Variant View Can't Revive Microsoft

Its ability to crush other stocks with just a whisper of competition still won't add to its bottom line.
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This column was originally published on RealMoney on June 10 at 3:32 p.m. EDT.

It's become quite the sport to make fun of

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

these days. Last night I made the joke that you need paddles to jar Microsoft's stock, that without defibrillators this stock can't budge from the flatline of $25.

But there's a contrary view, one that is so serious that I can't dismiss it out of hand. That contrary belief is that if Microsoft is such a pitiful, helpless giant, why is it that every single time it has a beta test, or an initiative, or even a thought, it knocks down whatever stock it might come in contact with?

Today, it's

Adobe

(ADBE) - Get Report

. A News.com article about a beta test tells the story. Microsoft has what's believed to be some sort of Adobe-killer ready for release, and sure enough, it's killing Adobe. That stock's down a buck and change.

And it's

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

; Microsoft is planning a new music subscription service, also according to News.com. The stock's down $2 on the news.

We saw the same in

Symantec

(SYMC) - Get Report

and in

McAfee

(MFE)

, which got destroyed on some possible bundling of anti-virus software in the new Microsoft Longhorn project. Neither's fully recovered from the crisis that is Microsoft.

I could go on and on:

Hyperion Solutions

(HYSL)

,

Business Objects

(BOBJ)

and

Cognos

(COGN)

getting whacked on Microsoft's potential business intelligence initiatives.

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

going down now and then on Microsoft's key word search initiatives.

Surely, the contrary view saws, if Microsoft has that much going for it, if it can just breathe a whisper of an initiative and another stock falls, isn't its stock worth more than it trades for?

I believe the answer, frankly, is yes. I just don't know when. I never would short the stock. I wouldn't even write calls on it. But I just can't pull the trigger.

Because even though every day an initiative strikes fear in the hearts of others, I can't see how it can add earnings to the heart of Microsoft. Maybe that will change when Xbox comes out in the late fall. Or Longhorn in 2006.

Until then, though, I am still screaming

"Paddles!"

followed by

"Clear!"

Random musings:

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James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for Action Alerts PLUS by

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