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MSFT Up As Tech Bounces
The market gave back some of the early morning gains after initial jobless claims beat expectations and the ECB’s decision to cut rates, but it recovered in the positive after the release of better-than-expected factory orders. Shares of MSFT are up strong while tech tape trades sideways. Upcoming catalysts include Windows 8 and entrance into the tablet market; Windows Phone 7 / Mango rollout and 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 / display business; and continued evolution of Kinect and next generation Xbox console. The stock currently trades at 7.0x Enterprise Value / TTM Free Cash Flow.A Tale Of Two Tablets (CNet)
Jay Greene at CNet pieced together the story of how Microsoft decided to kill Courier and go with a Window’s-based tablet, which at the time was two years off. Ballmer’s big dilemma was that he had two groups at Microsoft pursuing competing tablets. One from the Xbox team, Courier. And one from the Window’s division. So what did Steve do? He called up Bill to be a soundboard and Courier was scrapped and we are still waiting for a Microsoft tablet. There’s clearly much more to the story, but it’s a great read. And Gates was probably right in killing Courier.
Nokia Sees Opportunity In Tablets, But Has No Plan To Capture It (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)
Nokia will reenter the U.S. smartphone market in early 2012 with the introduction of new devices running Windows Phone. In an interview, CEO Stephen Elop didn’t exclude entering the tablet market, though he said the company hasn’t announced any plans. “There’s a new tablet opportunity coming,” Elop said. “We see the opportunity. Unquestionably, that will change the dynamics.” So… What’s the plan? Windows 8?
- The company will continue to make computers and other consumer devices
- WebOS won’t power these devices
So who will? That’s right. Most likely Microsoft. The companies could easily work out a licensing deal for “Touch” brand HP handsets and tablets. And the pieces are already in place for HP to sell Windows PCs as it always has.
Microsoft Defends Its Android Licensing Strategy (The San Francisco Chronicle)
Microsoft’s intellectual property group deputy general counsel, Horacio Gutiérrez, discussed the company’s decisions to chase down manufacturers for Android-licensing agreements. Gutiérrez says that Microsoft invented a number of functions used in Android. Of course Google thinks Microsoft is trying to “extort” profit from companies after failing in the smartphone race itself. He doesn’t believe Microsoft should be viewed as a “patent troll” (nonpracticing entities) nor does he believe patent law is broken. No that he’s biased or anything.
Daily Trader: Microsoft Creates Some Yield In Your Portfolio (CNBC)
Brian Stutland of Stutland Equities suggests the following options trade which could provide a nice return for someone a bit more conservative on the market. Investors can buy Microsoft stock at $26 and sell an April 26 call for $1.75. What that does is lowered your buy point. Break even on the stock is now $24.25 and you’ve taken in some premium. If Microsoft stays above $26 and you get called away, you’ve now returned a little over 6% all the way through April.