Microsoft Sells its Stake in Comcast

January 20th, 2009 at 12:00 am

microsoft comcast heartbreak

It’s really a financial crisis when the big names start shuttering or restructuring or cutting down.  This financial crisis is the worst since the great depression and it is showing quite predominantly.  One of the biggest names to shutter just recently is Circuit City.  Many web companies have also done the same, while bigger web companies that are still capable of wearing down the storm have shed some assets and some jobs.  Now, the largest tech company is also doing some belt tightening.

Microsoft (MSFT) last Friday sold its 7.3% stake in cable provider Comcast (CMCSA) according to an SEC filing.  That’s a $1 billion investment Microsoft took in the cable industry as part of its effort to become a player in interactive television.

However, aside from a couple of minor deals with Comcast, Microsoft’s priorities shifted to IPTV’s and they’ve been backing up telecommunications companies like AT&T for that reason.  Hence their stake in Comcast is no longer of much importance to them.  “Twelve years after their initial Comcast investment, Microsoft’s vision of a Windows-based gateway to the television still hasn’t materialized,” an analyst writes. ” Outside of AT&T, they have a modest software position in the Latin American cable market, but elsewhere are little involved.  Oddly, they have a relatively limited  presence in web-based TV.”

Although Microsoft isn’t really in need of cash right now, (since they are the most liquid tech company) they are also contemplating on shedding some jobs and saving up their resources in case the recession drags on. "Like any well-managed business, we routinely check our assumptions and planning needs against our assessment of the economic environment," Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said in an e-mail. "As part of this process, which we undertake quarterly, we look at many scenarios and options."