Microsoft (MSFT) is investing big on its mobile strategy and is likely to add to its list of partners and acquisitions before long. These companies represent excellent investment opportunities as they are forging the lucrative new frontier of mobile technology. I recently read AppHead's 'Microsoft Is Raising An Army' article, and while I agree with the premise, I think there are other companies out there that are also worth looking at in this light. Let's take a look at some of these mobile-centric companies that Microsoft might well partner with or acquire.
MicroStrategy Inc. (MSTR)
MicroStrategy is a leading worldwide provider of business intelligence (BI) software. Its Alert Mobile Commerce Platform enables companies to create a branded connection with its customers. Features include access to exclusive content, a streamlined mobile shopping experience, and wallet functionality that allows personalized promotions and receipts. Alert-powered apps can include a broad range of functionality, including a native storefront, store and product locators, digital receipts, and loyalty features. In addition, Alert offers other innovative capabilities, such as targeted promotions, peer-to-peer gifting, and detailed analytics on commercial activity and customer usage. Tilly's, a west coast specialty retailer, recently launched a state-of-the-art mobile commerce app powered by Alert Mobile Commerce Platform. The MicroStrategy platform for mobile apps enables organizations to build a wide variety of essential mobile apps that deliver business intelligence, transactions, and multimedia content. Through increased user adoption and usage, MicroStrategy Mobile multiplies ROI on existing data warehousing, business intelligence, ERP, CRM, and other information systems.
Keynote Systems (KEYN)
Keynote is a global leader in internet and mobile cloud testing and monitoring. Keynote maintains the world's largest on-demand performance monitoring and testing infrastructure for web and mobile sites comprised of over 7,000 measurement computers and mobile devices in over 275 locations around the world that enable companies to continuously improve the online and mobile experience. The company offers three market-leading product platforms: Keynote Perspective, which provides on-demand performance monitoring for enterprise Web and mobile sites including online portals, e-commerce sites, and B2B sites. Keynote's DeviceAnywhere provides the industry's only true cloud-based platform for testing and monitoring the functionality, usability, performance and availability of mobile applications and websites. Keynote SIGOS offers active end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS) testing and monitoring solutions for mobile, fixed and VoIP communications. Microsoft is currently one of Keynote's customers, but could soon become much more than that.
I found a very interesting press release yesterday from Chancellor Group, Inc. which engages in the acquisition, exploration and development of natural gas and oil properties, announcing the formation of a new technology division, Pimovi Inc., to develop a proprietary technology platform for pictures, movies and videos. Pimovi's stated business model is to create "new methods for recording activities, along with editing and assembling such records in a proprietary format, including First Person Video Feeds for sporting and other events that present the different points of views of the athletes and other participants." I could see how this technology could fit in perfectly with Microsoft's future use of video in its mobile offerings.
Millennial Media, Inc. (MM)
Worldwide mobile ad spending jumped 105.8% in 2012. Millennial operates the second largest mobile advertising network, only behind Google. It delivers a wide array of solutions and has helped bring more than 45 billion ads to mobile users. It provides tools and services that enable app developers to display banner ads and interactive rich media ads through its platform. The company's developer solutions include software development kits that allow apps to receive rich media, banner displays and video, tools which allow developers to allocate ad requests among various advertising campaign sources and data and analytics that detail ad revenue generation reports for their apps across various mobile platforms. Millennial features ads on more than 38,000 apps and works with 75 of the top 100 advertisers ranked by Ad Age.
Vringo Inc. (VRNG)
Vringo is of course best known these days for its ongoing patent case with Google (GOOG). However, the company develops and provides software products for mobile video entertainment, personalization, and mobile social applications. Its video ringtone solutions, and other mobile social and video applications comprise a suite of mobile and PC-based tools that enable users to create, download, and share video and other social content. The company offers various mobile video, personalization, and mobile social application platforms, such as Video Ringtones platform, which allows users to create, download, and share mobile entertainment content in the form of video ringtones for mobile phones; Facetones, a social ringtone platform that allows users to create social picture ringtone and ringback content in the form of animated slideshows sourced from friends social networks; Video ReMix platform, which allows users to download an application for iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Android phones, and create their own music video by tapping on various music beats and video files.
Microsoft is likely to partner with and acquire companies in its efforts to expand and enhance its mobile presence. The companies I have listed above are but a few of the candidates. However, they all appear to represent good opportunities for investors to profit from Microsoft's undying desire to gain a foothold in this vital sector.
wn opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.