Early impressions of Microsoft's newest operating system have focused on its touch-screen functionality and mobile devices. Helping transform the PC may be its bigger task.

By Minyanville.com Jan 30, 2013 5:45PM

Surface tabletBy André Mouton, Minyanville

Minyanville on MSN Money


When Windows 8 was released, last October, some early reviews were more memorable than fair.


One critic called it "a Christmas gift for someone you hate." Gaming executive Gabe Newell said Microsoft's (MSFT) new operating system "is like this giant sadness." Auto-complete suggestions at Google's (GOOG) search engine delivered comparisons to "a bad blind date." (Microsoft is the publisher of MSN Money.)


People talked about Windows the way they talk about Congress, and for basically the same reason. No one likes a compromise. 

An important goal for Microsoft when it launched Windows 8 was to get its operating system onto tablets and other mobile devices. For years, PC manufacturers have been beating at the gates of mobile computing, experimenting with more portable designs like netbooks and ultrabooks, and finding only limited success.  Windows 8 was to be the Trojan horse that got them in.

 

In the Wall Street ratings game, the social media company is on the upswing, while the personal technology pioneer is falling from favor.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 30, 2013 1:26PM

Facebook logoBy Alexandra Scaggs, The Wall Street Journal 


The Wall Street Journal on MSN Money

If Wall Street had a tech-stock popularity contest, Facebook (FB) would be closing in on Apple (AAPL).


In a sign of the two companies' changing reputations, Apple and Facebook are seeing the difference in the percentage of analysts recommending their stocks narrow, according to Thomson Reuters data.


Just a month ago, the percentage of analysts rating each at "buy" differed by about 17 percentage points: 84% of analysts recommended Apple and 67% recommended Facebook. Three months ago, that distance was 25 percentage points. Now, 71% of analysts recommend Facebook and 77% recommend Apple.

 

Commercial drones, 3-D printers, self-driving cars . . . the tools coming out of the virtual revolution will be used to take the world -- and tech investing -- to promising new places.

By TheStreet Staff Jan 29, 2013 6:07PM

Parrot A.R. Drone, a drone that connects to an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch via Wi-Fi with a video-streaming camera hovers at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas © Paul Sakuma/AP PhotoBy Dana Blackenhorn, TheStreet

thestreet logo


Just as in the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s, the current recovery has begun with technology.


But the rolling-over of the technology sector -- which started with Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) and is now climaxing with Apple (AAPL) -- serves as a warning that it won't end there this time.

 

Technology, whether in the form of an iPad or a Google (GOOG) cloud, is, in the end, just a tool. A means to an end. The end, in this decade, will be new products and services that transform our cities and the way we live.

 

Cloud technologists like Jim Whitehurst of RedHat (RHT), technology publishers such as Tim O'Reily and venture capitalists such as Vinod Khosla have been saying this for some time. A host of new industries, which use the products of today's technology as an input -- just as earlier booms used steel and other commodities as inputs -- are emerging all around America.

 

The maker of the BlackBerry smartphone is unveiling the fruit of a crucial and long-overdue makeover. How should investors play it?

By MSN Money Partner Jan 29, 2013 11:53AM

Attendees try RIM BlackBerry 10 smartphone prototypes at the BlackBerry Jam Asia developer conference in Bangkok, Thailand, on Nov. 29, 2012 © Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy David Sterman, StreetAuthority


Since bottoming out at $6.22 a share in September, Research In Motion (RIMM) surged to briefly surpass $18 within the last week. The rally seemingly came out of nowhere; many investors simply assumed the maker of BlackBerry smartphones was bound for the technology sector's graveyard.


In hindsight, it's clear most investors were overlooking the ample cash on the company's balance sheet, a still-impressive user base of more than 75 million people and a likely appeal for potential buyers at such distressed levels.


Yet many factors point to a possible imminent pullback reversal for RIMM, perhaps by a significant amount. In fact, some suspect that Wednesday may be when shares start to lose steam. That's when Research In Motion will release the much-anticipated version 10 of its operating system.

 

A marketing campaign that lampoons Apple has helped Samsung widen its lead in the global smartphone market, with a 28% share, up from 20% a year ago.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 28, 2013 2:19PM

A man holds a Samsung Galaxy Note II at the IFA consumer electrictronics fair in Berlin on Aug. 30, 2012 © Markus Schreiber/AP PhotoBy Ian Sherr and Evan Ramstad, The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal on MSN Money


Samsung Electronics is succeeding where other technology companies have tried and failed: closing the coolness gap with Apple (AAPL).


The deep-pocketed Korean company has used a combination of engineering prowess, manufacturing heft and marketing savvy to create smartphones that can rival the iPhone in both sales and appeal.


Samsung, the market leader in smartphones, on Jan. 25 said its fourth-quarter profit surged 76% to a record high on the strength of smartphone sales, including its Galaxy S line. Many shoppers consider the latest version to be comparable to an iPhone -- in both design and technical features.


Apple, meanwhile, reignited concerns about demand for its iPhone 5 after reporting flat earnings for the holiday quarter, sending its stock down 14% in two days. The stock has also dropped 37% since hitting an all-time high on Sept. 19, just two days before the iPhone 5 launched in stores.


At that time, Samsung had just unleashed an aggressive marketing campaign including a television commercial that poked fun at the iPhone 5. "The next big thing is already here," the spot said, referring to its Galaxy S III phone.

 

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