BlackBerry Ltd. is about to go onto the chopping block and at the last minute it seems that three powerful sources are joining up to make a bid for the struggling Canadian phone maker.
Co-founders of Resarch in Motion, Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fredin are reportedly in talks to make a joint big with Qualcomm and Cerberus Capital Management LP. If this does happen, it could quickly shift the mobile landscape and introduce a strong new competitor for Google and Apple. Qualcomm has loads of cash ready to spend, with $11.5 billion ready, liquid investments and short-term securities as of June 30.
Qualcomm purchasing BlackBerry would be quite the blow to Samsung and Google, who feature Qualcomm-made SoCs in most of their Android-based smartphones and tablets.
Sony has been experiencing a recipe of disaster over the last few years, seeing its TV business all but bow to Samsung, its various movie flops, camera sales drop and its PC business not doing so well.
But... it's smartphone business has seen a 39% increase in sales, thanks to consumers who would usually buy high-end HTC handsets scooping up Xperia handsets instead. Sony is seeing some great sales in its Xperia Z1, which is the only smartphone in Sony's arsenal that can even begin to compete with the mammoth sales of Samsung's Galaxy range of devices.
The next thing Sony has to do is break out into the lucrative US market, which is mainly dominated by Apple and Samsung right now. But, with BlackBerry all but done, HTC continuing to lose its grip, it might be high time that Sony makes its move.
That that Q3 has come and gone, we can look back at smartphone market share and see just how well the current players are doing. Android takes a huge 81.3% of the pie, leaving Apple just 13.4% and the rest of the players a skimp 5.3% to split between themselves.
Comparing this with the same quarter of 2012, Android saw 75% and Apple enjoyed 15.6%. This means that Android has climbed 6.1% while Apple has lost 2.2%, something that should have people wondering what is going on. The numbers are courtesy of Strategy Analytics. Google should continue to claw at that smartphone market share with phones like the Galaxy S4, Note 3 and just-announced Nexus 5.
The IDC has posted up its Q3 tablet market share estimates, where it sees that Apple is sliding once more, with Android-powered slates taking most of its market share away.
Samsung claimed 20.4% of shipments, but ASUS is the surprise jumping from just 4.5% tablet market share last quarter to 7.4% this quarter. Year-over-year gains were also big, but Acer and Lenovo are making strides, too. ASUS were behind the refreshed Nexus 7, which we loved. This time last year Apple was enjoying nearly 40% of the tablet market share, but have slipped to below 30% this quarter.
The next few months should change, with the dominant refreshed and awesomely-priced Nexus 7, but the refreshed iPad, iPad mini, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 slates, among others, arriving on consumers' doorsteps.
Facebook has just released its third quarter financial report, and even though its growth slowed, the company's revenue increased. Wall Street analyst predicted earlier that the Facebook would report a revenue of $1.91 billion with an estimated earnings of $0.19 per share, but the social network managed to best those estimates.
Facebook has reported that during the third quarter of 2013 it earned a revenue of $2.02 billion with a per share earnings of $0.25, much higher than analyst had predicted. 41-percent of that $2.02 billion was generated from mobile which is up 10-percent over Q2 2013. Daily active users on the site rose to 728 million which is up from the 699 million Facebook reported last quarter. Monthly active users hit the 1.19 billion mark which is also up from the last quarter.
"We've made good progress growing our community, deepening engagement and delivering strong financial results, especially on mobile," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. "The work we've done to make mobile the best Facebook experience is showing good results and provides us with a solid foundation for the future." This quarter that number grew to 49 percent."
The day has come for Dell, which is now a private company. Starting today, Dell has just two shareholders: Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners. Michael Dell has been attempting to shift his company from being on the share market to a private company for nearly the whole of 2013, with his day of reckoning now here.
After 25 years of being a publicly traded company, it'll be nice to see where Dell goes from here. From here on out, it won't have to worry about impressing shareholders, it can hopefully do some impressive, bold moves to stand out in the industry once again. Michael Dell has already said we can expect a bunch of new tablets from the company.
One of these is the Intel Bay Trail-powered, Windows 8.1-featured Dell Venue 8 Pro, which is priced quite competitively at $299 and is available now for pre-order.
This afternoon, the Wall Street Journal has reported that last week BlackBerry executives met with officials from Facebook in order to gauge interest in a potential acquisition bid for the Canadian smartphone maker. The details are unclear at the moment, and no one is really clear if Facebook is serious about buying the failing company or not.
With BlackBerry jockeying for a sale by the end of November, Facebook could stand to buy the company at a very good price and turn it around into a Facebook branded smartphone manufacturer. Mark Zuckerberg has expressed on many occasions that the key to the social network's continued success is to get it onto as many smartphones as possible. What better way to do that than to own a smartphone company?
