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Microsoft has posted a somewhat surprising quarterly financial report, which even exceeded analysts' expectations. The Redmond-based giant posted $5.48 billion in operating income, with $4.5 billion in net income from $23.2 billion in revenue.
When compared against the results from the same quarter of last year, Microsoft's revenue has increased by 255, but net income is down 14%. The company explains this slump of $1.14 billion because of "integration and restructuring expenses" after acquiring Nokia's Devices and Services business.
One of the bigger surprises, is that Microsoft's Surface division has performed extremely well. The Surface division posted an increase in revenue of a huge 127%, compared to the same three-month period from last year. The Surface Pro 3 has been successful for the company, with $908 million in revenue with positive gross margin, and will soon be Microsoft's next billion-dollar business. When it comes to the Lumia division at Microsoft, it sold 9.3 million handsets for the quarter, an increase of 6% on the same period of last year.
After resigning from Electronic Arts last year amid multiple problems the company was experiencing, John Riccitiello hasn't made much noise in the last twelve months, until now.
Unity Technologies' founder, David Helgason, is stepping down as CEO of the company, with Riccitiello replacing him. Helgason will stay with the company, but said that Riccitiello is "the right person to help guide the company to the mission that we set out for ourselves over a decade ago: democratize game development!". The founder of Unity also said that the company has been "making some big moves" lately, reiterating that Unity has been investing in new partnerships and technologies.
Helgason wrote: "This is a lot to take on as a company and building it right is going to take a huge effort. We keep our eyes out for the best talent and help wherever we feel we can use it at every level. That's why today, I'm pleased to welcome John Riccitiello onto the Unity team as our new CEO. Sure, that sounds odd, as it also means I'm stepping down from the role, but this is an amazing win for Unity and the community. Many of you are likely familiar with John. He's been in the games industry for a long time, both as COO and later CEO of Electronic Arts. He's also helped fund and guide some notable startups like Oculus and Syntertainment among many others, and is a heartfelt believer in the indie scene and its importance to the overall well-being of the industry".
Lenovo is really hitting a stride lately, especially with their great Yoga range of slates and Ultrabooks, but what about smartphones? The latest rumor is that the Chinese electronics giant will announce an acquisition bid for Canadian phonemaker, BlackBerry... this week.
Unnamed sources have talked with Benzinga.com, a financial news site, that Lenovo is going to offer BlackBerry $15 per share, which is a premium over the $9 or so that its stock has been trading at lately. If BlackBerry declines the first offer, Lenovo will reportedly back it up with an increased offer of $18 per share.
Both Lenovo and BlackBerry have declined to comment on the rumors so far, but this isn't the first time they have been floating around. We heard about this back in October last year, but nothing happened. The issue was that the Canadian government wouldn't give its approval for Lenovo to acquire BlackBerry due to national security concerns.
Apple has posted its Q4 earnings, revealing that the company has shipped a massive 39.3 million iPhones in the three-month period. Apple also shipped some 12.3 million iPads, and 5.5 million Macs across the world in the quarter.
The record-breaking 10 million iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus smartphone sales in the opening weekend alone would've kicked this along, but iPad sales have not only dipped in the quarter, but year-over-year, too. To make it even more clear, Apple's iPad has reached a new low, something it hasn't hit since it first started reporting tablet sales separately back in 2012.
Why would this be happening? Well, Android tablets are getting much, much better with each iteration, and now we have the bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the iPad is becoming more irrelevant to some users. The iPad did well in Japan according to Apple, and its slate is also the United States' education tablet of choice. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said during the Q&A session after the earnings report that Apple is looking at the slump in iPad sales as a "speedbump and not a huge thing" and said that he personally sees a "great future" for its tablets.
Jade Raymond, a 10-year veteran of Ubisoft, has left her position as a Producer at the the company. Raymond worked behind the scenes on some of the biggest names in the gaming industry, including Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell and Watch Dogs.
Ubisoft has announced that Alexandre Parizeau will take her role as head of Ubisoft Toronto, something Raymond founded, and has managed since 2009. Raymond said in a press release "I've spent 10 extraordinary years at Ubisoft, and I am proud to have been part of many of the best teams in the industry making truly remarkable games".
Raymond continued "This is one of the hardest decisions of my career, but the Toronto studio is strong and on a solid path. I'm confident that now is a good time for me to transition leadership of the studio to Alex and to pursue my other ambitions and new opportunities". She finished by saying "Stay tuned for more on what's next for me, but for now, I'd like to thank Ubisoft for its partnership through the years, and I wish them the very best in all their next endeavours".
