Leaked : Next Version Of Windows Is Coming Soon

Microsoft Just Accidentally Revealed The Next Version Of Windows Is Coming Soon
Microsoft’s Chinese division may have accidentally revealed the next major update to Windows over social media, suggesting its launch is right around the corner.
Microsoft China may have outted the company’s plans in a post on Chinese social network Weibo by asking the following: “Microsoft’s latest OS Windows 9 is coming soon, do you think the Start menu at the left bottom will make a comeback?”

The company also posted an image with what appears to be Windows tiles arranged to form the number nine, along with the question. Microsoft later confirmed to The Verge that this image is simply a mockup, meaning it has nothing to do with what Windows 9 will look like.

 

The Weibo post was removed quickly, but Chinese website Cnbeta captured a screenshot before Microsoft took it down, as The Verge first spotted.

We expect to learn more about what the next iteration of Windows will entail later this month. Microsoft is said to be preparing a press event for Sept. 30, where it will presumably unveil a Technology Preview of the upcoming operating system. It’s unclear exactly what a Technology Preview includes, but it’ll likely provide a glimpse at upcoming Windows features such as the mini Start menu.

From what we’ve heard about Windows 9, it seems like Microsoft is making some significant design changes to make its mobile-friendly OS more palatable for traditional PC users.

Mary J. Foley of ZDNet, who has an excellent track record when it comes to reporting Microsoft news, reported that Microsoft will remove the Charms sidebar from Windows for its next release. Users may also be able to open “Metro”-style apps in separate windows on the desktop as well.

Microsoft Has Nearly $93 Billion In Overseas Cash

And It’s Reduced Its Tax Bill By Almost $30 Billion
– what are you doing about reducing your taxes ?

Microsoft’s stash of cash stored overseas, not subject to U.S. taxes, is growing.

In its latest regulatory filing, the software giant said it has now stockpiled $92.9 billion offshore and that this money could have cost the company $29.6 billion in taxes, but didn’t.

That compares to $76.4 billion from the previous year, worth an estimated tax bill of $24.4 billion, according to a report released in May from Washington think tank Citizens for Tax Justice.

Here’s the exact language Microsoft used in the filing to discuss its offshore cash:

As of June 30, 2014, we have not provided deferred U.S. income taxes or foreign withholding taxes on temporary differences of approximately $92.9 billion resulting from earnings for certain non-U.S. subsidiaries which are permanently reinvested outside the U.S. The unrecognized deferred tax liability associated with these temporary differences was approximately $29.6 billion at June 30, 2014. Income taxes paid were $5.5 billion, $3.9 billion, and $3.5 billion in fiscal years 2014, 2013, and 2012, respectively.

Just to give you an idea of how much money $30 billion is, that’s how much Microsoft’s home state of Washington will spend in two years, reports International Business Times’ David Sirota, who first noticed Microsoft’s increase in offshore cash.

Foreign Sales Mean No U.S. Taxes
U.S. corporations don’t have to pay taxes on income they earn overseas as long as they also spend that money overseas. If they try to “repatriate” the money — bring it back to spend in the U.S. to, say, pay shareholder dividends or hire new employees or make an acquisition — they are taxed at a high 35% rate, less any taxes they already paid on the money in the country where it was earned, according to the CTJ.

However, like all things taxes, it’s not that simple.

There’s been growing debate over how some companies assign income to overseas subsidiaries. For instance, a company can license patents to foreign offices that have lower tax rates. When the company sells a product that relies on those patents, it gets to assign at least some of that money to the foreign office and not pay U.S. taxes on it. That’s true even if the tech was originally invented in the U.S.

In 2012, Microsoft top tax person, Bill Sample, explained during testimony to a Senate subcommittee looking into the offshore tax situation. He said:

The legal ownership of intellectual property developed as a result of our research and development activities generally resides with Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. In accordance with Internal Revenue Code Section 482 and applicable Treasury Regulations, our three foreign ROC [regional operating centers] groups, Ireland, Singapore and Puerto Rico, license the rights to use the relevant intellectual property to produce and sell Microsoft software products in their respective regions.

Lots Of Companies Do It – you can too
Microsoft certainly isn’t alone in stockpiling cash overseas, out of the reach of the IRS.

Fortune 500 corporations have stashed nearly $2 trillion in offshore accounts, saving about $550 billion in taxes, the CTJ says.

