THE MICROSOFT INVESTOR: Microsoft Needs A New Leader, Preferably A Consumer Product Guy

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MSFT Off With The Market 
Stocks are in the red this morning on a negative outlook from Hewlett-Packard as well as weak housing data. Shares of MSFT are down with the tech tape. Upcoming catalysts include entrance in the tablet market; Windows Phone 7 adoption with hardware partner Nokia; strides against current market leaders in cloud computing; making money in the online business including integration of Skype and improving the search business (retooling the Bing / Yahoo! partnership or just buying them outright); and continued momentum of Kinect and the next generation console. The stock currently trades at 8x Enterprise Value / TTM Free Cash Flow, inexpensive compared to historical trading multiples.Microsoft And Facebook Try And Stay Ahead Of Google’s Social Search (Various via techDygest)
Keying in on relationships with your friends on Facebook, Bing has added a new set of social features to search result pages, which include more Facebook likes inside individual listings. Increasing the emphasis on recommendations shared within Facebook’s online social network is an attempt to give people something they can’t find on Google. Results to bump up links your friends like, which might otherwise have been buried deep in the search. Read more at Business Insider.

rumour That Microsoft Will Bid For Nokia’s Mobile Phone Business (Various via tech Dygest)
Microsoft going to bid for Nokia? A report by a Russian blogger, Eldar Murtazin, who has good sources inside Nokia has prompted rumours that Microsoft is looking to buy the giant’s phone business. Murtazin says both companies want the deal to close by the end of the year. I thought Microsoft already effectively bought the business without having to get into the messy details of manufacturing? Read more at Business Insider.

The Microsoft-Skype Deal Will Work If Microsoft Respects Skype’s Autonomy (Seeking Alpha)
How long will it take the software giant to destroy Skype’s unique value proposition? Media and tech giants generally do a bad job of integrating and leveraging the progressive independent companies they acquire (Time Warner and AOL, News Corp. and MySpace). It’s just a matter of time before Microsoft demonstrates that in spades; unless it respects Skype’s autonomous service while thoughtfully incorporating it into its core enterprise.

Microsoft Needs A New Product Leader To Unlock Shareholder Value (Seeking Alpha)
Microsoft stock is pretty much at the same price as it was when Steve Ballmer took the helm 11 years ago despite quadrupling earnings during that timeframe. Other than a dividend and a share buyback, long term Microsoft shareholders have little to show for their loyalty over the last decade. Unfortunately, Ballmer is not the one thing Microsoft desperately needs; an outstanding product guy. Microsoft has consistently failed to develop new products that appeal to the consumer market.