Seeking Alpha


Send Message
View as an RSS Feed
View alpine's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest  |  Highest rated
  • Latest Earnings Strong But Questions About Long-Term Profitability Remain [View article]
    Some "point" thoughts to consider when thinking of investing in CRM:
    a) Mr. Softee is a "smart" investor, even an astute one, and for it to have agreed to pay $55bn of its cash, when it has its own CRM platform says a lot;
    b) before considering investing in CRM, it is best to listen to Mr. Benioff's "talktalk" including the last earnings call, to judge if there is something special about him, esp if you (as I) have also listened to his "peers" at the likes of ORCL, MSFT, WDAY, SAP, IBM, AMZN, GOOGL, etc. My conclusion: he himself is a big part of the "soft" valuation of CRM, and its value is going to get a lot bigger in the months to come;
    c) it is useful to "get" key aspects of the end-2-end selling "cycle" in the modern era, what with social media, instant customer feedback, "intelligent" prospect targeting, and so much of "speeding" that is going on in terms of new style "marketing" to "getting" the customer to order, and shipping or just "delivering" the order and collecting the cash. The world in this regard has changed a lot in recent years, and CRM is like no other company on this planet, incl. my most respected corporate apps vendor, ORCL;
    d) at the last ORCL earnings conference call, Mr. Ellison named CRM several times, and this to me, based on previous calls, is a good indicator who he "fears" the most.....and this tells me CRM is definitely on to something;
    e) at least in Europe, and even in parts of the Middle East, CRM is the subject of a lot of "noise" among IT geeks, and this makes me suspect something new's going on.
    All in all, some of us have been here before, CRM's valuation on PE is likely not of much value, but one has to consider CRM's investment prospects on who could outsmart, literally, Mr. Benioff? To me, Mr. Softee went after CRM only because of he is the best, most focused, even paranoichally obsessed wild man out there who knows who the real Larry Ellison is.....
    May 24, 2015. 11:29 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greece Has Won This Round [View article]
    While the short term shenanigans may "stream" lots of excitement, opportunity and volatility to markets in Europe and US, the long term implication of this crisis is to "test" whether Greece can and will permanently mend its ways of running its affairs the "generally accepted" European way.

    In this regard, I continue to believe Messrs Tsipras/Varoufakis are the candidates and the final "examiner" is Frau Merkel/Herr Schauble. While the latter could be "influenced" by the troika one way or the other for micro issues, the marco issues loom large, and at this point, it seems clear that they will "fail" the former, even if the failing "process" will be stage managed in a way that protects the European "project", European banks, the Bundesbank and finally, the ECB. I suspect with so much of the unknowns already known, a Plan B is ready, and Greece will be fated to meet its ultimate fate: does it want to continue with its old ways, or does it want to renew, refresh and embrace a "European" way to managing its affairs, in spite of all the obstacles it faces in the years ahead.

    It would seem by the way, much of the way the rest of Europe is heading, slowly but surely, is towards that timeless, modernity-mandated fiscal "model":
    - less, but continuously KPIed, accountable government,
    - continous embrace of advanced IT technologies (incl. big data) to delivering govt services and collecting taxes, fees, etc;
    - greater tax collection compliance/assurance and practically speaking, a trend towards total transparency in how individuals, companies and governments manage their finances, including paying taxes due to the powers above.

    This is indeed the trend worldwide, and Greece will have to fall in line.....eventually. If Greece tries to stick to its old ways, it will go the way of Argentina, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Cuba, alas, the world is so full of accidents of this kind.
    May 23, 2015. 01:23 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • CNBC: Microsoft held "significant talks" with Salesforce, disagreed on price [View news story]
    To me, Mr. Softee talking to Salesforce is out of their extreme fear of imminent and eminent danger from Oracle. Mr. Larry Ellison now "gets" Cloud, In-memory database, software defined networking and best of all, understands completely the danger placed to his Fusion apps from Salesforce, and to a lesser degree, the likes of Workday.

    Consequently, he demoted himself to be CTO, and I suspect is now building the best in the clouds for the most advanced salesforce "automation" software there is, likely reverse engineering the best features of CRM as well as his own ideas of what marketing and sales operations should be. In addition, he is passionately aggressive, takes absolutely no prisoners, and is likely to launch all manner of enhancements to his business applications so that very, very soon, as he has already declared in the last earnings conference call, Oracle's CRM sales will be bigger than Salesforce's. I expect what Mr. Ellison wants, Mr. Ellison always gets, think America's Cup.

    It is in reaction to this danger that both Mr. Benioff and Mr. Nadella huddled together to "get" at their options, but for now at least, they've decided to go away quietly, but let's wait for another couple of quarters' Oracle results, and see this rumour will likely turn out to be a deal. After all, if Microsoft gets to have Mr. Benioff's brains, passion, drive, philosophy, religion and his "insider" knowledge of Mr. Ellison's brains, the imminent danger could well reverse into Mr. Ellison's face.

