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  • January's Stock Market Gloominess Is Misleading; 2014 Growth To Get Better? [View article]
    The folks at Zacks made a relevant comment the other day. They said that the apparent disconnect between the employment numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the numbers released by ADP (which show better results) call into question how reliable the numbers given by the BLS might be. Since ADP is processing actual payrolls, and therefore has hard numbers for people actually being paid, I would put my money on their higher employment numbers than those released by the BLS.
    So all this wailing and gnashing of teeth over the latest government unemployment figures are, I would argue, misplaced, and we have more reasons to be optimistic about the employment market than to be pessimistic.
    Feb 11, 2014. 09:45 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Windows Phone Continues To Establish Itself [View article]
    I have to agree with Jason's comments about sales associates at AT&T's phone stores I have visited. Most of them are young, college-age folks who are already owners of Android or iPhone devices. Expecting them to push Windows Phone 8 devices is, I believe, wishful thinking, based on my direct experience with AT&T sales staff when I went in to purchase my Nokia Lumia 920 after bolting from a Sprint Android handset that Sprint/Samsung had orphaned WAY too early in its life.

    Microsoft has for too long been held hostage to the whims of third party vendors and manufacturers. This has resulted in an experience for end-consumers that is entirely too variable for Microsoft to establish a consistent reputation for their operating systems or devices.

    It's one thing to be in control of the message you want to send for a device you yourself manufacture, such as Microsoft does with the XBox. It's quite another thing to be at the mercy of various manufacturer and vendor marketing, sales and support efforts for operating systems and other devices, as Microsoft is for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

    I've argued before that the success of Windows 8 RT, for example, and the Surface RT device were hampered because Microsoft had to entice other hardware manufacturers to produce devices with a suggested selling price that offered a significant potential profit. That price was too high to compete with iPad and other Android tablets, and sales suffered. If Microsoft had initially priced the Surface much lower to gain market share and get the Surface RT devices into the hands of customers early in larger numbers, the sales might have been different. We now have a de facto situation where Microsoft is the the primary Windows RT device manufacturer, and they can effectively chart the course (and selling price) for Windows RT without having to worry about alienating other Windows RT device makers. This puts them on the same course as Apple, which has controlled their OS and devices from the start.

    As far as the Windows Phone 8 devices are concerned, we may be seeing the same transition to a selling environment where Microsoft controls more directly the creation, marketing and selling of devices that bear its name and run its software. How they execute on that strategy remains to be seen.

    I do count it as a plus that Windows Phone 8 devices have grown in market share, even in the face of HUGE headwinds from advocates and fans of the other platforms. I think as more first time purchasers have Windows Phone 8 devices in their hands, the acceptance of WP8 will grow. It may never eclipse iPhone or Android, but it is a viable third phone choice for a growing number of consumers.
    Nov 6, 2013. 09:38 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia (NOK) roundup: 1) UBS has raised its estimates and ASP and margin forecasts on encouraging signs about Lumia demand, but is maintaining a Neutral. The firm expects 4M Lumia shipments in Q4, and 20M in 2013. 2) Amidst reports of supply issues, China's Sohu provides a (somewhat questionable) report that Lumia 920 production only amounts to 20K units/day. Meanwhile, a U.K. retailer claims the Lumia 620 will be ready to ship by the end of January. (earlier[View news story]
    I'm always curious why someone who obviously thinks Nokia is pond scum takes time to comment on events surrounding that stock.

    Are we supposed to believe that you are a Good Samaritan, trying to protect us from financial ruin?

    If you don't like Nokia and think they are destined for the trashpile of history, just go away and find something more productive to do with your time.

    Let the rest of us evaluate the management actions of Nokia and the products they create more objectively, rather than try to make us believe that if Nokia was troubled in the past, nothing they ever do in the future will meet with success. Some of us may get a little exuberant about Nokia's prospects, but we DO have some recent events and unfolding possibilities, so you'll have to excuse us if we don't subscribe to your doomsday scenario.
    Dec 20, 2012. 01:40 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia (NOK) has talked with Qualcomm, Microsoft, and Compal about developing a 10" Windows RT tablet, claims sometimes-accurate Digitimes, which adds the device could launch at February's Mobile World Congress. Nokia tablet rumors were rife earlier this year. Early sales of Microsoft's (MSFT) Surface RT have been weak, though its distribution, pricing, and ergonomics could have something to do with that. Separately, Bloomberg reports Microsoft has been drawing closer to HTC[View news story]
    Bring the colors of the Lumia phones to Lumia tablets, and watch out!
    Dec 19, 2012. 01:06 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia's Revival: The Ship Has Sailed [View article]
    All this talk about how many apps are in the various vendor app stores is not the measure we should focus upon.

