Exciting Tech Times May Rub Off on Microsoft: Analyst

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It’s an exciting time to be in technology, as the Yelp initial public offering, the buzz over Facebook and the Nasdaq crossing the 3,000 markattest.

Some of that excitement may rub off on other technology stocks, particularly Microsoft, whose Windows 8 shows it’s ready ready to battle Apple by offering an operating system incorporating touchscreen technology, Nomura research analyst Richard Sherlund told CNBC Friday.

Sherlund, who saw the preview of Windows 8 at a recent conference in Barcelona, thinks it “looks pretty good.”

However, “most people still dislike Microsoft . They think it’s Apple versus Microsoft. That’s probably true for probably 25 percent to 30 percent of the market that’s very consumer-oriented with the iPad,” said the analyst, who has a $37 price target on Microsoft.

“There is another 70 percent to 75 percent of the market where Microsoft has a lot of strength and they’re finally showing up to the game with a product that offers touch as well as the ability to use Office [its software suite] that will create a very exciting upgrade cycle,” he said.

Oracle, on which he has a “buy” rating, showed it was “defocused” in its previous quarter, focusing more on hardware.

“They have to put the salesforce back to what they’re good at, selling software, and build more of their own direct hardware sales organization,” Sherlund said. He’s “a little more optimistic” about Oracle’s quarter that ended in February.

He sees a “wave of IPOs coming” in technology, particularly in enterprise-oriented companies. With the growing importance of cloud computing and social networking “you’re seeing the consumerization in a lot of enterprise IT,” the analyst said.

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Neither Robert Sherlund nor Nomura own Microsoft or Oracle shares, but Nomura makes a market in both.