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."
An April Barclays survey of 100 U.S. and European CIOs found 46% expecting their company's IT spending to rise in 1H14, 20% expecting it to drop, and 34% expecting no change. Those figures compare with September survey levels of 43%, 27%, and 30%.
Moreover, IT spending growth is seen accelerating in 2H in both the U.S. and Europe. Barclays thinks larger budgets, macro stabilization, and a need for equipment refreshes (due to high utilization rates) could be helping out.
At the same time, the firm cautions the spending growth is uneven: Software, networking, security, and cloud services demand is healthy, but servers, storage, and IT services remain soft. Interest in the concept of a software-defined data center is gaining traction, but big data (hyped considerably last year) is losing it for now.
Gartner has forecast IT spending will rise 3.2% this year to $3.77T after growing just 0.4% in 2013. Enterprise software (+6.9% to $320B) is expected to lead the way.
Barclays thinks its survey bodes well for H-P (HPQ), Juniper (JNPR), F5 (FFIV), Aruba (ARUN), Ingram Micro (IM), and CDW, each of which is rated Overweight.
SAP's Business Suite, which includes the software giant's mainstay ERP apps, will soon be available via cloud subscriptions. The apps will be offered through SAP's Hana Cloud platform (launched last year), which already runs a slew of SAP and 3rd-party apps on top of the company's Hana in-memory database.
In addition to ERP apps, Business Suite features CRM and supply-chain management apps. Whereas many enterprises have embraced cloud CRM solutions, they've generally preferred to keep mission-critical ERP apps onsite.
Nonetheless, NetSuite (N) has had some success selling its cloud ERP solution to mid-sized businesses, and Workday (WDAY) has reeled in enterprise buyers for its cloud financials software (different from an end-to-end ERP suite). SAP's move presents the companies with fresh competition, but could also serve to validate the broader market.
Aided by the Ariba acquisition, SAP's cloud subscription/support revenue rose 121% in 2013 to €758M; all other software sales rose only 3% to €4.52B. The company is aiming for €3B-€3.5B in total 2017 cloud-related revenue.
SAP (SAP +0.5%) is buying Fieldglass, a top provider of cloud software for obtaining/managing contingent labor and services. The company plans to combine Fieldglass' software with Ariba's cloud procurement offerings and its SuccessFactors' cloud HR products to "deliver a platform for businesses to manage their entire workforce both temporary and permanent staff."
Terms are undisclosed. However, Bloomberg reported shortly before SAP issued a PR that the company would be announcing a $1B+ acquisition.
The acquisition comes as SAP strikes a reseller deal with Adobe (ADBE -0.9%) related to the latter's Marketing Cloud online ad tech platform. Marketing Cloud (sales +24% Y/Y in the Feb. quarter to $267M, was just refreshed) will be packaged with SAP's Hana in-memory database and hybris e-commerce infrastructure software to marketers.
Given Adobe bought marketing automation software vendor Neolane last year and folded its products into Marketing Cloud, the partnership might lower the odds SAP will make a bid for Marketo (MKTO -1.3%) or another marketing automation firm, as many have expected.
SAP's (SAP -0.7%) executive and supervisory boards recommend shareholders approve a €1/share ($1.38/share) dividend for fiscal 2013. The figure represents an 18% hike from 2012's €0.85/share dividend, and spells a 1.8% yield and 36% payout ratio. (PR)
The enterprise software giant hold its annual meeting on May 21. Its 2013 dividend will be paid on or after May 22.
Even as equities closed lower following the FOMC and Janet Yellen's remarks, H-P (HPQ +3.5%) is at levels last seen in 2011 (before the Autonomy deal and Palm write-down) ahead of its 5PM ET annual meeting.
