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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple and Western Digital

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – September 5, 2017 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog includeAlphabet (Nasdaq:(GOOGL - Free Report)  Free Report), Microsoft (Nasdaq: (MSFT - Free Report)  Free Report), Apple (Nasdaq: (AAPL - Free Report)  Free Report) and Western Digital (Nasdaq: (WDC - Free Report)  Free Report).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Tech Stock Roundup: GOOGL, MSFT, AAPL, WDC

In the top stories last week, Alphabet (Nasdaq: GOOGL Free Report) launched its Chrome Enterprise subscription to challenge Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT Free Report), Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL Free Report) is likely beefing up Apple Music while Western Digital (Nasdaq: WDC Free Report) looks set to acquire a stake in Toshiba Memory and prevent its sale to competitors.

Here are the details:    

Google’s Chromebook Heads for the Enterprise

Google has announced a service called Chrome Enterprise for $50 per chromebook per year. This compares with Microsoft’s $84 per user per year for Windows 10 Enterprise E3. Theoretically, Microsoft may be slightly cheaper because a person may be able to use the service on more than one device. We don’t know yet if Google will offer bulk discounts.

But Microsoft didn’t win many friends when it withdrew XP support because not everyone was ready to upgrade. Moreover, enterprises increasingly want to keep their options open and not become overly dependent on any one technology provider. These factors work against Microsoft and seem to indicate that the Google service will lead to chromebook penetration at the enterprise.     

The Chrome Enterprise service offers a cloud-based management portal that can help administrators manage a fleet of Chromebooks. It also supports virtualized desktop applications and authentication through Microsoft Active Directory, threat prevention and a host of other features. Additionally, Google is partnering with VMware at launch, meaning that it has the ability to run VMware Airwatch’s enterprise mobility management software and through which it will allow chromebooks to run Microsoft applications as well.

RBC Positive About Apple Investment

Apple’s billion dollar earmarking for content has got a lot of speculations going. While a WSJ report earlier said that the amount would be spent for Hollywood content to help Apple compete with stuff from Netflix, Amazon and the like, RBC analyst Amit Daryanani says this is unlikely to be the case. And it makes sense what he says, that the amount is small compared to the $6 billion Netflix is spending or the $4 billion Amazon is spending for content. And Apple’s earlier attempts in the area also haven’t been so successful. So it will most likely be used to beef up Apple Music to better compete against Spotify.

True enough, Spotify with its 50 million subscribers and free tier remains well ahead of Apple Music. On the other hand, it’s been around much longer and Apple Music has been growing very fast to its 27 million strong current subscriber base. So Daryanani figures that it will take Apple just three years to recover the cost if it can add 7-8 million more people. Apple already has a larger catalog and more exclusives, so further boosting content could even help it steal away some Spotify customers and help it double services revenue by 2020 (as targeted).   

Western Digital Consortium To Buy Toshiba Chip Unit After All

Kyodo News reports that Toshiba is finally on the brink of approving a deal to sell a majority stake in its memory chip business Toshiba Memory to Western Digital, KKR & Co., Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, Development Bank of Japan and others. Western Digital has agreed that its voting rights will be limited to a third so it doesn’t play a major role in deciding management issues. Toshiba is in a hurry to sell the business after its American nuclear power unit went bankrupt and the company was forced to report a huge loss.

Toshiba Memory will sell for nearly 2 trillion yen, which will help the company stay afloat. It’s expected that Toshiba Memory will also be listed some time in the future. Western Digital may have won this round because it went the litigation route, which generally takes time. Toshiba doesn’t have that time, which is probably why it ultimately chose the WDC-led outfit despite the fact that it took a hard stand against it earlier.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1 Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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