Microsoft isn’t even the biggest cash hoarder. That would be Apple. In September, Apple reported it had $137.7 billion in offshore accounts. The CTJ report also found that Cisco had $48 billion, HP had $38 billion, Google nearly $39 billion, and Oracle $26 billion offshore, based on each company’s latest annual report as of May.

And plenty of non-tech companies do the same: GE with $110 billion, Pfizer with $69 billion, and so on, says CTJ.

However the tech industry, led by Microsoft and Apple, are the poster children. The CTJ raised this red flag in its report:

A large number of the biggest corporations appear to be increasing their offshore cash significantly. 105 of the companies surveyed in this report increased their declared offshore cash by at least $500 million each in the last year alone. Eight particularly aggressive companies each increased their permanently reinvested foreign earnings by more than $5 billion in the past year. These include Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Cisco.

None of this is illegal. Far from it. A corporation owes it to its shareholders to keep its tax bill as small as possible.
What these companies want is an overhaul of regulations that will permanently reduce the tax rate on repatriated cash.

They would also welcome something called a “tax holiday” which would give them a one-time pass to use the cash in the U.S., paying little to no taxes on the money.

Cisco CEO John Chambers has been advocating for a tax code overhaul on offshore cash for years.

Early last year, he even went so far as to say that Cisco would stop hiring U.S. employees or acquiring U.S. companies if the tax law wasn’t changed. That turned out to be an empty threat. Cisco has since acquired U.S. companies including its $2.7 billion acquisition of Sourcefire last year.

A Catch-22
Using the offshore loophole to avoid paying U.S. taxes is also a Catch-22. Unless corporations can convince the U.S. to let them use that money without the high tax rate, or they give up and pay it, they can’t touch the money at home.

When asked for comment on this story, Microsoft PR pointed us to a portion of Bill Sample’s 2012 Congressional testimony:

Microsoft’s tax results follow from its business, which is fundamentally a global business that requires us to operate in foreign markets in order to compete and grow. In conducting our business at home and abroad, we abide by U.S. and foreign tax laws as written. That is not to say that the rules cannot be improved–to the contrary, we believe they can and should be.

In our view, the U.S. international tax rules are outdated and are not competitive with the tax systems of our major trading partners. These rules all too often provide a disincentive for U.S. investment.

Opting Out Of Paying Taxes
In 2012, Cutler shifted the company’s ( Eaton) domicile to Ireland through an acquisition of Cooper Industries Plc, a company run from Texas that had gained a foreign address through a 2002 inversion. With the help of the new domicile, Cutler predicts his company’s tax rate will be about 5 percent this year.

The Tax Haven System : Introduction
A system for tax minimization is how my mentor amassed his first fortune.

THE SYSTEM was domestic – I have now expanded that to concentrate on offshore tax havens as a system to minimize taxes to allow for wealth retention and creation.

Our system involves the multi-layered use of incorporation, trusts, foundations and bank accounts as reflected in client needs for security and tax minimization.

THE BOTTOM LINE We can assist you at saving tax dollars – IF you will stop ” thinking it over” and take action.

There can be no standard reply as to which is the best offshore jurisdiction.

That answer actually depends upon the anticipated use of the offshore company, upon the personal and business circumstances of its owners and upon variety of tax regulations in force in the countries where the offshore company will engage in business.
Contact Information

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Email info@jackbassteam.com

or Call Jack direct at 604-858-3202 – Pacific Time 9:00 – 5;00 Monday to Friday

The main intention of our website is to provide objective and independent information that will help the potential investor to make his own decisions in an informed manner. To this effect we try to explain in a simple language the different processes and the most important figures involved in offshore business and to show the different alternatives that exist, evaluating their pros and cons. On the other hand we intend – in terms of offshore finance, bringing these products to the average citizen.

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The $199 HP Stream 14, The First Of Microsoft’s Chromebook Killers

hp-stream-14-microsoft
Hewlett-Packard

In mid-July, Microsoft announced its uber-cheap line of Windows 8.1 notebooks, with the cheapest model from HP, called “the Stream,” costing just $199.

With such a cheap price point, Microsoft is taking aim at Google’s line of super-cheap Chromebooks, which also start at $199.

Chromebooks are flying off the shelves thanks in part to the education sector, which is swiping up Google’s cheap internet-powered notebooks for classroom use. But Microsoft believes its own cheap laptops could better compete in the enterprise, particularly in financial services and banking, thanks to its popular Windows software.

