The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and EMC

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - October 13, 2015 - announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the Google ( GOOGL ), Microsoft ( MSFT ), Amazon ( AMZN ), Facebook ( FB ) and EMC Corp. ( EMC )

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Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Technology Stock Roundup

It was another blockbuster week for tech companies, jam-packed with products, events, acquisitions and more although Alphabet ( GOOGL ), Microsoft ( MSFT ), Amazon ( AMZN ), Facebook ( FB ) and EMC Corp. ( EMC ) likely had the biggest announcements.

Google Belongs to Alphabet Now

Google completed a complicated restructuring to give effect to a simple change. The total assets/lines of business of the company are now held by Alphabet Inc. and the core Google business is a separate subsidiary of Alphabet called Google Inc. Alphabet ticker symbols remain GOOGL and GOOG for Class A and Class C shares, respectively.

Co-founders Page and Brin continue to head Alphabet while Sundar Pichai is taking over as CEO of Google, as announced earlier. Each of the non-core businesses, i.e high-speed Internet (Fiber), healthcare (Calico and Life Sciences) home automation (Nest), investments (Google Capital and Google Ventures) and Google X (its other efforts including drones, cars, etc.) will have their own CEOs and will report numbers separately. Ruth Porat will be CFO of both Alphabet and Google.

The market is cheering the increased financial clarity, which will be reported for the first time as part of fourth-quarter results. Alphabet has changed its code of conduct for employees to allow greater flexibility to all its subsidiaries and the media was quick to point out that "don't be evil" has been replaced with "do the right thing," or in other words, "follow the law, act honorably and respect each other." More clarity all around, it would seem.

Microsoft: Something for Everyone

This software company had a major hardware event last week, where it introduced a new tablet called Surface Pro 4 (as expected), its first laptop called Surface Book (totally unexpected) and new Lumia phones, new Band and a Hololens update (somewhere in between). First-party Windows-as-a-Service devices are certainly taking shape here.

Microsoft says that its 13.5-inch, 267 PPI laptop, which comes with a pressure-sensitive pen and offers 12 hours of battery life is 2X faster than Apple's Macbook Pro. It is however somewhat more expensive. So if you'd like, there's the 12.3-inch, 267 PPI Surface Pro 4 tablet that runs Win 10 well for 9 hours of battery life and that Microsoft says compares with Macbook Air. The pen is impressive with an eraser at the back that also summons Cortana and you can buy a $130 key board like earlier models.

The new 5.2-inch and 5.7-inch Lumia phones have 8 core processors and a wonder cooling system, 20 megapixel cameras than can shoot 4K video and built-in image stabilization. A 4.7-inch LTE entry level device with a 5 megapixel camera was also launched.

Microsoft Band 2 is something of a pro device with its 11 sensors but also has useful app support to keep you updated while exercising. Price-wise, it's in the same league as the most expensive Fitbit, but doesn't quite make it to the Apple Watch.

Google's Mobile News Solution

Google loves the web. It is its life blood, same as it is for all the publishers increasingly digitizing as the world moves online and on mobile devices. With so many interests at stake it was only a matter of time before Google did something to counter Apple and Facebook's plans of getting publishers right within their apps.

While those companies wooed publishers with faster loading of stories inside their news apps and controlling the ad experience, Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) solution is for the mobile web at large. It works when websites agree to use an HTML code to build lighter web pages and Google's (or their own) cache servers to pre-load the pages.

There are other benefits: Google will display a "Top Stories" carousel at the top of the search results page that can be swiped to select and view. Around 30 publishers and tech companies have partnered with Google, of which some of the better-known are The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Vox Media,, The New York Times, The Guardian, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Adobe and Wordpress.

There will be support for a broad range of user-friendly ad formats although all partners will need to be on AMP standards. Google won't try to control the ad experience. The idea is to get ad-supported pages to load equally as fast as those without ads, so users aren't turned away or tempted to use ad-blocking software.

The AMP project is open source and will launch next year. Initial specifications are available on GitHub.

Facebook "Like" Enhancements

Facebook has put to rest fears that a thumbs-down symbol will give trolls leeway to down vote posts, thereby making the Facebook experience less than happy for users. The company is instead launching a host of emojis including love, haha, yay, wow, sad and angry that will allow users to display these reactions to posts. Holding the cursor on the Like button displays these options. This is rather a neat thing because while user experience won't deteriorate,

Facebook will likely get some insight into how they are reacting to ads. And after all, user experience and ads are the two most important things for the social network.

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ALPHABET INC-A (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report

MICROSOFT CORP (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report

AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report

FACEBOOK INC-A (FB): Free Stock Analysis Report

EMC CORP -MASS (EMC): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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