Seattle Times: Thorny issues alter briefings at Microsoft

by Volker Weber

It used to be such a love fest when Microsoft held its annual briefing for analysts and media, as it will again later this week.

Reflecting on the previous year's sales growth of 50 percent or so, and looking ahead to more of the same, those who attended the sessions never had much to debate. Everything was upside, even if Chief Financial Officer Frank Gaudette was sure to proclaim that trees don't grow to the sky.

But it's a different Microsoft this year -- and a different computer business in a vastly changed economy. Even if Microsoft is the world's richest company, there are some thorny issues confronting the Redmond giant.

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