Hot Computer Hardware Companies To Own In Right Now

Contrary to popular belief, Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) doesn’t need to make HBO GO a standalone subscription service to profit from hits such as Game of Thrones and True Blood.

Allowing current-season addicts to purchase season passes via Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) iTunes or Amazon.com’s (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) Instant Video could add millions in new revenue without damaging Warner’s relationships with cable operators.

A game of cash and carry
Fools know I’ve been critical of HBO GO. Not because the app isn’t useful. Far from it. The problem is one of synchronicity: HBO GO only works on tablets and smartphones. You can’t start an episode on your TV, move to your computer, and then move to a tablet without losing your place. HBO badly lags Netflix in this area.

Hot Computer Hardware Companies To Own In Right Now: Lenovo Group Ltd (LNVGF.PK)

Lenovo Group Limited is principally engaged in investment holding. It is a personal technology company serving customers in more than 160 countries. The Company is a personal computer (PC) vendor. The Company develops, manufactures and markets technology products and services. Its product lines include Think-branded commercial PCs and Idea branded consumer PCs, as well as servers, workstations, and a family of mobile Internet devices, including tablets and smart phones. It offers a range of commercial desktops and notebooks to businesses of all sizes that feature cutting-edge technology, customer-centric innovation and productivity features. It operates in three segments: China, Emerging Markets (excluding China) and Mature Markets. Lenovo has research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina, the United States. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Investometrica]

    x86: With regards to the specific x86 server business, it seems that IBM is considering the possibility of fully divesting it. According to Morgan Stanley, the server business generated about $4.9 billion of the company’s $15.4 billion in server sales last year. This enormous volume is due to the fact that IBM may be producing the overall market’s highest volumes, at the lowest profit level; which suggests this segment is doomed. Finally, IBM has a history of aggressive shifts to areas with better growth prospects and margins. For example, the company agreed to sell off the PC business to Lenovo (LNVGF.PK) at a moment where the PC still seemed attractive.

Hot Computer Hardware Companies To Own In Right Now: IceWEB Inc (IWEB)

IceWEB, Inc. (IceWEB), incorporated in 1994, manufacture and market unified data storage, purpose built appliances, network and cloud attached storage solutions and deliver on-line cloud computing application services. The Company’s customer base includes the United States government agencies, enterprise companies, and small to medium sized businesses (SMB). The Company has three product offerings: Iceweb Unified Data Network Storage line of products, Purpose Built Network/Data Appliances and Cloud Computing Products/Services. In October 2013, IceWEB Inc completed its acquisition of Computers and Tele-Comm, Inc. and KC-NAP, LLC of Kansas City (collectively CTC).

IceWEB Unified Data Storage line of products

IceWEB is a provider of Unified Data Storage solutions. Its storage systems make it possible to operate and manage files and applications from a single device and consolidate file-based and block-based access in a single storage platform, whi ch supports Fibre Channel SAN, IP-based SAN (iSCSI), and NAS (network attached storage). A unified storage system simultaneously enables storage of file data and handles the block-based I/O (input/output) of enterprise applications. One advantage of unified storage is reduced hardware requirements. The IceWEB Storage System is an all-inclusive storage management system, which includes de-duplication; unlimited snapshots; thin provisioning; local or remote, real-time or scheduled replication; capacity and utilization reporting, and integration with virtual server environments.

Purpose Built Network and Data Appliances

Purpose Built Network and Data Appliances are devices, which provide computing resources (processors and memory), data storage, and specific software for a specific application. The primary appliance products that IceWEB has built have been centered on a single large business partner, ESRI Corporation. IceWEB and ESRI have collaborated to create ultra-high performance IceWEB/ESRI GIS systems tha! t allow customers to access data with speed. ESRI Corporation takes responsibility for marketing to their customers and business partners, via their worldwide sales and consultancy organization.

Cloud Computing Products and Services

Cloud computing products and services consist of cloud computing services and cloud storage appliances. IceWEB provides IceMAIL, a packaged software service that provides network hosted groupware, e-mail, calendaring and collaboration functionality. Online services were expanded to include IcePORTAL, which provides customers with a complete Intranet portal and IceSECURE a hosted e-mail encryption service. Originally such hosted services were referred to as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Such services, hosted across the Internet are commonly referred to as Cloud Computing. A cloud storage appliance is a purpose built storage device configured for either branch office or central site deployment, which allows the housing and delivery of customer data across not only their internal networking infrastructure, but also to make that data available to employees or business partners securely via the Internet (often called the cloud).

