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  • Thu, Jun. 9, 12:47 PM
    • Q1 Worldwide Business smartphone shipments of 92.2M units fell 21% Q/Q, and increased 0.5% Y/Y according to Strategy Analytics.
    • Worldwide Business tablet shipments of 17.3M units fell 34.5% Q/Q, and 9.8% Y/Y.
    • Weak global demand, slowing economy and higher inventory hampered the growth of both BYOD and corporate-liable markets.
    • "Longer life cycles, increased competition from other categories such as larger smartphones/phablets, combined with the fact that end users can install the latest operating systems on their older tablets has stifled enthusiasm for these devices in both BYOD and corporate-liable environments. In addition, Q4 2015 registered a strong quarter for business tablets, hence a soft first quarter of the year is not unusual," said Andrew Brown, ED of Enterprise Research at Strategy Analytics.
    | Thu, Jun. 9, 12:47 PM | 50 Comments
  • Thu, Jun. 9, 8:56 AM
    • Global PC shipments this year are expected to fall 7.3%, according to IDC, roughly 200 basis points worse than the group's previous forecast. This cut comes after Q1 shipments fell 12.5% Y/Y vs. the anticipated 11.3% decline.
    • "The latest update reflects continuing pressure on PC shipments, but does not significantly change the factors driving the market," says IDC's Loren Loverde, adding that with an unprecedented four straight quarters of double-digit volume declines, the bar has been lowered for some improvement going forward.
    • Tickers of interest: INTC, MSFT, OTCPK:LNVGY, NVDA, AMD, MU, STX, WDC
    | Thu, Jun. 9, 8:56 AM | 32 Comments
  • Thu, Jun. 2, 7:59 PM
    • Worried about a long-term decline in Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) on-premise software business, chairman John Thompson and other directors are "pushing for a more aggressive shift" towards cloud offerings, says Bloomberg.
    • Ideas being mulled include increasing (R&D?) spending, overhauling Microsoft's salesforce - it has already been aggressively promoting cloud services to the company's enterprise base - and "managing partnerships differently." Microsoft's commercial cloud ops (they include Azure and business Office 365 sales) were on a $10B/year run rate as of April, but that's still only equal to 10.5% of an FY17 (ends June '17) revenue consensus of $95.2B.
    • Microsoft has already rolled out a number of cloud apps and Azure services during Satya Nadella's time as CEO, as well as made some-cloud-related acquisitions. Could a larger deal now be considered? Microsoft reportedly held buyout talks with cloud CRM software giant Salesforce last year that fell apart due to price, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff didn't quite shoot down the possibility of a Microsoft deal when recently asked about one.
    | Thu, Jun. 2, 7:59 PM | 32 Comments
  • Wed, Jun. 1, 2:07 PM
    • Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Holographic software platform, which underpins the company's HoloLens augmented reality (AR) headset, is being opened up to third-party hardware firms, with the goal of creating an ecosystem of "PCs, displays, accessories, and mixed reality devices."
    • By "mixed reality," Microsoft is talking not only about the kind of AR experiences enabled by HoloLens, but also solutions that can deliver both VR and AR experiences. "Imagine wearing a VR device and seeing your physical hands as you manipulate an object, working on the scanned 3D image of a real object, or bringing in a holographic representation of another person into your virtual world so you can collaborate. In this world, devices can spatially map your environment wherever you are; manipulating digital content is as easy and natural as picking up a box or sitting at a table; and you can easily teleport into your next meeting or travel together as a team."
    • Dell, HP, Intel, Qualcomm, Lenovo, AMD, and HTC are among Microsoft's initial Windows Holographic partners. For now, Facebook's Oculus unit, which Microsoft has partnered with to support the playback of Xbox One games on Oculus Rift VR headsets connected to Windows 10 PCs, isn't on the list.
    • Himax (HIMX +5.2%), which has developed microdisplays, wafer-level optics solutions, and display driver ICs for VR/AR headsets, has rallied following Microsoft's announcement. For the time being, VR/AR products account for a small percentage of Himax's revenue.
    | Wed, Jun. 1, 2:07 PM | 4 Comments
  • Wed, Jun. 1, 4:10 AM
    • Xiaomi (Private:XI) has agreed to purchase around 1,500 patents from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), a rare departure for the U.S. company and part of what the two firms say is the start of a long-term partnership.
    • The deal also includes a patent cross-licensing arrangement and a commitment by Xiaomi to install copies of Microsoft software, including Office and Skype, on its phones and tablets.
    • Both companies declined to discuss financial terms of the deal.
    | Wed, Jun. 1, 4:10 AM | 5 Comments
  • Tue, May 31, 2:44 PM
    • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has started a venture capital fund to pursue early-stage technology investments, including cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
    • It's called Microsoft Ventures -- not to be confused with the existing group by that name, a startup accelerator that will be renamed "Microsoft Accelerator." The new Microsoft Ventures will sit on a continuum between Microsoft Accelerator and the company's bigger, more traditional M&A activity.
