Yesterday turned out to be quite a day for for technology stocks. Not so much in terms of stock price movements (a few stocks such as Rosetta Stone ($RST), Sohu ($SOHU) and Youku ($YOKU) suffered big losses but the real interesting stuff happened outside of the market.
Microsoft unveiled some of the features of its upcoming Office13, which remains critical to Microsoft. With Windows, Office remains the backbone of the company and the product that has enabled Microsoft to continue to spend vast amounts of money to develop other businesses such as the the xBox, the upcoming Surface tablet and its online division among many others. It’s critical for Office to remain the dominant player and that is exactly what it hopes to achieve. What was especially interesting was seeing how Microsoft will attempt to use its new version to help other initiatives such as:
-Cloud based computing
-Integrate products such as Skype
It will be a much improved experience and it is clearly a bold move although you could argue that Microsoft has no choice but to move quickly if it hopes to continue fending off competitors such as Google. I personally think the biggest game changer is the cloud offering. Other initiatives such as integrating social and Skype will be great if they are well done.
What It Means For Microsoft’s (MSFT) stock: I don’t think this will have a critical impact on Microsoft’s stock as little of this information is shocking or even surprising. That being said, it does reinforce Microsoft’s long term position which makes longer term investors and dividend investors a bit more likely to do well over the long term. So small win for Microsoft, it was a good day.
Wow, what a nice surprise for Yahoo shareholders. It hired its Marissa Mayer, one of the earliest Google employees who had been working on several key initiatives. The company has been struggling to find solid leadership for years and Mayer will end up being the 5th person in charge of Yahoo in the past year. It is a very high profile hire and one that few Yahoo supporters believed could truly happen. Mayer had been working on local initiatives in recent
One big change is that while Yahoo, like AOL had been hiring leaders focused on sales and bringing revenues, Mayer seems to be more focused on the quality of products which should bring longer term growth in traffic and revenues. I’ve been very vocal in my frustration of Yahoo’s lack of improvement on several of its products.
Mayer said, “I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the internet’s premier destinations for more than 700 million users. I look forward to working with the Company’s dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world.”
What It Means For Yahoo’s (YHOO) stock: I think that this could have a very good effect on Yahoo. The company has terrific Asian assets that are worth about as much as the entire company. That means there is more or less no value being given to all of its core assets. Mayer will likely bring a new vision, a lot of hope and give Yahoo a better shot at retaining key personal but also hiring some talented individuals that were previously very reluctant to move to the purple company. I think there is a terrific opportunity here and while it’s uncertain what kind of odds she has, I think the downside is fairly limited.
As the very credible Michael Arrington put it: “Yahoo hired out of its league” – read more about it here.
What It Means For Google’s (GOOG) stock: I don’t think this will have any effect on Google’s stock. As talented as Marissa Mayer has been, she was one of several strong leaders at Google and not been promoted as much as many had expected when Larry Page returned to his CEO position. She was certainly key and takes away a lot of knowledge but Yahoo is not really a Google competitor so I don’t think this changes my opinion of Google’s stock.