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In case you haven't heard, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is buying Skype for $8 billion or so.

Much will be said about how stupid this purchase is, or how it is silly, or how it is noncore, or how Microsoft just doesn't get it. I'm not here to say whether any of that is right or wrong.

But let's first note that the $8B is only 4% of Microsoft's market value. So this isn't a bet the farm move at all.

With that said, it is more troubling that Microsoft hasn't really shown a ton of ability to integrate acquisitions well, and they are buying an asset that has yet to be monetized by some very smart people in the tech world.

Many shout that Microsoft is super-cheap (myself among them), but that is when $1 of cash equates to $1 of value. If Microsoft uses its warchest to acquire value destroying assets, then each $1 of cash can't be counted as $1 of value.

The market has seen the same thing with Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO).

Let this be a lesson to all investors out there: always consider reinvestment opportunities. Microsoft's reinvestment opportunities have never been well defined, yet the company continues to produce an incredible amount of excess cash and it only pays out (from dividends and buybacks) a meager portion.

Bryan
TMF42
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