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After five rough years with finances, Sony is poised to post their first annual profit since 2008 thanks to the sale of various assets. The Japanese giant sold their New York City HQ earlier this year, for $1.1 billion, which should give them net cash proceeds of around $770 million to help pay off various debt.
Another contribution to the profit is the weaker yen, something that helped increase the value of their overseas earnings, something that Sony expects to report a net profit of 40 billion yen for the fiscal year which ended on March 31, up from their previous estimate of 20 billion yen. Sony are scheduled to post their three-month earnings on May 9.
A regulatory filing shows that Francsico Partners is currently in talks with Corsair Componenets over a possible buyout. Corsair had previously indefinitely postponed an IPO after the IPO flop that befell Facebook. At the time, they said they would "relaunch when equity conditions are more favorable."
It now appears that they are choosing a buyout over an IPO. Corsair could be heavily affected the current downturn in the PC market, resulting in the need for a cash infusion. As an interesting aside, Francisco Partners was part of the Blackstone Group-led consortium that decided to not make a formal buyout offer for Dell.
It's very possible nothing could come of these talks. On the other hand, Corsair could end up being bought out. This could result in changes in the company or products that they make and sell. For now, nothing has changed. We'll be sure to report if or when a buyout agreement is reached.
We've seen a great quarter from many companies dishing out smartphones, with Q1 2013 being the first time that smartphones outsold cellphone shipments across the world, according to industry analyst IDC.
216 million smartphones with computer-like features were sold for the three-month period compared to 419 million total, meaning smartphones represented 51.6% of shipments. ZTE and Huawei took two of the top five slots, pushing Blackberry and RIM out in the cold.
Samsung improved their lead from Apple in smartphone shipments in the quarter, from 29% to 32.7% in Q3, leaving Apple slipping from 21.8% to 17.3%. Sony dropped out of the top five entirely, where LG jumped up and scooped position number three with 10.3 million units shipped.
Nokia's relationship with Microsoft hasn't taken off as much as most thought it would when it was announced, but the relationship itself is a big deal. The man behind this relationship, Steven Overman, has left Nokia.
Overman was the vice president for global branding and marketing strategy with the Finnish company, and was responsible for drafting the partnership with Microsoft, as well as handling the marketing for Nokia's Lumia and Asha smartphones.
He joined Nokia in 2010, coming from a position at Lowe Worldwide where he was in charge of a marketing team that handled Nokia's account. Nokia have pushed out some great marketing campaigns, but have struggled against the juggernauts that are Apple and Samsung. Lumia Windows Phone shipments increased to 5.6 million units in Q1 2013, up from 4.4 million in Q4 2012.
The government is thirsty for content removal according to Google, who says they've seen a huge increase in the amount of content removal requests in the past year.
Google have reported that government content removal requests have increased from 1,811 in the first half of last year, to 2,285 in the second half of the year. 39% of these takedowns were related to cases of alleged defamation, with 18% of the takedown requests said to be related to privacy and security concerns, says Google.
Google have also added that they received "a request to remove a YouTube video that allegedly defames the President" of Argentina "by depicting her in a compromising position". There was also a "request from legal representatives of a member of the executive branch" of Israel's government "to remove two YouTube videos for alleged defamation". South Korea also chimed in, with a "request to remove a YouTube video that allegedly defamed a presidential candidate".
AllThingsD has an exclusive report that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has just joined the Jawbone board of directors, the company behind those wireless headsets, Jambox speakers and the Up personal fitness wristbands. AllThingsD's report comes from 'sources at the Silicon Valley Internet giant'.
The Yahoo CEO has already sat in on a Jawbone board meeting, according to the same sources. Mayer had been talking to Jawbone about becoming a board member before she even became the CEO of Yahoo. Mayer will fit in well, as her previous job at Google had her working with products, aesthetics and high-level design.
Having Mayer sit in on the board will help Jawbone in more ways than one, as she'll bring her experience of scaling businesses from small to large, as well as her deep technical expertise.
We've seen so many financial reports this week, and now South Korean electronics giant Samsung have joined in the race. Their Q1 2013 numbers are strong, with operating profits of $7.9 billion, a huge 50% gain year-over-year for the same three-month period.
Revenues were a hefty $47.6 billion, with a net profit of $6.45 billion. Samsung have said that strong smartphone sales as well as reductions in marketing expenses helped boost their IT & Mobile Communications division to revenues of $29.6 billion alone. Their revenues were hit though, taking in 6% less cash than the previous quarter, something they've pegged on a slow economy, equating to lower TV and home appliance sales.
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.