Current Dividend Yield: 3.3%
Performance So Far in 2013: +4%
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) certainly has been busy. In the past year, it launched both the newest edition of its operating system, Windows 8, as well as the Surface line of tablets. It’s gotten into the dealmaking game, as well, providing $2 billion to help finance a buyout of troubled PC maker Dell (NASDAQ:DELL).
Unfortunately, all of those moves have been accompanied by widespread doubt. Microsoft says it has sold more than 60 million Windows 8 licenses in 90 days, putting it on par with Windows 7 — however, that number doesn’t necessarily tell us how many copies are actually being used. Plus the OS just went up in price (from $40 to $120) beginning this month, which could hinder sales.
The Surface has been the subject of lukewarm reviews and, while Microsoft doesn’t actually release Surface sales, a UBS analyst said 2012’s numbers were disappointing. Even CEO Steve Ballmer called its performance “modest.” However, the Surface Pro — a beefier version more appropriate for enterprise users — might offer some hope.
And the Dell deal? It makes sense … it’s just more rescue mission than growth proposition, and doesn’t seem to do much to bolster Microsoft.
Still, Microsoft remains the king of enterprise software thanks to products like Office and Word, so it’s not going anywhere. Plus, we can second-guess all we want, but Microsoft had to address the mobile market (and has done so), and helping Dell isn’t going to put too big a dent in its huge cash piles.
No, those cash piles will remain well-stocked, helping power a thick 3.3% dividend that just got bumped up to 23 cents quarterly as of the last payment. You also have just about a week before it goes ex-dividend on Feb. 19 leading up to its March 14 payout.