The Company competes with EMC, Network Appliance, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Compellent Technologies and Isilon.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    What’s the Catch with Dephasium Corp? According to various disclosures, transactions of $2k, $2.5k, $3k, $4k, $7.5k, $12.5k and $15k have or will occur to mention Dephasium Corp in various investment newsletters. Dephasium Corp has been getting plenty of off and on attention for a couple of months now, but what’s been pretty strange is the company issuing a press release to announce that an unidentified third party, without the DPHS’s approval, has listed its shares on the Boerse Berlin Stock Exchange. The press release warned that this could be the first salvo in a “significant naked shorting attack directed at the Company” given that the Berlin exchange is one of few stock exchanges in the world that allows listing and trading of a company’s stock without the consent or authorization of the company being listed in order to facilitate short-selling. A quick look at Dephasium Corp’s financials reveals no revenues; net losses of $10k (most recent repor ted quarter), $17k and $11k plus net income of $388k; and $51k to cover $9k in current liabilities at the end of March. In other words, Dephasium Corp isn’t making money but someone else is trying to make some from it.

    IceWEB, Inc. (OTCBB: IWEB) Seems to Be Making Progress

    Small cap IceWEB is a provider of Unified Data Storage appliances for cloud and virtual environments, as well as the highly secure, scalable IceBOXTM BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Private Digital Cloud Solution. On Friday, IceWEB fell 8.57% to $0.0320 for a market cap of $9.01 million plus IWEB is down 54.3% over the past year and down 81.7% over the past five years according to Google Finance.

  • [By Bryan Murphy]

    So far the brewing recovery effort from IceWEB, Inc. (OTCBB:IWEB) has remained off most traders’ radars. That may be about to change, however. That’s why you may want to go ahead and take a speculative plunge on IWEB now, on faith that the clues we’re seeing now will indeed end up as they’re suggesting.

Hot Computer Hardware Companies To Own In Right Now: Altec Holdings SA (AXY)

Altec Holdings SA the parent company of Altec Group, is a Greece-based company engaged in the information technology and telecommunications fields. The Company’s range of activities includes the manufacture, import, export, trade, distribution, leasing and support of computers and telecommunication materials, as well as the design, production, development, import, export, leasing and trading of software for computers and electronic cash registers. Its hardware products include a range of personal computers, servers and related equipment. Its software products include systems for enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, accounting, human resource management, payroll and data warehousing, insurance brokerage software and equipment for call centers. It operates a retail network under the brand Microland. The Company has established subsidiaries in Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    Yesterday, small cap geothermal stock U.S. Geothermal Inc (NYSEMKT: HTM) produced a geyser of a return when it surged 26.79%, meaning its worth taking a closer look at the stock verses the performance of other geothermal stocks like small cap Ormat Technologies, Inc (NYSE: ORA) and mid cap Calpine Corporation (NYSE: CPN). First of all, I should mention there are some other geothermal stocks out there like Alterra Power Corp (CVE: AXY) and Ram Power Corp (TSE: RPG) who have their primary listing on Canadian exchanges with secondary ones on the OTC – meaning they may not be a good deal for American investors or easy to invest in. Second, U.S. Geothermal Inc itself is a good geothermal proxy as its focused on developing, owning, and operating clean, sustainable electric power from geothermal energy resources and its operating geothermal power projects at Neal Hot Springs, Oregon; San Emidio, Nevada; and Raft River, Idaho plus El Ceibillo, an advanced stage, geothermal p rospect located within a 24,710 acre energy rights concession area near Guatemala City, the largest city in Central America.

Hot Computer Hardware Companies To Own In Right Now: Steel Excel Inc (SXCL)

Steel Excel Inc., formerly ADPT Corp., incorporated in 1981, is primarily focused on capital redeployment and identification of new business operations. The identification of new business operations includes, but is not limited to, the oilfield servicing, sports, training, education, entertainment and lifestyle businesses. The Company operates in two segments: oilfield servicing and sports-related segment. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company acquired two sports-related businesses and one oilfield servicing business. On June 27, 2011, the Company acquired Baseball Heaven LLC and Baseball Cafe, Inc. On August 15, 2011, the Company acquired The Show, LLC. On December 7, 2011, the Company acquired Rogue Pressure Services, LLC. On February 9, 2012, the Company acquired Eagle Well Services, Inc. In May 2012, the Company acquired Sun Well Service, Inc. Effective December 16, 2013, Steel Excel Inc acquired Black Hawk Energy Services Inc, a provider of oil and gas field services.

