The Fool recently had author Nicholas Carr stop by the office to talk about his new book, The Shallows. The book focuses on the effect Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and persistent information have on our lives. Nicholas' opinion isn't exactly hidden, he penned the article, "Is Google Making Us Stupid" in advance of the book. Basically, as society begins encountering more short-burst "timely" information and employs less deep-dive critical thinking, Carr believes we're degrading our learning ability and utilizing mental skills our brain isn't optimized for.

In this video, analyst Eric Bleeker looks at Carr's opinion on a variety of IT-focused companies. Carr's an expert across the IT spectrum and also wrote the book The Big Switch, which was an exhaustive look at cloud computing's rise and implications.

With that in mind, we like to play a tongue-in-check game with speakers visiting the Fool. We ask them to give a buy, sell, or hold rating to a series of companies. Here are Carr's thoughts on Google, Facebook, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT):

  • Google: Carr rated the company a hold. His rationale? Forms of media like Twitter and Facebook that provide timely, social media might disrupt its iron-grip on search.
  • Facebook: Carr was reluctant to endorse the company given his social views on its effects, but he still rated Facebook a buy. In the end, Carr believes the critical mass that Facebook has built around its platform is insurmountable, and that the company should see opportunities from its vast user base.
  • Apple: According to Carr, Apple's a buy at this point. Carr believes their app platform is very powerful, and he noted that apps are the key technology he didn't foresee when writing his book on cloud computing in 2006 and 2007.
  • Microsoft: A couple of years ago, Carr would have rated Microsoft a sell, but he's now moving them back to a hold. Coming from a cloud computing expert, that's a surprising move. However, Carr feels that Microsoft's competitors have been slow to capitalize on their weaknesses and have now allowed Mr. Softy to set up a strategy for the cloud age.

To hear more about Carr's talk at the Fool, watch the video:

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