Morgan Stanley Analysts Reiterate $245 Price Target, See Promising Future in Microsoft’s Gaming Business

On Thursday, Morgan Stanley analysts reiterated their Overweight rating on Microsoft (MSFT) with a $245 price target. The analysts see great upside for Microsoft ahead of new Xbox console launches and following the $7.5B acquisition of game developer and publisher Bethesda Softworks.

The long-awaited release of the Xbox Series X/S console is approaching quickly. As expected, Microsoft should experience an uptick in hardware sales driven by the increase of “work/stay/play at home” activities from consumers. “The increase in gaming hardware revenue in FY21 vs.FY20 of $779 million in our model is already pressuring our existing FY21 gross margin estimates by ~35bps”, stated by Morgan Stanley analysts.

The analysts further noted: “Microsoft’s revenue base has grown meaningfully since (MSe $156 billion revenue in FY21 vs $110 billion in FY18), thus making the margin dilutive effect less meaningful now, in our view. Despite this modest gross margin headwind, we look for FY21

Read More
Read More

Microsoft’s Apple workaround: How Xbox could bring Project xCloud to iOS via the web in 2021

Project xCloud, as shown at the Xbox E3 Showcase in the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live, Sunday, June 9, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Xbox/AP Images)

Microsoft is working on a browser-based edition of its cloud gaming service Project xCloud, according to multiple reports. Business Insider reported that Xbox chief Phil Spencer told Microsoft employees at a meeting Wednesday that the company will pursue a “direct browser-based solution” for bringing the cloud-based, multi-platform version of its Xbox Game Pass subscription service to Apple’s family of devices. The Verge cites unnamed sources confirming the plans.

This news comes almost a month after Apple launched a new set of rules for its App Store in September. It would have allowed Microsoft to officially bring an xCloud app to iOS, but only if each game on the service was submitted to Apple as a separate playable app. As there

Read More
Read More

Microsoft’s new ‘hybrid workplace’ policy will make working from home a permanent part of the mix

Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Microsoft has released new “hybrid workplace” guidance that lays out how employees can have a more flexible remote work schedule and even relocate elsewhere in the country as the tech giant continues to adjust to changing needs during the ongoing pandemic.

The Verge first reported on the internal messaging Friday, saying that Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft will allow employees to work from home freely for less than 50 percent of their working week, and managers will be able to approve permanent remote work.

RELATED: Death of the HQ? Pandemic hits commercial real estate, but long-term trends still open to debate

Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s chief people officer, said in a note to employees that the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged everyone to “think, live, and work in new ways.”

“We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual work styles, while

Read More
Read More

20 years after Microsoft’s antitrust fight, Steve Ballmer betting that Big Tech won’t be broken up

Steve Ballmer. (GeekWire File Photo / Dan DeLong)

Twenty years after Microsoft waged its own antitrust battle with the U.S. government, former CEO Steve Ballmer is betting that Congress won’t break up Big Tech this time around.

In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday (below), Ballmer was reacting to a U.S. House antitrust subcommittee report released this week that found challenges presented by the dominance and business practices of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

RELATED: House antitrust probe says Amazon has ‘monopoly power’ over sellers, company slams ‘fringe’ findings

“I’ll bet money that they will not be broken up,” Ballmer told CNBC.

The 450-page report from the subcommittee’s Democratic leaders concludes a 16-month investigation into the four companies as the operators of major online markets. It finds that the market power of the tech giants “has diminished consumer choice, eroded innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S. economy, weakened the vibrancy

Read More
Read More

Microsoft’s Mixer Streamers Flock to Twitch Instead of Facebook

(Bloomberg) — When Microsoft Corp. shut down Mixer in July, the company encouraged the livestreaming service’s stars to move to Facebook Inc. Instead, the majority have migrated to Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch, including Tyler Blevins, the gamer known as Ninja.

Loading...

Load Error

Twitch’s market share of hours streamed jumped to 91% in the third quarter, up 15% from the second quarter, according to a report from streaming-software provider Streamlabs, which used data from Stream Hatchet. Before its shutdown, Mixer held a 14% share of livestreaming content.

