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Technology Stock Roundup: Facebook, Google Have Good Week

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It was a busy week in Tech world, particularly for companies like Facebook (FB - Free Report) , Google (GOOGL - Free Report) and Intel (INTC - Free Report) . Here are some of the top stories-

Facebook Up on Forrester Report

A recent survey by Forrester found that contrary to some earlier reports, teen use of Facebook is in fact on the rise. The study was not commissioned by Facebook. In October last year, Facebook CFO agreed that the company was losing teens, but it appears that the media has been blowing things out of proportion. Corroborating surveys helped create the impression.

It now appears that Facebook is in fact the most popular social network for teens and the majority of youngsters aged 12-17 are on the platform, with 28% using it all the time. Even more encouraging was the fact that 46% of 12-13 year-olds surveyed said that they were using it more than they did a year ago.

Google Opens a Bag of Goodies at I/O

Google’s developers’ conference was loaded with upgrades and revamps. The highlightsincluded a new version of Android called Android “L,” which should launch later this year, as well as Android for wearables, TV and auto. Google intends to make the experience as seamless as possible, so it is retaining control of the interface this time round. This should enable it to upgrade the software smoother and faster, making the experience that must better.

Intel Launches Knights Landing

At the International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany, Intel announced its next-generation chip for high performance computing (HPC). Knights Landing as it is called is likely to ship in the second half of 2015. The new high-speed fabric includes a full suite of adapters, edge switches, director switch systems, open-source fabric management and software tools, as well as on-package memory. Intel says that this will improve the performance, scalability, reliability, power and density requirements of future HPC deployments. Intel dominates the HPC market powering 85% of all supercomputers, according to the company.


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Intel Sales Chief Steps Down: Thomas Kilroy, Intel’s global sales and marketing head will be ceding his position to take on an advisory role. Kilroy who is fighting cancer, is a 24-year old Intel veteran. The move was necessitated by his deteriorating health. 

Groupon Names Senior Management Personnel: Groupon (GRPN - Free Report) has announced the appointment of Ann Ziegler as an independent director, taking the total number of its directors to eight and the number of independent directors to six. She is SVP and CFO of CDW and serves on the BoD of Hanesbrands Inc. Dane Drobny, who was formerly the SVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Sears, will now be serving Groupon in a similar capacity.

Snapchat gets Facebook’s Mike Randall: TechCrunch reports that the Global Director of Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developer program is jumping ship. After four years with Facebook, Mike Randall has now accepted the position of Snapchat’s VP of Business and Marketing Partnerships to help monetize its popular platform.


Google Scrubs Europe Search Results: Privacy advocates are having their way. Google recently got an adverse ruling in a case involving individuals’ right to be forgotten. This put Google in the difficult position of having to weigh each request against the public interest of having the information available. But like it or not, Google set up a web form where it has received 41K requests for removal thus far. The company has now started the removal process.

New Technology/Products

Yahoo Launches Aviate: Yahoo has launched a Google Now clone called Aviate, a new smartphone UI for Android that customizes your smartphone experience based on your behavioral patterns.  It provides important information at times relevant to you, including weather, news and necessary apps.

Microsoft Launches Android smartphone Nokia X2

Rumors: Google’s new Nexus Tablet: Android Police has published a photo of what could be the last of the Nexus Line. The tablet will likely be manufactured by HTC and reach customers in the fourth quarter. The 16GB, 32GB and 64 GB versions are likely to retail at $399, $499 and $600+. Other specs include Nvidia’s desktop-class Tegra K1 processor, 2GB of memory, 2048 x 1440 8.9-inch screen with 221dpi and front-facing speakers from HTC. With a 0.31-inch thick aluminium design, it will weigh 418 grams.

Microsoft’s exchange Offer for Apple Devices: Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) will provide $650 toward the purchase of a Surface 3 tablet to customers willing to turn in select Macbook Air devices. The cheapest Surface 3 comes for $799 (minus the type cover).

Google & Razer to Make Game Console: Google and Razer said that they are teaming up to make a game console that will be equipped with streaming capabilities and run Android TV.  The rest of the plan remains under wraps.


Oculus Buys Carbon Design: Virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR, which was recently acquired by Facebook, is getting itself some design expertise. The target is Carbon Design, which helped create the Xbox 360 gamepad and the original Kinect. Oculus says the companies have been working together for roughly a year, but no products have been mentioned yet.

Yahoo Bids For Fullscreen: YouTube content producer Fullscreen is getting a lot of attention. Yahoo is willing to pay $250 million for the company in an attempt to jumpstart its own video portal. Yahoo’s YouTube-like video service is expected to go live this summer and the company is betting on its attractive revenue-sharing arrangements to woo advertisers. Yahoo’s contract terms initially turned off content producers, but the company has since stepped up efforts to make peace.

Barnes & Noble Is Separating Nook

Analyst Commentary

Groupon Rises 7%+ on Analyst Upgrade: Investors gave their vote of confidence after the Piper Jaffray analyst reiterated his Outperform rating on the basis of increasing deal density. Groupon’s deal marketplace is a relatively new approach for the company and has the potential to improve its growth prospects. The analyst is expecting 30% deal growth per year over the next three-to-four years.  

Twitter Remains Also-Ran: An RBC Capital Markets analyst has said that while monthly average users and user engagement were catalysts for Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) , he continued to believe that Facebook was a safer bet. Twitter shares had a good week nonetheless, rising more than 5%.

Some numbers

Video Game Stock Roundup

Apple cuts iPod Touch prices: Apple is taking $100 off all three iPod Touch models (16GB, 32GB and 64GB) so they will now be available for $199, $249 and $299, respectively. It is also adding a rear-facing, five megapixel camera and colors (, yellow, blue, silver and space gray) to the entry-level 16GB device.

Microsoft Gifts Some Storage: Microsoft is getting more generous by the day. The company has now announced that One Drive will come with 15GB of free storage (same as Google Drive and up from the 7GB of free storage it offered previously). All Office 365 users will now be entitled to 1TB of free storage. And that’s not all - the prices of its monthly plans have gone from $7.49 to $1.99 for 100GB and from $11.49 to $3.99 for 200GB.

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