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Microsoft Lures Investors With Azure Kinect & Partner Updates

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Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) recently announced availability of Azure Kinect DK (or developer kit), which was unveiled around February, this year at Mobile World Congress (MWC), held in Barcelona.

Azure Kinect DK, priced at $399, is already shipping in the United States and China, as confirmed by TechCrunch. The peripheral IoT device features a 12-megapixel (MP) camera and a 1 MP camera for immersive capabilities to support various edge compute technologies. The system also has a seven-microphone array.

The device is aimed at broad-based enterprise use, with further use cases yet to be explored in sectors including logistics, robotics, healthcare, and retail, among others. While AVA Retail is utilizing it in facilitating automated checkout options, Ocuvera is using it in analyzing certain health issues of Cleveland Clinic patients. These are a few notable instances of its usage.

With Azure Kinect DK, Microsoft is raising its stakes against cloud rivals Amazon's (AMZN - Free Report) Amazon Web Services (AWS), Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google cloud platform, among others. Reportedly, AWS had rolled out an AI camera for developers in the later half of 2017. Meanwhile, Google Clips AI camera is aimed at direct consumer end-market.

Noteworthy Developments Ahead of Ignite

Ahead of Microsoft Inspire 2019, the company announced a slew of partner updates and enhancements to Teams, Azure and Dynamics 365. Management remains elated that Teams registered daily active user count of 13 million and weekly active users of around 19 million.

The company rolled out new features in Teams that enable support to firstline workers and healthcare institutions. The features are expected to aid Microsoft in upping the game against Splunk , Cisco’s Webex Teams, among others, in collaborative platforms domain.

Moreover, Microsoft updated Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator, announced two latest integrations for Dynamics 365 pertaining to financial services and automotive sectors. The enhancements are likely to favor adoption of Dynamics 365, which is a positive.

Microsoft is optimistic regarding its co-sell program launched around two years ago. The company notes that the program raked in “$9.5 billion in annual contracted partner revenue.”

With an aim to capitalize on this opportunity and expand partner base, the company announced investments and product enhancements. For instance, Microsoft is enabling partners to utilize Microsoft Security competency, latest Azure specializations, and advancements in marketplace, to mention a few.

Innovative Initiatives Fuel Optimism

The latest developments are instilling confidence in the stock. Notably, the stock has returned 33.4% in the past year, outperforming the industry’s growth of 28.1%.

Microsoft is focusing on up scaling the utilization of AI, IoT, and blockchain capabilities, to aid enterprises in streamlining the otherwise complex processes. In this direction, the company is rolling out innovative products, including Azure Kinect DK and HoloLens 2, which holds promise.

Markedly, the tech giant acquired Express Logic in April, this year, to improve competence in edge and IoT market. Notably, IoT sensors play a crucial role in maintaining connectivity in this era of smart devices.

Notably, IDC expects worldwide IoT spending to hit $1 trillion in 2022 from projected $745 billion estimated in 2019.

We believe Microsoft’s IoT initiatives aimed at providing robust tools and platform to developers, and strengthening partner base; reinforces its growth prospects.

Microsoft currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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