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Sympathy for Microsoft?

Back when Microsoft had a reputation as the Evil Empire, Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen was the poster child for someone who had been oppressed by Redmond. Which is why it's remarkable to hear Andreessen expressing what sounds like some sympathy for Microsoft right now.

In a recap of the attitude toward a tech bubble among the tech glitterati at last week's All Things Digital Conference, Mark Veverka on SmartMoney wrote:

"Indeed, Andreessen went on a tirade about how low the price/earnings ratios for the tech behemoths are. Microsoft has a forward-looking P/E of 8.63 times. Cisco Systems' P/E is 9.25. 'P/Es in single-digits are what steel mills trade at before they go out of business,' Andreessen quipped. 'What these things tell me is the public market hates tech. It's tremendously scarred by 10 years ago.'"

None of which is to say that, in his heart of hearts, Andreessen wouldn't love to see Microsoft continue to suffer for its efforts at "cutting off Netscape's air supply."

Meanwhile, another SmartMoney post listed the top six cash piles among publicly traded U.S. companies. Microsoft is still on top, although once the $8.5 billion Skype purchase is completed, Microsoft's total may drop below both Google and Apple. The net cash totals are Microsoft $38 billion, Google $36.7 billion, Apple $29 billion and Cisco Systems $27 billion.

Posted by Scott Bekker on June 08, 2011 at 11:58 AM


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