Goldman Sachs upgrades Microsoft to ‘buy’ after Azure growth

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Goldman Sachs has upgraded its rating on Microsoft from ‘neutral’ to ‘buy’ after praising the company’s Azure growth.

According to a report from StreetInsider, Goldman Sachs’ Heather Bellini raised the price target from $60 to $68 noting Azure’s continued growth; 100% or greater, year over year, in eight of the past 10 quarters.

“With a large Microsoft customer base and strong C-level relationships, we believe Azure can continue to grow revenue and improve margins over time,” Bellini wrote. “Our views are supported by channel partners as well, who have commented recently that they are seeing strong uptake of Azure amongst enterprise customers, particularly as it relates to hybrid cloud.”

The remarks ring true with industry figures; according to analysis from Synergy Research over the past several quarters, Azure continues to grow more quickly than Amazon Web Services (AWS), the market leader, but ultimately barely making a dent in AWS’ market share. The most recent figures, published at the end of October, showed AWS holds 45% of the worldwide public IaaS space, more than Microsoft, Google, and IBM put together.

Recent updates from Microsoft and AWS show greater expansion both physically and in terms of partnerships. Microsoft opened German data centre regions earlier this year, and announced in September they were being managed by a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. Later that month, AWS announced plans to launch a data centre region in Paris.

Last month, Microsoft confirmed it would be increasing its prices for customers buying its enterprise software and cloud services in British pounds. On-premise enterprise software would increase by 13% to align closer to the Euro, while “most” enterprise cloud prices would rise by almost a quarter.

According to MarketWatch, shares of Microsoft went up 1% in morning trading yesterday following the Goldman Sachs note.

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