Microsoft’s LinkedIn Gets Another Chance to Block HiQ – Report


The U.S. Supreme Court has given Microsoft’s (MSFT) LinkedIn another chance to try to block rival hiQ Labs from harvesting its data. The top court has sent the LinkedIn-hiQ dispute back to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration, according to a Reuters report. HiQ Labs had prevailed against LinkedIn in the 9th Circuit Court.

LinkedIn is a Microsoft subsidiary that operates a professional networking platform and has more than 750 million members. hiQ Labs builds analytic tools that help employers know when their employees could be seeking a new job.

hiQ obtains the data used to create its analytical tools from the public profiles of LinkedIn members. In 2017, LinkedIn told hiQ to stop harvesting its data, according to the report. A dispute broke out, and hiQ sued, accusing LinkedIn of trying to stifle competition. A federal judge sided with hiQ and barred LinkedIn from denying access to its publicly available data.

LinkedIn took the dispute to the Supreme Court. It explained to the court that hiQ harvests data on a massive scale, the report says. It also said that some of the data obtained from its platform had been put up for sale. The top court wants the 9th Circuit to relook at the dispute in light of its recent ruling regarding the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. (See Microsoft stock analysis on TipRanks)

Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss recently reiterated a Buy rating on Microsoft stock with a price target of $300, which implies 15.43% upside potential. The analyst believes the market is undervaluing Microsoft stock.

“While the bears fear pressure on the multiple as EPS growth slows, we’d argue the current multiple doesn’t properly reflect forward EPS growth,” noted Weiss.

Consensus among analysts is a Strong Buy based on 26 Buys. The Microsoft average analyst price target of $297.96 implies 14.65% upside potential to current levels.

MSFT scores a “Perfect 10” on TipRanks’ Smart Score rating system, indicating that the stock has strong potential to outperform market expectations.

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