In Henry the Sixth Part 2 Shakespeare created a fictional account wherin the agent provocateur, Jack Cade, working for the Duke of York, is trying to foment civil unrest behind the Duke of Lancaster’s lines during the War of the Roses. During a speech Jack Cade stirs the crowd and says:

CADE: Be brave, for your captain [himself] is brave and vows reformation. There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny, the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops, and I will make it felony to drink small beer. All the realm shall be in common, and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to grass. And when I am king, as king I will be—
CADE’S FOLLOWERS: God save your majesty!
CADE: I thank you good people!—there shall be no money. All shall eat and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one livery that they may agree like brothers and worship me their lord.
DICK THE BUTCHER: The first thing we do let’s kill all the lawyers.
CADE: Nay, that I mean to do. Is this not a lamentable thing that the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment? That parchment, being scribbled o’er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings, but I say ’tis the bee’s wax. For I did but seal once to a thing, and I was never mine own man since.

—Henry VI, Part 2, Act 4, Scene 2

As I sit today and watch the stock market I get frustrated. I have a lot of stock in Microsoft (goes hand in hand with working for the company) and I’ve watched the stock drop from $31.80 at the end of trading on Thursday to $29.80 at the end of trading on Friday and now, with a few hours left in the day today we’ve dropped another $0.71. Why? Sure our income last quarter decreased on a year-over-year basis by 11%…but our revenue was up slightly. Of course there was that pesky EU fine of $1.42 billion (yes, that billion with a ‘b’) — seems like the EU sees Microsoft as a piggy bank that they can fine whenever they want to when they need some cash. And to top that, we announced guidance for the coming quarter of $0.45 to $0.48 per share on revenue of $15.5 to $15.8 billion and the first thing the analysts do is pummel us. Why? Personally I think that most analysts are just full of it. But the fact is they probably all have an axe to grind. Whatever it is I’ve been in two companies (Cisco and Microsoft) in which I’ve seen our stock esentially go nowhere because the analysts, who think they know our business better than we know it ourselves, decide that they don’t think our business is as good as it could be. If we were to apply the butcher’s statement to today’s environment it wouldn’t be “kill all the lawyers” but rather “kill all the lawyers and the stock analysts!”