Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) News Outside CES: 3 Items

Although Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) does not have its prominent booth in full splendor at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, there is no lack of new from Redmond. We'll touch on three items of interest here - one involving a court case closing, one involving a service shutdown and the third about a sales milestone for the latest operating system.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

As of 11:45 a.m. ET Wednesday, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) stock was trading up slightly from the open at about $26.65 a share.

GOOGLE vs. XBOX

It was announced recently that Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) was going to abandon its patent-infringement lawsuit with the U.S. International Trade Commission against Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) that involved video compression technology that Microsoft was using for the Xbox console. Microsoft has shown a willingness to pay for licensing the patent, which it deems standards-essential, but it did not want to pay with a royalty system.  This seems to be one of those cases that Google agreed to drop as part of its settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission. Google still has lawsuits pending against Microsoft, however, in Washington state and Germany over other standards-essential patents.

DON'T KILL THE MESSENGER ...

But it appears that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will be doing just that, which was expected after the company finalized its purchase of Skype last year. Now it's official, though - Microsoft has alerted Messenger users that the service will be shut down by March 15 (except on mainland China) and has begun the official encouragement for users to begin switching to Skype for instant-messaging and video chat services. On March 15, the company will provide a banner for those who go to the Messenger home page to log in, and clicking on the banner will automatically download and install Skype and will uninstall Messenger. Microsoft is currently incorporating Skype into its enterprise solutions and is working toward folding it into SharePoint and Office.

Now, on to the major sales milestone for Windows 8 ...

LET THE SUNSHINE IN

Open the curtains, because there are a lot of Windows - so to speak - in the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) building. When it comes to the new Windows 8 operating system, there are about 60 million of 'em. The company announced this sales figure at CES this week. This number includes upgrades from Windows 7 and sales to OEM partners. Enterprise and license volume sales were not explicitly mentioned and being part of this figure, but company CFO and chief marketing officer Tami Reller said this number is "roughly" in line with Windows 7 sales in the same time frame since initial launch. Retail sales are reported to be tepid, and that is mainly due to the lack of touch-screen PCs in the market; several companies are unveiling such things at CES this week, but may not be available in the market until the spring at the earliest.

What do you think about these news, and where do you see this taking Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) stock this year? We'd love to get your comments about this company, the outlook and your take on the stock.

DISCLOSURE: I hold no position in any stock mentioned above.

Please see these related MSFT articles:

Microsoft Secures $600M Dept. of Defense Deal

Billionaire Kerr Neilson Loves Microsoft Stock

Microsoft Purchases R2 Studios

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