Technology Stock Roundup: Microsoft, Intel Make Good Show at MWC


Last week was mostly about the Mobile World Congress (:MWC) in Barcelona, but there were also certain other things, as you can see below.

New Atom Processors from Intel

At the MWC, Intel introduced the much-awaited Merrifield (2.13 GHz Atom processor) that combines superior performance and longer battery life for Android smartphones and tablets. The dual-core processor, based on 22nm Silvermont architecture and enabling 64-bit processing on mobile devices, will be available in devices from multiple OEMs in the next quarter. Intel has multi-year agreements with Lenovo, ASUS and Foxconn that will be using the device.

Intel (INTC) also confirmed that the next generation quad-core Moorefield processor, which is optimized for Intel’s 2014 LTE platform, will be available in the second half of the year. This platform (XMM 7260) supports higher speeds than the 7160 launched last year. Companies like Acer, ASUS, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung have agreements with Intel for the use of the chip.

These agreements notwithstanding, meaningful share gain in the smartphone market is not expected to be easy. That’s because competing devices from Qualcomm (QCOM) come with an integrated radio that easily beats Intel’s separate LTE platform. Until the integrated solution is available, Intel investors will have to be satisfied with the additional revenue from sales of the standalone 7260.    

New Partnerships Galore for Microsoft

Microsoft (MSFT) breathed new life into its mobile phone business with the announcement of fresh partnerships with Foxconn, Gionee, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE. The company currently has hardware partnerships with Samsung, HTC and Huawei. Along with the Nokia (NOK) handset business that it acquired last year, the company looks all set to achieve IDC’s growth projections.

This is bigger than it appears because not all the names are familiar. But on the list are seven of the top ten handset makers globally that will now also have a Windows version available. Additionally, most of these players are well-known brands in Asian and other emerging markets where most of the growth is likely to come from in the next few years.

Microsoft is taking a very aggressive approach, brushing aside everyone that doubted its chances of hardware partnerships following the Nokia acquisition. It’s very likely that handset makers are keeping a second option to Android, probably to ensure that Google doesn’t get too much leverage against them.  

What makes it a bit weird is that Nokia also announced its decision to make Android phones (Nokia X), but this could just be targeted at really price-sensitive markets (Windows-powered Lumia remains the premium brand for now). Considering that Microsoft will be allowing Android apps to run on Windows devices, it’s clear just how serious it is about taking share in this market.    


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Other stories you may have missed-

Apple and Samsung Refuse to Settle

Samsung Releases Tizen-based wrist watches: The Mobile World Congress saw Samsung launch the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo wrist watches. The Tizen OS was developed by Samsung and Intel, a break away from the Android OS that helped it garner a leading share of the smartphone market. An improvement over the earlier chunkier version, the watches will be colored black, orange, gray or brown and allow the user to take calls, click photos and monitor heart rates.

Cisco (CSCO) Raising Debt for the First Time in 3 Years: Cisco is raising $8 billion in seven tranches and intends to use the proceeds to repay investors and pay off $3.75 billion of debt that matures this year. In Nov 2013, it increased the share repurchase authorization by $15 billion.

Microsoft Continues to Make Concessions: On the heels of its decision to cut Windows licensing fees for budget tablets and computers, Microsoft has announced a concession with respect to its Xbox One game console. The company will now bundle a $60 shooting game called Titanfall (to be launched this month) with the device. Microsoft has been selling Xbox One for $499, $100 above Sony’s PS4. But while sales have exceeded internal expectations and earlier product ramps, they significantly lagged competitor Sony’s (SNE).

Google-Yandex in RTB Deal

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