A handful of BlackBerry 10 developers have left the company, driving themselves forward and opening up their own design firm called Topp. These developers joined BlackBerry when their previous employer, The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) was acquired back in 2010.
The Topp crew said they became the key personnel responsible for designing and developing BB10 during their few years at BlackBerry. Back at TAT, each member was a design and technology lead in their department, where collectively, they have worked on projects for some of the biggest companies in the world, which include: Samsung, Google, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Disney, and PayPal.
What are Topp doing now? Well, they're based in Sweden, with their website stating that they are a digital design studio who works on new products and breathes life into innovative ideas using design, prototyping and technology. Topp specializes in mobile, automotive, consumer electronics, home appliances and retail experiences.
With HTC reporting record losses,and Lenovo looking to beef up its smartphone offerings its only natural that acquisition talks begin taking place. Today, a Taiwan website is reporting that Lenovo has approached HTC in an attempt to begin talks involving acquiring the company's handset business.
The meeting is said to have taken place in late August and that a buy-out was considered. While this move may seem beneficial to many industry analyst, I feel that a turnaround is pending for the once king of Android smartphones. With devices like the HTC One being named as the best smartphone ever made by many of the biggest names in tech media, the company just needs to keep the momentum going by releasing new and exciting products.
We've been all over the problems that HTC has been having lately, but it looks like it could be saved with a rumored acquisition from a much bigger giant: Lenovo. Lenovo has been here, done that, with acquisitions, when it acquired the ThinkPad brand from IBM.
The reports state that Lenovo would acquire HTC's brand, pushing out devices under the HTC name still. Korean publication, eToday, has reported the news, saying that executives from both camps have been meeting since late August. This would make sense, as to why HTC doesn't seem so worried to continuously slide lower and lower in terms of profits.
Lenovo is quite strong in China with its smartphones, so an acquisition of an already great smartphone maker would definitely make sense. Especially in those super hot emerging markets where there are billions upon billions of dollars to be made.
PayPal has been seemingly fighting an uphill battle while trying to get it's mobile payments system off the ground, and established mobile payment competitors like Square are not making things easy. In an effort to make paying with your mobile phone even easier, PayPal today announced a new way to pay by using QR Codes, something they hope will become the defacto payment method for mobile purchases.
The new QR code payment services works by letting you check into a location with the PayPal mobile app, and then a QR Code is generated which the business can then scan to complete the payment. If the merchant does not have a scanner that is QR code friendly, a code is provided that can be punched into a PIN Pad to complete the transaction. This new service is set to begin rolling out in Q1 of 2014, and only time will tell if it is a good move or not.
Well, I never thought I'd see the day, but Coca-Cola is now opening up one-stop shops for the most basic of human needs. The soft drink company is opening up what it is calling Ekocenters in developing countries such as Africa, Asia, and even North America and Latin America.
Coca-Cola will be opening up somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 of its Ekocenters around the world, which will supply resources such as clean water, power, Internet, vaccines, cooked meals and ice cold Coca-Cola. You know, because if you're in a developing country, you're going to sit down and pump away at some free Internet drinking some Coke.
The basic goal of these Ekocenters will be promoting access to water, power and health supplies, but there's no concrete yes or no on whether Coca-Cola would charge for these supplies. A pilot Ekocenter has been opened up in South Africa, and each Ekocenter will be run by a woman, according to Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent.
Last week we reported a rumor about Samsung purchasing a stake in US retail giant Best Buy, but it turns out this is not true. We've heard back from a Samsung spokesperson, who has said:
Reports that Samsung is considering to acquire a stake in Best Buy are not true. There have been no talks whatsoever regarding stock acquisition of either company.
So there you have it folks, it looks like Samsung won't be swiping its black AMEX to buy some Best Buy stock after all.
Gartner released data today that suggest that 2014 will be the big year of growth for the IT industry. The analytical company is suggesting that by the end of 2014, the IT industry will be worth $4 trillion, or 5% the of global GDP. This would represent a substantial increase over current metrics which say the current market share for the IT industry is just $3.5 trillion.
