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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Yahoo!, Facebook, Apple and Google

CHICAGO, Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com 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 Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report), Yahoo! (Nasdaq:YHOO-Free Report), Facebook (Nasdaq:FB-Free Report), Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report) and Google (Nasdaq:GOOGL-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc., www.zacks.com

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Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Microsoft Unveils WindUp App, Says Not a Snapchat Competitor

Software developer Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report) recently released WindUp for Windows Phone, an app that allows users to share messages, photos and videos, which are automatically deleted at a time preset by the user.

The app has reportedly been touted as a prospective competitor to Snapchat, which is still not available on the Windows Phone platform. However, Microsoft denied the reports, claiming that the app is a prototype launched on Windows Phone Store for only research purposes.

The WindUp app can be downloaded free by users of Windows Phone 8 or 8.1 to exchange self-destructive temporary messages, photos and videos where users can select a time depending on how long they want their message to last. However, unlike other ephemeral apps where messages are automatically deleted only after the receiver sees them, WindUp messages are destroyed minutes after sending them. The app doesn't offer location services.

Ephemeral messaging is not an unknown concept and has become quite popular with users due to the unique features.  These features have attracted big Internet companies such as Yahoo! (Nasdaq:YHOO-Free Report) and Facebook (Nasdaq:FB-Free Report) into the ephemeral messaging market. With this app, Microsoft becomes the latest entrant into this space. The launch of WindUp will not only boost Microsoft's competitive position but will also help it to build a strong bench of software developers.

But WindUp is available only on the Windows Platform. Therefore, its limited presence could be a major disadvantage.

Microsoft is trying to increase its market share in the global smartphone market as Windows Phone still has a very tiny market share in comparison to Apple's (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report) iOS and Google's (Nasdaq:GOOGL-Free Report) Android mobile platforms. It is also targeting other fast-growing segments like wearables, cloud-computing and productivity software, in a bid to shift from a "devices and services" company to a "cloud-first mobile-first" one.

Microsoft shares carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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