Apple knows how to do one thing right: make a profit. Showing that there is in fact an "Apple tax", a research firm found that Apple made 77 percent of mobile device profit while only shipping 6 percent of devices. Incredible. With that 6 percent of the market, they brought in 43 percent of the market revenue.
Sure, Samsung has seen lots of success--they shipped twice as many smartphones in Q2 2012 as Apple did--but Apple made the majority of the profit. So, how do you determine who has been more successful, sales or profit? Clearly Samsung's per-device profit is much smaller than Apple's but most wouldn't have guessed that it was this much of a disparity.
Raymond James Equity Research is responsible for compiling these numbers. Travis McCourt, who works for Raymond James, said: "Ultimately, profits are the feedstock of innovation; and, innovation drives profits. Until Samsung starts generating more profits than Apple, we would not be overly concerned with who has the unit share lead. Remember, HP and Dell still sell a lot more PCs than Apple sells Macs, but does it matter?"
Kim Dotcom is a pretty famous name now, with all of his legal issues and such. Not to mention he doesn't exactly keep a low profile, some music record plans and other things come to mind. Now, a New Zealand News outlet has released footage of his mansion being raided and it shows helicopters and ground crews converging on his house:
The reporter from 3news, who published the above video, notes that the video generally corroborates the story told by both the police and Kim Dotcom himself. The video contains footage of the raid interspersed with trial testimony. For those who don't remember, law enforcement in Auckland, New Zealand raided the founder of Megaupload's mansion while the FBI shut down the datacenter.
Since then, there has been a lot of legal back-and-forth, including the ruling that the search warrant used during the raid was invalid. Now, Dotcom's extradition hearing has been pushed back to March 2013. Kim Dotcom has accused Vice President Joe Biden of ordering the shutdown and causing all of this heartache. We'll keep you updated as the Dotcom saga continues.
Judge William Alsup of the US District Court in San Francisco on Tuesday has ordered Google and Oracle to both disclose whether they paid journalists to cover the high-profile trial that took place earlier on in the year. Judge Alsup wrote:
The Court is concerned that the parties and/or counsel herein may have retained or paid print or internet authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have and/or may publish comments on the issues in this case. Although proceedings in this matter are almost over, they are not fully over yet and, in any event, the disclosure required by this order would be of use on appeal or on any remand to make clear whether any treatise, article, commentary or analysis on the issues posed by this case are possibly influenced by financial relationships to the parties or counsel.
Alsup has ordered that both companies "identify all authors journalists, commentators or bloggers" who reported, or commented on the case and received money to do so. Business Insider has noted that payments were made to two journalists, the first one being Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents.
Does this make you look at Google or Oracle any different? How about FOSS Patents?
Samsung accused of copying Apple yet again, but this time its for child labor abuse at a Chinese factory
Samsung have been accused by activist group China Labor Watch of a bunch of infractions, with one of them being quite serious: employing workers as young as 14 years old at its supplier's factory in China. Samsung, in response to the allegations, issued a statement where the company said they've re-inspect the factory in question, but have claimed that it had previously passed all inspections. Samsung said:
Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG's working conditions this year but found no irregularities on those occasions. Given the report, we will conduct another field survey at the earliest possible time to ensure our previous inspections have been based on full information and to take appropriate measures to correct any problems that may surface. Samsung Electronics is a company held to the highest standards of working conditions and we try to maintain that at our facilities and the facilities of partner companies around the world.
China Labor Watch didn't just find underage employees, but the factory's management would reportedly abuse workers, and also failed to treat, or compensate those who experienced work-related injuries. It doesn't stop there, with more accusations that the factory forced excessive overtime, sometimes to as much as 11 hours per day with just a single meal break, in 'extremely dangerous conditions'. Also, those who reported product defect were fined severely, rather than rewarded.
Wikipedia is a source that gets used millions of times per day, but the site itself is quite bland, and really needs some inspiration. Creative agency 'New!' has taken it for a spin, and asked themselves "what if?", and have offered up a look at a redesign.
The team at New! have used a site called Wikipedia Redefined, where the final result looks beautiful. I'm in love with it, as shown above. The redesigned page took the team a few months to complete, and the team themselves use Wikipedia quite often:
That's why we decided to spend two spring months on this project, looking for the ways how to make it better, reader or editor friendlier, clearer and aesthetically satisfying.
