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MSFT Down With Tech
The markets are sideways with lackluster action abroad, in-line initial jobless claims, and caution ahead of tomorrow’s nonfarm payrolls report. That said, we are seeing a first quarter gain of more than 5% to date, making it the best first quarter performance since 1998. Shares of MSFT are down with the broader tech market. 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; and continued momentum of Kinect. The stock currently trades at 8x Enterprise Value / TTM Free Cash Flow, inexpensive compared to historical trading multiples.
Microsoft Chief Strategist Doesn’t Know If Tablets Will Stick (All Things Digital)
Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, isn’t sure tablets have much of a future. Speaking at an economic development lunch in Australia, Mundie said he didn’t know whether tablets like the iPad would “remain with us.” For Mundie’s sake, let’s hope it persists at least until the fall of 2012, when Microsoft is expected to finally release a version of Windows 7 for tablets. Matt Rosoff at Business Insider believes it’s another example of Microsoft leadership’s blind spot (or perhaps willful denial).
Quote Of The Day: Bill Gates At Comdex 2001 (Microsoft via All Things Digital)
I couldn’t resist. Microsoft was just too early. “The tablet takes cutting-edge PC technology and makes it available wherever you want it, which is why I’m already using a tablet as my everyday computer. It’s a PC that is virtually without limits–and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America.” – Bill Gates, Comdex, 2001
Microsoft Former COO Says Don’t Count Microsoft Out, They Are Very Persistent (Fortune)
Robert Herbold, former COO of Microsoft, sits down with Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky to talk about Microsoft’s current issues. He says “the thing that’s beautiful about technology is that great, new ideas win. And Microsoft has had two of the greatest ideas that have won in the biggest possible way. Were talking about Office and Windows. So, first responsibility is to manage those things well because the shareholders are counting on it.” They missed on smartphones, but he says don’t count them out, “Microsoft is very persistent.”
Microsoft Jumping On The Mobile Payment Bandwagon (Businessweek)
Microsoft is working on a version of its Windows Phone software that will include mobile-payment technology for smartphones. The first devices boasting these features may be released as soon as this year. They are getting quicker, I’ll give them that. Microsoft is likely to get support in its mobile payments effort from Nokia as the two take on Apple and Google.
Microsoft Launches Its Ad Exchange With Help From AppNexus (Business Insider)
Three years after it began considering the business, Microsoft finally announced the launch of its ad exchange. Unlike Google, Microsoft didn’t build the exchange on its own technology. It is using technology from startup AppNexus. The whole deal is an outgrowth of Microsoft’s changing strategy in online advertising. The company now seems content to sell ads on its own network of sites, rather than making a big play to be the advertising technology that drives the Internet.
Brain Drain: Microsoft’s Top Marketing Exec Announces Departure (AdAge)
And the hits just keep on coming. Microsoft hosted a splashy online “marketing leadership summit” gathering the top marketing execs from across the globe yesterday. Just as its longtime head of global marketing, Mich Mathews, announced her departure. Ouch. Mathews, who is probably Microsoft’s top woman executive, has been at the software giant for 22 years. Read more at Business Insider.