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To Me, This New Social Networking Idea is Just Brilliant

Scott McNealy knows how to create the kind of cutting-edge high tech that makes money for his investors.

Lots of it.

You probably know McNealy as a cofounder (in 1982) and CEO of Sun Microsystems. For more than 20 years, his Silicon Valley-based firm set the standard for computer servers and workstations.

Sun also created the widely used Java programming language that still runs of billions of computing devices around the world and is a key contributor to open-source software.

Not only did McNealy and his tech firm help change the world forever, they brought an incredible payoff to investors along the way.

Sun went public in 1986, and it sold to Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ:ORCL) in 2009 for about $7.4 billion.

As a long-time tech writer, I have followed McNealy's career for many years. And when I heard that he is the force behind a new startup, I decided it was time to find out what he's up to these days.

I got the chance to chat with him by phone for about half an hour the other day.

After hearing firsthand from McNealy about his latest startup, my first thought was, it's no wonder an elite group of investors has already ponied up about $20 million to back this idea.

Scott McNealy's Latest Gem

It's a company called Wayin.

This social network startup is built on the power of a simple but vital idea - creating a global community of users who tap the service to get feedback from a large group of voices on any number of topics.

Think of it as instant polling or focus groups for questions of education, human resources, politics, games, entertainment, and more.

It used to take weeks or months for companies to get customers or workers to weigh in with their opinions.

Now with Wayin, they can do it on the fly along with a larger audience from around the world.

As such, Wayin plugs into the huge appeal of social network leader Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB).

It also works well with Twitter, a service that allows members to send out short messages of up to 140 characters to their followers. Both online firms have become runaway success stories with several hundred millions users around the world.

Here's how McNealy describes his new firm:

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Hot Stocks: Adobe Systems Inc. Drives Investors Away With Weak Forecast and Disappointing Growth Outlook

Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) stock yesterday (Wednesday) plunged the most in eight years after forecasting a disappointing fourth quarter, triggering a slew of analyst downgrades and recommendations for investors to move to Adobe's tech rivals.

The software maker fell as much as 21% Wednesday, at one point hitting a new 52-week low of $25.81. It closed at $26.67, a 19.03% drop.

The company on Tuesday announced that it's predicting a flatter fourth quarter than investors and analysts had hoped due to fewer than expected sales of its core Creative Suite 5 software. The CS5 package includes popular Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver programs. The stock had already slipped 10% so far this year before Wednesday's trading.

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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 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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HP, Dell Land In Pricey Bidding War as Tech Sector M&A Heats Up

A rare technology sector bidding war raged on late Tuesday as data storage company 3Par Inc. (NYSE: PAR) announced it would start merger talks with Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), pressuring rival Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) to make another bid to win the key growth opportunity into enterprise storage business.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing late Tuesday, 3Par wrote that HP's $1.6 billion offer was "reasonably likely" to win support from its board. HP announced the $24 per share bid Monday, topping Dell's Aug. 16 offer of $1.15 billion, or $18 a share, by 33%.

The steep price increase comes at a time when tech companies are vying to acquire businesses that broaden their product offerings, and tech powerhouses are quickly snatching up quality companies.

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Four Ways to Profit From a Business-Driven Rebound

Last week we learned that the U.S. economy expanded by a whopping 5.7% annual rate in the 2009 fourth quarter - the biggest jump since 2003. This was well ahead of the 4.5% consensus estimate and solidly beats the 2.2% growth rate achieved in last year's third quarter. The turnaround is the largest in almost three decades.

The main driver of the performance was a big slowdown in the rate at which businesses were drawing down their inventories. This alone contributed 3.4% to overall growth in the quarter. Paul Ashworth at Capital Economics in London believes that inventory rebuilding will continue to boost gross-domestic-product (GDP) growth for another two or three quarters.

But what happens after that - especially after the stimulus spending out of Washington winds down later this year? Will this rate of growth continue?

Investors who know the answer to that question will be the best-positioned to profit.

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Flurry of Mergers and Acquisitions Drives Stock Market Rally

A flurry of mergers-and-acquisition deals in the pharmaceutical and technology industries today (Monday) sparked a sharp market rally, snapping a three-day losing streak and giving stocks to their biggest gains in five weeks. The pickup in merger activity bolstered arguments that mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are rebounding from the biggest slump in six years. It […]

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Investment News Briefs

With our investment news briefs, Money Morning provides investors with a quick overview of the most important investing news stories from all around the world. Banks Considering Bailing Out FDIC; Potash Corp. Lowers Guidance; Sources: Ford Building Third China Plant; CIC Nabs 15% Stake in Noble; Sun Losing Money as EU Regulators Deliberate; Singapore Gov't […]

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Hot Stocks: Oracle's Future Clouded by Sun Takeover Complications

Despite earlier this week announcing disappointing first-quarter results, Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) says it expects its second quarter will be stronger. However, many analysts are skeptical, as the company’s attempted takeover of Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: JAVA) has not gone as smoothly as planned. Oracle reported revenue for the three months ended Aug. 31 fell […]

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