SeattlePI reports Microsoft's cash reserves aren't as glorious as they used to be. They are still big but they've shrunken a lot:
Of course, everything is relative, and the company won't be scrounging for change under Bill Gates' couch cushions anytime soon. But the $29 billion on hand at last count was less than half the cash and short-term investments held by Microsoft about two years ago.
It's the first time in more than five years that its cash balance has been below $30 billion.
The company's products, led by Windows and Office, are still generating large amounts of cash -- about $1 billion a month. But Microsoft has taken a series of steps to reduce its cash balance. Specifically, by Microsoft's count, the company has paid out nearly $100 billion through dividends and repurchasing its own stock in the past five years.