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  • Microsoft Finally Gets How To Grow Windows Phone [View article]
    "Smartphone penetration in the U.S. is still low at ~50%..."

    Part of the problem is that most smart phones require contracts for which there has to be a credit check, and I would think about 50% of Americans plus nearly all illegal aliens are probably not credit worthy, though I don't know the exactly percentage. You can also add in the huge wave of bankruptcies related to the real estate crash, that has not yet cleared.

    Another factor for the lower end is the incredibly high cost of data and infrastructure in the US. By means of comparison, for example, I pay about $8 per week for 3GB of data in the Dominican Republic with Orange, but the other carrier Claro (AMX) and Viva have similar rates.

    In the US, prepaid internet costs something like $50 for one month of 5GB with T-Mobile which is almost double the price for less than half the data (and that is probably the advertised price, so add another 40% for taxes that they don't mention). Of course the data speeds may be better in the US and there may be better deals available, but not much better, I think.

    If the US ever gets cheap smart phones and cheap data, then this Internet thing will really start to take off and someone will make a lot of money in the lower 50% of the market. After all, what is the penetration rate for indoor hot water or television?
    May 22 11:38 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Shares of Tesla Motors (TSLA) rip 12.9% higher premarket to $95.75 after the company files its mixed shelf and Elon Musk pours in some more capital. Reality check: Tesla now trades with a market cap just under 20% of Ford's valuation while selling only a fraction of the cars Ford sells indicating investors are betting either Tesla will become a "major" automaker or claim the highest margins in the industry. [View news story]
    "... indicating investors are betting either Tesla will become a "major" automaker or claim the highest margins in the industry."

    Or both. TSLA is obviously a bit of a cult stock at the moment and many longs are hoping for an AMZN type of phenomenon. Most likely the excitement will die down eventually, but the stock might go much higher first. We will see. A few years down the road when TSLA are churning out millions of vans, trucks, and buses, and has created thousands of millionaires, maybe we will remember we could have bought in for less than $100.

    Or maybe we will vaguely recall how TSLA once almost reached $100.
    May 16 09:14 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Fueling Amazon's Incredible Revenue Growth? [View article]
    "What's Fueling Amazon's Incredible Revenue Growth?"

    Tax dodging, mostly.
    May 15 07:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Growth Is Exciting [View article]
    Apple could buy out Tesla out of spare change and then you would just have to tell Siri to go to work, go home, or the supermarket and sit back.

    The cars would be rebranded as the Apple Betty, the Apple Cobbler, the Apple Cart, and the sports model would be the Tatin Special Limited Edition.

    It is a good stock for a buy-write. Buy 110 shares and sell a call two months out. At expiration of the option, if you are called away you are left with 10 free shares, and if not, then you have 110 shares at a 10% discount to current price and can sell another call at whatever date you choose until you break even.
    May 13 03:20 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Barrick Gold And Harmony Gold Can Inflate Your Portfolio [View article]
    Interesting article here about that:

    Here in the Dominican Republic Barrick also has a large new gold mine that is attracting some controversy within the country. The problem is always that there will be those who see the underground gold reserves as a kind of national treasure that is being looted on the cheap by multinational corporations that pay low wages to local employees.

    Add to this the historical background in which Columbus and his successors basically enslaved the original Taino Indians and forced them to pay a tax deliverable in gold, on penalty of torture or mutilation if they didn't deliver, and you have a situation where not everyone sees gringo gold mining companies as the philanthropists that we all know they are.

    However, that is the nature of the business. You can't rape a planet without upsetting a few sissies along the way!

    I am long Barrick.
    May 13 07:43 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft Short Sellers Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet [View article]
    Oh, well, I can't use a track pad either to cut and paste, I am totally addicted to the mouse, but I thought you could use one with Windows 8.

    But, God, it is hard to believe that when they did beta testing for the new interface, they didn't check whether people could easily do basic tasks like cut and paste. This kind of testing ought to be built into the design process. Maybe they need to hire me as a consultant!
    May 12 01:54 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft Short Sellers Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet [View article]
    I don't have Windows 8, but I am continually baffled by this enormous significance attributed to the lack of the Start button. If I rent a car at the airport, I have to figure out how to find the gas tank cap, how to open it, how to adjust the heater and a/c and radio, how to turn the lights on and off, how to work the remote key, and so on. I can't see that getting a new computer is any different.

    Are people leaving their employment and taking early retirement in their millions when if their employers deploy Windows 8, finding that they can no longer perform useful work on computers? I doubt it.

    Having said that, the lack of the Start button does seem to have pissed off a lot of people, but all the same...
    May 12 12:27 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Microsoft's 7.5% Tablet Market Share Is Surprising [View article]
    "Compounding the issue is the fact that tablets are mainly media consumption devices, so given the choice of a Surface RT for $499 or a Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch tablet for $269, a lot of people are going to choose the Kindle Fire."

    This is true, but Microsoft is primarily about computing for businesses and I think that businesses that need tablets are more likely to use Surface than Kindle for sales presentations, stock inventory, etc.
    May 5 12:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Risky Truth About Apple's Dividend [View article]
    I don't understand your point. Is AAPL's cash in each country only held in the local currency, for example Eastern Caribbean dollars, Haitian gourdes, etc and cannot be changed unless it is repatriated to the US? I don't think so, and is there any reason that foreign currency deposits in places like Bermuda or London cannot be changed to dollars?
    May 3 07:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Risky Truth About Apple's Dividend [View article]
    It does seem odd that the overseas cash cannot be used to buy AAPL stock. If the cash that is held overseas can be invested in a variety of investment vehicles, then why not in AAPL stock?

    Presumably there is some regulation that makes this impossible or unethical.
    May 3 07:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore." Those comments from Thorsten Heins have set the tech press abuzz. Many note Heins' remarks, which follow past comments about BlackBerry (BBRY +4.3%) taking a cautious approach to tablets, seem strange given the market's staggering growth. But an explanation appears to lie in March remarks from Heins about BlackBerry pursuing "a mobile-computing experience" that allows users "to carry one computing device." Instead of competing in a hotly contested tablet market, BlackBerry seems to be pushing a vision of (BB10) smartphones paired with PC/tablet docking peripherals. Time will tell if they'll be more successful here than Motorola[View news story]
    "Already we are seeing some laptops with touchscreens..."

    This seems self defeating, because if you have a laptop on the table in front of you it is much easier to navigate with a mouse than having to lean forward and touch a vertical screen which will soon give you backache.

    A tablet, on the other hand really is a laptop or handheld device that you can hold in one hand and tap with the other. Reading a book on a tablet is like reading a book in the sense that you flip the page every so often. Flipping the page on a vertical screen in front of you is a flipping pain.

    Of course businesses will use computing devices in all sorts of different ways, so the future is always hard to predict, but it seems to me that touch screens are quite useful for making selections from menus or for applications like ATMs, or for reading or viewing content, but less useful for typing, data entry, designing forms, and so on.
    May 1 09:34 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can Windows Phone Fight Back Against The Apple Onslaught? Memento Mori Microsoft - Part 2 [View article]
    Yes, the collective viewpoint of SA contributors is somewhat slanted because many grew up in the US too late to experience the joys of programing in DOS, and being of a somewhat affluent demographic mostly cut their computer teeth on Apple devices, (or may even have had the iPhone as their first cell phone!) or have not worked in areas like government, health care, military, or most businesses overseas, where Windows is the de facto standard for computers.

    I was on a few planes last week in Florida, and it appeared that almost every single passenger was wielding an iPhone. In fact when they checked the customs form for married/single, most just wrote "iPhone".

    However, again, the flying demographic is simply not representative of all or even of 50% (maybe about 20%). At my destination I was interviewed by two working individuals with well-paid positions in government who had never been in a plane or traveled out of the US.

    When personal computers first became available to retail, people bought them because they wanted their kids to be "computer literate" and not be left behind in the technological revolution, and to keep them busy in their bedroom instead of out on the streets taking drugs and getting pregnant.

    Those days have gone, and there is no longer any pretense that ownership of a personal computing device is the key to upward mobility. It is all about pornography, Facebook, e-mail, dating sites, Netflix, music, photography, with Kindle ranking at approximately number 499,999 on at the App store.

    In business it is different, and there is no reason to think that many people with business computing interests would not move over to Windows phones, tablets, and minitablets, especially if these devices are tax deductible or expensible, efficient, and durable.

    The new Haswell chips will help with power consumption on larger screens, which are definitely preferred over the tiny AAPL screens by anyone who remembers DOS or wears bifocals.
    Apr 28 11:14 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Apple Flip Flopping Over Heat From Its Enterprise Customers? [View article]
    If all 4G mobile devices will be required to use Virnet-X, then that should be classified as a standards essential FRAND patent (fair, reasonable, and non discriminating) and presumably the fee will be the same for all phone manufacturers, rather than based on the retail cost of the device sold.

    According to the general view of FRAND, aggregate rates that would significantly increase the cost to the industry and make the industry uncompetitive are unreasonable, so one would expect them to be based on a rate for the cheaper devices. If a patent added something like 10% to the cost of a cheaper smart phone, then presumably that would be way too much.
    Apr 28 10:54 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 5 Trade Ideas That Can Make 500% In An Up Market [View article]
    No, but you should be able to ask for a higher level of trading without any problem. Brokers use different terminology, but it may be level 2.
    Apr 27 10:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Numbers Don't Lie - Why The Economy Is Not Good [View article]
    "I now believe the battles are staged and the end game is always known all along..."

    It seems that way.

    “Between pigs and human beings there was not and there need not be any clash of interest whatsoever.”
    ― George Orwell, Animal Farm
    Apr 27 03:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment