The Redmond, Wash. tech giant, on deck to report fiscal third-quarter earnings after the bell Thursday, is likely to repeat the same pattern spun out over the past five or so quarters: A post of solid top- and bottom-line growth, followed by a drop in stock price that lasts for at least a few days.
While some analysts say that investor patience is about to pay off, a lasting pop in Microsoft's stock won't likely hit until the firm shows tangible evidence of overcoming the two big problems perceived by investors: A (tablet?) plan to offset what could be long-term softness in the consumer PC sector and doing a better job of catching up to rival mobile OS brands like Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG).
Despite solid reviews of phones running it, Windows mobile has fueled uneasiness in investors, due partly to the company's reticence regarding just how many Windows Phone 7 handsets have been activated by consumers. In January, Microsoft said that it had shipped 2 million of its phones through December -- to retailers."Windows Mobile may be a touchy subject
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