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Hot Stocks: Windows Phone 7 Will Give Microsoft a Boost

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has unveiled a lineup of smartphones that use its revamped Windows Phone 7 mobile-operating system in its boldest move yet to return to prominence in the mobile business.

The new operating system, which it spent two years developing, is the software giant's latest assault on the crowded smartphone market, where it has struggled to gain a foothold.

Microsoft's earlier mobile software was based on the design and interface of Windows desktop operating system. Although those phones showed early promise, the system's growth slowed dramatically as the company was upstaged by competitors like Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone and Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android software.

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The Bright Future for Cloud Computing is Becoming Much Clearer

The cloud computing industry has yet to fully take off, but for an indication of its potential, look at the players getting involved.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) - the biggest names in the tech sector - are all racing to take the lead in this burgeoning industry.

So what's all of the excitement about?

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Nokia Needs More Than New CEO Stephen Elop to Reverse Its Steep Market Decline

Nokia Corp. (NYSE ADR: NOK) on Friday announced it was replacing its chief executive with Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Stephen Elop, in an effort to reverse its steep decline in the U.S. smartphone market.

The world's largest mobile phone maker said Chief Executive Officer Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo will step down and Elop, head of Microsoft's business software unit, will take the reins Sept. 21. The move represents a drastic shift for Nokia, which until Canadian Elop had never hired a non-Finnish executive for the top spot. But the company needs a strategy and management overhaul to compete in the profitable future of smartphones.

The move should appease Nokia's frustrated investors who have watched its market value slip 70% in the past three years as Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone, Research in Motion Ltd.'s (Nasdaq: RIMM) BlackBerry, and phones using Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android platform stole the smartphone spotlight.

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Google-Verizon Deal Could Spell the End of "Net Neutrality"

A proposed agreement between Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) could spell the end of "net neutrality," and have smartphone users seeing red instead of their favorite videos.

The arrangement, which has yet to be unveiled, would allow Verizon to charge content providers more to give their services priority on its network, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the plan.

News of the agreement spread like a virus on Thursday, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called off industry-wide talks, saying it had failed to reach an agreement on a "robust framework to preserve the openness and freedom of the Internet."

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Google's Android an iPhone Killer?

The struggle for dominance in the smartphone market is heating up and Google Inc.'s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android operating system for handsets appears to be winning the war against Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone system.

When Apple debuted the iPhone 4 on June 24 it broke sales records. In the first three days, the company sold 1.7 million devices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France and Germany, the most for any version of its top-selling product.

But the popular device has been plagued by misfortune - including the suicide of a Chinese worker, lost prototypes, reception problems, and an inauspicious introduction to the press and public when Chief Executive Steve Jobs could not get the phone to connect to the Internet.

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Google Hangs On To China, but It's Too Late to Make up Profit Losses

Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) announced Friday that China renewed its Internet license to operate a Web site, but the previous months of tension have already damaged Google's chance at mainland profitability.

Google's chief legal officer David Drummond posted the announcement on the company's blog Friday morning.

"We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP license," Drummond wrote, referring to Internet content provider license. "And we look forward to continuing to provide Web search and local products to our users in China."

The license renewal should dissipate - at least, temporarily - months of tension that started earlier this year when Google claimed China was the source of cyber attacks on its databases and user e-mail accounts. Then the company said it would stop censoring search results in compliance with China's government regulations. China prohibits Internet users from accessing offensive and politically controversial material.

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Will Extreme Volatility Actually Stabilize the Markets?

Stocks tumbled across the board last week like a pair of dice rumbling around a craps table, rocked by extreme volatility.  Just when it looked like they were rolling up the unnerving loss of the critical 200-day average on Thursday, bulls' returned to the fray and pushed the major indexes just barely back into safe territory.

But is the market really safe? It's currently at the bottom of its multi-week range, so this is the time to get bullish again if you think the range will remain in force. The S&P 500 Index actually touched its February 2010 low on Friday before rebounding, which will give all the range-traders a green light.



Click Here to Find Out What Last Week's Extreme Volatility Means for the Markets...

Pacifying the Panda: U.S. Companies Must Take a New Approach to China

There's no question about what kind of profit opportunities the Chinese market offers. Moreover, the willingness of U.S. companies to partner with China in the pursuit of profit is equally blatant.

So why is it that more U.S. businesses feel less welcome in China now than they did four years ago?

The fact is that in the past four years, China's economy has continued to grow by leaps and bounds, while a humiliating financial collapse and soaring debt have tarnished much of the shine that once adorned the U.S. market.

Indeed, for the first time in perhaps more than a century China has the upper hand. How long that will last is a difficult question to answer, but right now, China wants to use its leverage to support domestic companies - and it's doing so unapologetically.

