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MSFT Weak As Tech Slides
Stocks are up in early trading on China’s rate cut and Bernanke’s monetary policy speech to the Senate. Shares of MSFT are sinking after morning highs, and the rest of tech has fallen to flat. 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 7.3x Enterprise Value / TTM Free Cash Flow.
Microsoft Debuts A Bevy Of New Products (The Week)
Microsoft kicked off the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) with a bang, unveiling a bevy of new products intended to transform your home entertainment system into a totally immersive experience. Those include:
- Xbox Music
- More TV channels
- personalised workouts
- New Internet Explorer
Put together the pieces and…
…Microsoft Is Trying To Use Xbox To Get A Let Up In Mobile (Business Insider)
How might all the upcoming Xbox additions boost Microsoft’s mobile position?
- SmartGlass will allow users to control Xbox content from a smartphone or tablet
- Xbox Music has built a huge music library, and will be built into Windows 8
Will this strategy work? Not by itself. Microsoft also needs to improve its mobile platforms and convince its hardware partners to build great devices. But it shows why Microsoft should not be counted out in mobile.
Microsoft Won’t Be Able To Compete With The iPad At High Price Points (IDC via Cult Of Mac)
Research firm IDC believes Microsoft may not be able to compete against the iPad on price in either the business or consumer markets. Analyst Tom Mainelli believes that Windows RT tablets are likely to sell in the same price range of the iPad or a possibly a bit higher, in the $500 and $700 range. That misses the entry-level consumer niche completely. And with iPad being in the market for more than 2 years, people might not want to test an unproven platform. Just look at Windows Phone.
What Microsoft Got Wrong On Windows (Inc.)
When it comes to branding, Microsoft is an excellent example of what not to do. Specifically with regard to the company’s ill-fated attempts to extend the Windows brand into product categories beyond the PC. Microsoft has lost track of what’s important about brand: the customer experience. If you manage to create a positive experience, your brand will get stronger over time. However, if the experience is tepid, or negative, the only reason people will stick with your product is if they can’t find a viable alternative. And we all know there are alternatives.
100,000 Apps Published To Windows Phone Marketplace (AAWP)
More than 100,000 apps have now been published in the Windows Phone Marketplace and new content is currently being added at the rate of 313 apps per day. Some key points:
- 100,145 apps published to the Windows Phone Marketplace over the last 20 months
- 88,371 apps live (available for download, total across 60 countries)
- Windows Phone reached the 100,000 milestone faster than Android (24 months), but slower than iOS (16 months)
- 23,825 publishers (developers)
- Proportion of quality apps (rated five or more times) stable at 8% (UK ratings) 12% (US ratings)
Given these stats, Windows Phone Marketplace is becoming a credible challenger to Apple and Google.
Microsoft Developed The Office iPad App, Now Figuring Out What To Do (The New York Times)
Reports are emerging that Microsoft has already developed the Office iPad app, but is still figuring out what to do in terms of a launch date and price point. There are already several Office imitations available for the iPad, with Quickoffice (now owned by Google) among the better of those. Microsoft is also contending with Apple’s own iWork suite of office applications. The issue over the release date is arguably more problematic for Microsoft because it will clearly want to avoid the Office iPad app having a detrimental impact on Windows 8 tablet sales.
Has Microsoft Leapfrogged Apple? (Innovation Excellence)
Steve Ballmer seems to have finally put all the pieces together to gear up for a major resurgence. Over the next few years, Apple and Google will be the ones playing catch up. Apple’s resurgence was led not by computers, but by consumer products. Playing well with others has always been Apple’s Achilles heel and it is here that Microsoft has a distinct advantage. Microsoft’s strength is its modular, collaborative approach. While Apple is famously prickly, Microsoft encourages third party development. Right under our noses, Microsoft might just be pulling of one of the great turnarounds in history. I completely disagree but a worthwhile read.