Is Microsoft The Ultimate Value Trap?
Amit Chokshi, CFA • 90 Comments
Amit Chokshi, CFA • 90 Comments
Is Microsoft The Ultimate Value Trap?
Amit Chokshi, CFA • 90 Comments
Amit Chokshi, CFA • 90 Comments
Jan. 21, 2015, 2:35 PM
- Microsoft (MSFT -1.6%) has followed up on its Windows 10 reveal by unveiling new hardware. Getting the most attention is HoloLens, a headset declared to be "the most advanced holographic computer the world has ever seen."
- The device contains a see-through display that allows users to see holograms in their real-world environments, and doesn't require a connection to a PC or phone. Microsoft has christened the augmented reality platform underpinning it Windows Holographic.
- HoloLens is expected to launch around the same time as Windows 10. LCoS microdisplay vendor Himax (HIMX +5.4%), previously rumored to be working with Microsoft, has spiked higher.
- Also unveiled: Surface Hub, an 84" 4K touch display sporting dual cameras and sensors, running Windows 10, and providing quick access to Skype video calls and a digital whiteboard. The product, which presumably won't be cheap, appears to be aimed at conference rooms.
- As rumored, Microsoft's Spartan browser sports a streamlined UI, Cortana integration, a note-taking/annotating stylus mode, and a new rendering engine that delivers improved performance. It also has a Reading Mode that formats Web pages to resemble e-books.
- A slew of new universal apps (they feature similar PC and phone/tablet UIs) have been shown off. OneDrive, a photos app, and a People app are among the covered products. New Office apps for phones and small tablets have been previewed, and so has the ability to run universal Windows apps on the Xbox One.
- Earlier: Microsoft details Windows 10, promises free upgrades
Dec. 18, 2014, 2:04 PM
- With the help of stronger-than-expected hardware sales, Oracle (ORCL +9.2%) beat FQ2 estimates in spite of a 400 bps forex headwind (twice what was originally expected). FQ3 guidance was conservative after taking forex pressures into account.
- The numbers have been good enough for Oracle to surge to new highs and receive a slew of target hikes, and to lead many enterprise tech names to outperform amid a big market rally. The Nasdaq is up 1.9%.
- Microsoft (MSFT +3.2%), Cisco (CSCO +2.3%), EMC (EMC +3.7%), VMware (VMW +5.1%), and beaten-down IBM (IBM +2.8%) are among the enterprise tech names outperforming today. Others: SPLK +4.6%. CA +3.5%. RHT +3.4%. VRNS +6.3%. PCTY +5.8%. JIVE +4.6%. VMEM +5.2%. SAAS +4.7%. BRCD +3.8%.
- Oracle's healthy cloud software numbers are drawing attention: While traditional software license revenue fell 4% Y/Y, its SaaS/PaaS revenue rose 41%. SaaS/PaaS bookings totaled $170M, and are expected to be "well over" $1B in FY16 (ends May '16). Fusion cloud app bookings rose over 100%.
- On the CC (transcript), Oracle performed its customary trash-talking of cloud app rivals. "We are clearly growing faster than Salesforce (CRM +4%) and were more than three times the size of Workday (WDAY +3.2%)." Both firms are posting solid gains.
- Oracle's numbers come as Bloomberg reports the Chinese government is looking to "purge most foreign technology from banks, the military, state-owned enterprises and key government agencies by 2020." IBM, Cisco, and other U.S. firms have already seen their Chinese sales fall sharply following last year's NSA spying uproar.
Dec. 16, 2014, 8:38 AM
- Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) outperformance of late is concerning, says analyst Kash Rangan downgrading to Underperform with $47 price target; especially in an environment of a slowing Win Pro cycle, an "elongated" Consumer Office 365 transition, the challenge of margin leverage, and sell-side exuberance over one-time financial moves.
- Under a "best case" scenario of a $30B buyback and $4B in operating expense cuts, Microsoft could run out of room for earnings growth, leading to a re-rating of the P/E ratio.
- Shares -1.3% premarket
Dec. 4, 2014, 9:49 AM
- Along with its FQ2 results, Barnes & Noble (BKS -11.4%) has announced it's buying Microsoft's (MSFT +1.6%) stake in Nook Media for $62.4M in cash and 2.7M shares (current value of $52.8M). The companies have also "agreed to terminate their commercial agreement." (8-K)
- With Microsoft having invested $300M in Nook Media (contains B&N's Nook hardware, online bookstore, e-book, and college bookstore ops) in 2012 for a 17.6% stake, the software giant is taking a ~$185M loss on its investment.
- B&N's Nook segment revenue (covers hardware, digital content, and accessories) fell 41.3% Y/Y in FQ2 to just $62M, thanks to tough competition from Amazon and ongoing tablet cannibalization of e-readers. B&N's college segment saw revenue rise 1.9% to $751M.
- The sale follows Microsoft's July decision to lay off roughly half the workers in its Nokia phone unit, as part of a broader restructuring.
