Investors are eagerly awaiting the July 29 launch of Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) new operating system, Windows 10, which they hope will be embraced by consumers who view the current operating system, Windows 8, as a failure.
By not calling the new software Windows 9, the company hopes to distance itself from the negativity surrounding Windows 8, which customers complained is difficult to navigate. Noting the problems the company has incurred with Windows 8 and other generations, Forrester Research analyst JP Gownder put it bluntly: “Windows 10 is imperative for Microsoft.”
Several open tests of the program, where selected users test out the new software and provide feedback, proved successful with business customers feeling “aggressively positive” about upgrading to Windows 10, according to Gartner analyst Steve Kleynhans.
Windows 10 will be offered as a free download over the next year to anyone who has the Home or Pro versions of Windows 7 or 8. By offering the software for free, Microsoft hopes to create a large enough pool of users that makes it worthwhile for programmers to create applications for Windows 10 devices. Furthermore, the company believes that if customers are satisfied with the new operating system they are more likely to try other Microsoft products.
Ahead of the release of Windows 10, FBR Capital analyst Daniel Ives reiterated an Outperform rating and a $53 price target on Microsoft. Ives believes that “developer traction/interest in the updated Windows product remains a key ingredient to the company’s recipe for success and ensur[es] strong uptake down the road.”
With Microsoft failing to compete aggressively against other players in the touchscreen computing arena, “it [is] crucial the Windows 10 cloud approach opens up new growth avenues for the Windows business in FY16 and beyond to help offset some of the license decline” in other areas, Ives added.
Daniel Ives’ overall success rate recommending stocks is 55% with a +7.9% average return per recommendation when measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark.
Out of 18 analysts polled by TipRanks, 11 analysts are bullish on Microsoft, 5 are neutral, and 2 are bearish. The average 12-month price target for Microsoft is $50.71, marking an 11.82% potential upside from where stock last closed.
On average, the top analyst consensus for Microsoft on TipRanks is Hold.