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Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

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TheMotorcycleBoy
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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228828

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » June 12th, 2019, 6:36 am

Yoda wrote:Anit-virus is an evolving field and in my opinion becoming less relevant as operating systems and browsers implement forms of sandboxing to contain executables.

By sandboxing do you mean .NET or running in a Java VM?

I'm pretty sure that most home users still run Windows as Admin, since it's still a pig for a novice to configure (for their printers and scanners etc.) any other way.

Re. the corporate world, my experience is that windows boxes as mostly configured as non-admin but most firms will still install an AV s/w as a belt and braces.

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228831

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » June 12th, 2019, 7:11 am

dspp wrote:Why do you think I am recommending you check Msft .......

- dspp

Hi dspp,

I just checked msft's chart. It's outrageous. Approx 200% capital gain from 2015. I'm just incredulous as to how it's come about, i.e. with increasing s/w upgrade cycles. The PC market must be growing in developing parts of the world, that's the only way I can currently explain it. I appreciate that they do Windows phones, WinCE for embedded devices, I believe they use SIP for IM, and sell various other services, i.e. lots of diversification has happened over the past 15 years or so. All the same it's pretty incredible.

PE as of today stands at 29.

Matt

JamesMuenchen
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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228833

Postby JamesMuenchen » June 12th, 2019, 7:36 am

TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:
dspp wrote:Why do you think I am recommending you check Msft .......

- dspp

Hi dspp,

I just checked msft's chart. It's outrageous. Approx 200% capital gain from 2015. I'm just incredulous as to how it's come about, i.e. with increasing s/w upgrade cycles. The PC market must be growing in developing parts of the world, that's the only way I can currently explain it. I appreciate that they do Windows phones, WinCE for embedded devices, I believe they use SIP for IM, and sell various other services, i.e. lots of diversification has happened over the past 15 years or so. All the same it's pretty incredible.

PE as of today stands at 29.

Matt

As others have mentioned, $MSFT's cloud offering is Azure. That's the biggestt driver of recent growth Same as Amazon's AWS is their driver.

Your looking at this field through your 1980s goggles :)

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228835

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » June 12th, 2019, 7:52 am

JamesMuenchen wrote:
TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:
dspp wrote:Why do you think I am recommending you check Msft .......

- dspp

Hi dspp,

I just checked msft's chart. It's outrageous. Approx 200% capital gain from 2015. I'm just incredulous as to how it's come about, i.e. with increasing s/w upgrade cycles. The PC market must be growing in developing parts of the world, that's the only way I can currently explain it. I appreciate that they do Windows phones, WinCE for embedded devices, I believe they use SIP for IM, and sell various other services, i.e. lots of diversification has happened over the past 15 years or so. All the same it's pretty incredible.

PE as of today stands at 29.

Matt

As others have mentioned, $MSFT's cloud offering is Azure. That's the biggestt driver of recent growth Same as Amazon's AWS is their driver.

Your looking at this field through your 1980s goggles :)

:lol:
Fair enough. That bloody cloud again!

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228847

Postby dspp » June 12th, 2019, 9:01 am

TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:
JamesMuenchen wrote:
TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:Hi dspp,

I just checked msft's chart. It's outrageous. Approx 200% capital gain from 2015. I'm just incredulous as to how it's come about, i.e. with increasing s/w upgrade cycles. The PC market must be growing in developing parts of the world, that's the only way I can currently explain it. I appreciate that they do Windows phones, WinCE for embedded devices, I believe they use SIP for IM, and sell various other services, i.e. lots of diversification has happened over the past 15 years or so. All the same it's pretty incredible.

PE as of today stands at 29.

Matt

As others have mentioned, $MSFT's cloud offering is Azure. That's the biggestt driver of recent growth Same as Amazon's AWS is their driver.

Your looking at this field through your 1980s goggles :)

:lol:
Fair enough. That bloody cloud again!


Indeed, MSFT = SaaS

............... dspp

vrdiver
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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228863

Postby vrdiver » June 12th, 2019, 9:48 am

TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:Sure. My issue with the US at present is the current poor £ to $ exchange rates. I'm not ruling out ever making state-side investments, but I just don't think now is the best time for me to do so. Any opinions?

I have a "rule" that my £ liabilities are matched by my £ assets. After that, I don't worry about the currency denomination as my short-term currency crystal ball hasn't worked for ages.

