Super computers. Online travel. And marketing tools for real estate agents.
Those were the hot segments in the Seattle tech sector in 2012 as Cray, Expedia and Market Leader each saw their stock prices more than double.
Generally speaking, it was a solid year for tech stocks, with the Nasdaq up 14 percent on the year. And those gains came even with a battered Facebook IPO, a hard-fought presidential election and a looming fiscal cliff.
In Seattle, Amazon.com had a great year, seeing its value jump by 45 percent even as it sunk to a net loss during the third quarter.
Microsoft continued to post an anemic return, up just 2.9 percent in 2012, with many using that performance as ammunition in their arguments that CEO Steve Ballmer should go.
The two worst performers in the Seattle crop: Data I/O and Motricity each saw their stocks decline by more than 50 percent. Here’s a look back at how many of the publicly-traded tech companies fared in 2012.
What’s in store in 2013? Who knows where things will go next, but we’ll certainly be watching.
Amazon.com: Investors continued to reward Amazon.com, despite the fact that the company posted a $274 million net loss during the third quarter. Some are wondering just how long Wall Street’s love affair with Amazon will last, and whether Jeff Bezos and crew will continue to be “misunderstood” for long periods of time.
2012 close: $250.87, up 45 percent.
Blucora: The company formerly known as InfoSpace had a good year as it integrated the online tax company TaxAct, which it purchased for $287 million in early 2012.
2012 close: $15.71, up 25 percent
Blue Nile: Things didn’t sparkle that much for Blue Nile in 2012 as the online diamond retailer saw its stock sink, the second straight year of stock market losses. The declines came after the company named Harvey Kanter as CEO in March.
2012 close: $38.48, down 5.8 percent.
Bsquare: It was another tough year for Bsquare, which saw its stock decline by double digits yet again. For the first nine months of 2012, the Bellevue company squeaked out a small profit of $220,000.
2012 close: $2.93, down 14 percent
Clearwire: It was a wild year of ups and downs at Clearwire, ending in December when its longtime partner, Sprint, agreed to purchase its remaining stake for $2.2 billion. That pushed the company’s slumping stock price up.
2012 close: $2.89, up 49 percent
Concur: The maker of travel and entertainment expense management software performed well as CEO Steve Singh guided the Redmond company to record revenues. It won a huge $1.4 billion contract in June from the U.S. General Services Administration, overseeing online bookings, travel authorizations and vouchers across all U.S. government agencies, a deal that sent the company’s shares surging.
2012 close: $67.52, up 33 percent
Cray: The Seattle supercomputer maker was the top performer in the list of Washington state technology companies. In June, Cray announced that it won a $40 million contract to deliver its next-generation supercomputer, code-named “Cascade” along with its Sonexion storage system, to the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center.
2012 close: $15.95, up 146 percent
Data I/O: Shares of Data I/O, a 40-year-old Redmond company that makes device programming and IP management technologies for the wireless industry, tumbled in 2012 as the company cut its staff and its longtime CEO retired.
2012 close: $1.65, down 55 percent
Dendreon: Another bad year for the Seattle biotech company whose stock lost nearly a third of its value. The maker of prostate cancer treatments sold its New Jersey manufacturing facility and posted a $155 million net loss during the third quarter. “With our restructuring on track, we believe we are in a strong financial position and are looking to the future as we meet the growing interest for Provenge in the marketplace,” said CEO John Johnson in a statement at the time of the third quarter earnings report.
2012 close: $5.29, down 30 percent
Expedia: The online travel giant soared in 2012 as it purchased a majority share of German travel company Trivago and posted profits that beat analysts expectations during the third quarter. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a conference call in October with analysts that it is shaping up to “be quite a good year.” A good year indeed.
2012 close: $61.44, up 111 percent
F5 Networks: The maker of networking equipment saw another decline, the second straight year of negativity.
2012 close: $97.15, down 8 percent.
Google: Though technically not headquartered in Seattle, the search giant now employs about 1,000 people in the region. Given that, we took a look at its performance in 2012.
2012 close: $707.38, up 9.5 percent.
Marchex: The online advertising company took it on the chin in 2012 despite efforts to split itself in two, a plan that was announced in early November.
2012 close: $4.11, down 34 percent
Market Leader: Zillow grabs more headlines in the online real estate space, but Kirkland-based Market Leader performed well in 2012 as CEO Ian Morris nailed down new customers and boosted revenues. In a conference call with analysts earlier this year, Morris noted that Market Leader was undervalued.
2012 close: $6.55, up 138 percent
Microsoft: It was a big year for Microsoft, with the release of the Surface tablet and Windows 8. But it was yet another year in which the company’s stock barely budged. In the past five years, Microsoft’s stock is down 25 percent. Not a great run for Steve Ballmer, one of the reasons that investors frequently clamor for a replacement for the energetic CEO.
2012 close: $26.71, up 2.9 percent
Microvision: It was another tough year for Microvision.
2012 close: $1.91, down 33 percent.
Motricity: In 2011, Bellevue mobile software company Motricity posted the worst stock performance of the bunch, losing some 95 percent of its value. And the pain continued in 2012. The company is currently weighing a reorganization plan as it faces delisting from Nasdaq. It got another dose of bad news in December when AT&T terminated a key contract, one which accounted for 42 percent of the company’s revenue.
2012 close: 41 cents, down 54 percent.
RealNetworks: Rob Glaser returned to the CEO post in July, but that wasn’t quite enough to resuscitate the struggling company.
2012 close: $7.56, up 0.8 percent.
Zillow: Despite a tough fourth quarter, Zillow still outperformed the market as a whole. The Seattle online real estate company made several acquisitions as it expanded rapidly into online tools for real estate agents, putting it on a direct collision course with Market Leader. Zillow’s stock also traded above the $20 IPO price from July 2011, the last tech company from the state to go public.
2012 close: $27.75, up 23 percent.