I’m back from a timely and tropical Florida break, and now I’m tanned, rested and ready to talk tech stocks.
Issue #1 is Research in Motion, a stock on the upswing (at $44 per share) on news that it plans to roll out a new, full-service TV feature in the next week or so.
The report comes from NewTeeVee.com, which sites multiple sources in describing the new RIMM TV service (as follows):
—It will be a paid-for unlimited monthly subscription service.
—Content will be downloaded through a Wi-Fi connection.
—The service has managed to license content from multiple broadcast and cable networks.
For its part, RIMM isn’t talking. But if Samsung’s experience tells us anything, it’s that profits from mobile phone television apps are hard to come by. Even insider analysts admit that Samsung doesn’t expect to earn “massive” profits from its mobile phone TV service, but have said that it will earn ‘some” revenues for the company.
Still, the TV news, along with some other good stuff, has been enough to propel RIM’s stock upward this week. In addition to the television service rollout, a flurry of Wall Street analyst reports seem to indicate that RIMM’s run-up should continue.
Says Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski in urging customers to buy RIMM stock, “I walked away with increased confidence in our May quarter estimates” and that “consumer demand is stronger, with all major products - the Bold, Curve, Javelin and Storm - continuing to sell very well.” Jankowski says that RIMM’s long-term revenue guidance is on an upward curve, which should boost the company’s stock, which has been down 25% since early February.
The other big technology news comes from Armonk, NY, headquarters of IBM, where Big Blue has announced 5,000 new layoffs in the coming quarter. That’s about 4% of IBM’s total U.S. workforce of 115,000 employees. Most of the lost jobs will come from IBM’s global services area. The company also plans to roll back outsourcing and consulting outlays, but says it will continue hiring outside the U.S., primarily in India and China. According to Reuters, IBM has almost as many employees in Brazil, Russia, India and China (113,000) as it does in the U.S.
But IBM has said that its global business unit is profitable, and its proposed buyout of Sun Microsystems should pave the way for a seamless upgrade in the high end server market. IBM’s stock price is pretty much unchanged – at about $98 per share right after the layoffs were reported.
I'm guessing that IBM is doing the business equivalent of brush clearing, cleaning up for the inevitable market rebound. Consequently, this should be the end of the layoffs for a while at Big Blue.