THE MICROSOFT INVESTOR: Microsoft Surface Can't Come Fast Enough

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Steve Ballmer Microsoft Surface

Photo: AP

MSFT Off As Market Dives 
Markets are off again as U.S. manufacturing falls to second lowest level since the crisis. Shares of MSFT are off with the rest of tech. Catalysts for the stock include Windows 8, Windows Server 8, Office 15 and Windows Phone 8; expansion in the smartphone and tablet markets; strides in cloud computing; profitability in the online business; and continued evolution of Kinect and next generation Xbox. The stock currently trades at 6.6x Enterprise Value / TTM Free Cash Flow. Check out our updated Microsoft model.The Cost Of Supporting Nokia (BI Intelligence)
After years of losses, Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices (E&D) group was consistently in the black. But a year later, Microsoft began paying Nokia $250 million every quarter for carrying Windows Phone 8. In exchange, Nokia pays Microsoft a licence fee for every Windows Phone it sells. Unfortunately, Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone, the Lumia 900, is selling poorly. So poorly, in fact, that the company just cut its price in half. So Nokia helped send the E&D back into the red. It’s lost more than $200 million in each of the last two quarters. If Windows Phone sales don’t pick up, E&D will turn into a consistent money loser again.

Microsoft’s Windows 8 Surface Can’t Come Fast Enough (CNet)
Microsoft Windows 8 Surface tablet can’t arrive too soon. Google’s Nexus 7 appears to be a hit, which could dent enthusiasm for another major tablet platform. Android, you know, the OS that seemed to be stuck in neutral on tablets until the Nexus 7 arrived. Now Google can’t make enough of them. That’s only going to whet consumers’ appetites. Instant cachet like this is priceless. Cachet that has been reserved for Apple’s iPad. Yes, Surface is a different creature. But if the Android tablet’s time has finally come, Microsoft will have yet another dragon to slay (as if the iPad wasn’t already enough).

Can Microsoft’s Tablet Out-Apple Apple? (The Smoking Section)
The anti-Apple crowd criticised the company for not innovating, but rather improving upon an existing product. And for years and years, that strategy has worked wonders for Apple. But now it looks like Microsoft is in a position to do the same thing with the release of a Surface tablet and Windows 8. From preliminary looks at both the device and its operating system, the Surface looks magnificent; unparalleled touchscreen, seamless app switching, smooth and futuristic interface. It’s essentially a laptop with an interactive monitor.

Microsoft People Vs. Apple People (Adventures In Capitalism)
There are Microsoft people and Apple people. Microsoft people want every option, and can’t imagine why others would find the surfeit of choices intimidating or annoying. They are “optimizers.” Apple people want a simple, elegant experience, and care little about individual features. They adapt to the limitations presented to them, perhaps without even thinking about them. They are “satisficers.” recognise that you can’t make both of them happy. The point is, you have to choose. If you don’t, you end up with things like Microsoft’s consumer products or Apple’s data centre products, strange chimeras which flail in the marketplace.

Is Microsoft Listening To All My Skype Calls? (Forbes)
Microsoft may be allowed to eavesdrop on Skype calls going forward. One of the reasons that Skype has grown so swiftly in the last 5 years was the belief that the service one of the most locked-down and encrypted services available to communicate with. Microsoft was recently granted a patent to “‘legal intercept’ technology designed to be used with VOIP services like Skype to ‘silently copy communication transmitted via the communication session.'” Should Microsoft have this ability? In any event, it’s a huge opportunity for a competitor to come in and knock Skype off its perch.

Microsoft’s Greatest Weakness: Advertisements (Zunited)
Microsoft for the most part, has failed greatly in advertising for Windows Phones. In order for Surface to gain any significant traction and mind share, the advertisements should be at their best. Microsoft should always follow three rules: don’t insult your potential customer, know what are you trying to sell, and make your product look cool. No one wants a product that is dull, lame, or a rip off of another product. And Nokia’s in the same boat. The only way they will be successful is if they both help each other row the boat.

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