NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Some sense of relief among Microsoft (MSFT) investors rose when embattled former boss Steve Ballmer announced he was retiring. Given that Microsoft had lost close to half of its value under Ballmer, there was sense that, "The next guys can't be worse."
While it's still too early to think about the approval rating of new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft's fiscal third-quarter results show that there are no quick fixes in getting this once high-flyer back to growth.
(The Street can cheer the company's revenue and earnings beat all it wants.)
From my vantage point, Microsoft jumped over a low bar. But is that enough to bet on the stock?
Thursday, the software giant posted revenue of $20.4 billion, "flat" according to some analysts. In actual performance, last year's business of $20.49 billion almost mirrors the year-over-year decline of less than half of 1%.
This tells me right away how badly the Street wants to give Nadella the benefit of the doubt. Had it been Ballmer on the call, whom the Street cared very little for, the headlines would have been different.
It's nonetheless encouraging that Microsoft posted revenue gains from its dominant Windows franchise, which many had feared was in decline. And when you factor the improvements in cloud computing services like Azure, it does show that Microsoft's transition from a PC-dependent business is taking shape.
Revenue from devices and consumer products rose 12% to $8.30 billion. Microsoft, which is in a neck-and-neck battle with Sony (SNE), sold more Xbox One game consoles than expected. The company also benefited from consumers upgrading their systems from Windows XP to Windows 8.