If I was to look around my desks where I'm typing this news, I have a Nexus 5, LG G2, and both Nexus 7 tablets - last years model, and this years - I'm a tech addict like most of you out there. But just how many smartphones are out in the wild right now? Around 1.9 billion, which is expected to blow out to a huge 5.6 billion devices in 2019.
5.6 billion smartphones is a mammoth number, with the estimation coming from communications technology company, Ericsson. According to Ericsson's latest quarterly report, 55% of all handsets sold worldwide were smartphones, even though smartphones represent just 25-30% of all active mobile phone subscriptions.
But, over the next 6 years, we should see smartphone adoption hitting 60% of all mobile phone subscriptions. This means that of the 9.3 billion phones in use by 2019, 5.6 billion (or over half) of them will be smartphones. The biggest reason for this is going to be the emerging markets like China and India, and I personally think another big push is going to be Android 4.4 KitKat, which has much lower minimum requirements - which will push smartphone technology into cheaper smartphones, and help drive sales in emerging markets, in droves.
After a first day of trading that can only be called a smashing success, Twitters stock price has saw a slight dip in trading on Friday. Yesterday the stock opened at $45.10 per share with an initial transaction for more than 11 million shares, but the market has been less kind to Twitter today with the stock hovering around $42 per share all day.
While a five percent drop in price on the second day of trading may seem like a big deal, this was actually expected by many market analyst, and is not an uncommon event for newly listed companies. The real tell tell signs will come next Thursday and if the stock has managed to stay in the $40-45 or higher range.
While we are on the subject of the financial markets, you might remember that earlier this week, OCZ, saw its stock take a nosedive towards the bottom. With the release of a new SSD that has been met with good reviews, it appears that some investors have renewed confidence in the SSD manufacturer. Today the stock is up around $0.85 per share which represents a rebound of over 90-percent since Tuesday.
Microsoft doesn't really need Windows Phone sales to explode overnight when its generating an estimated $2 billion from Android sales, for, well, doing nothing. Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund has estimated that Microsoft is pulling in all that revenue each year from Google thanks to patent royalties from Android vendors.
The analyst adds that Microsoft's margin on Android-based patent royalties is a hefty 95%, which would mean that Microsoft's truck load of billions of dollars each year is pure, golden profit. Sherlund also says that Microsoft is using the cash piles it's making from Google's mobile OS to patch up the massive losses that its Xbox division creates each year, which is around $2 billion per year according to Sherlund.
Is this yet another step in the right direction for Microsoft? It would seem so: Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, is in Germany at the moment, where he joined Christian P. Illek, chairman of Microsoft Germany's managing board, where they opened up a new facility in Germany.
The new facility is built in the historic building "Unter den Linden 17," which is a massive 3,000 square meter building that has been converted into a technology hub that is primed at getting customers, businesses partners, the media, startups, and the community better acquainted. The new facility includes a "Digital Eatery" which is a consumer lounge on the first floor that invites visitors to come in and try out Microsoft's latest and greatest products.
Ballmer said: "We've always believed that technology creates opportunities for people and organizations to achieve their dreams. Right now, we are incredibly passionate about delivering the next generation of high value activities through devices and services that people love and organizations need all over the world. The Microsoft Berlin Innovation Center provides a unique environment to foster innovation, forge new partnerships with entrepreneurs and exchange ideas with our customers."
Apple may have lost hundreds of billions of dollars from its market cap, but that doesn't stop them from continuing on to be one of the strongest brands on the planet. Forbes has rated Apple as the world's most valuable brand, above some of the biggest names in the world.
Apple beat Google, Microsoft, IBM and Coca-Cola to be the world's most valuable brand, with Forbes stating that Apple's brand is worth $104.3 billion, double that of second place, which happens to be Microsoft. Forbes does note that Samsung is rising quite quickly up the chart, which "had the strongest one-year gain of any brand in the top 100" which is up 53% from last year. Nokia has sunk, by a massive 55% since last year, with BlackBerry disappearing off the top 100 list completely.
