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If you're feeling good about the market, you're not alone. Take my hand as we go over some of this week's more uplifting headlines.
1. It's BlackBerry picking season
BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY ) rarely makes the cut in this weekly column, so let's lead with the smarpthone pioneer during this rare appearance.
It's been two months since BlackBerry unveiled its new operating system, but the flagship Z10 phone running BlackBerry 10 will finally hit stateside retailers as soon as the end of next week.
That's not all.
BlackBerry also revealed that one of its partners just placed an order for a million BlackBerry 10 smartphones. The company notes that this is the largest single purchase order in BlackBerry's history.
2. Satellite of love
Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI ) may be stickier than you think.
Speaking at the this week's Piper Jaffray Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference, CFO David Frear was asked if the premium radio giant is losing customers to cars that provide seamless integration for smartphone owners through dashboard stereo systems.
The answer was surprising.
The conversion rate for Sirius XM is actually higher in high-tech cars. Frear argues that the type of driver interested in a car with all of those tech toys is the type of person that is already consuming audio entertainment across several mediums. The appeal of Sirius XM's premium content is greater than someone just buying a car.
In another piece of welcome news for the satellite radio provider, Lazard Capital Markets is increasing its estimates for the company. Lazard has a buy rating and a $4 price target on the shares.
3. Ringing the IPO bell
It's been quiet on the debutante front, but the week's lone IPO was a big winner.
Silver Spring Networks (NYSE: SSNI ) , a provider of "smart grid" gear, priced 4.75 million shares at $17. It wasn't enough. The stock popped 30% higher on its first day of trading.
Silver Spring Networks sees an opportunity in the world's antiquated power grid infrastructure that can't handle accelerating demand or integrate with emerging technologies.
Growth is certainly there. Product revenue dipped last year, but overall revenue has nearly tripled in two years. Silver Spring Networks is still not profitable, but investors are willing to overlook that shortcoming if the potential is there.
Silver Spring Networks definitely has that potential.
Netflix Social launched this week, allowing subscribers to tap into their fellow Facebook buds for video recommendations and conversation fodder.
Netflix users choosing to opt in will be able to share their viewing habits and ratings with others agreeing to the platform. Network Social adds two new categories to the service's recommendation engines, as subscribers can now see titles that their friends rated four or five stars, as well as movies and TV shows that friends recently watched.
No, this won't post on Facebook by default (though you can enable that feature).
Yes, you will be able to "unshare" titles just in case you get caught watching something randy or Gigli.
Netflix had to lobby legislators to overturn an archaic law from the 1980s that prohibited this perk, and now that it succeeded it's ready to spring it into action.
This is a smart move for a few reasons:
- The "Friends' Favorites" tab can inspire future conversations with your video buff friends, especially if you don't ultimately agree with the lofty rating.
- Retention rates should increase as subscribers now won't want to let their friends down by cancelling.
- Homes where several people share the same account may now be tempted to open individual accounts to make the most of this feature.
Did you know that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is on the Facebook board of directors?
5. I can see clearly now
Terrestrial radio juggernaut Clear Channel is another name that doesn't get on this list often, but it enhanced its popular iHeartRadio streaming app this week by implementing desirable elements of live radio.
Clear Channel's "Add-Ins" will allow iHeartRadio users to have brief snippets of local news, weather, or traffic inserted into their streams. It's a smart move, even if it may seem to cannibalize the company's flagship business of operating 850 radio stations around the country.
Clear Channel's iHeartRadio -- broadcasting most of the company's stations and more -- has been turning heads by staying on the leading edge. There isn't a lot of encouragement for terrestrial radio these days, but Clear Channel's doing the right thing by beating someone else to be its own disruptor.
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