The world's largest daily deals company, if you didn't already know, is Groupon. The company has proudly posted their first quarterly profit, where they reined in marketing spending while signing up more customers and merchants, with these effects driving up stock 12.5-percent higher.
Groupon now sports more than 36.9 million active customers, and has passed 100,000 merchants served in the first quarter. Groupon's after-hours rally to roughly $13.21 followed a big gain of more than 18-percent in regular trading on Nasdaq, the company's largest single-day gain since they went public in November.
Analysts have said short-sellers scrambled to cover their positions, anticipating better-than-expected results after the bell. But, the good news does come at a price. Groupon has lost more than half its market value this year, with concerns of waning demand for its daily deals, as well as the company's accounting troubles. Revenue sits at $559.3 million, compared to $295.5 million in the first quarter of 2011. So we can see year-over-year revenue is up considerably.
The rumor mills spins hard over the weekend it seems, with Google rumored to be considering the acquisition of chat and social sharing service Meebo. Reports flew into the offices of AllThingsD, and have said that the deal is in the works, and that Meebo could see a big influx of cash.
Meebo was founded back in 2005, as a web-based instant message client, which shared the functionality competing services such as AIM, Yahoo IM, and others. Meebo evolved over the years, releasing the Meebo Bar, which added a persistent social sharing and advertising layer to sites users visit, this allowed them to continue chatting to friends, whilst surfing the Internet.
Meebo continues to push new services, such as a tool to allow users to create an interest profile to get custom recommendations delivered regularly. According to the sources from AllThingsD, the acquisition could see $100 million for Meebo. Why would Google want to buy Meebo considering they already have their own social-based site, Google+? Meebo does sport 190 million customers... a considerable amount of people in a scoop for only $100 million isn't too much of a stretch for a company the size of Google.
Panasonic have just announced their yearly earnings, and they aren't very good at all: a record $9.7 billion net loss for 2011. Not good at all. Incoming president, Kazuhiro Tsuga's first job it seems is to turn around the company's TV division.
Panasonic have hefty investments in both plasma and LCD manufacturing, which resulted in the losses. Panasonic expects a better year for 2012, where they predict they'll actually sell less, with numbers deflating from 17.3 million last year, to 15.5 million.
Large screen OLED HDTV production is something both LG and Samsung are smashing into right now, with Panasonic set to follow. Outgoing president, Fumio Ohtsubo mentioned they would look for a partner there. Hopefully 2012 is a better year for Panasonic!
Ah Loewe. You were my first taste of 100Hz CRT heaven. The latest rumbles that is the belly of the Internet is that tech giant Apple is looking at a guyout of German TV maker Loewe.
Just how much were Apple willing to slide across the table? A cool $113 million, but a company spokesperson stating the report from AppleInsider has "absolutely nothing to do with it".
Where it gets good is that Loewe contacted German website Heise, responding to speculation that suggested Apple had started negotiations with Loewe, bidding $113 million for the company. The deal had reportedly yet to be agreed upon. Loewe were also said to have been "advised by its financial advisor to accept the offer" and that a final decision was "scheduled to be announced internally before 18 May 2012".
NVIDIA's first quarter of fiscal year 2013 is now over and the results are slightly lackluster. Don't get me wrong, NVIDIA still made money, but they made quite a bit less than last quarter. Revenue fell a few percentage points and overall net profit fell by nearly 50% to settle in at only $60.4 million.
I would blame this lackluster performance on the fact that they didn't get a Kepler GPU out until the middle to end of the quarter. As such, their products couldn't really compete with AMD's, so it's unlikely that as many people were purchasing them. NVIDIA still sounds positive, however, as this is what Jen-Hsun Huang, , president and chief executive officer of NVIDIA, said:
Kepler GPUs are accelerating our business. Our newly launched desktop products are winning some of the best reviews we've ever had. Notebook GPUs had a record quarter. And Tegra is on a growth track again, driven by great mobile device wins and the upcoming Windows on ARM launch. Graphics is more important than ever. Look for exciting news next week at the GPU Technology Conference as we reveal new ways that the GPU will enhance mobile and cloud computing.
The company expects to rebound in the second quarter, and I don't think that is an unreasonable expectation given the wide accolade that Kepler has earned. They expect revenue to fall somewhere between $990 million and $1.05 billion with operating expenses increasing slightly.
In another move that threatens the open and free internet, Dutch courts have ruled that the countries ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay or face fines of 10,000 euros per day. That massive of a fine will likely prevent any dissenters of the ruling, however, there are always ways around the blockade as shown in the UK.