Police authorities in Australia seized a Bit2Bit bitcoin ATM during a multi-million-dollar drug trafficking network bust, according to reports. The raid was targeting the Bandidos motorcycle gang, accused of high-level drug trafficking, and was the culmination of a two-year investigation. The ATM was located in the South Brisbane Roastery Café, and was the first ATM in Queensland, with investigators conducting a forensics search of the seized machine.
It's unknown if the ATM was used by gang members to help conduct drug-related business, including potential money laundering.
"The arrested individual has no relationship to Bit2Bit Holdings Pty Ltd.," according to a statement released by Bit2Bit. "he is not a shareholder, either directly, or indirectly. Rouge Coffee, and The Roastery Cafe do not own, or operate the ATM. The ATM is the sole property of Bit2Bit and is operated by us. The ATM does not allow large volume transactions. Bit2Bit's staff have been instructed to cooperate fully with any legal requests they get from the police."
In an effort to protect its still fragile automotive industry, the state of Michigan is considering a ban on Tesla sales in the state - trying to prevent direct-to-consumer vehicle sales by approving anti-competitive legislation - and Tesla is taking the fight directly to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. The anti-consumer bill has made it through the Michigan legislature, and now requires the governor's signature.
"Using a procedure that prevented legislators and the public at large from knowing what was happening or allowing debate, Senator Joe Hune added new language in an attempt to lock Tesla out of the state," according to a Tesla blog post.
This is a continued effort that Tesla will fight against whenever the issue arises, as demand for the popular electric vehicles mounts. Elsewhere in the United State, the Massachusetts Supreme Judician Court didn't allow legislation that would have prevented the sale of Tesla vehicles in the New England state.
Consumers and retailers are interested in testing bitcoins as a payment option, but that doesn't mean everyone else is onboard with the idea. However, bitcoins are still not a major concern for Fed researchers and lawmakers, but the New York Fed - and a growing number of researchers in the Fed system - are discussing bitcoins on a more consistent basis.
"My best guess is that bitcoin will find a niche market," said Dr. David Andolfatto, VP of St. Louis Federal Reserve, in a recent interview with Bitcoin Magazine. "It's cool to use bitcoin to pay for your Starbucks latte on university campuses. It may very well find a place on the high street, at least among some shops catering to the 'cool' crowd. But for advanced economies, at least, it is hard to see how consumers will benefit directly by using bitcoins instead of dollars or pounds."
Recently, the value of individual bitcoins dropped to just $290, with investors frustrated with its volatility - and that is going to be an uphill battle.
TSMC was meant to be ramping up its 16nm FinFET production any time before the end of the month, but the manufacturing company has provided an update for this, saying it is happy with the yield, but is pushing back mass production of 16nm to early 2015.
The company said this would happen in early 2015, but finished by saying it could even fall into Q3 2015. Once TSMC has reached mass production of its 16nm FinFET process, it will provide added performance and power savings when compared to current technologies. TSMC has said that it is happy with the first yields of 16nm FinFET, but will not start mass producing it until around the second half of next year. The company said: "On the yield learning side, the progress [of 16nm] is much better than our original plan".
TSMC continued "This is because the 16nm uses similar [BEOL] process to 20SOC, except for the transistor. Because of the excellent progress in yield learning and readiness in manufacturing maturity and also to meet customers' demand, we plan to pull in 16-nanometer volume production through the end of Q2 next year or early Q3 year 2015". The full reason behind the delay isn't known right now, but the demand of 20nm is growing quick with the launch of the new iPhone, with Apple tapping TSMC for the production of its A8 and A8X chips.
Weeks after NVIDIA's launch of its second-gen Maxwell GPUs, its competitor AMD has experienced "challenging market conditions" for its last quarter, just as its new CEO, Lisa Su gets used to her new position of power.
For AMD's third quarter, the company saw revenues of $1.43 billion, with an operating income of $63 million, and net income of $17 million. When things get split into individual units, we see things getting messy. AMD's Computer and Graphics division, the side of AMD that takes care of its successful Radeon business, and is considered as the "bread and butter" of Team Red, posted revenues of $781 million. This is a 16% year-on-year drop, with the division posting an operating loss of $17 million, compared to its $6 million loss in the same quarter of 2013.
AMD's Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom Division, posted higher revenues of $648 million, which is up 21% from the same quarter of 2013. This division posting earnings of $108 million, up from the $92 million of Q3 2013. The problem is, AMD says that there are harsher times to come, warning that it expects revenues to drop another 10% to 16% in its next quarter, sequentially. The company also had to slash jobs as part of its restructuring plan, culling some 710 employees from its global workforce, a number that makes up 7% of its total staff.
The freshly minted CEO, Lisa Su, said: "While decisions that impact the size of our global team are never entered into lightly, this is the right step to ensure we prioritize our resources and engineering investments in our highest-priority opportunities that can drive improved profitability and long-term growth".