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MSFT Testing New Highs
Strong February retail sales are driving the markets higher. Shares of MSFT are up with the rest of tech, testing new highs. Upcoming catalysts include Windows 8, Windows Server 8, Office 15 and Windows Phone 8; expansion in the smartphone market with primary hardware partner Nokia; strides in cloud computing; profitability in the online business, including integration of Skype; and continued evolution of Kinect and next generation Xbox. The stock currently trades at 8.7x Enterprise Value / TTM Free Cash Flow.
Nokia Likely To Launch Tablet Running Windows 8 In 4Q (Digitimes)
Nokia will release a 10-inch Windows 8-based tablet PC set on Qualcomm's dual-core platform in the fourth quarter of 2012 (at the earliest), according to suppliers. The first batch of shipments is expected to top 200,000 units. Nokia's joining of the WoA (Windows on ARM) camp is expected to give Microsoft additional strength to compete with Google's Android platform as well as Apple's iOS. Sources noted that Nokia's venture into the tablet PC market will also further intensify competition among non-iPad tablet PC vendors.
Windows 8 Tablets Could Give Apple A Run For Its Money (Mashable)
The new iPad will be the Apple device that goes head-to-head with Windows 8 tablets when they arrive later this year. And if Microsoft plays its cards right, it could be the one that finally gives the iPad a serious challenge in the market. Windows 8 brings the same UI to tablets and traditional PCs. There's a reason for that; no one’s going to develop software for an unproven OS. However, if your entire OS is running the same software, developers almost have no choice but to design apps for tablets.
Nokia Lumia 900 Launch Date Slips (BGR)
The Nokia Lumia 900 was slated for a March 18th release, but the smartphone hasn’t yet received technical acceptance so the launch has been delayed. AT&T is now aiming to make the Lumia 900 available online and in stores on April 22nd. The handset’s price point remains unchanged at $99, however, so Windows Phone fans can look forward to seeing Nokia’s flagship smartphone launch next month.
Microsoft Sold Nearly A Half A Million Xboxes In February (Bloomberg)
Microsoft said U.S. retailers sold 426,000 Xbox game consoles in February, giving the company more than 40% market share for the 12th straight month. February spending on all Xbox products, including hardware, software and accessories, totaled $383 million, Microsoft said in an email, citing NPD Group data. That's incredible considering it's February and given how old the machine is.
Windows Phone Wrap Up Week Of March 5-11 (WPCentral)
Here is everything you need to know from the past week on Windows Phone: Verizon is apparently passing up a Nokia Windows Phone (codenamed "Om"); the latest GroupMe update has creeped onto the Marketplace as a separate app under "Microsoft" ownership; Nokia has said they still need to "go lower" than their cheaper-than-chips Lumia 610 to effectively combat Android on the price point front; and the SmokedbyWindowsPhone promotion campaign is making its way to Singapore.
Microsoft Creates Software Than Can Translate Your Voice Into A Different Language (Technology Review)
Researchers at Microsoft have made software that can learn the sound of your voice, and then use it to speak a language that you don't. The system could be used to make language tutoring software more personal, or to make tools for travelers. "We will be able to do quite a few scenario applications," said Frank Soong, research scientist who created the system with colleagues at Microsoft Research Asia.
Microsoft Trying To Put A Stop To OnLive (Business Insider)
Microsoft is going after OnLive, suggesting that the violates Microsoft's licensing agreements. Microsoft's Joe Matz, corporate vice president of Worldwide Licensing and Pricing wrote, "We are actively engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario, and we are committed to seeing this issue is resolved." Microsoft's draconian Windows licensing fees have been a barrier to cloud-based desktops-as-a-service for years.
Bing And Google Gain Search Share In February (Business Insider)
Yahoo continued losing search market share in February, while Google and Microsoft's Bing both gained according to comScore. Microsoft powers Yahoo search, but the two companies have basically switched positions over the last year. Without hurting market leader Google at all. In fact, Google is now at 66.4%, its highest point since December 2010. This only counts Web-based searches in the U.S. Google is probably even more dominant outside the US and on mobile platforms.
Let's Clarify This Post-PC Era Nonsense (PCWorld)
The idea of the “post-PC era” needs some clarification. There is much hoopla and fanfare being dedicated to dwindling PC sales, and the idea that tablets are going to be the death knell for PCs. It’s not a “death”, it’s an “evolution” and the tablet is just the new PC. The advent of tablets may be a harbinger of doom for traditional operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X, but not for PCs. The tablet is a PC itself, it is a device or platform a person uses for computing.
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