Microsoft and HP didn’t show off the Stream notebook when it was announced in July, but thanks to some sleuthing from German site Mobile Geeks and Liliputing, we can now see several purported listings of HP’s Stream 14, which will rival the company’s Chromebook 14 in terms of technical specifications, even though the Windows 8.1 model will be roughly $80 cheaper.

As PCWorld’s Ian Paul points out, the Stream 14 and Chromebook 14 share many of the same specs, including the same number of ports, same 2GB of RAM, and same 14-inch display with a 1,366×768 resolution. But the Stream 14 comes with a more powerful quad-core 1.6 GHz system-on-a-chip from AMD, compared to the 1.4GHz Intel Celeron processor that powers HP’s Chromebook 14.

The Stream will also boast more onboard storage: Compared to the Chromebook 14’s 16GB of storage, the Stream will offer 32GB and 64GB options.

Based on the leaks, the Stream will also boast a 720p front-facing webcam, Bluetooth 4.0, a USB 3.0 port, four speakers with Beats audio, and a 2,960mAH battery. The laptop will also run on Windows 8.1 and ship with two-years and 100GB of cloud storage from Microsoft’s OneDrive.

But of course, the Stream 14 notebook hopes to attract users with its price point. Compared to most entry-level PCs, which typically cost around $1,000, Google’s various Chromebooks average at about $300. Microsoft’s first batch of cheap Windows 8.1 notebooks will cost between $199 and $279.

Microsoft has an anti-Google website called “Scroogled,” where the company collects and creates material to put down Google’s various services. When it comes to the Chromebook, Microsoft’s main criticism is that the computer “is a brick” when it’s not connected to the internet, since most Chrome OS applications require an internet connection. Google looks to address some of those criticisms by adding more apps that work in offline mode.

So, as it turns out, Microsoft and Google have succeeded at creating near-identical laptops at near-identical prices. But the HP Stream 14 laptop might get the slight edge right now since it can do more when it’s offline.

 

Nokia Sale To Microsoft

Image representing Nokia as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

NOK : NYSE : US$3.90 HOLD 
Target: US$5.50 

COMPANY DESCRIPTION:
Nokia Corporation designs, manufactures, and sells a full range of mobile devices as well as network infrastructure along with services and software on a global basis. The company offers mobile phones and devices based on common mobile phone standards and offers devices that range from entry level to high-end, multifunction smartphones.
All amounts in US$ unless otherwise noted

Technology — Communications Technology — Wireless Equipment
NOKIA SELLS DEVICES & SERVICES BUSINESS TO MICROSOFT FOR ALL-CASH €5.4B TRANSACTION
Investment recommendation: With our global surveys indicating gradually improving Windows Phone 8 smartphone sales due to strong sales of the Lumia 520 and other mid/low-tier Lumia smartphones, we believe the timing makes sense for Microsoft to purchase Nokia’s Devices & Services business in order to fund stronger long-term growth trends. We maintain our HOLD rating but increase our price target to $5.50 ahead of Nokia’s 8 AM EDT conference call.
Investment highlights
 Microsoft will pay €3.79 billion to purchase Nokia’s Devices & Services business and €1.65 billion to license Nokia’s patents for a total transaction price of €5.44 billion in cash. We believe the transaction should close in the first quarter of 2014.
 Our recent survey work indicated steadily improving sales of the Lumia 520 and other low/mid-tier Lumia smartphones. In fact, our surveys indicated solid Lumia 520 sales not only in emerging markets such as Russia and key APAC region countries, but also in developed markets such as the U.K. and the U.S.
 We believe Microsoft with its strong balance sheet and increased focus on hardware devices can help accelerate the growing WP8 smartphone momentum. We estimate Lumia sales now constitute over 85% of WP8 smartphone sales. We believe Microsoft has recently worked more in concert with Nokia to drive sales, as evidenced by Microsoft’s advertising campaign featuring Lumia features and by Nokia 1020’s ranking as a top 3 selling smartphone at AT&T.
Stephen Elop is stepping down as CEO, as Nokia focuses on its three businesses of NSN, HERE, and Advanced Technologies.
 Due to improving Lumia sales trends and prior to the acquisition closing , we slightly raise our 2H/C2013 and C2014 D&S handset sales estimates, resulting in our 2013 non-IFRS EPS estimate increasing from $0.04 to $0.06 and our 2014 estimate increasing from $0.07 to
$0.10.
Valuation: Our $5.50 price target (was $33.30) is based on our sum-of-parts analysis.

