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Microsoft's Q1 2014 earnings less than spectacular, miss expectations

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Oct 18, 2012 11:01 pm

Today has been a busy day for financial reporting. Microsoft adds to our boring financial news day with their own earnings report, which is also less than spectacular. The third quarter (Microsoft's Q1 2014) has not been nice to companies, with many missing expectations due to slumping sales and other issues.




For Microsoft's Q1 2014, the company posted revenues of $16.01 billion and earnings per share of $0.53. Revenue is down from last quarter's $18.06 billion, but earnings are up from last quarters loss per share of $0.06. It's important to remember that Microsoft took a $6.19 billion writedown last quarter because of the failed aQuantive acquisition.


"The launch of Windows 8 is the beginning of a new era at Microsoft," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft, in a canned statement today. "Investments we've made over a number of years are now coming together to create a future of exceptional devices and services, with tremendous opportunity for our customers, developers, and partners."


Analysts expected Microsoft to post revenues of $16.42 billion and earnings per share of $0.56. They also predicted that sales growth would be down (roughly -5.5 percent) as companies held off from upgrades due to Windows 8 being just around the corner. Microsoft has Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Surface tablets due to be released in this upcoming quarter, which will hopefully help the earnings report next time around.

ISPs to begin rolling out Copyright Alert System 'in the coming weeks'

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Oct 18, 2012 9:34 pm

Major ISPs have agreed to the Copyright Alert System and will begin to roll it out in the "coming weeks." The system doesn't exactly have any real force behind it, but it's more akin to the nag-ware software, such as WinRAR, where they will complain to you if you are pirating, but they never shut you down.




The Copyright Alert System allows content owners to lodge a complaint against an IP and the ISP will then send out a letter to the customer. The content owner never gets any customer information. The letter, at least the first one, is just of the purely informational variety. Subsequent letters may not be so nice.


Repeat offenders can have additional action taken by the ISP, such as throttling data speeds or forcing the subscriber to review "educational material." The CAS does not provide for cancellations, though the ISP can terminate a user's account at their own discretion. If a customer believes he is falsely accused, he can pay $35 for an independent review of his network behavior.


The CAS is "designed to make consumers aware of activity that has occurred using their Internet accounts, educate them on how they can prevent such activity from happening again, and provide information about the growing number of ways to access digital content legally."

Twitter takes to censorship, blocks account for violating local law for the first time

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Oct 18, 2012 8:29 pm

Twitter introduced the ability to censor tweets and Tweeter's on a per country basis back in January, but hadn't ever used the feature. That was the case until today, when Twitter banned an account from being seen in a single country at the request of the local law enforcement.




Who was blocked? And why? Well, both are very good questions. Twitter has banned @hannoverticker, an account which belongs to a neo-Nazi group that operates in Germany. They go by the name Besseres Hannover and have been under surveillance since 2008 because Nazi imagery and propaganda is illegal in Germany.


The Germany authorities requested that Twitter block the handle from being visible in Germany. "It is disbanded, its assets are seized and all its accounts in social networks have to be closed immediately," reads a letter sent to Twitter. Late last night, Twitter General Counsel Alex Macgillivray responded with a tweet saying they had blocked the account.


We announced the ability to withhold content back in Jan. We're using it now for the first time re: a group deemed illegal in Germany.

Nokia still bleeding massive amounts of money, lose $754 million for Q3

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Oct 18, 2012 7:59 pm

It's that time of year. No, not Christmas. Companies are reporting their third quarter results, some with positive results, and some with negative. Unfortunately, Nokia falls into the latter category. For the third quarter, Nokia posted a massive $754 million loss, which is actually an improvement from previous quarters.




This loss marks the six consecutive quarter than Nokia has lost money. That's not a good thing for a company to be doing quarter after quarter, however, Nokia doesn't have much choice in the matter. Stephen Elop took over as CEO in early 2011 and has seemingly been doing a good job turning the company around as this loss is less than previous.


In Q4 2011, Nokia lost $1.3 billion, which is a massive amount of money. However, that was easily eclipsed in Q1 2012 when Nokia reported losses of $1.6 billion. Q2 2012 saw losses of just $1.1 billion, and Q3, in other words, this quarter, saw losses of just $754 million, a marked improvement.


Nokia saw a reduction in the number of Lumia's that it sold, and this makes sense since these devices are reaching the end of life. A new wave of Lumias are about to hit, so Nokia needs these to be a smashing success in order to keep this turn around going. Let's just hope AT&T's exclusivity for the Lumia 920 doesn't hurt Nokia further.

Google blames the financial printer for the early financial filing leak

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Oct 18, 2012 7:29 pm

Google has come out with a statement which blames R.R. Donnelley, the financial printer, for the leak of their earnings statement earlier this morning. The document was not due to be published until trading had closed for the day. In fact, the leaked copy said "PENDING LARRY QUOTE" at the top, showing that it was not a final report.




Google's stock has suffered significant declines due to the early leak and Google has ordered trading to be halted for its stock. The Q3 results are not spectacular, but not terrible either. The earnings call, which is scheduled for 1:30 PM PT should bring context to these numbers. It's somewhat likely Google's stock will recover when trading resumes.


