MSFT - Microsoft Corporation

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real-time price. Currency in USD
136.13
+2.45 (+1.83%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT
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Previous close133.68
Open134.88
Bid136.07 x 1100
Ask136.14 x 3200
Day's range134.72 - 136.45
52-week range93.96 - 141.68
Volume25,026,151
Avg. volume24,406,081
Market cap1.039T
Beta (3Y monthly)0.97
PE ratio (TTM)26.90
EPS (TTM)N/A
Earnings dateN/A
Forward dividend & yield1.84 (1.38%)
Ex-dividend date2019-08-14
1y target estN/A
Trade prices are not sourced from all markets
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  • Pentagon’s $10 Billion Brain Is Frozen by a Contracting Scandal
    Bloomberg

    Pentagon’s $10 Billion Brain Is Frozen by a Contracting Scandal

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- In the latest twist in the fraught competition for the Department of Defense’s $10 billion cloud-computing project, the Pentagon Inspector General’s Office announced a new investigation into whether there have been improprieties or corruption in the contracting process thus far. This probe, described to me as a very significant undertaking by Pentagon insiders, will complement a review already being conducted by new Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.The cloud project is formally known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure or, in a nod to “Star Wars” geeks, JEDI. It would provide a single managerial system and a single repository for storage of the department’s incomprehensibly vast data streams. As the controversy hit, the contract was reportedly about to be awarded, with the final competitors being Amazon Web Services Inc (the heavy, heavy favorite) and Microsoft Corp.The twin investigations were spurred by pressure from three sources: disgruntled competitors who felt they were out of the running; Congressional actors representing districts and states from where those competitors have a presence; and the Oval Office itself. President Donald Trump said in mid-July that he intended to review the JEDI contracting after receiving “tremendous complaints” about the process from “some of the great companies in the world,” including IBM, Microsoft and Oracle – each of which bid on the JEDI contract.None of this, other than direct interference by the commander in chief, is particularly out of the ordinary for big defense acquisitions, given the byzantine procurement process in the Pentagon. As a newly selected one-star rear admiral in 2000, I was assigned to manage a complex agency-wide telecommunications contract that included creating a new constellation of satellites. By the time it was finally awarded, I had long transferred out of the Pentagon. And in 2013, as I was a grizzled four-star Admiral about to finish up my career, I was still wondering why the satellite constellation wasn’t yet fully operational. The short answer is that at the nexus of big money, political influence and uncertain technology, delays are a certainty.All of this begs the questions of why the U.S. military is pursuing this system, and how it can be brought on line rapidly – by whomever eventually wins the contract.JEDI will be an absolutely vital part of America’s future warfighting capability, especially in the increasingly complex new 5G environment. At heart, the vast cloud would allow a much more efficient information-technology system, replacing the hodgepodge of thousands of hand-tooled, inefficient networks that exist today. This is especially critical for the military, where so many personnel transfer every two to three years, often taking with them a hands-on knowledge of an individual network or complex of software. For a vast organization like the Department of Defense -- the largest “company” in the world – JEDI’s efficiency at scale will be crucial to optimizing expensive resources and operating efficiently.It’s not just about efficiency, though: JEDI should vastly improve resiliency and security. Instead of individual networks and organizations backing up their information locally, everything is stored in a much more defendable cloud structure - just as your personal data and photographs likely exist in the Microsoft or Apple Inc clouds today. The data can be seamlessly transferred, even in the intense crucible of combat. Cybersecurity experts tell us that there is great strength in reducing the number of individual portals that can be attacked and overcome; streamlining and unifying the defenses of the entire department make sense. This reduction of “threat surfaces” is crucial.Finally, from an operator’s perspective, there is great allure in one-stop shopping to stream data (a sort of military Netflix,), to record and store it, to create simple systems to “patch” software, and to build an infrastructure that permits constant monitoring of the entire department’s networks. Lieutenant General Jack Shanahan, head of the Pentagon’s Artificial Intelligence Center, commented recently on the operational capabilities necessary for the emerging era of great power competition, with China in particular.“Imagine the speed of operations in a fight in the Pacific, where you just do not have time to figure out, ‘How do I get my data, clean my data, move it from point A to point B.’” Shanahan said. “If I’m a warfighter, I want as much data as you could possibly give me. Let my algorithms sort through it at machine speed. It’s really hard for me to do that without an enterprise cloud solution.” His comments were echoed by the department’s chief information officer, Dana Deasy, in a rare on-the-record co-briefing to the press they held last week.In order to move quickly to find efficiencies, create new resiliency, and provide a single point of contact for all IT operations, the Department of Defense needs to thoroughly but quickly complete these investigations. If there are real instances of malfeasance, they should be uncovered and the perpetrators punished forthwith. Frankly, Secretary Esper has an unattractive set of options, including starting the competition over; pressing forward to award despite the external pressure; or searching for some middle ground that may satisfy nobody. Whether he can power through all the sand in the gears here will be the first test of his leadership abilities, and will be among the most important he will face.In the likely scenario that all this smoke reveals not much fire but rather disgruntled competitors and political angst (and a strong component of anti-Amazon influence from the White House, where Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos is despised), Esper should press through to a contract award as soon as is legally appropriate. Warfighting in the 21st century will be “brain on brain” combat, and a large, singular cloud structure is the gray matter the U.S. military needs.To contact the author of this story: James Stavridis at jstavridis@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.James Stavridis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, and dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is also an operating executive consultant at the Carlyle Group and chairs the board of counselors at McLarty Associates.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • Trump Is Driving Women Into Law School
    Bloomberg

