Today's Top Tech Stories: Growth Stocks on the Rebound, More Patent Mania
Markets were back on the offensive today with the Nasdaq posting a gain of 3.32%. With stocks wildly swinging up and down on a daily basis, one thing is for certain: What was supposed to be a sleepy August after earnings season has turned into a raucous affair. Let's get straight to the top three tech stories from the last 24 hours.
Tech News No. 1: Growth stocks bounce back
Less than two weeks ago I highlighted how "best of breed" networking stocks were getting sold off in the wake of poor earnings from NetApp. Investors feared that IT departments would ratchet back spending, especially on projects deemed "non-essential." Of the three stocks I highlighted, Riverbed (NAS: RVBD) , F5 Networks (NAS: FFIV) , and Aruba Networks (NAS: ARUN) had all retreated between 51.1% and 53.8% off their 52-week highs. To me, this seemed to indicate this group of companies was being sold off in a basket, regardless of their business direction.
However, just seven short trading days later and we've seen quite a bounce from this group. The main storyline was Aruba Networks posting earnings that met expectations, and also issuing sales guidance for next quarter above consensus estimates. Looking forward, while Aruba might be stealing share from wireless networking leader Cisco (NAS: CSCO) , it still commands only about 15.9% of the enterprise wireless market, according to researcher Dell'Oro Group. That compares to Cisco's 55.7% share of the market.
Compare that to the WAN optimization market where Riverbed is beating Cisco and controls 43% of the market. Likewise, F5 has opened up a market share lead over Cisco in load balancing that's reportedly over 20 percentage points. Point being, if you're an investor that was excited about Aruba Networks' earnings, make sure to take a look at some other networking plays. While Aruba's technology might be the class king of Wi-Fi, there are other beaten-down plays in the field that have much stronger market positions in other areas seeing tremendous growth.
Tech News No. 2: Where will webOS go?
Through yesterday, it was a pretty safe bet that the South Korean government's plan to create a new mobile OS was more indignation over Google buying Motorola Mobility than a real threat to Android and Apple's (NAS: AAPL) iOS.
However, interesting news broke today that shows Korean companies might be taking the threat of Google competing with them more seriously than originally anticipated. DigiTimes, a site known for breaking news of varying repute, is reporting that Samsung might be interested in scooping up webOS from Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) .
The story actually makes a good bit of sense. If the Korean government and Samsung are concerned about reliance on Android, buying up webOS on the cheap is a much more attractive proposition than either building a new operating system from scratch or trying to expand sales of Samsung's internally developed mobile OS, named Bada. Instead, Samsung could get additional patent protection through Palm's patents while also considering either integrating webOS and Bada together or using webOS as a new stand-alone platform it heavily promotes.
I'm naturally leery of any company's attempts to revive webOS. The OS has always been lauded for its interface and advanced features, but building up a large developer community and getting consumers to buy webOS smartphones has been a failure. However, with Samsung's massive resources and the government urging it to reduce its reliance on Android, this is one rumor which has some sizzle to it.
Tech News No. 3: More patent spoils
After the bell, Universal Display (NAS: PANL) announced a new licensing agreement with Panasonic Idemitsu and its shares soared once again. As highlighted by my Foolish colleague Anders Bylund, Universal Display saw pops of more than 10% in three out of the last four trading days last week as the company piled on good news that included a far-reaching licensing pact with Samsung. Universal Display has long been a favorite of Anders' as he waited for manufacturing capabilities to hit a point where the technology could go mainstream. To read one of his more recent reports on why he believes this OLED patent king is still a winning investment, click here.
That's it for today's tech checkup. To stay updated on all your favorite technology stocks, make sure to add them to our free My Watchlist service. It delivers up-to-date news and analysis on all of your favorite companies.
At the time this article was published Eric Bleeker owns shares of no companies listed above. You canfollow Eric on Twitterto see all of his technology and market commentary. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Apple. The Fool owns shares of and has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Riverbed Technology, Apple, Universal Display, Google, and Cisco Systems, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple and writing puts in Riverbed Technology. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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