The Company’s oilfield servicing segment provides services in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Services include snubbing services (controlled installation and removal of all tubulars – drill strings and production strings) in and out of the wellbore with the well under full pressure, flowtesting, and hydraulic work over/simultaneous operations (allows customers to perform multiple tasks on multiple wells on one pad at the same time). The Company’s sports-related services segment provides services related to marketing and providing baseball facility services, including training camps, summer camps, leagues and tournaments, concession and catering events and other events and related Websites. In addition, the Company outfit little league baseball and softball players and coaches in official major league baseball uniforms.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Geoff Gannon]

    1. Steel Excel (SXCL)
    2. FormFactor (FORM)
    3. Imation (IMN)
    4. Tuesday Morning (TUES)
    5. Pacific Biosciences (PACB)
    6. Maxygen (MAXY)
    7. Westell (WSTL)
    8. Volt Information Sciences (VISI)
    9. Yasheng Group (YHGG)

Hot Computer Hardware Companies To Own In Right Now: Western Digital Corp (WDC)

Western Digital Corporation (WD) is a provider of solutions for the collection, storage, management, protection and use of digital content, including audio and video. Its principal products are hard drives, which are devices that use one or more rotating magnetic disks (magnetic media) to store and allow access to data. Its hard drives are used in desktop and notebook computers, corporate and cloud computing data centers, home entertainment equipment and stand-alone consumer storage devices. In addition to hard drives, its other products include solid-state drives and home entertainment and networking products. The Company operates as the parent company of its hard drive business, Western Digital Technologies, Inc. Effective March 8, 2012, the Company acquired Viviti Technologies Ltd. In May 2012, the Company completed the divestiture of certain 3.5-inch hard drive assets to Toshiba Corporation. As part of its deal with Toshiba, WD also completed its purchase of Toshiba St orage Device (Thailand) Company Limited (TSDT), which manufactured hard drives.

The Company offers a line of storage devices. Its hard drives include 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch form factors, capacities ranging from 80 gigabytes to three terabytes, nominal rotation speeds up to 10,000 revolutions per minute, and interfaces, such as Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) and Serial Attached SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) (SAS). In addition, the Company offers a family of hard drives specifically designed to consume less power than standard drives, utilizing its WD GreenPower Technology. Its solid-state drives include 2.5-inch and Compact Flash form factors, capacities ranging from 1 gigabyte to 256 gigabytes, and interfaces, such as SATA and PATA.

Client Compute Storage Products

Client compute consists of hard drives and solid-state drives for desktop and mobile personal computers (PC’s). During the fiscal year ended July 1 , 2011 (fiscal 2011), it shipped 151 million hard drive clie! nt compute unit. Its client compute storage products include WD Caviar, WD Scorpio and WD Silicon Edge. WD Caviar family of hard drives is designed for use in desktop PCs. WD Scorpio family of hard drives is designed for use in mobile PCs. WD Silicon Edge family of solid-state drives is designed for both read-intensive client/consumer applications and write-intensive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) applications.

Client Non-Compute Storage Products

Client non-compute consists of branded products and consumer electronics products. Its hard drive client non-compute unit shipments were 46 million, during fiscal 2011.

Branded Products

Branded products consists of hard drives embedded into WD-branded external storage appliances with capacities ranging from 250 gigabytes to 8 terabytes and using interfaces, such as Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0, USB 3.0, external SATA, FireWire and Ethernet network connections. Cert ain branded products models include software that assists customers with back up, remote access and management of digital content. Branded products also include its home entertainment and networking products. Its branded products include My Book and WD Elements Desktop family of storage appliances. My Passport and WD Elements Portable family of storage appliances include WD ShareSpace, WD TV and WD Livewire.

My Book and WD Elements Desktop family of storage appliances are designed to add external capacity to desktops and digital video recorders (DVRs), allow for the transfer and storage of videos directly from certain camcorders, and connect to networks to simplify storage for consumers. My Passport and WD Elements Portable family of storage appliances are designed for external portability weighing less than one-half of a pound and allow for the transfer and storage of videos directly from certain camcorders. WD ShareSpace is a network-attached storage system de signed for home office or small office applications. WD TV m! edia play! ers connect to a user’s television or home theater system and play digital movies, music and photos from an integrated hard drive, network hard drives, any of its WD-branded external hard drives, other USB mass storage devices or content services accessed over the Internet. WD Livewire, which enables consumers to use their existing electrical outlets to extend Internet connections throughout the home.

Consumer Electronics Products

WD AV family of hard drives is designed for use in products, such as DVRs and audio and video applications. WD AV drives deliver the characteristics CE manufacturers.

