The pre-earnings Microsoft bulls.
Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) - Get Report price target was reiterated at $130 by analysts at Morgan Stanley, with an overweight rating based on the company's strength in the cloud. The tech giant reports earnings later this week.
"With Microsoft's Public Cloud solution spanning from core Infrastructure Services (e.g. compute, storage), to compelling Platform-as-a-Service capabilities (e.g. data, identity, analytics, machine learning) and up the stack to the application layer (e.g. productivity apps, front office apps, core financials), Microsoft benefits from a differentiated Public Cloud offering compared to cloud giants like Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) - Get Report and Alphabet Inc.'s Google (GOOGL) - Get Report ," the analysts said.
Zev Fima, an analyst with Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club, said while Amazon's AWS may be the dominate player in the public cloud space he thinks Microsoft has a real competitive advantage thanks to its hybrid-cloud model.
"Not only does it mean that companies only need to deal with one provider for both public and on-premises solutions, it also means the same 'stack,' or developer toolset can be used seamlessly across the two environments," said Fima. "On top of that, Microsoft's significant investments in global data centers, makes it a go-to for those companies tied to national security that require even data stored in the public cloud, to be stored in country, keeping it out of the reach of foreign courts and other government entities. "
Keith Weiss, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, wrote that Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub in June -- on top of the company's ramping up of public cloud offerings -- will only help to boost share prices and send the tech giant closer to $1 trillion market cap.
Morgan Stanley surveyed 100 chief information officers and found that Microsoft "emerges as a key winner through Digital Transformation initiatives and is positioned to gain share of the IT wallet with the shift of workloads to the public cloud."
While Microsoft's business falls second to Amazon, "all of Amazon's business is net new and share gains are a given, while Microsoft has an exceptional existing business that it also must maintain."
Microsoft was down .3% on Monday. Over the past year, shares have soared more than 43%.