Entries in IBM (6)


Stocks to Watch in 2013

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's that time of year, when we all want to know what stocks we should be buying in the coming year, or thinking about buying, or steering very, very clear of. So here are seven of the biggest stocks worth keeping your eyes on.

1. Google: Not surprisingly, the top stock pick on almost every analyst's list is—you guessed it—Google. "It's a great company," Paul Larson, chief equity strategist at Morningstar, in Chicago, IL, told ABC News. "Not only do they have the best search algorithm, but they also benefit from a network effect with their ad platform. The more users on the platform, consumer and business, the better the platform becomes. They also have a rapid growth in other businesses, such as You Tube. It's just a fantastic business."

2. Kraft: Never mind that it split from its global snack business earlier this year; it still has large competitive advantages. Its portfolio includes: Kraft, Oscar Mayer, and Maxwell House, each of which generate more than $1 billion in annual sales. That doesn't include another 20-odd brands that produce more than $100 million in sales each year, and "substantial economies of scale in the North American market, with more than $19 billion in annual sales," Morningstar senior analyst Erin Lash said. "We think the market is overlooking the substantial cash flows that Kraft's grocery business generates--which we forecast at 10% of sales on average--and income investors likely will find Kraft appetizing as the firm's top priority for cash is to fund a highly competitive dividend."

3. Amazon: The Seattle, Washington-based corporation has been operating at a competitive advantage for a while. Makes sense: The company has a very strong brand name; it's one of the first places people go when they want to shop online. Plus, "They have a cost advantage from their robust distribution in that they can get time to customers cheaper than their competitors can," said Larson.

4. Yahoo: With a new CEO at the helm and a recent acquisition, all eyes have been looking to Yahoo to see what it does. "It's a dark horse that has been beaten up, but we see a lot of potential in it," said Larson.

5. Apple: With the demise of Steve Jobs, it's safe to say that Apple doesn't have the same panache it once did. But that doesn't mean it's not one of the most successful companies out there. "We think Apple continues to represent one of the best investments in technology," said Rob Cihra, tech analyst at Evercore Partners, in New York. "Apple is effectively creating its own growth by creating unique and beautiful products that consumers really want to buy, staying ahead of mostly me-too competition. They're the ones pioneering every new direction, and while there's a lot of competition, the competition seems to be following Apple's lead while Apple is consistently out front."

6. Facebook: Despite its troubles after its initial public offering, "Facebook is a fantastic business," said Larson. "They have very high profit margins, very high returns on capital. They have a billion users worldwide and half are using it on a daily basis." And, he adds, the platform has a network effect: That is, you use it because your friends do, and they use it because that's where you are.

7. IBM: At 101 years old, IBM has long been in a leadership position. And over the last ten to fifteen years the company has done an "excellent job of transforming themselves from a hardware company into really high value software and services company, to the point that it's the only game in town for a lot of what it does," said Cihra. "They are typically the best at what they do."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


ThinkPad Celebrates 20 Years, Announces Windows 8 ThinkPad Tablet 2

Lenovo(NEW YORK) -- The year was 1992. Bill Clinton was elected president. Charles and Diana had separated. And the first ThinkPad laptop was released by IBM.

Twenty years have passed now and a lot has changed. But in the world of technology, the ThinkPad brand is still kicking. And to celebrate its birthday Lenovo, which acquired the ThinkPad brand in 2005 from IBM, is releasing some new products.

"This is the tablet everyone is waiting for," Dilip Bhatia, vice president and general manager of the ThinkPad business unit, said as he showed the ThinkPad Tablet 2. The ThinkPad Tablet 2 runs Windows 8 and will be coming out at the end of October when Windows 8 is finally out.

The tablet is aimed, like most ThinkPads, at the professional set. It has a 10.1-inch screen and while it's only 9.8 mm thick it still has room for a full USB port on its edge. Inside it has a brand new Intel Atom processor and runs Windows 8 Pro, so it will be able to run all older Windows applications. (Windows 8 tablets based on ARM processors will only run new apps made for Windows 8).

But while the tablet has a lot of new features, it has one that has been a staple of ThinkPad tablets for years: a stylus. Hidden along the left edge is a digital pen with a red top. You will be able to take notes on the tablet using the pen but also then dock the tablet into a keyboard that will be available separately.

