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Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference seems to be as popular as ever with tickets for the event selling out in just two minutes. Part of the reason tickets sold out so quickly is Apple announced when they would be going on sale a day before. Another seems to be that Apple's iOS platform continues to prove popular among developers.
Compared to last year, this year's WWDC sell out was a landslide. Last year took several hours for tickets to sell out. And tickets aren't cheap: each one will set you back $1,599, placing them out of the price range for many indie developers. Google I/O, on the other hand, has a current sell-out record of about 49 minutes.
We look forward to gathering at WWDC 2013 with the incredible community of iOS and OS X developers. Our developers have had the most prolific and profitable year ever, and we're excited to show them the latest advances in software technologies and developer tools to help them create innovative new apps. We can't wait to get new versions of iOS and OS X into their hands at WWDC.
Amazon is quite the online reseller. It's one of the few giants in the online marketplace, rivaled only by Ebay and a few others. Today, they reported their first-quarter earnings. The reported earnings managed to be mixed. On one hand, they performed way better than expectations in terms of EPS. On the other, Amazon's sales numbers fell just short of Wall Street's estimates for total sales.
Amazon Studios is working on a new way to greenlight TV shows. The pilots are out in the open where everyone can have a say. I have my personal picks and so do members of the Amazon Studios team, but the exciting thing about our approach is that our opinions don't matter. Our customers will determine what goes into full-season production. We hope Amazon Originals can become yet another way for us to create value for Prime members.
Amazon pulled in earnings-per-sahre of $0.18, beating expectations of just $0.08. Amazon also had total sales of $16.07 billion, falling just short of analyst expectations of $16.2 billion. You can read Amazon's full earnings announcement here.
Apple has been hit with a fine after selling an unauthorized work via its iBookstore. China's Writer's Right Protection Union sued on behalf of three authors who had their works published on the iBookstore platform. The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court ruled in favor of the Union, stating that Apple didn't verify the publishers had the right to upload the works.
The writers involved this time include Mai Jia, whose books are often on best-seller lists across the country. In this way, Apple has the capability to know the uploaded books on its online store violated the writer's copyright.
So, how much was Apple fined for this neglect? 730,000 yuan, or about $118,000. Small potatoes for a company like Apple, but it does start to add up after awhile. It's likely not large enough to encourage Apple to implement real change to prevent something like this from happening again. Real change would involve hiring more people, which costs money.
After Apple released their Q2 2013 earnings yesterday, market research firms have dived head first into the numbers, churning out some interesting facts. Strategy Analytics were one of the first to start shoving numbers out, with a report released late last night.
Apple sold 19.5 million iPads in the three-month period, taking 48.2% of the global tablet market. This may sound impressive, nearly 50% of the global tablet sales are iPads - but let's rewind twelve months and look at the same quarter of 2012. Apple were enjoying a huge 63.1% of the market, meaning that we've seen a gigantic drop in Apple's dominance of the global tablet market.
If we look at Android in the same way, last year they took 34.2% of the global table market, but now they've jetted up to 43.4%. What is Apple's loss, is Google's gain, in more ways than one. We do have Windows, which isn't actually doing too badly, jumping from 0% last year to 7.5%, so Microsoft are even benefiting from Apple's slide.
Reuters have reported that Verizon is looking to buy out Vodafone's 45% share of Verizon Wireless, as Verizon is preparing $100 billion in order to complete the transaction.
Reuters' unnamed sources say that Verizon have hired bank and legal advisers to prepare the bid, raising $50 billion in bank financing plus an additional $50 billion in their own shares. Discussions are said to take place "soon", but if Vodafone aren't willing to play ball, they could take its bid into the public arena.
I've made my thoughts on Apple quite clear in an editorial back in October, predicting the huge stock tumble and reduced sales on the iPhone, but one area Apple can come back is by releasing something that we don't expect.
These devices are worked on in the company's research and development department, with R&D expenses growing 33% this year and are set to fly past $4 billion in fiscal 2013. Apple spent an additional $278 million on R&D expenses in the recent quarter, and when compared to their R&D expenditure in 2012, this number is up 33%.
R&D spending for the first six months of fiscal 2013 is now up $530 million year-over-year, another 33% increase from the first six months of fiscal 2012. If Apple keeps this pace, we should expect them to pass $4 billion in R&D expenses this year alone, comparing it to last years $3.4 billion R&D bill.
Google joins the FIDO Alliance's board of directors, wants to beef up their two-factor authentication
Google have just joined FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance's board of directors, where they hope to improve their two-factor authentication efforts. FIDO have pushed out press release, announcing that NXP and CrucialTec have also joined the board.
FIDO wants to increase security measures across the Internet, and plan to implement multiple technologies in order to make web security stronger. Biometric verification is one of the technologies the Alliance is investing into, with the technology being reliable for identifying an individual as it uses distinguishable traits, such as fingerprints, voice recognition, eye scanning and face authentication to verify the user.
Another technology FIDO is looking into is One Time Passwords, which can be used just once. These passwords are generated randomly, and can only be retrieved by a special device, or through a computer. FIDO are also interested in Near Field Communication (NFC), which is already baked into many smartphones that consumers already own.
Thanks to just a few of LG's smartphones, they've seen a record amount of smartphones shipped in Q1 2013. 10.3 million smartphones were shipped in the three-month period, riding the success of some of their LTE and 3G handsets.
The smartphones that helped LG reach their record high are the Optimus G, Optimus G Pro, Optimus L Series and Nexus 4. LG have said that more extensive availability of newer devices is expected to help smartphone sales and shipments even more going into Q2. The US launch of their flagship Optimus G Pro happens on May 3, and should see the South Korean company have great success in Q2 and beyond.
In the wake of releasing its financial earnings statement, Netflix posted up a new mission statement document for investors. The document details various metrics about the company and what it is doing to plan for the future. The most interesting fact to take away from the document is that the company is spending roughly $2 billion per year on content.
Most of that $2 billion expenditure goes towards licensing old TV shows and movies, but some of it is used to pay for its original content. Netflix has also noticed that quality is more important than quantity:
As we've gained experience, we've realized that the 20th documentary about the financial crisis will mostly just take away viewing from the other 19 such docs, and instead of trying to have everything, we should strive to have the best in each category. As such, we are actively curating our service rather than carrying as many titles as we can.
There's plenty more to read about in the 11-page document, but I won't bore you with the details.
The growing market for mobile devices is helping boost Qualcomm's earnings. Like most companies, Qualcomm has just reported their quarterly earnings and they are quite good. Unlike desktop chip manufacturers, Qualcomm is producing chips used in tablets and smartphones, the industry that is quickly taking over desktop products.
Qualcomm reported revenues of $6.12 billion, which is up 24 percent year-over-year. Profit came in at $2.07 billion, which is also up, though only by 17 percent. Qualcomm is looking to return $431 million to shareholders and expects third-quarter revenues and profits to be up 25 percent and 14 percent, respectively.