Court rulings demanding ISPs block access to The Pirate Bay are stacking up in countries and one has to ask themselves what are the effects of the blocks? In this case these blocks aren't really going to do anything as they can be bypassed pretty easily. However, the idea that the government can order censorship is the scarier prospect.
These rulings are the first attacks on the site. The Pirate Bay is no stranger to trouble with the law as many companies have sued them for copyright infringement along with governments seizing the servers. It has persevered, but it will probably get tougher to do so as more court rulings come in. I know one thing, if the US government tries to make this ruling, I will be in the masses that protest.
In my opinion, this censorship goes against the heart of the first amendment. The Pirate Bay hosts no infringing material. Instead, they provide a roadmap on where to get it. It's akin to the US block on travel to Cuba. US citizens are prevented from going to Cuba, yet people still sell maps on how to get there and they are blocked.
It's a tough economy out there still, and it's hitting some companies harder than others. Nintendo, for the first time ever, posted a loss. Now Sony has reported its fiscal year 2012 results and the picture is bleak. Sony lost a record $5.55 billion as revenue fell 9.6% to $79.2 billion. This earns fiscal year 2012 the title of being Sony's worst year ever.
Sony is doing its best to remain strong through these tough times saying that the losses are mostly due to unforeseen circumstances. These unforeseen events would include a strong yen, an earthquake in Japan, and floods in Thailand. Not every sector of Sony lost money, but a few were hit extremely hard.
The company's Consumer Products & Services division is one of those that was hit hard. In 2011, they division posted a small profit, but this year sales were down 18.5% to $38.3 billion. This created a massive $2.8 billion loss for the company. None of this surprises shareholders, however, as Sony has posted difficult quarters during the year.
Sony is doing what it can to return to profitability. Sony has announced plans last month to lay off 10,000 employees to help its bottom line. Sony has also decided to focus on "One Sony" which will have Sony focusing on digital imaging, gaming, and the mobile market.
BlackBerry maker, Research in Motion (RIM) yesterday hired two new senior executives, with one of them taking the post of marketing chief as RIM hopes to regain market share that they lost to Apple's iPhone, and the various handsets that rock Google's Android OS.
RIM only recently announces losses mounting $125 million, as they battle declining smartphone sales. Compared to Q4 2011 where the company made a hefty $934 million profit, a drop to $125 million in losses is a stark change. At that time, RIM had just announced a management shakeup where we saw 20-year veteran Jim Baisillie step down from the board, as well as the CTO and COO for global operations leaving.
Who's the new chief marketing officer? Frank Boulben, who CEO Thorsten Heins describes as a critically important decision. Boulben leaves his previous position at LightSquared, where he was the executive vice president for strategy and marketing, with that company also struggling since Sprint left their partnership with the company after US regulators killed off plans it had for a nationwide broadband network.
One can see the similarities between HP's metal unibody-based Envy Spectre XT ultrathin, to Apple's MacBook Air. Firstly, HP's Spectre XT is the new flagship model of HP's just-announced Envy ultrathin lineup, which was born from VoodooPC's Envy laptops, which launched in June of 2008.
The VoodooPC Envy was one of the first non-Apple ultrathins to arrive on the market mere months after the launch of the MacBook Air from Apple. While the Voodoo Envy didn't look that much like the MacBook Air, HP's line-up of ultrathin's have slowly been sliding into the MacBook Air's skin since release.
The latest release was enough for HP's vice president of industrial design, Stacy Wolff, to go on the defensive. He told Engadget:
[The Spectre XT's looks are] not due to Apple but due to the way technologies developed. It is not because those guys did it first. It's just that's where the form factor is leading it.
He specifically points to his design's rubber imbued bottom, slightly different keyboard, and a brushed metal body as key differentiators. We all know Apple is trigger-happy when it comes to suing companies, but Wolff has stated that the design was approved by his lawyers, so we shouldn't see any problems.
Want a GEFORCE GTX 680? Well, line up behind the eleventy million other people who want one, but things are set to change. The relationship between NVIDIA and its principal foundry partner, TSMC, has been rocky for quite sometime now. Team Green were also not happy with TSMC's 28nm manufacturing capacity, but then give them praise in other areas.
NVIDIA have threatened to
break up with TSMC find another foundry partner for bulk manufacturing, with reports pointing to Samsung preparing qualification samples for it, TSMC had a change of heart and have promised NVIDIA a priority over their other clients such as Qualcomm and AMD for the manufacturing of their 28nm chips.
