Microsoft may not be a red hot mobile app startup, but 2016 turned out to be a good year for the leading maker of software. According to a report by GeekWire, not only did Microsoft’s stock hit an all-time high in 2016 thanks to its push into cloud computing, but it acquired LinkedIn, its biggest acquisition ever, rolled out new products and got Windows 10 installed on 1 billion devices.
In the case of Microsoft’s push into new markets, the report highlighted its new focus on artificial intelligence. In September, Microsoft created a new 5,000-strong engineering and research team focused on artificial intelligence products. That move created a fourth engineering unit for Microsoft, joining the Office, Windows and cloud engineering teams, according to the report. As for its acquisition of LinkedIn, GeekWire pointed to one analyst who said the deal puts Microsoft on the path to be the first technology company ever to have a market value of $1 trillion. Microsoft has also been doubling down on its cloud business this year as it takes on Amazon, which is one of the leaders in the market and a formidable competitor. The report noted Microsoft’s cloud business, Azure, is credited with being a big reason Microsoft has seen a resurgence.
Windows 10 was another winner for Microsoft in 2016 with the company getting close to its ambitious goal of having 1 billion devices running Windows 10 two or three years after its launch. While it won’t reach that number in the timeframe Microsoft gave, GeekWire noted the operating system is doing well and, as of September, is already installed on greater than 400 million active devices. As for its smartphone woes, Microsoft put that to bed in May when it took a $950 million charge and reduced its workforce by 1,850 jobs in the smartphone unit. A few months later, it cut another 2,850 jobs in that unit, noted the report.