The Ipod Family On Microsoft How Viruses Contaminate Your Computer
Apple is easily the most well known name in MP3 players or personal music players. The iPod has taken the music world by storm and each time a new one is released it seems to break all previous barriers. Initially, they were slightly larger than their counterparts but they were hard drive based and so held thousands and thousands of songs but with the introduction of the iPod Nano this soon became a thing of the past.The iPod Nano uses Flash based memory and so it is infinitely smaller. In fact, it is as thin as a pencil.
The iPod is popular for a reason though. As well as being durable and very advanced it features access to iTunes. ITunes is the Internet’s largest music store and allows iPod users to download tracks to their computer or to their MP3 player. ITunes has also become huge in terms of popularity.
The 2GB Nano allows the storage of up to around 500 songs, the 4GB Nano 1,000 songs. They are both available in either black or white and despite their miniature size they are hardy and resistant to general wear and tear. With predictions that the next iPod to be released will be the video iPod, Apple once again look certain to take the portable media device to yet another level.
Buying an iPod now also requires buying into an iPod. Those who own them love them, but there are some that are skeptical due to its price being quite high compared to other MP3 players and the fact that they feel they are paying for the Apple brand. However, the iPod is an excellent personal audio player and you will have to go a long way to find one that is as good and offers a service similar to iTunes.
Microsoft is a difficult situation for me to evaluate. I think the company still has a lot of growth ahead in some areas. But, that depends on where management wants to take it.
There are three core businesses that are already well developed: Windows, Office, and Servers.
The moat in the first two are wide. The Windows moat is huge.
The business model in operating systems is great. You keep upgrading every few years; the hardware needn’t progress for you to find things to tweak and get people to buy the next step up. It’s insanely profitable.
I think the new launch (Vista) will be bigger than people expect (eventually) in how it allows for cross selling other Microsoft products (but we’ll see about that). I expect the press to be very negative at least until well after the launch, because there will always be some bugs and delays.
Eventually, video games will be a big business for Microsoft. I hate the economics of the console business, but love the economics of the publishing (and development) side of things.
I’m sorry to see that Microsoft didn’t use its cash pile to buy up an established business here (publishers were cheap in the market a few years ago; an all cash deal would have worked well. Now, everyone thinks video games will be the next big thing).
The console wars are going well for Microsoft. The two keys to establishing a dominant console are launching first and getting good games on your platform. We’ll see how Sony (SNE) does this round, but I expect them to be the big loser.
Nintendo may surprise here. I think the Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s new console (Wii) will do very well. It’ll be interesting to see the breakdown of the consoles in both the domestic and foreign markets. I think Sony may still be strong overseas, but could be in a much poorer position at the end of this round than they were with the PS2.
Long-term I am optimistic about search. I think Google’s position is much weaker than most people think. I don’t think Microsoft will be the only one to benefit here.
Search is a very natural cross sell with Windows. That’s the direction everything seems to be headed in (combining online and desktop search). For future growth in terms of market share I think Microsoft is in a better position than either Yahoo (YHOO) or Google (GOOG).
I also think we might see a couple other (largely unknown) search engines gain some share.
I think Google’s strength is its brand. Its dominance helps with advertisers more than users. I don’t think it has a lock on users. Also, I think Google has been poorly positioned for doing much of anything outside of keyword search.
I expect to see a lot more in the way of intelligent, social search inspired stuff. Years from now, much of search will have to be helping you find what you didn’t know you wanted to find.
Google is dominant in a different business: helping you find what you know you want to find (but don’t know the name / location). The two types of search are very different. Both will be important, but the growth in other forms of search will be coming off a smaller base and will likely integrate with keyword search. Google has the most to lose here.
Microsoft wants to perform well on mobile devices and on your TV. Compared to competitors it is very strong in these respects.
The strategy seems to be the one I would favor – to control the point of initial contact wherever software is used and then to only venture into the actual application or content side of the business where it is highly profitable to do so. In video games it will be highly profitable. In other areas it is less likely to be very profitable.
I expect to see more generic, web-based applications. These will be less profitable for everyone. Office should hold up well, but not as well as Windows. Basically, Microsoft needs to take what it has in PCs and import that to TVs, Handheld Devices, Consoles, and the Web.
That should be the strategy. I think that is the strategy. These aren’t unrelated businesses that need to be broken up to unlock creativity (as some have suggested). Rather, the profit potential for each is greatly enhanced by being part of Microsoft. If you take these pieces apart they are worth very little. There would only be the three businesses I started off talking about and the console / games business.
Internationally, there is going to be natural growth for Microsoft’s dominant businesses. It won’t be a tremendous growth rate, but it will be strong and will require virtually no additional investment to secure.
Overall, I like the future for software a lot more than hardware, because the marginal gains in the quality of hardware will slow greatly in the years ahead.
The question isn’t what can be done mathematically in terms of increasing specs; it’s what that translates to for the user. We are reaching a point where the individual user will not directly see the benefits of increased hardware performance as clearly as he did in the past.
Much of the research that goes in to this area will only serve to bring down prices and benefit memory intensive businesses – it will not provide as much of a “wow” factor for the user anymore.
This is especially true in games. The situation in desktop applications is already such that improving the software design is where most gains will come from.
