Microsoft has shown its strength just now, with the Xbox taking in nearly half of all consumer spending from physical sales in 2011. Roughly $6.7 billion, or 40-percent of consumer retail spending, was spent on the Xbox, breaking into two separate categories. $2.1 billion on consoles, and $4.6 billion on games, according to NPD data released today.
These figures take into account U.S. retail sales of new physical videogame content, inclusive of portable and console hardware, games and accessories. In the collective sectors, they generated revenues of $17.02 billion last year, an 8-percent decline from 2010's $18.6 billion in generated revenues. Out of that $17.02 billion, Microsoft took a very respectable 40-percent of those sales.
The report doesn't include sales from digital formats, with things like downloadable content, social and mobile games, used and rental sales. Those so-called "newer" categories generated $7.24 billion in revenues last year, an increase of 7-percent over 2010. Whilst the increase in spending on alternative formats was there, it wasn't enough to offset the declines in physical retail. Consumer spending across both categories was between $16.3 and $16.6 billion, falling 2-percent from last year.
eBay and Amazon forecasts for mobile commerce volume in 2012, $8 billion and $7 billion, respectively
CES 2012: eBay CEO (and new interim PayPal CEO) John Donahoe, revealed at his CES keynote yesterday a number of new mobile payments forecasts for not only eBay, but PayPal, too. PayPal VP David Marcus said a few days ago that PayPal had surpassed its expectation of $3.5 billion in mobile payments in 2011, reaching $4 billion for 2011.
Donahoe said in his CEO keynote that eBay reached $5 billion in mobile GMV (gross merchandise volume), this is a 100-percent jump on 2010's GMV. Donahoe also projected yesterday that eBay would reach $8 billion in mobile GMV in 2012, with PayPal reaching $7 billion in transactions in 2012.
Mobile has more than 65 million downloads of eBay's mobile applications across all platforms. More than 890,000 new eBay shoppers completed their very first eBay purchase via the mobile apps in 2011, an 113-percent increase year-over-year. Donahoe also announced a new strategic partner in eBay's RedLaser barcode scanning app, who is it? Well, it's Best Buy. The app was updated last fall to include integration from PayPal and Milo to give users the ability to buy now for either in-store pick-up, or home delivery later.
Best Buy joins Toys R Us as RedLaser's latest partner.
Nokia. Microsoft. Windows Phone. 2012. This is all you need to know if you want to believe the numbers Morgan Stanley expect Nokia to ship this year, based on Windows Phone devices alone. They expect Nokia's new Windows Phones to sell 37 million units this year, with that number ballooning to 64 million units next year.
Morgan Stanley's estimates for HTC's Windows Phone-based handsets is actually quite the number, too. They estimate 43 million this year and 74 million next year. Considering these are just estimates, I can't see it happening, but Nokia and HTC are two powerhouse companies, so who knows. I just see iOS and Android fighting them too much to sell phones in those types of numbers.
Microsoft have a lot of work cut out for them this year, but they seem to be in their stride now. It should be interesting to see what they do this year against Android 4.0 and if there's a release of iOS 6 sometime later this year. We should see great things from all three companies.
Microsoft has clamped down its plans to launch an online subscription service for TV shows and movies, according to a report from Reuters. Microsoft were deep in discussion with potential programming partners for over 12 months now, and were, up until recently, planning to launch the service in the upcoming months.
They have done a 180-degree turn on that decision, after deciding that the licensing costs were too high for the business model they envisaged, according to people "familiar with the discussions". One senior media executive who was involved in these talks, said:
They built Microsoft TV, they demoed it for us, they asked for rate cards but then said 'ooh ah, that's expensive.'
Early versions of the service included the same Kinect-based features such as voice and motion control to change channels, and more. Similar to Netflix, Microsoft's service would've allowed a monthly fee for a package of programming from someone other than your local cable or satellite TV company. Being different to Netflix, Microsoft hoped to offer current TV shows and live networks on their service, which made it a much higher cost proposition.
Well, I know what I want to be when I grow up. 2011 was an amazing year financially for Tim Cook, becoming the CEO of Apple after Steve Jobs passed away, he took in a new salary and a bunch of stock awards. By a bunch, I mean a lot and by a lot, I mean over $377 million worth.
