Trying to reconcile


(MSFT) - Get Report




is proving to be difficult. Compaq is so bullish about

Windows 2000

and Microsoft, frankly, was pretty bearish. These differences contribute mightily to the up-and-down nature of this market. Bulls speak; stocks lift. Cautious people speak; stocks get hammered.

Why not just agree with Compaq? OK, who had a better record and handle on its business, Compaq or Microsoft? Who has been the horse to bet on this last decade?

I keep hearing that people think Microsoft was being its "usual cautious self." I can only tell you that these things are like theater. I have seen the production a gazillion times and this time it was very different. Very negative. Very "cut your numbers."

What I think is a more important takeaway is this market's


memory for the previous piece of news. Right now, Compaq is saying Windows 2000 is going to grow great guns. It would not shock me if

people simply forget what Microsoft said and now focus on what Compaq is saying


I say childlike because I find that my kids remember every good promise I make them but they very quickly forget anything cautionary or downbeat.

No wonder Buzz and Batch are

winning here.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund was long Compaq. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at