NOTE 1 ACCOUNTING POLICIES
The financial statements and accompanying notes are prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
PRINCIPLES OF CONSOLIDATION
The financial statements include the accounts of Microsoft Corporation and its subsidiaries. Intercompany transactions and balances have been eliminated. Equity investments in which we exercise significant influence but do not control and are not the primary beneficiary are accounted for using the equity method. Investments in which we are not able to exercise significant influence over the investee and which do not have readily determinable fair values are accounted for under the cost method.
ESTIMATES AND ASSUMPTIONS
Preparing financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, and expenses. Examples include estimates of loss contingencies, product life cycles, and stock-based compensation forfeiture rates; assumptions such as the elements comprising a software arrangement, including the distinction between upgrades/enhancements and new products; when technological feasibility is achieved for our products; the potential outcome of future tax consequences of events that have been recognized in our financial statements or tax returns; estimating the fair value and/or goodwill impairment for our reporting units; and determining when investment impairments are other-than-temporary. Actual results and outcomes may differ from management’s estimates and assumptions.
Assets and liabilities recorded in foreign currencies are translated at the exchange rate on the balance sheet date. Revenue and expenses are translated at average rates of exchange prevailing during the year. Translation adjustments resulting from this process are charged or credited to Other Comprehensive Income (“OCI”).
Revenue is recognized when persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, delivery has occurred, the fee is fixed or determinable, and collectibility is probable. We enter into certain arrangements where we are obligated to deliver multiple products and/or services (multiple elements). In these arrangements, we generally allocate the total revenue among the elements based on the sales price of each element when sold separately (vendor-specific objective evidence).
Revenue for retail packaged products, products licensed to original equipment manufacturers (“OEM”), and perpetual licenses for current products under our Open and Select volume licensing programs generally is recognized as products are shipped, with a portion of the revenue recorded as unearned due to undelivered elements including, in some cases, free post-delivery telephone support and the right to receive unspecified upgrades/enhancements of Microsoft Internet Explorer on a when-and-if-available basis. The amount of revenue allocated to undelivered elements is based on the vendor-specific objective evidence of fair value for those elements using the residual method. Under the residual method, the total fair value of the undelivered elements, as indicated by vendor-specific objective evidence, is recorded as unearned, and the difference between the total arrangement fee and the amount recorded as unearned for the undelivered elements is recognized as revenue related to delivered elements. Unearned revenue due to undelivered elements is recognized ratably on a straight-line basis over the related product’s life cycle.
Revenue from multi-year licensing arrangements are accounted for as subscriptions, with billings recorded as unearned revenue and recognized as revenue ratably over the billing coverage period. Certain multi-year licensing arrangements include rights to receive future versions of software product on a when-and-if-available basis under Open and Select volume licensing programs (Software Assurance). In addition, other multi-year licensing arrangements include a perpetual license for current products combined with rights to receive future versions of software products on a when-and-if-available basis under Open, Select, and Enterprise Agreement volume licensing programs. Premier support services agreements, MSN Internet Access subscriptions, Xbox Live, and Microsoft Developer Network subscriptions are also accounted for as subscriptions.
Revenue related to our Xbox game console is recognized upon shipment of the product to retailers. Revenue related to games published by us is recognized when those games have been delivered to retailers. Revenue related to games published by third parties for use on the Xbox platform is recognized when manufactured for the game publishers. Online advertising revenue is recognized as advertisements are displayed. Search advertising revenue is recognized when the ad appears in the search results or when the action necessary to earn the revenue has been completed. Consulting services revenue is recognized as services are rendered, generally based on the negotiated hourly rate in the consulting arrangement and the number of hours worked during the period. Revenue for fixed price services arrangements is recognized based on percentage of completion.
Costs related to insignificant obligations, which include telephone support for developer tools software, PC games, computer hardware, and Xbox, are accrued when the related revenue is recognized. Provisions are recorded for estimated returns, concessions, and bad debts.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Research and development expenses include payroll, employee benefits, stock-based compensation, and other headcount-related costs associated with product development. We have determined that technological feasibility for our software products is reached shortly before the products are released to manufacturing. Costs incurred after technological feasibility is established have not been material, and accordingly, we have expensed all research and development costs when incurred.
SALES AND MARKETING
Sales and marketing expenses include payroll, employee benefits, stock-based compensation, and other headcount-related costs associated with sales and marketing personnel and advertising, promotions, tradeshows, seminars, and other marketing-related programs. Advertising costs are expensed as incurred. Advertising expense was $1.23 billion in fiscal year 2006, $995 million in fiscal year 2005, and $904 million in fiscal year 2004.
Income tax expense includes U.S. and international income taxes, plus the provision for U.S. taxes on undistributed earnings of international subsidiaries not deemed to be permanently invested. Certain items of income and expense are not reported in tax returns and financial statements in the same year. The tax effect of such temporary differences is reported as deferred income taxes.
We consider all highly liquid interest-earning investments with a maturity of three months or less at the date of purchase to be cash equivalents. In general, investments with original maturities of greater than three months and remaining maturities of less than one year are classified as short term investments. Investments with maturities beyond one year may be classified as short-term based on their highly liquid nature and because such marketable securities represent the investment of cash that is available for current operations. All cash equivalents and short-term investments are classified as available for sale and are recorded at market value using the specific identification method; unrealized gains and losses (excluding other-than-temporary impairments) are reflected in OCI.
