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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.
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.
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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