According to Apple's 2012 Proxy Statement, Cook received $377,996,537 in total compensation last year, compared to Jobs' compensation which was exactly $1. Cook only took in $900,000 as a salary in 2011, but received an insanely large bonus in restricted stock units, vesting in two five-year increments and doled out with his appointment to the CEO throne, took his total compensation through the roof.
This isn't the first time Apple gave its CEO a bunch of stock options, back in 2006, Steve Jobs received $646.6 million, most of which was given in stock options. Just imagine that, opening up your Internet Banking page, and seeing all those numbers. I'd most likely find myself on the floor three days later, passing out from pure shock.
Thank you, Reddit. For being one of the biggest sites on the Internet opposed to the ridiculous, corrupt crap that is SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). We've covered it a few times now and I'm completely, 100-percent opposed to it. This is something where everyone needs to be aware, and pass news around as much as possible to make others aware.
If SOPA is passed, everything you know about the Internet will change, completely. It will not be the same. It's pretty much the censorship of the entire Internet. Reddit, being as strong as they are, and very community-based, are fighting against it. Reddit will be blacking out their entire site on January 18 from 8am-8pm EST (1300-0100 UTC) as a protest.
Reddit will simply display a message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like Reddit, and they'll link users to resources where they can learn more, and suggest ways they can take action. They'll also showcase the live video stream of the House hearing, where Internet entrepreneurs and technical experts will be testifying.
OCZ Technology have been snapping up companies lately and today is no different with the acquisition of SANRAD Inc., an Israel-based provider of flash caching and virtualization software and hardware. The addition of intellectual property to OCZ's growing portfolio is expected to increase the adoption of PCIe SSD storage solutions specifically in VMware and Citrix Zen environments.
SANRAD currently sells its flash caching and virtualization software to OEMs such as NEXSAN and Brocade. The deal between OCZ and SANRAD is reportedly worth approximately $15 million, which consists of approx. 2.1 million shares of OCZ stock.
The Consumer Electronics Show starts up this week and right out of the gate in relation to consumer electronics is a report from the NPD Group: Consumer electronic sales during the 2011 holiday period dropped 6-percent when compared to 2010.
But, it doesn't look like it'll get any better. The NPD Weekly Tracking Service notes that the decline comes off of another decline from the year before. 2011's drop was not as bad as 2010's bad, but it shows the direction the market is headed. NPD says:
Total consumer technology sales (excluding cell phones, tablets, e-readers, and video games) fell 5.9 percent to around $9.5 billion for the 5 weeks ending December 24, a slight improvement over the 6.2 percent decline in 2010.
Valve just released their 2011 growth data for Steam, and during 2011 the platform grew to offer over 1,800 games to more than 40 million accounts. Year-over-year unit sales increased by more than 100-percent for the seventh straight year, and during the 2011 Holiday Sale, Steam's simultaneous user numbers ballooned to over 5 million players at once.
If you're a storage fan, get this: Steam doubled the amount of content delivered from 2010, to serve over 780 Petabytes (with a P!) of data to gamers around the world. To sustain this demand for bandwidth, the Steam infrastructure more than doubled its service capacity and a new content delivery architecture was deployed to improve user download rates.
This is something truly amazing, Xian Min Zhang sent in a video to Gizmodo of his company's latest project, a 30-story tall, 183,000-square-foot hotel built in just 360 hours. 360 hours is just an amazing 15 days. What is more impressive is that it's not just a simple hotel built, there are some great features built-in.
The hotel was built near the Dongting lake, in the Hunan Province, China, by Broad Group, a Chinese construction company who specializes in sustainable architecture. The building uses prefabricated modules (with a +/- 0.2mm precision in the fabrication process) mounted on a steel structure, with diagonal steel bracing.
What impressed me the most, are the following features of the building: it can resist a 9-magnitude earthquake (and was tested by the China Academy of Building Research), which is claimed to be five times more earthquake-resistant than conventional buildings. It is also five times more more energy efficient, with 6-inch thick glass curtain wall insulation and four-paned windows with built-in shades, a heat recovery system and 3-stage filtration air conditioning process that actually purifies indoor air to be 20 times (!) purer than the air outside.
AMD may have had a successful Radeon HD 7000-series launch, but 2012 is not starting off well for their laptop division. Quanta Computer, a Taiwanese company that manufactures laptops for companies such as HP, Dell, Acer, and others, is suing AMD for an alleged breach of contract.