It seems like a strong entry, but there will be lots of Windows 8 tablets in October, including two from Microsoft itself. Bhatia says is he is nevertheless confident in the second-generation tablet (there was an Android version released last year) and not worried about Microsoft's Surface.

"Microsoft is a strategic partner for us. The Surface has brought more excitement to the marketplace. The ThinkPad tablet is focused after the business individual; the Surface is more geared towards the consumer offering," he said.

In addition to the ThinkPad Tablet 2, Lenovo just started stocking shelves with a new ultrabook -- the ThinkPad Carbon X1. The thin, light laptop has the traditional Thinkpad look and feel but has some firsts.

"It's built of carbon fiber, the same material you find in a Dreamliner airplane that allows it to get better fuel efficiency savings. It's very tough," Bhatia said.

On top of that it has a new keyboard and trackpad that's coated in a rubberlike material. It's also the lightest 14-inch laptop on the market. It starts at $1,299 and while it runs Windows 7 now, it is Windows 8 ready and will only cost $14.99 to upgrade at the end of October.

Lenovo isn't commenting on the price of the ThinkPad Tablet 2, but one can guess it will be a lot less than the first ThinkPad, which cost $4,350.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


IBM's Female CEO Causes Masters Golf Dilemma

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Augusta National Golf Club may finally break with its men-only tradition this year because of one woman, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty.

Since its opening in 1933, the Augusta National Golf Club has never admitted a woman to its green-jacketed ranks. However, the exclusive club has traditionally bestowed membership to the CEOs of The Masters three corporate sponsors, one of which is the now female-led IBM.

Club officials haven't said what they'll do in regards to membership for Rometty, who does play golf.

This is not the first time the Augusta's male-only membership has raised controversy. Ten years ago, Martha Burk, then the chair of National Council of Women's Organizations, squared off against club President William "Hootie" Johnson in a failed attempt to get the club to admit women members. Burk and others protested outside the gates and attempted to get sponsors to drop their support of the tournament, prompting Johnson to respond that Augusta's policies would not be forced to change "at the point of a bayonet."

The club broadcast the Master's Tournament for several years without commercials to avoid any pressure from sponsors.

Burk weighed in on the recent controversy, telling ESPN, "IBM is in a bigger bind than the club," Burk said. "The club trashed their image years ago. IBM is a corporation. They ought to care about the brand, and they ought to care about what people think. And if they're not careful, they might undermine their new CEO."

She advised IBM to "draw a line in the sand" by saying – "We're either going to pull our sponsorship and membership and any ancillary activities we support with the tournament, or the club is going to have to honor our CEO the way they have in the past."

Rometty's predecessor Sam Palmisano is a member of the club, along with the CEOs of the tournament's two other major sponsors, Exxon Mobil and AT&T. According to a list published by USA Today in 2002, the previous three IBM CEOs, Louis Gertsner, John Akers and John Open were also members.

The club's current president, Billy Payne, sidestepped the controversy Wednesday at a press conference.

"All issues of membership remain the private deliberations of the membership. That statement remains accurate," Payne said. "We don't talk about our private deliberations. We especially don't talk about them when a named candidate is part of the question."

IBM and other companies pressured golf clubs in the past to end discrimination. In 1990, IBM and other sponsors succeeded in getting Alabama's Shoal Creek club to admit black members.

At the end of 2011, there were 12 women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, according to Fortune magazine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


IBM's Top 5 Technology Predictions for the Next 5 Years

PRNewsFoto/IBM(NEW YORK) -- Who would have guessed, five years ago, that by 2011 we would have mobile phones that would, in a rudimentary way, listen to our questions and give us useful answers? Or ways for doctors to get help to people in the most remote corners of the world?

Crystal-ball forecasts, fanciful or otherwise, are a staple of year-end conversations, but IBM, the computer-services giant, has a research arm that makes them as a matter of course. Every December, it puts out a "5 in 5" list -- five predictions for the next five years. The company says it is a way to solve major societal problems, identify business opportunities, and, while they're at it, get people talking.

"It's a very good test of our ability to see forward in a holistic way," said Bernard Meyerson, IBM's vice president of innovation, who talked about how engineers, economists, marketers and others may all be involved in a multi-billion-dollar project. "You cannot survive long-term if you just concentrate on just one part of a problem. You'll get run over."

How good have their past predictions been? IBM says two of its five predictions from five years ago -- telemedicine and nanotechnology for environmental needs -- panned out, others less so (you still drive your car the same way, for instance).

