In a not totally surprising -- yet still kind of striking -- turn of events, Microsoft is reporting that its sales have fallen for the first time in 23 years. You read that right, 23 years. According to numbers that the company has just released, sales fell 6 percent year-over-year, while overall net income dropped a staggering 32 percent. Those numbers are significant, but what's more telling is where those losses are coming from. Namely? Netbooks. Apparently, in the midst of a global downturn consumers really are buying cheaper, especially when it comes to tech, which puts a fairly significant crunch on Redmond's bottom line. A CNN reports suggests that the presence of Linux on those devices has contributed to the hurt here, but it's more likely that the combo of a market still unwelcoming to Vista and the wide popularity of XP on the low-power systems has more to do with these dipping profit margins. Oh, and that general, awful market depression. Still, it should serve as some kind of wake up call to Microsoft that just being the biggest doesn't guarantee that the money will keep rolling in the way it has in years past -- clearly the big picture isn't as sharp as it's always been. Hey Windows 7 -- no pressure, right?

Update: We've tweaked some language in the post that made the situation sound more dire than intended. Don't worry everyone, we know Microsoft isn't going anywhere.

[Via CNN]

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Microsoft profits sink for the first time in 23 years