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Last week, Google signed a deal that further props Chromebooks while investors failed to summon enthusiasm regarding Cisco’s (CSCO - Analyst Report) future prospects.

Google-VMware In Interesting Deal

Call it a “brick,” or “not a real laptop,” or whatever else you please. But the fact remains that Google’s Chromebook is going places. That’s (at least partly) because Google has recently signed an agreement with VMware (VMW - Snapshot Report) that greatly increases its functionality.

One of the major disadvantages of this cloud-based, ridiculously cheap device was its inability to run legacy software that is usually based on Microsoft’s (MSFT - Analyst Report) Windows platform. Now, using VMware's Blast HTML5 technology, which is available as a Web-based app on Chromebooks, users can access all this stuff.

The plan is to make this service ultimately available to all as a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution. Google believes it will enable companies to save $5,000 per computer (compared to traditional PCs).

This basically means that the device that no one thought would succeed beyond a very cost-conscious consumer has now become extremely useful for cost-conscious corporates.  Suddenly, Microsoft’s “Scroogled” ads targeting the Chromebook make sense.

Investors Punish Cisco Shares

While Cisco managed to beat earnings and revenue expectations for their fiscal second quarter and also provided earnings guidance above our expectations, shares took a tumble following the announcement.

Cisco’s challenges do make a big pile – broad-based move toward cloud-computing that reduce demand for its hardware (routers, switches), a transition to mobile devices that again reduce demand for networking hardware, conservative enterprise spending given the continued market uncertainties, emerging market weakness stemming from distrust in government spying tactics and strengthening competition from Huawei in Asia and Juniper (JNPR - Analyst Report) in the U.S.

But Cisco does appear to have met its own expectations thus far, so there is every chance it will remain on track to meet its own expectations of a recovery in the fiscal fourth quarter  2014/first quarter 2015 timeframe. The company expects to have its new products in the market by then.

Management is also very optimistic about the Internet of Things, which is expected to be the next big wave bringing Cisco back in the game. Considering the way it has tackled the market in the past, the long-term story should play out.

To pacify investors in the meantime, Cisco raised the quarterly dividend by a couple of cents.

Android Apps for Windows?

Some rumors do good things to share prices and some not so good. Last week, there was a rumor reported by The Verge that Microsoft, in a hurry to get its devices more popular with users, could allow Android apps to run on the Windows platform.

Companies seeking to build their own eco systems have to make solid hardware and give it time for adoption. Because usually, users are not attracted to hardware that does not come with their favorite apps. On the other hand, developers generally avoid platforms that do not have a lot of users. Microsoft could have given this some time if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s a very late entrant into a fiercely competitive market. Microsoft could definitely do with a spike in hardware sales (its tablet business is yet to make a profit).

While too much should not be read into rumors, there is also some conversation about an Android phone with the Nokia (NOK - Analyst Report) brand, which is expected to launch at the Mobile World Congress. So maybe there is some truth to this.

 

 Company

Last Week

Last  6 Months

AAPL

+4.36%

+8.29%

FB

+4.37%

+80.93%

YHOO

+0.84%

+39.93%

GOOG

+2.31%

+40.36%

MSFT

+2.51%

+18.30%

INTC

+2.21%

+13.01%

CSCO

-0.75%

-7.05%

 

Other stories you may have missed-

Icahn Backtracks

Yahoo Partners With Yelp: Yahoo (YHOO - Analyst Report) has struck a deal with business and product reviewing site Yelp, according to which Yelp reviews will be added to Yahoo Local search results. Yahoo Local has not done too well in the past so this could be an opportunity. Mayer has the unenviable job of turning around the core business (search and display) and nothing seems to be going quite right at the moment. If this agreement helps to increase traffic, ads could follow.

Google and comScore Sign Deal

Google’s Robotics Plans Unfolding: A couple of things happened last week that shed light on Google’s robotics plans. First, the company entered into an agreement with Foxconn (or Hon Hai), which will increase automation at its U.S. plant. The success of this venture could hasten broader industrial adoption of Google robots. Separately, a NASA spokesperson has confirmed that the recently-leased Hangar One will now be used for building and testing new robots, planetary rovers and other space or aviation technology. Creepy.

Alibaba Wants AutoNavi: Alibaba (23% owned by Yahoo) is offering to buy Chinese mapping and navigation company AutoNavi Limited in a deal that values the company at $1.58 billion. Since Alibaba already owns 28%, it needs to fork out around $1.13-1.14 billion more, which it will fund with its cash balance.  The deal may be expected to improve its share of mobile purchases, as customers close deals sooner after physical examination of products.

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