Should You Consider Microsoft?

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With shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) trading around $38, is MSFT an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Microsoft is engaged in developing, licensing, and supporting a wide range of software products and services. The company also designs and sells hardware and delivers online advertising to customers. It operates in five segments: Windows and Windows Live, Server and Tools, Online Services Division, Microsoft Business Division, and Entertainment and Devices. As a mature company, Microsoft is also offering a stable dividend, which is currently yielding around 3.32 percent annually.

New research has shown that Microsoft should be worried about Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Chromebooks, a simplified version of the laptop that essentially only accesses the Internet and costs much less than competing devices. Recent data from NPD seen by PCMag showed that Chromebooks grew to occupy 21 percent of the business and education PC market during 2013, up from virtually nothing in 2012. Meanwhile, laptops running on Windows showed no growth between 2012 and 2013. The data showed that 1.76 million Chromebooks were sold in 2013 versus 400,000 in 2012. Chromebooks were also popular holiday gifts, according to Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), which said that the devices accounted for two of the three top spots for its holiday best sellers. Overall, NPD data showed Google-powered Chromebooks accounted for 9.6 percent of total personal computing device sales through November, a major jump over the 0.2 percent share the devices held last year. Windows notebooks appeared to be the biggest losers in 2013, losing more than 8 percent of total personal computing device sales compared to the same time period last year.

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