The “WannaCry” cyberattack that swept through the globe over the weekend may have caused countless headaches for scores of people but it could turn out to be a boon for Microsoft (MSFT) if companies and consumers move to upgrade their operating system as a result.

That’s the call coming out of Credit Suisse which reiterated its outperform rating on the Redmond, Washington software company, saying that “WannaCry” and other recent attacks should prompt companies to upgrade to Window’s 10, its latest operating system.

"The recent global ransomware attack exploiting a flaw in Windows, while serious, not only demonstrates the continued ubiquity of Microsoft, but also highlights that many of the affected enterprises or entities that are still using older, and now unsupported, versions of Windows need to accelerate their plans to upgrade to Windows 10," analyst Michael Nemeroff wrote in a recent note to clients covered by CNBC. "If you're not current, you're toast." (See also: Security Stocks Up After Global Ransomware Attacks)

Late last week, a ransomware attack, in which hackers locked up computers and threaten to delete all the files on their hard drives if the users didn’t pay up, swept throughout the world starting with hospitals in the U.K. Since then, officials from countries and companies around the globe reported being hit. All told the ransomware virus reached 200,000 people in 150 countries. In a blog post penned by Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, the executive blamed users for not patching or upgrading their operating systems and spy agencies including the National Security Agency for hording hacker tools, for the spread of “WannaCry.”

Still critics contend the larger problem is the fact that software upgrades are coming out at a pace that isn’t keeping up with hardware. While Microsoft slammed the fact that consumers are still using Windows XP, which was released six years ago, older devices may not have the power to handle a newer operating system like Windows 10. Microsoft was also blamed for not releasing a patch for XP earlier. A  New York Times Op-Ed writer put it like this: “Companies like Microsoft should discard the idea that they can abandon people using older software.”  (See also: Microsoft Blames Users, Spy Agencies As It Faces Rising Criticism)

Credit Suisse’s Nemeroff, who has an $80 price target on shares of the software giant, said the ransomware attack could pick up the pace of the Windows upgrade cycle on the corporate side and could increase the number of monthly active users for Office 365 beyond what he factored into his earnings estimates. He noted  85% of companies haven’t moved to Windows 10 as of yet. "We view MSFT shares as attractive due to the significant earnings power potential over the next several years," wrote the Wall Street watcher. At $80 a share, Credit Suisse think there is room for shares to gain an additional nearly 16% based on its closing stock price Tuesday.




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