Don't let it get away!
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Sorry, Jeannie -- I dream of IPOs. Some of my fantasies are mere pie-in-the-sky hopes; a few, I know, will never happen. But a tiny core of realistic opportunities always remains.
Not long ago, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) was just another hopeless dream, stuck in private ownership and seemingly out of reach. Now, I'm a happy shareholder of a tech giant with a $179 billion market cap and $2 billion a day in average trading volume. Not bad for a ticker that started out with a $27 billion market cap in 2004.
Put that stock down and back away slowly
If online networking sites like Facebook and Twitter want to make the most of their success, they'd better cash in with IPOs before their 15 minutes of fame run out. According to The Wall Street Journal and its usual cadre of anonymous sources, Facebook would hit the market at $40 billion or thereabouts in 2011. Twitter has no profitable business model yet, but it's estimated to fetch $1 billion or more in a hypothetical IPO.
Online giants like Google, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) , and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) are falling all over themselves nowadays to integrate Twitter and Facebook into their own services, adding fuel to the fire. But what happens when one of those giants figures out how to do Facebook or Twitter's job even better? I'm envisioning fields of Dutch tulip bulbs evaporating in the sunset.
Internet-centric IPOs are so last decade, you know. In the more tangible world of hardware and software, better opportunities await.
Here's the hardware you wanted
Technology retailer Newegg has actually filed for an IPO, hoping to collect $175 million under the proposed ticker EGGZ. Newegg has been my preferred destination for hardware buys for years, dating back to when I made some pocket money building computers from parts. The catalog is always well-stocked, customer service is egg-cellent (sorry!), and the IPO cash could be put to good use marketing the existence of this brilliant little seller. Best Buy is for emergency use only in my book, because Newegg simply does Best Buy's business better.
Don't forget the software!
On the software side, I keep an eye on Canonical, the organization behind the Ubuntu Linux platform. Ubuntu started out as a desktop operating system, where it was a cheaper and quirkier alternative to Microsoft Windows. But it's now making serious inroads into the server market, challenging the likes of IBM (NYSE: IBM ) and -- again -- Microsoft.
It's hard to get the average desktop user to change systems to something unfamiliar, but it's much easier to convince IT managers that there's a better platform available. Dell (Nasdaq: DELL ) recently backed servers with Ubuntu preinstalled, and Canonical is exploring cash-making avenues such as cloud computing and backup services. It might never reach critical mass and go public, but investors in Red Hat (NYSE: RHT ) and Microsoft will have a serious alternative available if it does. Here's hoping.
Did I miss your favorite upcoming IPO, real or imagined? Spill the beans in the comments below, and let the spitball fights commence.