Are we on the verge of a new era for Microsoft?
The short answer is, "very likely," as long as investors aren't looking for explosive growth and will be happy with steady, predictable growth.
The company will report earningsafter the bell tonight, and while this company has been a dog of a stock for the better part of a decade (unless you were able to miraculously time your ins and outs of these shares have done virtually nothing) the tide might finally be turning for these guys?
Doubt it? Consider: Windows 7 has garnered rare, positive reviews and will ship ahead of schedule, in time for the back-to-school shopping season and in time to take advantage of the anticipated economic turnaround toward the back half of 2009 which could spur a nice enterprise upgrade cycle among Microsoft's biggest corporate customer. A new version of Microsoft Office 2010 is ready for an on-time release. The new search engine "Bing" is also capturing market share from Google , even if only slightly. The search partnership with Yahoo is still a possibility and that would be good for both sides. Xbox and the gaming business might be suffering, but that won't last forever and it promises to pick up around the holiday shopping season.
Microsoft was a $15 stock during those March lows, and has been steadily climbing ever since. And for good reason. And could likely continue since the rally is noticeable, and yet Microsoft, a Dow component, is sorely under-owned by major institutions. It's better today than at the beginning of the year, but still very low. Shares up 24 percent year to date, a nice recovery from the 45 percent plunge they suffered last year.
Tonight, the Street is looking for 36 cents on $14.38 billion in revenue, though I've talked to a number of analysts who fully expect the company to beat consensus and possibly raise guidance. That's certainly nice, but keep in mind that a year ago, Microsoft earned 46 cents on nearly $16 billion. Recessions, unless you're Apple, can be brutal.