By Jordan Faigen
Are you in the market for a new tablet? Well, if you wait until next week you might have a chance to get a sneak peak at the latest Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Surface Pro tablet.
Microsoft in the News?
A Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) special event has been confirmed for May 20, and reports are hinting at the potential unveiling of a smaller Surface tablet called a “Surface Mini”. While Microsoft’s Surface has not been a hot sale item like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPad, Microsoft did report that Surface revenue was up year-over-year this past quarter.
Other rumors point to the possibility that the latest Windows 9 system could be free for existing Windows customers. But, consumers will have to wait until the speculated arrival date of the first quarter of 2015 to find out if this is just a rumor or, in fact, reality.
In other Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) news, the company has decided to remove the Kinect from the Xbox One and sell the console separately on its own for $399. Microsoft executive, Phil Spencer commented, “If consumers choose that they don’t want Kinect, or they want to add it later, we’re going to make that available…in the end, I hope everyone sees that the experience with Kinect is the best Xbox One experience.” Microsoft is listening to consumers and responding by now offering a cheaper console. With this new strategy, the company is hoping to see a jump in sales.
What Do The Analysts Have To Say
Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss reiterated his HOLD Microsoft rating after reviewing the company’s devices and consumer hardware division. This division constituted for only 8% of the company’s revenues in FY13, “However, this division receives outsized attention from the investor community given Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) ’s recent focus on vertically integrated devices, amid low market share in areas such as tablets and smartphones.” Weiss also noted, “Along with its Surface tablets and Xbox devices, Microsoft’s D&C hardware division will now also include revenue from Nokia handsets, starting in FQ4 given the close of the acquisition on 4/25.” Weiss also posed the question, “Does Microsoft have the right pieces in place to successfully execute on its ‘devices and services’ strategy and what does a growing hardware component mean for Microsoft’s overall margins longer-term?” Weiss has a+1.4% average return and a 46% success rate recommending stocks.
However, TheStreet.com blogger Robert Weinstein has recommended BUY Microsoft, calling Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) , “the hot tech stock to own”. Weinstein pointed out that, “Microsoft’s cloud market share is about twice the size as Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s and the disparity is growing. I believe Google will step up its game but Amazon is [more] vulnerable than Microsoft.” Weinstein also emphasizes the allure of Microsoft’s tablets, saying, “Want a low-cost tablet but don’t want Android as an operating system? 8-inch tablets with a Windows 8.1 operating system can be bought for $229 on Microsoft’s Web site. Microsoft is making it clear that Google’s Chrome will no longer have free rein to poach budget-minded consumers.” He also noted that “Windows Mobile is increasingly becoming free for hardware manufacturers to select from. After supporting Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)’s efforts to build a first-rate smartphone, Microsoft is targeting Asian countries to build its ecosystem.” Weinstein has an +8.1% average return on the stock, helping him earn an average return of +3.3% per recommendation, with a 57% success rate of recommendations.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) appears to be listening to customers, lowering console prices and offering the latest tablet innovations, but is this enough to keep Microsoft a “hot tech stock”?