As we saw earlier in this series, Microsoft (MSFT) is aggressively eyeing the mobile space to boost its growth. This is in accordance with its “cloud first, mobile first strategy,” as articulated by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in 2014. Microsoft’s June 1 acquisition of 6Wunderkinder GmbH, developer of the Wunderlist app, is the company’s latest endeavor in the mobile space.
According to Digi-Capital, and as the presentation below shows, the mobile app market is forecast to record $70 billion in global revenues by 2017. The revenue share of non-game apps in the mobile app market is expected to double from 26% to 51%, with an expected 200 billion downloads by 2017.
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In February 2014, when Satya Nadella became Microsoft’s CEO, he announced that going forward, Microsoft would be “a productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world.” Following this strategy, Microsoft entered the mobile payment platform space. On April 8, 2015, Ars Technica reported that Microsoft would possess a mobile payments platform.
According to banking consultant Faisal Khan, Microsoft applied for a license under the name Microsoft Payments, Inc., in February 2015. Microsoft filed for a license to become a money transmitter in all 50 states. This information was listed on the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (or NMLS) registry, which does not publish information on applications that are not yet approved by the state.
By the end of March 2015, Idaho was the first state to approve Microsoft’s mobile payment system. Current mobile payment platforms available in the market include leading technology players Google (GOOG) Wallet/Android Pay and Apple (AAPL) Pay.
Although Microsoft hasn’t made any product announcements, its Windows 10 operating system can support mobile payments. This points toward Microsoft’s intended move into the mobile payments space.
Investors who would like to include Microsoft and other tech stocks in their portfolios could invest in the PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF (QQQ) and the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK), with 8% and 9.61% of their holdings in Microsoft, respectively.