    The real issue is how many unique USEFUL apps are there, and I would like to argue that we should eliminate the game apps from that count. I know...There are some popular games out there, but I believe there are countless games that are basically variations on the same theme, with the same controls and options, just with different characters and backgrounds.

    If we want to talk about SMARTPHONES, we should concentrate on the truly useful applications, not the mindless diversion we might use while we wait in the doctor's office. I don't believe that the games are the reason we would (or should) buy a smartphone.

    We want a smartphone because it can help us stay connected our work, our families and our friends. It can help us store our photos in the cloud, find a seat at a restaurant or the cheapest gas in town.

    The plain fact of the matter is that while we know the count of all the apps in the various app stores, we don't know the facts on how many of them have never been downloaded at all, or how many have been installed, only to be totally ignored by the new owner amongst all the other clutter they installed. I have done that myself, later to uninstall the app when I realized that I was never going to spend 18 hours of my day on my smartphone.

    Certainly the WP8 app store has fewer total apps than the Android or Apple app stores, but the real test will be how soon the Windows developer community can create useful apps that people can use to assist their daily activities.
    Dec 16, 2012. 09:42 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Nokia Lumia Sellout - Most Likely A Marketing Strategy [View article]
    Although it is certainly "possible" that Nokia is manipulating supplies of its Lumia's to appear out of stock, the real issue is how much manipulation is required to appear successful.

    If Nokia shipped 100 phones to a store, and there were 500 customers who wanted the phone, they would be "sold out".

    If Nokia shipped 499 phones to a store, and there were 500 customers who wanted the phone, they would ALSO be "sold out".

    My point is that is makes little sense to limit supplies to artificially low counts, when you can still be sold out and have a much larger quantity actually sold (which would certainly lift the spirits of Nokia investors).

    In addition, Nokia has to know that getting the Lumia's into the hands of actual users is the best way to generate the word of mouth advertising and "buzz" that will help to establish the Lumia's as a high quality, feature-laden device that will attract new consumers as purchasers.

    In my opinion, supply manipulation by Nokia is counter-productive, and Nokia management would be wise to avoid it (and I think they have done so).
    Dec 4, 2012. 07:08 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The New Nokia Lumia Range Of Devices - Has Nokia Finally Reestablished Its Premium Image? [View article]
    See item #27 here for the translation and other words of wisdom from Cato:
    Nov 25, 2012. 08:41 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The New Nokia Lumia Range Of Devices - Has Nokia Finally Reestablished Its Premium Image? [View article]
    It's part of the first section of Horace's Epode 2:
    “Blessed is he who far away from business matters,
    As the ancient race of mortals,
    The paternal farm with oxen works his [oxen],
    Free from all interest"
    Nov 25, 2012. 08:33 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Goldman Sachs And Morgan Stanley Are Backing The Truck Up For Nokia Shares [View article]
    You can change the shape of the tiles now. Just tap-and-hold on a tile, and use the arrow that appears in the lower right corner to enlarge it, or set it to the smallest square size.
    Nov 21, 2012. 12:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The New Nokia Lumia Range Of Devices - Has Nokia Finally Reestablished Its Premium Image? [View article]
    AT&T has just announced a Black Friday deal on the Lumia 920 - $49 with a two-year contract and a free charging pad.

    Should sell like hotcakes!
    Nov 20, 2012. 04:48 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Buy Apple On Sell-Off [View article]

    So let me get this straight: You buy Apple products so that you and your family can abuse and break them, certain in the knowledge that Apple will replace your devices with brand new ones at no charge because their obscene profit margin allows them to write off such replacements as just a cost of doing business. Sounds like a redistribution of wealth to me.

    I resent having to pay prices which bear no relationship to the value of the product or service I'm buying. As a former purchasing manager, you should appreciate that too. But apparently not. Do you know that the cost to manufacture the new iPad Mini is only about $190? Don't you feel the least bit "taken" when Apple sells that to you at $330? I would, which is why I avoid such a purchase.

    And I don't agree with your assessment that the iPhone 5 is better than anything on the market. There is not one feature of the iPhone 5 that exceeds those of other devices currently sold and, worse still, Apple is late to the market with features (such as LTE) that other devices have had for some time. Sounds like playing catch up to me.

    And your discussion of supposedly defective and low quality devices from Samsung through Sprint is completely contrary to the experience of myself and my wife, who have owned and transitioned through many Samsung phones from Sprint now for years. I've never had to replace a "bad" phone with Sprint, something you've apparently experienced with your iPhone(s) on at least one occasion. Doesn't that contradict your statement, "Give me dependability and quality" if you've had to replace a 'bad' iPhone?