 

Advanced Micro Devices AMP Raising Target Price

AMD

AMD (Photo credit: Majiscup – The Papercup & Sleeve)

AMD : NYSE : US$4.64
BUY 
Target: US$6.00

NOTE: This Company was an ” avoid” in the Apprentice Millionaire Portfolio ( available at Amazon.com ) just six months ago .

COMPANY DESCRIPTION:
Advanced Micro Devices designs and produces microprocessors, graphics and media solutions for the computing, communications and consumer electronics markets. AMD is the world’s second-largest producer of microprocessors.
All amounts in US$ unless otherwise noted.

Investment recommendation
We are increasing our estimates and raising our price target to $6 following meaningfully higher Q3 revenue guidance versus consensus
expectations and our above consensus estimate. While upside to Q3 is largely console derived, AMD management is confident they are gaining
share in GPU in the 2H13 following small gains in Q2, and going forward growth will increasingly involve gross margin accretive areas
including embedded (STB, medical devices, digital signage), professional GPU and dense servers. Our rating remains BUY as we believe this
turnaround story appears to have legs.
Investment highlights
 AMD reported Q2/13A (Jun) after the close. Revenues and EPS were $1.161B/($0.09), better than our estimates of $1.110B/($0.12) and
consensus expectation of $1.108B/($0.13). The 7% sequential increase in revenues came in above their guided range (-1% to +5%) driven by a 12% Q/Q growth in Computing partially offset by a 5% Q/Q decline in Graphics and Visual solutions.
 AMD guided revenue in Q3 to increase 22% Q/Q, plus or minus 3% mainly driven by the ramp of the semi-custom game console chip sales. At the mid-point, revenue guidance of $1.42B was above our prior estimate of $1.29B and consensus estimate of $1.22B. Operating expenses for Q3 are expected to be $450 million and gross margins are expected to decline to 36%.
Valuation
AMD’s price target of $6 is 0.7x our C2014 sales estimate of $5.835B.

Oracle BUY

Image representing Oracle Corporation as depic...

Image via CrunchBase

ORCL : NASDAQ : US$33.77
BUY 
Target: US$42.00

Company description

Oracle develops, licenses and services database and middleware software, applications software, and hardware systems worldwide. The firm is the world’s second largest application software firm, and a top five systems vendor. Oracle was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Redwood City, CA.

Investment thesis


Our research indicates that aggregate software demand improved sequentially from spring. However, there are treacherous pockets of weakness. We expect Oracle to navigate those challenges and post at least a consensus quarter.
However, it won’t surprise us if management takes the environment into consideration and guides conservatively for August. If our scenario plays out, the right strategy would be to wait to build a full ORCL position after its prints the quarter on Thursday night. Intermediate term, we expect a choppy summer for the world economy and stock market, and this typically means safe-port-inthe- storm stocks like ORCL outperform.
 Estimates moved to in line with consensus for May quarter and below consensus for August. The May estimate change is primarily the impact of the sharp yen decline during the quarter, and the unguided August change  reflects our view that management does not want to miss again after doing so twice in five previous quarters.
 Intangible upside – what could unexpectedly pop ORCL shares. Several of Oracle’s large cap tech peers have materially increased their dividends or announced substantial repurchases (MSFT, CSCO, INTC and IBM). We believe Oracle should do the same, but we have heard nothing that indicates that such a move is imminent. However, Oracle could surprise everyone with a balance sheet/capital allocation move, in which case our suggestion to wait until ORCL prints its quarter would be late as the stock would likely pop.

21Vianet Group

VNET : NASDAQ : US$9.46
BUY 
Target: US$15.00

COMPANY DESCRIPTION:
The largest carrier-neutral Internet data center service provider in China, 21Vianet hosts customers’ servers and networking equipment and provide interconnectivity services. The company also provides managed network services through its data transmission network

