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The world’s largest software maker, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT - Analyst Report) has announced that it signed an agreement to acquire InCycle Software’s release management solution business, InRelease for an undisclosed sum.

InCycle Software is a Canadian company founded in 2002. It provides application lifestyle management (ALM) services and release management solutions to .NET websites. It offers consulting services for Microsoft .NET teams and is a Microsoft Gold ALM partner. It also offers a host of other services such as providing its expertise for Visual Studio extensibility projects and automation testing services.

InCycle developed its InRelease software using Microsoft technologies and launched it in 2010. This software provides faster solutions to .NET teams thus allowing them to produce faster and simpler application deliveries. It also improves coordination and communication between development, operations and quality assurance thus making the cycles more efficient.

The terms of the acquisition agreement state that Microsoft will acquire the InRelease business unit of InCycle Software. The rest of the company will remain a separate entity.

The acquisition will strengthen Microsoft’s ALM and DevOps solutions with Release Management capabilities thus allowing customers to create and deliver applications at a much faster rate. Further, Microsoft can enhance its developer offerings and create its own apps in the future.

Microsoft reported revenues excluding deferrals of $20.49 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2013, which were down 4.5% sequentially but up 17.7% from last year, more or less in line with our estimates. All segments grew strongly from the year-ago quarter but declined only slightly from the seasonally strong December quarter. Microsoft’s Business Division grew both sequentially and year over year.

Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other semiconductor stocks that are worth considering include Aspen Tech Inc. (AZPN - Snapshot Report), Yahoo Inc. (YHOO - Analyst Report) and Facebook (FB - Analyst Report). Aspen carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) whereas Yahoo and Facebook carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)

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