IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) up today as blue-chip tech stocks rally while more speculative members of the sector are being hit hard. As of 1:20 p.m. EDT the Dow was down 20 points to 16,342. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) was down 11 points to 1,852.
The tech sector is in the spotlight this week as momentum and speculative stocks in the sector continue to sell off. Facebook is down 5%, Amazon is down 5, and LinkedIn is down 9%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average only contains blue-chip tech stocks which are rising or steady today in contrast to the rest of the sector. On top of the general rise among stalwart tech stocks, IBM and Microsoft each have some good news pushing them higher today.
IBM is up 1.5% after the company launched an enterprise app store where consumers and businesses can directly buy applications from IBM. This is a big step for a business that normally sells only to IT departments. However, only about 25% of the apps can be downloaded directly from the store.
This continues the trend of the consumerization among business apps. It used to be that corporate IT departments were responsible for all the business applications that their employees used, but in this day and age, with more businesses allowing you to bring your own device to the office, that is no longer the case. The trend can also be seen in Microsoft's decision last month to bring its Office productivity suite to Apple's iPad. In IBMs case, if this catches on among its customers, it could mean that IBM will no longer need a huge salesforce to peddle its apps to corporations. This direct sales channel could be a boon then to the bottom line, as there are fewer marginal costs for each additional sale.
Microsoft is up 1.7% after the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear Novell's appeal of its antitrust case against Microsoft. The case, which Novell brought in 2004 and for which it was seeking $3 billion, stemmed from Microsoft withholding details of Windows 95 from Novell in order to give Microsoft's Word an advantage over Novell's WordPerfect. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Novell in September of last year, saying that Microsoft did not need to share advance details of its proprietary software with a competitor. This puts to rest a case that could have cost Microsoft a pretty penny -- and potentially opened it up to similar lawsuits.