    Trump Is Driving Women Into Law School

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- A few short years ago, law schools were falling out of favor with young Americans looking for a route to affluence, influence, or both. Business schools, on the other hand, were attracting more students than ever.This year, the number of applicants to U.S. law schools is up an estimated 3.2%, after rising 8.1% last year. Graduate business schools in the U.S. saw a 6.6% decline in applications last year, and indications are that applications are down again this year as well.(3)What changed? Donald Trump became president, silly!OK, there are some other factors at work, especially at business schools, where the traditional MBA (master’s in business administration) is falling out of favor even as other programs gain. But President Trump’s policies and utterances really do seem to be driving more young Americans to go to law school while at the same driving foreign students away from U.S. business schools. Right now this shift matters mainly to people who work at law schools and business schools, but it will affect certain high-end parts of the U.S. labor market for decades to come.Here are the statistics, starting with law schools, where enrollment began plummeting in 2011 and hit bottom in 2015 and 2016.There was also a decline in the quality of law school applicants, at least as measured by scores on the Law School Admission Test, and that has turned around too. The percentage of applicants getting scores of less than 150 (out of 180) rose from 33.6% in 2012 to 38% in 2015; this year it’s back down to 33%.The fact that the number of new law students stopped falling in 2016, before Trump was elected, is an indication that this can’t be all about him. The decline in first-year law students from 2011 to 2015 was so sharp that it brought enrollment back to early 1970s levels, which may have been overkill given that there are a lot more legal jobs now than there were in the 1970s, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8% increase in the number of jobs for lawyers from 2016 through 2026.Still, a law degree is rightly no longer seen as quite the path to a secure and remunerative career that it used to be, and a lot of today’s law school applicants seem less interested in their future earnings profiles than in using their legal skills to fight the power, or something like that. In one survey conducted by test-prep provider Kaplan, 87% of law-school admissions officers said “the current domestic political climate” was a significant factor in 2018’s applications increase. In another, 45% of students taking Kaplan LSAT prep courses this February said the political climate affected their decision to apply for law school, up from 32% a year earlier.In legal circles this phenomenon has come to be called the “Trump bump,” which sounds about right. More precisely, with young people and college graduates both tending to give the president low approval ratings, it seems likely that most of these political-climate-inspired applicants are inspired by opposition to Trump and his policies. Also, all of this year’s and most of last year’s applicant gains were driven by women, who as a rule like the current president a lot less than men do. As recently as 2013, women were still a minority among applicants to U.S. law schools. This year they accounted for 55%. So U.S. law schools will for at least the next few years be churning out more smart, politically engaged, probably left-leaning lawyers, most of them women.At U.S. business schools, the big Trump-related story is that foreign students are staying away. At the 400 U.S. business schools that reported international and domestic application volumes to the Graduate Management Admission Council, international applications fell 10.5% in 2018 and domestic applications just 1.8%. Meanwhile, GMAC reports that graduate business schools in Asia, Europe, and Canada all experienced application gains in 2018. In another survey by Kaplan, 31% of business school admissions officers said international students concerned about the U.S. political climate were the number one cause of the 2018 application decline, and 74% said they expect these concerns to weigh on applications in the years to come. Trump administration policies have also made student visas harder and more expensive to get, which is surely also depressing applications from overseas. (Because legal systems vary from country to country, U.S. law schools haven’t been nearly as big a magnet for foreign students as business schools are, and thus haven’t been affected as much by these changes.)Still, Trump can’t be the only reason MBA applications are down, given that master’s programs in business had stopped growing well before his presidency seemed even conceivable.The number of people getting undergraduate business degrees has risen this decade even as master’s programs have flat-lined. Within master’s programs there’s also been a significant shift, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business,(2) with the MBA and other generalist degrees (such as “master of management” degrees) losing ground to specialized degrees in accounting, finance, data analytics, and the like.What’s driving these changes? Worries about debt loads and employability seem to be pushing more students into undergraduate business majors (versus, say, the liberal arts), which may reduce subsequent demand for MBAs.(1) Increasing job-market demand for specific skills, enhanced by automated applicant-screening methods that sift for those skills on resumes and LinkedIn profiles, has shifted demand away from generalist programs. The strong job market of the past few years may be reducing the willingness of would-be MBA students to take two years out of their careers. Then there's the increasing availability of alternatives that don’t require a career break:   Virginia Tech, Wake Forest University, the University of Iowa and the University of Illinois, among others, have ditched their full-time MBA programs, with the latter two opting to focus instead on online MBAs.None of that can be blamed on Trump, and none of it is necessarily a bad thing. But at least part of the decline in foreign applications can be and might be. What long-run effect could this have? Well, the chief executive officer of the most valuable publicly traded corporation in the U.S. (and the world), Microsoft Corp.’s Satya Nadella, is a foreign-born recipient of a U.S. MBA, as is Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, which makes all the money for fourth-most-valuable Alphabet Inc. And while Nadella and Pichai originally came to the U.S. to study engineering and got their MBAs later, Ajit Jain, head of the all-important insurance arm of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., came to the U.S. for the MBA. These are just a few examples culled from the top of the market-cap rankings, but they indicate that reducing the number of foreign students coming to the U.S. for MBAs and other graduate degrees might noticeably cut into the future talent pool of U.S.-based business.(1) Just to be clear, yes, the law-school numbers are for applicants, while the business-school ones track applications. The former is more meaningful, but it doesn't seem to be available for business schools.(2) This somewhat ungainly name is the result of wanting to keep the same acronym as the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business, the group's former name,while expanding overseas.(3) On the other hand, the financial returns to majoring in business as an undergraduate seem to be dwindling, although students may not realize that.To contact the author of this story: Justin Fox at justinfox@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at sgreencarmic@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • Tech Suppliers Shift Away From China Despite Trump Tariff Delay
    Bloomberg