    • The company has typically invested alongside commercial deals, so the new creation is a move to an earlier part of the process. The unit will open offices in San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Tel Aviv and will be run by Nagraj Kashyap and Peggy Johnson, both veterans of Qualcomm.
    | Tue, May 31, 2:44 PM | 2 Comments
  • Fri, May 27, 1:53 PM
    • Sources tell dealReporter P-E firm Vista Equity is close to an agreement to buy Marketo (MKTO +6.7%), and that a deal could be announced in the "next couple " of weeks.
    • The site adds Marketo's lack of profits limited buyout interest, and that Vista will have to show it can deliver major cost cuts to secure debt financing for the deal.
    • Marketo surged earlier this month on reports the company is exploring a sale. There had been speculation Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and/or SAP - each of which could use Marketo's cloud marketing automation software to fill out their cloud CRM software lines and better compete against Oracle/Salesforce - would bid for the company.
    • Shares are up 43% since the reports arrived on May 10. If Vista buys Marketo, Microsoft/SAP buyout speculation could turn towards rival HubSpot (HUBS +0.8%).
    | Fri, May 27, 1:53 PM
  • Thu, May 26, 1:18 PM
    • Microsoft (MSFT -0.8%) and Facebook (FB +1.2%) are teaming up to lay a new subsea cable across the Atlantic to set a new standard for trans-Atlantic data transfers.
    • The MAREA cable combines eight fiber pairs and an initial transfer capacity of 160 Tbps, and is designed to be openly interoperable with a variety of networking equipment. It will run 6,600 km and take a more southerly route than other systems, connecting Northern Virginia to Bilbao, Spain, and then to other network hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
    • Building the cable begins in August, with completion expected October 2017.
    • Telxius -- the infrastructure unit that subsea veteran Telefonica (TEF +1%) is considering giving an IPO this summer -- will manage the new system.
    | Thu, May 26, 1:18 PM | 21 Comments
  • Wed, May 25, 2:10 PM
    • Gaming site Kotaku reports Microsoft (MSFT +1.5%) plans to launch "a cheaper, smaller, Xbox One" this year, and will launch a more powerful model in 2017. The cheaper/smaller Xbox is expected to be shown off at the industry's E3 conference (runs from June 14-16).
    • The 2017 console, codenamed Scorpio, will have a more powerful GPU, and be capable of handling 4K gaming and directly supporting Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) Oculus Rift VR headset. Microsoft already has a partnership with Oculus through which streamed Xbox One games can be played on Rift headsets connected to Windows 10 PCs.
    • Also reported: 1) Microsoft wants to further its efforts to converge Xbox and Windows, with future hit games released on both platforms. 2) Microsoft is moving towards an "incremental" upgrade model for consoles (much as it's doing for Windows), with frequent hardware upgrades replacing massive upgrades that arrive every several years.
    • Sony has been widely reported to be prepping a revamped PlayStation 4 that supports 4K gaming and "enhanced" support for the company's PlayStation VR headset. Both the new console and the PlayStation VR are expected later this year.
    • AMD (AMD +0.2%) supplies an APU (integrated CPU/GPU) for both the PS4 and Xbox One, and will presumably get an ASP boost from the sale of more powerful APUs for 4K-capable consoles.
    • Update: Also of interest: The Verge reports Microsoft plans to unveil a "Chromecast-like" streaming stick for Xbox digital content at E3. The device will work with Xbox One controllers.
    | Wed, May 25, 2:10 PM | 23 Comments
  • Wed, May 25, 6:26 AM
    • Struggling to restart its mobile strategy after multiple misfires, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has announced a further step in dismantling the mobile-phone operations it acquired from Nokia.
    • The software giant will lay off 1,850 workers, taking an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950M in the current quarter.
    • Last summer, Microsoft wrote down $7.6B related to its mobile-phone business and fired 7,800 workers in those operations.
    | Wed, May 25, 6:26 AM | 15 Comments
  • Mon, May 23, 7:56 PM
    • Fresh off earnings that showcased the strength of its mobile games lineup, China's NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES) unveiled a substantial development slate of 41 games at its second annual "Game Enthusiasts' Day" in Guangzhou.
    • Those include new entries in its flagship mobile franchise -- Fantasy Westward Journey: Warriors, and Westward Journey: Rage. It's also stretching legacy PC-game successes into the mobile word, including MMORPG Tianxia III, fighting game Datang and MMO game Demon Seals.
    • Meanwhile, the company's also coming off a weekend deal with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to bring addictive sandbox success Minecraft to China, after a usual lengthy struggle with trade regulations. It announced a five-year exclusive deal with Microsoft and Mojang to license mobile and PC editions of the game to an affiliate in mainland China, including a version tailored for the Chinese market.
