Microsoft May Be Set for Prime Time

Why George Leong is saying that Microsoft is ready for prime time.Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ/MSFT) presented muted results after its fiscal first-quarter revenues were only marginally above estimates, while its earnings were in-line. The stock has been a disappointment over the past decade, becoming viewed as a boring technology play with limited growth and a lack of vision.

While the stock market has seen some impressive gains from other key tech companies, Microsoft has been a laggard—but that could change soon. I’m not saying it will become one of the top stocks in the stock market, but Microsoft could become more attractive to the growth investor.

Whenever a company comes up with a new and potentially huge product, it does so with the help of many other companies. This is where Microsoft comes in, as it will be riding the coattails of Nokia Corporation (NYSE/NOK) while it rejuvenates itself to battle for smartphone and cell phone supremacy. Investors in Microsoft could be in for some fast and easy profits.

Just ask the early investors in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ/AAPL). I’m not saying Microsoft will be similar, but the alliance with Nokia may yet prove to be the trigger needed to jumpstart the stock.

Based on my past experience, I can say that not all of the companies involved will see an immediate boost, but often the stocks of these companies can make excellent long-term investments if purchased at the right price and time. And the time for buying Microsoft is now.

That’s exactly what I’ve found with this rebound opportunity. The stock market always provides opportunities and Microsoft appears to be one. However, note that this is not a specific buy recommendation; just an example of an opportunity out there.

Microsoft has seen its stock do absolutely nothing for the past decade in the stock market where it has been dead money for investors, while other stocks have made enormous returns.

But the time appears to be ripe for Microsoft to break out of its sleep as a boring, former high-flying technology stock that needs a kick to drive up the share price and attract buyers. The company needs to generate the excitement it once had when it showed up at trade shows. Selling its operating system is not enough, as PCs are becoming relics.

The big money is in the mobile market. Eventually PCs and laptops could be a thing of the past only found in museums for your kids or grandkids to see. Remember the typewriter? Take a trip to the Smithsonian and you’ll see one on display. The same could happen to PCs and laptops in less than a decade and even as early as a few years. The advent of the tablet computer is the first step towards the demise of the PC and laptop.

Microsoft took another step forward with its $8.5-billion acquisition of Skype, which was approved in the United States in June 2011 and is awaiting approval in Europe from the competition bureaus. The addition of Skype communication application will strengthen the product offering in the new Nokia “Windows” phone. Microsoft will provide the Windows software to develop a high-power, next-generation Nokia smartphone to compete against the likes of Apple, Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ/RIMM), Samsung, and the recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (NYSE/MMI) by Google Inc. (NASDAQ/GOOG). Trust me, Google knows what it is doing, as it will flood the market with “Android”-powered Google-based Motorola phones. Doesn’t the Nokia-Microsoft alliance make more sense?

Just imagine the opportunities for Microsoft given the size of the global cell phone market. There are estimated to be over five billion cell phone users, according to the United Nations. That is a lot of phones, so the battle for market share will be intense.

The demand for smartphones will continue to grow rapidly, as we see more and more content and applications move to the mobile phone. Mobile broadband is becoming more significant. There are estimated to be over one billion broadband subscribers in 2010, according to the International Telecommunication Union. This is why smartphones are becoming more critical products and why Microsoft needs to be there.

In a few years, there’s a chance that Microsoft may become one of the top stocks for growth investors.

Another interesting stock in technology is China-based iSoftStone Holdings Limited (NYSE/ISS), which you can read about in Selective Tech Investing the Key to Success. Add it to your list of the top stocks to look into in this area.

Stocks may be looking to go higher, but you also need to be careful and make sure you have proper risk management in place. Read my How to Survive During This Economic Chaos article and out how you can protect your portfolio.