Enterprise Storage Products

Enterprise consists of hard drives for traditional enterprise and nearline storage applications, as well as solid-state drives for embedded applications. Its hard drive enterprise unit shipments were 10 million, for fiscal 2011. Its enterprise storage products include WD S25 hard drive, WD VelociRaptor, WD RE and WD SiliconDrive. WD S25 hard drive is designed for mission-critical enterprise server and storage applications, such as data centers and data arrays. WD VelociRaptor hard drive is designed for enterprise server and storage applications. This hard drive is also used in the high-end desktop PC market for applications including gaming, servers and advanced computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems. WD RE family of hard drives is designed for nearline storage enterprise applications. WD SiliconDrive family of solid-state drives features fast read/write speeds in high capacities and is designed for embedded system OEM applications.

The Company competes with Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Intel Corporation, Micron Technology, Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Seagate Technology, STEC, Inc. and Toshiba Corporation.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Piyush Arora]

    An indifferent peer
    Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC  ) , however, seems to be unaffected by this 3D NAND mania. Though the memory giant manufactures planar NAND drives, it has no intention of venturing into the 3D NAND space — at least not yet. The company is betting on helium-filled hard drives to capture the enterprise-scale storage industry. 

  • [By ICRAOnline]

    The Xyratex buy could put Seagate ahead of archrival Western Digital (WDC), which reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings last week and posted a 3.9% revenue growth.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Fusion-io (NYSE: FIO  ) will release its quarterly report on Wednesday, and investors are nervous about the expected plunge in revenue that they expect to result in the data-storage specialist’s year-ago profit turning into a loss. Yet even in the face of much larger competitors EMC (NYSE: EMC  ) and Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC  ) , many still hold out hope that Fusion-io earnings will eventually recover and help the share price gain back some of its long-term losses.

  • [By Jonas Elmerraji]

    Hard-disk maker Western Digital (WDC) is another name that enjoyed market-crushing momentum last year, dishing out 94% gains to investors who bet on the computer storage stock this time last year. The computer storage business still has some enormous tailwinds pushing at its back right now, and those should continue to propel the world’s biggest hard drive maker to new highs in the year ahead.

    Worldwide, demand for storage is increasing like never before. That’s because, today, consumers carry around devices that record HD video and photos, store data-intensive applications, and store it all in the cloud. That means that storage is critical both on consumers’ local PCs and on the server farms that continue to sprout up.

    For conventional hard drive makers, solid state drives represent the future. For now, their costs are keeping SSDs from all but the most performance-demanding tasks, but eventually it’s likely they’ll supplant HDDs as the standard storage medium. While that’s been a threat to firms like WDC, recent acquisitions like STEC should help to boost Western Digital’s SSD capabilities.

    Western Digital currently has a solid cash position: around $2.5 billion net of debt as of the most recent quarter. And that number is likely to be closer to $3 billion by the time next quarter rolls around. That’s enough dry powder to pay for around 12.5% of WDC’s current market capitalization right now, a fact that helps reduce the risk in shares after such a big run higher.

    If WDC can continue to use cash in a smart way, investors stand to keep benefiting.

Hot Computer Hardware Companies To Own In Right Now: George Risk Industries Inc (RSKIA)

George Risk Industries, Inc. (GRI), incorporated on February 21, 1961, is engaged in the design, manufacture and sale of computer keyboards, push button switches, burglar alarm components and systems, pool alarms, thermostats, EZ Duct wire covers and water sensors. GRI is a diversified manufacturer of electronic components, consisting of the security industries variety of door and window contact switches, environmental products, proximity switches and custom keyboards. The Company operates in two segments: security alarm products and security alarm products GRI’s security burglar alarm products comprise approximately 84% of net revenues and are sold through distributors and alarm dealers/installers. These products are used for residential, commercial, industrial and government installations. Its products include security products/ magnetic reed switches, data entry peripherals, pushbutton switches, custom engraved keycaps and proximity sensors.

The security segment has approximately 3,000 customers. One of the distributors, ADI accounts for approximately 40% of the Company’s sales of these products. The keyboard segment has approximately 800 customers. Keyboard products are sold to original equipment manufacturers to their specifications and to distributors of off-the-shelf keyboards of proprietary design. GRI owns and operates its main manufacturing plant and offices in Kimball, Nebraska with a satellite plant 40 miles away in Gering, Nebraska.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Geoff Gannon] n. When it traded around $4.50 (it’s now more like $7.50 a share) it was a net-net with a good business and a moat. There were risks – customer concentration for one – and it was no blue chip. There was no diversification of product lines, customers, geography, industry, etc. It was closely tied to U.S. construction activity.

