Is it time to take a look at shares of Super Micro Inc. (Nasdaq: SMCI)? The stock of the data-center infrastructure provider took a hit after the company announced 41% year-over-year revenue growth and earnings that beat estimates for its second fiscal quarter. 

The company announced revenue of $503M, which is 41% year-over-year growth. 60% of revenue was contributed by systems sales (servers and storage) while the remaining 40% was contributed by component sales. The company reported Earnings Per share (EPS) of $0.65, exceeding the consensus expectation by $0.18. 

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 22:28 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Digital Media.
Keywords: Super Micro, Servers, Intel, Haswell

Pluribus announced today that it has landed a substantial Series D funding round of $50M led by Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek and including Ericsson as a strategic investor.

Make no doubt about it, this money is a warchest to take on Cisco and VMware for the reign of Software Defined Networking (SDN) supremacy. The impressive roster of investors includes prior venture investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Menlo Ventures, Mohr Davidow, and AME Cloud Ventures. Newtech, an Asia data-center infrastructure provider, also joined as a strategic investor. This event puts Pluribus in the top tier of SDN startups.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 18:09 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Investing.
Keywords: Pluribus Networks, SDN, Cisco, Kumar Srikantan

(Editor's Note: This is a contributed piece from wearable tech expert Julien Blin. It first appeared on Facebook and Blin has published another version on Medium. It has been slightly edited.)

2014 again marked the confirmation that the wearable tech and IoT space is vibrant, legit and here to stay, with the emergence of new innovative startups, successful exits (e.g. Basis, acquired by Intel), and the official entry of Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) into the space with the launch of the Apple watch. 

First, what happened in 2014?

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 16:51 pm and is filed under .
Keywords: Wearable tech, Intel, Facebook, IoT, Apple, Apple Watch

Cisco CEO John Chambers may be having his Steve Ballmer moment. The situations are analagous. Steve Ballmer, the Co-Founder and fomer CEO of Microsoft, stubbornly stuck around Microsoft long after everybody starting chattering about his departure. Then Microsoft shares started rising in anticipation of his departure. 

Of course I famously wrote last year that I thought John Chambers was retiring in 2014. It was not announced. It was too early, I guess. Or was it? The shares have risen since then, and the market is still chattering about it. It's also still top of mind in Cisco's San Jose, Calif. headquartes, where the rank-and-file are tiring of a corporate strategy that involves round after round of layoffs.  

Note that in the Microsoft's case, the stock started to rise before the announcement that Ballmer would leave. That continued through the naming of the new CEO. Mr. Market knows more than we do. What's happening at Cisco? Cisco shares have been mysteriously strong lately, rising to a recent 52-week high hear $28.

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What's behind this strength? Certainly not the un-inspiring earnings calls. Maybe it's the market sensing that change is close. This is exactly what happened to Microsoft shares in the year leading up to Ballmer's departure.

 

Microsoft's shares started rising in anticipation of a CEO change and then accelerated when the news was out.

Cisco shares have been steadily rising since October.
 

The market may be anticipating a "New CEO" event, which would be bullish for shares on the perception of changes at Cisco. The company has $50B in cash and all sorts of opportunities to shake things up. There could be a restructuring in the cards. The market just wants a new story to tell for Cisco. As the networking giant attempts to morph into a software-driven company, it could be that more radical changes might be ahead: A major restructuring? A spin-off of a cloud business unit? Anything is possible. 

Again, look at the Microsoft situtation. Microsoft shares have risen since Ballmer left and new CEO Satya Nadella set the company on a course set directly for cloud.

Will it finally happen with Cisco? I think it has to. There is absolutely no upside to Chambers staying any longer, especially now that the stock has pumped up to $28 from $18 in less than a year. He can go out with a strong stock. 

People at Cisco might take this as an "attack," but it's not an attack at all. Chambers has been at Cisco for more than two decades, and he has created a technology giant that dominates the networking market. But eventually, every company must change leadership, and this is a natural transition point. 

Chambers is taking his time. I'll try to predict it again, and eventually I'll be right. My prediciton that Chambers will finally leave in 2015 is part of some other "Un-Predictions" that I wrote for SDNCentral, which you can check out here

Another prediction: Juniper's turmoil will continue. More on that next week. 

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 14:44 pm and is filed under .
Keywords: John Chambers, Cisco, Juniper

The rumor mills are alive with word that Verizon is considering a joint venture or outright acquisition of AOL.

No, this is not some bad dream from 1999. The sources are "people with knowledge of the matter," according to the Bloomberg story. These are code words for "a few MBAs have gone out of their mind."

The first thing I thought of when I heard this was that Verizon buying AOL has a certain vintage, retro ring to it. It's like Levi's merging with McDonalds. Or maybe Kodak taking over Polaroid. Or maybe it's like the 1980s supergroup Asia, where the players all sound powerful and successful on paper, but it's not something you'd boast about listening to in school. 

This entry was posted on Friday, January 09, 2015 at 15:10 pm and is filed under Mobile, Digital Media, Investing.
Keywords: Verizon, AOL, Online Video, M&A, Supergroup Asia

Do you think things will be normal, predictable, and easy to analyze in the communications technology market in 2015? Well then you are some kind of genius. 

It's my belief that the communications industry is undergoing a period of rapid transformation that will shake up the status quo in ways we can't predict. In enterprise networking, we've had about two decades of relative stability and duopoly: Ethernet switching dominated by the likes of Cisco as #1 and some combination of Juniper/HP/others in spot #2. 

