my post was just me venting - throwing rocks at the bay area tech press that ignores MSFT technology and pumps Apple and Google - very frustrating. That's a story for the main stream press - the imbalance and unprofessionalism of the tech press, and how those prejudices carry over into and influence coverage of tech in the main stream press.
How did MSFT keep Surface Book a secret?
First, the bay area tech press doesn't write much about MSFT, and they have few contacts in Redmond - the bay area tech press stays pretty much in the bay area, because that's where Apple and Google are located, and they write mostly about, and are interested mostly with, Apple and Google.
Second - I'm speculating here - MSFT has substantial manufacturing capacity in Viet Nam, which they inherited when they bought Nokia. I'm guessing the Surface Book is made in Viet Nam? If so, I don't expect there are many tech press writers hanging around the factory gates asking workers what's going on inside....
It's not hard for MSFT to keep a secret. What is hard is for MSFT to get decent/fair coverage of some GREAT products.
If Apple announced instant translation was available on the iPhone, it would be front page news. When MSFT announces instant translation on Skype, it is largely ignored.
It's not hard for MFST to keep a secret.
The HoloLens demo was AMAZING. That will be paradigm changing technology. It will have a huge market if it's not priced too high.
I somehow missed the facial recognition demo - not sure how that happened. I've been busy/distracted. I saw the fingerprint sensor used by the kids when they switched users.
Someone (MS3R, or other) help me out - I thought Skylake Intel chips offered wireless recharging and RealSense facial recognition. I didn't hear about either feature in today's MSFT presentation. I though we'd at least see facial recognition, but all I saw was fingerprint.
Separate post, later - I'm still digesting. First impression - great products - top shelf - none better, but limited market segment (business, gov, power users) - not for the average consumer - I guess MSFT is leaving that to other hardware makers. I'm amazed at the lack of info from them on their W10/Skylake products. But, as I said, more later -
Final post for the night, and given I don't have much to offer on the subject, it will be short -
I should say right up front that don't have much feel or insight into possible future collaboration between MSFT and NOK. Nokia's bread and butter is now telecom, and the only area I can envision any collaboration is in white space, and that would be jointly with Intel, with Intel making the chips for the devices that will include whitespace spectrum, and chips for the towers that include whitespace spectrum, and Nokia to be the third leg of the stool and to the tower electronics (spectrum jumping), and work with Intel and MSFT on the chip design/tech. Which is all rank speculation on my part.
Within cities, whitespace spectrum is too crowded (at least in the US. However, in rural areas around the world, not so much in Europe but in the US and other less populated areas, that spectrum is less crowded, there is more white space available, and it is my understanding TV whitespace spectrum has better range than cell phone frequencies.
But, who knows.
I do enjoy following the industry - very engaging.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I'm surprised I have not seen any W10/Skylake devices on store shelves as yet. I hope I see some tomorrow, in addition to new Surface models.
I wonder if MSFT splits profits with HP/Dell when one of them sells a Surface device. I expect so - MSFT makes money on the software, they want good relations with hardware vendors, so it would make sense to me that MFST gives vendors some share of the profits on those sales.
At the same time, MSFT made the point they wanted to make to hardware vendors - namely, if you won't push the envelope and take the risks and invest in the marketing to design and sell first-class Windows hardware, then we will. And with the Surface, they did. Same with phones - if hardware makers won't make phones for Windows, we will.
If hardware makers are satisfied with making commodity hardware, and won't invest in the R&D and marketing, MSFT will no longer wait for them - MSFT will move out.
So, while I think MSFT is giving HP and Dell a share of the profits on their sales of Surface, MSFT will recoup their R&D and marketing costs, and retain a good share of the profits, just to be clear with HP, Dell, others - if you won't produce great hardware to sell, we're not going to wait for you - we (MSFT) will move out, and you can keep making and selling commodity hardware.
Here's the good news - where will we all be tomorrow, 10:00 AM EDT?
