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Apple's insane growth: 125 million iCloud users, iTunes offers over 28 million songs and 45,000 movies

Apple only just released their quarterly earnings report, which showed some stellar numbers and growth for the Cupertino-based company. Apple saw an insane 35 million iPhones sold, $39.2 billion in revenue with $11.6 billion of that in pure profit. Apple also saw 11.8 million iPads sold, 4 million Macs, and 7.7 million iPods. I'd call this a very successful quarter.

 

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On top of these numbers, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer announced that the company now has over 125 million iCloud users, which is a massive growth of 25 million users in a little over two months. How many iOS devices would you say Apple sold? Well, if you said 365 million, you'd be right. More than 50 million in the last quarter alone. The App Store has hit 600,000 apps in total with more than 200,000 of those available for the iPad.

 

Let's talk iTunes: there are now more than 28 million songs and 45,000 movies to choose from, which goes to show just how much muscle Apple have to flex in the media department. If we consider this growth now, where could Apple be in 3, 6 or even 12 months time? Another stellar release like an iPhone 5 or proper next-gen iPad would just be insane. The sales numbers and user stats would swell, considerably.

Continue reading 'Apple's insane growth: 125 million iCloud users, iTunes offers over 28 million songs and 45,000 movies' (full post)

Facebook purchases $550 million worth of patents from Microsoft, who obtained them from AOL just two weeks ago

Ahead of their planned public offering which is poised to take form next month, social networking giant Facebook have just inked a deal to purchase a slew of patents from Microsoft.

 

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Facebook have reportedly handed over $550 million in cash for a selection of patents that Microsoft only obtained from AOL two weeks ago in a deal valued at $1 billion. The original $1 billion deal saw AOL shares jump 37-percent, while retaining perpetual licensing to the IP sold.

 

Microsoft were then able to grab back over half of what they paid AOL for the patents, with Microsoft executive vice president and general counsel Brad Smith telling All Things D that Redmond never felt it was necessary or important to own all of the patents.

Adreessen Horowitz's $250k investment in Instagram turned into $78 million

Andreessen Horowitz had a seed investment of $250,000 in Instagram, but when Facebook acquired them for $1 billion, he made a very, very nice amount of money that weekend. Horowitz was one of Instagram's earliest investors, and general partner Ben Horowitz took to a blog to post the following:

 

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Ordinarily, when someone criticizes me for only making 312 times my money, I let the logic of their statement speak for itself. However, in this case, the narrative that some critics put forth has the nasty side effect of casting two outstanding entrepreneurs-Kevin and Dalton Caldwell-in an unfair light and glosses over an important ethical issue that we faced.

 

The company didn't follow-up on its investment, as they had a conflict of interest with another company it funded, Picplz. Picplz being another photo-sharing concept that didn't have the same oomph as Instagram. Then last week The New York Times ran a story saying that Andreessen Horowitz had basically screwed up its investment in the company. The decision to fund Picplz "was a calculated bet against Instagram and it left Mr. Systrom livid" reported The Times.

 

So what? The company made an investment, it turned into $78 million. I'm just jealous.

Apple the victim of patent troll

The tech industry is filled with patent trolls. The first was Apple and it has finally come full circle. Apple is the defendant in a new lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court over claims that all of its products that use touch infringe on the patent. The patent in question is US Patent #6,920,619 named "User interface for removing an object from a display."

 

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FlatWorld alleges that the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, sixth-gen iPod nano, MacBook Pros with trackpads, and any other Mac using a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad infringe on its patent. Also, because Apple was informed of the patent in 2007, they are claiming that Apple willfully infringed on the patent.

 

Curiously enough, this seems to be the company's only activity since 2009. Additionally, the patent only covers a very narrow set of gestures, so it's apparent how any of Apple's products infringes on the patent. Even more interesting is the fact that some of Apple's iPhone patents cite the patent that they are being sued over.

Inside the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit: technical details and a file cabinet

Most of us know about the current lawsuit that is going on between Oracle and Google. Oracle has accused Google of using the Java language and API without the proper licensing and is seeking damages. The actual trial started last week and already has featured a large array of witnesses, though none have seemingly dealt a knockout blow to either side.

 

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Part of the issue could be trying to explain these complex technical terms and processes to the panel of jurors. They probably have the technical ability of your parents, yet the two sides are trying to explain something that people have to go to college to study for four or more years. The result is a lot of furrowed brows and over simplification.

 

Oracle's technical experts aren't really enjoying the fact that the nuances in play are getting lost in the courtroom. Google's Joshua Bloch seems to have been the best in explaining in ways a regular human could understand. Because of the complex detail, one of Google's counsel rolled in a file cabinet to explain Java packages.

 

No side has a clear upper hand as of yet, but it would appear that Google's team is doing a better job of keeping the jurors entertained and engaged. It will be interesting to see just how much that helps and if Google's filing cabinet makes another appearance.

Apple invests $250 million in Oregon Data Center Site

Apple have reached a deal with local governments to finalize its plans for a data center to be built in Prineville, Oregon. According to The Associated Press' report, Apple have agreed to invest $250 million in facilities on its 160-acre property, and will offer an annual $150,000 "project fee" in lieu of property taxes over the next fifteen years.

