There have been many noteworthy developments in the technology space recently. Some of these will likely have a material impact on the companies in the sector and the markets they serve.
Intel’s Optimistic Announcement
Intel (INTC - Free Intel Stock Report) has recently increased its guidance for the second quarter. The company has raised its top-line guidance from $13 billion to $13.7 billion for the period, citing greater business demand for personal computers. This is believed to be the result of higher corporate spending on information technology. We have increased our revenue and share-earnings estimates, as a result. This may be good news for other technology companies, as well, since Intel is considered a bellwether for the sector. Investors should keep an eye out for the company’s earnings release, which is scheduled for July 15th.
Blackberry’s First Quarter Earnings Report
Shares of Blackberry (BBRY) finished the month of June on a strong note, as Wall Street cheered the company’s latest earnings release. For the fiscal first quarter (ended May 31st), the mobile communications provider reported revenues of $966 million. The company posted an adjusted loss per share of $0.11, which was considerably better than our expectation. Efforts to cut costs appear to be paying off here. Investors have interpreted these results as an indication of progress for the beleaguered company. BlackBerry is looking to reduce its exposure to the smartphone market, and has been shifting focus toward services and software as it tries to regain ground.
The End of Aereo’s Service
Aereo is a technology company whose service allowed subscribers to view live and time-shifted streams of over-the-air television on Internet-connected devices. In particular, the offering was popular with “cord cutters”, those who looked for ways around paying for cable. However, legal challenges soon materialized. Broadcasters argued that Aereo represented a threat to their business model, redistributing their content without paying fees and reducing the size of their audience. (Cable operators are legally required to negotiate for retransmission consent, usually paying broadcasters for the right to carry their signals.) In late June, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Aereo in a case brought by several broadcast networks, finding that Aereo infringed upon the rights of copyright holders. The court ruled that Aereo’s business model was no different than that of a cable television provider, despite the technological differences. As a result, the case was returned to the lower Court. Aereo then announced that it would immediately suspend its services while consulting with the Court on how to proceed. It remains to be seen exactly how this issue plays out, though it is safe to say many Americans will continue to seek better ways to view their favorite programs. Offerings from companies like Netflix (NFLX), Amazon.com (AMZN), and Hulu should remain popular ways to view content online at relatively low cost.
Facebook to Acquire LiveRail
Facebook (FB) has agreed to acquire LiveRail, a startup that helps businesses buy more relevant video advertisements. Specifically, LiveRail allows organizations to improve targeting for video advertisements. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. This move reflects Facebook’s strategy to offer improved video advertisements online. In recent times, Facebook has been competing with rivals like Google (GOOG) to control more of the online-advertising market outside of their flagship Web sites. To this end, the companies have made investments and acquisitions to add tools for marketers. The digital video advertising market in the United States is expected to grow at a brisk pace in 2014, reaching nearly $6 billion by yearend, according to market research provider eMarketer.
At the time of this article’s writing, the author had a position in INTC.