MLS Adopts Microsoft's Windows 8

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Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Major League Soccer (:MLS) have announced a multiyear agreement to use the Windows 8 platform to bring the latest news in soccer to MLS fans.

Through the agreement, the two giants will launch an improved MLS app which will be powered by Windows 8. The new app will provide exclusive content as well as the on-going season's schedule, highlights, standings, play-by-play, goals, roster line-ups, game stats, cards and substitutions. Further, viewers can customize the app according to their preference and get updates about their favourite club news through Windows 8 Live Tiles.

The partnership will bring the latest in technology to MLS soccer fans. The alliance will broaden the reach of both the companies, going forward. MLS will be able to reach a broader customer base and Microsoft will be able to expand its OS.

Currently, just like other PC makers, Microsoft is also battling the slump in the PC market caused by the sluggish economy. To make matters worse, tablets continue to cannibalize its core PC market. Although Microsoft has launched its own mobile devices (both tablet and smartphone), it will have to deal with significant competition in these markets.

According to a report by IDC, Google’s (GOOG) Android OS shipments touched 162.1 million units in the first quarter of 2013, up 79.5% year over year. In the process, it captured 75% market share, followed by Apple’s (AAPL)  iOS, which managed to hold on to a 17.3% share and Research In Motion’s (BBRY) Blackberry OS, which captured 2.9%. The Windows OS lagged far behind with a mere 3.2% share. However, Microsoft’s growing clout in the academic and government verticals, as well as steady progress in the consumer hardware business bode well for longer-term growth.

Microsoft remains one of the best positioned software vendors, given its wide range of products, emerging markets’ strength, continued technology deployment at data centers and growth in cloud computing. We believe that Microsoft’s current investments are supported by its strong balance sheet and expect these to drive the next growth phase, improving prospects of market share gains.

Microsoft reported revenues excluding deferrals of $20.49 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2013, which were down 4.5% sequentially but up 17.7% from last year, more or less in line with our estimates. All segments grew strongly from the year-ago quarter but declined only slightly from the seasonally strong December quarter. Microsoft’s Business Division grew both sequentially and year over year.

Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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