The metaverse is undoubtedly one of the hottest tech trends today. It refers to a network of persistent, real-time, seamless, and immersive 3D virtual reality or mixed reality worlds and simulations, wherein humans can interact with digital-world objects through a range of devices. The metaverse is…
expected to enable people to shift more and more activities done currently in the physical world to the virtual world.
Bloomberg estimates the global metaverse market opportunity to be around $800 billion by 2024. While the metaverse is an exciting opportunity, it is not yet monetized. Hence, it would make more sense for retail investors to opt only for financially stable and technologically sound companies (that are not over-reliant on success in the metaverse) that are preparing to grab a significant share of the metaverse.
On Jan. 18, enterprise giant Microsoft announced plans to acquire leading pure-play video game developer Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) in an all-cash $75 billion deal. This is the largest-ever deal in Microsoft’s history and is expected to spur the growth of its mobile, desktop, console, and cloud gaming businesses. Activision’s gaming portfolio coupled with Microsoft’s technology expertise (Azure cloud platform, gaming infrastructure, HoloLens, and mixed reality devices, Microsoft Mesh) will emerge as a one-stop shop for all the key components (content, customer base, collaboration software, augmented reality and virtual reality hardware, and cloud infrastructure) required for the evolution of metaverse platforms.
Bernstein analyst Mark Moerdler also believes that Microsoft is “best positioned to be a big winner from the metaverse.” The company is also focused on the enterprise use cases in the metaverse. To leverage this opportunity, it has introduced Microsoft Mesh for Teams, which enables remote virtual collaboration in an immersive mixed-reality environment between employees with the help of customized avatars.
While the metaverse is a big future growth opportunity for Microsoft, the company’s intelligent cloud and business productivity tools are the major top-line drivers. Currently, Azure accounts for 21% of the global cloud infrastructure services market, behind Amazon‘s AWS (32% market share). However, Bessemer Venture Partners expects Azure to surpass AWS in market share in the next two years. Microsoft has also positioned itself as a developer-first company by acquiring GitHub, which can play a major role in boosting enterprise adoption of Azure.
Analysts are now estimating Microsoft’s revenue and earnings to grow year over year by 17.2% and 14.5%, respectively, in fiscal 2022. The company has a strong balance sheet, with a cash balance of $130.6 billion and debt of $78.9 billion.
In the context of a strong existing business, robust financials, and the now-evolving metaverse opportunity, I consider Microsoft as a safe long-term pick for retail investors.
2. Adobe Systems
Once known mainly for inventing the portable document format (PDF), Adobe Systems is now a leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) digital media player in the world. The company has three major cloud-based offerings: Creative Cloud, Document Cloud, and Experience Cloud.
Creative Cloud involves several creator economy-focused software products such as Photoshop, Adobe Spark, Illustrator, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe XD, and Adobe Substance 3D. Many of these software products have wide applications in the metaverse. Adobe Substance 3D reported a…
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