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  • Tue, Sep. 20, 4:29 PM
    • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) declares $0.39/share quarterly dividend, 8.3% increase from prior dividend of $0.36.
    • Forward yield 2.75%
    • Payable Dec. 8; for shareholders of record Nov. 17; ex-div Nov. 15.
    • In addition, Board approved a new share repurchase program authorizing up to $40B in share repurchases.
    | Tue, Sep. 20, 4:29 PM | 32 Comments
  • Tue, Sep. 20, 4:28 PM
    • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) board approves new share repurchase program authorizing up to $40B in share repurchases.
    • The new program has no expiration date.
    • MSFT says it is on track to complete its current $40B stock repurchase program by December 31, 2016.
    • 2016 Annual Shareholders Meeting to be held on November 30, 2016.
    • Source: Press Release
    | Tue, Sep. 20, 4:28 PM | 10 Comments
  • Thu, Sep. 15, 6:36 PM
    • Videogame sales ticked up Y/Y, rising 1% as key new game releases reversed a trend of declines, according to NPD Group.
    • Spending had been falling against tough comparisons with last summer's releases. But a strong release schedule, including a new year's Madden NFL and a high-profile release in No Man's Sky, rescued August from summer doldrums.
    • Overall sales rose to $573.4M as a pickup in software slightly more than offset continuing declines in hardware and accessories.
    • Hardware sales continued a downward trend, coming on the cusp of a console refresh cycle at Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Those revenues fell 6% Y/Y to $178.1M.
    • "The unit growth in sales for the Xbox One and the 3DS was not enough to offset the decline in spending on the PS4, Wii U and older consoles," says NPD's Sam Naji. "The decline in unit spending was also compounded by the 7 percent decline in the ARP for consoles and a 22 percent decline in the ARP for portables.”
    • Videogame software spending, including digital estimates, grew 8% to $273.7M. And PC game sofware rose 18% to $14.2M. Meanwhile, accessory spending dropped 5% to $107.4M.
    • In individual games (ranked by dollar sales), new releases took the spotlight: Madden NFL 17 (NASDAQ:EA) topped the chart, followed by No Man's Sky (SNE) and Deux Ex: Mankind Divided (Square Enix). Grand Theft Auto V, a cash cow at Take-Two (NASDAQ:TTWO), was No. 4, followed by Overwatch (NASDAQ:ATVI).
    | Thu, Sep. 15, 6:36 PM | 10 Comments
  • Wed, Sep. 14, 12:39 PM
    • He discussed the technologies this morning during an ABC News interview.
    • On AR: "My own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far, because this gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present talking to each other, but also have other things visually for both of us to see. Maybe it's something we're talking about, maybe it's someone else here that is not here, present, but could be made to appear to be present with us. So there's a lot of really cool things there."
    • On VR: "Virtual reality sort of encloses and immerses the person into an experience that can be really cool, but probably has a lower commercial interest over time, or less people would be interested in that." He does, though, go on to note that Apple (AAPL +4.5%) has a lot of consideration for virtual reality as it relates to gaming and education.
    • The company had reportedly assembled a large team of specialists within the fields earlier this year.
    • While AR and VR initiatives have already been most notably underway at Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Facebook (FB +0.7%), Samsung (OTC:SSNLF), Microsoft (MSFT -0.1%) and elsewhere, efforts by Intel (INTC +0.4%), Snapchat (Private:CHAT) and Line (LN +2.1%) have developed within the last few weeks, demonstrating broad increased movement throughout the space. With Cook's comments today, it appears Apple's entry to the arena is not far off.
    | Wed, Sep. 14, 12:39 PM | 59 Comments
  • Wed, Sep. 14, 4:43 AM
    • European officials will unveil new technology rules today aimed at reining in many of the world's largest tech firms.
    • Under the proposals, which will take years to complete, European publishers may be given powers to charge internet companies whenever their content shows up in online results or other services.
