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MicroStrategy product development advances after Voice.com sale
Analytics and BI vendor MicroStrategy sells the Voice.com domain name and moves forward with product R&D in a competitive market that is consolidating quickly.
Analytics and business intelligence vendor MicroStrategy, after selling the Voice.com domain name, is moving forward on voice and other technologies, as users have come to expect self-service capabilities as standard.
On June 18, the 30-year-old independent vendor, based in Tysons Corner, Va., revealed that it sold the domain for $30 million to Block.one in one of the largest ever cash-only domain name sales.
The sale of an asset MicroStrategy acquired years ago came soon after two of the vendor's biggest competitors, Looker and Tableau, were acquired by major tech powers, as Google bought Looker, and Salesforce acquired Tableau in a burst of consolidation in the fiercely competitive market.
With MicroStrategy currently in a quiet period, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Marge Breya declined to talk specifically about how the company will use the cash infusion.
However, Breya said MicroStrategy plans to stay focused on research and product development as the analytics landscape evolves over the next few years.
"One of the things that is going to be the next trend is a move away from self-service analytics," Breya said. "We think self-service is going to move to self-evident, which is analytics that will show you not only where you've gone and where you're going, but what you need to do."
"It will be able to give you both visual and audible cues," she added.
Doug Henschen, an analyst at Constellation Research, said the cash influx from selling the Voice.com domain "can't hurt."
"The press releases aren't saying what it plans to do with the $30 million, but the company is clearly investing in next-generation cloud deployment and augmented intelligence capabilities," Henschen said. "The bar is being raised on both these fronts, so investment will be needed to keep pace with rising expectations."
MicroStrategy's latest significant product move came in January 2019, when it added the HyperIntelligence feature to its latest platform update, MicroStrategy 2019.
Now, MicroStrategy is working with on Apple visual technology and with Amazon Alexa to develop voice cues for MicroStrategy analytics.
"This is the first phase of it," Breya said.
Regarding the potential impact of the Voice.com sale, Breya noted that MicroStrategy was approached about the sale of the domain name, rather than sought it out, and noted that the company already had $550 million in cash reserves.
Still, MicroStrategy reported a net loss of $7.9 million for the first quarter of 2019 and a decline in net revenue of $7.6 million from the first quarter of 2018.
Breya maintained that MicroStrategy's investment in product development has resulted in the company's longevity.
Doug HenschenAnalyst at Constellation Research
MicroStrategy was founded in 1989 and has managed to stay competitive with vendors with newer analytics platforms, while outdistancing traditional competitors such as IBM and Oracle.
"You have to have a killer [R&D] team that can go through styles and phases of technology," Breya said. "The agility of the R&D team and its ability to balance the needs of the future and the past and the present will keep you from being a one-hit wonder."
While product development has kept MicroStrategy relevant, the way users are able to employ its platform has been critical, as MicroStrategy tries to keep pace with rivals such as Microsoft's Power BI, Qlik and Tableau.
In fact, Henschen noted, though MicroStrategy sees analytics moving away from self-service in the next wave of innovation, self-service is one of the reasons the company remains pertinent today.
"They differentiate themselves by supporting the largest deployments out there," he said. "They also differentiate themselves by supporting self-service; they're very open and embrace self-service. They're open to supporting Tableau and Qlik for self-service. They support all of that, but then let their data platform be the source of truth."
During its sale of Voice.com, MicroStrategy listed 15 other domain names it's now making available.
Like Voice.com, they're domain names MicroStrategy first acquired when thinking about potential businesses the company might develop.
"It was good forethought and turned out to be a pretty prescient set of buys," Breya said.