Techzone 360 Week in Review

By Tony Rizzo November 08, 2013

Let's end our week by looking back at how it began. When Monday rolled around so did BlackBerry's deadline for determining what it was going to do with itself. In previous weeks we had outlined several choices it had in hand for where its future would head. One possibility was an acquisition by Chinese-based Lenovo - which the Canadian government nixed, no doubt with good cause (somehow BlackBerry's NOCs in the hands of a Chinese company…well). The other primary option would be the original $4.7 billion M&A announced several weeks ago. It turns out that none of these things came to pass. Instead BlackBerry has taken itself off the M& table and will remain independent. It was also announced that former Sybase CEO and Chairman John Chen would take over as BlackBerry's Executive Chairman and as interim CEO. This is in fact a potentially positive game changer for BlackBerry.

In further tales of CEOs, the week was also filled with a variety of information concerning Microsoft's search for its own CEO successor. It appears that the company has reduced the number of candidates from an initial list of 40 down to 8. The prime outside suspects, Alan Mulally and Stephen Elop, are still front and center, along with several internal Microsoft candidates. Those two outside candidates remain our own target candidates.

Right around midweek well-regarded and long-time Microsoft analyst Rick Sherlund issued a new research note strongly suggesting Microsoft needs to divest itself of its Bing and Xbox operations. No sooner was this posted than three unnamed people rose up out of the shadows to offer some interesting perspectives on how Stephen Elop would handle Microsoft. Amazingly his plans dovetail nicely with what Sherlund recommends. Very interesting timing on this!

Now that we've got the CEO News of the week out of the way, we can turn our attention to the long awaited and finally arrived Twitter IPO, which we've been covering fairly in-depth for the last six weeks or so. On Thursday the company finally went public as TWTR, and the stock immediately went for a fast ride up the IPO mountain. It briefly touched $50 per share then settled back to about $45. Today the stock began heading back down the mountain. As we write at 3 pm just ahead of the market's close TWTR is at $41.58 - which is the low point so far of the day's trade range. What is TWTR really worth? Some of us believe that number sits between $22 an $32 - and definitely not at $45. What do you think?

This week both IHS and iFixit conducted their teardowns of the Apple iPad Air. We always look forward to these - iFixit lets us know just how difficult a device will be to repair, and IHS always focuses on how much a device sots to actually build based on a carefully detailed parts analysis. If you happen to be a consumer the news isn't that great - an iPad Air will be very hard to fix - the company has scored it a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 for repairability. If you are an Apple investor the news is great. Even though Apple has managed to deliver a substantial level of innovation with the iPad Air, it has in fact managed to do so by also lowering the price for building it - quite an achievement. That means Apple's margins should be positively impacted, always a thing that delights investors.

One thing you won't find on the iPad Air is Apple's fingerprint imaging technology. We can expect to see that in the next generation iPad, but in the meantime the very same IHS folks who did the teardown noted above also put out a research report earlier this week with projections that the fingerprint scanning sensor and technology industry is going to explode from a sleep little industry into a gigantic and booming market segment, with projections for sales of fingerprint-enables smartphones projected to reach a huge 525 million by 2017. Apple continues to drive the mobile market.

To uncover a lot more technology happenings make sure to check out Techzone 360 in its entirety.

Have a great weekend.

TechZone360 Senior Editor

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