Following a strong reaction at the stock market to recent moves at management level throughout Microsoft aimed at increasing profitability, the company is now riding high on the index, sitting among the top five most valuable companies in the world. Recent announcements regarding the revenues of the Surface division, improvements to the Office app suite across all mobile platforms and a redoubling of efforts to focus attention to corporate and enterprise users globally have seen the tech giant become a darling of the stock exchange.
This recent success has led Microsoft to announce that the quarterly dividend paid to shareholders shall be approximately $0.31 per share, and will be made available on February 19th 2015. It also announced to the board that the Microsoft Corporate Governance Guidelines are being altered in order to make clear the commitment to bringing in a larger selection of high-quality candidates from different ethnic backgrounds and of other genders, by changing the pools from which such candidates are drawn.
Following this news, which was delivered at the annual shareholder meeting, shares are up by $0.54 (1%). Nomura's Nick Sherland reckons that a strong performance by Microsoft's core software and hardware divisions could see profits rise well above expectations. Noting that Microsoft is the 'largest cloud vendor' in the world, it is expected that Azure in particular will see robust market growth throughout the next year.
Having assumed office in February, it seems as though Satya Nadella's 'cloud first, mobile first' strategy is paying off for Microsoft, which had previously suffered in the stock market compared to competitors due to a number of factors, poor consumer market growth, the Nokia acquisition and a presumed inflexibility on the part of Steve Ballmer, the previous CEO. Where Nadella will turn next is yet to be seen, what is without doubt is that he has been vindicated in his vision, at least thus far.