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MSFT Sideways With Markets
Markets are erasing early morning gains after Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi won a procedural budget vote but without an absolute majority (this could be the beginning of the end of the Berlusconi government.) Shares of MSFT are trading sideways near the flatline as the rest of tech. 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 7.3x Enterprise Value / TTM Free Cash Flow.Microsoft Relaxes Some Hardware Requirements To Go Down Market (Slash Gear)
In order to remain relevant across various demographics, Microsoft has relaxed some of its hardware requirements for the Mango platform. Microsoft no longer requires the device to have a camera, compass, gyro or front facing camera. This will allow for cheaper handsets to be offered in the market, going downstream into the lower-end to compete with cheaper Android handsets as well as the free iPhone 3GS.
Microsoft Buying IE Users Now To Compete (ReadWriteWeb)
Microsoft launched a promotion to convince Windows 7 users to adopt Internet Explorer 9 (IE9). Windows 7 users who download Microsoft’s newest browser, then “pin” any of seven different websites to their task bars, receive offers that range from a free month of Hulu Plus to a $5-off Fandango movie ticket. While IE may hold a lead over Firefox, Chrome and Safari individually, the Microsoft browser is trounced by the trio overall. From the 800 pound gorilla to buying users, how the mighty fall.
Microsoft Poaches Samsung’s Head Of Consumer And Enterprise Services (BGR)
Samsung’s vice president of consumer and enterprise services Gavin Kim has left to join Microsoft as general manager of the Windows Phone team. At Samsung, Kim was a key figure on the executive team, working closely with the former chief technology officer Omar Khan. The two companies have been working towards a closer alliance, having recently inked a deal over Android patent issues. I can’t imagine Samsung is all too pleased with his departure.
Microsoft Won’t Win In Tablets (FlipZu)
Robert Scoble offers some solid arguments against Microsoft succeeding in the tablet space. First, the upcoming tablets running Windows 8 are being squeezed between low-cost tablets from Amazon and the $500 iPad with its well-established ecosystem. Second, Microsoft and its partners won’t have time to redesign Office and other applications to work with the new Windows 8 interface. So while the hardware might be beautiful, it will be run by garbage underneath.
Google Apps Close To Signing General Motors (The Wall Street Journal)
General Motors is close to signing a deal with Google to move more than 100,000 employees to Gmail and Google Apps. GM is particularly cost conscious, and Google is probably willing to cut aggressive deals on Gmail because it’s not a core part of the company’s business. If Google gets the deal, it would be one of the biggest and highest profile companies to deploy Google Apps in its more than five years on the market. It would also be a big blow to Microsoft.
Next Gen Xbox Could Be Smaller And Cheaper (MSNerd)
In terms of Xbox, the latest rumours say the next version of the Xbox will be smaller and cheaper than the current version, and will be based on the Windows 9 core software and ARM processors. The information based on “rumours, tips, and speculation.” However this particular blogger is known to be well informed. It is said that the next Xbox is being planned for 2015. So nothing imminent.
Spotify Now Available On Windows Phone 7 (TechCrunch)
Spotify finally revealed its Windows Phone 7 app after a year of promises. Waiting for the opportune moment to launch as well as taking that extra time to give the app a nice Metro face lift, should please Mango fans. The app is free to download but like the iOS app, will require a Spotify Premium account to work. Spotify has been available on most major smartphone platforms for a while now, from mainstays like Android and iOS to even dying operating systems like MeeGo.
Google Blasts Microsoft’s Patent Agenda (The San Francisco Chronicle)
Google’s patent counsel, Tim Porter, argues that the patent system itself is broken. The perpetual wrangling is sucking up time and resources that would otherwise go toward pushing technology forward and developing the next disruptive inventions. In terms of Microsoft, Porter says, “This is a tactic that Microsoft has used in the past…When their products stop succeeding in the marketplace, when they get marginalized, as is happening now with Android, they use the large patent portfolio they’ve built up to get revenue from the success of other companies’ products.”