Google's statement:


Earlier this morning R.R. Donnelley, the financial printer, informed us that they had filed our draft 8K earnings statement without authorization. We have ceased trading on NASDAQ while we work to finalize the document. Once it's finalized we will release our earnings, resume trading on NASDAQ and hold our earnings call as normal at 1:30 PM PT.

Yelp cracking down on fake reviews, adding label to business pages who attempt to buy reviews

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Oct 18, 2012 6:28 pm

An update is coming to Yelp which should help deter businesses from purchasing fake reviews. Businesses who are caught doing underhanded transactions will be labeled with a notice alerting customers for 90 days. And if the business is caught doing it again within those 90 days, it will stay even longer.




The warning that will be shown can be seen above. It offers a bit of information on why it is there and why its bad that businesses purchase positive reviews. It also gives the option to show the reviews that have been flagged as purchased, which reportedly are flagged by an automatic system.


"We want to make sure consumers are making informed decisions," Yelp said in a blog post Thursday announcing the consumer alert labels. "Yelp's automated review filter is working around the clock to flag these types of biased reviews, and we believe that you deserve the right to know when this type of activity is taking place behind the scenes."


Purchased reviews are a growing problem. Gartner predicted last month that by 2014, 10 to 15 percent of social media reviews will be purchased fakes. Hopefully Yelp's new system will keep some of these reviews at bay. If they can't, the whole idea of looking at Yelp reviews goes out the window.

Google's financial results come early and come with disappointments

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Oct 18, 2012 5:30 pm

It's around that time again when companies report their third quarter earnings. Google is one of the earlier ones out of the gate and actually announced their earnings a few hours earlier than expected this morning. And, unfortunately, they were below expectations and the stock price has been decreasing.




Results fell short of the estimated earnings of $10.65 per share. Instead, Google only managed to pull in $9.03, which is a pretty big decrease (greater than 10 percent). Revenues were also lower than expected, though not by as much. They raked in $14.10 billion, down from estimates of $14.70 billion.


Stock prices have declined by 9 percent on the news of these lower-than-expected earnings.

Hilarious new love story details a man and his love for his personal assistant Siri

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Oct 18, 2012 5:01 pm

I definitely got a laugh when I saw this, I think you just might as well. We all know we live in a digital age where people seem to be more connected to their devices than the people around them. Well, author of Goodnight iPad, a parody of the well-known Goodnight Moon, has chronicled one man's love for Siri in his new book called Siri & Me: A Modern Love Story.



As you can see in the video above, it definitely looks like it will be a humors book. He pokes fun at her ability to understand several times: "I love you, Siri," Dave says. "I'll bet you say that to all of your gadgets…" Siri responds.


"The concept to do something about Siri came from my publisher when we had a meeting after the iPad book, but it really resonates with me and I'm completely fascinated by technology," Milgrim told Mashable. "It boggles my mind how much we live digitally now."


I'm just hoping that this new love story doesn't involve two star-crossed lovers, or both of them could be in for some serious trouble. Maybe Siri will guide him into a river? What do you think about this new "love story?"

Continue reading 'Hilarious new love story details a man and his love for his personal assistant Siri' (full post)

Apple loses appeal in UK, forced to run ads saying Samsung didn't infringe on iPad design

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Oct 18, 2012 4:34 pm

What could ultimately turn into the best form of punishment for losers of lawsuits, Apple is forced to run ads in the UK stating that Samsung did not copy the iPad design. This comes after they lost the original court battle and a subsequent appeal. At the time, the judge ruled that they weren't as "cool" as the iPad.




The judge in the original court battle made the original ruling that a notice would have to be placed upon Apple's website for one month, along with adverts in the Daily Mail, Financial Times, T3 Magazine and other publications to "correct the damaging impression" that Samsung was a copycat.


The appeals court decided not to overturn this part of the original ruling. "The acknowledgment must come from the horse's mouth," they said. "Nothing short of that will be sure to do the job completely." Of course, Samsung has to be happy with the ruling. Not only were they found to be not infringing, Apple has to publicly humiliate themselves.


"We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners and that the origins of Apple's registered design features can be found in numerous examples of prior art. Should Apple continue to make excessive legal claims in other countries based on such generic designs, innovation in the industry could be harmed and consumer choice unduly limited."

SanDisk fixes TRIM on Extreme SSD with Firmware R211

By: Chris Ramseyer | More News: Storage | Posted: Oct 18, 2012 3:56 pm

SanDisk hasn't released the details or even mentioned the new firmware on their website yet but if you run the SanDisk SSD Toolkit your Extreme SSD can be updated to firmware version R211, a TRIM fixing release.




We're in the middle of testing the Extreme SSD 480GB now and plan to finally test our 120GB soon. After that we have some RAID testing with RAID 0 working on a pair of Extreme SSD 240GB drives.


You can download SanDisk's SSD Toolkit at this link. Have an empty thumb drive handy so it can flash your drive without looking for an empty optical disk.

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