NEW YORK – A small, but growing number of analysts believe that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is slowly positioning themselves for growth. They point to several projects and acquisitions, including the Nokia (NYSE:NOK) deal as proof of the company’s progress.
On the Windows 8 front, the much-maligned operating system has recently been retrofitted to make the transition from Windows 7 a lot less painful. The company has also upgraded MS Office with support for iOS and Android applications and analysts point to the growth of Microsoft’s subscription based office solution and the sustained progress with the Dynamics and Azure platforms.
For this small group of analysts, they are convinced that while Microsoft let mobile pass them by, they are staking a claim in the cloud. For example, Windows Azure has grown to a $1 billion business and includes almost all of the Fortune 500 in as customers; the business is set to grow as utilization of cloud computing is growing by more than 30 percent annually.
Microsoft is also going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that their cloud solutions are secure, including with multi-factor authentication wherein users can log on with a smart phone application, an automated voice call or a test message with a passcode, in addition to the traditional user name and password entry. Just this past week, the company received provisional authority to operate status from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program’s (FedRAMP) Joint Authorization Board.
Microsoft Dynamics has also become a player in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) area where it competes head-to-head with salesforce (NYSE:CRM), SAP (NYSE:SAP), Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), and IBM (NYSE:IBM) among others. According to Gartner (NYSE:IT), Dynamics revenue has already surpassed $ 1 billion and is growing at an annual growth rate of 26 percent. Microsoft Point of Sale (POS) is also used by hundreds of retailers and integrated into accounting, CRM, purchasing and inventory management. The recent addition of time and expense tracking capability through third party Journyx is an example of how specialized software suppliers are customizing their offerings to work on the Dynamics platform.
So while Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), has been able to capture the world’s attention with gadgets that help to pass time, Microsoft has been busy building a value web of solutions to help businesses be more productive in an always connected world. For this reason, several analysts are picking Microsoft to rebound in the coming years while they see a slump for Apple on the horizon.
Shares of Microsoft closed ended the week at $ 33.68 and are up nearly 28 percent year-to-date.