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MSFT Flat With Market
Markets are moving sideways, mostly in the negative, today as stocks retreat after impressive gains last week, and despite a spike in factory output for May. Shares of MSFT are flat, moving with the tech tape. Upcoming catalysts include second calendar quarter results to be released in July; the company’s Analyst Day at its new developer conference (BUILD) in September; Windows Phone 7 / Mango adoption with hardware partner Nokia; strides against current market leaders in cloud computing; entrance in the tablet market at some point; making money in the online business, including integration of Skype and improving the search / display business (see below); and continued evolution of Kinect and the next generation Xbox console. The stock currently trades at 8x Enterprise Value / TTM Free Cash Flow, inexpensive compared to historical trading multiples.
Microsoft And Baidu Team Up Against Google (Bloomberg)
Microsoft and Baidu agreed to bolster their Internet-search partnership in China as the companies seek to gain users from Google in the world’s biggest Internet market. The agreement will let Baidu users see English search results generated by the Bing technology to users in China. A service jointly offered by the companies will start this year.
Internet Explorer Is A Falling Rock As Chrome Grabs 20% Marketshare (Reuters)
Google’s Chrome Web browser has grabbed more than 20% global market share, while Microsoft’s long-time leader Internet Explorer (IE) has slipped below 50%, according to StatCounter. Despite all the hoopla about IE9, Internet Explorer’s share, as measured in usage, declined (again) in June to 53.7% from 54.3% in May and 55.1% in April.
Microsoft Loses Another Hitter (All Things Digital)
In a hit to the software giant, Microsoft’s SVP of Strategy and Partnership Hank Vigil will be leaving to focus on investing in and advising for early-stage start-up companies. He has most recently been working directly with Ballmer. In that role, Vigil has worked on a range of deals, including with Facebook, Nokia, News Corp. and many others. But the 25-year company veteran, who will depart Microsoft in the fall, will also become a “strategic advisor” to Microsoft. He follows a long list of recent departures.
Microsoft A Potential Hulu Suitor As Well (The Los Angeles Times)
Microsoft is one of several companies in preliminary talks to potentially acquire Hulu, the network-backed online video service. The software giant is said to be evaluating whether Hulu would further their efforts to capitalise on the popularity of online video and reach the growing number of viewers who watch TV shows, movies and short videos on computers, mobile devices and Internet-connected TV sets. It’s too early to say if there is a front-runner among potential suitors.
Google Loses Out In Nortel Patent Sale To Apple And Microsoft (Various via techDygest)
Nortel Networks has auctioned off its remaining 6,000 patents and patent applications for a cash purchase price of $4.5 billion to a consortium including Apple and Microsoft. Google, which started the stalking horse bidding by offering Nortel $900 million for the patents back in April, missed out on the sale. This is really bad for Google, because it has the weakest patent portfolio of any major mobile company.
FTC Ringing In The Microsoft Antitrust Anniversary With By Interrogating Google (CNet)
10 years ago this week, an appeals court upheld Microsoft’s conviction for monopolizing the PC operating system market. History seems to be repeating itself. By uncanny coincidence, news broke last week that the FTC had begun an antitrust investigation into Google’s business practices. Even if Google today were the monopolist Microsoft supposedly was a decade ago, it doesn’t follow that another drawn-out antitrust battle and cumbersome consent decree will actually benefit consumers.