Just a few years back, Microsoft was seen by many as the past of the technology world. Other new companies had emerged and were shaping the future. Microsoft didn’t seem like it was going to catch up until it actually did. Although Microsoft did manage to stay big and profitable for a long time, it had clearly lost its charm. It was either falling behind or trailing in key areas such as search engines, cloud computing, mobile phones, and online advertising. This was clearly reflected in its stock price. Stock value for the company only grew by a mere 3% for ten years until 2012.
But the story has changed now. Microsoft, a once forgotten giant of the tech industry, has somehow managed to pull itself together and is now competing neck and neck with industry leaders such as Apple. The company famous for its Windows OS is also on the run to become the world’s most valuable company. At the moment, Apple and Microsoft are worth $850 billion each. But Microsoft’s journey towards this valuation has been far more epic. In the last 12 months alone, the company’s stock has jumped by nearly 30%.
Although Apple did for some time hold the title as the world’s most valuable company and the first corporation to hit $1 trillion in valuation, this success was short-lived. But Microsoft has been steady. So, what really happened? How did the company turn things around? Well, the first thing Microsoft did was to build on its strengths. This could explain why the long-term growth in value has been so steady. On the short term, Microsoft hasn’t reported any serious issues compared to other tech companies, especially this year. This has made it easier for the company to weather the recent sell-off of tech company shares in the market.
For instance, many investors know about the slow iPhone sales. Although the smartphone maker has tried to diversify its revenues by offering additional services, slow iPhone sales have been a huge concern. Facebook and Google, on the other hand, have had to deal with increased privacy issues. Google, for example, was fined $5 billion for violating rules in the EU. Facebook, on the other hand, is coming out of a massive PR fall out after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The social media company was also a victim of a recent hack in which the data of millions of users was compromised. But Microsoft hasn’t been engulfed in any kind of negative publicity and this has helped shore up its stock value over the last few months.
Part of the strategy to build on its strengths has involved massive investments in cloud computing and the bet has paid off big time. The strategy was initiated by current CEO Satya Nadella who took over in 2014. Although Microsoft is still behind Amazon in cloud services, it has made a lot of progress. Microsoft has also retooled some of its popular Office apps like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint to offer cloud-based versions. The company has also opened up its culture and embraced diversity in a much bigger way compared to the other companies.