Well, Microsoft’s decision to delay the launch of the consumer editions of Windows Vista until January 2007 from November 2006 has cast a pall on the tech market this morning. While the delay in itself is not that lengthy, the strategic timing is going to cause an awful headache for many people. The Christmas holidays are one of the larger selling points of the year and without that pre-holiday release, the initial demand for the new OS is going to be less than it would have been otherwise. It’s awfully hard to find an occasion in the new year to buy a new computer. I don’t think, ‘Honey, happy Valentine’s Day! I got you a nice HP laptop’ would go over too well in most places. Microsoft’s citing quality issues for the delay. Then again, they don’t seem to have any problems with releasing other software with bugs and patching them like hell later on.
And oh, the corporate versions of Vista will still be available late in 2006. Those are the big cash cows for Microsoft. The lack of a consumer edition is just going to screw over the computer makers really.
Apple has been running into trouble with the law recently, it would seem. Just yesterday, French law makers passed a bill that would force companies to open up their DRM (digital rights management) to other companies. Apple, with its iTunes music store is about as closed as it gets these days, but with the popularity of the iPod devices, this doesn’t seem to phase many people at all. One of the reasons for Apple’s great success in the music industry has been because of the exclusive working of the iTunes music store and the iPod. There’s seamless integration, and no other devices to support, etc. As a result, some analysts (Piper Jaffray in this case) thinks that Apple will just quietly pull the iPod and iTunes music store from France. This would be a pretty big loss for some people in the country, but in reality not too big of a deal for Apple. They derive only about 2% of their revenue from iPod and iTunes Music Store sales in France. The big worry will be if other countries take this as a precedent and impose their own laws against Apple’s and other companies’ DRM technology.
On a totally separate note, Apple’s stock has been hitting some 4-month lows recently. However, with the growth rates expecting in the next couple years, along with its solid position in the market right now, I see no reason for it to go much, if any, lower. The tech community goes overboard with excitement at every little Apple fart and I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. So around the support level of $60, this would be a pretty solid stock to own. (Hey, look at Akamai. Since I wrote about it about a month ago, it’s been up over 10%.)
[tags]Microsoft, Windows Vista, Apple, iTunes[/tags]