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Is this yet another step in the right direction for Microsoft? It would seem so: Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, is in Germany at the moment, where he joined Christian P. Illek, chairman of Microsoft Germany's managing board, where they opened up a new facility in Germany.
The new facility is built in the historic building "Unter den Linden 17," which is a massive 3,000 square meter building that has been converted into a technology hub that is primed at getting customers, businesses partners, the media, startups, and the community better acquainted. The new facility includes a "Digital Eatery" which is a consumer lounge on the first floor that invites visitors to come in and try out Microsoft's latest and greatest products.
Ballmer said: "We've always believed that technology creates opportunities for people and organizations to achieve their dreams. Right now, we are incredibly passionate about delivering the next generation of high value activities through devices and services that people love and organizations need all over the world. The Microsoft Berlin Innovation Center provides a unique environment to foster innovation, forge new partnerships with entrepreneurs and exchange ideas with our customers."
Apple may have lost hundreds of billions of dollars from its market cap, but that doesn't stop them from continuing on to be one of the strongest brands on the planet. Forbes has rated Apple as the world's most valuable brand, above some of the biggest names in the world.
Apple beat Google, Microsoft, IBM and Coca-Cola to be the world's most valuable brand, with Forbes stating that Apple's brand is worth $104.3 billion, double that of second place, which happens to be Microsoft. Forbes does note that Samsung is rising quite quickly up the chart, which "had the strongest one-year gain of any brand in the top 100" which is up 53% from last year. Nokia has sunk, by a massive 55% since last year, with BlackBerry disappearing off the top 100 list completely.
Lenovo has posted up its results for its second fiscal quarter, which ended on September 30. Revenue for the three-month period sat at $9.8 billion, which is a 13% increase year-over-year. Lenovo also saw its second quarter profit grow very quickly, with pre-tax income growing up 30% year-over-year to $265 million.
Earnings also increased, a nice 36% year-over-year to around $220 million. The biggest news here is just how many devices Lenovo sold in the quarter, which was a hefty 29 million devices, which equates to around 4 devices sold, every single second. This has helped Lenovo keep its 'world's largest PC vendor' statement for the second quarter running, with the highest-ever quarterly market share of 17.7%, which is up 2% year-over-year.
This morning Twitter launched its long awaited and highly anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange. Carrying the stock symbol, TWTR, the company went public at the opening bell which was rang by Sir Patrick Stewart himself. Twitter set its opening price to $26 per share, but that did not last very long.
Just seconds after opening, Twitter saw the opening transaction trade with 11 million of its offered 70 million shares sell for over $45 each. This effectively valued Twitter to be worth approximately $25.4 billion, which makes the total IPO to be roughly 1/10th of what the company is valued at. When the day is over and all 70 million shares are gone, Twitter will have raised more than $1.82 billion. While that number is far lower than the $16 billion Facebook raised, I suspect that Twitter will have far less fallout from its IPO than Facebook did.
At the time of this writing, Twitter is trading at $45.30 per share which is up almost 74-percent since the opening bell. How high the stock will rise is anyone's guess. I will update this post with a follow-up when the markets close today at 4pm, so bookmark this page and check back around 5pm for the latest update on how Twitter's IPO went.
A research note was posted by Normura analyst, Rick Sherlund, who The New York Times described as Goldman Sachs' "point person' for its work with Microsoft, and someone who is a longtime friend of Bill Gates.
Sherland wants Microsoft to dive out of its unprofitable search, and gaming businesses, he explained: "We estimate Microsoft has lost $17 billion with Bing over the past 10 years. It may be concerning to watch Google give away its Android operating system... but this is a superior business model... it is not important that Microsoft receive $5 or $10 billion for Bing ... but rather that it eliminate about 20 cents per share in annual losses."
What do you think? Losing billions upon billions of dollars just isn't good, and in the long run, I truly don't see Bing ever competing with Google. It's the same with Apple trying to compete with Google's search, even if they pumped $20 billion into it, I don't see Google being taken over.
Earlier this week, BlackBerry announced that its CEO, Thorsten Heins, would be stepping down as the company takes itself off the market and looks to rebuild with a $1 billion investment. While Heins departure might be just what the company needs, it is always sad to see the head of a company leave something he poured his life into.
In a letter pinned to employees this week, Heins has expressed is gratitude to "BlackBerry team members," and said that he feels John Chen will make an excellent choice for interim CEO. He went on to conclude the letter by stating that he is "BlackBerry's biggest fan, and would continue cheering on the company from the sidelines. The memo also states that BlackBerry will be hosting a town hall later this week to address employee concerns, and answer any questions they may have.
It looks like Twitter's IPO is doing well, with the social network's shares being worth $26 per share when it goes on sale. At the $26 price point, and sales of around 70 million shares of common stock, it will see Twitter net $1.82 billion.
This pushes Twitter into the ballpark of a valuation of $14.16 billion based on 545 million non-diluted shares, or a maximum of around $18.1 billion based on 705 million fully diluted shares. So, how do we divvy up these billions of dollars? Well, Twitter co-founder, Evan Williams, takes in a 10.4% stake that would be worth $1.48 billion - without options. Jack Dorsey's stake is worth $609 million, and investor Peter Fenton's shares are worth a nice $820 million.
Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo's shares are worth a cool $199 million. But, with 16% of the shares, Rizvi Traverse has a nice $2.21 billion worth. Lastly, we have Union Square Ventures also sitting nicely with a $723.8 billion stake in the social network.
Lenovo could be the new owner of BlackBerry right not if it were not for the Canadian government stepping in and nixing the acquisition on grounds of national security. A new report is stating that Lenovo was serious about its bid for BlackBerry, and would have went through with the deal if not for the Canadian government saying no.
The Canadian government says that it could not let a Chinese company buy out a telecom company that has deep ties with the Canadian Government as it could pose a major national security risk. "We have been pretty consistent that the message is Canada is open to foreign investment and investment from China in particular, but not at the cost of compromising national security," said a Canadian Government official. Sources say that Lenovo had been looking at BlackBerry back as early as January, and apparently was in acquisition talks since that time as well.
Microsoft has announced it is now offering a free, 16-week IT training course for soldiers transitioning out of the military life, to a civilian life, with a guaranteed job at the end of it.
The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy will be based on the Microsoft IT Academy, which will offer the training required to plunge into the world of being a developer, applications engineer or IT project manager. At the end of the course, the company will hire participants as software testers by either Microsoft or Launch Consulting, which is the tech firm administering the program.
Microsoft Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Brad Smith, said in a statement: "American servicemembers possess the drive, self-discipline and problem-solving skills that are essential for the technology industry. The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy is a bridge between one great career-serving in the U.S. military-and another, creating technologies that improve lives."
Yesterday it appeared that OCZ's stock was in a downward fall that was unstoppable before leveling off near the closing bell at $0.73. Today the stock fell yet another 38-percent to just $0.39 per share at its lowest, and like yesterday it rebounded slightly and closed at $0.44 per share.
As of this posting, OCZ has yet to release an official statement, and this has further led to investor confidence falling. A quick Google search will turn up dozens of industry analyst questioning just how long the company has left before it is forced to fill bankruptcy, and even more complaints on forums across the internet where customers are complaining about failed Vertex SSD drives.
While I am still mystified about the company's lack of response to this crisis, I have developed a new theory on what may be going on. A few weeks back we reported that Toshiba might be looking to buy OCZ outright, but nothing ever materialized from this. I have a very small suspicion that OCZ may be keeping quiet in order to force their price even lower to draw in someone looking to pick them up at what might be a steal. This would wash the company's leaders hands of things and they would get off with a nice payday.