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May 2018

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Tesla Powerwall is being offered at €4,500 instead of €7,000 to Dutch households which already have solar panels

When Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) initially launched its stationary-storage arm, Tesla Energy, and unveiled its products with details, they were said to 1/17th the average market price. Now, Dutch consumers can get Tesla’s residential storage system at A 35% discount, according to The Verge.

Since the Powerwall becomes pricey with the addition of solar panels and inverters, the technology is still unaffordable for the majority. However, a Dutch electricity company named Eneco Holding NV, which is Tesla Energy official distributor in The Netherlands, has subsidized the storage battery’s price through a new program dubbed CrowdNett.

Eneco usually offers the Powerwall at €7,000 ($7,870); however, its price is reduced to €4,500 with the new program, representing a discount of more than 35%. There are about 400,000 households in the country which already own solar panels. The company plans to develop a “virtual power plant” of 400 networked batteries through the program, implying that only 400 homes could get the system at the subsidized rate.

The electricity stored by the virtual power plant is aimed to be used to assist the national grid to overcome persistent locations on loads. The reserves are usually supplied through non-renewable sources such as coal and gas power plants.

The households participating in CrodNett program will get an annual payment of €450 for a period of five years in exchange for providing 30% of the store energy with each Powerwall. According to Eneco, customers will “barely notice” that in day-to-day practice.

Ampard, a Swiss intelligence in solar + storage systems, will offer expertise to transmit electricity back to the grid, just like it has been doing in Switzerland. To qualify for the program, Dutch households must have an already-installed solar panel with smart meter place, an Internet connection, and sufficient space to install the Powerwall.

With this program for Dutch consumers, Eneco plans to take its services to the rest of the Europe as well. According to Electrek, a Vermont-based utility, Green Mountain Power, also offers discounts on the Powerwall in the US. However, the offer is available only for those households which are willing to provide excess energy back to the grid.

The most awaited phone by Windows fans might just be on its way out

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) has not officially confirmed that it is working on a Surface Phone, but there have been a lot of rumors going around about the tech giant’s next big smartphone which will compete with the likes of Android phones and the iPhones.

This time around, the latest rumor that has been circulating the Surface Phone is that it will be released either by the end of this year, in October to be more precise, or early next year. On the other hand, reports suggest that Microsoft will not release one, but three different Surface Phones which will cater to different target audiences.   

As mentioned earlier, Microsoft has so far not made an official announcement about working on the Surface Phone; but rumors suggest that it is expected to be revealed along with the Surface Book 2 and Surface Pro 5.

There are plenty of reasons why the Surface Phone might probably be Microsoft’s flagship device; with one being the fact how the devices will come with Windows 10 Mobile. Seeing how everything has been kept under wraps, it is possible that Microsoft wishes to keep a low profile in order to avoid criticism and to perfect its flagship device to take the market by storm.

Jefferies analyst sees 22.44% upside on the stock; says more upside could come from non-gaming, semi-custom design wins and another IP deal by year-end

Mark Lipacis, Jefferies analyst reiterated a Buy rating on Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) stock and raised his price target from $6.75 to $9. The price target reflects a potential upside of 22.44% over the last close of $7.35. The analyst also raised his estimates on AMD citing recently conducted channel checks that increased visibility to AMD’s product cycles.

Mr. Lipacis specifically highlighted that AMD’s new Zen 8 core high Summit Ridge CPUs that are slated for October release, could obtain a share in mid-to-high end desktops, as suggested by recent channel checks. He also highlighted AMD’s successful launch of Polaris, 14 nanometer FinFET GPU platform. Mr. Lipacis thinks that AMD’s Semi-custom design win at the unannounced Sony PlayStation Neo, will carry a higher average selling price.

According to Jefferies analyst, the $5.78 billion company’s recent GPU share gains of 700 basis points are sustainable. He sees the potential for more upside from another IP deal by end of 2016, semi-custom design and non gaming wins. “AMD has diversified its revs from 100% PC to 58%/42% SC/PC,” he commented. “AMD’s success in the SC business has been limited to the gaming market, but the company expects to ramp a non-gaming, ARM64 solution in 2H16. AMD’s SC target markets are Datacenter, Consumer & Embedded – we don’t know but suspect Datacenter,” said Mr. Lipacis.

In the meantime, the analyst expects the California based company to ramp another higher ASP in 2017 through Microsoft Xbox (Scorpio). For fiscal year 2016, Jefferies increased EPS estimates from ($0.21) to ($0.20), while increased EPS estimate for 2017 from ($0.06) to ($0.05). For 2016 revenue, Jefferies has estimated $4.13-$4.204 billion. For FY17, the firm has estimated revenue range of $4.236-4.712 billion.

Monthly pricing model based on per user may be implemented in ‘Facebook at Work’

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is set to launch its workplace interaction platform Facebook at Work sometime in the next few weeks, as reported initially by The Information. The news has since been confirmed by Facebook representative to TechCrunch that Facebook at Work is indeed on its way to reach a launch date, and a pricing model based on monthly active users could be charged for the service to companies. Another alternative was to use a flat charge per user, but it was later discarded in favor of a per-user basis.

Facebook has been involved in the development of a workplace communication tool and platform since 2014, and initial tests were reported last year by TechCrunch. Since then, the social media company has actively worked to sign-up companies for the service, and it already boasts The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) as its proud customer.

Facebook at Work will offer newsfeed that will contain news from colleagues and other individuals in the workplace through which delegation and collaboration on tasks will be made possible. Communication at the workplace will be assisted by Groups and Messenger services, apart from obvious benefits provided by the company, such as Live video streaming and Events.

The relative advantage that Facebook at Work has over other competing services is that users won’t have to familiarize themselves with its interface, which will make it convenient for users to adapt. They could be compelled to think of it as a platform to get work done instead of procrastinating, which they do on regular Facebook newsfeed.