As predicted for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), the profit taking has begun, and as multiple lawsuits continue to rear their ugly heads, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will hold a strategic advantage through acquisitions and partnerships.
Specifically, Microsoft recently took a 17% stake in a new division of Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) that focuses on the "Nook" e-book reader and downloadable content. Microsoft continues to amp up its mobile presence with its recent act of committing upwards of $300 million out of its $58 billion war chest to snuggle up to an ailing book retailer. Barnes & Noble is a worthy partner with its intellectual property and technology that directly completes with the iPad.
For Microsoft, the addition of the e-book reader is a nice little spark for the company's summer launch of the Windows 8 mobile version in step with shared interests with Nokia (NYSE:NOK). Microsoft is connecting the e-reader and its accompanying literary and information databases to a more robust software platform in Windows 8 mobile and to Nokia's smartphone technology. From there, the company's aim is to connect this grouping to Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T), as key service carriers, so that the group can better compete with Apple.
Much hope for Microsoft has been pinned on the Windows 8 operating system, but Microsoft has more to it than connecting better technology and integrating its platform to a wider smartphone audience.
One of the most compelling things about Microsoft right now is that the company is actually sitting on several leading technology breakthroughs. Emerging technology that it can spread around to propel Windows 8 mobile into more telecom service consumers. With all of the recent smartphone launches in the telecom space, it is easy to forget the fact that Microsoft owns Skype. The Skype communication application is begging for an update and some fresh news here could really build some momentum for the stock.
Skype has been trying to crack into mobile for years and the journey has not been nearly as simple as one might expect. In the early days of Skype's endeavor, mobile operators fought it tooth and nail, mostly out of fear that cheap Skype calls could start to actually replace traditional cell calls. So how does Skype make its presence felt in a more buzz-worthy tactic? How about holographic 3D video calls.
The hologram of Tupac at last month's Coachella music festival created quite a stir as both the technology and music worlds snapped to attention. Lifelike holograms are no longer limited to science fiction and this game-changing technology could be about to go commercial. This game changing technology could be about to go Skype. Yes, you read that correctly - designers at Skype are currently working with researchers at Queen's University in Canada on a new cutting edge video-conferencing technology called TeleHuman.
TeleHuman is a life-size video conferencing display pod, which uses ten Microsoft Kinect sensors to beam your image into another pod, enabling 3D chat between two people as if they were both in the same room. In this scenario, the 3D caller appears with 360-degree holographic realism and clarity that you can walk around. Smell and touch capabilities are not included…yet.
The TeleHuman has been designed with video-conferencing, teaching and medical work in mind. Of course, the adult entertainment industry is chomping at the bit as well, much like they embraced Apple's FaceTime interactivity. Regardless of the perfect audience for this holographic calling service - Skype could end up being the perfect partner and the absolute winner in the end. As Skype goes - so goes Microsoft.
Microsoft's management understands that both technology and original content is key to capturing the smartphone services market. Thus, initiating stakes into e-reader technology, via Barnes & Noble, and repackaging Skype technology for the most contemporary smartphones is key. Here, Microsoft wants to create sustainable advantages over Apple.
Another way to get a leg up on Apple is to partner with the newest bully in the schoolyard. There's always been power in numbers and new rumors suggest that Microsoft is currently pushing for the Facebook phone to run Windows Phone. While the Facebook phone is still just a rumor, it has already been suggested that Microsoft has stepped up efforts to convince Facebook to go with Windows Phone over Google's Android operating system for the device.
A Microsoft and Facebook phone collaboration is compelling to consider, yet quite complicated when you look at the current facts. For starters, Facebook does not develop the current iteration of Facebook for Windows Phone. Its currently designed and developed by Microsoft. On the contrary, Facebook for Android and Facebook for iOS is actually developed by Facebook. Then again, in October 2007, Microsoft bought a 1.6% stake in Facebook for about $240 million. Ever since then, the two companies have played well with each other and have worked on several products together including the search engine, Bing.
Most people might just think of Microsoft as the boring suits behind business software staples like Word and Excel, but that is just the beginning. You can almost hear the footsteps getting closer as Microsoft's Windows 8, Skype, Kinect and future partnerships and alliances all come together to quicken the pace towards a totally integrated and highly interactive future.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.