Zynga, the social gaming company that made it big on Facebook, has seen a boost in its share prices after beating fourth quarter expectations. The company announced its fourth quarter results today, which were higher than previously expected and included a 1 cent per share earning on an adjusted basis.
Previous estimates had Zynga losing 3 cents per share. Zynga's stock has received a "buy" rating from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and has ticked up in after hours trading. First quarter results are expected to be a loss between $32 million and $12 million on revenues of $255 million to $265 million.
ORIGIN has announced a new way to contact their customer support. The new method is a bit different than most companies and should help users reach technical support in the most convenient way possible. ORIGIN's Nexus client will allow users to chat with technical support while in-game or on the desktop.
Along with contacting support, the client will allow users to chat with friends, take screenshots and video, and live broadcast gameplay. A nice feature of being able to contact support in-game is the ability to be looking at exactly what isn't working while talking to support. This allows you to get the best description of the problem.
Kevin Wasielewski, CEO and co-founder of ORIGIN PC:
ORIGIN PC's focus has always been to provide the best PC experience to our customers and we are proud to continue our legacy of providing the best support in the PC industry. Thanks to the great client from the Xfire team, ORIGIN Nexus makes it even more convenient for our customers to contact us without ever having to leave their game, and we're really excited to be the first and only company to offer this new level of support in our industry.
Chat is available to users during normal business hours. This means you can reach out to ORIGIN's in-game support from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST.
Whether you liked GoDaddy's ad or thought it was disgusting, you have to give them credit as it seems to have worked. The company is reporting that they saw their biggest sales day in the history of their company. The stats are pretty impressive, as you can see by the list below:
- Hosting sales jumped 45%.
- Dot-com domain sales rose 40%.
- New mobile customers increased by 35%.
- The company added 10,000 customers in total.
When looking at the ad, USA Today found that the "Perfect Match" ad spot, created by GoDaddy, scored dead last in its Ad Meter. Apparently the ad was successful, even though people didn't necessarily like the ad. What did you think of GoDaddy's ad? Disgusting or great?
This morning the AP is reporting that Dell has indeed decided to go private, as we recently reported. We have heard rumors of this for weeks and now it will become a reality as soon as next Tuesday. Michael Dell, Silver Lake and Microsoft are the key players in the deal with shareholders not suffering in the deal.
The deal includes a massive investment from Michael Dell himself as well as a loan of $2 billion from Microsoft and $1 billion from private equity firm Silver Lake. Dell shareholders stand to make a decent profit as well when the company buys back all the public stock at $13.65 a share.
Analysts have mostly been split on the decision to take the company private. Some see it as a great move as it would allow decisions to be made out of the public eye, make restructuring easier, and would allow the company to sell off less than stellar performing parts of the company. Others argue that this will only prolong the death of the once great company.
South Korean electronics giants Samsung and LG have been having fisticuffs over their recent patent dispute, but it looks like they're both about to man up and settle their dispute, behind closed doors.
The report comes from the Yonhap News Agency, where shortly after LG employees were charged with stealing advanced OLED display technology from Samsung, the company very quickly filed a lawsuit. Samsung display big wig Kim Ki-nam said that the companies plan to "resolve the issue one by one", but didn't get any more specific than that.
Amazon has struck a deal with Connecticut officials to start collecting the state's 6.35 percent sales tax. For the last two years, the online retail giant had been fighting against state officials who wanted Amazon to collect the sales tax from the online shoppers.
Amazon, as part of the deal, promised to build a $50 million order-fulfillment center in the state to create jobs. Connecticut is expected to get $8 million in the first year of tax collection and $13-$15 million in the next. Amazon is also putting pressure onto other online retailers by starting to collect tax.
Tax will start being collected November 1. Amazon is supporting federal reforms that would "finally resolve the sales tax issue, level the playing field for all retailers, protect states' rights and allow states to collect the revenue owed." If you live in Connecticut, you might consider buying your Christmas gifts before November 1.
Rumors of IGN being up for sale were abundant and today they proved true. IGN has been sold by its parent company News Corp to Ziff Davis Enterprises in its quest to sell off much of its digital properties.
Word on the street is that Ziff Davis will be bringing the gaming website 1UP back into the mix as after it sold the site to Hearst Media which intern sold it to IGN. The deal between Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Ziff Davis over IGN was reportedly made for less than the $100 million News Corp was asking.
In recent years, News Corp has been unloading its digital properties at an alarming rate. In 2011 it sold MySpace for over half a billion dollar loss. The selloff is no doubt the result of the company's plans to split the publishing and entertainment sides of its business into separate entities.
X-Plane Flight Sim creator gets hit with lawsuit from east Texas patent troll, asks for help fighting the good fight
It looks like the patent trolls are out in full force in 2013 as we seem to be hearing about a new lawsuit filed every day in east Texas. This time, the trolls have set their sights on Austin Meyer, the creator of X-Plane Flight Simulator. Uniloc says Meyer used a means of game authentication that they own the rights to.
