THE MICROSOFT INVESTOR: Microsoft Paying Developers Big Money For WP Apps

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MSFT Off With Tech  
Stocks are mixed after four days of declines. Shares of MSFT are bouncing around with the rest of technology. Upcoming events include calendar first quarter earnings to be announced on Thursday, April 19 at 5:30pm ET. Catalysts for the stock include Windows 8, Windows Server 8, Office 15 and Windows Phone 8; expansion in the smartphone market with primary hardware partner Nokia; strides in cloud computing; profitability in the online business, including integration of Skype; and continued evolution of Kinect and next generation Xbox. The stock currently trades at 8.4x Enterprise Value / TTM Free Cash Flow.

Here’s How To Screw Up Your Big Smartphone Launch (The New York Times)
Nokia Lumia 900 launched as scheduled on Easter Sunday, April 8. But the debut became something of an Easter egg hunt itself, given that almost all of AT&T’s retail stores were closed, as were Microsoft and Best Buy outlets. It’s odd that such a highly anticipated phone is so difficult to purchase in a store on its release date, at least in New York. Analysts and tech followers view the Lumia 900, priced at $100, as the make-it-or-break-it device for Microsoft and Nokia, two tech giants who are struggling to gain a foothold in the smartphone market.

AT&T Spending $150 Million To Help Nokia And Microsoft (Ad Age)
AT&T will kick in as much as $150 million to help launch Nokia’s Windows Phone Lumia 900, topping its outlay for the iPhone. Big backing was a no-brainer for Nokia and Microsoft, players that have been pummelled in the extremely competitive, extremely lucrative smartphone market. Less obvious is that the device may be equally crucial for AT&T, the phone’s sole carrier. AT&T wouldn’t comment on Lumia spending, but $150 million isn’t small change even for the No. 2 biggest spender in the country, which wielded $3 billion in advertising in 2010.

AOL Sells $1 Billion In Patents To Microsoft (Various via Scoople)
AOL has agreed to sell 800 of its patents and their related applications to Microsoft for a total about $1.06 billion in cash. This one time transaction also grants Microsoft a no-exclusive licence to to the 300 remaining patents which cover key technologies like advertising, search, content generation/management, social networking, mapping, multimedia/streaming, and security. “The agreement with Microsoft represents the culmination of a robust auction process for our patent portfolio,” said Tim Armstrong, AOL’s chairman and CEO. Microsoft basically just bought Netscape. Do you think this is a better deal for AOL?

How Desperate Is Microsoft For Developers? (ComputerWorld)
How desperate is Microsoft to get developers to write apps for Windows Phone? The company is willing to subsidise them up to $600,000 per app. With an estimated 70,000 apps available for Windows Phone, the platform lags well behind iPhone with an estimated 600,000 apps, and Android, with an estimated 400,000 apps. That’s a big problem for Microsoft, because apps sell phones. Microsoft has known for years this has been a problem. Even before the release of Windows Phone 7 Microsoft began the incentives. Why does Microsoft have such a crappy app selection?

Samsung Is Ready With Three Windows Phones This Year (SlashGear)
Samsung is planning to release three new Windows Phone handsets in the second half of 2012. One of the phones will be the Samsung Mandel, which will feature the typical WVGA resolution, but will have LTE on board, as well as run the latest version of Windows Phone, Refresh (aka Tango). There aren’t any details about the other two handsets, only that they should be running Windows Phone Apollo. Samsung’s previous Windows Phones included the Focus S and Focus Flash, both on AT&T.

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