Today's Tech Movers: Microsoft Unveils Its Tablet and Facebook Surges

The Greek elections avoided a worst-case scenario but weren't enough to lift the Dow Jones today, as the index fell 0.20%. However, it was a different story in tech, as the Nasdaq hopped 0.78%. Let's take a look at two companies making moves today. Facebook (Nasdaq: FB  ) surged during today's trading, while Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) made noise after-hours.

Facebook rebounds
After stumbling all the way down to $25.52, Facebook has staged a rebound across the past week. Today the company once again saw a large jump, with its shares climbing 4.65% despite turning negative shortly after the opening bell. In general, it was a pretty good day for recent Internet IPOs. Groupon soared 10.8% after analysts defended the company -- a position I disagree with -- and LinkedIn saw its own 3.1% gain. Many high-growth companies have been sold off in recent weeks, so positive chatter around their growth prospects along with the Greek election pushing down fear in the market -- the VIX was down 13% -- led to strong gains.

Microsoft unveils its tablet response
At a 6:30 PM EDT press conference, Microsoft took the wraps off its new tablet. It's called Surface, a name the company had previously used for a much larger table-sized tablet platform. This time Surface is far more compact, with a 10.6" screen and weighing in at 1.5 pounds.

Source: Microsoft.

Source: Microsoft.

The key feature is a full multitouch keyboard that doubles as a cover. Microsoft believes this feature will draw in those who want more PC functionality out of their tablet.

In the past, Microsoft has been loath to move on to the hardware side and risk offending its varying partners. However, the company has also been doing more heavy lifting in showing off varying PC designs. A new commercial series featured homes being remade into PC stores with different models, and Microsoft has even gone as far as creating stores that show off different PC designs in a more Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) -like environment. This tablet appears to be Microsoft's next step toward making Windows on tablets appealing. Likewise, while it could turn off Microsoft's PC partners, pushing the design envelope in a new direction could force them to increase their own innovation in making appealing tablet designs. Companies that own operating systems can "win" by introducing their hardware in multiple ways, so long as they increase the reach of their platform.

Time will tell whether consumers take to Microsoft's tablet, but the odds are stacked against it at the start. While Google has been able to take large amounts of market share in smartphones, the iPad's aggressive pricing has kept any comparatively priced Android tablets from competing. Microsoft didn't announce a price, but it said prices will be comparable with tablets based on ARM Holdings chips.

One interesting wrinkle is the tablet will be available with both an Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) version and an ARM processor version powered by an NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) processor. The newest version of Windows is available for both processor architectures, and it looks like by releasing its tablet for both versions, Microsoft is showing its commitment to both camps from the start.

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Eric Bleeker owns shares of NVIDIA. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Facebook, Apple, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Intel, Apple, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Google, and NVIDIA, writing puts on NVIDIA, and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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  • Report this Comment On June 18, 2012, at 9:25 PM, 1984macman wrote:

    The Surface is basically a tablet on training wheels. It's keyboard/cover is nothing new, but absolutely essential that it have a trackpad to permit it to mimic a portable. But why not just buy a portable, then? Yes, it can operate as a tablet, but there are relatively few (compared to the iPad) apps of worth that are out there and optimized for a tablet interface.

    I think they'll sell a fair number of these to Apple haters, but IMHO smart money will just go with a real portable, and bypass this mish-mash.

  • Report this Comment On June 18, 2012, at 10:43 PM, dastaub22 wrote:

    that's precisely why no one developed the iPad prior to Apple.

  • Report this Comment On June 18, 2012, at 11:01 PM, Resphigi wrote:

    Microsoft playing catch-up again. Expect the usual result - failure. Microsoft doesn't have innovation in its corporate DNA. The business model from the outset was to get dominating market share (DOS), let other companies take the risk of innovation and then shove second rate copies of other company's creations down the throats of consumers who were already invested in their platform.

  • Report this Comment On June 19, 2012, at 12:05 AM, bradeoneill wrote:

    I disagree, I think the keyboard is fantastic and the overall functionality of something like this makes it much better than IPad. I love typing on my laptop and the fact that it will gel so easily with my pc makes me a believer that this will be something I can buy and use. I am hoping the cloud will make it easy to load powerpoint presentations on this and make my over all load a little lighter.

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