Microsoft is locked in a three-way race for the title of the nation’s most-valuable company with Amazon and Apple, with the iPhone maker leading the way for now. All three tech giants will report their latest quarterly financials over the next week, starting today with Microsoft, promising to shake up the race yet again.
Microsoft stock is up 24 percent so far this year, and the tech giant will look to keep the good times rolling when it shares financials for the third quarter of its fiscal year after the market closes this afternoon. Microsoft will look to rebound after surprisingly coming up short on revenue expectations last quarter.
What analysts expect from Microsoft: Earnings of $1 per share on $29.84 billion in revenue, according to analysts surveyed in advance by Yahoo Finance, good for year-over-year growth of nearly 12 percent. Beyond the core numbers, here are a few things we’ll be watching:
- Microsoft’s cloud division has grown rapidly and juiced the company’s bottom line for years. But last quarter, Azure public cloud revenue growth slowed before leveling out at 76 percent for the last quarter. Will Azure hold steady, drop or begin accelerating again?
- As Microsoft reports its earnings, one of its newest rivals, Slack, will host the first day of its annual Frontiers conference. After recently integrating Office 365 into its platform, what will Slack say, and will Microsoft counter with any news from its own workplace collaboration app, Microsoft Teams?
- Microsoft’s gaming division recently unveiled a new Xbox console without a disc drive and extended Xbox Live to iOS and Android devices. These moves are part of a larger strategy that goes beyond its own consoles and focuses on reaching gamers on whatever devices they use. Will the strategy have an impact on the gaming division’s financials, coming off a record year and rapid growth?
It’s been another busy quarter for Microsoft; here are some of the highlights:
- The cloud division continued to pile up partnerships with retailers to battle mutual rival Amazon. This quarter, Microsoft and Kroger unveiled a series of new pilot stores featuring smart shelves with digital displays that update prices dynamically and show personalized icons to help shoppers find items they’ve put on their shopping lists.
- Microsoft’s security teams stayed busy in its long-standing battle against hackers. In March, the company seized 99 websites from a group associated with Iranian hackers.
- Work on the tech giant’s massive campus refresh in its hometown of Redmond, Wash. continued as workers began to knock down the iconic Microsoft “X-Wing” structures — Buildings 1 through 6 and 8 through 10, and a few others.
- Microsoft made the largest pledge for a social cause in its history in January: A $500 million commitment to support affordable housing development in the Seattle area. The pledge includes $475 million for loans to affordable housing developers over three years and another $25 million to services for low-income and homeless residents.
- HoloLens took center stage during the quarter with the unveiling of the next-generation version of the “mixed reality” headset. That came as the company dealt with internal strife over a controversial $480 million contract to supply the U.S. Army with 100,000 HoloLens devices.