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Google Unveils Another Surprise Twist in China Drama

For the first time in two months there is a new development in Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) feud with China. The search engine today (Monday) began redirecting traffic from its China page, google.cn, to its uncensored Hong Kong page, google.com.hk.

Google said the move is "entirely legal," and said it will continue research and development activities in China. Some market observers had expected Google to announce its total withdrawal from the country today, as the company's disagreement with Beijing had reached a standstill. But Google's new approach is another surprise development.

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Bulls Overcome Market Tug of War to Send Stocks off to Strong March Start

Stocks rose briskly last week, resulting in a big week for the major market indexes. Weekly and monthly index charts improved, and such major U.S. stocks as The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA)Hewlett Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) and General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) emerged from flat-lining or faltering price patterns on decent, if not outstanding, volume.

Just two weeks ago, every one of the afore-mentioned stocks looked terrible, exhibiting intense apathy amid slow, grinding declines. Then the skies parted, and suddenly the sun is shining on these shares once again.

That's why U.S. stocks are off to a strong March start - already up 4.1% from the end of February. And don't forget, a year ago at about this time (March 9, 2009), the market reached its nadir: The Standard & Poor's 500 Index is up 69.98% since that time.

Here's why the shift seems so abrupt. The markets are now in a tug of war between two forces:

  • On the plus side are good fourth-quarter earnings reports related to an improving economy.
  • On the negative side - as a friend at a major macro hedge fund described it last week - are "frigid winds blowing across the credit icebergs."
To find out who’s winning the stock-market tug of war,

please read on…

Buy, Sell or Hold: JDS Uniphase Corp. (Nasdaq: JDSU) Is Yet Another Rising Star in the Broadband Revolution

We keep getting good news with respect to the broadband revolution. If you have not read my prior posts, do not miss this special report on it. These developments are revolutionizing the tech world right now and we are at the very inception of an explosive and highly profitable trend.

For starters, both the U.S. economy and the global economy are faring much better than most of the market expected. In fact, last Friday we saw February's retail sales blow away even the most optimistic forecasts. Sales excluding autos did particularly well, which is good news for Internet sales.

We also saw Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) launch its new "super-router” which is many times faster than existing devices. This will speed up network traffic, enabling faster video, teleconferencing and downloading. More traffic means more bandwidth, and that means more infrastructure.

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Apple Goes "Island-Hopping" in its War Against Google

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) on Tuesday took aim at rival Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and its Android operating system by filing a patent-infringement complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) against smartphone manufacturer HTC Corp.

Taiwan-based HTC is the largest maker of phones that use Google's Android operating system, such as the Nexus One. Apple involved the ITC in hopes of banning U.S. imports of HTC devices made with the technology in question. However, that filing was paired with a suit filed in federal court in Delaware that claimed infringement on 20 patents.

"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it," said Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs. "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

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Profit From the Broadband Explosion With Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

Last Friday I unveiled my two most compelling stock ideas to the readers of my Money Map VIP trading service. They are the best ways to hop onto an exploding trend that I recently discovered and researched extensively - the exponential explosion in broadband traffic.

To learn more about this broadband explosion - and the two top stock picks I isolated from my research - check out this new report. It's a huge issue - with the potential to cause the kinds of network breakdowns and outright outages that could cost the economy billions of dollars and that could even cost people their lives.

In the course of my research, I discovered a third company that's perfectly positioned to benefit from this broadband paralysis. My conclusion: Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is going to see a lot of upside from this trend, too.

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China Can Stonewall Google, but Its "Great Firewall" is Really a False Front

China has been eager to portray itself as the winner in the recent global dustup with Internet-search giant Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG). At the very least, however, China wants it made clear that it wasn't the loser.

Experts quoted in such state-run media outlets as Xinhua and The People's Daily have derided Google for abandoning the largest and fastest-growing online community in the world, and forfeiting $400 million and $600 million in annual revenue.

And while China's top officials have mostly avoided the topic, government spokesmen have defended the country's censorship practices as "consistent with international conventions."

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What China Can Learn From its Dustup with Google

If you're keeping score in the contest between Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and China's central government, you should be aware by now that everyone involved loses.

  • Google stands to lose anywhere from $400 million to $600 million in annual revenue, as well as a considerable foothold in the world's largest and fastest growing Internet community.
  • Chinese netizens lose access to a search engine that is vital to the free transportation of online information.
  • China's online market loses the innovation and competition that is unique to one of the world's most dynamic companies.
  • And Beijing has been robbed of the illusion that it has enough economic muscle to strong arm the West into playing by its rules.

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