Nov. 4, 2014, 11:02 AM
- In what's a surprise move given the companies' rivalry, Microsoft (MSFT -0.1%) is partnering with cloud storage/file-syncing giant Dropbox to tightly integrate Office's PC, mobile, and cloud apps with Dropbox's service.
- Among other things, Dropbox users will be able to link their accounts with the Office iPad apps (enabling quick file-viewing, editing, and cloud saving), and the editing of files accessed via Dropbox's Web app will be handled by default through the Office Web Apps, with saved docs than being stored back on Dropbox.
- News of the tie-up comes just a week after Microsoft announced plans to give all Office 365 subs unlimited cloud storage through its OneDrive service (already tightly integrated with Office), thereby deeply undercutting Dropbox and many other rivals.
- Much like many other moves (I, II) Microsoft has made to support rival/alternative platforms since Satya Nadella became CEO, this one seems driven by pragmatism: Dropbox's base include 300M+ users (70% outside the U.S.) and 4M businesses, and its service has been used to store 35B Office docs.
Oct. 23, 2014, 4:30 PM
- Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Commercial revenue rose 10% Y/Y in FQ1 to $12.28B, nearly even with FQ4's 11% growth. Server products/services +13%; Office commercial products +5%; commercial cloud (Azure, Office 365, Dynamics cloud apps) +128%.
- Windows Server, SQL Server, and System Center each grew by double digits, and Lync, SharePoint, and Exchange collectively saw double-digit growth. Windows volume licensing +10%.
- Devices & Consumer revenue (boosted by the Nokia deal) +47% to $10.96B. Phone hardware revenue totaled $2.6B, down from $3.9B a year ago but above guidance of $1.9B-$2.3B. 2.4M Xboxes were sold (+102% thanks to the Xbox One launch), and Office Home/Personal subs rose by ~1.4M Q/Q to 7M+. Surface revenue totaled $908M.
- One soft spot: Dollar-wise, a 9% drop in D&C Licensing revenue to $4.09B more than offset a 16% increase in D&C Other revenue (inc. Web and cloud services) to $1.81B. OEM non-Pro Windows revenue fell 1%, though Windows consumer unit growth was positive.
- Commercial Licensing made up 61% of Microsoft's gross profit, and Commercial Other (inc. cloud services) 5%. D&C Licensing accounted for 26%, and D&C Other just 2%.
- $2.9B was spent on buybacks. The unearned revenue balance rose 11% Y/Y to $22.5B.
- MSFT +2.8% AH. FQ1 results, PR.
Oct. 23, 2014, 4:05 PM
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT): FQ1 GAAP EPS of $0.54 beats by $0.05.
- GAAP Revenue of $23.2B (+25.2% Y/Y) beats by $1.18B.
- Shares +1.8%.
Oct. 20, 2014, 9:19 AM
- IBM missed Q3 estimates, pulled its $20 2015 EPS forecast, and respectively reported 15% and 7% Y/Y drops in hardware revenue and services backlog.
- Big Blue also stated it "saw a marked slowdown in September in client buying behavior," and declared its numbers "also point to the unprecedented pace of change in our industry" (at least partially a reference to cloud services adoption).
- SAP missed Q3 revenue estimates (while posting in-line EPS), reported a 3% Y/Y drop in traditional software license revenue, and (citing the cloud transition) cut its full-year op. profit outlook.
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) -0.8% premarket. H-P (NYSE:HPQ) -2% premarket. Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) -1.8%. EMC -0.8%. There's a good chance other enterprise IT names will trade lower as well.
Sep. 17, 2014, 9:02 AM
- The 10.7% boost in the quarterly payout to $0.31 per share (an annualized yield of 2.65% based on last night's close) is below expectations, says Goldman, maintaining its Sell rating and $36 price target.
- The increase, however, was roughly inline with a Bloomberg survey which estimated the dividend being lifted to $0.30.
- Among those positing a more aggressive move was Citi's Walter Pritchard, who saw a boost of maybe 25% along with targeting a payout ratio of around 70% for the fiscal year ending next June.
- MSFT -1% premarket
- Previously: Microsoft hikes dividend 11%, adds two new directors
Sep. 10, 2014, 2:38 PM
Jul. 23, 2014, 8:09 AM
- "We are becoming more constructive on Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) as the company starts to provide more compelling evidence of its move to the cloud," says Pacific Crest's Brendan Barnicle, boosting the stock to Outperform with $54 price target. He notes an acceleration in the company's cloud business last quarter thanks to increased adoption of its Azure and Office 365 offerings.
- BofA's Kash Rangan throws in the towel on his Underperform rating, saying his team's concerns are apparently not so worrisome to those who invest in the stock.
- Shares +2.3% premarket
- Previously: Microsoft Corporation misses by $0.06, beats on revenue
Jul. 22, 2014, 4:18 PM
- Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Commercial revenue rose 11% Y/Y in FQ4 to $13.48B, an improvement from FQ3's 7% growth. Commercial cloud revenue +147% ($4.4B/year run rate), Windows volume licensing +11%, enterprise services +11%, SQL Server and System each up double-digits.