Meanwhile, Facebook Gaming’s market share for hours streamed increased by only 1%, and YouTube Gaming’s actually fell by 1.2% in the third quarter. In recent months, star players such as Shroud and FaZe Ewok moved back to Twitch. Blevins, who has 16 million followers on the site, returned to the service in September.

Streamers like Ninja were on Twitch for years before being lured to

Read More
Read More

U.S. government scrutinizes Microsoft’s hiring practices as tech giant looks to boost diversity

Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Microsoft in June announced a sweeping racial justice plan, including an initiative to spend $150 million on diversity and inclusion programs, and double its number of Black and African American managers and senior employees by 2025 in the U.S.

Now the United States Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is taking a closer look at the company’s hiring and whether it constitutes unlawful discrimination on the basis of race.

“We have every confidence that Microsoft’s diversity initiative complies fully with all U.S. employment laws,” Dev Stahlkopf, corporate vice president and general counsel at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post published Tuesday. “We look forward to providing the OFCCP with this information and, if necessary, defending our approach.”

The OFCCP asks Microsoft to “prove that the actions we are taking to improve opportunities are not illegal race-based

Read More
Read More

How Microsoft’s customer data tools are competing with Salesforce

  • Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 tools for customer service and financial planning, are becoming an increasingly important part of its business, particularly its customer data platform.
  • Microsoft’s customer data platform is meant to help companies collect customer information in one central place, so that they can use it to improve customer service. 
  • Dynamics 365 as a whole has the potential to become a much bigger and stronger competitor to Salesforce in the customer data space, Futurum Research analyst Dan Newman told Business Insider. 
  • Microsoft’s product is designed to connect to any data collection tool, whether Microsoft owns it or not, which gives customers more flexibility than Salesforce does, he said. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 tools for customer service and financial planning, are becoming an increasingly important part of its business and seeing healthy growth, too: Last quarter the product’s revenue jumped 38% year-over-year.

The centerpiece of

Read More
Read More

Microsoft’s Azure AD authentication outage: What went wrong

azureadoutage.jpg

Credit: Microsoft

On September 28 and September 29 this week, a number of Microsoft customers worldwide were impacted by a cascading series of problems resulting in many being unable to access their Microsoft apps and services. On October 1, Microsoft posted its post-mortem about the outages, outlining what happened and next steps it plans to take to head this kind of issue off in the future.

Starting around 5:30 p.m. ET on Monday, September 28, customers began reporting they couldn’t sign into Microsoft and third-party applications which used Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) for authentication. (Yes, this means Office 365 and other Microsoft cloud services.) Those who were already signed in were less likely to have had issues. According to Microsoft’s report, users in the Americas and Australia were likely to be impacted more than those in Europe and Asia.

Microsoft acknowledged it was a service update targeting an internal

Read More
Read More

List: The leaders determining Microsoft’s future in healthcare

Tech giants like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are pushing deeper into healthcare as more health services go online, AI becomes a key part of drug research, and doctors start monitoring patients’ health from home.

Microsoft for its part has organized its cloud, AI, and research expertise to find healthcare-specific uses for its technology. With Peter Lee at the helm, the healthcare team is defining the tech giant’s evolving strategy and has bold ambitions to reinvent how doctors deliver medicine.  

One of its biggest projects to date is “Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare,” the company’s first cloud kit designed specifically for the needs of one industry. From its Teams chat app to storage, the service will include versions of existing products as well as new ones, like transcribing tools for doctors. 

It’s evidence of Microsoft’s new strategy — tailoring its tech tools for specific industries — to grow its all-important cloud

Read More
Read More

Microsoft’s innovative new tools for the ‘new normal’

Everybody who survives 2020 will look back on it as a year that stood outside the normal flow of our lives. Tech vendors have had to adapt to the chaotic storm of events that has turned global society upside down.

In addition to the FAANG vendors (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google), Microsoft will remain one of the dominant figures in the eventual post-pandemic phase of our lives. This week at its now virtual-only annual Ignite conference, the Redmond, Washington-based cloud powerhouse cemented its position as an innovation leader.

We could easily focus on Microsoft’s numerous tweaks to its Azure cloud portfolio and Office productivity tools, but these are less interesting than the new and enhanced solutions that are positioning the company for life after COVID-19.

In this coming social order, the most pivotal technologies will be those that enable greater social distancing, more productive remote collaboration, more fluidly immersive reality,

Read More
Read More