Long term, the £:$ ratio has been sliding in favour of the dollar, with short-term noise cluttering the graph, but overall I have a gut feel the US economy will at least equal that of the UK, if not thrash it soundly, but whether either will outperform other currencies I have no idea, but also no real worry, as most of my so-called £ assets have a fair chunk of non £ earnings anyway!

I think the real question is whether you believe a USD denominated company is a sound investment. Remember that Apple, MSFT etc have non USD earnings as well, so you will get some protection in that a weak dollar in any reporting period will have inflated foreign earnings and vice versa.

As Buffet didn't say, worry about a great international company* and the currency will take care of itself.

VRD


*International as trades internationally, not within a single country.

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228868

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » June 12th, 2019, 10:00 am

vrdiver wrote:
TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:Sure. My issue with the US at present is the current poor £ to $ exchange rates. I'm not ruling out ever making state-side investments, but I just don't think now is the best time for me to do so. Any opinions?

I have a "rule" that my £ liabilities are matched by my £ assets. After that, I don't worry about the currency denomination as my short-term currency crystal ball hasn't worked for ages.

Long term, the £:$ ratio has been sliding in favour of the dollar, with short-term noise cluttering the graph, but overall I have a gut feel the US economy will at least equal that of the UK, if not thrash it soundly, but whether either will outperform other currencies I have no idea, but also no real worry, as most of my so-called £ assets have a fair chunk of non £ earnings anyway!

I think the real question is whether you believe a USD denominated company is a sound investment. Remember that Apple, MSFT etc have non USD earnings as well, so you will get some protection in that a weak dollar in any reporting period will have inflated foreign earnings and vice versa.

As Buffet didn't say, worry about a great international company* and the currency will take care of itself.

VRD


*International as trades internationally, not within a single country.

On the whole I'd say that's very good advice.

I don't quite get this bit though:
my £ liabilities are matched by my £ assets

what that mean for me? I have no mortgage, about £13K in cash and my investment portfolio is currently like this:

ADV MED SOLUTIONS ORD GBP0.05	AMS
BIOVENTIX PLC ORD GBP0.05 BVXP
BODYCOTE PLC ORD GBP0.1727272 BOY
BRITISH TELECOM 5.75 SNR 07/12/28 GBP1000 72NS
BURFORD CAPITAL LT ORD NPV BUR
CENTRAL ASIA METAL ORD USD0.01 CAML
CRODA INTL ORD GBP0.10609756 CRDA
DIAGEO ORD GBP0.28 101/108 DGE
FIL INV SVCS UK INDEX WORLD P ACC NAV FIAAGM
FOCUSRITE PLC ORD GBP0.001 TUNE
GAMES WORKSHOP GRP ORD GBP0.05 GAW
GREENCOAT UK WIND ORD GBP0.01 UKW
IMPERIAL BRANDS PL GBP0.10 IMB
INTERNATIONAL PERS 6.125 GTD SNR 08/05/20 GBP IPF1
LEGAL GENERAL GP ORD GBP0.025 LGEN
LLOYDS BANKING GP ORD GBP0.1 LLOY
MARSHALLS ORD GBP0.25 MSLH
NATIONAL GRID ORD GBP0.12431289 NG.
NEXT ORD GBP0.10 NXT
PERSIMMON ORD GBP0.10 PSN
PREMIER OIL 6.5 GTD EMTN 31/05/21 GBP PMO1
RENISHAW ORD GBP0.20 RSW
ROYAL DUTCH SHELL B ORD EUR0.07 RDSB
SPIRAXSARCO ENG ORD GBP0.269230769 SPX
STRIX GROUP PLC ORD GBP0.01 KETL
TATE LYLE ORD GBP0.25 TATE
TESCO PERSONAL FIN 5 SNR 21/11/2020 GBP1003 TSC5
TRIFAST ORD GBP0.05 TRI
UNILEVER PLC ORD GBP0.031111 ULVR
VICTREX ORD GBP0.01 VCT
XP POWER LTD ORD GBP0.01 DI XPP
ZYTRONIC ORD GBP0.01 ZYT

thanks Matt

TheMotorcycleBoy
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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228876

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » June 12th, 2019, 10:17 am

dspp wrote:
TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:
JamesMuenchen wrote:
As others have mentioned, $MSFT's cloud offering is Azure. That's the biggestt driver of recent growth Same as Amazon's AWS is their driver.

Your looking at this field through your 1980s goggles :)

:lol:
Fair enough. That bloody cloud again!


