Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been reinventing itself as a strong technology player in the era of digital transformation. The management has been able to impress investors with its turnaround efforts and Microsoft stock has been inching upwards gradually for a while now. MSFT stock closed at $64.75 Wednesday, en route to making another new high on account of favorable news flow coming over the past few days.
Last week, QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) announced its collaboration with Microsoft to speed up the next generation cloud services on its 10 nanometer “Qualcomm Centriq™ 2400” platform. This partnership will extend to multiple future generations of hardware, software, and systems. (Source: “Qualcomm Collaborates with Microsoft to Accelerate Cloud Services on 10nm Qualcomm Centriq 2400 Platform,” QUALCOMM, Inc., March 8, 2017.)
Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies (QDT) has been working with Microsoft on ARM-based server establishment for a number of years now, and this partnership has enabled innovations such as the Qualcomm Centriq 2400, which can be designed and deployed into the data centers rapidly. Microsoft has been active in pushing such hardware innovations in order to bring down costs and strengthen its position against competitors like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
The move is positive for Microsoft stock as it will place the company in a strong position to address the growing demand for server as well as memory technologies. This is also an important step towards enabling the company’s cloud services to run on QDT-based server platforms, stated Dr. Leendert van Doorn, distinguished engineer, Microsoft Azure. (Source: Ibid.)
Microsoft Azure Strength Bodes Well for MSFT Stock
“Microsoft Azure” is one of the growth pillars of the company. The latest quarterly results by Microsoft beat the Street expectations on the back of its cloud business posting stellar growth. The revenue from Microsoft Azure grew 93% year-over-year and the momentum is expected to continue, which will keep MSFT stock buoyant.
In the fiscal first quarter, the company reported a 116% revenue growth in Microsoft Azure, which pushed Microsoft stock to record highs.
The MSFT stock chart below shows this phenomenal run, which is expected to continue further as the company builds its strengths in the emerging high growth areas of cloud computing and artificial intelligence besides strengthening its business productivity tools.
Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com
On Tuesday, besides declaring a dividend, Microsoft also announced the appointment of Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), to its board of directors with immediate effect. LinkedIn was purchased for about $26.0 billion mainly due to the richness of the professional network’s data, which could boost Microsoft’s software suite.
Microsoft Corporation announced the LinkedIn deal in June last year and it was the largest acquisition by the company. Microsoft completed the acquisition on December 8, 2016 and is on its way to compete better with salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM).
“Microsoft Teams” Expands
Microsoft also announced the general availability of “Microsoft Teams,” which is the company’s new chat-based workspace in “Office 365.” The new team collaboration tool is now available to Office 365 customers business customers in over 180 markets. (Source: “Microsoft Teams rolls out to Office 365 customers worldwide,” Microsoft Corporation, March 14, 2017.)
The company has introduced more than 100 new features to Teams since November, as it competes in the business chat app category with “Slack.” The business collaboration space is becoming very competitive with Google-parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) also revamping “Hangouts” by splitting it into “Hangouts Meet” and “Hangouts Chat.”
However, Microsoft has the edge with its chat app being integrated into its Office 365 service and “Microsoft Office,” which will keep it way ahead of the rest and provide strength to MSFT stock.
The Bottom Line on Microsoft Stock
Microsoft Corporation has been known as the technology bellwether and MSFT stock is famous for rich dividends. However, the shift to cloud computing and artificial intelligence has opened up a vast growth landscape for the company and one that it is well positioned to take advantage of. Microsoft stock appears to be on an upward trajectory as the company builds a strong position in the high growth markets.