NEW YORK  According to Robert Cyran from  Reuters 1;  If the tech sector is in perpetual party mode, Microsoft is its designated driver. The software giant is vying with retailer Amazon to be the planet’s second-biggest firm by market capitalization, at nearly $730 billion. Its secret is dullness and durability: the predictability Microsoft’s earnings boss Satya Nadella has helped the firm’s stock outperform Apple, Alphabet, and Facebook over the past five years.

Its quarterly results on Thursday show Microsoft is doing well. The company earned $7.4 billion, an increase 35 over the same period last year. More importantly, continue to switch to cloud versions Office and other business software and buy increasing amounts of online services, storage, and computing. Enterprise sales of Office 365 were up more than 40 , while revenue from the Azure cloud-computing platform rose over 90 .

Microsoft stick around for two . One is that switching to rival products is hard. Enterprises are reluctant to go through the disruption of workers on new software. The other reason is that Microsoft is fairly staid. A that puts all its data on Amazon’s Web Services unit risks getting locked in or suffering a disruption if that ’s service goes temporarily out of service.

This reliability explains why the ’s earnings multiple has steadily expanded Nadella. Microsoft’s shares now trade at 26 times estimated 2018 earnings, a to Apple, Alphabet, and Facebook. Since he became chief executive in 2014, Microsoft investors have seen over a 28 percent annualized total return. They don’t need to worry about smartphone sales, data-privacy scandals or downturns to internet advertising. It not be the most exciting company, but Microsoft at least knows how to stay on the road.