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Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

Tiny Company Called Microsoft Your Best ’11 Tech Play

In Growth and Business Strategy, Microsoft on February 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm

By James Altucher

My top pick for 2011 is a tech stock. That may not surprise you considering the big run by technology companies in the second half of 2010. But what may surprise you is what tech stock I’m throwing my weight behind: A tiny company called Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

Admittedly, Microsoft hasn’t given investors a lot to be happy about lately. MSFT stock has been kicked to the curb, down about -8% this year while the broader market has gained about +12%. If you’re a momentum investors this may turn you off, but I believe that the time is right for the rotation of capital back into this old standard.

Why? Here are some of the biggest reasons:

Stock Buyback Plan: Microsoft is currently working on a $40 billion stock repurchase, with $10 billion of that happening this year. That’s a lot of shareholder value.

Microsoft Flush With Cash: Though MSFT is often only mentioned derisively in the same sentence with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), one thing it shares with the two tech powerhouses is a war chest brimming with cash. Microsoft has $30 billion in the bank – and that’s even after paying a decent dividend of 2.3%, something neither Google or Apple offer right now.

Bargain Valuation: Microsoft trades for less than 8 times next year’s earnings (when you back out cash). Compare that to the S&P 500 which trades for about 13 times next year’s earnings. That would be impressive enough, but the icing on the cake is that MSFT earnings will grow twice as fast as the S&P earnings over the next five years.

Predictable Revenue: Much of MSFT’s revenues have shifted to subscription revenues making their earnings very predictable. The company is no longer as reliant on flashy software launches and one-shot sales.

Kinect for Xbox: The Kinect video game controller is is bigger than people think. And that’s saying something, considering the new gadget topped 2.5 million units sold at the end of November after less than a month on the market! Sales of the motion controller will top $500 million next year and $5 billion over the next five years. What’s more, applications will be created for it with very high margins.

Emerging Market IT Sales: The developing world is opening up its wallet when it comes to corporate IT. Though it may not be flashy, Windows remains the gold standard for computer OS software in the workplace so MSFT stock will be the prime beneficiary of this emerging market boom. Followed closely by fellow corporate IT powerhouses Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), of course.

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Google Launches Chrome OS (Live Blog)

In Adobe, Business Solutions, Google, Microsoft on December 10, 2010 at 3:54 am

Article By: Jolie O’Dell (Source: Mashable)

Google is holding an event this morning in San Francisco to make some special announcements about the long-awaited Chrome OS.

We’ll be live-blogging the event here and will update this post every couple minutes with new facts about Chrome OS, insights from GoogleGoogleGoogle executives and our own experiences hands-on with the OS.

What we have at the outset is a rather limited set of information. Chrome OS has been in the works for quite some time; the company first announced it in June 2009.

One of the more recent insights we’ve been given is that Google’s operating system differs from AndroidAndroidAndroid in that it’s intended for traditional, PC-type devices, including netbooks. Android will continue to be Google’s OS for mobile phones and tablets.

Stay tuned for more.

All times are in Pacific Standard Time.

10:30 a.m. Sundar Pichai is Google’s VP, Product Management. A year ago, Google announced the open-source ChromeChromeChrome project. The company was focused on speed, simplicity and security.

Now, Chrome has 120 million daily users.

10:35 a.m. Brian Rakowski, the director of Product Management, is now showing off different facets of the Chrome browser, especially speed in loading PDFs and other types of problematic content.

10:45 a.m. Pichai is back onstage. Google is announcing Crankshaft, which will speed up the Chrome browser even more. Google is also allowing for browser syncing, including themes and bookmarks.

As far as security goes, Google is going to start sandboxing plugins, as well.

10:55 a.m. Pichai is now talking about the Chrome Web Store, which he says is intended to connect developers — especially small, independent devs — and end users. We’re going to see a Web Store demo now.

The Web Store was announced in May 2010 at Google I/O. Now, Pinchai is showing us NPR and Sports Illustrated apps in the store — and games, too. App buying is simple; purchasing is done through the user’s Google Checkout account.

11:05 a.m. Eva Manolis and David Limp are two Amazon VPs, and they’re talking about two new apps for the Web Store.

Amazon’s new Window Shop is a shopping experience web app for “virtually everything that’s available from Amazon.” Searching, browsing, navigation and the entire product interface is different from the Amazon.com UI.

11:10 a.m. Limp is now showing off Kindle for the Web. The focus is on the book; the browser should disappear, and all the user should see is a great book with great typography.

Kindle for Web will launch in early 2011.

11:15 a.m. Pichai is back, and he’s ready to talk about Chrome OS.

“People live on the browsers, on the web… But the main part of the system has nothing to do with the web. We wanted to rethink the personal computing experience for the web. Chrome OS is nothing but the web… Chrome [the browser] running on hardware directly.”

 


 

Setup of a new Chrome netbook should ideally take around 60 seconds. And resuming from standby mode — including getting back online — takes milliseconds, Pichai says.

Another important fact to note is that nothing ties Chrome OS to Google, and, just like using Chrome browser, you don’t need a Google account to use Chrome OS.

11:20 a.m. A Chrome OS computer can also be shared with others; just log in with your own profile, and you’ll have your own sessions, preferences, browsing history, etc. Guest profiles exist, pretty much just like they have on WindowsWindowsWindows for a few years.

11:25 a.m. The Chrome OS netbook is a cloud computing device. “Users always have the option to stay connected,” says Pichai.

Every Chrome OS device will ship with data connectivity, both Wi-Fi and 3G networks. Google is partnering with Verizon on that part.

