Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella lays out the technologies he's betting on to take it past its $1 trillion valuation

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella lays out the technologies he's betting on to take it past its $1 trillion valuation

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

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  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed the technologies the company plans to invest in going forward.
  • The company will continue to advance its apps and infrastructure business, prioritize growing in data and AI, as well as compete in new areas in which Nadella said he sees as long-term growth opportunities such as security and compliance, and workflow cloud.
  • Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood revealed on the call the company's Azure cloud computing business had "material growth" in $10 million-plus contracts.
  • Nadella said Azure AI now has 20,000 customers and more than 85 percent of Fortune 100 companies have used Azure AI in the past 12 months.
  • Hood, Microsoft's CFO, said the company has set up a multiyear plan to invest in areas including security, compliance, communication, workflow and business process reinvention.
  • Microsoft is valued at more than $1 trillion.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories

Microsoft is one of the few companies in history to fetch a $1 trillion valuation. But Satya Nadella, the CEO who led Microsoft to this astronomical milestone, says he sees plenty of opportunities for new ways to grow the business.

"What's next?" he said on an investor call after Microsoft reported first-quarter fiscal earnings on Wednesday, "What's next for us is in the apps and infra(structure) to go the first inning to the second inning. For data and (artificial intelligence), to start the first innings."

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Microsoft, once known primarily as the maker of the software on people's desktop and laptop PCs, is now competing against a much wider range of foes in cutting edge businesses like artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

Growth in Microsoft's Azure cloud business consistently drives strong financial results for Microsoft, and it's a key strategic area for the company as it competes with cross-town giant Amazon and its market-leading AWS cloud business.

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Azure AI now has 20,000 customers and more than 85 percent of Fortune 100 companies have used Azure AI in the past 12 months, Nadella said. "The quintessential characteristic of every application going forward will be AI and we have the most comprehensive portfolio of AI tools, infrastructure and services," he said.

The overall commercial cloud business, which includes Azure plus Office 365 and other cloud services, was up 36 percent year over year to $11.6 billion for the quarter. And Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood said on the call that the company's Azure cloud computing business had "material growth" in $10 million-plus contracts, though she stopped short of sharing additional details.

But Nadella seemed most excited about new areas of focus that he sees as long-term growth opportunities.

"We built something that didn't even exist a few years ago"

"When it comes to security and compliance, we never participated in this. Guess what? We get to participate now in a fairly competitive way now," he said. "We built something that didn't even exist a few years ago, which is the workflow cloud. That's a huge opportunity for us."

The workflow cloud is an apparent reference to Microsoft Flow, which helps customers automate tasks by combining applications.

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Nadella said the company has a "very competitive and growing footprint" in business applications, "even when you think about something like Microsoft 365, we never participated in spite of our past success with all the first-line work and now we get ot participate in it," he said.

Hood, Microsoft's CFO, said the company has set up a multiyear plan to invest in areas including security, compliance, communication, workflow and business process reinvention.

"For us, it has been so important to remain focused on where growth and opportunity exist and to invest in those areas that are large, expansive and durable," she said.

Microsoft on Wednesday reported $10.7 billion in profit on revenue of $33.1 billion in the company's fiscal first quarter, beating Wall Street estimates. Despite strong results, Microsoft stock remained mostly unchanged in after-hours trading, hovering around $137 per share at the time of this writing.

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