Indeed, MSFT = SaaS

............... dspp

"Thank you for holding - we value your call patience"

;)

MSFT is a hell of a lot more just SaaS mind you. And yes I might rule my slide rule over them, as some of you describe. I still think this place (TLF) is stupid not to have a S/W and technology board (then I could start an MSFT thread there!). This topic seems to have inspired a lot of interest.

Matt

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228882

Postby PrefInvestor » June 12th, 2019, 10:35 am

Hi Matt, Some (hopefully relevant) points re this topic:-

1. I have some historical experience with Sophos from back when I was working. Time was they were THE mandated A/V solution for government military and intelligence type computer systems. Not sure if that is still the case. Being a British company you can see how that might have some appeal, cant see those customers using Kaspersky (even if it is better !). They didnt then do home stuff much at all so clearly they are branching out. As an investment I am not sure about it at all - I cant see them gaining much of a share in the commercial A/V market ?, and they are only a smallish company.

2. I have often thought about buying some Microsoft shares, the company just seems to go from strength to strength - despite its reliance on Windows. But the new CEO really has moved them into the cloud space and software as a service. Im always put off by the cost of overseas direct investments though (my broker applies a 1% currency charge to any buy or sell which involves an FX transaction, so that a 1% fee when you buy and another one when you sell and thats in addition to the commission and spread). Of course you can get around the FX fee if you buy an investment trust like PCT which is priced in GBP and has an 8% MSFT holding, holds some of the other big tech names too. I have done that before but would prefer the direct investment TBH. Ohhhhhh I should have bought when they were in the 90s, I seriously thought about it but didnt do it. Now one is mentally put off by NOT having acted earlier and looking at the current price. Thats investing for you isnt it.

3. Looking at your portfolio you look to be almost totally in UK shares with UKW your only investment trust. Personally I really like investment trusts for their diversity, stability and dividends. Are you going the HYP route ?, I must say its not for me. But each to their own though obviously.

ATB

Pref

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228898

Postby vrdiver » June 12th, 2019, 11:27 am

TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:I don't quite get this bit though:
my £ liabilities are matched by my £ assets

what that mean for me? I have no mortgage, about £13K in cash and my investment portfolio is currently like this:

(I've snipped the portfolio for the sake of brevity - see Matt's earlier post for portfolio details)

Looking at your portfolio, all your companies are UK listed and pay out in GBP, but vary from UK centric business (e.g. UK housebuilder or Lloyds bank) through to truly international companies like Diageo and Unilever, or the oilies. Consequently you have a slight bias towards the UK GBP economy but have foreign currency risk baked in whether you like it or not as companies like Diageo will earn in pretty much every currency that exists.

Your assets are all GBP, so, if you had a mortgage or other debt in GBP you could sell one to repay the other without having to worry about exchange rates hurting you through bad timing.

Equally, I assume you have living expenses in GBP, so when you give up work it would be good to have a GBP income stream to pair them with, rather than say, all your earnings being denominated in South African Rand for example!

Any income in excess of the above could be in any currency you like. I have a USD broker account which fills up with USD (no sh1t Sherlock!) which I use to purchase USD denominated assets as well as for USD expenses like travel in the US...

Hope that clarifies.

VRD

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228925

Postby gbjbaanb » June 12th, 2019, 12:49 pm

TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:
dspp wrote:
TheMotorcycleBoy wrote: :lol:
Fair enough. That bloody cloud again!


Indeed, MSFT = SaaS

............... dspp

"Thank you for holding - we value your call patience"

;)

MSFT is a hell of a lot more just SaaS mind you. And yes I might rule my slide rule over them, as some of you describe. I still think this place (TLF) is stupid not to have a S/W and technology board (then I could start an MSFT thread there!). This topic seems to have inspired a lot of interest.

Matt


Not really, its changed.

Here's an article about it. In it, it says:
MSFTs revenues are:
In 1st place: Server and cloud.
In 2nd place Gaming,
In 3rd place: Office.

Windows is nowhere to be seen. Gaming, online service and cloud stuff make up more than 50% of its revenues. So much so that MSFT is turning to supporting Linux, because that's what customers want to run in their cloud services (eg Netflix running FreeBSD) and Microsoft wants that money, Windows... meh.

they played with making Windows a phone OS, and you can see the results in wndows 10 today. You don't need anti virus, most of your stuff is stored on the cloud. They've been changing their flagship development language to be ".net core" which is re-engineered to run on Linux.

