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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 108

RumorTT: Microsoft to invest billions into Dell buyout

Well, this was a little unexpected, but could also turn out quite amazing for Microsoft. The latest talk is that the Redmond-based software giant is in discussions with Silver Lake Partners and Dell's CEO to invest between $1 billion and $3 billion in a leveraged buyout of Dell.

 

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The news comes from "sources close to the matter" talking with CNBC. The rumor does make sense as Microsoft is slowly transitioning toward a hardware company after being a full-on software company for all these years. This move could see Microsoft directly compete with Apple in both hardware and software, without having to build it from the ground up, they'd have a huge start acquiring Dell.

 

Talks between Silver Lake Partners and the special committee for Dell's shareholders are set to continue, and we should hear of a deal being reached by the end of the week.

US smartphone sales have Apple leading with over half of the market share

Apple are continuing to crank out the huge numbers on US smartphone market share, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech who have monitored American smartphone sales for the past three months ending on December 23.

 

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With 51.2% of sales being iPhone's, they still enjoy just over half the US smartphone market share, for now. This is a drop from the previous 12-week total which saw the Cupertino-based company enjoying 53.3% of the market. The percentage is reportedly part of a "moving average" of the previous 12 weeks, but the reports are actually issued monthly.

 

In November, Apple enjoyed an all-time high share against Android-based smartphones, which saw them take 53.3% for the 12-week period ending in November just as the iPhone 5 began rolling out in better numbers. In the November quarter, the Android market share in the US took a huge dive, dropping to just 41.9% - a huge year-over-year drop of 11%. In December, however, Android market share numbers jumped back up in the US to take 44.2%.


Verizon activated 9.8 million smartphones during Q4, most were LTE-capable

Q4 is usually good for most companies, as the holidays are an extremely busy time of the year for most businesses. Verizon have had a stellar Q4, where they've announced they activated 9.8 million smartphones during the quarter.

 

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Better yet, out of those 9.8 million, 7.3 million of them were LTE-capable. Breaking the numbers down once more, we find that 6.2 million activations were iPhone's and around half of them were LTE-capable meaning they were the latest iPhone 5.

 

In the same three-month period, Verizon added 2.2 million more subscribers, 144,000 new FiOS Internet subscribers and 134,000 FiOS video subscribers. Revenues were hitting $30 billion for the quarter, which is up 5.7% from twelve months ago and $115.8 billion for the entire fiscal year. Verizon were able to achieve a total return of 13.2% to shareholders last year.

Continue reading 'Verizon activated 9.8 million smartphones during Q4, most were LTE-capable' (full post)

Google's Motorola acquisition is still in the transitional phase

Google had their Q4 2012 earnings call earlier today, with Google executives diving into the Motorola situation. With the current state of Motorola's financials being the subject at hand, we saw Senior VP and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette answer a few questions.

 

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When asked about the current situation of Motorola's financial position, Pichette said that when Google acquired Motorola, they also acquired their 12- to 18-month product pipeline that isn't easily changeable. When Google purchased Motorola, they also purchased their future product line up that has been promised to customers.

 

Pichette explained that while there have been improvements made within the company in regards to selling the home division of Motorola as well as rejigging their finances, that Google are still only 6 months post-acquisition, and these changes do take a while to happen. Pichette said "it's jsut the nature of the beast when you're reinventing a business".

South Park Studios not happy with THQ auctioning off rights to 'South Park: The Stick of Truth' game

At least one company isn't happy with THQ auctioning off their assets as part of the bankruptcy process. Specifically, South Park Studios is unhappy that THQ is attempting to sell its rights to the South Park: The Stick of Truth game that is currently in production by Obsidian.

 

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South Park Studios asserts that THQ doesn't have the right to sell the contract off. THQ would be required to first pay the $2.3 million it currently owes South Park Studios. South Park Studios is also required to sign off on any transfer of the contract and the purchasing company is required to abide by the contract.

 

THQ, of course, denies what South Park Studios is claiming. THQ also says they do not owe $2.3 million to South Park Studios, though are investigating if they owe any debts. If they do, they plan to pay them accordingly. THQ also plans to find a buyer who would see the game through to the end.

 

There will be plenty more news from the THQ bankruptcy and we will be sure to keep on top of it.

Google's fourth quarter results are in, revenue and profit up, cost-per-click down

Today is a popular day for companies to report their fourth quarter financial results and Google certainly didn't want to be left out. Google performed quite well during the fourth quarter with revenue and profit both increasing, though cost-per-click has continued to decline.