After checking out the site, I don't see why Wikipedia wouldn't use this design, and if not this design, they should really mix it up after this piece gets the rounds across the Internet. It definitely has a Google feel about it, and as a huge Google user (Gmail, Reader, Drive, Chrome), I'm definitely not complaining. Even if it fails, this is the perfect advertisement for the agency. Don Draper, where are you with my scotch?
Need to upgrade your phone? Samsung are offering up to $300 for old phones through a new upgrade program
Just when you thought the fight between smart device giants Samsung and Apple couldn't get any bigger, Samsung have come through like a knight in shining armor to offer an upgrade offer for new phones. It is known officially as Samsung Upgrade, and the company is offering up to $300 per device as long as you purchase a new Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III or Galaxy Note.
Samsung's promotion takes place entirely on Facebook, where you're asked for some basic information about your old phone: brand, model, if there is any liquid damage or if the screen is cracked. After you've filled this information in, click "submit" and you'll instantly receive a refund quote, it can't be any easier.
The refunds, aren't that beneficial, but they're better than nothing. For example, a 16GB iPhone 4 on AT&T in 'good condition' was only offered $165, whilst a Galaxy S II trade-in is offered $140. If you want the full $300 trade-in, a 64GB iPhone 4S in good condition will do it. The trade-ins aren't the best value for money, but they're better than nothing, that's for sure.
Things look more and more promising daily for the upcoming $99 Ouya console. XBMC has announced that their team will be working with the Ouya team to ensure that the XBMC app works smoothly on the console. To do this, early prototype versions of the Ouya console will be provided to XBMC by the Ouya team.
The two companies claim to share a natural affinity due to them both utilizing Google's open-source operating system and that "many of Team Ouya support XBMC, and nearly a third of Team XBMC members are Ouya backers." This console is shaping up to be a competitor with the best!
Ouya has raised $6.8 million and still has just under 2 days left on its Kickstarter campaign. They may undergo additional funding requests as production continues. Ouya is designed to be a hackable console and every sale will come with a development kit.
As if the joke hadn't been run into the ground enough by 4chan users and the Internet in general, Apple thought they would give the classic video one last showing. That's right, Apple has joined the elusive club of people who have Rickrolled someone on the Internet and it's a step in the right direction for the company.
Apple wouldn't generally stoop so low as to rickroll people, so it's a good sign that they might just be getting a sense of humor like Google has. Hidden in the changelog for iOS 6 beta 4 was a mention about a change to YouTube links in that embedded URLs in apps will no longer work in iOS 6. Apple just happened to offer up a link as an example.
That link led to the time-tested, age-old Rick Astley video of "Never Gonna Give You Up." This leaves us two options: either Apple is trying to revive the Rickroll or their sense of humor is quite a bit behind the times since it gets used to infrequently. Let's hope for the latter since Rickrolling really needs to remain in the past.
HTC announced their revenue for July which dropped 45% year-over-year with sales of the company's One series continuing to not impress. HTC's profit has dropped close to 60% in Q2 of this year, with the company warning that it will continue to struggle in Q3 as Samsung's Galaxy S III continues to shine as the king of Android phones.
HTC have said that their July 2012 figures have come in with revenues of NT$25 billion, or approximately $834 million. This is down from NT$45.11 billion in July last year. For the first seven months of this year, HTC's revenues came to a total of NT$183.9 billion, but when compared with the same time in 2011 with figures of NT$273.7 billion, we can see there are some serious problems there.
The only issue here is that HTC's problems are only going to get worse, with competition between Samsung and Apple set to explode with the current patent court case, and the impending release of Apple's next-gen iPhone. Samsung will also have the Galaxy Note II arriving soon, as well as more products in the near future. HTC, you need to do something, and do it fast.
Amazon is currently beginning a new program that will see students having the option of renting a textbook through the company, versus having to purchase them outright. Amazon's new textbook rental program would allow students to save up to 70% from the normal cost of the textbook.
Amazon already provides t-textbook rentals, but this new program would fix the lack of a sizeable Amazon presence in the physical textbook sector. The service would see students use Amazon's site to find needed texts within their ISBNs. Students that have already registered with Amazon Student would be eligible for free two-day shipping, where other students would have their books shipped by Amazon's usual standard rates and delivery times.
