Alphabet (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT) both release what could be pivotal earnings reports on Thursday. Alphabet, formerly known as Google, will report quarterly numbers that, for the first time, separate out the core search and ad business from its other investments and moonshot projects, providing investors with increased transparency. Scott Kessler, Equity Analyst at S&P Capital IQ, expects to see steady growth in Alphabet's core business. 'Google has been growing its revenues at kind of a normalized rate in the mid-teens, and we expect that to continue,' he said. Microsoft also has a crucial report, as the upcoming quarterly results will reflect nearly a full quarter of sales from its recently released Windows 10 software. ‘What’s interesting about Microsoft is there’s no question they are trying to change the conversation, going from PC to cloud. And I think they’ve done a pretty good job of shifting that focus and that perception,’ said Kessler. ‘But at the end of the day, Microsoft is still largely a PC company. And so because of that, the most important thing for Microsoft this quarter is the release of Windows 10.’ Another important issue for Microsoft will be the impact of the strong U.S. dollar on its operations. Investors will also be eager to hear any guidance from the companies now that the fourth quarter is underway.