This is all about to change rapidly.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 08, 2015 at 15:16 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Investing.
Keywords:

It's the first Monday of the New Year. A few punters were trading stocks last week, but this is where the real rubber meets the road. So it's now time to present our annual list of stocks for 2015.

Given today's steep selloff, it might also be good to wait to buy. I'm going to use today's closing prices as entry points and enter the market tomorrow morning. 

I've been doing this since the early 2000s as a hobby and a metier. Over the years, I've refined my screening and stock-picking technique. The Rayno report model portfolio has been publised since the Raynoreport.com launched in 2010, though the model dates back to 2007 when I first started sending it to newsletter subscribers. 

Since 2010 we have averaged 15% annually, with no losing years. Last year's results were 18% without dividends, or 20% with dividends. Even going back to 2007, the model portfolio has averaged better than 10% and not lost money in any given year. Newsletter subscribers will recall we recommended being 100% cash in 2008, due to many alarm bells sent to us by our New York sources about the growing financial crisis. 

This entry was posted on Monday, January 05, 2015 at 14:15 pm and is filed under Mobile, Digital Media, Investing.
Keywords: Rayno Portfolio, Tech Stocks, Mobile

(Editor's Note: The numbers of the model portfolio have been adjusted to reflect the final closing prices for 12/31/2014, including a steep market selloff in the waning hours of 2014, probably due to tax-loss selling.)

It's the last day of the year, so it's time to update the results of our annual tradition, the Rayno Report Portfolio, our stock picks for the year. The Rayno Report Portfolio had a great year with an return of 17.5%, beating the average indices including the S&P 500 Index, which returned 11.30%  

The total return was boosted by about 2% if you include dividends, making the total return of the portfolio about 20%

Where does the model come from? I've been building model portfolios since 2004 based on a proprietary stock selection portfolio that looks for healthy, growing companies with relatively low valuations. It's based on a basic low-PEG (Price/earnings/growth) formula. It uses a proven, quantitative model based on the work of outstanding fund manager Joel Greenblatt. Once I have a list of promising, low-PEG companies, I dig further into the individual companies and trends. This approach is designed to provide good returns with lower-than-average risk. 

A big part of our portfolio's success this year was tied to mobile networks and Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL), which we've been telling people has been undervalued for years. Apple had a great year, up 45%, boosted by a new product cycle and stock buybacks. But the biggest story in our portfolio was Skyworks Solutions (Nasdaq:SWKS), a big wireless chip supplier to Apple and others, which rose 166%

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 15:37 pm and is filed under .
Keywords: Apple, stocks, Rayno Report Portfolio, Skyworks Solutions

It's time to serve up year-in-review content appetizers for your New Year's Eve party. So break out the bubbly and read up on some of our favorite topics: Software Defined Networking (SDN), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and the cloud.  

I'll get to the content shortly. First, I'd like to thank you, my readers. The Rayno Report set a new record in 2014, with our little website growing 150% in terms of unique users. It's a high-quality audience of the big-brained people in technology and finance, focused on how technology and communications networks are changing the future of business.

The Rayno Report has big plans in 2015, as the number of contributors and breadth of our coverage will expand significantly. More news on that next week. 

Let's get on with the list of stories that generated the most buzz in 2014. This list is not based on any one metric, but gleaned from a combination of story traffic, social sharing, and community feedback. 

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 14:19 pm and is filed under Mobile, Infrastructure & SDN, Digital Media, Investing.
Keywords: Cisco, Cloud, SDN, NFV, Ciena, Arista, Pluribus, Cumulus Networks, Startups, AT&T

The U.S. Initial Public Offering (IPO) market set a 14-year high with 273 IPOs, the most since 2000 when 406 companies went public, according to IPO research specialist Renaissance Capital. 

Biotech and healthcare led the 2014 market in terms of number and performance, while technology IPOs were healthy in volume but only average in performance. The average IPO returned 16% over its IPO price -- close to the 10-year average -- but much of this came in the initial pop as the average "aftermarket" (performance after the first open market trade) was only 3%. 

Eight of the top ten IPOs of 2014 were biotechs, where performance was driven by investor interest in new treatments. 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 16:16 pm and is filed under Mobile, Digital Media, Investing.
Keywords: IPOs, Markets, Technology, Biotech
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Plum Print Receives Seed Funding
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  • Description: We take the overwhelming piles of paper-plate flower pots and sweet scribbles sent home from school and transform it into a beautiful book and organized e-file. All you’ve got to do is ping us for a Plum Parcel , ship us some of the best stuff, and we’ll get it all sorted and properly showcased.
  • Website: www.plumprint.com
  • Type: Venture Equity
  • Amount: Undisclosed
  • Round: Seed
  • Purpose: Proceeds purposes were not disclosed.
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Brandfolder Receives $2,000,000 New Financing
  • Company: Brandfolder
  • Description: Brandfolder is a site that helps companies create branding and marketing materials such as logos and media kits. The site stores the material and allows the companies and ad agencies easy access to the material, which could simplify how promotional campaigns are created and run.
  • Website: www.brandfolder.com
  • Type: Venture Equity
  • Amount: $2,000,000
  • Round: Undisclosed
  • Purpose: Baker says the latest funding will be used to double the sales and marketing team and customize the product for new markets.
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