Microsoft Will Spend $1.5 Billion on Windows 8 Marketing

Microsoft will be launching Windows 8 on October 26, which is just two weeks away. It is going to be Microsoft’s most crucial launch in years, as it will decide its future in its most important market – operating systems. It will also decide whether or not Microsoft will end up being a major player in the tablet space, which is currently dominated by Apple and Google for the most part.

According to Forbes, Microsoft is very focused on making the launch a success, and will make a massive marketing push, spending nearly $1.5 to $1.8 billion on the launch campaign. If it wins, Microsoft will continue to be a major force in the computing space with Windows 8 leading the desktop/notebook space, and becoming one of the top three in tablets, but if it loses, Microsoft risks becoming irrelevant; a victim of the Innovator’s dilemma — something it’s trying its best to avoid.

While the Surface tablet has garnered some positive reviews, Microsoft may be too late to the tablet market, with both its major competitors having a huge lead over it – more than 2 years. In any case, Microsoft seems to be giving this its best shot.

Microsoft has also made sure to distribute its eggs in multiple baskets, with its revenue coming from sources as diverse as business software, servers, gaming etc.

Apple May Unveil iPad Mini on October 23

Apple will probably unveil the iPad Mini, a budget version of the iPad, aimed at boosting its market share, on October 23.

It was expected to send out invites to a special iPad Mini event on October 10, but that has obviously not happened. However, rumors suggest that Apple will still be holding an event on October 23, so that the iPad is available before the holiday season.

While Apple may not have as fat a margin on the iPad Mini as it does on the iPad, it’s targeting another segment of the potential tablet market with it, so that there is minimum cannibalization.

WSJ recently reported that Apple had begun mass production of the iPad Mini, and that it was building close to 10 million units for Q4 2012 in the initial run.

With the iPad Mini, Apple will target the low end segment of the tablet market which is currently dominated by Android tablets. If Apple does play this game well, it will completely dominate the tablet market in a year.

The next quarter is going to be very exciting for Apple, given that the iPhone 5 sales will be reflected in its financials, and we might even see the impact of the iPad Mini.

via AllThingsD

Workday Goes Public at $4.5 Billion Valuation

Yet another enterprise cloud software company, Workday, is all set to go public today. It has raised $637 million, by selling close to 22.8 million shares for $28 each. It will have a public float of around 14% after the IPO. It will be listed on the NYSE with the ticker “WDAY”, and currently has a valuation of $4.5 billion.

Workday’s primary offering is a cloud-based financial management and human resource management solution, which is used by more than 340 enterprise clients.

It generated close to $120 million in revenue in the first six months of 2012, but is yet to turn a profit.

While most consumer internet IPOs in the last couple of years have floundered, enterprise software companies have seen a warm reception at the public markets. Companies like Palo Alto Networks and Splunk have performed much better than the likes of Facebook, Zynga or Groupon.

Workday competes primarily with the likes of Oracle, SAP and As the cloud wars heat up, Workday might even end up being a hot acquisitiont target for one of the biggies.

via Bloomberg

eBay Goes Up Against Groupon with Lifestyle Deals

Groupon’s troubles just keep on piling up. As if it weren’t troubled enough already by a sagging stock price and its failure to turn a profit, today, eBay, the original internet e-commerce giant, started testing an online deals offering, which would compete directly with Groupon’s core offering – daily deals.

The new feature is called eBay Lifestyle Deals, and is being tested out in some urban areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Groupon already has tremendous competition in the space thanks to Google Offers and LivingSocial which is bankrolled by Amazon. While the daily deals space has yet to mature as a market, it is the next natural step for many e-commerce providers, since it is a nice way to improve sales and increase inventory turnover.

eBay already provided product deals, but is now also looking into deals on services, which could be even more lucrative, partnering with deal providers who arrange them with local businesses and merchants.

eBay is also looking to completely revamp its complete website to boost sales and modernize its brand image. It’ll be interesting to see how the daily deals wars play out after the entry of eBay.

via Reuters

Softbank May Acquire Majority Stake in Sprint Nextel

Sprint has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the last couple of months. Unlike its bigger competitors, AT&T and Verizon, it’s in a relatively worse financial shape.

Reportedly, it may be in talks with the Japanese mobile carrier Softbank regarding a potential investment which would see the latter acquiring a majority stake in Sprint for more than $12.8 billion.

With the deal, Softbank would have an easy way to enter the U.S. market, while Sprint will get access to Softbank’s deep pockets and finance its network upgrades.

Any such deal would be welcomed by the regulators as it would increase competition in the space which is dominated by AT&T and Verizon. Sprint’s stock price jumped nearly 20% in morning trading, to nearly $6.

Softbank recently acquired eAccess, its rival in Japan, for $1.8 billion to boost its LTE capabilities. It has been expanding aggressively in recent times.

via Reuters

Samsung Makes $7.3 Billion Record Profit in Q3 2012

While the rest of the players in the smartphone market (except Apple, of course) may be struggling to make ends meet, Samsung is thriving, thanks to continuing record sales of its Galaxy smartphones.

Samsung reported a record quarterly profit of $7.3 billion, with strong sales of its TVs and Galaxy smartphones offsetting the decline in chip and screen sales to Apple. With the holiday season coming up, Samsung may report four straight record quarters, to make 2012 its best year yet.

It is expected to make an annual profit of more than $25 billion in 2012, even after a massive increase in marketing expenses and a huge legal bill following its legal battles against Apple.

Samsung’s mobile division may have contributed to more than two thirds of its total profit in the last quarter. Its record march depends primarily on whether or not it’s able to continue to launch new hit smartphones and compete with the likes of Apple’s iPhone 5 in the market as well as in courts.