Keeping score, though, is a little beside the point; setting goals for the future is more like it. So here is IBM's list of "the next 5 in 5."

1. Energy: People Power

Imagine generating electricity from routine motions around you -- using the tides to run power plants, or charging your cellphone battery by plugging it into a tiny generator attached to a wheel of your bicycle. It's kinetic energy. Remember that from third-grade science?

These are not that hard to do. We're not doing them. They could relieve the load on our overburdened power grid, reduce pollution and make power blackouts less of a worry.

2. Security: The End of Passwords

You need one password for your cellphone, another for your checking account, a different one for your email at work and at home -- and another for your list of passwords. Enough! A good hacker can go around them anyhow.

This is not really about passwords, says IBM, it's about personal security. Meyerson talks about "multifactor biometrics" as your way to prove to your digital tools that you're really you.

They're thinking of retinal scans, voice print identification, fingerprints and the like, used in combination. Much better than your dog's name followed by a number.

Meyerson says this could be liberating. You could be much more comfortable about storing vital information in a handheld or a tablet. The device becomes more useful to you -- and completely worthless to a would-be thief.

3. Reading Your Mind

We live in a primitive world. If you want a machine to do something, you press buttons or turn knobs. In a few limited cases ("What's your account number?" says the automated voice on the phone), it may understand your voice.

Every time you decide to push one of those buttons, though, you think about it -- and perhaps the minute electrical impulses in your brain can be read.

Primitive versions have already been used to help people with disabilities. The technology could be made cheaper and more common. Want to talk to your brother? Think about it and your phone will call him.

4. Ending the Digital Divide

Already, far more people get online through their cellphones than through plugged-in computers. Wireless access in countries like South Korea is considerably faster and more useful, says Paul Bloom of IBM, than it is in the U.S.

This could be expanded and be powerful. In a poor country, it is far easier and cheaper to set up wireless networks than it is to lay cables the old-fashioned way.

5. No More Junk Mail

Sure, the Postal Service is in trouble. People make online payments and send email instead of letters. Your mailbox instead overflows with flyers for things you could care less about. Your email is crowded with spam.

"But what if your handset learns your preferences?" asked Meyerson. "It'll take care of the junk mail you don't want." If it figures out you're a Greenday fan, for instance, it may already be letting you know when there are deals on tickets.

You may find this unsettling -- the machines have you figured out -- but Meyerson said you may like it. Advertisers will stop bothering you if they know they're wasting their time.

"It inverts the entire relationship between the target and the marketer," he said.

How many of these predictions will become real? Oh, probably very few, said Meyerson, but it's better to try and fail than do nothing.

"It's a wonderful way to live," he said. "You put an idea out there and run like hell."

And if you hear other companies' footsteps behind you? "You run faster."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


IBM Turns 100 Years Old

PRNewsFoto/IBM Corporation(NEW YORK) -- IBM celebrates its 100th birthday on Thursday, joining a select group of companies that have become centenarians.

Originally known as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, the company started out on June 16, 1911 making punch cards, scales and clocks before developing the first personal computer.  Today, IBM continues to stay one step ahead of the technological curve, developing supercomputers such as Watson, the machine that competed on Jeopardy! earlier this year and defeated two of the show's former champions.

Looking ahead, longtime IBM employee Dr. Mark Dean -- who was part of the team that developed the original PC -- expects computers of the future to look like nothing we have today.

"We won't ever have a device called a laptop," Dean said.  "Most everything we do will be something that we carry around with us.  Something that probably will roll up.  If you want to look at something large, you'll just roll it out."

Dean added, "Computers are going to start asking us questions.  I mean it will be interesting...Instead of programming a computer the way we do today, the computer will actually start to learn."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


IBM Wants to Make 100 Cities ‘Smarter'

Photo Courtesy of IBM(ARMONK, N.Y.) – IBM on Tuesday announced an initiative to create 100 smarter cities across the globe. Through the Smarter Cities Challenge, IBM plans to provide $50 million in technologies and services to improve the growth, services, efficiency and citizen engagement in 100 cities that make the strongest case for their involvement.

Pilot grants have begun in Baltimore; Austin, Texas; and Mecklenburg County, N.C. to ensure the program’s success.

The Smarter Cities Challenge represents the single largest philanthropic investment currently planned by IBM.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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