Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Sees Buzz Over Windows 8 Preview - Fred Dunsel (03/08/12)


Last Friday, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) ended at $32, marking a 1.9% gain for the week. (The company’s stock is currently up 23% this year.) While there have been concerns that a slowdown in the European economy would hit both corporate and consumer tech spending, the software giant has produced consistently good returns for its stockholders.

Last week, Microsoft gave a preview of Windows 8, its new operating system, at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona. (Windows 8 is scheduled to be launched later this year.) Analysts note that the company has been trying to maintain revenue from a waning PC market, while also establishing a stronger presence in the fast-growing sector of mobile devices. The latter has so far been dominated by Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and Google’s Android software. Garner Inc. analyst David Cearley said, “Microsoft’s future path is riding on Windows 8 and its success. This is a chance for Microsoft to re-establish itself in a market where it’s becoming increasingly irrelevant. Microsoft is late to the game and this is a different game than they have been playing. But if they hit a home run with Windows 8, it could still turn some things around.”

For now, Microsoft is riding on the general optimism over Windows 8. The company’s stock has recently been trading at its highest levels since April 2008. It has also been observed that Microsoft’s financial performance traditionally improves when it releases a new version of Windows, and the last upgrade was in October 2009 when Windows 7 was introduced. Nomura Securities analyst Rick Sherlund rated the company as a “buy”, while giving it a $37 price target. Sherlund wrote, “The period between beta release and release to Manufacturing (we estimate end of July or August) of a major new version of Windows has tended to be the richest sweet spot in the product cycle, driving the stock 21% higher, on average.”

From the preview, Windows 8 appears to be very different from its predecessors. Moreover, its versatility will enable it to run both PCs and tablets. Sanford Bernstein analyst Mark Moerdler rated Microsoft as “outperform” with a $37 price target, saying that Windows 8 “delivers superb user experience, is competitive against iOS and Android, and makes Apple iOS and Android look old-fashioned.”

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Comments

The comment seems outrageously biased. My brothers, as well, a couple of local friends who have similar investing habits as me, and my age, they can't even cut and paste properly. They don't know squat about how to do even the basic thingies one wants to do. The general computer user around me, old or young, most don't even come close to being able to do a lot of the most simple of tasks on a PC.

I read a review in this mornings paper about the Apple update, the new stuff that just came out. The WSJ and the Denver Post both had great reviews of this most recent update. Tim Cook said this is only the beginning, that much more is still to come.

I am so computer illiterate, I can only use the darn things. Intuitively. If I were to go over to a PC, I would be totally lost. I got my first Apple box waaay back in the v. early 80's. I have never been sorry.

I recently went from the Snow Leopard OS over to the Lion, mostly trying to keep up. I can't tell you the ease I have in doing some of the rote tasks---multiple screens, my basic running around the web and absorbing info, etc. My friends and family haven't even a clue how to perform some of the routine tasks I simply take for granted. I certainly don't need several computers to get my investing job done---some comment I read here a year or so back.

From an OS comparison, I know, you computer geeks know how to do all this "stuff" with one hand tied behind your back. But, many, maybe even better, most users out there are stuck back at home plate, unable to do the many beautiful things computers can do.

MSFT somehow must improve their "intuitive" features. Some geek writing about the OS, sure, he knows the procedure. Truth be known though, the general man on the street is behind me in this geek stuff. You can say all you want about the MSFT features. Until it becomes more user friendly, it is not capable of passing those features on to the masses. Apple is going to continue to eat MSFT's lunch. Best Of Trading./jimo

how many hours have you spent on a mac? how many hours have you spent on a PC? be honest.
i would suggest you've spent more time on the mac.

Jimo, saying you find the mac easier to work with tells me that apple's marketing has worked very well on you.

while i do agree with this article's (high level) bullish tone for MSFT, i don't agree with any of the reasons "why" so i agree, this article reads like a bias piece of useless stuff, that we find so much of on the internet.

