Skype 4: Another Big Catalyst For Microsoft

Jun.27.12 | About: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)

Despite a decline over the years, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is still quite a stable company. The company continues to innovate and maintain its strong status in the industry, which attracts many investors to the stock. Microsoft keeps surprising its consumers with newly-improved software and applications that enable users to better enjoy activities related to entertainment, gaming, and even work. Microsoft has many exciting products that it has either recently released or will be releasing soon, and these should have positive impacts on the stock. As a result, I believe Microsoft is a good stock for investors, both in the short term and the long term.

Microsoft recently impressed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, as the company introduced Xbox SmartGlass. This is an application that will run on Windows 8, and it will link a tablet or smartphone to the user's TV using the Xbox 360 console. The Xbox 360 will serve as the main control for the operation. The main purpose of SmartGlass is to improve the experience of users, both with watching movies and with gaming. In essence, Microsoft wants this application to be the centerpiece for everything electronic. While this application is free, it should help boost profits from Windows 8, as this operating system will be required to get SmartGlass.

Microsoft has been receiving much attention for the upcoming release of Windows 8, but there are some that wonder whether its price will prevent it from making a huge impact on the company. While Microsoft continues to charge substantial amounts for upgrades, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) offers low prices for upgrades of its OS. This is mere speculation, but it is certainly an issue that may dampen the importance of the upcoming release of Windows 8.

Microsoft will also announce details about its Windows Phone 8, and some have begun to note issues with this as well. Some users want features that Microsoft is not likely to address, including improved sharing through Twitter and automatic app updates. I really think these complaints are minor, and I expect people to respond well to Microsoft's announcement. After all, it should be boasting improved graphics, faster processor support, and a better camera. It should also feature Nokia (NYSE:NOK) maps, which is much better than Bing maps. These enhancements seem much more important, and I believe the company will get a positive response to its announcement about Windows Phone 8.

Looking at other operating systems on mobile devices, Microsoft continues to experience competition from Apple's iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android. A recent study found that developers prefer to code for iOS, although 55% also code for Google's Android. By comparison, only 14% coded for Window's Phone, so Microsoft is still far behind the competition in this area. It is beating Research In Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry, however, as only 9% wrote software for BlackBerry. While Windows Phone 8 will have great improvements, therefore, it may struggle to get a great response if developers continue to stray away from that platform.

This may not be the case much longer, however, as research shows that more developers are starting to move to the Windows Phone platform, especially in comparison to BlackBerry. While the recent study shows that iOS and Android still dominate, Windows Phone is rising and may begin to take a larger portion of the market share. This research report, therefore, nullifies the bad news and shows that Microsoft should only continue to get stronger. This is impressive, furthermore, as the company has already established itself as a leader in the tech industry.

Microsoft is moving forward in other interesting ways as well. For example, it has recently released Skype 4 for Linux. This shows that Microsoft is paying attention to the potential of Linux, and it is trying to gain an edge through moves like this one. The company had already begun supporting Linux distributions on Windows Azure, but this is its first "mass-market, end-user Linux desktop program." The Linux desktop has been growing over the past year, but it still has not become a major part of the industry. This is an early move for Microsoft, but if Linux continues to grow in popularity, Microsoft's actions may eventually become more important. For the time being, however, I think this is a minor event that will not impact the stock. It is potentially an interesting sign of things to come though.

There is more exciting news from the company, as Microsoft may be manufacturing its first Windows 8 tablet by itself. There are questions as to whether the company can succeed with this, as it has had some problems in the past. I think this is an exaggerated concern though, as Microsoft has also achieved great success in certain areas. I would advise investors to keep updated on these rumors, and look for information about the tablet as it goes through development. I have high hopes for it, however, especially with the improving success of Windows Phones. I think the company's tablet should be a great success as well.

Windows 8, SmartGlass, and other new products are certainly causes for excitement. There are potential issues with some of these new developments. For example, the price for Windows 8 may prevent it from achieving such great success. Regardless, the company is doing a lot to move forward, and its Windows Phone platform is beginning to attract more attention from developers. Google and Apple may be the leaders in the mobile market for now, but this may change in the long run. I have high expectations for Microsoft, and I believe the stock will be increasing. The company will likely keep gaining strength and do well in the longer term as well.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.