Editor’s note: Matthew Casey is an analyst with Technology Business Research.

HAMPTON, N.H. – Increasing integration of offerings and environments will sustain Microsoft growth through 2013. That’s the view from technology Business Research.

The continued decline of the overall PC market and increasing trends of cloud and mobility in both the enterprise and consumer spaces has negatively impacted the consistency of Microsoft’s core Business and Windows Divisions in recent quarters.

Although 1Q13 results announced last weekwere positive for both divisions (8.2% year-to-year growth for Business Division, 23.1% year-to-year growth for Windows Division; 17.7% year-to-year corporate revenue growth), inconsistent performance in terms of growth across both divisions throughout 2012 highlights the importance Microsoft’s underlying goal to unify its user-base and portfolio to incorporate traditional, cloud and mobile environments.

Likewise, stand-alone capabilities within the Business Division that span collaboration, communication and productivity solutions can only carry Microsoft’s business so far, as competitors such as Google and Salesforce.com continue to incorporate all-inclusive solutions in these areas.

While TBR does not anticipate Microsoft to maintain the double-digit growth recorded in 1Q13 in the coming quarters, TBR expects continued positive growth for Microsoft overall, as well as across the Business and Windows divisions through 2013.

For Microsoft to maintain this positive performance throughout the year, unifying the capabilities within these portfolios to deliver capabilities across environments and enable a seamless end-users experience will solidify Microsoft’s position within its install-base and allow the company to better position itself against competitors and drive new revenue growth.

Unifying Customer Experience

The thorns in the side of the Windows Division in recent quarters stems from a declining PC market, the continued difficulty in penetrating the mobile and tablet space, and delayed customer upgrades as a result of applicability of legacy Windows solutions. While the 23.1% year-to-year growth seen from Windows during 1Q13 was a positive result for the division, Microsoft’s ability to continue unifying its Windows platform across traditional, mobile and cloud based environments will enable the company to sustain positive growth through 2013.

The 1Q13 announcement to discontinue support for Windows XP by April, 2014 will help spur upgrades to Windows 7 and ultimately Windows 8 in coming quarters, but routine upgrades will not be enough to sustain consistent, positive growth. To sustain positive growth from the division, effectively penetrating the mobile market and providing users a unified experience across PCs and mobile devices will ensure the long-term applicability of the operating system beyond PCs and drive long-term growth.

Although one cannot directly correlate Windows growth to performance from other divisions, increased penetration of cloud solutions such as Office 365 and SkyDrive will ultimately result in pull-through revenue for Windows as customers increasingly access traditionally deployed workloads on Windows 8 based mobile and cloud environments. With Microsoft having an established presence in the enterprise PC space, leveraging that PC hub will continue to drive adoption of cloud solutions by customers, including the 1Q13 announcement of ABB’s adoption of Office 365 and Yammer, which will ultimately help sustain positive Windows growth through 2013.

Skype and Lync integration will help enhance offering value and solidify Microsoft’s competitive position in the productivity space
While Business Division has fared better than Windows in recent quarters, continued unification of the solutions within the division will help pull more Microsoft technology together and provide customers a more integrated experience.

During 2012, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Yammer, incorporating the portfolio with solutions including Office 365 and Dynamics CRM to incorporate collaborative capabilities across the solutions. In a similar move during 1Q13, Microsoft announced its intent to incorporate Skype with Lync, Microsoft’s internally developed communication solution within the Business Division.

Since the closing of the Skype acquisition in October 2011, the entity has for the most-part operated as a standalone portfolio, continuing to drive its growth by providing video and voice communication through VoIP capabilities. While Microsoft incorporated advertisements on the Skype platform during 2012 to further monetize the solution, wide-spread incorporation of the solution across Microsoft’s portfolio has yet to happen.

The incorporation of Skype with Lync will not only provide video conferencing capabilities to the communication platform, but will help Microsoft more tightly align Skype capabilities with the rest of its productivity suite (including SharePoint and Office) and increase its competitive position against competitors such as Google and IBM.

Although top-line revenue growth may not be directly seen through Skype/Lync integration, the unification of the solutions will help Microsoft solidify its end-user experience and help expand share of wallet and drive new customer engagements.