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By now, just about every tech investor (and honestly, just about everyone, period) is familiar with Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and its wide-ranging contributions to everyday home-use technology.
It's basically a "greatest hits" of personal computing, at this point. The Windows operating system has held onto the majority of the market share for PC operating systems since 1987, and its Office suite of tools has long been the gold-standard of business productivity applications across the world.
Microsoft also owns the Xbox gaming division, which creates a slew of games, has a gaming cloud service, and is responsible for the hugely popular Xbox gaming console. And with the upcoming $68.7 billion acquisition of gaming company Activision-Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), the largest acquisition in gaming ever, Microsoft will become the third-largest gaming company in the world.
Add to that a slew of cloud-related data and computing services under its Azure brand, where Microsoft makes a huge part of its money, and you can see that the tech giant has a huge presence in industry and entertainment.
What you may not know is that the company's reach extends beyond the civilian world into the realm of military and defense tech, where it is one of the current market leaders. And its recent moves in that arena are creating an opportunity for this already successful firm to push even higher.
Specifically, they just signed a contract to provide game-changing technology to U.S. soldiers that could be an incredible force multiplier on the battlefields of the 21st century. And they're just about the only company around that can actually pull it off.
Let me show you why it's set to double its earnings in as little as 2.5 years with the help of this new contract...
U.S. Troops Get the Best Technology for Battle
Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which started on February 24, shows the need for top-flight gear on today's battlefield.
See, despite overwhelming numbers and much hype about its training and capabilities, so far, the Russian army's advance has been extremely slow.
There are many reasons for this, of course. But one key reason appears to be that Russia's soldiers on the ground are woefully under-equipped. Reports suggest Russian soldiers are using local Ukrainian cell phones to communicate with command, that they lack night-vision equipment, and have no jamming or missiles to protect them from Ukrainian drones.
With support from companies like Microsoft, U.S. soldiers will not face the same technological embarrassment in our next conflict. And the latest addition to their arsenal comes in the form of custom-designed, AR-equipped helmets. They're calling it the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), and frankly, it's awesome.
Based on the civilian HoloLens AR headsets, the Army's new helmets will overlay important information onto soldiers' views of the battlefields.
We're talking identifying friendly soldiers, enemy positions, ambushes, civilians to avoid, and areas where artillery will soon strike.
The headsets will also incorporate night-vision technology, which is an evolution of the HoloLens's civilian uses.
These goggles are already used in industries like architecture, construction, and engineering, for example, to visualize plans and schematics in full 3D, allowing people to see how different parts will fit together and get out ahead of any potential problems.
Headsets like these play a key role in the virtual reality (VR) sector that was worth roughly $6.3 billion last year. By the end of 2028, this is a market that will be worth $84 billion, according to Fortune Business Insight.
The current Pentagon contract is for over 120,000 headsets set to get in the hands of U.S. Army soldiers in September. Over the next decade, the contract could be worth as much as $21.88 billion. That follows an earlier contract for the prototype version of this technology from 2018, worth $480 million.
Now, these headsets are fancy, but on their own they can't do much. That's where the other part of Microsoft's expertise - cloud computing and networking - come in.
The IVAS tech works in large part because the units will all be linked to each other and with the U.S. Army's larger data network.
In fact, that's partly why Microsoft was originally awarded a $10 billion contract to provide the Pentagon with its own secure and global cloud service.
A Leader in Both Military and Civilian Tech
See, this isn't the company's first rodeo in the defense sector. They've been around for a while now.
To name just a few examples, Microsoft is the sole provider of productivity software to the Department of Defense's 3 million-plus employees. It has also partnered with the Navy to use the Azure cloud datacenters to create an improved weather monitoring system crucial for naval operations.
And that's just a taste. According to Tech Inquiry, Microsoft has more than 5,000 subcontracts with the Department of Defense and law enforcement agencies.
What you need to understand as a tech investor is that whenever they develop or distribute tech into the defense sector, it dovetails back into their civilian divisions, and vice versa.
The expertise that Microsoft will gain from deploying its AR technology with the Army will feed back to its civilian AR tech, and push forward its metaverse technology as well - which will be a huge source of growth for the company, as the metaverse market is set to explode to $8 trillion over the next two decades, according to both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
The metaverse is all about using AR to overlay information from the digital world onto the real world and allowing people to interact with both as they move around. That's pretty much exactly what Microsoft's AR headsets for the Army will do, though in a much higher-stakes environment.
And there's no questioning Microsoft's history of trouncing the market. Over the past five years, the firm's stock is up 325% compared to the S&P 500's 80% gain.
Not only that, but they also have great earnings. Per-share, it's growing at 28% a year and set to double in 2.5 years. That makes it a great way to build wealth in today's volatile market.
Big Tech leaders like Microsoft are pouring billions of dollars into developing the metaverse, but the biggest opportunities aren't just with the household names.
I'm watching three smaller players - two stocks and one crypto - that are positioned to reap the biggest rewards from this transition and have the potential to provide 1000% gains to investors over the next few years.
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is a 36-year Silicon Valley veteran and one of the top tech and biotech financial analysts working today. That's because, as a consultant, senior adviser, and board member for Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Michael enjoys privileged access to pioneering CEOs, scientists, and high-profile players. And he brings this entire world of Silicon Valley "insiders" right to you...
- He was one of five people involved in early meetings for the $160 billion "cloud" computing phenomenon.
- He was there as Lee Iacocca and Roger Smith, the CEOs of Chrysler and GM, led the robotics revolution that saved the U.S. automotive industry.
- As cyber-security was becoming a focus of national security, Michael was with Dave DeWalt, the CEO of McAfee, right before Intel acquired his company for $7.8 billion.
This all means the entire world is constantly seeking Michael's insight.
In addition to being a regular guest and panelist on CNBC and Fox Business, he is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter. His first book Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings warned people about the coming financial collapse - years before the word "bailout" became a household word.
Silicon Valley defense publications vie for his analysis. He's worked for Defense Media Network and Signal Magazine, as well as The New York Times, American Enterprise, and The Wall Street Journal.
And even with decades of experience, Michael believes there has never been a moment in time quite like this.
Right now, medical breakthroughs that once took years to develop are moving at a record speed. And that means we are going to see highly lucrative biotech investment opportunities come in fast and furious.
To help you navigate the historic opportunity in biotech, Michael launched the Bio-Tech Profit Alliance.
His other publications include: Strategic Tech Investor, The Nova-X Report, Bio-Technology Profit Alliance and Nexus-9 Network.