Microsoft reaches a $1 trillion market value for the first time

By Rachel Layne

/ MoneyWatch

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Microsoft on Thursday became the third U.S. company to hit $1 trillion in market value, joining rivals Apple and Amazon. The tech company's Azure cloud software helped deliver third-quarter results that topped analyst estimates, boosting its stock price and pushing its value past the trillion-dollar mark.

Apple was the first to hit the historic mark in August, followed by Amazon, which operates cloud-computing services that compete with Microsoft, in September. Microsoft's shares rose 3.7 percent in afternoon trading following the company's better-than-expected earnings report.

The Redmond, Washington-based company, founded by Bill Gates and the late Paul Allen in 1975, has climbed roughly 28 percent this year. It's also getting a lift from a buoyant stock market, with stocks hitting record highs this week.

Microsoft's growing cloud computing business helped the company take the third spot on the tech trillion-dollar pedestal. CEO Satya Nadella's efforts to sign big brands to its cloud computing software is paying off, with the company attracting new clients including Kroger, Walgreens and ExxonMobil, Bloomberg noted.

Microsoft earnings

Microsoft reported quarterly revenue of $30.6 billion, up 14 percent from a year ago. Profit rose 19 percent to $8.8 billion.

Revenue for its Azure product rose 73 percent in the quarter and "continues to gain share vs. the likes of AWS and Amazon," Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note to investors.

"We view last night's March results as another feather in the cap for Nadella in the company's quest to become a cloud behemoth," he wrote.

Microsoft is expected to continue to gain market share in the cloud computing industry, a market which the forecasting firm Gartner projects will reach $182 billion by 2022, UBS analyst Jennifer Swanson Lowe wrote in a client note.

"Microsoft is in the early stages of a likely decade-long corporate transformation, driving revenue growth and profit gains that are not reflected in the current valuation," she wrote.

First published on April 25, 2019 / 2:03 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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