Large-cap technology companies offered wary investors what they wanted in 2012: stable earnings at a reasonable price. And, increasingly, a regular dividend payment.
Blue-chip tech stocks are benefiting from investors' search for stability. Stellar gains by such stalwarts as Oracle (ORCL) and eBay (EBAY) have helped lift the Nasdaq 100 Index ($NDX.X) of major technology companies to a 14.4% gain year to date, a bit better than the broader market, as measured by the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX).
Simply put, big technology has never been stronger.
The industry is sitting on record earnings. In fact, earnings of big technology companies are well ahead of where they were 12 years ago, when the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) briefly crossed the 5,000 mark.
More companies will build private clouds in 2013 while paying for redundancies from commercial clouds supporting the same system, in effect creating a hybrid cloud.
This has not been a good year for Amazon.com's (AMZN) cloud computing service, at least at its Virginia data center.
That is the facility that on Dec. 24 suffered its fourth outage since April of last year; the latest event spoiled Christmas for Netflix (NFLX) and some of its 30 million subscribers.
This is not the way the cloud is supposed to work. The cloud is not a data center. Even a data center using cloud technology gets you just half-way to the cloud. A cloud is, in fact, a network of data centers, providing you with the redundancy and resilience of the Internet itself.
The music streaming company channels at least half its revenue to artists such as Adele, who gets $1 million a year in royalties from the company. Rivals pay a lot less.
Pandora Media (P), the rapidly expanding Internet radio service, has a problem: The faster it grows, the bigger the financial hit it takes on royalty payments.
In the first 10 months of 2012, Pandora paid $182 million in music royalties, or 60% of revenue. With the music streaming company forecasting a fourth-quarter loss, and competition intensifying from Sirius XM Radio (SIRI), Spotify and Apple (AAPL), Pandora's stock was off 10% for the year while the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) had advanced nearly 15% as of Dec. 26.
Joe Kennedy, Pandora's chief executive, says his company is getting a raw deal on the fees it pays for song-playing rights because of what he calls an arbitrary and piecemeal music copyright and royalty-setting system that treats various digital radio formats differently.
Backers say virtual doctor visits can save money and ease the shortage of primary-care physicians. But some of those doctors fear the skimming of profitable, easy patients.
Virtual doctor visit services -- which connect patients from their homes with physicians whom they meet via online video or phone -- are moving into the mainstream, as insurers and employers are increasingly willing to pay for them.
In the latest sign, WellPoint (WLP), the nation's second-biggest health insurer, plans to offer a new service in all of its employer and individual plans that will allow people to consult with physicians on-demand, using laptop webcams or video-enabled tablets and smartphones.
The insurer says the video consults will appeal to clients looking for "convenience and accessibility of care," said Ken Goulet, executive vice president.
But such services -- which backers say can save money when they avoid costly emergency room trips -- are generating tension with some state regulators and doctor groups. They argue that the remote visits can make sense when a patient is communicating with his or her regular doctor, but care may suffer when patients are connecting with a physician who may be in another city or state.
Western regulators may be treading lightly with their antitrust probes to prop up the search giant as a stalwart in the global fight over Internet freedoms.
That's because the allegations of Google's antitrust violations were serious.
First, its use of patents obtained when it acquired Motorola Mobility was abusive. The Motorola patents dealt with essential mobile-phone functions, licensed under terms of of the Fair, Reasonable and Non Discriminatory (FRAND) standards.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market climbed out of the gate with the industrial sector (+0.6%) setting the pace. Looking below the surface, transport stocks are largely responsible for the early outperformance following better than expected results from FedEx (FDX 160.46, +5.80). The logistics company has added 3.9%, while the broader Dow Jones Transportation Average trades up 1.3% with all but one component showing gains. Shipper Matson (MATX 27.36, -0.03) is the lone decliner, down ... More
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