NVIDIA were not quiet on being unhappy with TSMC's output, and its new policy of charging for wafers rather than working chips yielded, NVIDIA refuted rumors of it seeking other foundry partners such as Global Foundaries and Samsung. Now NVIDIA are on high-priority, TSMC will make sure to see a speedy launch of new NVIDIA GEFORCE SKUs toward the end of Q2, 2012. TSMC in the past have given other companies priority, such as when Qualcomm threatened to switch allocations to other foundries.
I will work off the assumption that all of my readers are on the up and up and don't pirate music and videos. Yes, I have high standards for my readers, but it's for the best. Since none of us pirate music or movies, it always annoys me to see the anti-piracy fear campaign before the start of a movie. Apparently it wasn't enough, though, because two new propaganda slides are being added.
The one above is the traditional fear-based warning. It offers the standard "you could be fined or go to jail if you download this movie illegally" routine. Of course, a $250,000 fine and 5 years in jail is a bit excessive and scary, but at the same time, I don't pirate, so I don't want to see the warning! This one has been brought to you courtesy of the FBI and the HSI.
It reads "The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by federal law enforcement agencies and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000."
This propaganda showing is a less standard, yet still traditional, showing. It claims that pirating hurts the economy and that it is not a victimless crime. It encourages viewers to set aside their movie and go to http://www.iprcenter.gov to learn more. "Piracy is not a victimless crime. For more information on how digital theft harms the economy, please visit http://www.iprcenter.gov."
StumbleUpon co-founder and CEO, Garrett Camp, has stepped down from his position and will become chairman of the company. Camp, who after 10 years of leading StumbleUpon, wants change. He explained that it's "time for a change" in a post on StumbleUpon's blog:
After 10 years leading StumbleUpon, it's time for a change. From Geoff and I working part-time in Canada in 2002 to over 120 talented employees today, I've guided StumbleUpon through an unconventional journey. We moved to San Francisco in 2006 (photo above), were acquired by eBay just a year later, spun ourselves out of eBay in 2009, and have since grown the company from 5 million to more than 25 million registered users. The last 3 years have been incredible - completely rebuilding the company and expanding from a simple Firefox add-on to one of the largest discovery platforms on the Web.
StumbleUpon is now seeking a new CEO, immediately. The rest of its executive staff will continue as is. The next thing to see is who StumbleUpon, well, stumble upon for their next CEO, as well as what Camp has up his sleeve as to his next move.
After the successful conclusion of a pilot program which studied the effect of tablet computers in government, all 650 members of the British parliament (MP) will soon receive Apple's tablet masterpiece, the iPad.
The roll out of iPads to MPs will cost anywhere between $420,300 and $693,500. Nearly 70 MPs have already bought an iPad and have listed them as an expense, putting the cost onto the tax payer. But there are benefits, they say: such as saving money on printing, and other business/workflow-related reasons.
Each MP and his or her staff are entitled to three desktop computers, and two laptops in the service of the government. A trade-in of one of the allotted devices is expected from 300 of the 650 members not assigned to a select committee. The returned equipment helps for the cost of the iPad purchases by updating obsolete equipment in use by non-elected staffers, which then reduces the need for purchases of new equipment, which would cost a little over $80,000.
EA believes consoles still have potential, promises $80 million in investment for next-gen console game development
In EA's earning call, it was made clear that the company intends to compete in the next-gen console market and is planning to invest $80 million in next-gen game consoles. This $80 million is only over the fiscal year 2013, so likely most of this money will go towards WiiU games as the WiiU is rumored to release around Christmas this year.
"We intend to invest $80 million in gen-4 console development in fiscal 2013," said EA CEO John Riccitiello in his prepared remarks. "We are strong believers that console will return to strong growth, representing great opportunity, one that is in lockstep with our digital plan."
This commitment comes at a time when EA saw, and is predicting, a decline in packaged good sales. At the same time, however, they are expecting to see an increase of 40% in digital revenue for the year. Of course, $80 million wouldn't even cover the development costs of one top AAA title, so it's unclear exactly how many titles will be coming from this investment.
In what I can only call a hilarious turn of events, two of Romania's most renowned fortune-tellers have been accused of using Google, rather than the spirits, to con clients into doing some outlandish things and forking over cash for the services. One client was encouraged to throw her money into a lake to rid herself of her troubles.
With the internet around, it's so much easier for people to collect information on other people. As such, it was just a matter of time before a fortune-teller put it to use. The fortune-tellers are accused of using their Wi-Fi connections to Google clients and their loved ones. I guess that sort of counts, since after all, Wi-Fi is kind of magical.
