful)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#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.

Typical cycle (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44564107)

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 to make their handsets a must-have. Android has customization and a huge base of apps, Apple has the comfiness of their one-shop-and-only-one-shop strategy with a huge base of apps. Microsoft has a small fraction of the apps and a market that's small enough that it has few developers. Look at Blackberry - they only had to fall asleep for 2 years to get turned into an also-ran; Microsoft practically left the handset business for 4 years, and came back with essentially a brand new offering that leveraged nothing. And then tried to make a tablet out of that nothing.

Microsoft has the *potential* for market domination - they just can't seem to get their strategy straight. Here's why - 90% of the business application market is still dominated by Windows applications. You HAVE to have windows to run most offices. The possible Win8 strategy to combine tablet and desktop means that convertible devices (which are getting better with Haswell and advanced display tech) are spiralling towards tablet proportions. If you HAD to have a win machine for some things, and it could double as your tablet device, would you really go out and buy TWO devices to carry with you? MS can make that a single device - something that Apple and the Linux market can't (or can't do easily) because their tablet and computer OSes are different. Will MS fuck this up? Yeah, probably, but my expectation is that everything is merging towards combo devices. It's just a matter of who manages to pull it off seamlessly. MS could be set up to be ahead of the curve, or it could squander the opportunity and just plod along.

Re:Amazing ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564229)

You're focusing on consumer product line. Business product line is still probably performing as strong as ever...

"For fiscal 2013, Redmond's revenues from the Server and Tools division and the Microsoft Business division combined came to $45bn, or 58 per cent of the total. In terms of operating income, however, those two divisions accounted for $24.4bn – 91 per cent of the total." source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/19/microsoft_q4_2013_earnings/

Yet none.... (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44563641)

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.... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44563795)

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.

Re:Yet none.... (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#44564073)

I'd honestly be unsurprised to see them sold wholesale to be stripped for components,

Those screens would be something... if the LCD and glass weren't glued together so hard. [ifixit.com]

or debranded and flashed into mysterious pacific rim non-brand Androids

Except there's the little problem that secure boot won't allow any other operating system run on the RT. [slashdot.org]

So MS is going to have problems selling them for anything more what they're worth for scrap metals recovery. Sure, they could unlock the bootloader, except that they've got a warehouse full of these things already boxed for retail sale. So they either have to open all the boxes, individually re-flash and re-package them, or they have to release some kind of unlocker app, of which I figure the odds are somewhere between "hell", and "no".

Re:Yet none.... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44564173)

I wouldn't necessarily bet on them doing so; but MS has the private key needed to sign payloads that the firmware will boot. If they wanted to get rid of them, it would not be a significant challenge to either 1) create a signed firmware update that removes the signature requirement, or 2) create a signed firmware update that adds the public key of the outfit they are selling the things to, or 3) offer a signing service to whoever buys the things, so they can whip up a Tegra3 Android image and have it bootable with the existing firmware.

I suspect that they'll try to avoid it coming to that, and will attempt to trickle the remainder out with more moderate discounts (they've done some heavier discounting in the educational sector, which they probably view as a safe dumping ground/marketing exercise) and only do anything really drastic once the Tegra3 and relatively feeble screen are simply an embarrassment at any price they'd be comfortable letting a copy of Windows go for.

No thank you (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44563995)

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 have walked away.

Buy open devices by default.

Re:obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564137)

obligatory: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/Q4.06/4E2A8848-5738-45B1-A659-AD7473899D7D.html

Re:Yet none.... (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#44564433)

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.

Summary: My bad judgement is your fault (5, Insightful)

bradley13 (1118935) | about a year ago | (#44563661)

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?

Re:Summary: My bad judgement is your fault (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44563707)

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 risks you're aware of. That nobody is actually buying your product ... well, that sounds like it applies.

So, if they knew this (and how could they not), and if they're required by law to disclose this (again, don't know the specifics so I can't say) -- then they might have done a few things which, from a perspective of a publicly traded stock, weren't quite as expected.

Re:Summary: My bad judgement is your fault (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44563841)

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.

Re:Summary: My bad judgement is your fault (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | about a year ago | (#44563897)

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.

Re:Summary: My bad judgement is your fault (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44564121)

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 the stock market melting down in '08 -- a bunch of junk debt got laundered and rated as AAA-rated debt and sold to everyone else. Essentially the whole world paid the price for the US having incredibly stupid mortgage lending practices. Practices which had been identified as risky several years before.

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?".

Well, in fairness, if you're trying to make a product which competes with the iPad, you have a lot of evidence that people are actually spending money on tablets.

Just not ones made by Microsoft, apparently. Both Apple and Android tablets have been selling quite well.

