The move comes as the software titan puts more emphasis on artificial intelligence technology.
Horvitz will work to boost the company’s understanding of AI, a Microsoft spokesman told Bloomberg. Microsoft seeks to give AI a major role in its Azure cloud business.
“Azure is an excellent launching point for secular trends in AI, business intelligence and Internet of Things, as it continues to launch new services centered around these broad themes,” Morningstar analyst Dan Romanoff wrote in a recent report. “We believe that Azure is the centerpiece of the new Microsoft.”
The division’s sales and profit are expanding rapidly. “Azure has several distinct advantages, including that it offers customers a painless way to experiment and move select workloads to the cloud,” he said. “Since existing customers remain in the same Microsoft environment, applications and data are easily moved from on-premises to the cloud.”
Romanoff wrote Monday that the stock market’s plunge made several software stocks attractive, including Microsoft. To be sure, it will suffer from the coronavirus, having already announced that it doesn’t expect to reach its revenue guidance for this quarter because of supply chain issues in China, he said.
But given the company’s fundamental strength, Romanoff puts the stock’s fair value at $185, 20% above the current level. In addition to Azure’s performance, he cites the company’s transition to a subscription model from a perpetual license model and its embrace of open-source software.
At last check, Microsoft shares traded at $154.74, up 2.73%.