It’ll be launching the Galaxy Note II as well as a budget version of the Galaxy S III which should help it shore up more sales in the holiday season.

Samsung will be reporting its full results on October 26.

via Reuters

Zynga Has a Bad Q3; Writes Down OMGPOP Assets

Zynga is expected to reveal its earnings for Q3 2012 on October 24, but it gave investors a sneak peek by announcing preliminary financial results on Thursday.

It has projected revenue in the range of $300 to $305 million, with bookings down to $250 to $255 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2012. It also expects to book a net loss of around $90 to $105 million. Most of the loss can be attributed to a asset impairment charge related to its acquisition of OMGPOP, the maker of Draw Something, for about $200 million earlier this year.

Following the worse than expected quarter, Zynga has also lowered its full year projections, with projected 2012 bookings down to $1.085 to $1.100 billion, primarily due to reduced expectations for certain games, and delays in launching other new ones.

Mark Pincus, Zynga’s CEO, said:

“The third quarter of 2012 continued to be challenging and, while many of our games performed to plan, as a whole we did not execute to our satisfaction. We’re addressing these near-term challenges by implementing targeted cost reductions in the fourth quarter and rationalizing our product R&D pipeline to reflect our strategic priorities. At the same time, we are continuing to invest in our mobile business where we have one of the strongest positions in the industry. These actions support our strategy to transition from being a first party web game developer to a multiplatform game network. We remain optimistic about the opportunity for social gaming and the power of our player network of 311 million monthly active users. When we offer our players highly engaging content, they respond. FarmVille2 has been our most successful launch since CastleVille in terms of daily bookings, and we now offer 3 of the top 5 most popular mobile games in the U.S. in terms of time spent according to Nielsen.”

Zynga’s stock price dropped nearly 12% following the press release, bringing its market cap down to $1.9 billion, nearly 15% of its all time high.

via Zynga

Facebook Reaches One Billion Users

Facebook, which had last reported a very impressive milestone of nearly 950 million users months ago, has reported its greatest milestone yet – one billion users.

Mark Zuckerberg posted a note today, stating that Facebook’s monthly active users had surpassed the one billion users mark.

One Billion People on Facebook

This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month.

If you’re reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honor of serving you.

Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life.

I am committed to working every day to make Facebook better for you, and hopefully together one day we will be able to connect the rest of the world too.

Just to make it clear, Facebook’s total registered user base must have passed the one billion mark some time ago, but Facebook is focusing on monthly active users, a much more relevant metric.

Facebook has grown exponentially in the last couple of years, driven primarily by increasing global mobile penetration and initiatives like Facebook Zero.

It also shared some other interesting stats. Since launch, it has seen more than 219 billion photos uploaded, 140 billion friend connections and 1.13 trillion likes.

The timing of the announcement is great, as it comes right before Facebook gets ready to report its earnings for the third quarter of 2012.

If users were citizens, Facebook would now be the third largest country in the world after China and India. In the next couple of years, it may even overtake both.

What remains to be seen is whether or not Facebook is able to effectively monetize its growing user base and become the $100 billion company it was touted to be.

Google Stock Hits All-Time High; Nears $750

Apple was in the news last week as its shares hit an all-time high, following the launch of the iPhone 5. It’s Google’s time to celebrate this time around. Today, the company’s shares hit an all-time high of $748.90, and may go even higher as the day progresses. Its market capitalization is nearly $245 billion, the highest it has ever been, and the search giant may soon overtake Microsoft, which currently has a market cap of near $257 billion.

Google currently has a run rate of nearly $50 billion in annual revenue, based on its earnings last quarter, and its ad business is stronger than ever. The hype surrounding Facebook’s social advertising and its threat to Google has died down, and analysts seem to have renewed faith in Google’s trusty old search advertising machine which still generates tons of money.

We expect the rapid proliferation of Android in the mobile space to help Google continue its domination of the advertising space, both on desktop and on mobile. It might even hit $750 today, before trading hours end. Compare that to Facebook, which is trading near its all-time low.

Groupon Acquires Savored, a Restaurant Reservation Startup

Groupon has been one of the more prolific startup acquirers in recent history, besides Google, Facebook, and Zynga. Following the IPO, it had a significant infusion of cash which enabled it to fund its loss-making core business, and acquire a number of startups which let it expand its range of offerings, in its bid to become the “operating system” for local businesses.

Today, it announced the acquisition of Savored, a startup in the restaurant reservations and discounts space. Savored is used by more than 1000 restaurants and offers discounts to customers when they book through its platform. It helps restaurants with yield management, and even out customer traffic during peak times. Savored will be a great addition to Groupon’s offerings for restaurants and other similar small businesses. It will be merged with Groupon Now.

Here’s the official press release by Groupon, announcing the acquisition:

Groupon ( (NASDAQ: GRPN) announced today it has acquired Savored (, a leading provider of reservations at the best restaurants across the United States. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

More than 1,000 restaurants nationwide have used Savored’s unique platform for yield management. After booking a reservation on and visiting the restaurant, diners enjoy up to a 40% discount applied automatically to their bill. Merchants enjoy incremental revenue for tables that would otherwise be empty, and consumers are incentivized by the ‘built-in’ discount and roster of high-end eateries to explore.

“Savored’s platform nicely complements Groupon’s efforts in yield management, an area we’ve pioneered with Groupon Now!,” said Dan Roarty, VP of Groupon Now. “We look forward to working together to achieve a common goal – making dining out even more fun and affordable for consumers while helping restaurateurs manage inventory and grow their businesses.”