Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Apple Inc.: Is China About to Weigh on AAPL?

With iPhone sales slowing, AAPL needs its ecosystem now more than ever

It’s no secret that the Chinese consumer market is one of the largest untapped potential revenue streams in the world, and countless U.S. companies have strived to gain entry.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) hasn’t been a complete exception, although the tech behemoth has had far fewer problems than other American corporations. That was, anyway, until earlier this month when Chinese regulators forced the shutdown of Apple’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movies services.

For Apple, China is its second-largest market behind the U.S. With iPhone sales in the country beginning to slow, revenue from the region will become even more dependent on the iOS App Store. The future appeared bright, considering that “In the March quarter, revenues from the Chinese iOS App Store surpassed Japan for the first time — showing them on a course to eventually top the U.S.”

However, with this month’s moratorium on Apple’s sale of digital books and movies, some investors are concerned about not only the current quarter’s overall revenue expectations, but the stability of AAPL’s historically secure operations in China.

The question, then, is if the ban isn’t lifted any time soon, how much of a negative impact will that have on both revenue and the price of Apple stock?

Western Digital Corp (WDC) Stock Is a Solid Long-Term Value Play

WDC, SNDK have synergies that will benefit both in the long-term

Western Digital Corp (WDC) has been on the slide for about a month now, not long after it got the green light for its planned acquisition of SanDisk Corporation (SNDK), which had been in the works since October of last year.

Originally, the deal was expected to cost WDC an estimated $19 billion, but that figure was reduced to $17 billion after the withdrawal of Unisplendour, a Chinese electronics manufacturer, which had previously agreed to acquire a 15% stake in WDC valued at nearly $4 billion.

Still, both Western Digital and SanDisk, as well as WDC and SNDK shareholders, stand to benefit immensely in the long run.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Facebook Inc (FB): Ticketmaster Deal Sounds Neat, But …

This is a boon for Ticketmaster, but not so much for FB shares

Facebook Inc (FB) earlier this week announced a partnership withTicketmaster Entertainment, Inc., the event ticket sales and distribution company owned by event promoter Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (LYV). By the end of April, FB users will be able to purchase tickets to a small number of live events, without the need to leave the Facebook platform to complete the transaction.

According to BuzzFeed, “To start, the buy-on-Facebook option will be limited to a select group of general admission events,” but that’s expected to grow to a larger number of events and venues in the future.

How far into the future, though, remains to be seen.

The partnership between Facebook and Ticketmaster should benefit both companies … but certainly not evenly.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

HP Inc (HPQ): Should Apple Fear the Super-Thin Spectre?

HP has built the world's thinnest laptop. Was that a wise idea?

Let’s be honest: HP Inc (HPQ) isn’t a company that comes to mind when you hear the word “innovation.”

Indeed, HP has survived for decades and grown into a $20 billion international technology powerhouse. But, HPQ isn’t on the cutting edge — or, at least not as close to it as competing tech Goliaths such as Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Alphabet Inc (GOOG, GOOGL).

Management hopes — or rather, expects — to change all that, though, with today’s unveiling of a brand new HP laptop, the Spectre. The company is betting big on today’s reveal and has set its sights on the top rung of the consumer technology ladder, taking aim at the undisputed innovation king of the 21st century, Apple.

HP’s own Ron Coughlin, head of the company’s PC division, conceded that “For years, Apple has been seen as the innovator and the driver of innovation.”

But “HP is really taking over that mantle.”

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Microsoft Corporation: MSFT Doubles Down on Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft will position Cortana as the future of human-to-machine interaction

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) has strived to be a leader in the artificial intelligence arena, developing advanced AI theories and applications that permit machines to learn, evolve and make independent decisions.

Microsoft’s AI research team is building software that automatically learns from data, becoming more intelligent over time. For Microsoft stock, shifting focus to artificial intelligence could create a solid foundation for future stability and growth.

The company’s most well-known AI project is Cortana, an integrated smartphone assistant that first appeared on Windows Mobile devices back in 2013.