Rant About It

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Recent Developments & Rants

Posted by rantaboutit on March 6, 2007

Microsoft gets hold of Medstory

Microsoft (MSFT) is purchasing Medstory Inc., a health search engine. Medstory enables users to search complex health and medical related topics on the web intelligently. Some noteworthy features about Medstory is their ability to filter out non-health results, provide effective granularity, allow audio & video search and their killer app. Medstory’s approach is to not only provide a list of web pages but to synthesize the meaning of every user search in the context of health and medicine, and then share this knowledge with the user to help refine and guide their search.

Medstory will become the second acquisition for Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, which bought Azyxxi, a maker of healthcare software that displays patient information last year.

Rant: There seems to be an increasing demand for online healthcare information driven by aging baby boomers. Filtering out non health-related searches makes getting the right information that much easy for them. Microsoft is stepping in the right direction by acquiring Medstory. However they face stiff competition from companies like Healthline who provides health search services, Google (GOOG) who is developing a health information search tool, and former AOL CEO who is launching a healthcare portal called Revolution Health.

Related Links:
MSN’s Medstory Story
Microsoft buying search firm in health-care push

Oracle Buying Hyperion
Oracle (ORCL) announced a deal to buy Hyperion Solutions (HYSL), a business intelligence software provider. Oracle will pay $52 a share in cash, or about $3.3 billion.

The acquisition is yet another multibillion-dollar deal in recent years for Oracle, who bought CRM software maker Siebel System and archrival PeopleSoft. Oracle executives are more enthusiatic about Hyperion deal because there is no product overlap unlike in case of PeopleSoft and Siebel. However Oracle will have to convince their customers that the Hyperion application will not be optimized for the Oracle database environment and rather that it will be optimized for applications that are important to their company, especially because most large companies have a heterogeneous database and application environment that requires a high level of open and ERP-independent software.

Rant: This addition could make Oracle a formidable force in the world of business intelligence software and hopefully help revive their stock. This deal puts Hyperion rivals Cognos (COGN) and Business Objects (BOBJ) under pressure due to stiff competition from Oracle and unlikely chance of a buyout. This could also mean bad news for rivals SAP AG (SAP). Oracle claims thousands of SAP customers rely on Hyperion and probably will not switch. SAP replied that the Hyperion acquisition will lead to more confusion among Oracle customers. Oracle’s strategy, limited by its inability to grow on its own, has resorted to attempting to acquire customers.

Related Links:
Oracle Buys Hyperion Solutions for $3.3 Billion
Oracle Buys Hyperion but will customers bite ?

GE says Hold the Salt…
General Electric Co (GE) has joined the Algerian Government, and other Algerian bodies to build Africa’s largest seawater desalination (removing salt from water) plant. This project is part of GE’s ecomagination effort, which is aimed at building innovative solutions to tough global problems, like water scarcity. This project will supply 25% of Algeria’s capital city’s population with desperately needed drinking water.

Rant: Full marks to GE for their effort on ecomagination.

Durable Goods Orders Decline Most in 18 months

In December 06 order rose by + 2.8%, where as in January 07 dropped by – 7.8%, reasoing being reduced demand for transportation equipment especially commercial aircraft and excess inventories. Commercial aircraft orders fell 60% while transport orders on the whole fell 18%. Ex-transport, durables were down 3.1%. Orders for core capital equipment were down 6%.

Rant: Decline in durable goods orders were labeled one reason for the recent meltdown at the market. Sigh*, another indicator to worry about.

Recommended Book: Jim Cramer’s Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich.

Advertisement: Get Tips From A Top Penny Stock Professional Firm

(Source: Seeking Alpha, Microsoft)

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Sony Playstation 3: Two Thorns Away From Glory

Posted by rantaboutit on March 2, 2007

Sony Corp (SNE) creator of Playstation 3 has two thorns in their path to glory.

  1. Nintendo Ltd (NTDOY) creator of Wii
  2. Microsoft (MSFT) creator of XBox 360

PS3 has a hard drive to store game data and music and can play DVDs using Sony’s Blu-ray high definition technology. PS3 sales took off very well in the early stage. However with the advent of Nintendo’s Wii which features a unique motion-sensitive controller and Microsoft’s XBox 360 which offers an extensive system for online play and high percentage availability, PS3 sales have been struggling ever since.

Problem with PS3
Gamers and analysts have praised PS3 graphics, but their high prices, shortage of console and weak line-up of games have raised concerns. Sony says that the Playstation 3 shortage will be eliminated by April/May, with another 2 million units on their way to the United States. Gaming sites claim of unsold PS3s. In response Sony CEO said that in many places the games are sold out. They plan to fill shelves across United States.