Investment recommendation


We maintain our BUY rating and $15.00 price target following 21Vianet’s Q1/13 report that demonstrates its ability to sustain its growth
momentum and overcome some of the temporary disruptions from capacity upgrades. We believe that the incremental investments in new
data centers, network capacity and cloud computing, while temporarily dampening margins, will result in higher growth and profitability in 2H13
and beyond. Priced at 5.7x 2014E adj. EBITDA, the shares of VNET offers compelling risk/reward for investors, in our view.
Investment highlights
 Solid revenue, slightly soft margin on investments – Q1/13 revenue came in stronger than expected (RMB 435.7M vs. 433.3M CGe) with
slightly lighter-than-expected EBITDA (RMB 80.1M vs. 82M). We note that higher-than-expected operating costs were attributed to higher
bandwidth costs with greater network capacity and continued investments ahead of revenue contribution from cloud computing.
 Signs of hope from Q2/13 outlook – Although Q2/13 guidance is not as strong as we had hoped, it nonetheless confirms our view that the
disruption from recent capacity upgrade is now behind and that the company’s growth momentum is picking up again. Following two quarters of decelerating growth, we believe the change in trajectory  marks an important inflection point for investors.
 shift to higher MRR cabinets in large cities and revenue contribution from Microsoft cloud will likely improve both revenue and margins

Blame It On Bill Gates ! PC Sales Slide

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

Microsoft (MSFT : NASDAQ : US$28.79)
Dell (DELL : NASDAQ : US$14.10)
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ : NYSE : US$20.90)
According to IDC, personal computer sales fell 14% this quarter, on a year-over-year-basis, the largest decline
since IDC started tracking sales in 1994.

The research firm had forecast a 7.7% drop in the quarter. “At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market,” said Bob O’Donnell, IDC Program Vice President, Clients and Displays in IDC’s press release.

He added, “While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market. Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft is developing a smaller, 7-inch version of its Surface tablet, according to sources close to the matter.

One person familiar with Microsoft’s product plans said the 7-inch tablets weren’t part of the company’s strategy last year, but Microsoft executives realized they needed a response to the rapidly growing popularity of smaller tablets like Google’s (GOOG) 7-inch Nexus, which was announced last summer, and the 7.9-inch iPad Mini introduced by Apple (AAPL) last October.

Windows 8 Is A Flop : New York Times

Microsoft’s attempt to regain relevance and defend its core franchise with Windows 8 is off to a “shaky,” “tepid” start, says the New York Times.

 

Emmanuel Fromont, president of the America’s division of Acer, the number four PC maker, tells Nick Wingfield at the Times sales of Windows 8 PCs are coming in worse than expected. “It’s a slow start, there’s no question,” says Fromont.

Fromont isn’t the only person telling this story. At the end of November, Asus CFO David Chang said, “Demand for Windows 8 is not that good right now.”

And in the Times’ story, NPD analyst Stephen Baker is quoted as saying, “I think everybody would have hoped for a better start.” (NPD previously issued a negative report on the state of Windows 8.)

There are two reasons Windows 8 sales are slower than expected.

  • Windows 8 is a new experience with a steep learning curve that is intimidating some consumers.
  • Consumers are buying iPads, and delaying upgrades of their Windows-based PCs.

We didn’t reach out to Microsoft for comment on this story, but we know what it would say.

Microsoft would say it’s still too early to judge. It would say NPD’s data set is incomplete. It would say that it announced 40 million Windows 8 upgrades, which is better than it did with Windows 7 over a comparable period of time.

All of those are legitimated rebuttals. This is an ongoing story for Microsoft. But at first glance, it’s just not looking great for Microsoft.

Nederlands: Logo van Microsoft Windows 1.0, 2....

Nederlands: Logo van Microsoft Windows 1.0, 2.xx,3.xx, 95, 98, Me en 2000. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apple and Google Team Up On Kodak

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apple (AAPL : NASDAQ : US$529.82)
Google (GOOG : NASDAQ : US$685.42
Apple and Google are teaming up to offer more than $500 million to
purchase Kodak‟s patents out of bankruptcy, according to sources close to the matter.

The rivals have partnered after leading two separate groups this summer to buy some of Kodak‟s 1,100 imaging patents. The Apple-led group included  Microsoft (MSFT) and Intellectual Ventures Management LLC while Google‟s team included RPX Corp. and Asian makers of its Android phones. The two offers were both below $500 million. The deal is important for Kodak, who obtained commitments for $830 million in exit financing last month, contingent on the sale of its digital-imaging patents for at least $500 million.
Apple, Google and Kodak all declined to comment on the potential purchase. In the past, Kodak has said tha the patents could

be worth as much as $2.57 billion and that they have generated more than $3 billion in licensing revenue. That said, one industry expert said that “the portfolio is actually worth much less because it has been widely licensed.”

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