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Showing posts from September, 2008

Microsoft raises dividends; plans $40 billion stock repurchase

Microsoft on Monday announced a new stock buyback program, saying it would repurchase up to $40 billion worth of its shares through September 2013.
The company also announced plans to sweeten its quarterly dividend to 13 cents, up from the current 11 cents per share, as well as to float up to $6 billion in corporate debt. Part of those proceeds could be used for stock repurchases.
The news boosted the software giant's share price by 3 percent in morning trading, to around $26 per share. Microsoft recently completed a previous $40 billion share buy back.
Two views on the move:
Trip Chowdhry, tech industry analyst at Global Equities Research, thinks the plan is premature. He argues passionately that no big tech supplier is immune from the big hit the tech sector is about to take, as IT spending on tech gets pulled back.
Chowdhry believes Microsoft is moving way too quickly to buy shares at prices sure to be driven much lower. He is in the camp that believes the tech sector is about to cr…

We are under cyberattack... and are often the attackers!

The U.S. and China are epicenters for attempted PC break-ins -- and by a wide margin.
Hackers so far have launched 20.6 million attacks from computers within the USA this year, based on research by computer-security vendor SecureWorks. China is second, with 7.7 million tries. Often, the intrusions originate from the compromised PCs of consumers.
Brazil was a distant third in attempted attacks, with 166,987. The rest of the top 10: South Korea (162,289), Poland (153,205), Japan (142,346), Russia (130,572), Taiwan (124,997), Germany (110,493) and Canada (107,483).
The statistics “clearly show the United States and China have a lot of vulnerable computers that have been compromised and are being used as bots to launch cyberattacks,” says Hunter King, a security researcher for SecureWorks. “This should be a warning to organizations and personal computer users that, not only are they putting their computers and networks at risk by not securing them, but they are actually providing these cyber…

Analyst: Tech stock buybacks a smart move

With Wall Street in full retreat, it makes good sense for tech giants Microsoft and Hewlett Packard -- and even sports wear maker Nike -- to take some of the billions steadily pouring in from sales of Window PCs, HP printers and Nike sneakers, respectively and use some of that cash flow to buy back company shares at bargain outlet prices, says Bill Whyman, head of tech research at International Strategy & Investments.
Whyman points out that Microsoft reported $21.6 billion in cash flow from operations in its fiscal year ended June 30, while HP reported $11.3 billion in cash flow from operations over its most recent three fiscal quarters. "That's a lot of cash," he says. "They can invest it, spend it in sales and marketing, do capital projects, make acquisitions, or give it back to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buybacks."
No one expects Microsoft's latest $40 billion buyback program, to be carried out between now and 2013, to jack up the …

The Google phone is here!

The Google phone has finally arrived! The G-1 has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a trackball for navigation. Other features include 3G network connectivity and the ability to zoom on something by tapping on the screen.
The price: $179 with a two-year service contract.
You can order it today at, or it will be in T-Mobile and some retail stores on October 22. It will be available in the United Kingdom in November and other European countries next year.
Although Google provided much of the phone's software, the hardware is actually made by HTC, a Taiwanese manufacturer of phones, laptops, and other devices. Until recently, HTC was a little-known firm that manufactured products for other companies (including Verizon and Sprint Nextel) behind the scenes. But HTC has begun selling phones under its own name, including the Touch Diamond, which resembles Apple's iPhone.
The G-1 is already winning over some Wall Street analysts. "At a time when Microsoft or…

Google phone won't win any beauty contests

I doubt we'll see long lines around T-Mobile Stores Oct 22 when the T Mobile G1 with Google phone goes on sale.
The long-anticipated device was officially announced this morning at a press conference under New York City's 59th Street Bridge. It's the first phone to run Google's Android mobile software platform.
The $179 device (with a two-year voice and data contract) has such niceties as a slide out QWERTY keyboard and touch screen. Consumers will be able to download applications, some free, some not, from the Android Market storefront. There's also an MP3 store from Amazon.
It comes with a 1GB SD card that can hold about 500 songs (expandable to 8GB).
The device has GPS location-smarts, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, voice recognition, and an iPhone-like "accelerometer" motion sensor. As you might imagine there's easy one-touch access to a offerings from Google's own herd, including Gmail, YouTube, and Google Maps Street View (complete with a built-in compass). …

Photoshop, Premiere, Dreamweaver get upgrades

Adobe announced a whole new suite of Creative Suite 4 software upgrades Tuesday for its flagship image, web and video editing applications, such as Photoshop, Premiere and Dreamweaver.
If you want them all, it’ll cost $2,500 when they go on sale in October. Or you can get stand-alone versions, (such as Photoshop) for $699, or $199 for an upgrade.
We spoke to Adobe senior product manager John Nack about the new Photoshop CS 4, which he says runs faster and more efficiently because Adobe took advantage of something new: video cards.
The graphics cards for desktop computers have gotten cheaper, and much more powerful. Adobe was able to tap into the power of the cards to make productivity much faster, he says.
“A good graphics card will now blow away other computers that don’t have them,” says Nack. He recommends any card that supports “Shader Model 3.
Nack demonstrated a 442 megapixel image (a composite of many, many images) to show the speed of the new Photoshop. Nack was able to open it qu…

Photo slideshows go high-def

ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer, software programs beloved by photographers, now supports burning to high-definition Blu-Ray discs, the next generation DVD discs.
We know what a difference high def makes with video. But for photos? There's no such thing as a high-def JPG. So what’s the big deal?
Paul Schmidt, the founder and president of Austin, Texas based Photodex, which makes the programs, set us straight.
“It’s like taking a picture with a 1 megapixel camera, and then moving to a 6 megapixel,” he told us. “You have six times the resolution—or six times as many dots. You see more definition, more colors, your show is sharper.”
Photo slideshows -- a string of pictures set to music -- have become really popular thanks to the explosion of digital photography, and ease of posting on the Web. While many software programs (Roxio’s Easy Media Creator, Nero, let you make slideshows, ProShow Gold (the $69.95 consumer application) and Producer ($249.95, targeted to professionals…

'Star Wars: The Force Unleashed' sells 1.5M copies

The Force is with this game. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, released last week (Tuesday in the USA), could become the best-selling Star Wars game of all time. Already the game has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide, publisher LucasArts says. For its launch, the company shipped more than 4.3 million copies of the game (for all popular game systems), which lets players wield the magical "Force" as Darth Vader's secret apprentice. The storyline falls between the end of Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and the first theatrical Star Wars film, Episode IV: A New Hope.
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