In January, Sony sold only 244,000 PlayStation 3s, compared to 294,000 for the Xbox 360 and 436,000 for the Wii.

A Gamer’s View
Dr. Andrew Garrett, a game developer for EA said…

I make video games, currently working for Electronic Arts on the latest Command & Conquer. Last year, the prediction that the PS3 would be the dominant console, just like the PS2 was. That is no longer the case. The extremely strong performance of the Wii, combined with the miserable performance of Sony has revised pretty much everyone’s expectations. Right now, most of us here think the Xbox 360 will be on top for this generation, with the battle for second place between Sony and Nintendo. Most of us still think Sony will beat off Nintendo, simply due to the older graphics on the Wii, but it’s not a sure thing. My opinion – get the 360 and/or the Wii. Skip the PS3 unless there’s a big change in the near future.

eBay imposing restrictions
In another story eBay (EBAY) in UK is imposing restrictions on the sale of Sony PlayStation 3 gaming systems due to high demand and their limited supply. eBay US had imposed similar restrictions during the fall holiday shopping season due to concerns over fraud/scam listings.

Conclusion: All three companies has clearly differentiated hardware and strategies. Who will win? Analyst believe that none of the 3 consoles will dominate the market in the next 5 years like the PS2 dominated previously. However, Nintendo’s Wii will outship and outsell the 360 and PS3 in 2007 and 2008.

Recommendation: Stock prices of Sony Corp took a hit after the company paid $150 million to end a patent dispute with Immersion Corp over technology used in its game consoles and as investors sold exporter stocks on a stronger yen. Surprizingly Nintendo Ltd stock prices have suffered after the the Japanese government decided to sell its stake, about 1.4 percent of the outstanding stock. Microsoft stock prices are also seeing more of red than green, mainly due to Vista and global market meltdown. However in the longer run, the company that will sell the most gaming console would be the clear winner at the stock market, which to me in Nintendo Wii.

Web Links:

Posted in Ebay, Microsoft, Sony, Technology | 4 Comments »

Google Powers Podcasting Ads Growth

Posted by rantaboutit on February 21, 2007

Google powers podcasting ads growth
Podcasting advertising revenues are expected to rise five folds in the next five years. That would mean marketers will spend $400 million dollars on podcasts in 2011, which would be only 2% of spending expected this year in the interactive ad market. Analysts expect Google GOOG to develop an audio version of AdSense which would allow any podcast producer to include ads in their shows.

Rant: Audio ads can be sometimes really annoying for the podcast listeners. Google and podcast producers need to be cautious not to overwhelm the listeners with too much ads or it could turn against them.

Bernanke’s message to investors
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke recently relieved the investors by stating that he was upbeat about the economic growth and sees signs of slowing inflation and stabilizing housing sector.

The labor market is a key area of concern: a low unemployment rate and difficulty finding qualified workers have resulted in higher wages, but he said increasing productivity and narrowing profit margins could help offset labor costs. He called recent pressures in the subprime mortgage market a significant concern but said they wouldn’t harm the overall economy. The Fed cut its forecast for GDP growth from 3% to 2.5%, forecast 2% core inflation and 4.5% unemployment.

Rant: Inflation is the key concern for the Feds. If the inflation doesnt slow down, Feds might have to increase the interest rates furthur.

Starbucks to buy more coffee
East Africa is the birthplace of coffee and the origin of some of the finest coffees in the world. East African growers account for about half of the world’s specialty coffee. Most coffee growers in Africa live in poverty.
Starbucks SBUX has stated that they are planning on doubling their purchases of coffee from East Africa. Six percent of the coffee purchased by Starbucks comes from Africa. They have also agreed to establish a farmer support center to help farmers improve coffee quality and improve yields and prices. Starbucks also said it would help small-scale coffee producers by providing $1 million in micro finance loans.

The announcement comes amid a dispute between Starbucks Corp. and the Ethiopian government, which wants to trademark the names of three coffees produced in the country.

Rant: Is Starbucks exploiting African coffee growers ? Or are they supporting their right to fair trade ? This is an open question i would like someone to answer…

Global EFT
Most EFTs are currently overbought, with Mexico EWW and Malaysia EWM trading at theoretical highs. India IFN, on the other hand, is currently slightly oversold.

Rant: EFTs is the latest thing to hit the world. Naturally with their obvious advantages they have become everyones favorite. But is the recent buying spree justified ?

Related Posts:

  1. When U.S. economy goes down…
  2. Something for those Lazy Investors !!
  3. Does Google really love MySpace ?
(Source: SeekingAlpha)

Posted in Bernanke, Exchange Trade Funds, Google, Technology | Leave a Comment »