- Buy, Sell or Hold: Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Is Winning the Race for Cloud-Computing Dominance
- Hot Stocks: Comcast Looks to Expand Its Brand with Potential NBC Universal Takeover
- Buy, Sell or Hold: Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) Has Been a Boon to Investors, but Now It's Time to Take Profits
- Hewlett Packard-3Com Deal Shows Urgency for Growth in Competitive Tech Sector
- Global Investing Roundups
- Hot Stocks: Google's Drive for Dominance Extends Into the Burgeoning Smartphone Market
Call 2010 the year of "necessary technology."
While 2009 has seen a dramatic turnaround in the world's stock markets, the rest of the key economic indicators - such as manufacturing, inventories, and jobs - have lagged behind. This has prompted less discretionary spending on technology, and even a postponement of some necessary purchases.
Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) reported a strong quarter at the end of October on the back of resurgent demand in the PC market. But the key issue to watch is the important transition in the company’s major technologies.
Microsoft just launched its very successful Windows 7 operating system, which has produced a major new upgrade cycle in the industry. In England, for example, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) had more success selling Windows 7 packages than it did Harry Potter books. Windows 7 has major advantages over Vista, including speed, simplicity and booting time. This is prompting Vista users, as well as those who skipped Vista, to upgrade.
Comcast, the United States' largest cable television provider, is hoping to avoid becoming the next newspaper or record company by expanding its role from an entertainment medium to a content provider.
"The world of cable delivery is about to change," Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) analyst James McQuivey told the Los Angeles Times. "Cable companies for years have made their living by selling consumers hundreds of television channels bundled together. But the future is going to be very different, and cable companies instead will be selling an 'entertainment experience.'"
We have been front-running many very positive catalysts since I first recommended buying Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) on Feb. 5.
First, that put us ahead of the bull-market rebound in U.S. stocks that started in early March. My recommendation also predated the launch of Kindle 2, as well as stimulus measures deployed by the United States and China in April.
Just as predicted, the U.S. economic recovery has gathered momentum and Amazon has benefited greatly by offering a compelling value proposition to a cash-strapped consumer.
Hewlett-Packard Co.’s (NYSE: HPQ) pending buyout of 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) highlights an accelerating race in the tech sector to grow businesses in an industry where development from within simply is not enough.
H-P will pay $2.7 billion in cash for 3Com, which is second to Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) in business networking. Cisco and H-P have steadily been encroaching on each other’s businesses: Earlier this year, Cisco started making servers while H-P last year began to renew investment in its ProCurve networking business.
And now, with the proliferation of smartphones, Google is pursuing a broader range of mobile initiatives that will make it a leader in mobile software and take its advertising business into territory that so far has been uncharted.
Google's original business model, as it applies to its trademark search engine, was to give away a product and have it funnel users to its targeted ads. Last year, the company built on that model by giving away its operating system (OS), Android, to any wireless handset maker that would have it.