Here are the service plan details: Subscribers will get 100MB of free data every month for two years. There will be no contracts and no activation, cancellation or overage fees. If you need to, you can buy a “day pass” only for $10.

11:30 a.m. Chrome OS is serious on security with OS-level sandboxing and data encryption by default. For this reasons (and a handful of others), Pichai says Chrome OS devices are expected to be a hit in the enterprise.

11:35 a.m. Gordon Payne is an SVP at Citrix. He’s demonstrating how Citrix Receiver on Chrome OS works for enterprise employees using enterprise apps, including SAP and Microsoft Excel. “It’s actually a little bit fun,” Payne says. “Imagine that in enterprise applications.”

 


 

11:45 a.m. Hardware will be coming from Acer and Samsung with Intel chips. Devices will go on sale globally in mid-2011.

However, the Chrome OS pilot program is launching today. The notebook for this program is called the Cr-48. It’s unbranded with a 12.1-inch display, a full size keyboard, a clickable touchpad and a webcam. There’s no hard drive, no spinning disk. Jailbreaking is built in.

A slew of businesses will be in the pilot program, including Virgin America, American Airlines, Kraft Foods, Logitech and a Department of Defense research organization.

For a few lucky consumers, there will be an offer in the Chrome browser to be part of the pilot program. Those who choose to participate will be sent a Chrome OS machine. Google also recently ran a FacebookFacebookFacebook promotion for Chrome stickers; the winners of those stickers will get the stickers… on a Chrome OS notebook.

And yes, everyone here at the press event is getting a Chrome device, too.

If you want to be part of the pilot program, too, go to Google’s application.

11:55 a.m. Google CEO Eric Schmidt is now on stage giving a big-picture talk about Moore’s law and the LAMP stack. “It took us all of this work to get to this point where a modern browser could emerge in the form of Chrome.”

He thinks of Chrome as the first viable competitor to Windows and Mac. LinuxLinuxLinux fans, you are encouraged to grumble at this juncture.

12:05 p.m. It’s Q&A time with Pichai, Rakowski, VP Engineering Linus Upson and Director of Product Management Caesar Sengupta.

Of course, the first thing we all want to know is how much these notebooks will cost. Google is playing coy on that point, just as it did with its last big hardware launch, Google TV. Partners will announce pricing soon.

12:20 p.m. Someone asked something we’ve been wondering: Why use the New York Times web app rather than NYTimes.com? Pichai answers that app ecosystems are about discovery and monetization. Also, experiences can be packaged in an app in different, more holistic ways.

12:25 p.m. The Linux Gazette asks if hackers can repurpose the local hardware. Google answers that developers can do anything they want with the hardware. Google’s hardware switch can be used by Google to verify that all the software is all correct, but developers can use it to have total freedom to hack away on the devices.

12:30 p.m. So, when will we get browser history and open-tabs syncing, like FirefoxFirefoxFirefox has had for ages? Those features are a hazy part of Chrome’s future, but there’s nothing to announce today.

It’s over! Thanks for reading along; we’re going to go take pictures and hassle important people now. We’ll be blogging more about Chrome OS as we get more information, and a hands-on post with video of a Cr-48 will be on the way as soon as Google ships our notebook.

Microsoft Shifts From Silverlight to HTML5

In Adobe, Microsoft on October 31, 2010 at 11:36 pm

By: MASHABLE-Christina Warren

Adobe isn’t the only company being tempted by the sweet taste of HTML5, Microsoft has a hankering for the stuff too.

Despite its past efforts to shape Silverlight into the leading cross-platform runtime for the web and the desktop, Microsoft now says that its strategy and plans for Silverlight “has shifted.”

ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley spoke with Bob Muglia, the president of Microsoft’s server and tools business about the lack of focus on Siverlight at the company’s Professional Developers Conference this week.

Muglia’s response was pretty telling. Although he reaffirmed Microsoft’s commitment to making Silverlight the development platform for Windows Phone, he noted that the cross-platform solution Microsoft sees going forward is HTML.

Speaking with Foley, Muglia said, “HTML is the only true cross platform solution for everything, including (Apple’s) iOS platform.”

This is a big admission from the company that has spent years trying to push Silverlight as a cross-platform technology forward. As a video technology — indeed even as an application technology — Silverlight and WPF are actually pretty nice. I attended a two-day XAML workshop held at Microsoft’s Atlanta offices in 2009 and was very impressed with the capabilities and the toolsets that were possible within Silverlight.

However, despite the prevalence of the .NET platform on Windows and in the enterprise, Silverlight has had a problem gaining traction across the web. With the exception of the Olympics and a few other live broadcasts, you almost never see Silverlight used on the web.

Likewise, the number of desktop applications built using Silverlight are nascent in comparison to the growing number of Adobe Air applications. Aside from Seesmic Desktop, it’s hard to think of any cross-platform apps that are built using Silverlight.

All the while, Microsoft is increasingly embracing HTML5. The company’s recent launch of Internet Explorer 9 beta was promoted using a number of different HTML5-specific web pages and promotions. Silverlight may not have been mentioned much during PDC, but HTML5 certainly was.

It’s clear that Microsoft — like Adobe, Apple and Google — sees that HTML5 is the technology that will work across the broadest stretch of devices — and more importantly, will work on future devices.

Yes, the W3C has stated that the HTML5 spec isn’t yet ready for full use, and in a broad, global sense, this is true. However, when you look at the types of devices that individuals will be buying today and tomorrow, and not the device they already own, it’s clear that HTML5 is the technology that is going to have built-in support.

As a technology, Silverlight has a lot of promise and we think it is still interesting. Still, we can’t help but think Microsoft is making a better strategic move to focus on HTML5 as its cross-platform solution going forward.