Fewer 'consumers,' more 'innovation': Microsoft earnings calls sing the enterprise tune
- Microsoft mentioned "innovation" or "innovative" 38 times in 2017 earnings calls, more than Facebook, Amazon, Apple or Google, according to machine learning analysis of a decade's worth of earnings call transcripts from the top tech companies by CB Insights. Mentions of "consumers" fell considerably for Microsoft since 2016, reflecting the company's pivot to the enterprise, while remaining steady or slightly increasing for the other companies.
- In the cloud market, Azure has become the largest focus of Microsoft's calls over the last few years as mentions of Office 365 and Windows remained steady. Amazon's mentions of AWS have declined since 2016, and while Google Cloud mentions have increased slightly, they comprise as small a slice of Google's attention on calls as Pixel and Google Home.
- When it comes to paying attention to the competition, Google and Apple talked about one another more far more than they talked about the other companies. Microsoft spent the most time talking about Facebook while Amazon barely mentioned its competitors. India used to be a major topic for Amazon and Apple, but mentions of the country have declined between 2016 and 2017. Mentions of China, meanwhile, are high for Apple and growing at 57% year-over-year for Amazon.
Earnings calls are important check-ins for corporate strategy, health and executive outlook. Relative to the the last decade, the pace of technology transformation has shifted the landscape of these calls drastically in the last two years.
Although most of the five major technology companies have some enterprise segments and products, for the most part Facebook and Apple are B2C companies. AWS and Google have larger consumer-facing divisions, though both companies' cloud businesses are also solidfying their roles as leaders in the enterprise tech space.
Microsoft, however, has steadily turned itself from a consumer to an enterprise company, and divisions like Xbox and Surface are now small pieces of the pie. The enterprise-focus has spared Microsoft many negative repercussions of the "techlash" hitting consumer-facing companies like Facebook and Amazon.
In the technology arena, "big data" used to be the hot phrase in earnings calls, but artificial intelligence-related terms have displaced it over the last few years. Microsoft has mentioned "artificial intelligence" more than the other FAAMG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google) companies since 2017, while Google has favored "machine learning" since 2016, according to CB Insights.
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