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228928

Postby gbjbaanb » June 12th, 2019, 12:51 pm

PrefInvestor wrote: Ohhhhhh I should have bought when they were in the 90s, I seriously thought about it but didnt do it. Now one is mentally put off by NOT having acted earlier and looking at the current price. Thats investing for you isnt it.


Chinese Proverb: the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.

(though MSFT might be overvalued, you'll just have to look at it as if its a brand new company)

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228948

Postby PrefInvestor » June 12th, 2019, 2:37 pm

Well Windows Phone is dead now isn’t it, no more being made. And we are left with its tile interface method within windows 10 which I guess some touchscreen users might find useful.

Good luck going without a good commercial internet security (ie not just antivirus) package on Windows. Test scores of Windows Defender arent that great even today and it only takes one virus to spoil your (day, week, month…) or compromise your financial data. And personally I wouldn’t want to be without an easily customisable firewall either myself. Having Windows Defender there as part of Windows makes sense in that it provides everyone with some protection, but if you want the best protection and performance then you had better buy a commercial package IMHO.

All that said new CEO has certainly moved the company and its products forward in a very positive way and that is to be applauded. Just wish I’d bought at 90……

ATB

Pref

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228952

Postby vrdiver » June 12th, 2019, 2:59 pm

Just a note to add to my previous post: the portfolio being considered pays out in GBP, but some of that has been converted from foreign currency (e.g. RDSB declares its dividend in USD and then converts for UK holders) so the revenue stream of the portfolio does have some direct currency fluctuation exposure above and beyond what happens inside the companies themselves!

VRD

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228963

Postby mrbrightside » June 12th, 2019, 3:37 pm

I work for a large American software company (Oracle) but do not hold any software shares. I recently happened across the L&G CyberSecurity ETF. This underlying holdings may provide some food for thought.

http://www.morningstar.co.uk/uk/etf/sna ... entType=FE

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228965

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » June 12th, 2019, 3:44 pm

vrdiver wrote:
TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:I don't quite get this bit though:
my £ liabilities are matched by my £ assets

what that mean for me? I have no mortgage, about £13K in cash and my investment portfolio is currently like this:

(I've snipped the portfolio for the sake of brevity - see Matt's earlier post for portfolio details)

Looking at your portfolio, all your companies are UK listed and pay out in GBP, but vary from UK centric business (e.g. UK housebuilder or Lloyds bank) through to truly international companies like Diageo and Unilever, or the oilies. Consequently you have a slight bias towards the UK GBP economy but have foreign currency risk baked in whether you like it or not as companies like Diageo will earn in pretty much every currency that exists.

Your assets are all GBP, so, if you had a mortgage or other debt in GBP you could sell one to repay the other without having to worry about exchange rates hurting you through bad timing.

I understand. Thanks again - another nice explanation.

vrdiver wrote:Just a note to add to my previous post: the portfolio being considered pays out in GBP, but some of that has been converted from foreign currency (e.g. RDSB declares its dividend in USD and then converts for UK holders) so the revenue stream of the portfolio does have some direct currency fluctuation exposure above and beyond what happens inside the companies themselves!

Thanks again!

I see what you mean. I'm already somewhat exposed re. currency fluctuations. Thanks for taking the time to enlighten me sufficiently.

I can see my views on US investments changing somewhat as a result of recent posts. I'm still a little bit unnerved by the almost exponential nature of MSFTs chart (esp. 2015-2019). I see PI is too!

PrefInvestor wrote:Ohhhhhh I should have bought when they were in the 90s, I seriously thought about it but didnt do it. Now one is mentally put off by NOT having acted earlier and looking at the current price. Thats investing for you isnt it.

Hmm...

I'm kinda torn now between either opening an MSFT or PCT position. I like the idea of PCT because it seriously diversifies my US/tech, but I hate the 1.75% fee. (I briefly glanced at ATT Allianz tech, but that's even worse at 2.0%).

Matt

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228972

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » June 12th, 2019, 3:55 pm

gbjbaanb wrote:
TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:MSFT is a hell of a lot more just SaaS mind you.


Not really, its changed.

Here's an article about it. In it, it says:
MSFTs revenues are:
In 1st place: Server and cloud.
In 2nd place Gaming,
In 3rd place: Office.

