Another Lost Decade for Microsoft?
Thursday, February 7th, 2013
By George Leong, B.Comm. for Profit Confidential
BlackBerry (NASDAQ/BBRY;TSX/BB), formerly known as Research In Motion, surged 12% on Monday after an upgrade from Bernstein Research to an “Outperform” and a $22.00 price target. Market optimism toward the company’s newly launched “BlackBerry 10” (BB10) operating system and line of devices is driving some speculative money into the stock.
And while there’s some excitement around BB10, the same cannot be said for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ/MSFT) and its new “Surface” tablet operating on “Windows 8.” The Surface looks pretty good; but in my view, the price point is too high and well, Microsoft just doesn’t have a following in the lucrative and quickly growing mobile sector—that will take time.
The reality is that Microsoft’s glory days are over, and I doubt they will come back, based on what I’m seeing at this time. The Surface is not turning out to be a killer product.
Microsoft is no longer the stock that Wall Street craved in the 1990s, when the stock price traded at a record high of over $58.00 in December 1999. That was then. In the 12 years since, the maker of the Windows operating system has fallen by over 50%, and the stock, once held in high regard by institutions and retail investors, has become a non-factor in the technology sector, based on my stock analysis.
Microsoft, like many other companies in the personal computer (PC) market, is struggling with the sliding demand for PCs, as tablets accelerate in popularity, based on my stock analysis.
Revenues are estimated by Thomson Financial to grow eight percent in fiscal 2013 and 8.4% in fiscal 2014. My stock analysis indicates that these growth metrics pale in comparison with the new generation of technology growth stocks, such as Google Inc. (NASDAQ/GOOG), which is estimated by Thomson Financial to grow its revenues by 44.0% this year and 14.8% in 2013. Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ/FB), which is trying to convince the market that it’s the real deal, is slated to grow revenues at 30.8% and 27.3%, respectively, for 2012 and 2013. (Read “Why Facebook May Be Ready for Prime Time.”) The reality is that Wall Street wants to see growth, and Microsoft is not delivering, according to my stock analysis.
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My stock analysis suggests that the Windows 8 smartphones have some catching up to do. Microsoft has to convince smartphone buyers that the Windows 8 platform is superior to Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ/AAPL) “iOS”, Blackberry’s BB10, and Google’s “Android” platforms, which are the market leaders, according to my stock analysis
Microsoft’s initial entry into the hardware market with its Surface tablet is looking decent; albeit, I wouldn’t be betting my money on success, based on my stock analysis.
While gaining market acceptance for the Surface tablet and Windows 8 smartphones will be a challenge, Microsoft cannot rest; Microsoft needs to go back to the strategy room. And according to my stock analysis, continued declines in the PC market will hurt the company more, and this could eventually lead to another decade of futility for Microsoft shareholders.
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