Shares of Microsoft (MSFT – Free Report) climbed nearly 1% higher to touch a new 52-week high on Wednesday, just one trading period before the software behemoth is set to release its pivotal fourth-quarter earnings report.

Over the past several years, global demand for personal computers—and related software—has plummeted. This put Microsoft in a tricky situation; the company known for its innovative Windows operating system now needed to rebrand itself as a tech leader that could adapt to the times.

In many ways, Microsoft has done just that. For one, the company moved to a “freemium” model with Windows 10, offering the new OS as a free upgrade and focusing on the monetization of compatible apps and services.

We’ve also witnessed Microsoft’s evolution through the aggressive growth of its Azure division. Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing service that builds, deploys, and manages applications and web services through the company’s own network of data centers. Azure has been growing at nearly a triple-digit rate over the past year or so.

So what’s in store for Microsoft this quarter? Well, the current Zacks Consensus Estimates are calling for earnings of 71 cents per share and revenue of $24.19 billion. These results would represent year-over-year growth rates of 2.5% and 17.3%, respectively.

Furthermore, Microsoft is carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) into its report, although its -2.82% Earnings ESP makes the predictive power of this formula less relevant.

Of course, earnings and revenue are just two of the many things investors will be looking at when Microsoft reports on Thursday. Check out these three additional things to expect.

These important stock drivers are from our exclusive non-financial metrics consensus estimate file. These estimates are updated daily and are based on the independent research of expert stock analysts. Learn more here>>>

1. Thanks to Azure, Intelligent Cloud growth will continue

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