Microsoft Raises Questions with Earnings Announcement

The New York Times’ newly revamped Dealbook blog takes a closer look at Microsoft’s decision to release its earnings recently on its website. The press release that Microsoft issued went up about 30 minutes after the earnings were made public and only directed people to their site.

“In an age of high-frequency trading when every millisecond counts — even in after-hours trading — the move toward companies’ distributing earnings and other market-moving information via their Web sites rather than through wider distribution channels raises some serious questions about transparency,” Dealbook reads, an issue that newswires have also voiced.

Cathy Baron Tamraz, CEO of Business Wire, took to the company’s blog with her thoughts. “The SEC needs to take decisive action reaffirming the basic tenets of Reg FD; otherwise, the concept of full and fair disclosure will prove to be more of an empty premise rather than an enduring, guiding principle that has proudly come to define our capital markets,” she writes.

SEC guidance issued in 2008 stated that companies can use their website to disclose earnings. Still, many companies usually go the traditional route, distributing a press release with their earnings announcement.

Newswire businesses would be impacted if more companies used their own sites for disclosure purposes, but even Microsoft’s GM of IR, Bill Koefoed, admitted that there are still some issues to be worked out.

“We’ll do things differently next quarter. It was our first time and we will iron out a few wrinkles,” he told the Times.