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Microsoft Pri0

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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August 6, 2008 9:29 AM

'Significant' data and storage announcement; buyback talk; Yahoo recount

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft veep Ted Kummert will make a "significant" announcement relating to the company's Data Platform and Storage Division at 10 a.m., a spokesman said. We'll be covering the teleconference. (Update, 10:02 a.m.: The "significant" news is that Microsoft has released SQL Server 2008, its database and business intelligence server software.)

Meanwhile, Bloomberg is quoting top-rated software analyst Heather Bellini, who thinks Microsoft will rev up its share buyback engine in the coming months.

Bellini of UBS tells Bloomberg that now is a good time to buy Microsoft stock, trading at its lowest-ever price-earnings ratio, because she expects the company to execute a $20 billion share repurchase over the next three months.

In the last five fiscal years, Microsoft has repurchased more than $70 billion of its shares.

It slowed the pace of repurchases in the 2008 fiscal year in part to keep more cash on hand for its planned acquisition of Yahoo. The deal fell apart over the course of this year. Yahoo's shareholders last week expressed their displeasure with the company's board of directors in part for their perceived mishandling of the deal.

Yesterday, Yahoo confirmed that vote tallies from the shareholder meeting were wrong. As it turns out, many more votes were withheld -- investors' only means of expressing their discontent with Yahoo's board, since none of the directors were opposed.

Nearly 40 percent of votes for Chairman Roy Bostock were withheld, compared with 20 percent as reported erroneously last week. More than 33 percent of votes for CEO and co-founder Jerry Yang were withheld, compared with 14.6 percent according to the earlier count.

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