I did spend some time back at the early low computer power phase of the internet playing around with PC's. But, I truly couldn't tell my friend the other day how to even cut and paste on his PC. He is a school teacher, and has used PC's for years. But, he is so weak computer-wise. Can't even properly send an email---doesn't know how to create one, only to answer a created one, he can do that.---as well, both my brothers. Once you get beyond a simple email, they both invest, they don't have a clue. They can open their account, buy/sell, but they are swamped going beyond that, digging into fact/figures, finding interconnections. These are all educated people. They just don't know how to use a PC to full extent.

My view, you have probably much more power on a PC, at least you claim that, but to get it out and use it, that is the rub. PC's are not user friendly. I do have a large bias toward Mac's. I would be just like my friends if I switched to a PC. This is a big flaw with MSFT going forward.

I don't see it changing unless they can come up with multiple intuitive procedures to get some single job finished and done. You can wiggle a Mac a half dozen different ways many times to get to your desired results. All intuitive.

Steven, the ease you use your PC to find some task requires a greater depth of knowledge, and perhaps a more computer literate brain than the general person on the street. I think that is why so many of them find these little hand held's so intriguing. Pure witchcraft to many, how/what it does./jimo

microsoft is not a hardware vendor Jimo. they provide platforms and services. you are not seeing past the physical device, and desktop user interface. the microsoft technology stack runs a lot deeper and i think you are missing the point on them. just IMO.

Jimo, my girlfriend's mother got her first computer (a PC) about 3 years ago, and with a few hours of lessons from my sweetie, she developed her computer skills rather well. E-mail, word-processing, google search, on-line payments, banking, web-cam sessions with us, and perhaps needless to say, she loves it. She also just had her 90th birthday 2 weeks ago. There are 20-year-olds who don't know how to copy/paste. Bottom line, IMO: anyone who WANTS to learn to use a PC can learn.

Dave

I'm not sure what it takes to get some sort of PC training that gives you the additional edge of real power in computer ability. i would argue though, a large percentage of PC people haven't a clue about how to attack this very thing. Steven's right too, I'm missing the big picture with respect to MSFT. Still though, MSFT offers a complexity that the Apple OS has solved.

I have so many examples I could throw out with respect to PC user's and their inability to actually use their box. ---I live in a block of ~200 homes, about 1-3 acres each, mostly retired, most all upper age group. The other night, we had a home owner's association meeting, wanting to solve some typical problems within the group. ---I would argue the single biggest problem is communication within the group. There is v. little direction, lots of money in the hat for projects, beautification, things like that. The money just sits there.

Dumb me, I suggested we supply a list of email addresses--- we also had a huge windstorm last fall that really ripped up my trees, gotta replace four or five.

I never have gotten anything of benefit out of this HOA since moving here. With respect to this windstorm, it was so bad the county called the HOA people and told them they would send a chipper truck around on such and such a date to pick up all the broken limbs and such. An unannounced service from our fearless leaders. So, guess who got word the truck was picking up the limbs? The officers in the HOA. Nobody else. What a crock. Removal of my destroyed trees cost me several hundred dollars. But free to the officers. None of them bothered to call anyone else and tell them. I figured an email list could at least be used for some newsy items about the community; help us solve problems.

In the meeting, you should have heard the comments to my email suggestion. Everything from identity theft concerns to people not having a computer at all and that it was not formal enough; they voted no, this was simply too dangerous, that they would only accept snail mail because of these concerns. Letter only.

The way the world is right now, the fantastic weather variability going on alone, I just wanted to have access to some future event that might benefit my pocket book, or perhaps allow some discussion on possible beautification projects, or whatever. The thing that struck me was the obvious lack of knowledge/trust many of the people commenting (about 250 were there) had with respect to computer ability and use. It was obvious many didn't have a clue. Eight people at the meeting didn't have a computer and would not use one under any circumstances.

I would argue a major portion of one generation of people (older) have lost the basic ability to actually use their computer beyond the most basic of things. I blame that on Mister Softie and the beginning computer period. My local investor friends, my brothers, are not dumb. Many however, don't come close to understanding the things a computer can do; the beauty of it./jimo


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