    All this means it was no blue chip. Not that it didn’t have a moat. I felt it did. And certainly not that it wasn’t a high quality business. It demonstrably was (unleveraged returns on tangible equity were around 30%). And it was a net-net. In fact, it was a net cash stock at one time.

    So they do happen. But they are rare. The usual distinction with net-nets is not between companies like that – companies which may have a moat, do earn good returns on capital, etc. – but between companies that are legitimate and illegitimate businesses.

    A legitimate business is – in my mind – a historically profitable one. It is likely to have positive retained earnings (there are exceptions to this rule – but it’s a good first check). It should have more years of profits (6 or more) than losses in the last 10 years. And it should be self-financing.

    Compare this to an illegitimate business. The least legitimate businesses are those that – while publicly traded – have never turned a profit and can’t self finance. They may be net-nets – but they are net-nets because they have issued stock in the past and then seen their share prices drop. Retained earnings are often negative.

    There are other factors to consider. Is the business old or young? Is depreciation – and other accounting – especially conservative or aggressive? Are taxes especially conservative or aggressive? And is share issuance dilutive or not.

    I think a legitimate business tends towards LIFO accounting, quicker depreciation, higher taxes paid as a percentage of reported income, and lower share issuance. There are exceptions. Many

  • [By Geoff Gannon] >Ark Restaurants (ARKR). When I bought them – and even now – I think their return on buyback would be high and I’d be in favor of it. However, the stocks are illiquid and their free cash flow relative to the dollar value of freely traded shares is not high. As a result, I’m always in favor of RSKIA and ARKR buying back stock. But, I understand it’s very hard for them to do in practice unless there is a meaningful holder who signals he wants out of the stock.

    My approach to buybacks is pretty simple. One, I prefer them. Two, I look at the share count history over the last 10 to 20 years as my guide to what the company might do in the future – I want a pattern of predictable behavior. Generally, that means a continuously shrinking share count that shrinks in bull markets and bear markets, panics and recessions and booms and busts and so on. Three, if I’m a buyer of the stock – then the company should be a buyer of its own stock. No questions asked on that one. If the stoc k is good enough for me to buy it’s clearly good enough for the company to buy. Finally, I look for the return on buyback. I tend to focus on the earning power the company is buying relative to the net cash it is spending. If a company has cash on its balance sheet, the amount of net cash consumed by a buyback will be less than it appears because I will end up with a greater percentage ownership of the resulting balance sheet as well as the income statement.

    I want the return on buyback to always be at least 10%. As a rule, the average company will only get returns on its buybacks of 10% or higher if it pays less than 15 times normal earnings. In special cases – fast growing companies, companies where free cash flow vastly exceeds reported income, etc. – it is possible that buybacks above 15 times earnings will return more than 10%. It almost never makes sense for a company to buy back stock at over 25 times earnings. So, for most companies, under 15 times earnings is the green zone for bu

  • [By Geoff Gannon] things I said was that I knew George Risk’s materials cost was higher than some competitors’ selling price. The fact that any company could survive under conditions like that immediately suggested that dollars paid for the product was not the key concern for this product.

    Perceived costs had to involve other concerns like customization, shipping speed, reliability, etc. Because it was a low cost product going into a higher cost product going into very high cost projects it seemed likely there was the opportunity to raise prices if needed. And that’s what they ended up doing. The important clue for me in that investigation was the severe cost disadvantage George Risk had. You couldn’t compete at such a cost disadvantage unless price was less important than I initially thought.

    I think you will find that most of these insights are not available in the financial statements. They come from reading the 10-Ks of all companies in the industry, reading articles about the companies, listening to all conference call transcripts, etc.

    For example, there is not much in the financial statements of Carnival (CCL) that explains how the cruise business really works. But all of the companies in the industry (CCL, RCL and NCL) freely discuss the economics of their business in great detail. They break out costs before and after fuel. They give you per-passenger prices of how much newly built ships cost. They give you lots and lots of details. They explain how they price their product (the way airlines do) and so on. There is an extreme level of detailed explanation of the business in the various conference calls, 10-Ks, etc.

    A great source for this information is going back to the time the company went public or at least finding the S-1 of a competitor. When a company goes public it often gives much more detail into product economics, etc., than it will later on when it reports annual results.

    That is also a good place to learn ab out market share, com

  • [By Geoff Gannon] or even just above book value. It’s a darn good business so I’m getting high quality assets and earnings power. That gets less clear when looking at lower quality businesses.

    For example:

    Solitron (SODI) sells at 74% of NCAV, has decent z- and f-scores, a FCF margin of 5.3% and an ROA of 12%.