The one constant in an ever-changing technology and communications landscape is the fact that change is ever present, and it is coming at investors at a pace that would have been almost unheard of a short 15 years ago. Think about it: the smartphone was born as the iPhone, and that was only 11 years ago in January of 2007. With the rate of change so rapid, it’s crucial for investors know what’s around the proverbial corner.
At 24/7 Wall St., we constantly screen our research universe and other sources for information that may be helpful in investing, or at the very minimum interesting. Often the data and catalysts we find can be helpful in determining the direction of technology or communications companies.
We found 10 top catalysts and stories, courtesy of the research team at Baird, that could be big going forward.
1. In an incredible move forward, according to the Wall Street Journal, Apple Music is catching Spotify in the United States. This is big, as Spotify has been hammering away at Pandora and its one-time dominance in the music streaming world.
2. CNBC recently reported that Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) may be thinking about outbidding Disney for the Fox assets it is buying. This would be a bold move for the cable giant, which also owns NBC Universal.
3. According to CNET, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is partnering with Asian giant Alibaba to allow in-store and online purchase via Alipay. This could widen the technology giant’s appeal to the vast consumers in Asia and beyond.
4. The New York Times has reported that Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) is hiring the “Game of Thrones” creators for new Star Wars movies. This could be huge as many critics have seen the franchise tiring, and the most recent Star Wars movie, “The Last Jedi,” underwhelmed many of the faithful fans.
5. Techcrunch has reported that Cisco, Apple, Aon and Allianz have made a cybersecurity deal. The deal will allow businesses with their technology products to receive better terms on their cyber insurance coverage, including lower deductibles – or even no deductibles, in some instances.
6. Google Fiber, which offers 1-gigabit speed for uploads and downloads, which is 100 times faster than the current fastest offerings, has hired former Time Warner Cable executive Dinesh Jain to be the CEO of the company’s Access division. There are some that think that in 10 years or less Google could dominate internet delivery. At the incredible speeds it offers, a full-length movie can downloaded in minutes.
7. Tablet market sales declined a whopping 6.5% in 2017. This may provide an impetus for the tech companies that sell tablets to raise the game in the products substantially, or depart the arena altogether.
8. Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) rejected Broadcom’s latest massive $121 billion bid. The question now is whether someone else be willing to come in higher than that. The two companies are expected to meet later this week as Qualcomm views the bid as too low from a valuation standpoint, but it is willing to discuss it, or so it appears.
9. CNBC reported that ESPN finally will be offering an “over-the-top” version of its product this spring for $4.99 per month. This is huge as many people have cut the proverbial cable cord but may still be willing to spend that amount for the vast amount of ESPN programming.
10. Lastly, despite being one of the most exciting games in recent Super Bowl history, one which included the “Philly Special,” a play that will go down in Super Bowl lore as perhaps the gutsiest call ever, the ratings for the big game were down from last year.
There you have it, 10 catalysts and tidbits that could all have some bearing going forward. In a world that changes daily for technology and communications companies, just holding serve is not enough. The big companies know that, and the recent tax reform package may help them to achieve loftier goals.