So now you have a market which is healthy and selling a lot of units, and then you have the Microsoft offering not selling. The problem isn't tablets.

Re:Summary: My bad judgement is your fault (4, Informative)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44563723)

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.

Re:Summary: My bad judgement is your fault (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44564129)

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.

Re:Summary: My bad judgement is your fault (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44564455)

Apologies. That was a mistake, I must have initially intended to put nearly 1bn or something and gotten it crossed up in my head. thank you for pointing it out.

Re:Summary: My bad judgement is your fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563767)

The suit isn't about luck. It's about information. Perhaps that same investors would have sold their stock had they known how bad the sales were (perhaps many insiders did)? This is kinda like Enron, except on a much smaller scale---e.g. company trying to cover something up from their own investors.

Re:Summary: My bad judgement is your fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563859)

company information is never "completely" open to share holders as that would compromise competitive positions for many companies. The question really is how much information should have been public and realistically the fact they were not selling well was certainly widely known so not sure how investors can say it was a surprise. Also a billion while large to most companies is only a few weeks of MS's annual profit (less than 3 weeks) and hence would have only marginal affect on overall stock performance.

Re:Summary: My bad judgement is your fault (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44564279)

"Not selling well" is an understatement. $900M writeoff due to unsold inventory is what caught most people by surprise. Many didn't think Surface RT or Surface Pro would do well especially since it was MS first Surface tablets. Sure it may not have been profitable in the beginning with losses maybe in the $100M range. But 6M unsold RT units and $900M was a colossal blunder.

Re:Summary: My bad judgement is your fault (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#44563879)

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.

Anti American fun :) (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44563911)

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.

Re:Anti American fun :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564045)

Hey Tuppe666! You didn't bring Google up in this post. Don't you wanna tell us how great your Chromebook is?

Re:Anti American fun :) (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#44564099)

it seems only to be a crime, when the people being mislead are stockholders, or others doing their bidding.

Shareholder lawsuits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563677)

I've always wondered... let's say the court finds for the plaintiffs. Shouldn't the current shareholders then be able to sue for the loss of investment from the company having to pay off the past shareholders?

When does it end?

Re:Shareholder lawsuits (5, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#44563771)

Only if the company misled about the existence of the lawsuit.

But because even microsoft isn't completely retarded you'll find their 10-K will always have something like:

"""
We have claims and lawsuits against us that may result in adverse outcomes. We are subject to a variety of claims and lawsuits. Adverse outcomes in some or all of these claims may result in significant monetary damages or injunctive relief that could adversely affect our ability to conduct our business. The litigation and other claims are subject to inherent uncertainties and management’s view of these matters may change in the future. A material adverse impact on our financial statements also could occur for the period in which the effect of an unfavorable final outcome becomes probable and reasonably estimable.
"""

in it.

Big Bucket of Cash (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44563817)

I've always wondered... let's say the court finds for the plaintiffs. Shouldn't the current shareholders then be able to sue for the loss of investment from the company having to pay off the past shareholders?

In theory the accountants lay away a certain amount of cash to deal with various lawsuits. It should just be an adjustment next quarter. The current shareholders are suing over being deliberately mislead, which Microsoft Management is not allowed to do to shareholders. Current shareholders could not sue over that :). In theory they could sack the management.

What's the old saying? (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#44563685)

"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

Microsoft Lied (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44563829)

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.

Re:Microsoft Lied (0)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#44564293)

I would love to see Murderers and Rapists using a similar defence.

I fail to see where my posts states or even implies that it represents any sort of defense whatsoever. It was, rather, merely an observation that if you're so stupid as to be even willing to consider investing in MSFT (regardless of whatever lies they do or don't spin), you're bound to get cleaned out one way or the other.

How come... (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#44563753)

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"?

Microsoft "mislead" investors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563827)

How's about Microsoft *misled* investors?

This is the problem with paper ownership (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#44563923)

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?

Re:This is the problem with paper ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564619)

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?

As someone with liberal leanings, it pains me to say this. The people that work for Microsoft get what they were promised, their daily bread. Anything that doesn't go for paying the cost of an employee and production of product is called profit. Profit is for share holders. Employees will always get paid. As MSFT has shown, investors do not always profit.

Compare with Enron (2)

shoppa (464619) | about a year ago | (#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?

Welcome to the stock market! (2)

ggraham412 (1492023) | about a year ago | (#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.

Limit Lawyer fees to the actual compensation (3, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#44564257)

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.

Re:Limit Lawyer fees to the actual compensation (1)

boarder8925 (714555) | about a year ago | (#44564435)

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 (1)

nbritton (823086) | about a year ago | (#44564491)

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 fumbling idiots with unoriginal products, this has always been the case, and their content with this fact. Playing a perfect game is not a requirement for winning at chess.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>