But, their misdeeds didn't stop there. According to the allegations, the fortune-tellers trawled their clients' social networks and even used electronic surveillance equipment on those who would pay large sums of money. In a bit of irony, these fortune-tellers couldn't foresee their future in that the prosecutor they tried to bribe was also under electronic surveillance.
When the New York Times ran an article about GE's use of tax loop holes to not pay taxes, GE's brand reputation was significantly hurt and took two months to return to precrisis levels. However, just a month later the New York Times ran a similar story about Apple and Apple did not see the same result as GE.
Apple, as opposed to GE, saw an increase in brand reputation after the New York Times story ran. On YouGov's rating system, Apple went up from a brand reputation of 52 to 58 and is now running at 51. The reputation scores range from -100 to 100 and is calculated off of responses to the question of whether or not they would be "proud or embarrassed to work for this brand."
Apple's reputation is "virtually Teflon," in that nothing sticks to it. "The reaction [to the story about GE] was more pronounced and longer: the company's reputation took a steep drop and two months to recover to precrisis levels," YouGov said in a post. It's incredible that the two companies are treated differently, even though they do the same thing.
Fortune Magazine have released their annual Fortune 500 list, which list America's largest corporations. Last year, Apple placed at a respectable 35th position, but have zoomed right up to 17th for this years list. Apple rank second in technology to rival Hewlett-Packard.
Last year due to the undeniable success of the iPhone and iPad, Apple became the world's most value company, boosting its earnings by 85-percent to $25.9 billion. Fortune have predicted growrth for the technology sector at 3-percent, marking Apple's earnings as a "giant" contribution in the industry.
Apple looks to continue this runaway success, with another iPhone on the way, and I'm sure another iPad is being worked on as well as refreshed MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and iMacs. I'm sure there's things in-between those products, too. As well as their rumored Apple TV, too.
The creator behind the immensely popular 'Angry Birds', Rovio Entertainment, are looking to go public in 2013. The company is looking at an initial public offering (IPO) in 2013, in either New York or Hong Kong. What would you think Rovio is worth? Well, analysts pin them being valued at a very respectable $9 billion.
With the popularity seeming to never end with Angry Birds, the IPO should go very well. Angry Birds has smashed over 800 million downloads, and sports 200 million active users monthly, this is by the end of 2011. Angry Birds Space launched to huge numbers, hitting 50 million downloads in 35 days which made it the fastest growing mobile game, ever.
Profit-wise, Rovio made $99 in sales last year, and profits before tax was $48 million. Not bad considering 2010's revenue of around $10 million. Mikael Hed, Rovio CEO has said:
2012 looks fantastic. We have had some very strong download numbers over four months.
Lenovo are planning big investments in China over the next 18 or so months, where they'll be investing $800 million in a new mobile products plant in Wuhan, one of the largest cities in China. The Lenovo Industrial Base will cover research & development, production and sales of smartphones and tablets, with a target opening date of October 2013.
The new plant will service both local and global markets, and is expected to generate around $1.5 billion in revenue by 2014, and the company are hoping to hit $8 billion within five years. Job creation numbers are great, with around 10,000 jobs created over the coming years thanks to the new Wuhan facility.
Lenovo are wanting to grab more mobile market share, and this move will surely help them do so. Lenovo have said in their press release that they are already a top-three smartphone maker in China. Lenovo's K800 smartphone was one of the first devices to feature Intel's Medfield-based processor, which should be the start of something new for Lenovo. On top of this, they're preparing the IdeaTab S2109 with an unspecified processor, a 9.7-inch display, and 1GB of RAM.
While Google are busy battling a censorship case with the Indian government, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Competition Commission of India is launching an antitrust investigation of Google, where they'll examine the company's alleged "discriminatory and retaliatory practices relating to AdWords".
Where did this all stem from? A complaint filed from Consim Info Pvt. Ltd., who is an Indian web conglomerate which apparently requested that the Competition Commission step in to ensure fair competition in online advertising.
What the investigation is set out to do isn't 100-percent clear, but the commission will start off by taking a look at AdWords and go from there. Google are in for a treat this year, it seems.
Minnesota Senator Al Franken believes that Comcast is breaking its net neutrality agreement that it had to sign to gain approval to merge with NBC Universal. The fear that Franken has resides in the fact that Comcast will not count any direct-to-Xbox streaming against customers' 250GB monthly data cap.
Obviously, Netflix and other internet video providers are upset by this and see it as unfair. They believe it gives Comcast's service an unfair advantage to their own services and that it violates the Net neutrality rules that they had to sign to. These rules prohibit broadband providers from favoring their own content on the open internet over that of their competitors.