Windows Phone 7 and Kinect launch impresses financial community, Microsoft shares hit 6 month high

We have seen a lot of downplaying going on from a wide variety of blogging circles, from Scoble to Engadget to Wired and everyone else, but in the end Microsoft sales figures only have to impress two groups – the developers and the investors of the company.

Now we don’t know about the developers, but the investing community is certainly more happy now that Microsoft appears to have garnered some of the consumer appeal the blogosphere has complained the company is missing.

This is clearly evidenced by the company’s recent share price, with Microsoft hitting a 6 month high this week, adding $ 24 billion to the value of the company since the beginning of December.

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In fact, so impressed was The Street that they called Microsoft one of the most innovative companies of the year, saying:

1. Microsoft(MSFT_)
Credit where credit is due. Microsoft is back in the game.

Yes, we know, Windows Phone 7 manufacturers have only "sold" 1.5 million devices in six weeks — roughly equal to the number of Android phones activated every seven days. Yes, we know it’s been more than a year since the launch of Windows 7 and that there’s still no market for the Zune. But anyone remotely associated with the video game industry knows that Microsoft is no longer playing around with its Xbox and Xbox Live stable of products.

First off, after slimming its Xbox 360 hardware and just about eliminating the "red circle of death" failures that cost gamers hundreds of dollars in console investment, Microsoft snagged the console sales lead from Nintendo’s Wii and has held it for months. Also, after years of taking a back seat to the Wii’s fun little motion controllers and Miis and getting beaten to market by Sony’s(SNE_) PlayStation Move motion device, Microsoft sold 1 million versions of its $150 controller-free Kinect motion-capture device within 10 days of its Nov. 4 release and 2.5 million before the end of November. By all accounts, that should have been a tough sell, considering the console itself goes for as little as $199, but a good concept and great third-party partner products such as Viacom’s(VIA_) infectious Dance Central remind us what Microsoft is capable of when its back is to the wall.

Adding ESPN to Xbox Live and putting it all on Windows 7 Phones may be for naught if nobody buys the handsets, but it may have been enough to engage Sony, whose rumoured PlayStation phone has appeared in photos on gamer blogs as a tease to a potential Consumer Electronics Show debut in January. Way to change the game, Microsoft.

Certainly all this positive sentiment more than justifies the millions Microsoft is spending to ensure their new properties have a successful launch, and now all Microsoft has to do is continue to deliver, with the last block being an exciting tablet OS at CES next year.

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