Microsoft posts record profits
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Sometimes things become so obvious that you don't really need to say a thing:

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Boosted by Windows 2003 and Exchange 2003 servers, the Server and Tools division saw income rise by $477 million over the same period last year, to $2.52 billion, of which $913 was clear profit.

But as ever, the divisions responsible for the Windows desktop client and Microsoft Office, the latter Microsoft calls "Information Worker" - remain the breadwinners. The Office division cleared a cool $2bn profit in quarter for the first time on revenues of $2.77bn. Client recorded a net income of $2.53bn, up from $2.095bn in the same period last year, on revenues of $3.22bn, up from $3.059bn. the register

There is one and only one way for a company to turn out these types of profits year in and year out: monopoly type control of the marketplace. Even though MS doesn't have a full server monopoly, they do have a virtual client os and office suite monopoly. And the numbers reflect this.

What was interesting in this article is that MS does not feel that this level of profit is completely adequate, so:

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Revenue was up slightly to $10.8bn from $10.15bn in the last three months of 2003. But belt-tightening measures - which included halving Microsoft's R&D outlay, saw the company's net income rocket. Research and development expenditure fell from $2.97bn a year ago to $1.437bn in the most recent quarter. The company also found savings on cost of sales of around $420m, and around $700m in lower from sales and marketing and general expenses costs.

R&D is slashed in half. Amazing. In other words, MS is going to float on its monopoly for a while. And by the way, for those keeping track, R&D used to be around 4-5 billion a year.

What makes this company so amazingly greedy is beyond me. Hopefully one day the situation will become somewhat stabilized, with real competition. By the way, I checked out the new Kanotix linux distribution, and I think that day isn't as far away as it once was.
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