Over the past 18 months, Microsoft’s stocks have rallied and risen by almost 70% helping the company to reclaim its spot as world’s second most valuable company behind Apple Inc. Microsoft’s market cap jumped to $410 billion which is a far cry from its value of $616 billion in 1999. For most of the past decade, Microsoft has been seen as a tech giant struggling to stay relevant and adapt to new tech trends and consumer habits. For years Microsoft’s primary source of revenue was personal computer market which is dwindling and whatever is left of it is being taken up by Apple, forcing the company to look for other sources of revenue. Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia for over $7.2 billion represents a change in its stand and an attempt to replicate Apple’s model of controlling both hardware and software.
Under the leadership of Satya Nadella, Microsoft has shown to be a leaner company, shedding unnecessary divisions and working towards alternative sources of revenue. Nadella has announced new initiatives to expand in cloud computing, which promises to be more lucrative than the traditional primary model of selling softwares that are installed on clients’ computers. Microsoft has also promised an efficient sync between hardware and software. It has also released versions of other popular software for smartphones and tablets, on devices made by various manufacturers including their competitor Apple. Even though Nadella still faces challenges and the company is still reliant on a market which doesn’t represent growth opportunities, Microsoft has done the best job in trying to adapt to the new market as compared to other tech giants like IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell.
Microsoft shares have outperformed the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite Index, which gained about 45 percent in the same 18-month period. The stock hit $50.04 on Friday, its highest point since early 2000, before slipping to the $49.50 in afternoon trading.
While Apple has gone on to become world’s most valuable company, Microsoft has faded. There was a time when the latter bailed out former, if Microsoft doesn’t show the courage to follow up with bold steps, the future appears to be bleak.