Winners and Losers: 2 Troubled Techies, 2 Tasty Food Moves

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A woman holds a Nintendo Co. Wii U touch-screen controller displaying the new Super Mario Bros. U game in this arranged photograph in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co., Japan?s biggest makers of gaming devices, rose after China Daily said the world?s most-populous country may end a 12-year ban on the sale of video-game consoles. Nintendo, the creator of Super Mario, added 3.4 percent to 9,630 yen, the highest since Dec. 7, in Osaka. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Companies are always trying to build for the future: Sometimes it works, other times things don't work out quite as planned. From a tech giant having to rebrand a popular service to one of the more notorious IPO duds of last year bouncing back, here's a rundown of this week's best and worst results from the business world.

SodaStream (SODA) -- Winner

Naysayers have been saying for years that SodaStream's soda-making appliance is a fad, but the Israeli company just keeps on growing, and it came through with better-than-expected results on Wednesday. Revenue rose 29 percent with double-digit growth across its soda makers, carbonator refills, and soda flavors. In other words, the systems are being used. Earnings grew even faster.

SodaStream had 7.4 million shares sold short as of July 15 -- a strong measure of the bearish outlook among investors regarding the stock. That represents a whopping 35 percent of SodaStream's 21.4 million fully diluted shares outstanding, though it's down markedly from the nearly 10 million shares that were sold short this time last year. Those bears have been burned by SodaStreams healthy run in recent months. And, further tweaking the skeptics, SodaStream capped off its report by boosting its revenue and profit outlooks for all of 2013.

Microsoft (MSFT) -- Loser

All of the tech giants have their own Dropbox clone, vying for a slice of the inevitably gargantuan cloud-hosted file storage market.

"We aim to make SkyDrive the place for all your documents, notes, photos, videos and other files," Microsoft began in an April press release touting its own solution.

Sorry, Microsoft: You're going to have compile a new name.

The world's largest software company lost a trademark fight with British Sky Broadcasting over the Sky name.
Sensing defeat, Microsoft has decided not to pursue an appeal and BSkyB will give the Windows watcher a reasonable amount of time to rebrand the service. You would think a tech behemoth like Microsoft would've cleared the SkyDrive name worldwide.

Yum! Brands (YUM) -- Winner

Many fast-food chains are struggling to remain popular as hungry patrons trade up to the fast-casual space dominated by Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and Panera Bread (PNRA). Yum! Brands -- the parent company of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut -- has no problem butting heads with Chipotle. Taco Bell introduced both Dorito-flavored tacos and a higher-end Cantina Bell menu last year.

However, now it's trying to see if it can give its meandering KFC line a Chipotle-like spin.

Yum! Brands opened its first KFC eleven restaurant in Louisville, Ky., a fast-casual concept that is far more Chipotle than KFC. The decor, menu boards, and even the glass-walled assembly-line look suspiciously similar to Chipotle's longtime style.

This also isn't your typical KFC menu. The new boneless chicken is featured prominently, but it's done up in salads, flatbreads, and premium sandwiches. Instead of seasoned potato wedges and bland mashed potatoes, we're seeing crispy waffle fries and garlic mashed potatoes as the primary sides. KFC eleven may expand over time, or what works may just be ported to the 4,500 existing KFC locations.

Nintendo (NTDOY) -- Loser

We've known that Nintendo's Wii U has been a sales disappointment since its debut last year ahead of the holiday shopping season, but things have gotten worse.

The struggling Japanese gaming giant revealed that it sold a mere 160,000 Wii U consoles worldwide during its latest quarter. This may seem to be a bad sign for the Xbox One and PS4, slated to be introduced later this year, though die-hard gamers will argue that there's a big difference between the kid-oriented Wii U and the more powerful Microsoft and PlayStation platforms.

However, when Nintendo comes through with a price cut -- and that's inevitable at this point -- it could force the competition to adjust the planned high sticker prices for the Xbox One and PS4.

Facebook (FB) -- Winner

It took more than 14 months, but Facebook finally reclaimed its IPO price of $38 in intraday trading on Wednesday.

The world's leading social networking website went public at $38 in May of last year, and quickly became a busted IPO, bottoming out in the teens a few months later. It's not as if Facebook did anything wrong. It just hadn't earned the original valuation that was backed mostly by hype and share scarcity.

Facebook has gone on to post strong gains in active users, revenue and profitability. The mobile challenge at the time of the IPO is now an opportunity. Facebook will have to keep the good news coming, but at least the market has finally accepted its outstanding friend request.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of SodaStream. The Motley Fool recommends Chipotle Mexican Grill, Facebook, and SodaStream. The Motley Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Facebook, Microsoft, and SodaStream. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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