 

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Google recorded a revenue result of $11.34 billion, which doesn't include results from Motorola Home. This figure is up from $8.13 billion in 2011, so nearly 50 percent higher. Non-GAAP profit is up to $3.57 billion, which is up from $3.13 billion year-over-year.

 

Cost-per-click prices are down 6 percent year-over-year, though they recovered 2 percent from the third quarter of 2012.

 

For the fiscal year 2012, Google managed to bring in $50 billion in revenue. This is up from 2011, where they only managed to bring in $38 billion.

 

"We ended 2012 with a strong quarter," said Larry Page, CEO of Google. "Revenues were up 36% year-on-year, and 8% quarter-on-quarter. And we hit $50 billion in revenues for the first time last year - not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half."

AMD reports Q4 results, ends up doing better than expected

AMD's fourth quarter financial results are in and the picture is still gloomy, but they did do better than previously expected. Revenue came in at $1.16 billion, with losses coming in at $473 million. Keep in mind that a large portion of those losses can be attributed to restructuring costs as well as the deal with Global Foundries.

 

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Fiscal Year 2012 revenue came in at $5.4 billion, which is down 17 percent year-over-year. Operating losses came in at $1.18 billion. Losses like this effectively offset the profits that AMD had managed in 2009, 2010, and 2011. This has brought back concerns over AMD's ability to make money and turn a profit.

 

However, it's worth noting that AMD has been doing quite a bit of restructuring and personnel changes. 2013 could end up being a turning point for the company as we hopefully start to see results out of these new employees.

AT&T to acquire Alltel assets for $780 million

This morning AT&T announced that it has signed an agreement with Atlantic Tele-Network to acquire the company's Alltel holdings for $780 million. The acquisition lands AT&T 585,000 new paying customers, some spectrum space, licenses, and all the Alltel retail locations.

 

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In 2008 Alltel was previously scooped up by AT&T rival Verizon which was ordered to divest subscribers in 105 markets where the US government feared Verizon may grow too large. AT&T had previously secured 79 of those markets with ATNI landing just 26. Today's approval lands AT&T the full 105 markets once owned by Verizon.

 

AT&T gains spectrum in the 700MHz, 850MHz and 1.9GHz ranges. The big issue lies in Alltel being a GSM carrier, meaning existing customers will have to be "transitioned" to new phones working on ATT's GSM, HSPA and LTE networks. Pending a review by the FCC and Justice Department, the deal should finalize sometime later this year.

Apple and Qualcomm senior engineers hired by AMD, looking to make a big push in 2013

AMD has hired two new senior engineers who had previously worked for the company earlier in their careers. Wayne Meretsky was the technical lead for Mac OS at Apple before joining AMD in 1999, then left for a position at a robotics company only to return to AMD in December.

 

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Charles Marar, also a former AMD employee, is returning as vice president of System-on-Chip Development after spending some time at Qualcomm. AMD describes the two hires as an effort to expand into new markets. These hires come on the heels of Apple's Jim Keller who joined AMD as chief architect this past August.

 

Rumors are floating around that both Sony and Microsoft may be using AMD chipsets in their next-generation consoles set to launch this spring. If those rumors are true, and AMD's Temash tablet processor is a hit, 2013 could prove to be a pivotal year for the company which has seen a downtrend over the past few years.

Continue reading 'Apple and Qualcomm senior engineers hired by AMD, looking to make a big push in 2013' (full post)

Al Gore scores a sweet deal on some Apple stock

Thanks to the US Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Al Gore, who sits on the Apple board, recently purchased 59,000 shares of Apple stock. This shouldn't be news, but the following bit will make you realise why: Gore purchased the stock at a rock bottom price of $7.48 per share.

 

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At just $7.48 per share, Gore made a ridiculous amount of profit. The reason he was able to grab the stock at such a low price, is that he exercised his director stock options. Gore's 59,000 shares are worth a very nice $29.5 million, a nice profit as he only paid $440,000 for the stock. Gore was awarded 30,000 options when he joined the board of Apple in 2003 and at the time the stock in Apple was worth $14.95 per share.

 

Gore purchased 60,000 shares in Apple at the same price back in 2008, when Apple shares were worth $124 or so each. The Apple board member still has 61,574 share options available through his heavy discount options, even after this transaction has taken place.

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