 

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Apple have also guaranteed some decent job numbers, where there'll be 35 jobs introduced to the center at 150-percent of the average wage in the country. The Associated Press continues:

 

The $150,000 project fee in part of an agreement with Apple that was made public this week. Prineville City Manager Steve Forrester called it a common arrangement. The Oregonian reports that the value of the tax break will depend on how much Apple winds up investing. Similar tax breaks on Google's $1.3 billion data center in The Dalles are worth more than $24 million to the company annually.

Continue reading 'Apple invests $250 million in Oregon Data Center Site ' (full post)

Want to buy stock right from Facebook? Soon you will be able to

Do you currently own stock? If not, is it because of all the fees and difficulties associated with buying and selling it? Well, it appears that shortly after Facebook goes public, you could be able to purchase stock in companies straight from their respective Facebook page without any fees or brokers. The minimum amount would be $10, so it's not like you have to spend a fortune to start.

 

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All of this is according to former Facebook executive and current director at Loyal3 Chris Kelly. Loyal3 would like to point out that only 18% of American families own stock, a number which they hope to change with this CSOP, or customer stock ownership plan. Direct purchase isn't new, but few companies use it since it isn't cost efficient to oversee millions of tiny share holders.

 

Loyal3 hopes that by making ownership easy and without fees the average person will be more inclined to purchase stock. CEO Barry Schneider points out that ownership changes a persons point-of-view regarding an item. People usually care more about something they care than something they don't. Think about it, have you ever washed a rental car?

 

The ability to buy stock is believed to be available as early as June, but there will be a $2500 cap to discourage people from being daily traders. The idea looks good on the face. I mean, I would buy stock in companies if I didn't have to pay fees.

Continue reading 'Want to buy stock right from Facebook? Soon you will be able to' (full post)

Facebook could see an IPO on May 17th, will open up at over $100 billion

Facebook and IPO, we've heard these two words so many times over the last year or more, and we're inching closer to that magical day. Facebook's recent acquisition of Instagram is sure to go a decent way to help them expand their value, and we could see them eyeing IPO on May 17. This is pends on whether the SEC agrees that all of the paperwork is in order.

 

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Earlier reports have pegged Facebook of hitting NASDAQ during the third week of May, with another source over at CNBC saying that Facebook could go public either on the 17th or 24th of May. Facebook is valued at around $100 billion, right now. Other reports are pointing toward the company wanting to raise $10 billion at a $100 billion valuation.

 

The only problem with this, is something that I would've said anyway, but TechCrunch points it out: a lot can happen in four weeks. TC cites that the European economy could crash, another oil crisis, etc - and whilst it may be tongue-in-cheek, anything can happen. We'll see how we go between now and then, but it looks like Facebook are going public, and it's not too far away now, folks.

AMD does better than expectations but still loses money

AMD reported its first quarter financial results today and it's not quite as bad as was expected. AMD beat expectations, but they still posted a loss of $590 million. AMD has a strong product line-up in both the CPU and GPU markets, but it's pretty hard to compete against the chip giant that is Intel.

 

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The loss, however, is not due to operations but rather an accounting charge. Revenue for the quarter was $1.59 billion which was higher than the expected $1.56 billion Including the accounting charge, the loss of $590 million amount to 80 cents a share. If we take out the accounting charge, AMD had a good quarter, with a non-GAAP profit of 12 cents a share, or $92 million. Analysts predicted only 9 cents a share with the accounting charge taken out.

 

"AMD delivered solid results in the first quarter as we remain focused on improving our execution, delivering innovative products, and building a company around a strategy to deliver strong cash flow and earnings growth," said Rory Read, AMD president and CEO. "A complete top-to-bottom introduction of new APU offerings, combined with ample product supply resulting from continued progress with our manufacturing partners, positions us to win and grow."

Continue reading 'AMD does better than expectations but still loses money' (full post)

Which cyberlocker service will get busted next? RapidShare, MediaFire distance themselves from MegaUpload

RapidShare and MediaFire certainly don't want to be the next cyberlocker services to be taken down, but it's a fear that they are having to deal with after the US government took down MegaUpload back on January 19, 2012. They are now trying to distance themselves from MegaUpload in order to prevent being shut down on similar complaints.

 

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All of the online cyberlocker services have fear that they could be next, and they are now publicly trying to show that they are different from the now defunct MegaUpload. Danny Raimer, who is RapidShare's general counsel, told U.S. News & World Report that Megaupload's approach to piracy was "so far from what we're doing and what we want to stand for."

 

RapidShare continues to deny that they are or have violated copyright laws publicly released a "responsible practices" manifesto for cyberlocker and cloud storage companies. This includes practices like including in the TOS that the company reserves the right to go through repeat offender's lockers.

 

Langridge, of MediaFire, wrote: "MediaFire cooperates fully with the MPAA, RIAA, and various other organizations who work to identify and prohibit the distribution of copyrighted content."

 

A spokesperson for the top four recording companies released a statement about RapidShare:

Continue reading 'Which cyberlocker service will get busted next? RapidShare, MediaFire distance themselves from MegaUpload' (full post)

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