When Microsoft announced that it would be acquiring the Finnish smartphone manufacturer Nokia, many analyst asked why Redmond would buy a company that some saw as a slowly dying giant. Today Nokia released their third quarter financial results, and it appears that the landscape has changed for Nokia and Microsoft.
During the last quarter Nokia managed to sell 14.7 million phones, of which 8.8 million were Lumia devices running Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system. During the second quarter of 2013, Nokia only managed to push out 11.7 million phones total which means that 3 million more phones went out the door in Q3. Virtually all of the company's sales growth came from North America, which means that Microsoft stands to do well in 2014 with its new smartphone division if they can keep the momentum up.Additionally, operating profits were at $162 million on a total revenue of $7.8 billion.
If there's a company capable of making a tremendous return, stomping its foot down firmly into the ground to claim victory, it's AMD. The chipmaker has finally returned to profitability after numerous years of bad results.
AMD posted a Q3 revenue of $1.46 billion, representing a 15% year-over-year increase, and a net income of $48 million - or 4c per share. Moving onto the non-GAAP basis, AMD posted a net income of $31 million, with this figure including $22 million in restructuring charges. If AMD didn't have to take that restructuring charge, it would've enjoyed earnings of 6c per share.
The 'experts' over on Wall Street expected the company to report Q3 earnings of 2c per share on revenue of $1.41 billion. AMD CEO, Rory Read, said that the company's turnaround is part of its strategic transformation it talked about years ago: "We achieved 26 percent sequential revenue growth driven by our semi-custom business and remain committed to generating approximately 50 percent of revenue from high-growth markets over the next two years. Developing industry-leading technology remains at our core, and we are in the middle of a multi-year journey to redefine AMD as a leader across a more diverse set of growth markets."
At the time of writing, AMD's shares were down 0.6% to $3.32 a piece.
This afternoon, Apple made its earnings report for quarter 4 2013 public and while things look good for Apple, gross margins are down year over year. During its earnings call to investors, Apple said that it managed to earn $7.5 billion in profit on $37.5 billion in revenue.
Year over year, revenue is up about $1.5 billion, but the company saw its margin slip from 40-percent to 37-percent. The Cupertino based company also announced that i managed to sell 33.8 million iPhones during the quarter, which was undoubtedly bolstered thanks to the iPhone 5S and 5C being released last month. iPad sales remained stagnant with about 14 million being sold in Q4. Apple said that it's Mac devices managed $5.62 billion in revenue with 4.6 million devices being sold.
One of the more interesting things to come from the weekend of news is that Google is building itself a gigantic floating data center, which is being constructed in the San Francisco bay.
It's a four-story tall building, which sits on some shipping containers. CNET donned its detective hat and took a look, snapping the picture above. Why would the search giant be building a data center on the water? Well, what do data centers require the most? Cooling. It needs to keep all of those servers cool, where the body of water around it being the perfect spot.
But, saltwater is a different ballgame, so Google would require a desalination or filtering plant to use the water appropriately - which I'm sure it has planned.
Update: We've had an e-mail from a Qualcomm representative who says that Anand is still with the company, serving as Senior Vice President where he is "exploring certain enterprise-related initiatives."
When Apple launched its iPhone 5S last month with the A7 processor rocking inside, most people rolled their eyes thinking "why?" Well, one of those people was Qualcomm representative Anand Chandrasekher, who called the A7 processor a "gimmick."
Chandrasekher is no longer with Qualcomm, with the company stating in a statement to CNET: "Anand Chandrasekher, is moving to a new role leading our exploration of certain enterprise related initiatives...Anand will continue to report to Steve Mollenkopf, COO and President of Qualcomm. This will be effective immediately."
Well, it looks like Qualcomm wasn't happy with his statement, so much so that it got rid of him. I guess when the future of mobile processors is 64-bit, and you go and insult it, you get laughed at and kicked out of the company. It wasn't long ago that we reported that Chandrasekher said 8-core processors for smartphones are dumb, if you didn't remember.
Even though LG is finally seeing some success with its smartphones, the South Korean company actually bled some money this quarter selling its handsets. LG posted its Q3 earnings, with a -2.6% operating margin.
The company shipped over 12 million handsets, which provided it with a nice $2.75 billion in mobile sales and an even better 24% year-over-year in mobile sales. LG says it is still losing money in its mobile division due to "increased competition and higher marketing investments." Looking into the future, LG says it "plans to focus on increasing sales of new premium products such as the LG G2 smartphone during the peak holiday season as well as maximizing 3G and mid-tier mass devices such as the L II Series and F Series."
While other companies seem to be struggling to post massive profits and keep their share prices high - I'm talking about Apple, folks - its biggest competitor has just posted another record high in operating profits.
Samsung has just posted its earnings for the Q3 period, with profits of $9.6 billion setting a new record high for the South Korean giant. The increased profits are thanks to its cheaper Galaxy smartphones, as well as profits from its memory side of things - such as Flash storage and RAM. Samsung has seen increased demand for its chips in the upcoming next-gen consoles, smartphones, servers, PCs and much more.
The company is seeing less profits on its TVs as prices continue to drop, but sales of its 60-inch and higher TVs are said to be growing.
Microsoft has been somewhat struggling with its Surface tablets, but that hasn't stopped the company from posting an impressive Q1 earnings report. From $18.5 billion in revenue, the Redmond-based giant took a nice $5.2 billion in net profits home.
The company pegs most of this success in the growth of its corporate-focused Commercial group. Unfortunately, the Devices and Consumer division isn't doing so well, with Windows revenue from PC makers down a sharp 7%, but search ad revenue climbed an impressive 47%. The Surface line of slates from Microsoft saw revenue increases quarter-over-quarter to $400 million.
With Windows 8.1 launching just recently, Microsoft has netted $113 million in pre-order revenue, which could see a surge in PC sales in the coming quarter. We're also set to see the Surface 2, Surface 2 Pro and Xbox One sales make a huge increase in revenue for the company in the coming months.
Two marketing firms representing Samsung have been caught red-handed hiring writers to post good reviews about its products while at the same time giving HTC products a bad review. This practice violates Taiwan Fair Trade Rules and has ended up costing the electronics giant $340,000 USD in fines from the Taiwanese government.
The two firms who were the actual offending parties have been fined more than $100,000 each themselves for their participation in the violation. This is not the first time something like this has happened either. Earlier this year, Samsung was caught up in a similar scandal where 3rd party firms were hiring developers to promote Samsung on StackOverflow.
We know HTC is experiencing issues, with one of those roads it could go down would result in the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturing shutting its doors. But according to the company, it won't be doing so.
HTC issued a statement, where it talked to Reuters and said it was "not shutting down or does it have plans to sell any of its factory assets." This doesn't mean that the company won't be selling itself in pieces to another company, which is where I think it is headed in the coming months.
Reuters even claimed that HTC had already shut down one of its four major production facilities, after one of its reports actually went there and found it abandoned. The Taiwanese manufacturer fired back stating it closed the factory because "like any manufacturer, we do volume planning to optimize our lines, our manufacturing and production facilities."
AT&T posted its Q3 earnings on Wednesday, with some impressive results. The US carrier saw $0.66 earnings per share over a consolidated revenue of a hefty $32.2 billion.
This means the carrier beat Wall Street expectations of $0.65 EPS. AT&T's Q3 results saw an addition of 363,000 more post-paid subscribers, including an additional 178,000 smartphone subscribers. Continued strong wireless performance helped AT&T increase its wireless revenues by 5.2% year-over-year from the same quarter of last year.
It looks like Samsung's Galaxy S4 has been super popular for the South Korean giant, with Samsung CEO JK Shin announcing that the flagship Android-powered smartphone from Samsung has sold over 40 million units.
Considering the Galaxy S4 launched just five months ago, this is a mammoth effort. At the two-month mark, there had been over 20 million Galaxy S4's sold, but now we're talking about double that. Considering the Galaxy S III sold 30 million units in its launch last year, this is a great jump. We should expect Samsung to break through the 50 million unit milestone before 2013 is wrapped up.
The makers of Gorilla Glass have just signed an agreement with Samsung to see the South Korean electronics giant secure a 7.4% stake in the company. Corning and Samsung have been involved in each others worlds for the past 40 or so years through equity investments, product development and commercialization initiatives.
The agreement will see Corning securing Samsung's 43% stake in their Samsung Corning Precision Materials joint venture for $1.9 billion, as well as minority investors for around $300 million. Samsung will slap down a $400 million investment in Corning, which would see them acquire 7.4% of the company at today's share prices.
We should expect the deal to close early next year, and will see the two sign a 10-year LCD display glass supply agreement that will add a hefty $2 billion to Corning's annual sales.
If you thought that Apple's Tim Cook, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, or even Google's Larry Page held the top spot for highest paid CEO in North America, you are sadly mistaken. Today a report released by GMI Ratings shows that in fact, it is Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg who claims the #1 spot as highest paid CEO.
During the last fiscal year Zuckerberg received a total compensation of just over $2.28 billion, most of which came from share options when Facebook completed its IPO in which Zuckerberg exercised 60 million stock options that he was given in 2005 and vested in 2010. This landed him more than $2.7 billion in profit when the IPO launched at $38 per share.