Facebook Inc (FB), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Picking the Right Stocks to Benefit From Mobile Growth

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As the majority of companies and investors know, mobile is the future. Consumers want — or require — all information to be accessible anytime, anywhere. This pushes companies to be more aggressive with their mobile strategies, making phones and operating systems or skins more appealing to consumers.

There are two companies in particular that have offered such a “solution” but the true winners in the scenario, and ones investors should look to, are the phone companies that are capitalizing on this trend.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Home less than stellar

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) hyped it’s new “Home” skin for Android ad nauseam — which would have been great had the product delivered. The company released Home just over a month ago. An innovative shell for the Android mobile operating system, the app puts a stream of Facebook photos and status updates on the home and lock screen, pushing aside the traditional app grid.

Facebook Home

According to trade magazine Computerworld, which conducted a quick poll after its release, tech managers aren’t impressed with the Home app layer. Roughly two-thirds said they don’t want Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) “or anyone else” taking over the smartphone interface.

Everyday users followed suit. Its critics hardly gave it two weeks before commenting on “the Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Home disaster.” Business Insider labeled the product “a Huge flop” within days. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s headline at day 30 read simply, “Facebook’s Home app not liked.” Its average rating in the main Android app store is 2.2 out of 5, with nearly 9,000 1-star reviews outweighing the 3,000 5-star reviews.

The stock took a predictable path. It rose steadily as the Home launch event played out. The stock rose initially and then the slow and steady decline came as people began using Home, indicating that the product failed to prep up the stock.

Windows phone

Before this was the Windows phone. After its launch, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was putting up respectable growth in content availability. Most of the big tech companies like to wield app counts as selling points for their respective operating systems, coaxing users in with the promise of useful apps. That being said, the Windows phone also promised improved productivity for businesses and super interconnectivity for users.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was up to 50,000 apps prior to its phone, but in the months leading up to its launch, apps nearly doubled to over 100,000. Since launch, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has inched higher to 145,000 total apps in its arsenal. Moreover, research firms have estimated that across the world, 19.1 billion mobile instant messages were sent daily in 2012, compared to 17.6 billion traditional SMS messages. This indicates that old SMS functions are losing their technological relevance as users with Internet data plans opt to send free messages, instead of signing up for restrictive SMS texting plans. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been putting effort into Skype and other messaging apps in order to address this need.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) stock is up more than 30% so far this year. Its continued competitiveness with its apps and other products leading the charge into the cloud has kept the stock steady.

Phone companies for the win

However, as previously stated, the real leaders in these two attempts at a more ‘consumerized’ phone are the phone makers themselves and the providers of services. Let’s start with Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK). Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) reported decent sales of its Lumia smartphones, which are powered by Microsoft Windows Phone 8. Right in line with estimates, Lumia sold about 5.6 million units last quarter.

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