    • Now read China's Woes Create Opportunities For New NetEase Investors »
    | Mon, May 23, 7:56 PM | 13 Comments
  • Thu, May 19, 5:39 AM
    • Snow White has landed in the 21st century... Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has unveiled a Magic Mirror - a so-called smart mirror that can recognize and greet users, and display the weather, time and other information.
    • The device was showcased at InnovFest Unbound 2016, a digital technology conference in Singapore, and contains a hidden facial-recognition camera that can detect eight human emotions.
    • Features such as news and Facebook/Twitter feeds are expected to be added soon.
    | Thu, May 19, 5:39 AM | 13 Comments
  • Wed, May 18, 9:27 AM
    • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is bailing out on Nokia's feature phone business, selling its assets there to FIH Mobile (a unit of Foxconn (OTC:FXCOF)) and HMD Global for just $350M.
    • FIH Mobile takes over Microsoft Mobile Vietnam in the deal, and that unit's 4,500 employees will join FIH Mobile or HMD Global or transfer.
    • All feature phone assets are transferring, but Microsoft will continue work on Windows 10 Mobile and supporting Lumia phones from OEM partners.
    • Microsoft had a feature phone brand license until 2024 but is electing to get out of the business now. Speculation points to the prospect of a Surface Phone launch in the coming year.
    • MSFT is -0.5% premarket.
    • Now read Microsoft Should Say Goodbye To Lumia, Let Another Firm Carry That Brand »
    | Wed, May 18, 9:27 AM | 14 Comments
  • Tue, May 17, 1:19 PM
    • As part of its latest move to make nice with a rival, Microsoft (MSFT -2.1%) is partnering with enterprise software giant SAP (SAP -0.8%) to support the use of SAP's popular Hana in-memory database - it's often used for performance-intensive analytics and transaction-processing work, and competes with the in-memory features of Microsoft's SQL Server database - on Azure's cloud infrastructure.
    • A single Hana instance on Azure will support up to 3TB of RAM, with 32TB supported over 16 instances. SAP already supports Hana on Amazon Web Services, as well as through its own cloud platform.
    • Also: The companies have partnered to integrate several SAP product lines - its Ariba procurement/B2B software, Concur travel/expense management software, SuccessFactors HR software, and Fieldglass labor-management software - with Office 365. And Microsoft's Intune mobile device management (MDM) software will be able to manage apps from third-party developers that rely on SAP's Hana Cloud Platform (lets developers build cloud apps running on top of Hana).
    • Separately, SAP has updated Hana to include graph data processing and capture & replay support. The former helps companies better understand and visualize patterns involving people, places, and things, and the latter helps IT workers evaluate and assess the impact of changes made to Hana workloads.
    • The Microsoft alliance follows a partnership with Apple through which SAP will (among other things) help enable third-party iOS apps that can leverage the Hana Cloud Platform. SAP is hosting its annual Sapphire Now conference this week.
    • Now read Microsoft Should Say Goodbye To Lumia, Let Another Firm Carry That Brand
    | Tue, May 17, 1:19 PM | 10 Comments
  • Mon, May 16, 6:31 PM
    • Jon Jacobson's Highfields Capital Management got out of Yahoo (YHOO +2.7%) and Microsoft (MSFT +1.5%) in Q1, and trimmed most of its stake in McDonald's (MCD +0.6%) while adding other consumer names, according to its 13F filing.
    • The firm sold 12.79M shares of Microsoft (valued at $709.7M) and 7.14M shares of McDonald's ($808M), along with selling 7.2M shares of Yahoo (about $239.5M worth).
    • It retains a stake of 4.76M shares of McDonald's. Meanwhile, it took a new position in Marriott (MAR +1.2%) -- 6.86M shares valued at $488.3M -- and bought 2.79M shares in Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA +0.8%).
    • Now read Microsoft - When Do Investors Get To See The Beef? »
    | Mon, May 16, 6:31 PM | 13 Comments
  • Tue, May 10, 4:12 PM
    • Reacting to news of a possible sale of Marketo (NASDAQ:MKTO) -- which just closed up 24.7% after spiking 15% on earlier chatter -- Credit Suisse believes SAP is the most likely acquirer.
    • Several vendors are still missing critical CRM components, the firm says, and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is a potential bidder as well.
    • Acquisitions in the cloud sector have tended to focus on the multiples of enterprise value to the last-12-months subscription revenues, it says.
    • Modeling several acquisitions over the past year and applying that multiple to Marketo ($198.9M in last-12-months sub revenue, and revenue growth of 38.1%) brings a share price of $44.35 -- 65.7% upside from the just-inflated closing price. Applying a standard error to the multiple brings a warranted price range of $37.03-$51.67 (38% to 93% upside).
    • Now read Competition The Issue As Marketo Pivots To Enterprise »
    | Tue, May 10, 4:12 PM | 11 Comments