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Microsoft’s HoloLens Enters the Market, but Only for Developers

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Microsoft’s HoloLens Developer Edition ready to be shipped

In early 2015, along with its Windows 10 announcement, Microsoft (MSFT) announced its untethered augmented reality headset, HoloLens.

Microsoft is shipping its HoloLens computer glasses to developers in the United States and Canada as of March 30, 2016.

HoloLens uses AR (augmented reality) to add virtual items to the world around us. It allows users to move and manipulate virtual items in space. It has the ability to interpret body movements as mouse-like functions.

HoloLens is designed to serve as the comprehensive communications, entertainment, and productivity platform of Windows 10. In late 2015, we highlighted that AR and VR (virtual reality) will receive considerable attention from Microsoft in 2016.

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Juniper Research expects about three million VR headsets to be shipped in 2016. This could rise to 30 million by 2020. Apart from the VR space, Microsoft’s HoloLens has made the company visible in the wearables space. The Apple (AAPL) Watch, which was released in April 2015, showed success when it captured a ~19% share of the wearables market in 3Q15, according to the International Data Corporation.

Developers are showing keen interest in developing VR titles

Earlier in the series, we discussed that though the PC continues to be the leading gaming platform, the emergence of and rising interest in VR devices such as Facebook’s (FB) Oculus Rift, Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation VR, and Samsung’s (SSNLF) Gear VR are rapidly catching developers’ interests.

The Game Developers Conference State of the Industry 2016 survey revealed that VR is rapidly emerging as a future gaming platform, for which developer support has doubled compared to 2015.

Investors who wish to gain exposure to Microsoft could consider investing in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). SPY invests ~2.4% of its holdings in Microsoft. It also has ~8% exposure to application software.

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