Biz Break: NetApp keeps on narrowing down

Top Of The Order: 

The Narrowing Down Of NetApp: Data-storage technology company NetApp is in a tricky position. It’s not as big as its best-known rival, EMC (which itself is in the process of being acquired by Dell for $67 billion), and it’s in a tight position as more companies are spending less on NetApp’s bread-and-butter data center hardware, and are opting for cloud-based storage offerings like those from Amazon Web Services.

Let’s face it: data-storage, while important, just doesn’t have the flash of that comes from being able to put out a new iPhone or give a premiere date for the next season of “House of Cards” (March 4 on Netflix, for those marking their calendars at home).

And on Thursday, investors couldn’t find a way to get that excited about NetApp, even after the company on Wednesday reported $1.39 billion in revenue for its fiscal third quarter. That amount fell short of the $1.45 billion that Wall Street analysts expected. Not even NetApp saying it would cut 12 percent of its workforce, or about 1,500 jobs, could raise investors’ blood pressure much, as the company’s stock rose just 1.6 percent to close at $23.93 a share. Still, that’s almost 16 percent higher than NetApp’s 52-week-low of $20.66, which the stock fell to on Jan. 20, so that must count for something, even if there is going to be less of NetApp to count, right?

Middle Innings:

Maybe They Should Have Charged For Subscriptions?: If you were looking for those Yahoo magazines on food, health, travel, parenting, crafts, travel automobiles and real estate, well, stop looking.

Yahoo on Wednesday began shutting down a raft of its online magazines as part of the company’s already announced plan to trim 15 percent of its workforce. Some of the few that will remain include Yahoo Tech, which was launched with much ballyhoo when Chief Executive Marissa Mayer brought in noted tech pundit David Pogue to head up the shop there. But even Yahoo Tech will be folded into Yahoo News, so…what’s really going to be left?

Well, Katie Couric is still on the Yahoo payroll…

McAfee For America: As if the battle between Apple and the FBI couldn’t get any bigger, now we have the entry of self-described “cybersecurity legend’ John McAfee into the fray. You remember McAfee, right? He founded the McAfee antivirus software company and also spent some time on the run in Central America? He’s currently running for president as a Libertarian party candidate, and he’s offering to break into that iPhone that the FBI wants Apple to crack open…And he’ll do it for free!

Honestly, you couldn’t write this stuff any better…Or, you couldn’t write it any better than the Mercury News’ Levi Sumagaysay. Read her Silicon Beat post on McAfee and don’t be surprised if people around you wonder why you are laughing out loud in public.

Bottom Of The Lineup:

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did.

Movin’ On Up: Brocade Communications rose more than 13 percent, and notable gains also came from Nvidia, Harmonic, Twitter (Yes, Twitter!) and LendingClub.

In The Red: Security-technology company Palo Alto Networks fell more than 7 percent, and other losses came from Jive Software, SunPower, Nektar Therapeutics and Wageworks.

The SV150 Index of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies fell 15 points, or 1 percent, to 1,446.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 46 points, or 1 percent, to fall to 4,487.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 40 points, or 0.3 percent, to end the day at 16,413.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index pulled back by 9 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,917.

Quote Of The Day: “And why do the best hackers on the planet not work for the FBI? Because the FBI will not hire anyone with a 24-inch purple mohawk, 10-gauge ear piercings, and a tattooed face who demands to smoke weed while working and won’t work for less than a half-million dollars a year.” — John McAfee.

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Photo: Courtesy of NetApp


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