Quanta Computer are claiming that AMD chips used in laptops made for NEC were defective. No specific models have been mentioned, but both AMD and ATI are mentioned in the report, meaning that the complaints could cover GPUs, CPUs or, both. The problem that Quanta have with the chips is heat tolerance issues in a particular laptop line, but again, no models are mentioned.
Quanta claims that it "has suffered significant injury to prospective revenue and profits" and they are suing for breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation, civil fraud, and interference with a contract.
Verizon Wireless Chief Financial Officer, Fran Shammo, today participated in Citi's Global Entertainment, Media & Communications Conference, and as part of his presentation, revealed some iPhone sales numbers for Verizon.
Shammo announced that Verizon had pumped through 4.2 million iPhones during Q4 2011, which is the same quarter that Apple launched their iPhone 4S. Q4's sales dwarfed Q3's sale numbers of the iPhone by more than double, from 2.0 million to 4.2 million. Apple sold just over 17 million iPhones during Q3, so if Verizon sold 4.2 million iPhones during Q4, Apple could've sold nearly 35 million iPhones during Q4 across the world.
Apple today announced they will report their holiday quarter sales and earnings numbers on January 24, where we should know more about their sales numbers, but in detail. As a result of the strong iPhone 4S sales performance, Verizon is expecting a reduction in its profit margin as they absorb the upfront subsidies paid to Apple for the iPhone 4S.
As time goes on, Verizon claw back their money from customers service contracts.
Update: I've been informed by Intel, that the engineers did not in fact work for Intel, as the story originally suggested.
Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) have arrested four Intel engineers where they allegedly sold sample processors on eBay. The suspects were confirmed as Intel engineers at an OEM plant in Taiwan were taken into custody in the city of Taoyuan.
Detectives had been tracking the engineers since September and conducted a raid on the individual's homes last month, according to reports. Authorities seized just 178 sample CPUs with an estimated street value of $82,500. The suspects admitted to selling more than 500 ES-branded chips since 2009.
Engineering sample CPUs are typically designated by Intel Confidential and ES markings are considered beta versions that get used for in-house testing, compatibility qualification, used as demonstrations or sent to media outlets for evaluation purposes. The chips are usually sent out to various outlets before commercial release and those who receive them usually sign non-disclosure agreements and after they're finished with the chip, return it or keep it and agree not to sell it.
There were a lot of smartphone and tablet activations over Christmas, but Flurry Analytics have some interesting numbers when it comes to App downloads over the Christmas week. Over 1.2 billion (with a B) were downloaded onto mobile devices, worldwide.
This number beats the previous record set for most apps downloads in a single week by an astounding 70-percent. Records for app downloads are usually cemented into history during the Christmas week, as most people are gifted a device in mass numbers during this time.
With nearly 7 million iOS and Android-powered devices activated on just December 24 and 25, Flurry Analytics estimate that over 20 million devices were activated. Out of the 1.2 billion apps downloaded between December 25 and 31, Christmas Day itself was quite popular with an amazing 242 million app downloads.
Three countries made up nearly 50-percent of the 1.2 billion downloads, with the U.S. raking in 509 million by itself, China in second place with 99 million and the U.K. snagged 81 million.
Imagine you wake up tomorrow, pull your smartphone or tablet from your bedside table, click the Facebook icon and wait for it to load. It loads, and shows you a simple page of "We have taken Facebook down in support of SOPA, if you're against the act, please call X" and with X is your local representative, or whoever Facebook decide to redirect you to.
You think, no wait, there's no way this is happening. You Google the issue. Google's page doesn't load and a similar site is up. Your heart sinks and you think Skynet have finally taken over. A T-101 will step through your door and ask if Sarah Connor lives there, before shooting your home up.
Well, that was a great introduction into what could be the biggest arsenal that the Internet has against the crap that is SOPA. According to Markham Erickson, head of the NetCoalition trade association, there has been talk of a so-called "nuclear option", where Google, Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo! would all simultaneously go dark to protest SOPA and to highlight the fundamental danger the legislation poses to the function of the Internet itself.
