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Ben Hanson

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  • BlackBerry: Do Short Sellers Feel Lucky? [View article]
    Sure I have, and I generally find them unconvincing. That's my prerogative, and I'm open to the possibility that I'm wrong, but I find the long term bear arguments more persuasive. The possibility that I'm wrong is exactly why I haven't touched the stock, short or long.

    I'll also admit that part of what makes me leary of things is that the only places I see any Blackberry enthusiasm is on investment boards about the stock. I certainly didn't see it when I checked it out at AT&T- it was buried in the back between an android and an old Blackberry. They REALLY need to get on the horn with AT&T and get that fixed.
    Mar 28 03:44 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry To Report Q4 2013 Earnings [View article]
    I'll be more interested in next quarter's results. That'll tell us the real story.
    Mar 27 05:45 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Conspiracy Theory... BlackBerry? [View article]
    Conspiracy? Seriously? If you have to posit a conspiracy for why consumers are going a different way than you are, it's possible you're just in the minority. And it's perfectly okay being in the minority. Not everyone likes what you like. I'm a fan of Windows Phone who's always found Apple fanatics annoying, but I'd never say that Windows Phone's small market share is the result of CONSPIRACY. There are logical reasons for it (lateness of its release compared to Android and iOs, inability to upgrade Windows 7 phones to 8 killing the Nokia 900 and its momentum, etc).

    For Blackberry, it's the simple fact that they haven't had a great phone in a long time. When I was buying my Windows Phone, I specifically made a point of trying the other OS's. The Blackberry 7 phones struck me as decent, but clunky. I asked the employees if how many Blackberry 7 phones they sold. They said very few. The Z10 might be a wonderful phone (I haven't tried it out; the reviews I saw made it sound confusing and merely okay, but I will give it a shot at some point), but it's hard to go from people seeing you as that technological dinosaur to being an up and comer. I keep an eye out for what kind of phones people use when I'm out and about in different environments, and I've only seen about three Blackberries total in about 4 months of seriously checking. If they've invented the greatest phone operating system ever, more power to them. Now their job is to convince consumers of that fact, and so far, they haven't.

    They need to get aggressive with their advertising, get killer, exclusive app or apps that everyone wants, and/or diversify their product line for different price points. They also need to see where their bread is buttered. Their biggest market isn't the US or Canada, it's Indonesia, and a cheap Blackberry 10 phone would probably do gangbusters over there. Blanket the global south with cheap Blackberry 10 phones, because THEY'RE the ones who will upgrade, but they don't have 640 dollars to spend on it. The Z10 is a fine machine, but not worth several months' salary.

    I don't want Blackberry to fail, but they have their work cut out for them; they're trying to be what Apple is (they design the hardware AND all of the software) and so far, it isn't working out too well for them. It's worked out great for the investors who got in at 6 dollars, but if I were them, I'd take my profits now and wait for better news.
    Mar 26 01:46 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ~1.5M Surface tablets have been sold since Microsoft (MSFT) launched its tablet line in late October, sources tell Bloomberg - sales of the Nvidia-powered (NVDA) Surface RT (cheaper and launched earlier) are said to be a little over 1M, and those of the Intel-powered Surface Pro around 400K. The sources add ~3M Surface RT tablets were initially ordered, a figure that suggests inventories are high. For reference, Apple sold 22.9M iPads in Q4, and IDC estimates Samsung and Amazon's Q4 tablet shipments respectively totaled 7.9M and 6M. [View news story]
    ... 400,000 Surface Pros in a month (give or take), despite all the bad reviews, the high price tag and the initial product shortages?

    I think we have a sleeper hit in the works here.
    Mar 15 02:36 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Today's Market: Is Amazon's Smartphone A Game Changer? [View article]
    One thing I'll point out is that Amazon has been fully willing to sell Kindle Fires at Best Buy. I know this, having bought one as a gift for my dad last year. Why would Amazon care where the customer bought it from? Amazon sells everything at no-margin or low-margin, they hope to make up the money on apps, e-books, Amazon Prime, music, etc. If anything, it mystifies me sometimes that Best Buy continues to even sell Kindles; they should care about driving people into their biggest competitor's ecosystem, not the other way around.
    Jun 5 12:09 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bloomberg Business Week Joins DoctoRx In Warning About The Risks In IBM [View article]
    What this really tells me is that while a business needs goals, the nature of those goals are even more important.

    I think the worst possible goal is "we will make X dollars per share by year Y." That goal opens up the door to financial engineering and stupid, short term decisions.

    A better goal would be, "We will be number 1 in the public cloud, measured in customer satisfaction and market share." There's your laudable 5 year plan.
    May 24 09:30 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Yelp Ever Justify Its Ridiculous Valuation? [View article]
    Your expectations of other people's emotions to make money off of them, knowing full well that they're trying to gauge yours and make the most money off of you.

    In other words, it's Keynes' newspaper beauty contest, which is speculation, not investment.
    May 23 03:28 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • IBM: Cheap, But The Chart And Cloud Exposure Are Concerning [View article]
    This sounds like a good strategy. I personally am bearish on IBM for the same reasons you list (public cloud), with an extra concern that I feel they're "eating their seed corn" doing buybacks in pursuit of the $20 per share by 2015 goal, since they haven't been able to move up their actual income in recent years.
    May 19 07:28 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • PC shipments fall less than expected; IDC, Gartner differ on how much [View news story]
    I wonder if the discrepancy is because they count different items as PCs versus Tablets. Go look up the Dell XPS 18 and try to tell me that it fits cleanly into the Desktop or the Tablet category. I imagine that, Lenovo Yogas, Surface Pro 2's and the like resulted in some rather philosophical discussions.

    Not that I'm calling either of their methodologies into question, but different groups of professionals will come to different conclusions, and that's okay.
    Apr 9 07:11 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Get Out Of Bitcoin Now [View article]
    You said, "Compared to bitcoin there is NO downside to gold and silver."

    Which isn't an absolute statement, and I'd agree that gold and silver are better... I hesitate to say investments because I see them more as speculations, but they're better places to put your money.

    Though I can see where he was confused.
    Feb 26 03:01 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Surface 2 Tablets Are Likely To Gain Traction In 2014, Displacing Other Tablets [View article]
    One correction: your chart showing relative app store numbers shows app stores for phones, not for tablets. There is a difference in this case.
    Dec 17 04:13 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • East Africa bloc signs deal to form single currency [View news story]
    Because it isn't the 19th century.
    Dec 1 03:35 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The 2.32% Yield On Eaton May Go Higher [View article]
    I was pleasantly surprised to see any coverage of ETN whatsoever. Thanks for the info.
    Nov 14 05:55 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How About A Wage Hike? [View article]
    It looks like some people stopped reading after the first paragraph.
    Aug 25 11:59 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Happy Birthday! The Dividend Growth Portfolio Turns 5 [View article]
    Thanks for posting these. Your writing, along with reading The Intelligent Investor, let me live a much calmer investing life.
    Jun 3 11:22 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment