Microsoft's (MSFT) new Azure Intelligent Systems Service allows companies to capture and manage machine data from various embedded devices and sensors, regardless of the OS they use. The service aims to enable Web-connected embedded platforms in verticals such as retail, health, manufacturing, and transportation.
IT outsourcing firms Cognizant and Infosys are among Microsoft's service partners. Intel and ARM are already going after this market by via solutions that combine their CPU designs with related software.
Microsoft is also unveiling its Analytics Platform System, a hardware appliance (to be sold by OEMs) that allows data handled by SQL Server's data warehousing solution (used to process/analyze structured data) and the Hadoop big data framework (used for giant unstructured datasets) to be integrated and jointly queried.
Satya Nadella calls the solution "big data in a box." Teradata (TDC) and Informatica (INFA) are among the companies in Microsoft's crosshairs.
SQL Server 2014 has also been launched. As promised, the latest update to Microsoft's database platform (produces $5B+/year in sales) features in-memory capabilities that arguably make it a meaningful rival to SAP's popular Hana in-memory database.
While going over the products, Nadella declares Microsoft needs to create a "data culture" to thrive, in part by using its own products. "Think of Office as the canvas, or the surface area, or the scaffolding from which you can access the data."
The plunge in coal prices that has sent smaller competitors into bankruptcy is alarming bondholders in Alpha Natural Resources (ANR), as the no. 2 U.S. coal producer consumes more cash than ever, Bloomberg reports.
ANR’s $3.43B of debt equals 37.9x EBITDA, highest among U.S. coal producers, and its bonds have lost more than 9% this year, the most among met coal producers in the Bloomberg High Yield Corporate Bond Index.
"It’s going to get worse before it starts getting better," one analyst says. "It’s a completely oversupplied market."
Surgical device maker ConMed (CNMD) is exploring a sale of the company, Reuters reported earlier today, after activist investors late last year took issue with its performance and corporate governance.
The company's advisers, BoA Merrill Lynch and Greenhill, reportedly have contacted orthopedic device makers in recent weeks to gauge interest.
CNMD has an attractive orthopedics and sports medicine business that could appeal to companies such as Zimmer Holdings (ZMH), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Stryker (SYK), Covidien (COV) and Medtronic (MDT).
CNMD shares gained 7.2%, rallying from a loss before the report late in the session.
Athlon Energy (ATHL) announces offerings for 11M shares of common stock and $500M in senior notes to fund potential and pending acquisitions and for general corporate purposes.
Separately, ATHL says Q1 production reached a record quarterly high of nearly 17K boe/day, up 71% Y/Y, above the high end of its earlier guidance range; approves an increased 2014 capital budget for drilling expenditures of $700M.
The newly-approved FDA products include Boston Scientific's (BSX) Dynagen Mini and Inogen Mini implanatable defibrillators (ICDs), and its Dynagen X4 and Inogen X4 heart failure devices (CRT-Ds).
BSX asserts its Mini ICDs are "up to 20 percent smaller by volume and up to 24 percent thinner than competitive devices," and that its X4 CRT-Ds offer "70 percent more pacing options to address high capture thresholds and phrenic nerve stimulation effectively, along with the largest battery capacity in the industry."
A federal judge rejects a request by Standard & Poor's (MHFI) to split up the U.S. government's $5B lawsuit accusing it of lying about its credit ratings, but the judge gives S&P permission to obtain evidence the government may have sued in retaliation for the agency's decision to lower the U.S. credit rating in 2011.
S&P has said former Treasury Secretary Geithner angrily told McGraw Hill Chairman Terry McGraw in an Aug. 8, 2011 phone call, three days after the downgrade, that he was "accountable" for the company's actions and that S&P's conduct would be "looked at very carefully."
Linear (LLTC) expects FQ4 revenue to grow 2%-6% Q/Q; the midpoint of that range is below a consensus for 5% growth. Book-to-bill was above 1, and bookings rose Q/Q for all of the chipmaker's top markets.
Gross margin rose 90 bps Y/Y in FQ3 to 75.7%, and opex rose 6% to $102.8M (less than rev. growth of 10.6%). $10.9M was spent on buybacks.