    As someone who has used personal computers and other technology since the late 1970's, I'm always mystified by people who say they have so many problems with their computers or other devices. I can't figure out how their use and treatment of their devices can be so far removed from my experience that they require repairs and service, or need vendor assistance to get/make their device work as it should. My wife is rougher on her devices than I am, but she still has never needed service or repair on any of them. Sounds like you and your family would be a challenge for any device manufacturer to keep up with if your routine usage of your phones causes such a high failure rate. But, hey, that's not a problem for you. By your own admission, you broke the device and got Apple to bail you out with a brand new one. No wonder they're your product of choice.

    Also, for the record, I'm not an idiot. I just don't believe I should give Apple any of my hard-earned money just so they can add it to the $10 billion in cash they already have.

    And I have absolutely NO expectation that my new Nokia Lumia 920 will need repairs, any more than other previous devices I've owned. It's a solid, well-built phone that I expect will give me years of dependable service.
    Nov 17, 2012. 08:30 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Buy Apple On Sell-Off [View article]
    I own Nokia because I think the potential is there for a massive turnaround. I don't own Apple for the same reason I don't own any of their products - they cost too much. While Apple has been on a great ride for the past few years, the realities of the new technological marketplace are upon them, and it ain't pretty.

    They have new, nimble and innovative competitors in all the products Apple produces, and some of those competitors' products are outselling Apple's versions now. With Steve Jobs gone, Apple is now faced with coming up with "the next big thing" and it's more likely now than ever that "the next big thing" will arrive from one of their competitors, none of whom are resting on their laurels.

    Say what you will about Microsoft, but 95% of the world's personal computers run on Windows, a fact that hasn't changed in decades. Their new Windows 8 operating system is a breath of fresh air, not only for the PC, but also for tablets and phones. I have no illusion that Windows 8 phones will dominate the smartphone landscape in the near term. The iSheep will buy plenty of iPhones at inflated prices, I'm sure. But there are many Android phone owners (such as I was) who will gladly give up the malware-laden Android platform for a Windows 8 phone.

    I just received my new Nokia Lumia 920 today at work, and my co-workers have been very impressed with the phone and its features. Some may still get or upgrade their iPhone, but others have seen a viable alternative in Windows 8 phones. That will present problems for Apple, especially if "thinner, taller and lighter" doesn't compare well with "cooler, more exciting and better integrated".

    Apple cannot expect to remain dominant if all they can come up with is differently-sized versions of their already-existing products. People are going to expect their new devices to be innovative AND reasonably-priced. This is a big problem for Apple in markets outside of Europe and North America, where workers do not have huge chunks of cash to plunk down for overpriced iWare. Shrinking margins are a fact of life Apple stockholders had better get used to. They're not the only game in town. They never were, but it's rapidly becoming time they realized it.
    Nov 16, 2012. 05:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia: So, How Are Lumia 920 Sales Going? [View article]
    I just got yellow 920 this morning.

    If you look closely at the rear camera lens, you will see that it is recessed slightly into the back cover, so the lens will not come into contact with any flat surface where you place the phone.
    Nov 16, 2012. 03:30 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia Continues To Outperform Apple [View article]

    The circumstances surrounding the launch of Nokia's Windows 7 phones and the launch of their Windows 8 phones are ENTIRELY different. The current product launch is coupled with Microsoft's launch of Windows 8, along with new versions of their server, database and Office products as well.

    Comparisons between what happened earlier and what is happening now are irrelevant. Nokia is re-inventing themselves, Microsoft is re-inventing themselves, and (to my mind) all bets are off. Even Apple is stumbling, and their former invincibility is being challenged by Samsung, Nokia and others.

    Technological superiority is one of the most fleeting of grand achievements, and in this market, with everyone bent on innovating to garner market share and media attention, there are no sure things (and that goes for Nokia too). But I am optimistic that Nokia has the expertise and the resolve to re-assert their brand and their products in this rapidly evolving market.
    Nov 15, 2012. 04:49 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why We Bought Into Nokia Now [View article]
    I can't speak to the issue of whether other colors of the Lumia 920 are available at AT&T stores. I think the yellow model has been a big seller everywhere, if you can believe the anecdotal evidence not just from the US, but elsewhere, especially in Europe.

    I didn't know it at the time, but when I ordered my phone barely minutes after the AT&T pre-order site went live, the anticipated delivery date at that point was no earlier than Nov 14th, even though I saw other posts from different pre-order clients who were promised much earlier deliveries, though I do not know what colors they might have ordered.
    Nov 14, 2012. 07:39 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment