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  • 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 Salesforce.com (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
  • Fri, Aug. 12, 3:40 PM
    • Microsoft (MSFT -0.8%), eBay (EBAY -0.7%), Etsy (ETSY -0.9%), Yahoo (YHOO +3.9%), Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY -1.1%), Pinterest (Private:PINIT) and others have signed a commitment to impede trading of illegal wildlife and related products on their respective platforms in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, TRAFFIC and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
    • The aim is to stem supply and accessibility to a growing market for exotic and rare items obtained through poaching and other illegal means. The companies and organizations are looking to establish a "standardized, industry-wide policy framework on online wildlife trade." Wild live animals and plants or products derived from them through an illegal manner are the primary focus of the initiative.
    • Though notable absentees include Amazon and Facebook, the proliferation of e-commerce and online marketplaces alongside the growth of a complex wildlife trade have clearly sparked a response from the platforms these items may appear on.
    | Fri, Aug. 12, 3:40 PM | 13 Comments
  • Thu, Aug. 11, 12:02 PM
    • Microsoft's (MSFT +0.4%) "Team Xbox" announced the deal for the "innovative and interactive livestreaming service that gives viewers the ability to watch and play along with their favorite game streamers in real-time."
    • A main aspect and differentiation of the platform is interactivity, whereas gaming experiences from Twitch (AMZN), YouTube (GOOG, GOOGL) and others feature mainly viewing and live broadcasting.
    • More from the release: "We at Xbox are excited about this convergence between playing and watching, and want to provide gamers with the freedom and choice to have great multiplayer experiences across all of Beam’s platforms. This acquisition will help gamers enjoy the games they want, with the people they want, and on the devices they want."
    • Beam launched just this year and is based in Seattle. Terms of the deal were not made available.
    • Beam press release
    | Thu, Aug. 11, 12:02 PM | 17 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 9, 8:15 PM
    • With rumors about a slightly altered PlayStation console rampant, Sony (SNE +1.7%) has set an event called the "PlayStation Meeting" for Sept. 7 in New York.
    • The company has been said for months to be planning a "PlayStation 4.5" or "PlayStation Neo," which would be a ramped-up PlayStation with power to handle 4K content and perhaps virtual reality -- and, equally important, a maintained price point for the consoles as the last generation ages.
    • That means if Sony does unveil the PS 4 Neo, it could be ready for the holiday shopping season.
    • Microsoft (MSFT +0.2%) recently rolled out the Xbox One S, which it will sell as its high-end model into next year.
    • Previously: Sony, Microsoft look closer to mid-line game console upgrades (Apr. 20 2016)
    | Tue, Aug. 9, 8:15 PM | 14 Comments
  • Thu, Aug. 4, 5:20 PM
    • LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) exceeded revenue and EPS projections in its Q2 report, posting a 31% Y/Y sales ($933M) increase.
    • Cumulative members of 450M (+18% Y/Y) and average unique visitors of 106M (+9% Y/Y) per month. Member page views increased 32% and page views per unique visitor increased 21%.
    • Talent Solutions revenue of $597M (+35% Y/Y). Marketing Solutions revenue of $181M (+29% Y/Y) with Sponsored Content contributing 60% to the segment. Premium Subscriptions revenue grew 21% Y/Y to $155M.
    • Net income of $153M and adjusted EBITDA of $292M (31% of revenue).
    • CEO Jeff Weiner: “Continued product innovation drove increased levels of engagement, and strengthened our enterprise offerings. We believe joining forces with Microsoft enables us to further accelerate and scale our ability to deliver value and create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
    • CFO Steve Sordello: "LinkedIn delivered another quarter of strong growth. We achieved record levels of operating cash flow, while continuing to invest heavily across our core member and customer value propositions."
    • LinkedIn is not providing any outlook regarding future performance due to the pending Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) merger and will consequently also not be holding a conference call on the quarter.
    | Thu, Aug. 4, 5:20 PM | 15 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 2, 2:05 AM
    • Helping finance its planned purchase of LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has raised $19.75B in its biggest ever debt sale and the fifth largest corporate bond sale on record.
    • Strong demand helped the company to borrow at lower rates than it paid for the $13B of bonds it raised in October, as portfolio managers search out income.
    • Trillions of dollars of sovereign and corporate debt are already trading with a yield below zero.
    | Tue, Aug. 2, 2:05 AM | 17 Comments
  • Mon, Aug. 1, 11:34 AM
    • Amazon's (AMZN +1.3%) market capitalization is currently around $366B while Exxon Mobil's (NYSE:XOM) has fallen to $354B.
    • Amazon has recently unseated Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B, BRK.A) for the fifth spot but its shares continue to climb since posting impressive Q2 results and is firmly making its way up the list.
    • Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) currently represent the top three with $567B, $564B and $445B market capitalizations, respectively.
    | Mon, Aug. 1, 11:34 AM | 30 Comments
  • Thu, Jul. 28, 6:03 PM
    • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced in May it would reduce 1,850 jobs, mainly in its smartphone hardware and global sales divisions.
    • Today in the company's 10-K, Microsoft extends this reduction to include 2,850 more positions and forecasts the restructuring to be complete by the end of FY17.
    • In FY16, the company realized restructuring costs of $501M. It does not anticipate further charges related to these plans in upcoming years.
    | Thu, Jul. 28, 6:03 PM | 8 Comments
  • Tue, Jul. 26, 11:37 AM
    • Following last week's 2TB Xbox One S release date announcement, Microsoft (MSFT -0.1%confirms 1TB and 500GB models will be available on August 23.
    • There will be two bundled offerings; Xbox One S Madden NFL 17 Bundle (in a partnership with EA Sports) and Xbox One S Halo Collection Bundle.
    • The Halo bundle is to be released in 500GB and 1TB capacities while the Madden bundle is only to be offered with a 1TB hard drive.
    • The Madden package will cost $349 and the Halo packages will be priced at $299 and $349 for the 500GB and 1TB models, respectively.
    • From Microsoft: "We’re continuing to offer our fans the best choices to enjoy the games they want to play, with the people they want to play with and on the devices they want. Whether fans suit up as a Spartan or an NFL quarterback, we look forward to offering them the ultimate gaming and entertainment experiences on Xbox."
    | Tue, Jul. 26, 11:37 AM | 16 Comments
  • Sun, Jul. 24, 8:23 AM
    • Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) CEO Marc Benioff, who recently lost a bidding war for LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), would have made a stronger bid for the social network had it continued talks with him after its call for final offers.
    • Persistent bidding by Salesforce - during the two months before LinkedIn's agreement to negotiate exclusively with Microsoft - ultimately raised the price of the deal by 22%, or $5B.
    | Sun, Jul. 24, 8:23 AM | 27 Comments
  • Fri, Jul. 22, 10:18 PM
    • Videogame spending fell 26% Y/Y in June, facing tough comparisons against strong launches in 2015 and with hardware making up most of the decline, according to NPD Group data.
    • Overall spending was $652.2M. Videogame hardware spending came to $181.5M -- down 42% as unit sales fell 32% and prices on average dropped 15%, the firm said.
    • NPD Group has begun adjusting its report to include point-of-sale info for digital game sales made via PlayStation Network, Xbox Store and Steam, to reflect a fast-growing portion of industry revenues. That means for now that Nintendo sales and mobile sales, as well as other PC stores like EA's Origin, are missing and not projected.
    • In software, both videogame and PC game software fell 20%, though last June featured strong launches like Batman: Arkham Knight. Overall sales (now including digital formats) came to $322M for consoles/portable and $27.8M for PC games including Steam.
    • Accessories fell 6%, and interactive gaming toys (the lead accessory type) fell by 21%, mitigated somewhat by a 6% growth in headsets/headphones.
    • In individual games (now ranked by dollar sales), despite the tough comps May launches had a good second month. Overwatch (NASDAQ:ATVI) continued to top the chart, followed by Grand Theft Auto V (NASDAQ:TTWO) and Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (NYSE:TWX). The inclusion of digital full-game sales gave GTA V a new boost.
    • PlayStation 4 (NYSE:SNE) again was the top-selling console, over Xbox One (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Wii U (OTCPK:NTDOY).
    | Fri, Jul. 22, 10:18 PM | 39 Comments
  • Fri, Jul. 22, 3:53 PM
    • Microsoft (MSFT +1.2%adds automatic albums, "On this day", improved search, photo folders and most interestingly, a Poké detector to its cloud photo service.
    • Automatic albums populate based on time photos were taken and location. The service arranges the highest quality photos within these parameters accordingly.
    • "On this day" will surface previously taken photos based on date, similar to a service provided by Facebook.
    • Additional improvements include support for photo folders with large quantities of media in them and a Poké detector. This feature was built my Microsoft Research to automatically arrange Pokémon Go screenshots into the service while identifying, organizing and enabling search of 150 specific Pokémon.
    | Fri, Jul. 22, 3:53 PM | 7 Comments
  • Wed, Jul. 20, 2:51 PM
    • Nomura Securities restates a Buy rating on Microsoft (MSFT +6.3%) with a $65 price target (current price $56.60).
    • BMO Capital Markets restates an Outperform rating and a raised price target, $62 up from $57 and forecasts a free cash flow increase between 5-8% Y/Y over the next two years.
    • FBN Securities similarly raises its price target, $65 up from $55, and maintains an Outperform rating citing 109% and 59% revenue growth in cloud assets Azure and Office 365 Commercial, respectively.
    • Citi, not as impressed by the report. raises its price target to $40 from $37 but continues to maintain a Sell rating. Citi analyst Walter Pritchard is more concerned with sliding trend figures in Productivity and Business Process, commercial bookings and operating income as opposed to the company's touted cloud growth. Pritchard attributes lower-than-anticipated tax rates to the positive numbers and sees $5B in upcoming investment proceeds as contributing to boosted future earnings calls as well.
    | Wed, Jul. 20, 2:51 PM | 4 Comments