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Photo: Dan Frommer, Business Insider
MSFT Down With The Rest
Stocks are selling off today as markets worldwide are taking a beating due to concerns over the deteriorating nuclear crisis in Japan. Shares of Microsoft are down 1.6%. Upcoming catalysts include any entrance in the tablet market; Windows Phone 7 adoption with new partner Nokia; strides against current market leaders in cloud computing; gaining search market share with Bing / Yahoo! partnership (see below); and continued momentum of Kinect. The stock currently trades at 8x Enterprise Value / TTM Free Cash Flow, inexpensive compared to historical trading multiples.Microsoft Shows Off WP7 Apps At SXSW (PC World)
Microsoft has a booth set up on the fourth floor of the conference centre at SXSW, where it is showing off its best WP7 apps. The company has been working hard since last November’s WP7 to get developers to write apps for the platform. Microsoft has taken special pains to make sure that the most popular apps on the Android and iPhone platforms are available on WP7 (Angry Birds is rumoured to be available in April); this, of course, is crucial to consumers considering the leap of faith to WP7 / Nokia.
HP Tells Microsoft They Don’t Need Them Anymore (The Register)
It’s happening. Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker unveiled his master plan yesterday at a summit in San Francisco and it seems that instead of partnering, the company will compete with everyone; from operating systems to cloud computing to App Stores. Importantly, the Palm acquisition of WebOS gives HP flexibility to get away from Microsoft’s Windows operating system on its products, including cloud computing which was supposed to go to Windows Azure and now “will be based on a number of technologies.” Read an abbreviated transcript of the summit at Business Insider.
After Months Of Beta Testing And 40 Million Downloads Later, IE9 Launches (Mashable)
Microsoft launched the latest version of its Internet Explorer Web browser yesterday in hopes that the new edition will bring an end to Explorer’s long-term slide in browser market share. What’s cool about the new browser? Hardware-accelerated graphics, cleaner look, deep HTML5 support and privacy controls which are aimed at putting it on an even footing with Firefox, Chrome, Safari and others. IE9 Beta and release code have already been downloaded more than 40 million times.
Zune Is Finally Dead (Bloomberg)
Microsoft will stop making new versions of its Zune music player, though the company’s music and video services will live on in Windows Phone 7, Xbox 360 and Windows-based PCs. After trying (and failing) time and again to take on Apple’s iPod, Microsoft is finally giving up. On Zune that is. According to sources, a new Microsoft project named Ventura will focus on “music and video delivery and consumption,” and will likely include recommendations, ratings and comments from users. Read what Matt Rosoff at Business Insider thinks Microsoft learned from Zune.
Daily Trader: Will MSFT Ever Be Cheap Enough? (Motley Fool)
By the numbers, there’s no doubt the stock is cheap. But arguably the stock should trade at a discount to Apple and Google. We will never see outsized returns owning this stock so long as the current management team is in charge. Here’s what’s needed:
- Replace CEO Steve Ballmer with a tech visionary
- Hire a tech visionary as president and give that person the authority to challenge Ballmer
- Hire a tech visionary and strong operating chief to ensure that quality standards and delivery schedules are met while Ballmer focuses on sales
Figuring out which group it most wants to sell to would help as well, which will vary by division. Are businesses more important, or are consumers?
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