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I've made my thoughts on Apple quite clear in an editorial back in October, predicting the huge stock tumble and reduced sales on the iPhone, but one area Apple can come back is by releasing something that we don't expect.
These devices are worked on in the company's research and development department, with R&D expenses growing 33% this year and are set to fly past $4 billion in fiscal 2013. Apple spent an additional $278 million on R&D expenses in the recent quarter, and when compared to their R&D expenditure in 2012, this number is up 33%.
R&D spending for the first six months of fiscal 2013 is now up $530 million year-over-year, another 33% increase from the first six months of fiscal 2012. If Apple keeps this pace, we should expect them to pass $4 billion in R&D expenses this year alone, comparing it to last years $3.4 billion R&D bill.
Google joins the FIDO Alliance's board of directors, wants to beef up their two-factor authentication
Google have just joined FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance's board of directors, where they hope to improve their two-factor authentication efforts. FIDO have pushed out press release, announcing that NXP and CrucialTec have also joined the board.
FIDO wants to increase security measures across the Internet, and plan to implement multiple technologies in order to make web security stronger. Biometric verification is one of the technologies the Alliance is investing into, with the technology being reliable for identifying an individual as it uses distinguishable traits, such as fingerprints, voice recognition, eye scanning and face authentication to verify the user.
Another technology FIDO is looking into is One Time Passwords, which can be used just once. These passwords are generated randomly, and can only be retrieved by a special device, or through a computer. FIDO are also interested in Near Field Communication (NFC), which is already baked into many smartphones that consumers already own.
Thanks to just a few of LG's smartphones, they've seen a record amount of smartphones shipped in Q1 2013. 10.3 million smartphones were shipped in the three-month period, riding the success of some of their LTE and 3G handsets.
The smartphones that helped LG reach their record high are the Optimus G, Optimus G Pro, Optimus L Series and Nexus 4. LG have said that more extensive availability of newer devices is expected to help smartphone sales and shipments even more going into Q2. The US launch of their flagship Optimus G Pro happens on May 3, and should see the South Korean company have great success in Q2 and beyond.
In the wake of releasing its financial earnings statement, Netflix posted up a new mission statement document for investors. The document details various metrics about the company and what it is doing to plan for the future. The most interesting fact to take away from the document is that the company is spending roughly $2 billion per year on content.
Most of that $2 billion expenditure goes towards licensing old TV shows and movies, but some of it is used to pay for its original content. Netflix has also noticed that quality is more important than quantity:
As we've gained experience, we've realized that the 20th documentary about the financial crisis will mostly just take away viewing from the other 19 such docs, and instead of trying to have everything, we should strive to have the best in each category. As such, we are actively curating our service rather than carrying as many titles as we can.
There's plenty more to read about in the 11-page document, but I won't bore you with the details.
The growing market for mobile devices is helping boost Qualcomm's earnings. Like most companies, Qualcomm has just reported their quarterly earnings and they are quite good. Unlike desktop chip manufacturers, Qualcomm is producing chips used in tablets and smartphones, the industry that is quickly taking over desktop products.
Qualcomm reported revenues of $6.12 billion, which is up 24 percent year-over-year. Profit came in at $2.07 billion, which is also up, though only by 17 percent. Qualcomm is looking to return $431 million to shareholders and expects third-quarter revenues and profits to be up 25 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
Australian authorities have announced that they have arrested the "self-proclaimed lead" of the LulzSec hacking group. Authorities have not yet named the suspect, but say the 24-year-old was employed in a position that gave him "access to sensitive information." He was discovered after an investigation into a compromised government website.
"[This] man's knowledge and skills presented a significant risk to the clients of the company for which he was employed," authorities wrote in a statement. He faces up to twelve years in jail.
LulzSec is the hacking group responsible for the 2011 Sony PlayStation network hack. Cody Kretsigner, another implicated in the Sony attack was senteced to one year in jail by the American justice system.
Apple has scheduled its Worldwide Developers Conference to start June 10, 2013. The conference will run from June 10 tto June 14 and take place at San Francisco's Moscone West. It's widely expected that Apple will announce iOS 7 at this year's WWDC and many expect iOS 7 to feature massive changes from iOS 6.
Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing:
We look forward to gathering at WWDC 2013 with the incredible community of iOS and OS X developers. Our developers have had the most prolific and profitable year ever, and we're excited to show them the latest advances in software technologies and developer tools to help them create innovative new apps. We can't wait to get new versions of iOS and OS X into their hands at WWDC.
Tickets for the event will go on sale tomorrow, April 25, at 10am PDT. They will set you back $1,599 and each organization is limited to just five tickets. Apple is also providing scholarships for students. To learn more, head to Apple's WWDC website, specifically the "Students" page.
Today, Zynga reported its first-quarter earnings. Incredibly, Zynga performed better than expected and managed to beat expectations that they experienced a loss. Zynga reported a net income of $4.1 million, much better than the loss of $85 million from this time last year.
Revenue came in at $263.5 million, down from $320.9 million this time last year. Even decent results by the struggling company has investors selling. In after-hours trading, Zynga's stock has dropped by 11 percent after having increased during today's trading.
We are encouraged by the strong execution from our teams and the breakout hit performance of FarmVille 2, which captures the imagination of nearly 40 million players every month. 2013 will continue to be a transition year as we face the challenging environment on the web and invest in developing the leading franchises and network across web and mobile platforms and offer our 253 million monthly players a connected experience that can follow them from work to school to home and anywhere in between.
Despite claimed inventory shortages, US Cellular has announced that they will be getting the latest Samsung smartphone come April 30. The Samsung Galaxy S4, originally announced back in March, will be coming to US Cellular. The 16GB version will be available in either black or white for $199, provided you sign a two-year contract.
After being one of two U.S. carriers to offer a presale for the Samsung Galaxy S 4, U.S. Cellular is now one of the first to have the device available for purchase online and in stores.
The Samsung Galaxy S 4 will be available for purchase online at uscellular.com on Friday, April 26. Preorders will also begin shipping that same day along with the exclusive, free S View flip covers that were a part of the presale. The device will be available in stores on Tuesday, April 30.
U.S. Cellular is offering the 16GB device in White Frost and Black Mist and it is $199.99 with an instant rebate. Customers who buy the 4G LTE Samsung Galaxy S 4 from U.S. Cellular can enjoy a valuable rewards program that recognizes loyalty. Currently, 61 percent of customers have access to a 4G LTE network, and by the end of the year, 87 percent of customers will be covered.
The title doesn't have a typo; The Provo Municipal Council voted Tuesday in a unanimous decision to allow Google to acquire the iProvo fiber network for a total price of $1. Not only is Google getting a steal on the fiber network, the city has agreed to pay approximately $722,000 for equipment to use the gigabit network for government services and $500,000 to determine the exact locations of the buried fiber cables.
Google will, in exchange, take ownership and control of the existing fiber network. They will provide free 5Mbps/1Mbps connections to all of Provo's residents for at least seven years. Additionally, Google will provide free gigabit connections to 25 different public institutions.
Provo, Utah will be the third Google Fiber city. "It gets back to our origins as a company...our customers cared about speed," said Google's director of community affairs.