There is a tech reporter on CNBC named (I think) John Ford. Like most other tech analysts he is enamored with Apple and Google, but unlike most other tech analysts/reporters, he gives MSFT a reasonable report. I think he tries to be fair.
That is not the case with other too many CNBC reporters - they're all about Apple and Google, but that's because they just read headlines and don't get into details. A couple of CNBC reporter try to get below the headlines, but darn few.
So - don't invest based on what you hear (or don't hear) on CNBC. If I need to tell anyone that, they should not be buying individual shares - they should not be stock picking.
Tomorrow - October 6 - Windows 10. 10;00. AM, EDT. That could be a very important day for the future of MSFT, or not - it could be one more missed opportunity (like W8). We will watch and listen, reassess, and based on what MSFT presents, we will reformulate investment plans and drive on.....
My two cents on the subject - Saudi Arabia is not responding to supply-demand in oil - they're reducing prices of oil specifically to send a message to the Russians - that Saudi Arabia will do what it can to bankrupt Russia as long as Russia supports the Alawite/Assad war against Sunni's. In more familiar terms, as long as Russia supports the Syrian government's war against Syrian rebels.
The fact that Iran also supports the Syrian regime adds motivation to the Saudi price reduction - when Iran comes back to the oil market after sanctions are lifted, they'll be selling at low prices, which will further add to downward price pressure. The Iranians will be selling against the Russians, and that's just fine with the Saudi's. Iraq is also increasing supply to the market.
We're going to see low oil prices for the near/foreseeable future - until Iran pulls back on supporting Yemen and Syria, and until Russia pulls back on Ukraine and Syria.
You are referring to a time when consumers had two choices - Windows or Apple. So, it made sense to say "Windows only" if the product was Windows only.
MSFT is making more money than ever - stock price is way up - double from not long ago, and MSFT is at the start of a huge, new, product cycle, not only in Windows, but in Cloud and other lines.
Tell you what - let's talk again after the Windows 10 device roll-out on Tuesday - I will bet we're going to see some amazing new products...October 6, this Tuesday - stay tuned.
Windows 10 Devices. Windows 10 Devices. Windows 10 Devices.
Get use to it. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.....
Windows 10 devices - surprising how we're starting to use that phrase, surprising how much we're seeing that term. We've sort of slipped in to it - MSFT started saying it, and we've all picked it up and use it, and it makes sense - we all have Windows 10 devices (or hardware that can or will use W10), so why not say "Windows 10 devices"?
Buried within the phrase is a major change in how we view our digital world. We have W10 devices, and maybe some of us have devices that are not W10. So what?
The language and phrasing we use reflects how we see the world. If we start saying W10 devices, we start seeing the world in terms of what OS we're using. When we see our digital world as W10 devices and non-W10 devices, we become much more aware of what's W10 and what is not W10, and it inevitably starts us considering, consciously or not, why we're not using W10 on all of our devices. It makes sense to have W10 on everything - one user interface, all our stuff on the cloud and/or compatible. Why have a W10 laptop and an Android phone, and maybe an iPad and a Fitbit. Why not have all of my devices W10? Much easier, and more secure, and seamless - all my stuff, wherever I am, in a useful format that I know and understand - one learning curve.
"Windows 10 devices". Every time you hear or read or use that phrase, it's represents one more small step toward MSFT capturing more of the global digital world. A subtle phrase, but an important phrase.
Oh, and by the way, if Apple released anything even close to instant translation, it would be front page news on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
But MSFT releases it, you hear nothing. Yawn! Transformative technology that will change lives, and we hear zilch. Go figure.
But - it will be used - people will benefit from it on a personal and professional/business level, and MSFT will make money in yet another line of business. Yawn....
It won't make you rich next month, but for many investors it may deserve a quiet spot (set it and forget it) in a portfolio.
Wrong - he was specifically warned in August, then we got hit in September. Bush did NOTHING. That's a fact. Live with it.
VSS is an international small cap, ex-US. Index EFT's such as VSS track an index that is, essentially, an int'l sm cap equivalent to the S&P 500. Just by being in the index, a company has done all right, but you are correct in saying EFTs include what can reasonably be called garbage.
