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MSFT Off With Tech
The market is selling off after initial jobless claims came in higher than expected and GDP came in right in line. Shares of MSFT are off with the rest of 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; 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.Why Windows 8 Should Scare You (Mobile Opportunity)
Microsoft may be about to shoot itself in the foot spectacularly. Michael Mace, former executive at Palm and Apple, airs his concerns:
- Windows 8 is a new operating system with Windows 7 compatibility tacked onto it
- The benefits for traditional PC productivity tasks of Windows 8 is questioned
- Big OS transitions cause users to reconsider their OS decision and potentially switch to something else
- Disabling some key features of Windows 7 has worsened the risk that users migrate away from Windows
- Apple could provide the best alternative if it chooses to and it might be their best shot
- If Windows 8 is even moderately successful, it could weaken Google and the big web services companies
- If you’re a PC app developer, you should probably hold off on Metro because it’s not clear how quickly its user base will grow
Google Launches Its Chromebook Laptop, Going Straight For Microsoft (Various via Scoople)
Seemingly undeterred by the lackluster sales of its prior efforts, Google launched the next version of its Chromebook laptop. They boosted processor speed and doubled memory capacity in an upgrade that finally makes the browser-centric tote look like a finished product. This device will compete with Microsoft’s Windows PCs in the enterprise (and as outlined above, they might have a shot). An entry-level Chromebox starts at $329. For business customers, Google is offering a new support plan. This is a sign of Google’s true intentions for the product.
There Will Be No New Xbox At 3E Because Xbox 360 Is “Defying Gravity” (TIME)
Yusuf Mehdi, executive in the Interactive Entertainment Division, offered some perspective on the Xbox 360 as the games console rolls through its seventh year. He says the Xbox has “arrived at an important inflection point in its growth and development.” He notes, correctly, that the Xbox has transitioned from being something we use mostly to play games, to more of a generalist media hub that also drives how we listen to music and watch movies or TV shows. Xbox LIVE subscribers “now spend an average of 84 hours per month on the console.”
Microsoft Giving Skype Install Kits To OEMs To Pre-Install Machines (ZDNet)
Microsoft is making available to select OEMs and system builders a kit to allow them to “silently” preinstall Skype on new PCs. The new Skype OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) is for Windows 7. It includes the Skype 5.8 for Windows code. Skype has supported Windows 8 test builds since the fall of 2011 with version 5.5, but the new OPK is focused on Windows 7, presumably because that’s the version of Windows PC makers are shipping now.
Skype Keeps Autonomy, Grows To 250 Million Users (VentureBeat)
Speaking of Skype, other than sneaking it onto machines, Microsoft still doesn’t have much to show for its $8.5 billion Skype acquisition. But Tony Bates, the former Skype CEO and now president of Microsoft’s Skype division, has at least managed to keep his ship independent of the software giant. “We’ve kept our identity and our autonomy.” How so? He’s based out of Silicon Valley and demanded Skype-specific ID cards for his employees, instead of Microsoft cards; and perhaps most daring, he uses a MacBook Air in his office. Skype now has nearly 250 million users, a 26% jump over the past seven months.