There was a time when it appeared Apple was well on its way to being the first tech company to reach a $1 trillion market capitalization, reaching a high of $775 billion in February 2015.
Since then however weakness related to its inability to produce another hit product has become evident, and its market cap has since receded to $617 billion.
Now Michael Markowski from financial publication Equities.com has postulated that Microsoft is on track to take that crown, despite being third in line behind Apple and Google.
Markowski notes that unlike a hardware company a digital company like Microsoft had a more scalable business model that could reach more consumers, and better cash flow and higher margins.
The author notes that from the short list Microsoft had the highest free cash flow, and that its acquisition of LinkedIn boosted its PE multiple significantly, as social network companies are traditionally valued much higher despite lower earnings, making Microsoft, even at $492 billion, significantly undervalued. Also due to its high dividend yield of 2.5% the downside for its share price is limited.
He also note that Microsoft only paid LinkedIn around $60 per user, compared to Facebook’s $218 per user, and that professional users tend to be worth a lot more than regular users, again suggesting a lot of upside is possible for Microsoft, especially if the emerging Social Investing Community (SIC) industry, which allowed companies to crowd fund from social media, comes to fruition.
Markowski notes that Microsoft’s only competition in the race is Alphabet/Google, noting both Microsoft and Google had more than double the annual cash flow of Amazon and Facebook.
After a decade of stagnation under Steve Ballmer Microsoft’s share price has gained more than 50% over the last three years. Markowski postulates another doubling, which will likely not take place without the narrative around Microsoft changes drastically, which should be an interesting change for loyal fans used to seeing Microsoft left out of the conversation.