22 July 2019

Microsoft is like a Monopoly that Just Won’t Die

Michael K. Spencer

Microsoft is the world’s most valuable public company. It is no Amazon or Huawei, but its pivot to the Cloud has been an epic success and Alibaba and Tencent should be taking notes.

Incredibly, half of Microsoft’s acquisitions in 2018 were in the area of video games. Microsoft has tried to copy the success of such solutions as Slack and Twitch, but somehow as a Grandfather of tech company is losing the battle of consumer artificial intelligence and now partners with Alexa, rather than competing against it.

Not part of the volatile FAANG stocks, Microsoft’s stock is rock solid at around $100.00. Azure is easily the second leader in the Cloud that’s still showing incredible global growth and will continue to do so in the 2020s.

Microsoft eclipsed Apple as the world’s most valuable public company by market cap on Nov. 30, and appears to take ethics in technology more seriously than Google, Facebook or Amazon.

Microsoft bought GitHub for $7.5 billion

Microsoft is still acquiring data and hacking open-source, trying to find a way to obtain a talent stream and some of the world’s most relevant B2B data. Microsoft’s Windows 10 is stable, but also the most privacy invasive OS in the history of computing. It’s okay, but certainly not great.

Azure is another story and has been a strong performer and with AWS could even be considered a duopoly in the Cloud for 2019.

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn for a huge amount remains a bit of a head scratcher. While LinkedIn is in China, it’s not exactly very relevant. LinkedIn is a bit like a monopoly by default, not unlike Windows or Microsoft’s legacy generally speaking.

Still, Microsoft was discounted less than other top companies in the FAANG correction in the stocks of November and December 2018. Their strategy to diversify their business is rock solid. Their pivot to the Cloud has been extraordinary.

Microsoft is like a Grandfather of Technology that has become both more mellow and smarter as it has aged. It’s trying to make peace with open-source, the very thing it once tried to crush and squash. Microsoft is like working for the empire that’s been somewhat watered down for developers and engineers. Still, it’s a fire-class performer as a business.

Microsoft has made some of the biggest failures in acquisitions in the history of tech. Yet Microsoft’s investment in cybersecurity, gaming and the Cloud represents the kind of diversified business model which means it will be around for decades to come, unlike perhaps Facebook, Uber or Netflix.
Microsoft is the world’s most valuable Company

Inspite of all its failures, Microsoft is smart.

Microsoft ended 2018 as the most valuable publicly traded company in the world, well ahead of old rivals Apple and Google.

At the time of writing the standing is:

Company Market Cap ($ Billion)

Microsoft $779



Alphabet (Google) $714

Microsoft > FANG stocks. The success of Azure in the cloud bodes well for Alibaba that is likely to dominate the Cloud in Asia.

If you thought AWS was a success story over the last few years, just wait until Alibaba gets going, by 2025 I project it to overtake Microsoft as a Cloud solution. Just as ByteDance is destined to overtake Tencent and Facebook as the consumer mobile app leader, China is coming for these legacy companies.

Satya Nadella has done as good as job as any Tech CEO in recent memory. Microsoft’s reputation is stodgy but solid. Microsoft has had to double-down and pick their tech battles. They may never be a major player in artificial intelligence again, but that’s okay (neither will Apple).

We put up with Microsoft, since for enterprises is still useful. Microsoft needs to accelerate their business partnerships like IBM has done to remain relevant, and it’s good. So you can now control your Xbox using Alexa and sign into your PC using their Samsung phone fingerprint reader.

Cortana exists but is somewhat primitive compared to Google Assistant or Alexa.

For all of 2018, shares of Microsoft rose almost 19 percent. Grandfather tech cares about you, or at least your business. Grandfather cares about ethics in tech, or at least compared to Google and Facebook.

Microsoft has somehow survived the innovation of time and the markets. Do Microsoft enthusiasts exist in 2019? I’d be hard pressed to find them. But Azure is real and Microsoft is still doing a lot of interesting things.

Microsoft has a bruised legacy albeit of betrayed consumers, abandoned products, multiple shifts in direction, botched updates, overly aggressive update practices, and notoriously poor communication — but it’s like that stubborn grandfather you tolerate because they help you remember where you came from.

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