Sep. 11, 2014, 7:08 PM
- After moving back above the $100/share level, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is back over the $600B mark in market cap, pushing it nearly $200B above Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), the next largest company in the U.S.
- XOM is still valued at more than $400B, but Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) at $397B and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) - which has surged in 2014, adding $74B in market cap to $386B - are closing the gap.
- Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B) completes the top five with a $339B market cap; no other companies are worth more than $300B.
- Rounding out the top 20 market caps: JNJ, WFC, GE, WMT, CVX, PG, JPM, FB, VZ, IBM, PFE, KO, ORCL, T, MRK.
Sep. 10, 2014, 2:38 PM| 1 Comment
Sep. 10, 2014, 7:47 AM
- The $2B price tag that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is reportedly willing to swallow for Minecraft maker Mojang is on par with other large video games deals, although not all have panned out.
- Analyst take: Cowen calls Minecraft one of the great gaming success stories of the last ten years, while some tech analysts warn the franchise has lost some momentum and could be hard to recharge.
- Sources have indicated that Microsoft will use overseas cash to pay for the acquisition to lighten its tax obligation.
- MSFT +0.5% premarket
Sep. 9, 2014, 6:26 PM
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is in "serious discussions" to buy Mojang AB -- the maker of popular world-building game Minecraft -- in a deal valued at more than $2B, a source tells The Wall Street Journal.
- A deal could come as early as this week, and would be the first truly major acquisition for CEO Satya Nadella since he took the job in February.
- Mojang has sold more than 50M copies of the game since its 2009 release but has shunned big corporations -- and, particularly, Microsoft specifically.
- MSFT +0.2% after hours.
Sep. 9, 2014, 7:49 AM
- "With Delve, information finds you versus you having to find information," says Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Office 365 Team, today rolling out Office Delve (previously codenamed "Oslo") to Office 365 business customers.
- Powered by Office Graph, Delve figures out and displays that information most relevant for each person based on the work they're doing and with whom they are engaging, says the Team. The presentation of this information is done in a way in which the user will no longer have to remember where "stuff is stored or who shared it with you."
Sep. 8, 2014, 6:36 AM
- Following heavy scrutiny from China's antitrust regulator, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has received another blow in China, losing a top exec to Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU).
- Zhang Yaqin, Microsoft's vice president and chairman of its Asian-Pacific research and development group, will now depart to become Baidu's president for new business.
- Zhang was a high-profile Microsoft exec involved in the country's emerging R&D scene. He also served on Microsoft's executive management committee, advising on its China strategy.
Sep. 4, 2014, 11:50 AM
- Microsoft's (MSFT +0.4%) Lumia 830 delivers a PureView camera at a lower unsubsidized price point (€330/$429) than existing PureView hardware. Like the high-end Lumia 930, the 830 combines PureView with a 5" display and aluminum body, but its resolution (720p vs. 1080p) and CPU (1.2GHz. quad-core) have been downgraded.
- Nonetheless, The Verge likes the 830's lower weight/thickness relative to the 930, and (during a brief test) was impressed with the 10MP camera's daylight shots. "This is the handset the 930 should have been."
- Also launched: The Lumia 730 and 735, proclaimed by Microsoft to be "selfie" phones due to their inclusion of 5MP front cameras with a wide-angle lens and a fast f/2.4 aperture. Other specs are largely mid-range - a 4.7" 720p display, a 6.7MP rear camera (albeit with Carl Zeiss optics), and the same CPU as the 830 - as are respective retail prices of €199 and €219. The 735 differs from the 730 through its LTE support.
- The phone launches coincide with the release of Lumia Denim, a Windows Phone 8.1 update that includes a Cortana voice assistant revamp - a feature called "Hey Cortana" enables Google Now-like hands-free activation - and a slew of camera improvements.
- With app support remaining a concern for many, IDC estimates Windows Phone had only a 2.5% smartphone share in Q2, down from 3.4% a year earlier. Shipments are estimated to have fallen by 800K to 7.4M.
- Thanks in large part to feature phone declines, Microsoft has forecast its phone unit will see revenue fall to $1.9B-$2.3B in the Sep. quarter from $3.9B a year ago. 12.5K of Microsoft's 18K job cuts are expected to hit the phone division, roughly cutting its size by half.
Sep. 1, 2014, 4:01 AM
- China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce has given Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) 20 days to respond to queries resulting from its investigation into the compatability of its Windows operating system and Office software suite.
- At least 30 foreign companies have been recently probed by Chinese regulators as the government seeks to enforce a 2008 anti-trust law.
- Microsoft says it is "serious about complying with China's laws and committed to addressing SAIC's questions and concerns".
Aug. 26, 2014, 7:15 PM
- Following the release of Windows 9 (codenamed Threshold, expected in spring 2015), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) plans to do away with its traditional approach of launching major Windows releases every few years in favor of "regular, incremental updates," ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley reports.
- A similar update schedule will exist for Windows Phone, set to merge with the flatlining Windows RT and act as a joint phone/tablet platform. Among other things, Satya Nadella's July memo promised Microsoft plans to "streamline [its] engineering process and reduce the amount of time and energy it takes to get things done."
- Foley doesn't know if Microsoft will keep charging upgrade fees (perhaps through a subscription), or follow Apple's lead in making its PC OS updates free. Microsoft recently removed license fees for sub-9" Windows hardware.
- The technical preview for Windows 9/Threshold is expected in late September or early October. All signs suggest the OS will feature the return of the Start menu, along with the ability to show Metro-style live tiles in desktop mode.
