It’s amazing what just a little push in the right direction can do. Most analysts seem to suggest that Microsoft is not doing very well now, some naysayers even predicting total doom and gloom.

Obviously the slow performance of Windows 8 and (to an extent) Surface tablets has not helped.

But despite all this, Microsoft’s shares have experienced the biggest increase in the past year or so, reaching a new record. Part of it is obviously the goodwill generated by the news that ValueAct Capital took control of a $2 billion stake in the technology company.

The end result is that Microsoft shares increased a neat 3.6 percent to $30.83.

ValueAct is now one of the top 20 shareholders in the Redmond-based technology titan, and the CEO of the hedge-fund recently explained in a statement that ValueAct has no intentions to get involved with the Microsoft’s normal business — it plans to let Microsoft do its work as it sees fit.

CEO Jeffrey Ubben did however reiterate that Microsoft should increase its focus on cloud computing and expanding its Office productivity suite.

Nevertheless, an even stronger case can also be made for Windows 8 in general.

Microsoft’s newest platform is not just its bid to gain a lot of the lost ground in the mobile market, but also attain higher acceptance of the Windows Phone platform. The Windows apps ecosystem is also something that can play a large role in the company’s bottom line in the near future.

There is a feeling that this is just the calm before the storm — the next couple of years will go a long way in defining the overall direction Microsoft takes for the future.

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