    • Chat apps will also be more heavily policed by extending rules which currently only cover telecoms providers.
    | Wed, Sep. 14, 4:43 AM | 27 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 12, 10:25 AM
    • Microsoft (MSFTregisters a new major customer for its CRM offering, marking a win over competitors Salesforce (CRM +0.4%) and Oracle (ORCL +0.6%).
    • HP (HPQ +1.4%) will utilize Dynamics throughout its marketing and sales and services operations. HP already uses Microsoft's Azure, Office 365 and other Microsoft Cloud offerings.
    • HP COO, Jon Flaxman: "We have chosen Microsoft Dynamics as our CRM solution for our direct selling, partners and services. This brings us a cloud-based solution that delivers a more effective and efficient collaboration engine across our business."
    • Though the opportunity for the cloud enterprise space lies within all sizes of businesses, winning a large and notable client like HP demonstrates Microsoft continues to make headway within the highly competitive industry.
    | Mon, Sep. 12, 10:25 AM | 21 Comments
  • Thu, Sep. 8, 2:58 PM
    • The European Commission was said to be close to moving in the direction last month and is now expected to release reformed regulations with broader scope next week. Some of the services cited in the proposal include WhatsApp (FB -0.6%), FaceTime (AAPL -2.5%) and Skype (MSFT -0.5%), though a range of offerings would be impacted in a rules tightening.
    • Directives are alleged to involve reporting security breaches and maintaining backup plans along with service continuance policies.
    • The obligations for individual firms, however, will supposedly vary. Document: "Providers of such services should thus ensure a level of security commensurate with the degree of risk posed to the security of the communications services they provide." Further: "Therefore, whenever it is justified by the actual assessment of the security risks involved, the security requirements ... should be lighter."
    • Though approval by the European Parliament and European Union member states would be required to enact a proposal into law, a development this way could mark further contention between U.S.-based companies and the European Union as the heated battle between Apple and the European Commission continues and inspections into WhatsApp's updated privacy policy have recently commenced.
    | Thu, Sep. 8, 2:58 PM | 9 Comments
  • Wed, Sep. 7, 1:51 AM
    • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is developing a Slack (Private:SLACK) competitor called "Skype Teams," MSPoweruser reports.
    • Features channels, direct messages and other Slack features. Adds threaded conversations which Slack lacks.
    • Will integrate with Office 365.
    • Microsoft reportedly considered buying Slack for $8B earlier this year.
    | Wed, Sep. 7, 1:51 AM | 4 Comments
  • Mon, Aug. 29, 2:46 PM
    • UBS analyst Brent Thill restates a Buy rating and raises his price target on Microsoft (MSFT +0.4%) to $64 (current price $58.28).
    • Microsoft management has previously projected $20B annual commercial cloud business revenue by 2018. Thill is on board with this forecast and believes the company has the potential to even exceed it on a viewpoint discerning "multiple pieces of the business moving in the right direction.”
    • Infographic
    | Mon, Aug. 29, 2:46 PM | 12 Comments
  • Mon, Aug. 22, 7:05 PM
    • Videogame spending fell 14% overall in July, again facing tough comparisons with last summer and again led down by hardware, according to NPD Group.
    • Overall sales fell to $480.1M, while hardware dropped 30% Y/Y to $141.3M. With a new Xbox One S already released, and two new PS4s reportedly on the way, unit sales fell 10%, and average price was down 22%. Portables were up 23%; consoles down 37%.
    • Videogame software (now including digital estimates) dropped 5%, to $210.3M, and PC game software fell 12% to $11.4M. Accessories spending also dropped 5%, to $117.1M.
    • In individual games (ranked by dollar sales), cash cow Grand Theft Auto V (TTWO +0.8%) overtook Overwatch (ATVI +0.4%) for the top spot, followed by Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TWX -0.4%). Including digital full-game sales has lifted GTA V, which had been falling down the physical sales chart. Other titles of interest: Call of Duty: Black Ops III (NASDAQ:ATVI) at No. 5, and Minecraft (MSFT +0.1%) at No. 6.
    • In an uncommon outcome, Xbox One outsold the PlayStation 4 (SNE +0.9%) in July thanks to a reduced average price, with Wii U (OTCPK:NTDOY +1.6%) again in third place among hardware.
    | Mon, Aug. 22, 7:05 PM | 19 Comments
  • Mon, Aug. 22, 10:45 AM
    • Microsoft (MSFT +0.1%) plans to shut down Genee on September 1 and integrate the service into Office 365.
    • On the product: "Genee uses natural language processing and optimized decision-making algorithms so that interacting with a virtual assistant is just like interacting with a human one."
    • Genee press release
    | Mon, Aug. 22, 10:45 AM | 5 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 17, 4:10 AM
    • At an Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) event in San Francisco, CEO Brian Krzanich showed off his company's standalone VR headset prototype, Project Alloy.
    • The device will allow a wearer to see objects surrounding them in the physical world, use hand gestures to execute commands and open-source its hardware for others to create their own branded products.
    • Intel also said it was partnering with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to bring a virtual reality platform, Windows Holographic, to mainstream PCs running Windows 10.
    | Wed, Aug. 17, 4:10 AM | 7 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 16, 11:32 AM
    • Responding to Apple's (AAPL +0.4%recent ad extolling the iPad Pro's capabilities as a standalone computer, Microsoft (MSFT -1.1%) is out with a response.
    • The ad highlights the iPad Pro's lack of an Intel processor, full Office, trackpad and external ports. It additionally makes note of a keyboard extension, a feature Surface has long adopted.
    • A well-respected analyst yesterday projected a timeline for new iPad releases and predicts a 10.5 Pro model will be added to the lineup.
    • More broadly and similarly to Samsung's recent Galaxy Note 7 spot featuring Christoph Waltz, ads and product placement may play an increasingly important role in seizing market share as parity continues to grow between device offerings.
    | Tue, Aug. 16, 11:32 AM | 144 Comments
  • Mon, Aug. 15, 11:59 AM
    • Microsoft (MSFT +0.9%) is offering branded covers for all 32 NFL teams at a price of $159.99 each.
    • The company has reportedly spent $400M in NFL-related investments, with a Madden-bundled Xbox One S set to be released on August 23 where Surface tablets will be prominently featured on the sidelines of the game's virtual fields.
    • Blog post
    | Mon, Aug. 15, 11:59 AM | 8 Comments
  • Sun, Aug. 14, 12:04 PM
    • About 40 companies have signed on to the so-called Privacy Shield agreement, the new data-protection pact that allows American firms to transfer information on European citizens to servers in the U.S.
    • Among them: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Workday (NYSE:WDAY) and (NYSE:CRM).
    • According to the Commerce Department, "there are nearly 200 applications currently involved in our rigorous review process" and the list will be updated on a rolling basis.
    | Sun, Aug. 14, 12:04 PM | 10 Comments
  • Fri, Aug. 12, 5:40 PM
    • It took one of the industry's slowest months, but in a rare occurrence the Xbox One (MSFT -0.6%) has bested the PlayStation 4 (SNE -0.7%) as July's best-selling game console in the U.S., according to NPD Group.
    • Microsoft pointed to its June E3 showing as reason for its success, though the company also shuffled console prices around the Aug. 2 launch of its Xbox One S. A new Xbox One (launch version) is selling in some locations at $250, vs. the cheapest upcoming price for the Xbox One S at $299.
    • “Following its release last week, the 2TB launch edition of Xbox One S [retailing at $399] sold out in the U.K. and is nearly sold out in the U.S.,” said Microsoft's Mike Nichols. “Later this month on Aug. 23, we will launch 500GB and 1TB options for Xbox One S at $299 and $349, respectively."
    • The PlayStation 4 has almost always outsold the Xbox One month to month since the consoles were launched. Sony has shipped 43.5M PS4 consoles into the retail chain so far, and it expects to sell 20M of them in its 2016 fiscal year (which ends in March).
    | Fri, Aug. 12, 5:40 PM | 9 Comments