However, I don’t think I would be counting BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ/BBRY) in this group, as the former high-flyer and king of smartphones could soon be a thing of the past. (Read “The Only Way Apple Will Survive the Cutthroat Mobile Market.”) The newest BlackBerry device wasn’t even in the top-five in U.S. sales according to comScore, Inc. (Source: “comScore Reports June 2013 U.S. Smartphone Subscriber Market Share,” comScore, Inc. web site, August 7, 2013, last accessed August 21, 2013.)
According to comScore’s report, the top company was Apple with a 39.9% share of the U.S. smartphone market as of the end of June; Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. was second at a distant 23.7%, while the next three in line (HTC Corporation, Motorola Solutions, Inc., and LG Electronics Inc.) only accounted for a combined 22.3% of the U.S. market.
But while BlackBerry is now up for sale and waving the white flag, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ/MSFT) is only starting to enter the market, trying to regain its title as the top dog in technology.
In my view, Microsoft is intriguing because of the diversity and broadness of its business. The company trails far behind in the lucrative mobile market, but its “Windows 8” mobile platform appears to be closing in on BlackBerry at three percent in May versus 4.8% for BlackBerry. Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ/GOOG) “Android” operating system was tops in the smartphone platform market with 52.4% market share in May, versus 29.2% for Apple’s “iOS.”
And while Microsoft won’t likely catch up to Apple or Samsung, the company has other weapons in its product arsenal that could help drive its shares higher.
I really like the gaming and home entertainment businesses of Microsoft; that includes its online phoning and texting service “Skype” and its “Xbox” gaming consoles.
For Microsoft to regain its luster in the stock market, the company needs to execute and deliver good products and solutions to the mobile market. The old Microsoft is no longer relevant.
The chart of Microsoft below shows the superlative rise of the company from 1986 to 2000. Since the technology implosion in 2000, Microsoft has never been the same, languishing in a sideways channel though showing some upward moves in recent years.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
One thing is for sure: Microsoft’s current valuation of 10.51X its fiscal 2015 earnings is attractive and, in my view, assigns minimal growth to Microsoft. If the company can deliver new products in the mobile arena, then we could expect the company’s revenue growth to pick up from its bland 6.6% for fiscal 2015, and Microsoft would be able to trade at a higher multiple.