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MSFT Up With Markets
Markets have given back a bit as consumer confidence falls and the Richmond Fed drops. Shares of MSFT are up slightly with tech. 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 as well as tablet market with Surface; 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 7.5x Enterprise Value / TTM Free Cash Flow.Here’s Ballmer’s Chance To Rewrite His History (CNet)
With Windows Phone 8 and the Surface tablet, Microsoft hopes to beat Apple and Google at their own game. Steve Ballmer’s future may hinge on the outcome. The one constant in the technology world is change, and with these latest announcements, Ballmer has a chance to convince the critics they were wrong. This month’s show-and-tell could turn out to be a pivotal moment for Microsoft and Ballmer’s career. For many, he is the guy who turned Microsoft into a loser. If he can steer Microsoft toward a mobile future where Windows 8 reigns, that would be more than enough to convince many of his doubters.
Microsoft Rising (Supersite for Windows)
For the past decade or more, Microsoft has been the punching bag of the technology industry, delivering strong sales and financial results but only rarely achieving any form of emotional connection with customers or reviewers. This year has been a revolution for the software giant, with recent announcements and leaks centered on next-generation versions various products. Additionally, at some point this year, Microsoft will also deliver a beta version of Office 2013 and Windows Server 2012. The tech giant is suddenly the darling of the tech world.
How Apple Pushed Microsoft Into The Surface (The New York Times)
Around the time the iPad came out more than two years ago, Microsoft executives got an eye-opening jolt about how far Apple would go to gain an edge for its products. Apple had bought large quantities of high-quality aluminium from a mine in Australia to create the distinctive cases for the iPad. Microsoft executives were stunned by how deeply Apple was willing to reach into the global supply chain to secure innovative materials for the iPad and, once it did, to corner the market on those supplies. But the incident was one of many over the last several years that gradually pushed Microsoft to create its own tablet.
Is Surface Microsoft’s Last-Gasp Pitch To Keep IT Shops Windows-Only? (ZDNet)
Last week Ballmer and company pitched a retro Microsoft IT dream straight from the from the 1990s: A heterogeneous technology shop with Microsoft running on both server and client sides, on all form factors, from the data centre to the holstered Windows phone. Surface and Windows 8’s mobility APIs will offer IT management the chance to support a well-understood mobile platform, without contamination from Macintosh laptops, Apple iOS tablets and smartphones, and various flavours of Unix. By announcing the devices well in advance, Microsoft hopes to stop the market for the iPad and MacBook in the enterprise.
Like Siri And iPad, Microsoft Getting Into Connected Cars (Engadget)
Microsoft seems to have more grandiose ideas for Connected Car than it’s let on before, judging from a recent help wanted ad on its site. Reading more like PR for its car-based plans, the job notice waxes poetically about using “the full power of the Microsoft ecosystem” in an upcoming auto platform with tech such as Kinect, Azure, Windows 8 and Windows Phone. Those products would use face-tracking, speech and gestures to learn your driving habits and safely guide or entertain you on the road, according to the software engineer listing. It also hints that everything would be tied together using Azure’s cloud platform, so that your favourite music or shortcuts would follow you around, even if you’re not piloting your own rig.
Microsoft To Launch U.K. Retail Store (The Verge)
Microsoft is currently preparing to launch a retail store in the U.K. during March 2013. The retail store will launch after the U.K. online store scheduled for later this summer. Microsoft has not yet finalised the exact location of the March store, but that the company could be contemplating additional stores across London and the U.K. for similar timed launches. Last year, Microsoft’s chief operating officer, Kevin Turner, revealed that the company plans to open 75 new retail stores over the next two years. The company currently has 19 stores, with a new one opening in New York soon and a number of stores opening in Canada later this year.
Microsoft Acquires Yammer For $1.2 Billion (Business Insider)
In one of the worst kept secrets in acquisitions of late, Microsoft has officially acquired enterprise social network Yammer for $1.2 billion. Microsoft is acquiring the company of former PayPal COO David Sacks for $1.2 billion in cash. Yammer has 5 million corporate users and lets employees work together on projects and share information in an environment that looks more like Facebook than Microsoft Office.