Equity and other investments may include both debt and equity instruments. Debt securities and publicly traded equity securities are classified as available for sale and are recorded at market using the specific identification method. Unrealized gains and losses (excluding other-than-temporary impairments) are reflected in OCI. All other investments, excluding those accounted for using the equity method, are recorded at cost.We lend certain fixed-income and equity securities to enhance investment income. The loaned securities continue to be carried as investments on our balance sheet. Collateral and/or security interest is determined based upon the underlying security and the creditworthiness of the borrower. Cash collateral is recorded as an asset with a corresponding liability.
Investments are considered to be impaired when a decline in fair value is judged to be other-than-temporary. We employ a systematic methodology on a quarterly basis that considers available quantitative and qualitative evidence in evaluating potential impairment of our investments. If the cost of an investment exceeds its fair value, we evaluate, among other factors, general market conditions, the duration and extent to which the fair value is less than cost, and our intent and ability to hold the investment. We also consider specific adverse conditions related to the financial health of and business outlook for the investee, including industry and sector performance, changes in technology, operational and financing cash flow factors, and rating agency actions. Once a decline in fair value is determined to be other-than-temporary, an impairment charge is recorded and a new cost basis in the investment is established.
We use derivative instruments to manage exposures to foreign currency, equity price, interest rate and credit risks, to enhance returns, and to facilitate portfolio diversification. Our objectives for holding derivatives include reducing, eliminating, and efficiently managing the economic impact of these exposures as effectively as possible. Derivative instruments are recognized as either assets or liabilities and are measured at fair value. The accounting for changes in the fair value of a derivative depends on the intended use of the derivative and the resulting designation. For a derivative instrument designated as a fair-value hedge, the gain or loss is recognized in earnings in the period of change together with the offsetting loss or gain on the hedged item attributed to the risk being hedged. For a derivative instrument designated as a cash-flow hedge, the effective portion of the derivative’s gain or loss is initially reported as a component of OCI and is subsequently recognized in earnings when the hedged exposure affects earnings. The ineffective portion of the gain or loss is recognized in earnings. For options designated either as fair-value or cash-flow hedges, changes in the time value are excluded from the assessment of hedge effectiveness and are recognized in earnings. Gains and losses from changes in fair values of derivatives that are not designated as hedges for accounting purposes are recognized in earnings.
Foreign Currency Risk. Certain assets, liabilities, and forecasted transactions are exposed to foreign currency risk. We monitor our foreign currency exposures daily to maximize the overall effectiveness of our foreign currency hedge positions. Options are used to hedge a portion of forecasted international revenue for up to three years in the future and are designated as cash-flow hedging instruments under Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (“SFAS”) No. 133, Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities. Principal currencies hedged include the euro, Japanese yen, British pound, and Canadian dollar. Certain non-U.S. dollars denominated securities are hedged using foreign exchange forward contracts that are designated as fair-value hedging instruments under SFAS No. 133. Certain options and forwards not designated as hedging instruments under SFAS No. 133 are also used to hedge the impact of the variability in exchange rates on accounts receivable and collections denominated in certain foreign currencies and to manage other foreign currency exposures.
Equities Price Risk. Equity investments are subject to market price risk. From time to time, we use and designate options to hedge fair values and cash flows on certain equity securities. We determine the security, or forecasted sale thereof, selected for hedging by evaluating market conditions, up-front costs, and other relevant factors. Certain options, futures and swap contracts, not designated as hedging instruments under SFAS No. 133, are also used to manage equity exposures.
Interest Rate Risk. Fixed-income securities are subject to interest rate risk. The fixed-income portfolio is diversified and consists primarily of investment grade securities to minimize credit risk. We use exchange-traded option and future contracts and over-the-counter swap contracts, not designated as hedging instruments under SFAS No. 133, to hedge interest rate risk.
Other Derivatives. Swap contracts, not designated as hedging instruments under SFAS No. 133, are used to manage exposures to credit risks, enhance returns, and to facilitate portfolio diversification. In addition, we may invest in warrants to purchase securities of other companies as a strategic investment. Warrants that can be net share settled are deemed derivative financial instruments and are not designated as hedging instruments. “To Be Announced” forward purchase commitments of mortgage-backed assets are also considered derivatives in cases where physical delivery of the assets are not taken at the earliest available delivery date. All derivative instruments not designated as hedging instruments are recorded at fair value, with changes in value recognized in earnings during the period of change.
ALLOWANCE FOR DOUBTFUL ACCOUNTS
The allowance for doubtful accounts reflects our best estimate of probable losses inherent in the accounts receivable balance. We determine the allowance based on known troubled accounts, historical experience, and other currently available evidence. Activity in the allowance for doubtful accounts was as follows:
Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or market, using the average cost method. Cost includes materials, labor, and manufacturing overhead related to the purchase and production of inventories. We regularly review inventory quantities on hand, future purchase commitments with our suppliers, and the estimated utility of our inventory. If our review indicates a reduction in utility below carrying value, we reduce our inventory to a new cost basis.
PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT
Property and equipment is stated at cost and depreciated using the straight-line method over the shorter of the estimated life of the asset or the lease term, ranging from one to 15 years. Computer software developed or obtained for internal use is depreciated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful life of the software, generally three years or less.
Goodwill is tested for impairment on an annual basis as of July 1, and between annual tests if indicators of potential impairment exist, using a fair-value-based approach. No impairment of goodwill has been identified during any of the periods presented.
Intangible assets are amortized using the straight-line method over their estimated period of benefit, ranging from one to ten years. We evaluate the recoverability of intangible assets periodically and take into account events or circumstances that warrant revised estimates of useful lives or that indicate that impairment exists. All of our intangible assets are subject to amortization. No impairments of intangible assets have been identified during any of the periods presented.