On the other hand, many "stock picker" portfolios also include garbage stocks - no one picks winners every time they buy a stock. Most "stock picker" portfolios, managed by very smart, very high paid analyst, do NOT outperform the S&P over a 10 year time. So - what has more "garbage" - an index, or a highly selective, professionally managed portfolio?
Also - how are you going to pick international small cap companies? A next to impossible task to do it well.
So, buy an EFT. I suggest (tongue in cheek, but there is some logic to it, too) an international small cap because I think Skype translate will help many international small caps expand/grow their business.
Container shipping caused a paradigm shift in international trade due to vastly reduced shipping costs. Add bar code and RF tags and pervasive databases/tracking shipping and you further expand international trade. Now add that guy in China or the Philippines or Chile who has a great product and wants to sell in the US (or Europe). The potential market for that small business just grew, because that business now has seamless, instant, communications with English speakers around the world (and vice-versa, for major languages).
Point - Skype translation will change things, especially, potentially, for small businesses outside the US. Hence VSS. Just a thought.....diversify your portfolio...you could do worse....
Plus, that small business now has MSFT cloud, and W10, and Windows Office. That small business has a digital infrastructure (and a potential trade logistics infrastructure) that only big, sophisticated businesses had 20 years ago.
The law of comparative advantage is alive and well and pervasive.
Microsoft releases instant translation on Skype - it had been demonstrated, and available to some, now it's available to EVERYONE. Free.
This is big, and will get bigger.
MSFT reminds me of the person watching a tree grow, or a glacier advance - standing there, looking for a moment, the person says "It's not doing anything". Well, MSFT is moving out not only in translation, but in every other segment. Steady, one advancement at a time.
OK, phones are slow, but phones are a big rock in front of an advancing glacier - the glacier will go over the rock, pick it up, and make it part of the glacier and continue to advance.
(Instant translation on Skype. Almost makes one tempted to buy an international small cap EFT (VSS...) as a long term hold).
Weak, yes, but more relevant, he was incompetent. He was specifically warned a major terrorist event was pending, and he had no idea what to do except continue on his vacation at his ranch.
And his incompetence was confirmed again and again - trying to privatize Social Security just prior to the crash in '07-'08, invasion of Iraq (what a moron!!!), cutting taxes then funning HUGE deficits - the list goes on...thank you, Republicans.
Good point - increasing use of the word "device" instead of phone, or tablet, or "2-in-1" - the lines are increasingly blurred, and the distinctions are increasingly artificial. This is where MSFT's model of an encompassing eco-system starts to take over from Apples device "brands" - iPhone, iPad, MAC.
We're starting to see MSFT introduce and promote the use of an individuals Windows "account", where people can manage software and content of their various devices. Individuals managing their digital world - hardware and software - is a natural off-shoot of businesses managing devices and software from a centralized point.
It will take some time for this to develop, but as hardware costs come down and more people own more than one device, we'll see the advantages of a central account become clear. Many own a phone and a PC of some sort, and the advantages of seamless synchronization of software and digital content on those devices will be increasingly attractive to consumers, and it's my impression that MSFT does a pretty good job of this.
I'm not sure the new Windows phones will move the needle for most consumers insofar as getting them to run out and buy a Windows phone. But, as W10 is introduced as an eco-system brand, and iOS and Android are increasingly seen as limited (and, in comparison, they are), people will feel very comfortable sticking with the Windows OS they have on their old home PC, and updating hardware and software within he Windows ecosystem, W10 just offers too many advantages.
I know MSFT is deploying whitespace spectrum operations in India - I wonder if the superior distances offered by whitespace spectrum was/would be in a place like Nepal?
Re your comment below about MSFT and the consumer - I agree, MSFT is fine with the consumer, and that will only get better in the next year. Where MSFT remains weak is mobile/phones - the weak link in the chain. The sooner MSFT gets up and running with phone, the better for the global MSFT ecosystem tsunami.