The Company generally does not indemnify end-users of its operating system and application software against legal claims that the software infringes third-party intellectual property rights. Other agreements entered into by the Company sometimes include indemnification provisions under which the Company could be subject to costs and/or damages in the event of an infringement claim against the Company or an indemnified third-party. However, the Company has not been required to make any significant payments resulting from such an infringement claim asserted against it or an indemnified third-party and, in the opinion of management, does not have a liability related to unresolved infringement claims subject to indemnification that would materially adversely affect its financial condition or operating results. Therefore, the Company did not record a liability for infringement costs related to indemnification as of either March 26, 2011 or September 25, 2010.
The Company has entered into indemnification agreements with its directors and executive officers. Under these agreements, the Company has agreed to indemnify such individuals to the fullest extent permitted by law against liabilities that arise by reason of their status as directors or officers and to advance expenses incurred by such individuals in connection with related legal proceedings. It is not possible to determine the maximum potential amount of payments the Company could be required to make under these agreements due to the limited history of prior indemnification claims and the unique facts and circumstances involved in each claim. However, the Company maintains directors and officers liability insurance coverage to reduce its exposure to such obligations, and payments made under these agreements historically have not been material.
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
The Company’s market risk profile has not changed significantly during the first six months of 2011.
Interest Rate and Foreign Currency Risk Management
The Company regularly reviews its foreign exchange forward and option positions, both on a stand-alone basis and in conjunction with its underlying foreign currency and interest rate related exposures. However, given the effective horizons of the Company’s risk management activities and the anticipatory nature of the exposures, there can be no assurance the hedges will offset more than a portion of the financial impact resulting from movements in either foreign exchange or interest rates. In addition, the timing of the accounting for recognition of gains and losses related to mark-to-market instruments for any given period may not coincide with the timing of gains and losses related to the underlying economic exposures and, therefore, may adversely affect the Company’s financial condition and operating results.
Interest Rate Risk
While the Company is exposed to interest rate fluctuations in many of the world’s leading industrialized countries, the Company’s interest income and expense is most sensitive to fluctuations in the general level of U.S. interest rates. As such, changes in U.S. interest rates affect the interest earned on the Company’s cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, the fair value of those investments, as well as costs associated with foreign currency hedges.
The Company’s investment policy and strategy are focused on preservation of capital and supporting the liquidity requirements of the Company. A portion of the Company’s cash is managed by external managers within the guidelines of the Company’s investment policy and to objective market benchmarks. The Company’s internal portfolio is benchmarked against external manager performance.
The Company’s exposure to market risk for changes in interest rates relates primarily to the Company’s investment portfolio. The Company typically invests in highly rated securities and its policy generally limits the amount of credit exposure to any one issuer. The Company’s investment policy requires investments to generally be investment grade, primarily rated single-A or better with the objective of minimizing the potential risk of principal loss. All highly liquid investments with initial maturities of three months or less at the date of purchase are classified as cash equivalents. The Company classifies its marketable securities as either short-term or long-term based on each instrument’s underlying contractual maturity date. All short-term marketable securities have maturities less than 12 months, while all long-term marketable securities have maturities greater than 12 months. The Company may sell certain of its marketable securities prior to their stated maturities for strategic reasons including, but not limited to anticipation of credit deterioration and duration management.
Foreign Currency Risk
In general, the Company is a net receiver of currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Accordingly, changes in exchange rates, and in particular a strengthening of the U.S. dollar, will negatively affect the Company’s net sales and gross margins as expressed in U.S. dollars. There is also a risk that the Company will have to adjust local currency product pricing due to competitive pressures when there has been significant volatility in foreign currency exchange rates.