I manage a large network and have worked in the IT field for a dozen years. Our organization deploys Microsoft products and uses them almost exclusively save for a few Linux systems. I have extensive experience using and supporting Microsoft server applications and Microsoft desktop products. I will give you a quick rundown on what I see emerging from an IT perspective. This might get you long.
Currently, all IT organizations are being driven to cut costs like any other part of the organization. Spending is tight. We are doing this by maximizing hardware utilization. We have found that by virtualization of our network we can save lots of money. Most networks use only 10-20 percent of their capacity but with virtualization we can push it up to 80 or even 90 percent. This saves a lot of money. Before only way to virtualization was to buy virt software from VMware or Citrix. Now Microsoft started to include this in Windows server 2008 and now with Windows server 2012 it is a very good product. This will benefit Microsoft because no longer do I have to pay for VMware on top of Microsoft I can skip buying the VMware product and just buy Windows server 2012. I might buy more Server 2012 licenses so that I can leverage the Virtualization capabilities in their product. So from an investment perspective, this will be good for Microsoft but bad for VMware and to a lesser degree Citrix. It will be also bad for the hardware vendors because us IT folks aren't buying as much hardware as before.
I have been testing Windows 8 in beta form for months. I have not found any real issues with it. It is very different than 7 but the software is solid. In fact, it was one of the best beta desktop OS's that I have ever tested out of Microsoft. People miss the start button but wow you can get it third party. My sources tell me that it is coming back in the next service pack. You will always have those type of complaints when you do something as radical as Microsoft has done here. Honestly, I was surprised by the changes but when I figured out that they designed it with touch screen in mind then it made perfect sense. Touchscreen will get very important in the next 5 years. I believe that Apple and Google recognized it early and profited from it. Now Microsoft is ready upset the Apple cart. Most folks use Microsoft OS at home so they are more prone to buy a Microsoft PC device then not.
Cloud is getting very big in the IT field. Particularly in the area of SAS. Microsoft has launched initiatives such as Skydrive and Microsoft 365 are getting very important too them. They also have Azure. These things are starting to get traction in the market place.
Microsoft is set to capture a significant portion of the cell phone market. The Win8 phones are amazing and the new ones from Nokia, the Lumia are outstanding and selling out.
MSFT is a terrific buy for long term investors at this price.
Disclosure: Long MSFT and NOK no position in VMW CTSX GOOG, or AAPL short or long.
you forgot to mention that NSFT Office is the No. 1 money makers of all their divisions, and this division is growing nicey, As you nicely pointed out, servers abd tools are also growing nicely, MSFt is more and more selling sodtwares without the need for nw harwqres,
with 70 billions of cash in the bank, so the company is valued at just 150 billions, and yet the copamny is making alsmot 25-30 billions each year, I want to see how long this great company can sell at this cheap effective p/e of 5!
More like a Mental Case. You'd have to be Crazy to buy this stock! It's heading for a new 52 week low in January, when weak holiday sales numbers are released. Then in February, Bill Gates will dump another 20,000,000 shares, driving MSFT shares even lower. The quarter ending in March will not be good for Microsoft.