Microsoft stock, Share Price And Investing Info | Focus on US Stock Market Today
What is Microsoft?
Microsoft is a U.S-based technology company with a major footprint and influence in the computer industry. It is one of the companies that have steered modern computing to where it is today and facilitated the mass availability of personal computers in homes and corporate use. (Source: Microsoft).
Microsoft’s history and operations
The company was founded by Bill Gates and Paul G. Warren in 1975. Back in those days, computers were big devices that took up a lot of space. Gates and Warren wanted to make computers that were small enough to fit into homes, thus making a case for mass-produced personal computers. The term used back then was microcomputers, and software development was also an important aspect of their vision. They combined the two to create the name Microsoft.
Microsoft is a multi-faceted company whose operations cover software and hardware sales, as well as digital services. The company has its Surface lineup of computers, computer peripherals, and hybrid tablets sold across the world.
The software and tech giant gained popularity for developing the first digital interface called MS-DOS. Microsoft continued to enjoy robust growth with its subsequent software releases such as Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Server, and Windows 10. Its software offerings extend to Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud computing platform that targets commercial use. Microsoft Office is another one of Microsoft’s software-related offerings that is popular across the globe.
The software and tech giant competes in the gaming segment and is one of the main players through its Xbox division. Microsoft extended its operations into social media through the acquisition of professional network LinkedIn in 2016. (Source: Britannica).
Since the company’s beginnings, Bill Gates was Microsoft’s CEO, but he stepped down from the position in 2000. Here is a list of the company’s current management team. (Source: Microsoft)
- Satya Nadella- Microsoft CEO.
- Kurt DelBene- executive vice president.
- Scott Guthrie- executive VP of AI and Microsoft Cloud.
- Judson Althoff- executive VP of worldwide commercial business.
- Jean-Philippe Courtois- head of marketing, global sales and operations.
- Chris Capossela- Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer and head of marketing and consumer business.
- Amy Hood- Chief Financial Officer and Executive VP.
- Kathleen Hogan- executive VP of human resources.
- Takeshi Numoto- Commercial Chief Marketing Officer.
- Rajesh Jha- Executive VP of Experience and Devices.
- Ryan Roslansky- CEO of LinkedIn.
- David O’Hara- Corporate VP and Chief Financial Officer of Microsoft’s Commercial Finance Group.
- Christopher Young- Executive VP of business development.
- Phil Spencer- Executive VP of gaming
- Jason Zander- VP of Microsoft Azure
- Kevin Scott- Chief Technology Officer and executive VP of technology and research.
Microsoft Share price and performance
Microsoft shares are traded on the NASDAQ market under the ticker MSFT. Microsoft share price closed the latest trading session at $233.27 after dropping by 0.53% compared to the previous closing price. The stock had a market cap of $1.75 trillion with a 52-week low of $228.73 and a 5-week high of $233.36, which means that it is currently trading near its 12-month high.
Microsoft’s share price dipped in March 2020 at the height of the global pandemic, but the stock managed to bounce back quickly. This recovery is courtesy of its diverse product portfolio that allowed the company to continue generating profits despite the heavily disrupted business environment during the year.
Not only did the company’s share price recover quickly, but it also continued on a strong bullish performance for the rest of 2020. It kicked off 2021 on some upward momentum, pushing the share price to a historic high of $244.99.
Microsoft Dividend policy
Microsoft pays out dividends quarterly, and its dividend history indicates consistency and strong growth benefiting investors. The company’s dividend payouts have been steadily increasing over the last 10 years. For example, the company’s quarterly dividend payout in FY2010 was a consistent $0.13. It went up to $0.16 in FY2011 and $0.20 in FY2012. (Source: Microsoft).
The quarterly dividend payout soared to $0.31 by FY2015 and $0.56 by FY2021. Consistent growth in dividend payouts makes the stock attractive to investors. It is a strategy that many companies pursue in the hopes of remaining attractive to investors. The company’s dividend policy has particularly favored investors who acquired the stock five to 10 years ago. Back then, the stock price was much lower than it is now, which means that the investors have gained incremental dividends, and the value of their shares has also grown significantly.
What to expect from Microsoft moving forward
Microsoft’s performance in the past is impressive, but the future remains uncertain. Microsoft is optimistic about the future, thanks to its robust portfolio. For example, the company maintains a strong grip on areas such as gaming thanks to Xbox, which recently rolled out its latest generation console. Other areas such as software sales remain strong, especially for Microsoft Office and other products.
The hardware segment continues to gain traction thanks to the focus highly competitive products, allowing the company to compete more effectively with rivals. Microsoft 365 for business and other productivity tools is expected to continue supporting strong revenue streams.
Microsoft has also invested heavily in future technologies such as artificial intelligence, which is an area that many other companies have identified as a potential growth driver in the future. The pandemic in 2020 was an eye-opener as far as the future of work is concerned, and Microsoft has already made efforts to take center stage in the transformation. For example, the company has developed the Teams platform to facilitate digital conferences.
The growing digital shift means there will be more demand for digital services moving forward and many opportunities for software companies like Microsoft. The company is already well-positioned to leverage the resulting growth through Microsoft Azure and other digital services such as OneDrive, Microsoft 365, Outlook, Windows Apps, OneNote, Microsoft Advertising, Microsoft Industry, and others. Thus, the company is in a good positon to opportunities that will arise with the dynamic shift in the digital world.