Another Saving Grace for Microsoft
Tedra is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
All the banter these days in the mobile space seems to focus on Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 5, anything powered by Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android; and whether or not Research in Motion will ever start selling a new BlackBerry.
Seemingly lost in the fray is Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) – until this week that is. Two things happened - one of which has already negatively affected the stock, while the other has the potential to help it increase in value over the long-term.
I’ll touch on the bad news first. Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) CEO Paul Otellini reportedly told his company’s employees that Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system is full of bugs and not ready for release. Its launch date is Oct. 25. Microsoft’s stock began to slide after the news of Otellini’s comments went viral. By the closing bell last Wednesday, it was down .74% to $30.17.
Since then, Otellini has called the reporting unsubstantiated, issuing a statement trying to clarify his message. However, in Microsoft’s case, it’s just not that easy to un-ring a bell. The software giant has become known for releasing products with bugs only to tweak them later. The article ran by Bloomberg that caused concerns included comments from a JMP Securities analyst noting that there were concerns about “the level of bugs and fine tuning that appears necessary to get the beta systems we demoed ready for prime time.” According to the article, the analyst wrote this in a note in mid-September in response to versions of the operating system shown at an Intel developer forum.
As far as what Otellini said, or what he intended to mean, I wouldn't give it that much weight. Instead, I take more solace in the action that followed whatever he was trying to say about Windows 8. That action was Intel's preview of several tablets powered by, none other than Microsoft's Windows 8 and Intel's new processor.
Unfortunately, Otellin's comments made for negative news that overshadowed another development this week that stands to significantly benefit Microsoft. The software giant inked an agreement this week with a small, but up and coming company that should help Microsoft increase awareness of its app store for its Windows Mobile 8 platforms. On Tuesday, it was announced that Microsoft had finalized a partnership agreement with Mimvi to make this happen.
I see this as boding well for the upcoming release of the first Windows Phone 8 handsets, which Nokia, announced it will begin selling in November.
Mimvi is making quite a name for itself through the creation of a search engine designed specifically help people find mobile apps. Like Google helps you find things like where to shop for a particular item, Mimvi helps you find mobile apps. While this partnership has specific terms related to Microsoft, this business also helps users find apps for Apple's iPhone and iPad, Google Android-powered devices and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry.
Microsoft’s agreement may also entail it helping Mimvi with its software and even infuse it with cash. While the agreement is bound to give Mimvi more exposure, I think this is just as important for Microsoft. I draw that conclusion after reviewing the growing mobile app space. It is becoming a top priority among manufacturers and software developers to make sure users have the best and most engaging experience when choosing and using apps.
Some estimates place the number of apps Microsoft already has in its app store at more than 100,000. According to AllAboutWindowsPhone.com, it took Windows Phone 14 months to reach 50,000 apps, but only another five months to double that figure to 100,000.
That’s great, but what good is it if people aren’t aware of the apps! That’s where Mimvi stands to make a lot of difference for Microsoft, which has a lot on the line with the launch of its new Windows 8 platform.
Having Mimvi scope out its apps may better position Microsoft in attracting users and developers. Still it will have its work cut out for it when you consider that it still lags Google, which has an estimated 520,000 apps and Apple, which has about 700,000.
So don't count out Microsoft now. It may not be in the news everyday, but I see the company continuing to take steps to offer consumers a solid user experience.
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TwillyD has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, Intel, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Google, and Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.