    Tech Suppliers Shift Away From China Despite Trump Tariff Delay

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. HP Inc.-laptop maker Inventec Corp. said it will to shift production of notebooks for the U.S. market out of China within months, adding to the tech industry’s exodus as the world’s two largest economies escalate their trade war.Inventec plans to move its entire American-bound laptop operation to its home base of Taiwan within two to three months, President Maurice Wu said on a post-earnings call Tuesday. Wu’s company assembles Apple Inc.’s AirPods and produces notebook computers for HP, which accounts for an estimated third of its revenue.Underscoring the difficulty of making such long-term production decisions, President Donald Trump said just hours later that the U.S. would push back implementation of tariffs on Chinese-made laptop and other products to December from September. But tech companies aren’t waiting for a trade resolution. From Inventec to Apple-assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Taiwanese companies that make most of the world’s electronics are reconsidering their reliance on the world’s No. 2 economy as Washington-Beijing tensions simmer.“The trade war is very painful for us,” Wu said, concluding a call during which executives shared how production shifts have hurt the company’s efficiency and margins.Rising tariffs on Chinese-made products threaten to wipe out their margins and up-end a well-oiled, decades-old supply chain. Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc., Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co. are said to be among those now weighing their options away from the line of fire, such as Southeast Asia and India. Alphabet Inc.’s Google has already shifted much of its production of U.S.-bound motherboards to Taiwan, Bloomberg News has reported.Inventec’s shift marks one of the most dramatic relocations since Trump announced his decision to slap 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports -- including consumer gadgets from smartphones to notebooks -- originally slated for next month. Spurred on by clients, which include household names like Dell Technologies Inc. and Nintendo, many Taiwanese contract manufacturers are now drawing up contingency plans, shifting select assembly operations or exploring alternative venues.Analysts anticipate the tariff delay will have little impact on those plans.“While this announcement appears to provide incremental (and market-friendly) information as to how the White House is approaching trade policy, we do not believe it represents a substantial shift in the U.S.-China dispute,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in response. “Our broader expectation is that the U.S. and China are unlikely to reach a lasting agreement prior to the 2020 election that provides certainty around tariff rates on imports from China.”On Tuesday, Compal Electronics Inc. Chief Executive Officer Martin Wong said his company, a rival to Inventec, has also shifted some notebook lines to Taiwan and was considering investing more in Vietnam should tariff-conflicts persist. Quanta Computer Inc. Chairman Barry Lam told reporters Tuesday his company is definitely re-locating some business to Southeast Asia, though he didn’t mention a timeframe. Chief Financial Officer Elton Yang said Quanta will for now aim to satisfy customers’ demands for production outside of China with their Taiwan facilities.U.S. companies, long accustomed to using China as the world’s workshop, are looking to diversify their manufacturing operations as the uncertainty over volatile trade policy heightens and Beijing shows a willingness to clamp down on foreign firms within its own borders. It’s a shift that may herald a broader, long-term trend as Beijing and Washington continue to spar over everything from market access to trade.The trade war threatens to disrupt a complex global supply chain involving many countries beyond just China and the U.S. Many components that go into devices aren’t made in the U.S., despite being designed there. A phone chip designed by Apple may come out of a factory in Taiwan, then be packaged (a process that prepares it for integration into a circuit) somewhere else, before being shipped to China for assembly into an iPhone.Still, few major manufacturers have moved output in truly significant amounts and China’s status as the world’s production base for electronics is unlikely to diminish anytime soon. Foxconn Technology Group has said it has enough capacity to make all iPhones bound for the U.S. outside of China if necessary, although Apple has so far not asked for such a shift.(A previous version of the story was corrected to amend HP’s contribution to Inventec’s revenue)(Updates with Trump comments in fourth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Jeanny Yu.To contact the reporters on this story: Debby Wu in Taipei at dwu278@bloomberg.net;Cindy Wang in Taipei at hwang61@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Edwin ChanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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