The report says that consumer spending is the fastest growing segment of the IT industry, but Enterprise spending still makes up the substantial portion of the market. Gartner suggesst that by 2017 mobile device sales will represent over 80-percent of device spending, of which more than half will be tablets. This means that in the next four years, mobile devices will become the fastest growing segment in the IT industry.
Apple is in some need of many more millions of customers, and what better market to pouch them from than an emerging market like India. According to The Economic Times, Apple execs in India recently hosted execs from some of the top retailers in the country.
During this meeting, the Apple execs spoke of plans to open up store-in-store locations and 100 standalone stores in smaller Indian markets:
The new marketing vision for India was unveiled on Monday evening at a meeting with 20 CEOs and senior executives of the country's top multi-brand telecom and electronic retail chains. Apple India's senior executives spelt out plans to enter the top 50 tier II and III markets in India by selling its phones, tablets and portable music players at their outlets in an exclusive corner or a shop-in-shop, said three people who attended the meeting. They requested anonymity since Apple officials had asked them to keep details of the meeting confidential.
Apple wants to set up 100 exclusive standalone stores under the franchisee model in smaller markets. It's scouting for franchise partners and has made proposals to some of the multi-brand retail chains, the executives said. Apple has not set any deadline for setting up these stores in smaller towns in India, but is looking to roll them out this fiscal year.
As it stands, Fairfax Financial have a deal with BlackBerry, but this could all go south at any minute, just like BlackBerry did. Just in case, we have Reuters reporting that BlackBerry is having early, just-in-case sales discussions with some industry giants.
These giants include Samsung, Google, Intel, LG and more. We don't know if these companies are actually serious, and would acquire BlackBerry if the deal with Fairfax Financial went sideways, but they could be interested in BlackBerry's servers, as the company isn't ready to hand over its smartphone business, yet.
The companies could also wait for BlackBerry to really limp, and be forced onto life support - which wouldn't be too far away - and then snatch and grab them cheap.
The US government shutdown last week, with over 800,000 'non-essential' staff no longer paid, or in employment until this is resolved. But, it looks like Netflix is directly benefiting from this, or maybe it was just the Breaking Bad finale.
Netflix's stock price started to rise as the US government shutdown, but it could be due to other factors, too. We saw a distribution deal between Netflix and a Swedish cable company, which could've helped. Netflix's overall traffic numbers did increase after the US government shutdown, as there are nearly a million workers who are now home, probably watching Breaking Bad and Mad Men.
BlackBerry won't be part of the consumer handset market soon, but the Canadian phone maker does have a decent cash pile at the moment: around $2.6 billion. Not huge, but it's still in the billions.
AllThingsD is reporting from a research note from Bernstein Research analyst Pierre Ferragu, who says that BlackBerry is on track to blowing through $2 billion of its cash pile, over the next six quarters. This is just 18 months away. He says that this is because "the company is losing users at a very high pace, has a stretched working capital and massive off-balance-sheet commitments that will turn into cash burn in the next four quarters."
Ferragu also believes that this cash burning could also put problems on its deal with Fairfax Financial, who plans to buy the company at $9 per share with many potential investors starting to worry if BB begins whipping out its wad of cash left, right and center. BlackBerry is on track to spend over $500 million of its $2.6 billion cash pile in the next three months alone, so I think we'll see this money disappear quicker than 18 months.
Samsung is looking to post yet another record quarter, with the South Korean giant reportedly in the motions to purchase a stake in Best Buy. Best Buy is one of the largest retailers in the US, so it would be a big scoop for Samsung to own a stake of it.
Samsung's Vice Chairman, Lee Jae-yong spoke with The Korea Times, saying that he "recently met with senior executives at Best Buy and discussed pending business issues." The Galaxy device maker has already worked with the US retail giant on the "Samsung Experience Shops" that have been opening up within Best Buy stores across the United States.
This move will only increase its exposure within the US, acting like quasi-Apple Stores, which will help Samsung sell even more smartphones in the US market than they do now.
Samsung has teased the world with its earnings estimates for Q3 2013, where it looks like the South Korean giant will break records, again. Samsung is looking to report $53.9 billion in total revenue, with an operating profit of around $9.4 billion.