Lenovo has posted up its results for its second fiscal quarter, which ended on September 30. Revenue for the three-month period sat at $9.8 billion, which is a 13% increase year-over-year. Lenovo also saw its second quarter profit grow very quickly, with pre-tax income growing up 30% year-over-year to $265 million.
Earnings also increased, a nice 36% year-over-year to around $220 million. The biggest news here is just how many devices Lenovo sold in the quarter, which was a hefty 29 million devices, which equates to around 4 devices sold, every single second. This has helped Lenovo keep its 'world's largest PC vendor' statement for the second quarter running, with the highest-ever quarterly market share of 17.7%, which is up 2% year-over-year.
This morning Twitter launched its long awaited and highly anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange. Carrying the stock symbol, TWTR, the company went public at the opening bell which was rang by Sir Patrick Stewart himself. Twitter set its opening price to $26 per share, but that did not last very long.
Just seconds after opening, Twitter saw the opening transaction trade with 11 million of its offered 70 million shares sell for over $45 each. This effectively valued Twitter to be worth approximately $25.4 billion, which makes the total IPO to be roughly 1/10th of what the company is valued at. When the day is over and all 70 million shares are gone, Twitter will have raised more than $1.82 billion. While that number is far lower than the $16 billion Facebook raised, I suspect that Twitter will have far less fallout from its IPO than Facebook did.
At the time of this writing, Twitter is trading at $45.30 per share which is up almost 74-percent since the opening bell. How high the stock will rise is anyone's guess. I will update this post with a follow-up when the markets close today at 4pm, so bookmark this page and check back around 5pm for the latest update on how Twitter's IPO went.
A research note was posted by Normura analyst, Rick Sherlund, who The New York Times described as Goldman Sachs' "point person' for its work with Microsoft, and someone who is a longtime friend of Bill Gates.
Sherland wants Microsoft to dive out of its unprofitable search, and gaming businesses, he explained: "We estimate Microsoft has lost $17 billion with Bing over the past 10 years. It may be concerning to watch Google give away its Android operating system... but this is a superior business model... it is not important that Microsoft receive $5 or $10 billion for Bing ... but rather that it eliminate about 20 cents per share in annual losses."
What do you think? Losing billions upon billions of dollars just isn't good, and in the long run, I truly don't see Bing ever competing with Google. It's the same with Apple trying to compete with Google's search, even if they pumped $20 billion into it, I don't see Google being taken over.
Earlier this week, BlackBerry announced that its CEO, Thorsten Heins, would be stepping down as the company takes itself off the market and looks to rebuild with a $1 billion investment. While Heins departure might be just what the company needs, it is always sad to see the head of a company leave something he poured his life into.
In a letter pinned to employees this week, Heins has expressed is gratitude to "BlackBerry team members," and said that he feels John Chen will make an excellent choice for interim CEO. He went on to conclude the letter by stating that he is "BlackBerry's biggest fan, and would continue cheering on the company from the sidelines. The memo also states that BlackBerry will be hosting a town hall later this week to address employee concerns, and answer any questions they may have.
It looks like Twitter's IPO is doing well, with the social network's shares being worth $26 per share when it goes on sale. At the $26 price point, and sales of around 70 million shares of common stock, it will see Twitter net $1.82 billion.
This pushes Twitter into the ballpark of a valuation of $14.16 billion based on 545 million non-diluted shares, or a maximum of around $18.1 billion based on 705 million fully diluted shares. So, how do we divvy up these billions of dollars? Well, Twitter co-founder, Evan Williams, takes in a 10.4% stake that would be worth $1.48 billion - without options. Jack Dorsey's stake is worth $609 million, and investor Peter Fenton's shares are worth a nice $820 million.
Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo's shares are worth a cool $199 million. But, with 16% of the shares, Rizvi Traverse has a nice $2.21 billion worth. Lastly, we have Union Square Ventures also sitting nicely with a $723.8 billion stake in the social network.