The textbook rentals would be for 130 days, with an automatic 15-day extension period if the book isn't received on time. After this 15-day extension, Amazon will then charge the student for the purchase of the book outright, minus any rental and extension fees. Amazon goes as far as allowing students to write and highlight in their rented books, but Amazon asks that they keep these additions to a minimum in order to prolong the usability of the text.
Even though Samsung sold close to double the smartphones that Apple did last quarter, with 50 million sold, which is the largest number of units ever shipped by a single vendor in a single quarter, Apple are still absolutely kicking the asses of the competition when it comes to the industry's operating profits.
Apple have much higher gross margins on their iPhone and iPad's, which completely eclipses its rivals in both revenue, and operating profits. Apple only shipped around 6% of the industry's smartphones and tablets in Q2, but they took a surprising 43% of the industry's revenue, according to Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt. Apple also generated an absolutely huge 77% of the industry's operating profits, even in a seasonally weak period for iPhone sales.
So, now we find ourselves in a position of weirdness with competitor Samsung. The Korean-based company outsold Apple's ever-so-popular iPhone two-to-one, and still couldn't touch Apple's insane grab of industry operating profits. But, things can change quickly, and all it takes is a single release from a company (a new, surprising, 'magical' iPhone), or a constant stream of releases (Galaxy phones that continue to sell more and more) to turn things around.
Richard Schulze, founder of Best Buy, has offered to buy the retailer for roughly $8.5 billion, according to reports. Schulze resigned as chairman after ex-CEO Brian Dunn was investigated for "personal misconduct" issues, has offered to pay between $24 and $26 per share for Best Buy, which he hopes to make private.
Best Buy has confirmed that they have indeed received the proposal, and says it will be considering it in the near future. As of June, Schulze held over 20% of the company, and plans to put forward $1 billion from that stake into the proposed deal. The remaining $7.5 billion (or so) would come from "premier private-equity firms" who claim to have a "deep experience in retail", as well as debt financing.
While according to Minnesota corporate law, permission from company directors is required in order to form a group for a more complete offer, which is requested in Schulze's offer letter, and has no deadline set. There is reportedly a source close to the matter that says that Schulze entered into the negotiations for the board's permission in the last couple of weeks, but wasn't successful due to the board claiming that it wasn't a good time to go public.
It's been a roller coaster of emotion for users of the popular torrent and tracker site Demonoid. The site has been down for around a week now, and it would appear that the downtime is set to continue. The site was originally taken offline by a DDoS and users rejoiced when they heard that this was the case.
However, more bad news has hit users of the site. Out of Ukraine, word has come that the site has been shutdown by authorities as a gift for the United States government. The takedown was timed to coincide with the very first trip of Deputy Prime Minister Valery Khoroshkovsky to the United States where the topic was copyright infringement.
"Investigators have copied all the information from the servers Demonoid and sealed them," an anonymous ColoCall source confirmed. "Some equipment was not seized, but now it does not work, and we were forced to terminate the agreement with the site." It seems that this week has been a bad week for the site.
"Shortly after [the DDoS] a hacker break-in occurred, and a few days later came the investigators," the source added. The management has back-ups of the site and appear to not be in custody. In fact, the admin is supposedly located in Mexico, about half-way around the world from the servers. Only time will tell if the site will be brought back online.
eBay have entered the same-day shipping service business with eBay Now. eBay Now has arrived, for now, as an iOS app that will allow San Francisco-based residents to get $5 same-day shipping on products from local stores.
The company is signing up users for an "exclusive beta", which lets anyone register and those who do, should get a download link shortly after. It looks like eBay Now currently only works for purchases that exceed $25, but beta testers get $15 off their first eBay Now order as well as free shipping on their first three orders before a $5 delivery fee kicks in.
What do you think of eBay's move for same-day shipping? It's a good idea, but I think they're going to need to rapidly expand it to as much of the US as they can, as quick as they can, if they want to keep up with competitors.
Apple's top-secret market research surveys of iPhone, iPad users could be made public in Apple vs. Samsung trial
The late Steve Jobs famously said that Apple did "no market research", so Apple never really knew what consumers want. But, it looks as though Apple were lying through their teeth, as new documents have been bought up during the Apple vs. Samsung patent lawsuit.
Network World's Yoni Heisler writes that Apple is positively freaking out that the possibility of their extensive market research surveys of iPhone and iPad users could be made public. That sentence should send shivers down Apple's spine, as it is considered the 'secret sauce' to attracting, and keeping loyal Apple users.