Early last fall Meyer received notice that he was being sued for not licensing the "code for verifying the license data stored on the licensing medium by communicating with a registration authority having verification data." This pretty much means that he used a game key verification system that polled a server to see if the game key was valid. It's pretty much the same system used by every software manufacturer out there.
The issue is actually over the X-Plane app for Android, in which Google actually supplies the authentication code for, just like every other paid app uses. Minecraft creator Mojang received a similar complaint from Uniloc recently as well. Meyer is asking for your help, he has petitioned the White House, and is seeking donations to help cover the cost of trial, since he refuses to settle.
Google have just paid $82 million in support for "digital publishing initiatives" with French newspapers and other publishers. This new investment is part of a deal between the Mountain View-based company and the French government that will end a dispute over who Google should pay for "snippets" of articles that show up on Google searches.
Google and the French government have now signed the deal after months of negotiations with the French government calling the deal a "happy conclusion" that would "facilitate the transition of the press to the digital world".
Now that the agreement has been struck, Google will open up a new fund and work with French publishers in order to help them increase their online revenues, "using our advertising technology", said Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Schmidt continued, saying "a healthy news industry is important for Google and our partners, and it is essential to a free society".
It looks like we're getting close to the end of the Dell buyout procedure, where we have Reuters now reporting that at least four huge banks are involved. These banks include Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital.
Included in the swirl of rumors, is that Michael Dell would even contribute his stake in Dell, pushing nearly 16% towards gaining the majority ownership and Microsoft having his back by offering $3 billion as an investment. With Dell selling millions upon millions of Windows-based PCs, it would make sense for Microsoft to keep the lifeline phone line open for Dell.
Once this all materializes, we're going to have to see Dell go through an extremely quick re-imaging process. They'll need to completely swing themselves around and start kicking ass and taking names once again.
It appears that web host Bluehost are down - and until now, I didn't know who they were. A quick Google and I see that they are "trusted by millions as the best web host". Well, not right now unfortunately.
Twitter is nuts right now with people complaining of Bluehost being down, with countless sites and blogs relying on the web host to be online and working. IsItDownRightNow.com are reporting that is is "DOWN for everyone", and there are a bunch of comments expressing some concern over Bluehost's downtime right now.
Are you affected by Bluehost's downtime? If so, let us know in the comments.
It's a good day to be an owner of Google stock. The price of Google shares continues to rise and has reached a new all-time high. The previous all-time high was $774.38, which was set during October of last year. The current stock price is at $775.60 in after-hours trading.
Apple's stock, meanwhile, is at $453.62. The difference in performance shows how Google's Android is making gains against iOS, along with a more bullish outlook for Google after the company released better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter.
Apple still leads the charge in terms of market capitalization, though that could change if current trends continue the way they have been. Apple currently has a market cap of around $425 billion, with Google only have $255 billion.
We have been hearing rumors that Dell wants to remove itself from the publicly traded market and once again become a private entity. If the recent rumors are true, Dell may just get its wish thanks to Michel Dell himself, Microsoft and Silverlake.
Michael Dell reportedly contributed his stake of $3.6 billion yesterday along with an additional $500 million to $1 billion investment, which gains him the majority share of the company's stock. That puts him owning over half the company's $9 billion equity check. Microsoft is said to be investing $1 - $2 billion, with Silverlake following suit. The company itself could contribute some funds to its buyout as well.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Microsoft will have more than just a stake in the PC manufacturing company. They are said to have a say in Dell's operations, and could shape the future of the once king of the personal computer market. Dell still holds the title of third largest PC manufacturer, but is losing market share.
Research firm IDC and their latest numbers are showing that current market leader Apple with their iPad are losing tablet market share. Apple's tablet market share dropped from 51.7% to 43.6%, where in the last three months of 2012 Samsung jumped up to 15.1%.
When taking in consideration the year-over-year numbers, Samsung's growth has been huge where a year ago they sold just 2.2 million tablets, and twelve months later they're seeing sales of 7.9 million units.
The tablet market is expected to get much more serious this year, with multiple Nexus tablets from Google, as well as Microsoft's upcoming Surface Pro slate.
Samsung has invested $58.2 million in Wacom, which equates to a 5 percent stake in the company. Wacom is the maker of pressure-sensitive styluses and is the company that provided the stylus tech used in Samsung's Galaxy Note devices. Samsung is bringing the stylus back to the smartphone, and it appears to be working.
Wacom has said the investment will be used for product development, manufacturing, and enhancements to the supply chain, to be used for Samsung-supplied products. This goes to show that Samsung is planning on bringing the stylus to more devices than just its line of Notes. Are you ready for the stylus to make a come back?
Facebook, as a way to remain relevant and continue collecting data, has launched the Facebook Card, which is essentially a reusable gift card that can hold balances at multiple different retailers. Facebook benefits from this by being able to collect real-world purchase information about users.
