Microsoft’s quarterly earnings call just over a week ago was noteworthy for its muted optimism; after months of gloomy remarks on the prospects for the economy, executives said they believed they had seen the bottom and that a recovery could come next year. Not so fast, cautions CEO Steve Ballmer, who was not on that earnings call. Speaking in South Korea, Ballmer said, “It’s important that we’re not saying we just had a crisis and we are going to have a recovery. We are going to live in what we like to call the new normal. The new normal will be a more scarce environment than we saw a year, two years, three years ago. While we will see growth, we will not see recovery” (via AFP).
That’s very much in line with what Ballmer and other executives had said previously, emphasizing that they were in the midst of an economic “reset.” Still, it’s unlikely to please anybody who considers Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) — with its far flung operations in PC software, online advertising, gaming, and enterprise software — to be a barometer for tech spending and may have interpreted the company’s quarterly results as a sign that executives had finally shaken off their blues.