Lenovo could be the new owner of BlackBerry right not if it were not for the Canadian government stepping in and nixing the acquisition on grounds of national security. A new report is stating that Lenovo was serious about its bid for BlackBerry, and would have went through with the deal if not for the Canadian government saying no.
The Canadian government says that it could not let a Chinese company buy out a telecom company that has deep ties with the Canadian Government as it could pose a major national security risk. "We have been pretty consistent that the message is Canada is open to foreign investment and investment from China in particular, but not at the cost of compromising national security," said a Canadian Government official. Sources say that Lenovo had been looking at BlackBerry back as early as January, and apparently was in acquisition talks since that time as well.
Microsoft has announced it is now offering a free, 16-week IT training course for soldiers transitioning out of the military life, to a civilian life, with a guaranteed job at the end of it.
The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy will be based on the Microsoft IT Academy, which will offer the training required to plunge into the world of being a developer, applications engineer or IT project manager. At the end of the course, the company will hire participants as software testers by either Microsoft or Launch Consulting, which is the tech firm administering the program.
Microsoft Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Brad Smith, said in a statement: "American servicemembers possess the drive, self-discipline and problem-solving skills that are essential for the technology industry. The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy is a bridge between one great career-serving in the U.S. military-and another, creating technologies that improve lives."
Yesterday it appeared that OCZ's stock was in a downward fall that was unstoppable before leveling off near the closing bell at $0.73. Today the stock fell yet another 38-percent to just $0.39 per share at its lowest, and like yesterday it rebounded slightly and closed at $0.44 per share.
As of this posting, OCZ has yet to release an official statement, and this has further led to investor confidence falling. A quick Google search will turn up dozens of industry analyst questioning just how long the company has left before it is forced to fill bankruptcy, and even more complaints on forums across the internet where customers are complaining about failed Vertex SSD drives.
While I am still mystified about the company's lack of response to this crisis, I have developed a new theory on what may be going on. A few weeks back we reported that Toshiba might be looking to buy OCZ outright, but nothing ever materialized from this. I have a very small suspicion that OCZ may be keeping quiet in order to force their price even lower to draw in someone looking to pick them up at what might be a steal. This would wash the company's leaders hands of things and they would get off with a nice payday.
This morning Acer announced that its CEO, J.T. Wang, will resign his position as CEO following yet another poor performing financial quarter. Wang will tender his resignation effective on January 1st 2014, but will retain his position as Chairman of the Board until the second quarter of 2014.
Acer says that its current president, Jim Wong, will take over as CEO upon Wang's resignation. Acer just posted a net loss of $446 million for Q3 2013 and as a result, will cut its global staff by 7-percent in an effort to diminish overhead by $100 million annually. Stacking on the bad news, Acer's PC sales plummeted by 35-percent in Q3 which could spell disaster for the company in 2014. Acer and Wong will have to fight hard, and will be forced to switch up their strategy drastically to stay afloat in the coming years.
Apple is pushing to open up more US-based factories, with a components plant to soon be opened up in Arizona that would be run from renewable energy. The new project will create over 2000 jobs, where the company will work directly with Salt River Project, who is an electric utility company based in central Arizona.
Apple will work with Salt River Project to create "green energy sources" that would power the facility. Within the first twelve months, over 700 jobs will be created, with an additional 1300 positions in construction and other jobs in and around Arizona, according to Governor Jan Brewer. Brewer also said: "Their investment in renewable energy will also be greening our power grid, and creating significant new solar and geothermal power sources for the state."
GT Advanced Technologies, a crystal materials manufacturer, will own and operate furnaces and related equipment at the new plant, which will employ over 700 people. The company has said it has entered a multi-year deal to supply the Cupertino-based iPhone giant with sapphire material. Apple has previously said it would invest over $100 million in Mac production within the US, which this is all a big part of.
For two years running, EA has won The Consumerist's "Worst Company in America' award, which has forced the company to look into what it had done to get so many customers angry, and is still working on it to this day according to the freshly-appointed CEO, Andrew Wilson.
