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There's one app that I absolutely must have on my Android smartphone, and that's SwiftKey. SwiftKey is a predictive keyboard maker, that Microsoft has just acquired for $250 million.
Microsoft paying $250 million for the company will see SwiftKey founders Jon Reynolds and Ben Medlock receive $30 million or more each, which is pretty damn good for eight years of work being pumped into SwiftKey. SwiftKey itself has been installed on over 300 million devices, whether that's the free or paid versions on either iOS or Android.
What is Microsoft's interest in SwiftKey? Well, the artificial intelligence behind its super-accurate predictive text suggestions, which we should see baked into future iterations of Microsoft's mobile OS.
Yahoo has just announced its new "aggressive strategic plan", where it has announced a slew of new products and a new way to tackle Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Wait, no they didn't - their strategic plan involves culling 15% of its workforce (1700 people) and closing down 5 offices around the world.
The company will be closing its offices in Dubai, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Madrid and Milan, with the layoffs leaving the company with 9000 staff by the end of the year. Yahoo's goal is to reduce operating costs by $400 million as we go into 2017. During its recent quarter, Yahoo pulled in $1.27 billion in revenue, but had a massive write-down of $4.5 billion. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said in a statement: "today, we're announcing a strategic plan that we strongly believe will enable us to accelerate Yahoo's transformation. This is a strong plan calling for bold shifts in products and in resources".
When Mayer took over at Yahoo, she said the company was full of legacy businesses and a declining revenue stream that had to be stopped. Its Mavens (mobile, video, native and social) side had a revenue source that had an "incredibly fast growth line of business". Mayer also noted that Yahoo needs to engage its users, and double down on its top businesses: Search, Mail and Tumblr.
Google's parent company Alphabet is now the world's most valuable publicly traded company, according to earnings reports released today.
Revenue stands tall at $21.3 billion and earnings are at $8.67 per share -- both exceeding analyst predictions of $20.8 billion and earnings of $8.09 per share. Market cap comes in at $558 billion, surpassing Apple at $535 billion, a company which has struggled to grow in recent times following a long period of flourishing.
Alphabet attributes the wild success to its investments in mobile search as well as YouTube and "programmatic" advertising. Its 1 billion active Gmail users probably don't hurt, either.
Last we heard, CPU architect Jim Keller had left AMD for Samsung. Turns out that's only half true, as Keller is now confirmed to be the new Vice President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering at Tesla Motors, where he'll help build self-driving cars.
"Jim will bring together the best internal and external hardware technologies to develop the safest, most advanced autopilot systems in the world," said Tesla, relaying the news.
The company should do well to have him on staff. Keller -- who has been working at AMD on and off since the late 90s and most recently designed the Zen architecture -- is widely regarded as one of the most talented engineers in the technology industry, and Tesla has been hurting for engineers following recent departures.
While Tiger Direct and Radio Shack have bit the dust, the once-reigning Circuit City has risen from its grave to peddle electronic wares to a new age of consumers.
According to tech industry site Twice, the first resurrected Circuit City will open its doors as early as June, with 50 to 100 stores planned for 2017. The new stores will feature "product zones" specifically tailored to millennials, stocked with popular tech like smartphones, tablets, laptops, 3D printers, wearables, and more. The new brick and mortar stores will have electronic web terminals connected to a "million-SKU online selection" of products.
The company will be helmed by Ronny Shmoel and Albert Liniado, who have an ambitious multi-faceted approach for business. The new Circuit City will fire on all cylinders with web storefronts, "express" kiosks placed in convenience stores, airports and pharmacies, mobile shops, franchised stores, and even a line of Circuit City-branded products.
PayPal has joined Facebook in a positive earnings announcement , stating that it has enjoyed a revenue rise of 17 percent.
The result of this rise was a 6 percent increase in stock, thanks to the reported fourth quarter adjusted revenue of $2.56 billion, marking a 17% improvement year-over-year and an adjusted net income of $443 million. This net income figure made for a 36 cents per share earning, ensuring a 27 percent growth since the fourth quarter of 2014 and helping cement PayPal as the king of digital payments.
Sporting a market cap of $39 billion, PayPal is enjoying a higher evaluation and better results than its sister company EBay, which is rated at $32 billion and has seen a recent 10 percent drop in shares, part of a turbulent existence since the seperateion of these two giants 2015.
While Facebook has smashed its profit reports and is seeing considerable growth, the online marketplace of EBay has hit some rough times.
Its fourth-quarter earnings report was met with a 10 percent drop in shares, possibly due to a slow-moving holiday season - something that is certainly the bane of any marketplaces existence. Posting earnings of 50 cents per share on revenue of $2.3 billion, Tech Crunch reported that analysts were fairly on point - predicting this report to showcase 50 cents per share on revenue of $2.32 billion in this time period.
After the separation from PayPal in 2015 EBay hasn't seen any vast improvements, with experts placing further pressure on this internet giant to perform under the watchful eyes of worried investors.
While Instagram is enjoying its ad network success, Twitter is bleeding staff. Kevil Weil, an ex-executive with the social media giant, has just left Twitter for the warm arms of Instagram.
Weil will be Instagram's new Head of Product, and will be reporting directly to Twitter CEO Kevin Systrom. Weil has replaced Peter Deng who moved onto another part of Facebook's ever-increasing reach on the world, joining Oculus, earlier this month.
Instagram has been trying to snag Weil since last year, so Weil was smart to make his decision considering the exodus of staff from Twitter continues to mount.
Research firm Wealth-X tracks data on the world's richest people, and their latest says Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates is on top of the pile yet again. What's more, it's not even close: he stands tall at $87.4bn, with fashion businessman Amancio Ortega in at 2nd with $66.8bn. Other familiar names include Warren Buffett (3rd with $60.7bn) and Mark Zuckerberg (8th with $42.8bn).
To put things in broader perspective, Gates was recently ranked #9 on a list of the richest people of all time. Those ahead of him held claim to hundreds of billions of dollars or more; Augustus Caesar possessed $4.6 trillion, and Mansa Musa, the King of Timbuktu, is believed to be far beyond even that.
Another quarter, another slew of trucks backing up to Apple's HQ and dumping piles of money. Apple profits have gone through the roof for the past three months, surpassing the record-breaking quarter Apple enjoyed in Q3 2015.
Apple's Q4 2015 was magical, with $18.4 billion in profits from $75.9 billion in revenue. Apple noted the inflated profits and revenue to the average sale price of its best-selling devices - the iPhone, iPad and Mac - was also a record high, boosting Apple's margins to 40.1%. The company has also predicted its Q1 2016 results, where it's expected to hit $50-$53 billion, down from the $58 billion it pulled in during the same time last year.
Considering Apple only launched one new devices during the quarter, the oh-so-meh iPad Pro, it's surprising Apple did so well. But then you consider the insanely popular iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus smartphones, and it begins to make sense. Apple is also seeing a decline in orders with its suppliers, but of course, Apple didn't talk about that with its earnings release - for obvious reasons.