Computing power is simply not a scarce resource for most individuals sitting at home or in a cubicle. Advances will benefit some users a lot and will trickle down to the end user (often via the web) through fast responses and cheap services. But, that’s a barely noticeable change.
You’ll see something here akin to the kind of thing you see in the brokerage business. It won’t be obvious, because price competition will never be as great in software.
Generally, you’ll just see the prices for doing anything electronically come down. That’s very different from what we’ve seen over the last few decades, where you also had advancements that attracted new users, because they allowed developers to do something differently, not just more cheaply.
This is a very long-term trend I’m worried about. It could weigh heavily on a business like Dell (DELL), because PCs are actually quite durable; once the rate of obsolescence slows, sales will have to slow as the cycle lengthens.
I think Microsoft’s management is absolutely the best in the business. In fact, I think it’s one of the best in any business.
It would be hard for me to find more than a handful of people I’d rather have managing a business I was part owner of. I also think the current arrangement is a good one.
There is enough of a line between current operations and future investments in the Chairman / CEO split that investors will probably get the greatest benefit from the brilliance of the Chairman this way.
Everyone underestimates Bill Gates. It’s easy, because his great triumph came some time ago now. But, he’s interested in building something lasting. I trust him more than anyone in tech without a question. He always impresses me whether he’s talking about his own industry or some other topic. He has exactly the right kind of mind for someone running a business where the long-run is such a concern.
Qualitatively, I think Microsoft scores close to perfectly. I could cite the profitability stats, but I won’t, because you know they’re better than almost any other business on the planet – and that’s with a huge siphoning off of resources to investments in the future that aren’t required to maintain the cash cow, wide-moat Windows franchise.
Valuation is a bit more troubling. Microsoft is not at the point on an EV/EBIT basis where I’d be buying the stock if there was a risk of no extraordinarily profitable growth in the future. In other words, at the current price, it clearly makes for a bad bond.
The key is earnings growth. I think you have to believe MSFT will have a real future in search, games, and non-PC devices that will fuel future, highly profitable growth.
I think that future is there. As far as a truly large cap stock (say $10 billion or more) it’s about as attractive as anything on the planet right now – and certainly it’s the most attractive stock of any very large U.S. business. Even though Intel (INTC) and Dell are cheap looking, I don’t like them nearly as much. Dell is an interesting situation, but I don’t understand the business well enough.
I have a better idea of where MSFT is headed – and I like it.
I don’t own shares of MSFT. I won’t be buying any either. I don’t normally own such large stocks. I prefer much smaller businesses, because the mispricings tend to get more out of whack. You aren’t going to see MSFT trade at an EV/EBIT of 7.5 or something like that, but you do sometimes get those chances in small (high quality) businesses.
There are a lot of chances to find wild mispricings without much of the future being a concern. Those are the situations I prefer to invest in, because businesses like MSFT have an awfully large anchor with the amount of capital they’ve got – plus, they tend to be less likely to be wildly mispriced.
However, if I had to own one business with a market cap of more than $10 billion and hold it for a lifetime I would buy Microsoft here without hesitation.
Viruses are little bits of software that normally have a negative impact on our computers when they are activated. Usually viruses are attached onto other software programs (games, disk utilities, office documents/Macros, screen-savers), and are activated when these normally harmless programs are started.
A virus is inactive until the infected program is run or an infected boot record on a floppy/CD is read. When the virus is activated it loads into your computer’s memory where it can perform its nasty job or spread itself to other programs on your system or computers in your network.
Floppy disks used in an infected system (or CD-Roms/DVDs burned on an infected system) can then carry the virus to another machine. Programs downloaded from USENET, or file-sharing programs (Kazaa, Morpheus, Limewire etc.) can also spread a virus. More frequently now, email is also becoming a favourite way to spread viruses, Trojan horses and especially internet worms.
It should be made clear, that USENET and file-sharing programs do not create viruses or infected files in any way. It is certain anti-social people who create viruses, and then use these services to spread the infected files to other users on the system.
This is very similar to cars and highways in that Ford, Toyota or the highway makers do not cause traffic accidents, it is the idiot who got drunk and then drove who causes a 14 car pileup. Of course if there weren’t cars or highways there wouldn’t be an accident… then again, the idiot would still be getting smashed and driving his horse-carriage into the store window.
When you get a virus on your computer, it can erase everything that you have on your hard drive. Each virus is different – some of them come up as strange messages on your screen, while others just work at eroding the files on the computer. A virus just doesn’t appear in your computer – you have to put them there, usually by running program from the Internet that contain viruses. They sometimes come from attachments in emails. It is possible that an email from a friend could contain a virus if that person’s computer is infected. With anti-virus software installed on your computer, this will tell you whether or not it is safe to open the email with a message such as “No virus detected in incoming mail:
When you do get a virus through programs or mail, it hides in your computer and when you save data in the computer, you also save the virus. Then it starts to infect all the other files in your computer. When you send files to a friend or co-worker, you also send the virus to his/her computer. After a while the virus starts to crowd the data in your files and causes major problems with the system, such that you may not even be able to open important documents or you may not be able to open any of the programs on the computer. The virus won’t affect the memory of your computer, but it will affect any disks that you use to save your work..
|business, businesses, computer, computers technology, files, future, games, growth, infected, ipod, itunes, microsoft, mp, music, nano, players, programs, search, songs, system, virus, viruses|