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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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January 23, 2008 4:49 PM

On deck: Microsoft reports Q2 earnings amid economic turmoil

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

As investors rub their whip-lashed necks, Microsoft is preparing to report on its fiscal second quarter -- the three months ended Dec. 31 -- on Thursday after the bell. A link to a live Webcast of the company's earnings conference call, beginning at 2:30 p.m., will be posted here.

Analysts are looking for a strong quarter, but as has been the case with other big tech reports in recent weeks, the company's outlook will probably get more attention than its Q2 numbers.

Thomson Financial polled 30 analysts on Jan. 15. The consensus estimate is earnings of 46 cents a share, which would be at the high end of the range Microsoft issued at its last quarterly report, which, you'll recall, blew the doors off.

Goldman Sachs analyst Sara Friar last week put Microsoft back on her "Americas Conviction Buy List," She said she views the stock as "defensive in a tough macro environment," pointing to the company's "broad international exposure with derivative currency benefit."

In another note Tuesday, however, Friar and other Goldman analysts expressed concern about the broader software sector in light of the economic downturn, noting that "a slowing U.S. economy may spread overseas, removing a key tailwind for the group."

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