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Microsoft on Deck As Dell Rumors Swirl

Investors, though, should not expect any second-quarter miracles, according to Nomura Equity Research analyst Rick Sherlund, who says that the new Windows 8 operating system is unlikely to boost Microsoft's numbers.

"On Microsoft, the Windows 8 adoption curve is slower than expected, but the stock seems to reflect a lot of bad news already," he wrote, in a recent note. "There do not appear to be positive near term catalysts for the stock, but traction should improve over the year with increased new hardware availability and lower prices, with a better opportunity for the stock in the second half."

The analyst predicts, in particular, that touch-based Ultrabooks will come down significantly in price in the second half of the year, boosting their presence in the market. He also expects to see more tablet form factors, potentially good news for Microsoft.

Microsoft shares have gained just 0.28% in the three months since it reported its fiscal first-quarter results. The company's stock is down 4.64% in the last 12 months.

Shares of Microsoft rose 1.14% to $27.92 on Thursday.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

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