Windows is nowhere to be seen. Gaming, online service and cloud stuff make up more than 50% of its revenues. So much so that MSFT is turning to supporting Linux, because that's what customers want to run in their cloud services (eg Netflix running FreeBSD) and Microsoft wants that money, Windows... meh.

From one softie to another. That article is incredible. I already knew about the Ubuntu subsystem on Windows 10.

In fact despite being a Window+DOS(and OS/2) kiddie in the 90s, then "seeing the light" in 2001 and switching the UNIX/BSD from then on, I've basically been trying to persuade people about how vile Windows is (and how much better the alternative is) ever since.

This part of the article makes it all the more convincing:
It's open-source operating systems and server applications. To quote Mark Russinovich, CTO of Microsoft Azure, "It's obvious, if we don't support Linux, we'll be Windows only and that's not practical." He added that one in four virtual machine instances on Azure are Linux and that the number is increasing.

Especially given that Mark Russ was a big time windows kernel hacker and the main author of Windows Internals (IIRC the definitive WinDDK book back in the day?).

I shall study some more....

Anyone want to send me a link to M$ last 5 years financial statements?

Matt

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228977

Postby dspp » June 12th, 2019, 4:03 pm

In the 1990-2000 period I used to climb a lot with friends out of Seattle area who had basically all retired at 30 as Msft millionaires. I looked at things and thought it was overdue a correction, and I knew the sector a bit, and the correction came in the dot-bust, so I was right. Then I stayed right for the next 15-years. Then I went wrong and missed a trick by not having any/much exposure ( I do have a bit via index trackers).

MSFT looks due another correction imho. Just saying ....... run those numbers.

It is worth trying to pull together a chart of any sector when you start to invest in it, just to get a scale of who the payers are. I call such a chart a navajo blanket, but in excel it is called a treemap (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treemapping) . So get the industry classification of NYSE or etc, dump the mkt caps into a spreadsheet, and chart. Then you can see who is significant, or not, in an industry and get your first map of the landscape. At the moment you are just throwing darts blindfold in the dark.

I thought Wince was dead. It should be.

regards, dspp

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228979

Postby PrefInvestor » June 12th, 2019, 4:05 pm

Hi Again Matt, Well if you are talking about the ongoing charges with PCT ? then don’t forget that they are just built into the price. You don’t actually pay them separately. But they are there....

That’s in sharp contrast to making a direct purchase of MSFT stock which for me would cost the brokers commission + the 1% FX transaction fee + the spread. And of course be subject to whatever GBP/USD rate they actually apply. No stamp duty as I recall. And I’d have to pay another 1% FX fee when I sold.

So the investment trust route is far more painless when it comes to the charges.

If they ever get back to $120 I might have another go with the direct route. (They were at $119 not long ago looking at their chart)

TBH A further hang up I have with all US tech is that there are no dividends paid. MSFT is better than some of the others in that respect, but not much.

ATB

Pref

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Re: Investing in software and IT, e.g. Softcat, Sophos, Saas

#228985

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » June 12th, 2019, 4:20 pm

dspp wrote:In the 1990-2000 period I used to climb a lot with friends out of Seattle area who had basically all retired at 30 as Msft millionaires. I looked at things and thought it was overdue a correction, and I knew the sector a bit, and the correction came in the dot-bust, so I was right. Then I stayed right for the next 15-years. Then I went wrong and missed a trick by not having any/much exposure ( I do have a bit via index trackers).

MSFT looks due another correction imho.

Yes the current chart is scary.

Just saying ....... run those numbers.

I'm gonna. I'm doing one more UK tech first. Then I'll pull M$ financial statements, have you got a link for the last 5 years?

It is worth trying to pull together a chart of any sector when you start to invest in it, just to get a scale of who the payers are. I call such a chart a navajo blanket, but in excel it is called a treemap (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treemapping) . So get the industry classification of NYSE or etc, dump the mkt caps into a spreadsheet, and chart. Then you can see who is significant, or not, in an industry and get your first map of the landscape. At the moment you are just throwing darts blindfold in the dark.

TODO list.

I thought Wince was dead. It should be.

Afraid not. I did an incredibly tedious 14 months in a US-owned Brit subsidiary called Videojet back in 2010. Industrial inkjet printers (e.g. shampoo bottles, cabling, bean cans). They (and a lot of others) ran WCE on Samsung ARM clones. Lots of ATMs and pay-at-pumps also used (and probably still do) it.

Matt


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