NEW YORK  According Robert Cyran from  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, nearly $730 billion. Its secret is dullness and durability: the predictability of Microsoft’s earnings under boss Satya Nadella has helped the firm’s stock outperform Apple, Alphabet, and Facebook over the past five years.

Its quarterly results Thursday show Microsoft is doing well. The company earned $7.4 billion, an increase of 35 over the same period last year. More importantly, customers continue switch to cloud versions of Office and other business software and 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 customers stick around for . One is that switching rival products is hard. Enterprises are reluctant to go through the disruption of training workers new software. The other is that Microsoft is fairly staid. A company that puts all its data Amazon’s Web Services unit risks getting locked in or suffering a disruption if that company’s service goes temporarily out of service.

This reliability explains why the company’s earnings multiple has steadily expanded under Nadella. Microsoft’s shares now trade 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 may not be the exciting company, but Microsoft least knows how to on the road.