Citing Autonomy and the aborted PC spinoff, advisory firm Glass Lewis opposes the re-election of directors Marc Andreessen, Rajiv Gupta, and (ex-chairman) Ray Lane. All 11 H-P directors were re-elected last year even though advisory firm ISS opposed three of them (inc. Lane).
optionMONSTER observes H-P has seen strong short-term call-buying activity; 19K+ March 30.50 contracts (safely in the money after today's move) changed hands yesterday.
This morning, H-P announced a new integrated server/storage/networking system optimized for SAP's (SAP -0.9%) popular Hana in-memory database. The system, which has a steep starting price of $87.8K, comes ahead of the launch of Project Kraken, an H-P server that aims to run Hana with 3x as much memory as rival offerings.
VeriSign (VRSN -8.8%) has been cut to Market Perform by Cowen. The downgrade comes as the NTIA announces it will relinquish control of the Internet's domain name management system to an international body. VeriSign insists the move won't affect its operation of the .com and .net registries.
CommVault (CVLT +3.3%) has been upgraded to Buy by Mizuho.
RingCentral (RNG +4.5%) has been started at Outperform by William Blair.
NetScout (NTCT +0.1%) has been cut to Neutral by D.A. Davidson.
RPX (RPXC +3%) has been started at Outperform by Cowen.
Cadence (CDNS +1.4%) has been started at Overweight by Piper.
VMware (VMW -1.2%), parent EMC (EMC -1.3%), Citrix (CTXS -2%), and SAP (SAP -1.5%) are all lower following news of VMware's $1.54B acquisition of leading mobile device management (MDM) software firm AirWatch.
Citrix (thanks to the Zenprise acquisition) and SAP (through its Sybase unit) compete with AirWatch. As does BlackBerry (BBRY +4.6%), which remains higher following news of its real estate sale plans.
AirWatch's products, which also include mobile app management and security solutions, complement VMware's Horizon Workspace, which provides a secure, siloed workspace for business apps and files on mobile devices. With Citrix and SAP already offering an array of complementary mobile software tools for enterprises, VMware's move is in part an attempt to keep pace.
AirWatch, Citrix, SAP, and BlackBerry, along with other firms such as IBM (previous) and Good Technology, are trying to profit from growing enterprise interest in MDM solutions, which help companies cope with the ongoing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.
In tandem with the acquisition, VMware has reported preliminary Q4 revenue of $1.48B (+15% Y/Y), slightly above a $1.47B consensus. Q4 license revenue is expected to come in at $$687M (+15%), within a guidance range for 12%-16% growth. VMware's full Q4 results are due on Jan. 28.
SAP (SAP) expects 2014 adjusted operating profit of €5.8-6B vs €5.9B in 2013 and consensus of €6.06B.
The company also forecasts that revenue from software and software-related services will increase 6-8% after four years of double-digit growth.
SAP has put back its profit goals by two years as part of its transition to cloud-based services from its traditional licensing model. "We choose not to harvest the margin in the short run but to go for share in the cloud," co-CEO Bill McDermott says.
SAP now expects its adjusted operating profit to reach 35% of sales by 2017 rather than by 2015. The company also predicts that sales will rise to at least €22B ($30B), with cloud revenue €3-3.5B. SAP may make acquisitions in order to hit the cloud target.
BlackBerry (BBRY -3.8%) has hired Eric Johnson, formerly SAP's (SAP -0.3%) GM of Global Database and Technology (covers SAP's Hana and Sybase products) to be its global sales chief. (PR)
Like several other recent BlackBerry hires, Johnson is a former colleague of CEO/ex-Sybase chief John Chen. Since taking over in November, Chen has also hired former SAP execs to be BlackBerry's enterprise services and corporate development chiefs, and an ex-Sybase exec to be its head of marketing.
Johnson will take over a salesforce that has been downsized considerably over the last year, and which (judging by Chen's comments) appears set to have a stronger enterprise focus going forward.
Shares continue to trade lower thanks to Oppenheimer's downgrade, which was motivated by concerns about further hardware and services sales declines.