The demand for online access to video and data has prompted Google to announce they'll be spending another $184 million in an expansion project for the company's Hamina Datacenter. The Finland-based datacenter is best known for an innovative cooling system that uses seawater from the Bay of Finland in order to reduce cooling costs.
The announcement of the expansion is the first datacenter growth for the search engine and mobile OS giant since they unveiled plans to build large Asian datacenters in Singapore and Hong Kong. The announcement roughly doubles the Google datacenter investment for the facility, where after spending 40 million euros on the paper mill, the company then spent another 160 million euros ($195 million) on building and equipping the datacenter. The original project took just over 18 months, which is the same ETA on the new expansion plans.
The plans look to be bringing back Google's datacenter investment back to Europe, where we should see more of this in the future as more and more people move toward the cloud.
All it took was 45 minutes for financial services firm Knight Capital to lose an astonishing $440 million on Wednesday, the money was lost during a newly-installed trading piece of software was installed, and it went wrong, very wrong.
$440 million represents nearly double the company's second quarter revenue, and could be enough to see the firm head into an unescapable downward spiral. Automated high-speed trading on the stock market seems to have caused the company this massive problem, but how does it seem to happen so easily? Well, according to the New York Times, Knight Capital "accidentally sold all of the stocks it bought on Wednesday morning":
The problem on Wednesday led the firm's computers to rapidly buy and sell millions of shares in over a hundred stocks for about 45 minutes after the markets opened. Those trades pushed the value of many stocks up, and the company's losses appear to have occurred when it had to sell the overvalued shares back into the market at a lower price.
Research firm Strategy Analytics have some interesting numbers out, where it shows that Apple still have complete and utter dominance when it comes to the tablet market, with 68% of shipments secured by the Cupertino-based company for Q2 2012.
Google's Android platform scooped up 29% of the remaining share. IDC have also released their own estimates of tablet shipments for the same quarter, with their estimates similar to those from Strategy Analytics, with estimates of 25 million tablets shipped, and 68% share for Apple's iPad. IDC breaks these numbers down by manufacturer, instead of platform.
Microsoft have just announced that they've inked an intellectual property (IP) deal with Honeywell, adding them to their ever-growing list of third parties who have to pay to use its software. Microsoft said in a statement:
We are pleased to have reached a patent agreement with Honeywell covering its Android devices under Microsoft's worldwide patent portfolio. Through this agreement Honeywell joins Microsoft's Android patent licensing program and demonstrates its responsible approach to the management of intellectual property.
This deal includes mentions of Chrome OS and Android, and now Microsoft has been quite effective in bringing Android OEMs into agreements that see the company collecting fees. It's not known whether all companies pay a per-unit cost, but at the end of the day they're having to hand over cash to Microsoft, or grab the closest lawyer.
Microsoft have recently talked of having over 70% of the Android OEM smartphone market as part of their licensing deal network, and now they've just added Honeywell to this list, and not so long ago, Pegatron. This deal stands out as it seems preemptive, as Honeywell only launched their first Android-based phone just hours ago.
Apple's proposed new data center has been approved by the Nevada Board of Economic Development, where they've offered the Cupertino-based company $89 million in tax breaks to do so. Apple has planned to build a 350-acre data center east of Sparks that would employ at least 35 full-time workers, and up to 200 contract workers.
Apple will also build a purchasing and business center in downtime Reno, with analysts estimating that the projects could generate a combined $340 million in economic activity over the next 10 years. In June, Washoe County and the city of Reno also agreed to grant Apple tax breaks.
Apple will receive an 85% tax break on its personal property taxes in Washoe County and Reno will offer Apple 75% of its share of sales taxes for the proposed downtown business center. Apple, in exchange for the incentives, will invest $1 billion in the region over the next decade, which can be extended for 20 additional years.
The news just keeps getting worse for investors who purchased Facebook stock. Facebook stock has been in a continual decline ever since they reported their second-quarter earnings last week. Today, it has hit an all-time low of $19.82, according to Google Finance.
The stock hovered around $20, with occasional dips below and, at the time of writing, is currently at $19.90. For a bit of perspective, a stock price of $19 dollars would put the stock at exactly half the IPO offering price of $38.
Yesterday, Facebook closed at $20.88, $0.04 above its lowest closing price of $20.84. It looks as though today could change that lowest closing price record.