Instead of just featuring a single balance that can be deducted from at the different retailers, the card will store separate amounts for each location. For instance, you can have $10 at Target, $5 at Jamba Juice, and $25 at Olive Garden on the card at one time.
"We're starting this early rollout as another way for people to instantly send their friends gifts through Facebook," a company spokesperson told CNET. "Each gift is a set value at a particular retailer, chosen by the sender."
Currently, only Jamba Juice, Olive Garden, Sephora, and Target are supported by the card, though that will likely change fairly quickly. The Facebook Card is a natural extension to Facebook's whole Gifts product, which allows users to send friends and family real-world gifts on birthdays and other occasions, rather than just writing on their wall.
The Mac Pro will no longer be sold in Europe after March 1. The issue apparently stems from new regulatory standards that Apple's Mac Pro fails to meet. It's not clear which standard isn't met by the machine, but Apple apparently doesn't want to update it to meet the standards.
Resellers will be able to continue selling the Mac Pro beyond March 1, though stock will not be replenished. Final orders for Mac Pro units must be placed with Apple before February 18 so that they can be delivered before March 1. The following letter was sent to retailers:
As of March 1, 2013, Apple will no longer sell Mac Pro in EU, EU candidate and EFTA countries because these systems are not compliant with Amendment 1 of regulation IEC 60950-1, Second Edition which becomes effective on this date. Apple resellers can continue to sell any remaining inventory of Mac Pro after March 1. Apple will take final orders for Mac Pro from resellers up until February 18th for shipment before March 1 2013. Countries outside of the EU are not impacted and Mac Pro will continue to be available in those areas.
Apple will likely make sure the promised refresh of the Mac Pro, coming later this year, will meet the European Union's new standards. It's likely not cost effective to redesign the current machine to meet the specifications, as the Mac Pro doesn't sell in high quantities.
According to the latest research from the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, 59% of iPhone users spend over $100 a month on their wireless bills. This is the biggest percentage of any other group of smartphone users.
Windows Phone users' bills are nearly as much, but 56% of Windows Phoners (is that a thing? well, it is now) spend more than $100 per month. Android numbers see 53% of users spending more than $100 per month. This brings us to BlackBerry - and not RIM, remember? - who have the lowest average monthly smartphone bill, where just 40% spend more than $100 per month, and 10% spend under $25 per month.
Apple has posted up a job listing for a Plastics Design Engineer, and that has, of course, sparked questions about whether or not Apple is planning to produce a budget iPhone using a plastic case. The job listing is looking for a Manufacturing Design Engineer with a focus in Advanced Plastic Tooling and Process.
Identify, develop and launch new tooling and process capabilities in support of new Apple product developments. Areas of focus will be "non-traditional" Apple plastic processing such as thermoforming, foam molding, blow molding, etc., and their application to new Apple products. The successful candidate will have demonstrated history of bringing new process and tooling technologies through a full development cycle and launch into high volume production.
Of course, an engineer hired at this late date would be unlikely to be working on a device rumored to launch later this year, though they could be working on future designs. Most of Apple's products have utilized aluminum, though plastic is still used in keyboards, Apple TV, Airport Extreme, and other accessories.
If you happen to be a Manufacturing Design Engineer, you can find the job listing on Apple's website.
Facebook reported their fourth quarter financial results today. For the fourth quarter, Facebook saw increased revenues, yet experienced decreased profits. Part of the reason profits were down is the amount of investing that Facebook is doing to build an empire and plan for the long-run.
Revenue was up to $1.59 billion, a 40 percent increase from last year. Wall Street estimates had placed revenue at $1.52 billion, so Facebook performed better-than-expected. Revenue, however, was down 79 percent from last year as a result of increased investment spending.
"2012 was a big year for us," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO on Wednesday's earnings call with analysts and journalists. "There are now more people using Facebook on mobile every day than on desktop."
Facebook's monthly active users climbed to 1.06 billion by the end of 2012. Facebook drew in an average of 618 million daily active users in December 2012. Costs and expenses were up 82 percent from Q4 2011 to $1.06 billion.
Since 1993, California has had a tax deduction that allowed startup investors who invested in small businesses to not pay taxes on the money made from selling stock, as long as they reinvested that money in more small businesses. This deduction was aimed at encouraging angel investors and others to invest in small businesses.
Well, the tax break has been ruled unconstitutional because it benefits companies based in California over other states. This ruling came about when Frank Cutler sued back in 1998. The Franchise Tax Board has agreed to honor the ruling, and removed the deduction this past December, applying it retroactively back to 2008.
This means investors who sold their stock in a small business after 2008 will have to pay up taxes that they never thought they would. It's a bit unfair to apply the change retroactively, at least in my opinion, and it should have some consequences and ramifications that extend beyond just this $120 million in back taxes.