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MSFT Strong As Market Rises
Stocks are on the rise to kick off the new year as ISM Manufacturing report beat expectations and data out of China overshadowed ongoing European debt fears. Shares of MSFT are up ~2% with the rest of tech. Upcoming catalysts include Windows 8 next year; entrance into the tablet market (see below); Windows Phone 7 / Mango rollout and adoption with hardware partner Nokia; strides against current market leaders in cloud computing; making money in the online business, including integration of Skype and improving the search / display business; and continued evolution of Kinect and next generation Xbox. The stock currently trades at 7x Enterprise Value / TTM Free Cash Flow.Supply Chain Readying For Wintel Tablets In The Second Half Of 2012 (DigiTimes)
PC vendors Acer and Lenovo are set to launch tablets based on Microsoft’s Windows 8 in the third quarter of 2012, according to supply chain sources. These same sources believe Wintel-based tablets will have strong potential in the enterprise market where users still have demand for familiar Microsoft-developed applications. Shipments of iPad accounted for 60% of the tablet PC market in 2011 and with an expected 50% on-year shipment growth, Apple is expected to maintain its share at around 60% in 2012.
Microsoft Expects IE Browser Share To Be 25% In December, On Windows 7 Machines (BetaNews)
According to Roger Capriotti, Internet Explorer Marketing Director, Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) has passed both Firefox and Chrome in market share, and will soon be the number one browser among Windows 7 users. This is based on data from Net Applications. That said, not all IE8 users are upgrading, and Internet Explorer (all versions) continues to drop as Google’s Chrome browser continues to rise in large jumps across the world. It’s estimated that IE lost 55 million users in December.
Microsoft Is An Undervalued Dividend Stock (Seeking Alpha)
Microsoft has had earnings growth over the last decade similar to McDonald’s (one of the winners of 2011) but the perception that Apple is the tech stock of tomorrow and Microsoft is the tech stock of the past has investors passing. Cash and short-term investments of $57 billion and a payout ratio of around 25% imply continued growth in the dividend. The dividend has grown every year since it was initiated in 2003 with a total increase to date of 900%. Further increases should help the stock price.