The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Google and Apple

 The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Google
                                  and Apple

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Jan. 21, 2013

CHICAGO, Jan. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT),
Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ), Dell Inc. (Nasdaq:DELL), Google Inc.
(Nasdaq:GOOG) and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL).

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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Microsoft, Asustek in Licensing Talks

Taiwanese computer-maker Asustek Computer is contemplating the use of Windows
8 from the world's largest software maker Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT).

If there is a successful negotiation, Microsoft's latest OS would find another
growth avenue in the Asian market. Windows 8 will be used in Asustek's
Padfone, which is combination of a smartphone and tablet.

Asustek Computer Inc. was founded in 1989. Its vast product portfolio includes
desktops, laptops, mobile phones, monitors, motherboards, servers, tablet PCs
and video cards. In terms of PC sales, it lags Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ),
Lenovo, Dell Inc. (Nasdaq:DELL) and Acer. It also manufactures Nexus 7, a
tablet range from the search engine giantGoogle Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG).

Asus will sell its second generation Padfone in the Chinese markets at a steep
price tag of $686. Asus's Padfone will directly compete with Apple Inc.'s
(Nasdaq:AAPL) iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy Note. Currently, the hybrid
versions of the smartphone-tablet have seen mixed success with IHS iSuppli, an
independent market research firm, expecting 60.4 million units to ship this
year, a 136% jump from last year's shipment of 25.6 million units. China is
one of the largest markets for mobile devices and growth rates are expected to
be very strong here.

The PC makers are currently changing their business strategy, as PC sales are
showing no sign of recovery. Consumers have changed their preferences from PCs
or desktops to smartphones or tablets. As per marker research firm IDC, the
global PC market contracted 8.6% year over yearin the third quarter of 2012.
However, the smartphone market saw a 2.4% jump in the same period with 444.5
million units of smartphones shipping worldwide.

Microsoft claims that it has sold 60.0 million Windows 8 licenses , will
behind market leader Android. According to Gartner, Android made up 72.0% of
the smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2012. However, with Nokia
commanding 19.2% of the market share coupled with success of its Lumia range
of models, Microsoft's Windows based OS can see some upside.

IDC is expecting that Windows-based phones may become the fastest growing
smartphone OS as it is projected to jump from 2.6% in 2012 to 11.4% in 2016.

Currently, just like other PC makers, Microsoft is also battling the slump in
the PC market caused by the sluggish economy. In addition, the popularity of
tablets from Apple and Google have been cannibalizing PC market sales, leading
to further deterioration of the scenario. Whether Microsoft sees notable
success this year remains. The success of the licensing deal with Asustek can
open up further such licensing deals with other PC manufacturers for Microsoft
in the future.

Microsoft reported revenue, excluding deferrals, of $16.01 billion in the
first quarter of fiscal 2013, down 11.4% sequentially and 7.9% from the
year-ago period. Revenues also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.5%.

Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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