Since its market capitalization soared above $1 trillion following its fiscal third-quarter earnings release earlier this year, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has since seen its value swell even further. The company now boasts a market capitalization of more than $1.05 trillion. This is greater than both Apple and Amazon.com, which have market caps of about $940 billion and $960 billion, respectively.
The Street's optimism for Microsoft comes as the company's ongoing efforts to build out its cloud-based software and cloud-computing services are paying dividends.
Did Microsoft keep up its strong momentum in its fourth quarter of fiscal 2019? Investors will find out when the company reports its fourth-quarter results on July 18. Until then, here's a preview of two key areas to watch.
Microsoft's top-line momentum is undeniable. The company's fiscal third-quarter revenue increased 14% year over year to $30.6 billion, crushing analysts' average forecast for revenue of $29.8 billion.
Highlighting the wide strength of Microsoft's business, revenue growth in its fiscal third quarter was driven by a range of factors. Total revenue from the company's productivity and business processes segment (the Office suite, LinkedIn, and Dynamics products and cloud services) increased 14% year over year to more than $10 billion. Revenue from Microsoft's intelligent cloud segment (server products and cloud services and enterprise services) rose 22% year over year to $9.7 billion. Even Microsoft's "more personal computing" segment, which includes revenue from Windows, Surface sales, gaming, and search advertising, increased 8% year over year.
With such broad-based momentum, strong growth should continue in Q4. But given a tough comparison of 17% revenue growth in the year-ago quarter, investors should model for some deceleration. Analysts, on average, expect Microsoft's fourth-quarter revenue to rise about 9% year over year to $32.8 billion.
Commercial cloud revenue growth
Microsoft's commercial cloud revenue has played a significant role in the company's strong growth recently. The revenue category, which has seen staggering growth, lumps together the company's three most important cloud-based catalysts: Office 365 commercial, Azure, and Dynamics 365. Commercial cloud revenue increased 41% year over year in fiscal Q4, growing to $9.6 billion.
While some sequential deceleration in commercial cloud's year-over-year growth rate should be expected, any deceleration should be moderate. In the company's fiscal third-quarter earnings call, Microsoft CFO Amy Hood pointed to broad-based geographic strength across the company's commercial cloud products, pointing out "healthy growth in the U.S., Western Europe, the U.K., and Germany."
Specifically, investors should look for Microsoft's commercial cloud revenue to grow at a rate of about 35% year over year or greater.
Microsoft will report its fiscal fourth-quarter results after market close on Thursday, July 18.