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GOOG Up In Skittish Market
Shares of GOOG are up in early trading as the market tries to find its footing. Stock specific catalysts for GOOG include continued Android and mobile traction; the release of Chrome operating system this fall; regained momentum in China (if that’s possible); as well as progress in other newer initiatives (Google Me, gaming, social, etc.) The stock trades at approximately 13x Enterprise Value / EBIT, inexpensive relative to historical trading levels and the broader Internet group.
Google iTunes Competitor A Paid Service With Perks (Billboard)
Google has been talking to record labels about a plan that would include a download store and a subscription and cloud-based locker service, according to Billboard. Under the proposal:
- Consumers would pay about $25 a year to store songs in the cloud, with access from any Internet-connected device. Wonder if it will be iOS compatible?
- Google is also seeking the right to provide each customer with the ability to listen to a full-track version of every song once (like Lala.com before Apple dismantled it).
- The locker would also have social networking features, most likely similar to Ping, with peer-to-peer services.
I’m not sure I’d pay to have my music hosted when it sits on my external hard drive. Another sticking point, is how much will the labels demand up front, how much will much will they charge per user or per use, and how will the money be split up between different rights holders?
Companies Switching From Microsoft and RIM To Google As Cost Savings (The Wall Street Journal)
Requests to connect Android phones to corporate email is on the rise. Employees are increasingly demanding support for iPhones and Android smartphones. To keep a lid on costs, companies and governments are starting to give employees more freedom to purchase their own devices. Mattson Technology migrated from Microsoft’s software and email to Google’s Web-based applications and stopped using BlackBerrys in favour of Android phones. The conversion saves the company $300,000 per year. More bad news for Research In Motion and Microsoft.
Layering In Social Network Means No Google Me (Google Watch)
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said at Google’s Zeitgeist that his company will release social features across Google properties in layers. Clint Boulton at eWeek thinks Facebook (and the rest of us) should rejoice. That means no Google Me Social Network! Google is smart enough to know this approach would likely fail to attract the kind of user base Facebook has (500 million and growing). The company’s social efforts are most likely a continuation of its strategy to keep people seeing its ads, not necessarily providing the fun interface. If Google did take all of its recent social acquisitions and weave some social network tapestry, it would be an exciting new product to scrutinize and follow. We will have to settle for the conservative approach.
Further Confirmation Of The Android Onslaught: Android Market Share Up (comScore)
According to comScore, Google’s mobile OS has gained U.S. market share at the expense of both the BlackBerry and iPhone. In the three months ending in July, Android claimed 17% of the U.S. smartphone market (up from 12% in the three months ended April). Meanwhile, BlackBerry slipped to 39.3% (from 41.1%) and Apple’s iPhone to 23.8% (from 25.1%). Thank you Antennagate.
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