This is extremely good for the company, as it represents an increase from its $8.5 billion from its last quarter, and $51 billion in sales. When compared to its results from this time last year, it's a much bigger increase from the $48.5 billion in sales and $7.5 billion in profits. This represents an increase of 13% year-over-year.
It looks like Apple is wanting to strengthen its voice assistant, Siri, with its acquisition of Cue. Cue is a personal assistant application that has been an iOS exclusive.
AppleInsider reports that Cue's functionality is similar to the sort of predictive information delivery that is very similar to Google Now, which is incredible. Apple has always put continuous work into Siri, but it looks like this acquisition of Cue could help them better compete with Google and its incredible Now service.
Twitter is closer to its IPO, pushing out its IPO filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The social network filed an S-1 behind closed doors earlier in the year, as they were able to do so because Twitter's annual revenue was less than $1 billion last year.
Now that Twitter's S-1 in public, we can find out what its financials are ahead of its IPO. The social network is looking to raise $1 billion, which will be underwritten by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and a bunch of other banks. Twitter will share its trade under the ticker TWTR.
We know HTC aren't doing well, but it looks like the problem it is going through is continuing. The Taiwanese manufacturer has posted up its preliminary unaudited financial results for Q3 2013, posting an operating loss of $101 million.
This is the first operating loss in HTC's history, but take a look at the break down in its Q3 2013 financials:
- Total revenues of $1.6 billion (NT$47.05 billion)
- Operating loss before tax of $119.4 million (NT$3.50 billion)
- Operating loss after tax of $101.3 million (NT$2.97 billion)
- Earnings per share after tax of -$0.12 (-NT$3.58)
A new startup is looking to be the defacto place coders and developers visit to search for existing code examples. The brainchild of Yash Kumar, a former software engineer at Amazon, has launched a new company called Runnable. The startup is dedicated to making all of the open source code, and existing code examples easily findable.
The company has launched a website that aggregates APIs, scripts, and other reusable bits of code, which is said to greatly speed up the research and discovery process. Runnable says its users can search for specific code or APIs, upload and share their own code, and even search code by the language it was written in. Basically if you are a fan of 3D printing, Runnable is very much like Thingiverse.
Apple currently enjoys swimming through its $147 billion pile of cash, with Moody estimating that Apple's massive pile of cash represents around 10% of the $1.48 trillion in cash held by non-financial American companies.
This is a huge number, something that should make your head spin. Apple's cash reserves have actually grown since the end of last year, by around 9.5%. Apple has been spending billions of dollars in the meantime, with its cash pile still nearly double that of Microsoft's.
BlackBerry continue to hurt, even after it announces it is retreating out of the consumer handset market. It is being reported that the 4,500 layoffs the Canadian phone maker is doing, will cost them $400 million.
This is four times the initial estimates, something we're finding out thanks to the regulatory filing that BlackBerry filed last week. The company also says that it "plans to unload factories, manufacturing gear and property." This all sounds like BlackBerry landed on Mayfair loaded with a hotel, and is now mortgaging everything it's got to not just sink.
BlackBerry reported last week its second quarter earnings, which saw a 49% year-over-year drop in revenues.
Before today, you probably haven't heard of Flutter, who are a startup company working on gesture recognition technology. Well, neither did I, but the startup has been acquired by Google.
Flutter's gesture recognition technology focused on getting it working with a standard camera interface, such as webcams. Currently, Flutter only ships a Windows and Mac app, with this software continuing to work even though it has been acquired by Google. Google must see a future in the company, hence the acquisition that might help it with its future in gesture technology.
Anyone who has been following the Bitcoin saga, will likely have ran across reports that the virtual currency is fueling the online drug trade. For anyone who doubted this, today's seizure of Silk Road proves just how closely connected the two really were. Reports suggest as much as $1 billion of Bitcoin transactions occurred as a direct result of Silk Road.
Today as news began to spread about Silk Road being shut down by the FBI, the price of Bitcoins dropped from $130 down to just over $85. Analyst are speculating that the selloff was the direct result of Silk Roads seizure, and indicated that many users felt uncertain about the future of the virtual currency. There could potentially be millions of Bitcoins that are frozen in limbo as a result of the seizure, and they will most likely never be claimed by their owners. At the time of this writing, the Bitcoin price had rebounded to about $120.