• 10.19.16

Microsoft earnings October 20: What to listen for

Under the leadership of Satya Nadella, Microsoft has impressed investors over the past year, beating analyst consensus estimates in three of the past four quarters. Nadella’s emphasis on the company’s cloud-based approach and hosting business have fired up Microsoft’s revenues overall. The company will announce its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings Thursday after market close.

• Will Microsoft beat the 68 cents a share earnings on revenue of $21.71 billion analysts expect?

• PC sales forecasts for the rest of 2016 are gloomy, but may “stabilize” next year. How will Microsoft navigate the soft market in the near term without losing momentum?

• Will Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure business (Azure) continue its impressive growth, and keep moving toward the company’s goal of reaching $20 billion in annualized revenues by 2018?

• What will Nadella say about how the LinkedIn purchase fits with the overall strategy? How real is the threat of an EU challenge to the deal, as reportedly urged by rival Salesforce? MS