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商业 - 科技

微软云能追上亚马逊云吗?

Barb Darrow 2016年05月05日

尽管微软三财季智能云业务同比大降,但有分析师认为,微软此项业务今后的增长很可能超过所有人的预期。

本周一上午,一篇态度乐观的研究报告提振了微软的股价,多方终于看到一点反弹迹象。过去几周,微软股价跌得有点惨。

美银美林在报告中重申了微软的“买入”评级和65美元的目标价。股市分析评论网站24/7wallst.com基于该报告指出,过去一年左右,微软的股价一直在55美元上下波动,65美元的目标价意味着“巨大的上升空间”。

周一微软开盘报50美元,一度升至50.75美元,收于50.61美元。虽然离65美元还有差距,但这或许是重拾升势的第一步。

美林还认为,不用担心Windows Server操作系统收入增速下降。上周的业绩发布会结束后,其他观察人士曾表示担心此项收入增速变慢。美林的报告把重点放在微软“智能云”收入和毛利润的增长潜力上。

智能云业务是把客户服务器上运行的软件集中起来的业务,包括Windows Server操作系统以及微软的Azure公共云业务。Azure汇聚了大量服务器、存储和网络设备,供客户按需租用并缴纳租金。负责运行Azure的是微软设在全球各地的自营数据中心。

A rosy research note helped boost Microsoft shares Monday morning, signaling what bulls hope will be a resurgence in the stock which, over the past few weeks, has hit a bit of a swoon.

The note from Bank of America’s BAC 1.44% Merrill Lynch unit, reasserted its buy rating on Microsoft MSFT 1.48% stock with a $65 per share price target. Since Microsoft has been trading in the mid-$50 range for the past year or so, that $65 figure implies a “significant upside” to the share price, according to a 24/7 Wall St. report based on the research note.

Microsoft shares opened at $50 Monday and hit $50.75 before closing at $50.61. It’s not $65, but it may be a start in that direction.

Merrill Lynch also downplayed slower Windows Server revenue growth, which worried other Microsoft watchers after last week’s earnings call. Instead, the company’s report focused on what it sees as possibly stronger revenue and gross profit in Microsoft’s overall “Intelligent Cloud” business.

The Intelligent Cloud category lumps together software that runs on customers’ own servers, including the Windows Server operating system along with Microsoft’s Azure public cloud business. Azure aggregates a ton of computer servers, storage, and networking that customers can rent and pay for as needed. Microsoft Azure runs in Microsoft owned-and-operated data centers around the world.

上周微软宣布,第三财季其智能云业务实现利润21.9亿美元,比上年同期下降14%,不少人都神经紧张起来,但显然美林里鼓捣数字的人没受影响,他们认为此项业务今后的收入和利润增长很可能超过所有人的预期。

支持者还盼望微软的Azure能追随Amazon Web Services(AWS),也就是亚马逊公共云业务的成长路线。上季度,AWS的利润率良好,达到23.5%。然而就在一年前左右,大多数观察人士还认为AWS是亚马逊亏损最大的业务,而今AWS显然已经是亚马逊最赚钱的业务之一。

24/7wallst.com引述的美林报告内容如下:

Azure目前的毛利润率降幅为10%-20%,许多投资者认为,可以肯定今后其利润率改善还需要很久。然而,我们认为2017财年该业务的毛利润率有望上升5%-10%,年底收入将增长16亿美元,达到约41亿美元。虽然看上去是很大提升,但我们发现AWS的收入规模达到46亿美元时,营业利润率约为14%。就微软而言,由于前期已经投入大量资金(短短几年就在全球22个地区落地),随着规模不断扩大,此项业务的优势应该会进一步显现。

Windows 10带来的升级浪潮可能带来今后一年微软的另一个亮点。在上个月的微软Build 2016大会上,微软宣布Windows 10用户已经超过2.7亿。可能估算数字过于乐观了点,但2015年7月上市的Windows 10的用户数确实相当可观。

无论怎样,对亚马逊来说,微软已经成为公共云领域强有力的第二大企业(虽然差距仍很大)。同时,“摇钱树”软件Windows和Office仍在为微软创造大量现金。举例来说,Office等软件所在的微软企业部门上季度销售额同比虽略有下降,仍实现收入63亿美元。Windows业务部门销售额减少了17%,收入仍有94亿美元。

这些数字决不可小觑。(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

The fact that Intelligent Cloud profit dropped 14% to $2.19 billion for the third quarter compared to the year-ago period spooked some last week, but apparently didn’t faze Merrill Lynch number crunchers who think revenue and profit growth for that category may well accelerate faster than anyone anticipates going forward.

Microsoft boosters also hope that Azure follows the trajectory of Amazon Web Services, Amazon.com’s AMZN 3.70% public cloud business. AWS posted a healthy profit margin of 23.5% for its most recent quarter. Up until the last year or so, most observers considered AWS a loss-leader for its parent company. Now AWS appears to be one of the company’s most profitable businesses.

From the Merrill report, as quoted in 24/7 Wall St.:

With Azure currently at a -10 to -20% incremental gross margin many investors see it as a foregone conclusion that margin improvement will likely be much farther out in the future. However, we believe that incremental gross margins could reach +5 to +10% in fiscal 2017 with an incremental $1.6 billion in revenue to roughly $4.1 billion ending fiscal 2017. While this seems like a large improvement, we note that AWS segment operating margins were roughly 14% when it was at $4.6 billion in size, and in Microsoft’s case, it has frontloaded a significant amount of investment (reaching 22 availability zones worldwide in just a few years) and should be able to achieve significant leverage as the service continues to scale off.

Another bright spot for Microsoft in the upcoming year could come from the Windows 10 upgrade wave. At its Build conference last month, Microsoft claimed that more than 270 million Windows 10 users. Even if that is an overly optimistic estimate, that’s probably still a ton of users for a product that first surfaced in July, 2015.

In any case, Microsoft has established itself as a strong (although still distant) number two player to Amazon in public cloud computing. But it also still makes crazy money off its Windows-and-Office cash cows. As an example, the Microsoft business unit that includes Office saw its sales down slightly year over year but still logged $6.3 billion in revenue in the most recent quarter. Similarly, the Windows unit saw sales off 17% but still ended up with $9.4 billion.

These are not numbers to sneeze at.

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