Wilson spoke with Polygon, where he said: "Whether you respect the source or not, I think it was a wake up call, and it was absolutely something that we spent a lot of time and energy over, and continue to spend a lot of time and energy over. For us, it was less about, 'How do we not get voted the worst company again?' but more about, 'Okay, are there things that we could do differently or things that we have done that have been misinterpreted that would cause people to feel that way?"
EA's goal, according to Wilson, is to "build great games and services." He added: "What we have been doing over time is really working to either update those things or eliminate those things, and really get back to our focus on games. Because at the end of the day, if we're making great games and services, we won't get voted worst company in America again."
On Halloween, the same day that Google launched its next-gen flagship, the Nexus 5," and Android 4.4 KitKat, several of the company's biggest rivals filed lawsuits against the company and some of its partners. This consortium of foes include Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony.
The filings include at least 15 lawsuits that claim that Google and its handset partners infringe on several patents that cover basic smartphone functionality including email and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. Some of the patents date all the way back to 2000, and it appears that Google and Samsung have known about the lawsuits since 2012. As past patent wars have shown, there will be no quick resolution to these claims, and the only ones who will win anything will be the lawyers who will spend the next month or years battling this out in conference rooms.
With Twitter just days away from its Initial Public Offering, tech powerhouse IBM has threatened to filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the social networking service. Before heading off to the court system, IBM has offered Twitter a shot at a "business resolution," which most likely equates to an expensive licensing deal.
IMB says that Twitter is infringing on three of its patents including: U.S. Patent No. 6,957,224: Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators, U.S. Patent No. 7,072,849: Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service and U.S. Patent No. 7,099,862: Programmatic discovery of common contacts. These patents are all very broad in what they actually cover, and represent exactly what is wrong with the US Patent system.
In a statement Twitter had the following to say. "Based upon our preliminary review of these patents, we believe we have meritorious defenses to IBM's allegations, although there can be no assurance that we will be successful in defending against these allegations or reaching a business resolution that is satisfactory to us."
It appears that the long saga of BlackBerry's demise is over and the end result is not a failed company, or a new handset OEM resulting from a buyout. Instead, BlackBerry has taken itself off of the market and has received a $1 billion investment from Fairfax Holdings, the company which failed to raise $4.7 billion to buy BlackBerry earlier this year.
Along with this morning's announcement, BlackBerry said that its CEO, Thorsten Heins, will be stepping down after almost two years at the reigns. Heins will be replaced by Interim CEO, John S. Chen, who previously served as chairman and CEO of Sybase, Inc before it was acquired by another company in 2010. Todays announcements have done little to impress investors though as BlackBerry's stock is trading at $6.55 after a high of $8 last week.
"Today's announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors," said Barbara Stymiest, Chair of BlackBerry's Board. "The BlackBerry Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders. This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs."
If there's one thing Microsoft needs right now, it's the perfect storm of marketing campaigns to push Windows and Surface onto millions of more customers to combat the increased onslaught from rivals Apple, Google and Samsung.
The Redmond-based software giant is looking to spend around $405 million this year on marketing, compared to $241 million last year. Splitting this up, we'll see $131 million or so in offers and incentive-related spending, while $274 million will be spent on marketing and operating expenses. Microsoft wants to see Windows-based slates in stores, and will spend heavily to see its dreams come true.
The company is pushing to have 16 million tablet sales over the holiday season, with the extra marketing push helping to convince customers they want a Windows tablet. It shouldn't be hard, because Microsoft has some great devices out there with its OS on them, but it's not really a fight of devices anymore, but services.
We reported that Nokia's sales in the US were rising, with a nice 8.8 million Lumia-branded smartphones sold in Q3 alone. But, this has catapulted the once struggling Finnish phone maker to the No. 4 spot of US smartphone vendors.
Nokia overtook Motorola into the position, with Nokia's US smartphone market share climbing from 1.4% in Q2 to 4.1% in Q3. Motorola accounted for 3.6% of the US market, but this should jump in the coming months with the slew of Motorola devices coming out. Nokia has a big fight ahead of them to compete with the big boys in Samsung and Apple, but do you think it has what it takes to compete with them?