Samsung and Apple have been punching each other for what seems like forever now, and Samsung is now taking the battle somewhere new: your living room. The latest from the Korean-based company is they've hired the same girl from the iPhone 4S commercial for their latest South Korean commercial for the Galaxy Tab 8.9.
Apple has since the beginning claimed that Samsung copied the style and design of their famous iPad/iPhone and iOS in general. Samsung seem to have done exactly what a troll company would do, use a legal method to piss Apple off.
So they hired the same girl to star in their commercial, which is perfectly legal. It not only benefits the girl and her family monetary wise, but it lets Samsung wink at us, the public, against Apple. Samsung have since pulled their commercial off their website, but thanks to the wonderful YouTube, and thanks to fellow competitor, Google for owning them, we can still see it.
Montreal resident Martin Reisch was travelling to the U.S. to drop off some Christmas presents when he realised he forgot his passport. Being two hours from home already, he wasn't about to turn back.
As he approached U.S. customs, he thought he'd attempt to use a digital copy of his passport that he had on his iPad to get through customs. The border official was a bit annoyed, but let him through. A Canadian official also let him through on his way back home.
Reisch wasn't travelling by plane, but was making a land crossing which could be the difference between using the iPad copy at an airport and not being allowed to travel. This may not work again, or for anyone else, but it goes to show a digital copy of your identification can definitely help, at the worst of times.
At first, I thought this news was a joke, but nope. It's real. An Illinois man sued Pepsi back in 2009 after he claimed he "spat out the soda to reveal a dead mouse", the Madison County Record reported.
The man sent the mouse to Pepsi Co. where they "destroyed" the remains after he allowed them to test it, according to his complaint. Pepsi's lawyers, however, found experts to testify on the matter based on the state of remains sent to them, where they said:
The mouse would have dissolved in the soda had it been in the can from the time of its bottling until the day the plaintiff drank it.
Pepsi added that it would've been a "jelly-like" substance. Imagine this going to trial, imagine being in the jury of this court case. I don't think I'll ever be drinking a can of Mountain Dew again.
HP's TouchPad has gone through a million and one things, and another piece of the puzzle has leaked out that they tried to palm off its Palm/WebOS properties to potential buyers for a very nice $1.2 billion.
That is the same price HP paid for the company back in 2010, and even then, were criticized by analysts for the expensive buyout claiming the deal sorely overvalued Palm and that was over a year ago now. HP tapped the wallets of Amazon, Intel, Facebook and even Samsung to offload Palm. No one was willing to make such a large investment though.
Not only did HP put a $1.2 billion price tag on the property of Palm/WebOS, they insisted they maintained rights to use WebOS in their printers. Most companies would look away once they realised HP were flogging off the property for the same price, with preconditions and stipulations stuck to it. After being unable to rid themselves of Palm/WebOS, HP sent the project to the open-source bin so it can evolve, free of obligations from the company.
The world may be going through some changes, and I really think we're just beginning to scrape the surface of a real GFC, but Taiwanese foundries are talking about slicing prices by 10- to 15-percent for wafters built on mature node processes.
These wafters have lower production costs, so the foundries are passing on the savings to you and me, the customer. The move is said to build consumer confidence in building their inventory after a shaky 2011 in the U.S. and European markets. DigiTimes reports that although there is slow demand for mature process manufacturing, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) continues to see orders build up for the advanced 28nm technology (such as the great Radeon HD 7970 from AMD), according to sources at non Taiwan-based chip suppliers.
This is only a good thing, savings on technology. It also allows vendors to buy cheaper, and pass those savings onto the customer, too. All we need now is a drop in the mid to high-end range of GPUs and I'll be happy. Give me some HD 7970's for under $500 AUD and I'll be a happy chappy.
I must've somehow missed this in the hoopla that is New Years, but I'll make it quick. Nintendo, Electronic Arts and Sony Electronics have all followed by example of Microsoft and the Business Software Alliance by kicking the ass of support for SOPA.
This is a good move, as they all know that the land of Internet people will be at their doors with pitch forks if they continued support for the Stop Online Piracy Act. All three of the companies did not make a comment on why they reversed their decision to support SOPA, but the pitch fork image I have in my head does it for me.
Keep in mind that not all of Sony land took their support away, with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Nashville all still appear on the SOPA list. Let's wait to see how this bill goes, let's all collectively hope that it does not pass.