- Foley's latest scoop comes as Bloomberg reports Apple is working on a 12.9" iPad, a device that could be positioned as more of a laptop replacement than the 9.7" and 7.9" models.
Aug. 26, 2014, 2:27 AM
- After conducting a number of recent investigations into Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Chinese operations, China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce has found that the company's software sales were not fully transparent, but acknowledged that Microsoft was cooperating with the ongoing investigation.
- Chinese regulators have recently clamped down on many foreign firms operating in China over anti-monopoly concerns.
Aug. 21, 2014, 11:43 AM
- Hedge funds are having a difficult time of it again this year, up 1% vs. a 7.5% gain for the S&P 500, according to Goldman Sachs, which crunched the numbers on 775 funds with $1.9T in AUM.
- Nevertheless, Goldman's list of 50 stocks which "matter most" to hedge funds has outperformed the S&P 500 on a quarterly basis 66% of the time since 2001. The stocks this quarter (posted in order of the number of funds in which a name is a top-10 holding):
- ACT, AAPL, FB, AGN, AAL, GM, TWC, AIG, MSFT, HTZ, CHTR, MU, WMB, LNG, C, DAL, HCA, APC, CBS, ALLY, GOOGL, APD, NRF, BAC, EBAY, LBTYK, PCLN, VRX, BIDU, DTV, DISH, DG, EQIX, MA, WAG, ARCP, GILD, LINTA, MON, FOXA, VC, AMZN, BRK.A, BRK.B, SUNE, CMCSA, JPM, MIC, CCI, HES, LAMR.
- A special call-out to Northstar Realty (NYSE:NRF), Visteon (NYSE:VC), SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE), Macquarie Infrastructure (NYSE:MIC), and Lamar Advertising (NASDAQ:LAMR) for making the list of hedge fund hotels despite their relatively tiny market caps.
Aug. 21, 2014, 3:19 AM
- Norwegian software maker Opera (OTCPK:OPESY) has signed a deal with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to take over browser building at its Nokia mobile phone unit.
- "We have signed a strategic licensing deal with Microsoft...taking over the browser building department in Nokia," says Opera CEO Lars Boilsesen. "This means that Opera Mini will become the default browser for Microsoft's feature phone product lines and the Asha phones product lines."
Aug. 19, 2014, 2:20 PM
- Six months after stepping down as CEO, Steve Ballmer has resigned from Microsoft's (MSFT -0.1%) board.
- Ballmer: "In the six months since leaving, I have become very busy. I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time ... I hold more Microsoft shares than anyone other than index funds and love the mix of profits, investments and dividends returned in our stock. I expect to continue holding that position for the foreseeable future."
- The announcement comes a day after Ballmer made a headline-grabbing debut as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, replete with the on-stage theatrics Microsoft employees know all too well.
- Microsoft shares are up 42% since Ballmer announced a year ago he would be resigning as CEO.
Aug. 5, 2014, 6:50 PM
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has hired Peggy Johnson, an EVP for Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) chip unit (Qualcomm Technologies), to be its new business development chief. Johnson arrives 5 months after Microsoft announced her predecessor, one-time CEO candidate Tony Bates, is leaving.
- At Qualcomm, Johnson was responsible for creating new business opportunities and strategic relationships, a role not too different from the one she'll have at Microsoft. Johnson was also in charge of Qualcomm Labs, the mobile chip/IP giant's business incubation arm.
- "Peggy shares our worldview and knows what it takes to drive new growth in mobility and the cloud," says Satya Nadella. The hiring of a mobile exec to run business development comes shortly after Microsoft added mobile industry vet John Stanton to its board.
Aug. 1, 2014, 6:11 PM
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has sued Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) for alleged breach of contract over unpaid Android royalty payments related to the companies' 2011 licensing deal.
- Microsoft suggests Samsung stopped paying per-device royalties in late 2013 due to the Nokia deal, with Samsung arguing the deal nullifies the 2011 pact. Microsoft wants a ruling on Samsung's claim, and is also seeking unpaid interest.
- Likely at issue: Samsung and Nokia have a patent cross-licensing deal in place for each others' patents, one that was extended for 5 years last November. Though the deal involves payments from Samsung to Nokia, Nokia's phone unit (now a part of Microsoft) has made use of Samsung's IP through it. That opens the door to Samsung arguing a new/separate cross-licensing deal with Microsoft is needed.
- The financial implications of the legal spat could be big: Though struggling a bit lately, Samsung still had a 25.2% Q2 smartphone unit share (per IDC).
- Surging Android royalties led Microsoft's "Windows Phone" revenue to rise $1.2B in FY13 (ended June '13). With Samsung apparently halting payments midway, "Windows Phone" licensing revenue grew by $822M in FY14 to $2.54B. Nokia payments accounted for $382M of the total.
Aug. 1, 2014, 4:55 AM
- U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska has ruled that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) must turn over a customer's emails stored in a data center in Ireland to the U.S. government, following the company's refusal to do so due to privacy concerns.
- AT&T, Apple, Cisco and Verizon have all backed Microsoft's objection to hand over the information, as they are concerned about billions of dollars in revenue loss if customers fear their data is subject to seizure by U.S. investigators anywhere in the world.
- Microsoft and other U.S. companies have challenged the criminal search warrant for the emails, stating federal authorities cannot seize customer information held in foreign countries. However, Preska says, "It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information."
MSFT vs. ETF Alternatives
Microsoft Corp is engaged in designing, manufacturing, selling devices, and online advertising to a global customer audience. Its products include operating systems for computing devices, servers, phones, and other intelligent devices.
Other News & PR