Microsoft (MSFT) is scheduled to report Q2 results after the market close on Thursday, January 24, with a conference call scheduled for 5:30 pm ET. Microsoft, a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, sells software and business services globally and also markets hardware, notably the XBOX and the new Surface tablet... EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for EPS of 75c on revenue of $21.53B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 66c-82c on revenue of $19.94B-$23.32B... LAST QUARTER: Microsoft reported Q1 adjusted EPS of 65c against estimates for 56c on GAAP revenue of $16.01B against estimates for $16.42B. Microsoft reported Q1 non-GAAP revenue of $17.36B. The company said its Q1 revenue was impacted by a challenging PC market, normal purchasing slowdowns in advance of upcoming product launches and tough economic conditions in Europe... NEWS AND RESEARCH: This Tuesday, CNBC's David Faber reported Microsoft (MSFT) is in talks to invest between $1B-$3B in Dell's (DELL) leveraged buyout, which may be mezzanine financing in the form of preferred shares. On January 15, Facebook (FB) announced that Microsoft's Bing search engine was a partner on its new Graph Search product. During this month, research firm Gartner announced its estimate that worldwide PC shipments declined 4.9% from the prior year to 90.3M units in the fourth quarter of 2012, while IDC estimated that worldwide PC sales fell 6.4% to 89.8M units during the holiday period. Also this month, several analysts have sent downbeat notes on Microsoft to investors. Morgan Stanley downgraded Microsoft to an Equal Weight rating on January 10, citing disappointing Windows 8 sales, continued PC market weakness and margin pressures. More recently, Atlantic Equities lowered its price target on shares to $35 from $39 to reflect the weak start to Windows 8, but maintained its Overweight rating due to valuation. Stifel Nicolaus also said that after reviewing third party data, the firm believes that Windows 8 sales have been weaker than expected, but added it expects Windows 8 sales to rebound in the second half of this year and kept a Buy rating on Microsoft shares... PRICE ACTION: Since the day after last quarter's report, shares of Microsoft have lagged the DJIA significantly. Microsoft has declined over 5% since October 19, while the Dow is up more than 2% over the same time period. However, in afternoon trading ahead of tonight's report, Microsoft is up about 1% to trade near $28.