    Exciting times ahead methinks, but my bet for now is with Oracle.....and CRM!
    May 22, 2015. 04:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Big Tech Is Telling Investors What To Think Of [View article]
    Having read your article carefully, I come away thinking "what if this company's:
    - PAAS/SAAS momentum has 100% stickiness, as customers, once signed on, HAVE to stick with their cloud-based platform;
    - during their conference call earlier this week, it became clear to me that they are developing, along with their software, 'closed loop' processes, business rules and procedures about how businesses should be 'locking' in their customers, in a continuum from their suppliers, internal manufacturing to their sales operations' so that CRM effectively sells the most productive CRM software available in the market today, at least for sales and marketing operations, for any company, be it in manufacturing or services;
    - because of their own "internal, continuous learning" from many diverse companies across geographies on the planet, they are in effect "copying, adopting, adapting and collapsing" the software and processes related aspects of these learnings into their continuously modifying software releases, so that all their customers win, by learning and adapting and implementing these "best practices" learnt first by CRM;
    - Marc Benioff seems to be the "crazy" learning leader of the above, and is pushing the company faster, further, wider and nimbler than any of the leaders of the other software companies, including the likes of those leading ORCL, MSFT, SAP, HPQ, etc;
    - at just about 7X current sales, it seems at most overvalued just 1X times sales, which, to me at least, makes me wonder if "doubters" like us really "get" what CRM is all about;
    - when we look at customer acquisition costs, in a business that is highly, almost 100% sticky, we have to look at it differently, and CRM seems to fit the bill."
    I submit all these points just so your rich article can be reflected on again, and if readers can also spend some time on listening to their most recent conference call, as well as read their highly compelling website, we may come to "think differently". I am one of those who has started to think "this time is different", as I've not dabbled in CRM before!
    GLTA, but I "feel" CRM is going to be a LOT of fun.....
    May 22, 2015. 10:41 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • HP Picks Beijing Group As China IT Partner [View article]
    There is a side of me which suggests, it is a win/win for HP and China Inc, at least in the long term:
    a) by co-habitating with the lead logic chip if not systems designer on the planet in INTC as well as a leading networks designer (with more M&A to happen) in HP, China Inc gets to "control" the entire data supply, processing and "feed" chain, without it ever "seeping" into the NSA or any other equivalent organisation externally;
    b) HP finally gets to "even" its chances of gaining market share, esp in China but possibly also elsewhere, against its much feared US rivals, Oracle and Cisco, esp. since all 3 of them are going to become more and more dependent on Intel (and Micron) technologies;
    c) who knows where all this will end, but I am sure, with this "twin pincer" strategy, China Inc will learn, copy, adopt, adapt to manufacture eventually its own "thinking machines and pipes" so it will have yet another Lenovo from the north, to sell into so many foreign markets, all of which are looking for a NSA-free IT supplier, esp if it comes with low prices, and extremely attractive financing terms......
    May 22, 2015. 08:31 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron NAND: Clean And Sober [View article]
    Some of the worst fears would appear to have been addressed by listening carefully to Kipp Bedard's "chat" at the JPM Conference, but since it left me worried that the short term outlook for PCs and X86 servers could be moribund at best, I took time to listen intently to the Lenovo and HP Conference calls as well as go over their respective presentations.

    The conclusion: we might have seen the worst of the business outlook for both MU as well as INTC this quarter (ending May or June, as the case may be per company) as both PCs did not fall off a cliff (in fact, +8.4% for Lenovo), as well as X86 server business for both companies are just humming, across the world, in spite of hugely adverse currency effects. To those who declared, Apple has stolen the march on PC sales from the likes of Lenovo and HP towards their Macs permanently, I say, look again, but it's ok, let them all win, as it is only great business for INTC, and yes, MU.

    In the case of smartphones, Lenovo declared, believe it or not, they are #3 in both smartphones (having sold 76m of them) and tablets, and of course, I asked myself, 'who could they possibly be buying their DRAM and NAND from?'

    All in all, Kipp's assertions are honest, and for sure, assuring of 'better times ahead', esp since both companies also confirmed their inventories are lean, waiting for launch of Windows 10, etc.
    May 22, 2015. 07:08 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Genting Malaysia Has Several Deals In The Pipeline [View article]
    Unless things have changed dramatically recently, I believed the Lim Family were the largest shareholders of the Company, as they were its founders.

    I do believe, with so many political and economic issues facing Malaysia currently, Genting likely faces many headwinds, not the least of which is the spending constraints placed on the Chinese mainland public some 2 years ago.

    Genting's best days may be behind it.
    May 22, 2015. 01:56 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The End Of Hardware [View article]
    Paradoxically, it is the "arms supplier" to the hardware vendors, i.e. Intel which is likely the main beneficiary of the "end of hardware". Intel is increasingly able to build its own "boxes", with the likes of Rockchip, etc which in reality are servers, and likely complete systems from mobile devices to cloud servers, using its own logic chips and memory and storage embedded within them, supplied by Micron mostly, and if necessary, from its alliance partner, WDC.

    In short, I expect INTC and MU to increasingly "go direct to market to win big time" everywhere, in close cohoots with the likes of CSCO, ORCL, MSFT with the lower level boxes left to the usual suspects as well as SMCI. At other times, they'll sell directly with partners such as ACN, CSC, and so many systems integrator vendors.
    May 21, 2015. 09:53 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Oracle: Another Tech Stock That's Undervalued [View article]
    CRM's strong results last night are the best "smoke signal" of what is to come from Oracle for their Q4, which are due to be published late June. I suspect they've also taken advantage of a lull in their stock to perform a massive mopping operation of buying up their stock on the cheap, esp since they've just borrowed $10bn just for this purpose.
    May 21, 2015. 07:29 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Dollar Blues [View article]
    I am not so negative on the EUR (and also GBP), and my bullish "feel" is grounded on:
    - the rapidly stabilising situation with Russia, possibly Greece, even if the latter is a messy one,
    - a stabilising if not rising trend in oil prices, which tends to put more money in the pockets of the North African and Middle Eastern producers who in turn, generally, prefer to invest, spend and generally "waste" in Europe, esp during the upcoming summer months;
    - Europeans themselves are beginning to gain a measure of self-confidence in their economies, and tending to veer away from complete gloom and doom.

    I would not be surprised at 2015 ending with GBP = $1.80 and EUR = $1.35!
    May 17, 2015. 01:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron Becalmed - 'A Painted Ship On A Painted Ocean' [View article]
    Another great article, and let's hope their presentation at JPMorgan's TMT Conference on Wed morning NY time takes out the bearish cloud on MU.

    I also hope Intel presents at the same conference along with the likes of Microsoft, and they all say good things about their prospects, as many of the bad news about China crash, Europe slowdown, $ strength etc are all fading into the past.
    May 17, 2015. 04:47 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Applied Materials: Why The Stock Is Still A Sell [View article]
    Mr. Shah, I "fear" you are analysing companies and drawing major conclusions on major companies such as AMAT with highly complex and rapidly evolving technologies in spite of being utterly ignorant of so many known knowns to the common stock investor.

    So, I suggest, please be cognisant, at least at times, a "little knowledge is a dangerous thing".

    The reason I say the above, even if it is hurtful, is because:
    a) AMAT was temporarily under a lot of FUD because of risks associated with its highly risky, proposed TEL acquisition. This is now no longer a factor;
    b) the solar business component has been nothing lesss than a "dog", and they have now placed it on a tight, I'd venture to say, very, very tight leash;
    c) they are uniquely positioned to leverage their core strengths in their "core", legacy business, plain semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and in this regard, I'd like to go out on a field and declare they have as good prospects as LRCX or ASML, perhaps even better than them in the short term;
    d) with the USD declining, they could well benefit from an unexpected tailwind, which has been a headwind over the past 3 years;
    e) please listen to their conference call, and you'll observe they are great selling to DRAM, NAND (esp 3D) and the main fabbers, all of whose businesses are doing great and more importantly, on the cusp of introducing true leading edge technologies.

    The one "dead" certainty, i.e. a known known, is how little multiple their market cap is to their sales, can you imagine, just a factor of 2X, which "hit my face". In other words, it is no use looking too hard at EPS, etc just "imagine" where this company is headed in new technologies in future quarters, and realise, what a bargain it is at a 24Bn market cap with run run rate revenues of >10Bn.

    This is an "unpolished gem".....!
    May 15, 2015. 05:35 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron DRAM Share: A Rumor Of War? [View article]
    Did anyone listen to AMAT's earnings conference call last night, there were enough snippets of disclosure on their revenue prospects to indicate that both DRAM and NAND equipment demand is extremely robust, presumably because the end-manufacturers like MU see end demand being robust in immediate quarters?

    Given this, it is impossible to understand MU's almost singular swoon in highly bullish tech markets, worldwide.
    May 15, 2015. 04:44 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Drexel Hamilton downgrades Micron; shares -2.6% [View news story]
    Did anyone listen to AMAT's earnings conference call last night, there were enough snippets of disclosure on their revenue prospects to indicate that both DRAM and NAND equipment demand is extremely robust, presumably because the end-manufacturers like MU see end demand being robust in immediate quarters.

    Given this, it is impossible to understand MU's almost singular swoon in highly bullish tech markets, worldwide.
    May 15, 2015. 04:41 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Cisco Looking To Buy The Growth It Lacks? [View article]
    I'm inclined to think that CSCO has what it takes to cover security requirements for its client base, both small, medium and large, using its own resources. Rather than spend a lot of cash (esp. since it would have to borrow practically all of it at a time when its cash is "stuck" overseas) on expensive M&A in a highly inflated market for the likes of FEYE, PANW, CHKP it should wait a little, spend a lot of cash internally to "reverse engineer" if necessary, the best security software that is available outside, ensure they are tightly integrated with all of the hardware, software and networking gear they sell, and then go to market with it.

    Even if it takes a year, it would be worth it, as, short of a Sony like hacking disaster, the chances are CSCO is more than well positioned to survive and prosper through such "outcomes".
    May 14, 2015. 02:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment