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As a daily user of Spotify, I'm loving streaming music services and it looks like many millions of others are, too. According to figures released by Billboard and Nielsen, a 4.6% decline in overall album and track sales in the first half of 2013.
Digital download sales dropped 2.3% while physical CDs fell by a huge 14%. During the same time, streaming music jumped by 24%. The company that will most likely hurt from this the most in the long run will be Apple, who are all-digital with iTunes. Streaming services like Pandora and Spotify offer their music with an all-you-can-eat model, which is free.
If you don't like the restrictions of the free model, there's various premium models on offer, too. Spotify is only $10 a month for unlimited music, which is an amazing deal. This is what I pay for each month, and for less than half the cost of a physical album, why wouldn't any music listener do this?
Microsoft's Surface RT tablet sees the company with a $900 million write-down for the poor performing tablet
It looks like Microsoft haven't had a good run with their Surface RT tablets according to their quarterly and full-year financial results. Microsoft have just finished their fourth financial quarter, where they saw revenues of $19.9 billion and an operating profit of just over $6 billion for the three-month period.
Just how bad was the Surface RT for Microsoft? Well, the Redmond-based giant included a $900 million write-down to pay for the slate, that's how bad. In the first paragraph of their latest financial report, Microsoft says: "These financial results include a $900 million charge, or a $0.07 per share impact, related to Surface RT inventory adjustments."
Microsoft really missed the mark when it came to predicting consumers' purchasing habits on the Surface RT, with many estimating that Microsoft made as many as six million Surface RT's. Obviously a bunch of these didn't sell, at all, but according to Brian Hall, the General Manager of Surface marketing, "Microsoft is 100 percent committed to Surface RT and Windows RT going forward and has no plans to drop work on either product."
We have reported previously about big tech companies such as Google and Apple who dodge huge amounts in tax, but now the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are going to put a stop to this, and quick.
Bloomberg are reporting that the OECD will pump the brakes on corporate tax dodging, with a plan that will "develop rules over the next two years preventing companies from escaping taxes by putting patent rights into shell companies, taking interest deductions in one country without reporting taxable profit in another, and forcing them to disclose to regulators where they report their income around the world."
This has been going on for a while now, but judgment has finally been served in the Panasonic price fixing case. Panasonic will plead guilty to US government charges that see the Japanese company falling on their sword over price fixing in two huge markets.
The first, is the laptop battery pack market and the second is auto parts. Panasonic have agreed to pay $56.5 million in fines for the two separate conspiracies, with 15 executives at several companies will be facing jail time as part of the deal. Hopefully you're sitting down for this one, but Panasonic's price fixing has been going on for quite some time in the auto parts industry, dating back to 1998.
Panasonic have been working with other companies behind closed doors in order to "fix, stabilize and maintain the prices" of lighting equipment sold to manufacturers such as Honda, Mazda and Nissan. The Japanese company also worked with other corporations where price fixing was applied to switches and sensors for auto steering wheels, doors, wipers, turn signals and other parts of a car's control system that were sold to fellow Japanese company Toyota.
This afternoon, Google released its earnings report for the second quarter of 2013. The company reported a total revenue of $14.11 billion, $3.23 billion of which accounted for net income. Unfortunately, these numbers equate to earnings of $9.56 per share which misses Wall Street's expectations by about $1. During the same quarter in 2012, Google managed to bring in a total revenue of $12.21 billion of which $2.79 billion was income. So year-over-year, Google has managed to grow 19 percent which is nothing to scoff at.
Wall Street analysts did have high hopes for Google this quarter with the industry leader Morgan Stanley predicting revenues would be up 20 percent higher than they were a year ago. They had expected YouTube to perform much better as it had begin upping payments to partners by 60 percent which everyone thought indicated higher revenue growth than expected. I feel that the third quarter or the fourth quarter will be Google's best for 2013. With the Moto X releasing soon as well as a new Nexus 7 and Google Glass set to hit the market, big things should be on the way for the search giant.
This morning, Verizon released its financial report for the second quarter of 2013 and appears that the company is continuing its unprecedented growth. The company is reporting that it added 941,000 subscribers between the months of March and June and activated more than 3.9 million iPhones. This brings the company up to a total of 94.3 million wireless subscribers.
Verizon managed to rake in $5.2 billion in profit amidst $29.8 billion in total revenue. Compared to the same time period last year Verizon is up more than 4.3 percent in revenue and over 16 percent in profits. The company says that 64 percent of its users are now on smartphones which is up 3 percent from last year, and the company managed to activate 7.5 million smartphones of which 6.4 million were LTE devices.
The Verge is reporting that during the financial earnings call to investors, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo confirmed the company's plans to launch a new financing program called Edge. Unfortunately, that is where the details ended, but we can expect Edge to be a clone of T-Mobile's "Jump" program and AT&T's "Next" initiative.
Dell were meant to be going private, after various investor meetings and reports, but new reports are suggesting that the company might not be going private.
The news comes from The Wall Street Journal, who is citing unnamed sources who are familiar with the deal, who state that at least three of the biggest shareholders groups are planning to vote against Dell CEO, Michael Dell, and his $24.4 billion buyout bid. These firms are said to be the Vanguard Group, State Street Corp., and BlackRock.
The vote won't happen until later today, but it looks like Dell could be in some trouble here if shareholders start rocking the boat.
Smartphones are everywhere these days, with some people even having more than one, but just how many smartphones are expected to ship in the coming years?
According to IHS, smartphone shipments are expected to break through 1.5 billion units in 2017, with Android accounting for 1 billion of those. IHS estimates that smartphone shipments will reach close to 900 million before the end of this year, with Apple making up 150 million of those units. Compared to 2012, where Apple sold 134 million iPhones, this increase is not big at all.
IHS' Senior Analyst, Wayne Lam, has said that "possible slowing growth of the iPhone" as well as "the rapid pace of competitive smartphone releases speak to the ferocious nature of the handset business."
If you own stock in QUALCOMM Incorporated, today is a very good day for you. The company announced this morning that it will be paying a quarterly cash dividend of $0.35 per common share which will be payable on September 25, 2013. This dividend comes after record-breaking quarters for the company as the mobile devices market continues unprecedented growth in all sectors.
During the second quarter of 2013, QUALCOMM amassed $6.12 billion in revenue which is up 24 percent over the same period in 2012. Of that $6.12 billion, $1.87 billion accounted for net income which was actually down 16 percent year-over-year. Operating cash flow came in around $2.2 billion which was up 17 percent year-over-year. Second-quarter operating income was around $1.88 billion which is said to be up 24 percent year-over-year.
"We delivered another strong quarter as the worldwide adoption of smartphones continues," said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm. "Looking forward, we are seeing strong traction with our new Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 and 800 processors, and we continue to expect healthy growth in 3G and 3G/4G multimode devices around the world. We are pleased to be raising our calendar 2013 3G/4G device shipment estimates and our revenue and earnings guidance for fiscal 2013."
On my Mum's birthday, August 9, Apple and Samsung will head into court to continue their patent battle. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC said on Monday that it will hear oral arguments from both companies on the day.
Apple are appealing Judge Lucy Koh's decision to not slap Samsung with a sales ban on a bunch of their Galaxy-branded devices that were found to infringe on Apple's patents. Apple were originally ordered over $1 billion from Samsung, but Koh cut the damages to around $450 million in December - less than half the original amount.
Koh determined that the jury's calculations were flawed, and the damages were then softened. Koh also ordered a partial retrial that will happen in November, where Samsung will find out just how much they'll have to sign over to Apple.