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Microsoft exudes confidence

The best is yet to come, says software giant

Microsoft put on a 10-hour version of its "the best is yet to come" commercials for the financial markets last week.

Nothing seemed to dampen the spirits of Microsoft executives at Thursday's Financial Analysts Conference.

They bragged about strong earnings, expressed confidence that the government's antitrust case would be thrown out on appeal, pointed to ever-increasing employee rolls, and even dismissed a recent exodus of top executives as what President and CEO Steve Ballmer called "cleansing and cathartic."

"These guys are all sunshine today, but the reality is they're facing a lot of challenges," said one Wall Street analyst who, in light of Microsoft's "no comment" policy at the event, requested anonymity.

"There is a compelling antitrust argument against them, fiscal growth was slower last [fiscal] year, and .NET is far away from fruition."

"Exuding confidence is one of the things Microsoft does best," the analyst said. "Some of that comes from being supremely confident, and some of that comes from knowing that you always, always have to put your best face forward in public."

The strategy will open new market opportunities, such as increased sales of mobile devices and related software, the company stressed, and it doesn’t expect to see its revenues hurt by the transition to a model that sees software sold over the Internet on a subscription basis.

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