- Thanks to two months of Nokia phone revenue, devices & consumer revenue rose 42% to $10B. Windows OEM revenue +3%, with Pro revenue rising 9% and non-Pro revenue falling 9%.
- Office consumer revenue +21%, with the Office 365 home/personal sub base growing by over 1M to 5.6M+. Bing search ad revenue rose 40%, but display ad sales fell 11%.
- The Nokia unit contributed $1.99B in revenue, but only $54M in gross profit. It took an $0.08 toll on EPS. On the other hand, the end of Microsoft's commercial agreement with Nokia provided a $382M one-time op. profit boost.
- MSFT +0.2% AH. CC at 5:30PM, guidance will be provided.
- FQ4 results, PR
Jul. 17, 2014, 9:16 AM
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is cutting ~14% of its 125K-strong workforce. 12.5K of the cuts will hit Nokia's phone unit, thereby reducing its size by roughly half.
- The layoffs are expected to be finished by the end of FY15 (ends June '15), and to result in a $1.1B-$1.6B charge. $750M-$800M of that total will be related to severance and other benefit costs, and $350M-$800M will be tied to asset-related charges.
- In a new employee memo, Satya Nadella says Microsoft is now moving to eliminate the first 13K positions, and will still continue to add jobs in some areas. "We will simplify the way we work to drive greater accountability, become more agile and move faster ... we plan to have fewer layers of management, both top down and sideways."
- He suggests Microsoft will streamline the Nokia phone lineup, and will "focus on breakthrough innovation" on the high-end. Certain low-end Nokia X (Android) devices will be migrated to Windows Phone.
- The move comes after last week's memo shied away from Steve Ballmer's "Devices & Services" mantra, and suggested big changes in product strategy and engineering processes were afoot.
Jul. 16, 2014, 1:00 PM
- Microsoft (MSFT +3.4%) has surged to new post-Dot.com bubble highs following Intel's Q2 results and multiple reports pointing to big layoffs in the wake of Satya Nadella's memo.
- In addition to beating Q2 estimates, Intel provided strong Q3 and full-year guidance, and respectively reported 6% and 19% Y/Y sales increases for its PC and server CPU reporting segments. On its CC, Intel noted it's seeing "clear signs" of a business PC refresh cycle, while adding consumer/emerging markets PC demand remains soft.
- Intel's cloud, HPC, and enterprise server-related sales each rose over 15% Y/Y. The upcoming launch of Intel's Grantley Xeon CPUs is expected to provide a boost to server demand, as is Microsoft's plan to end Windows Server 2003 support by July 2015. A shift in spend towards Internet companies using cheap white-label hardware (often running on Linux) remains a headwind.
- The layoff reports suggest roughly 1/5 of the Finnish workers that joined Microsoft via the Nokia deal will be cut loose. Look for details to be provided during the July 22 FQ4 CC.
Jul. 15, 2014, 10:51 AM
- As part of their longstanding alliance, Cisco (CSCO - unchanged) and Microsoft (MSFT +0.1%) have signed a new 3-year "go-to-market plan" featuring tech integration and sales/marketing partnerships for a slew of data center products.
- On Cisco's side, the products covered include its Nexus data center switches and UCS servers - two bright spots for the company. On Microsoft's site, they include Windows Server, SQL Server, System Center, and Azure.
- The deal, which comes amid Microsoft's partner conference (previous), also features a program to migrate Windows Server 2003 clients to UCS systems running Windows Server 2012 R2. Nonetheless, Microsoft and Cisco remain rivals in the unified communications software space.
- Separately, the WSJ reports Microsoft is close to buying Aorato, an Israeli developer of cybersecurity/identity-protection software, for $200M.
- Aorato's products analyze interactions with Microsoft's Active Directory (enterprise authentication/ID management) service to detect suspicious activity, and prevent unauthorized access to IT resources.
- The report follows the launch of an Azure identity/access management service in March, and comes amid a flurry of cybersecurity M&A activity.
Jun. 12, 2014, 4:26 PM
- Citing stronger-than-expected business PC demand, Intel (INTC) now expects Q2 revenue of $13.4B-$14B, better than prior guidance of $12.5B-$13.5B and a $13B consensus.
- Moreover, the chip giant now expects "some revenue growth" for the whole of 2014, after previously guiding for flat sales; the consensus is for 0.7% growth.
- Full-year R&D/MG&A spending guidance has been upped by $300M to $19B-$19.4B.
- The guidance hike follows several quarters of narrowing PC shipment declines, thanks in large part to healthy corporate demand. Windows 7 system purchases tied to Microsoft's decision to end Windows XP support have played a key role.
- Other PC industry names are up in sympathy: MSFT +1% AH. AMD +1.4%. HPQ +0.8%. NVDA +0.7%.
Microsoft Corp. develops and markets software, services and hardware that deliver new opportunities, greater convenience and enhanced value to people's lives. The company's products include operating systems for computing devices, servers, phones, and other intelligent devices; server... More
Industry: Application Software
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