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Microsoft Faces Immense Pressure After CES Success

Microsoft Event

With this year’s CES now at an end, we have a good idea where manufacturers and designers see the future. Success will be found in all things that fold. All across the Las Vegas Convention Center were the concept laptops which flexed and folded like Optimus Prime in Transformers.

Which puts a huge amount of pressure on Microsoft. It needs to deliver a version of Windows that will allow the hardware to live up to all the gambles made in Vegas by the end of 2020.

Let’s take a look at the CES successes powered by Microsoft’s Windows 10.

Intel produced a concept device, obviously to show what its chips can do with new laptop forms, but the fact that it was showing off the new form as a foldable laptop with a single screen taking up the screen, bending round the inside hinge, and then down over the space normally associated with the keyboard is a clear indication that this is a route it is comfortable with.

How about two of Dell’s examples; the ‘Concept Duet’ which shows a twin screen no physical keyboard design, and the ‘Concept Ori’ which is closer to a tablet design that can hinge upwards into a laptop style angle.

While Asus didn’t go for a flexing screen, the Asus ZenBook Duo also works on two screens, although here the second screen shares the bottom half of the laptop design with a physical keyboard.

The there’s Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Fold, which does go with the full screen that curves into thing when closed just as a normal laptop.

But there’s a literal twist to all of these innovative laptops. At CES they were all running Windows 10 Pro, a workmanlike solution at this early stage but not refined to make a seamless foldable or dual screen device feel like magic.

Luckily Microsoft has an answer in Windows 10X.

Windows 10X was announced in October 2019 alongside the dual screened Surface Neo as the operating system that would power this device – and it would allow for an ecosystem of devices from Microsoft’s partners. I suspect this is one of the key reasons that the announcement of Windows 10X happened in Q4 2019… it placed Microsoft publicly in the driving seat of foldable laptops it used the Surface brand to continue pushing innovative form factors and software, and its announcement created a tacit agreement to its partners that it would be ready by the end of 2020,.

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All this amounts to pressure. The early announcement of Windows 10X, coupled with the Surface Neo release window of Q4 2020 has created a hard deadline for the OS team to deliver not just to the Surface team at the Redmond Campus, but to Microsoft’s key hardware partners who have shown their hand at CES.

Microsoft has always looked forwards into the future but it usually remains behind closed doors until everything is cooked. With multi- and folding-screen technology, it has decided to share that future vision today. Let’s hope that Microsoft has thought carefully about delivering to that timetable.

Now read how the Surface team have beaten Apple’s iPad team in one key area…

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I am known for my strong views on mobile technology, online media, and the effect this has on the public conscious and existing businesses. I’ve been following this space for over ten years, working with a number of publishers, publications and media companies, some for long periods of time, others for commissions, one-off pieces or a series of articles or shows. As Scotland’s first podcaster, I continue to be a prominent voice in the rise of podcasting and new media online, and picked up a British Academy (BAFTA) nomination for my annual coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, alongside contributions to Radio 5 Live, the BBC World Service, presenting Edinburgh local radio’s coverage of the General Election. You’ll find me on Twitter (@Ewan), Facebook, and Google Plus.

Source: Microsoft Faces Immense Pressure After CES Success

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How Snapchat Became The Best-Performing Tech Stock In 2019

Topline: After its stock market debut two years ago floundered, Snapchat has made a strong comeback: Its shares have risen nearly 200% in 2019, outpacing the broader market and easily eclipsing the rest of its peers in the technology sector.

  • Now valued near $23.5 billion, Snapchat sits at $17 per share, up from a $7.2 billion valuation and an all-time low of $4.99 per share last December, according to Bloomberg data.
  • Snapchat’s stock has eclipsed its peers in the tech sector this year: It is far and away the best performer in the iShares U.S. Technology ETF. While rival companies like Facebook and Pinterest are up 40% and 23%, respectively, they can’t compare with the triple-digit growth in Snap’s share price.
  • Strong earnings in recent quarters (with fewer losses than Wall Street had expected), new revenue opportunities and improved profitability have all helped drive Snap shares higher this year.
  • After being written off two years ago, the social media company’s user base and engagement is finally growing again. When Snap had its IPO in March 2017, valued at $31 billion, it hoped to become the next Facebook. But the app never really caught on with the masses—instead, it appealed mostly to younger users, as many adults and advertisers found it difficult to use.
  • Over the last year and a half, the company has transitioned to focus on its younger users again, exploring new revenue opportunities like Snap Games, which was rolled out in the spring. Some Wall Street analysts already predict that the new gaming business could be a big growth driver for Snapchat going forward. Evercore ISI analyst Kevin Rippey, for instance, sees it bringing in as much as $350 million in revenue each year by 2022.
  • Snap has ten “buy” ratings, 25 “hold” ratings, and 4 “sell” ratings from Wall Street analysts, according to Bloomberg data.

What to watch for: Third-quarter earnings, due in November, will be an important indicator. The company’s second-quarter earnings, released in July, saw revenue increase 48% year-over-year to $388 million.

Today In: Money

Surprising fact: Despite growth prospects, it’s still important to remember that Snapchat is losing money: Free cash flow dropped by 32% between the first and second quarter, the first such decline in a year.

Tangent: Since Snapchat stock started its comeback, CEO Evan Spiegel’s net worth has grown from just over $1.4 billion to $3.7 billion.

Critic: While Susquehanna Financial Group’s Shyam Patil remains optimistic about the company’s continued momentum in the short term, Patil highlights that the stock’s “valuation remains elevated,” compared to peers like Facebook and Twitter, and points out competition with Instagram as another potential downside risk, writing that “SNAP must hold onto the key 18-34 demographic to attract advertisers.

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I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: How Snapchat Became The Best-Performing Tech Stock In 2019

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