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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT ) used to be a money-making machine in the software business. When Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL ) was barely keeping the doors open, MSFT was minting money and taking over the operating systems of the world. But that was back when desktop computers were the new hot thing. Over the years, and a stinging anti-trust lawsuit brought by the federal government, MSFT stock had lost some of its seemingly indomitable power.
And its nightmarish foray into the mobile space looked like the software giant's best days were behind it.
But no longer.
In the past year, MSFT stock is up 48%. Earnings are growing and hitting their mark, quarter after quarter. And the business is now diversified and putting up significant competition in the gaming, hardware and cloud sectors as well.
What's Going on With MSFT Stock?
Plus, it continues to show that it has more than a few tricks up its sleeves.
For example, in December, MSFT announced that some of its new Windows 10-driven laptop computers with have Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM ) Snapdragon chip inside so the laptops will operate off wireless mobile service as well as WiFi networks.
This would be a huge move if it works, since it allows to Microsoft to focus solely on developing its Windows platform rather than trying to make it work for mobile devices. The laptop becomes the mobile device and Windows becomes operational on a mobile platform.
Granted, this won't be good news for Microsoft's traditional chip partners Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC ) and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD ), but that is their issue, not Microsoft's.
The point is, this kind of thinking shows that even as a blue chip tech firm with a $732 billion market cap, it is still thinking outside the box to find solutions to its challenges.
Also on the hardware side, its Surface lines of notebooks are getting better reviews with each model release, putting it in direct competition with Apple products.
And the biggest news of all is MSFT's cloud business, which is backbone not only of the company's software business moving forward, but also its fastest growing division.
Azure, as its commercial cloud is called, continues to grow at an impressive pace. And it's giving Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN ) Amazon Web Services (AWS) a run for its money.
AWS is the biggest cloud provider in the world, but MSFT is gaining ground and creating more tempting offers for new clients. Plus, as the cloud becomes a must-have for businesses, many are looking for a back-up provider, not simply a primary one.
Azure is getting both primary and secondary accounts at a double-digit pace, quarter after quarter. It's now the No. 2 cloud provider and just opened data centers in Switzerland and Saudi Arabia to expand its footprint.
Add to all this a solid 1.7% dividend and it's hard not to like MSFT.
Richard Band'sProfitable Investing advisory service helps retirement savers outperform the market without losing a minute of sleep along the way. His straightforward style and low-risk value approach has won seven Best Financial Advisory awards from the Newsletter and Electronic Publishers Foundation.
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