Billy Gates

Billy GatesThe recession: serious business. It’s now potent enough to bash the wallet of Bill Gates, a man so rich he is actually made out of money (note: this is not true). That’s because Microsoft has reported its first ever year-on-year drop in sales.

According to analyst IDC, worldwide PC sales have slumped by 7.1 per cent from January to March this year. This means Microsoft is selling less software, and the figures bear it out – the company announced third quarter revenue of $13.65bn (£9.3bn), which is six per cent down on the same period last year.

So while the company still managed a net income of $2.98bn (£2.03bn, not to be sneezed at), that figure was a whopping 32 per cent down on the previous year!

In addition, Bill’s boys have been spending $290m (£198m) on severance packages after cutting 5,000 jobs last financial quarter.

Apparently, Microsoft’s Client, Business and Server & Tools Divisions are the hardest hit, with their corporate customers remaining stable.

Chief financial officer Chris Liddell commented, “While market conditions remained weak during the quarter, I was pleased with the organisation’s ability to offset revenue pressures with the swift implementation of cost-savings initiatives.”

However, Liddell said he expected the weakness to continue “through at least the next quarter”.

Rumours that Gates is currently building the world’s biggest bed in order to keep all his cash under the mattress were strenuously made up by us just now.