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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 271

Best Buy CEO resigns: Struggling retailer begins searching for a savior

Best Buy has been heading down hill for a while now, and now their CEO has jumped ship. Besides, who better to know how the company is doing and when to get out than the CEO? This announcement by Best Buy comes on the heels of the announcement of the big losses suffered over the past few months and the plans to close 50 stores across the US.

 

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Best Buy's press release states that there were "no disagreements between between Mr. Dunn and the company on any matter relating to operations, financial controls, policies, or procedures." Curiously enough, however, it was still a "mutual" decision that the CEO and company part ways. Director G Mike Mikan has been named interim CEO.

 

"I have enjoyed every one of my 28 years with this company, and I leave it today in position for a strong future. I am proud of my fellow employees and I wish them the best," said Dunn.

 

"We thank Brian Dunn for his many years of service to the company and wish him well in his next endeavors," said Schulze. "As we move forward, we are very pleased to have a strong leader with Mike Mikan's credentials as interim CEO."

 

"The Best Buy team and I will be extremely focused on successfully managing this period of transition. I want to assure our employees, customers and other key stakeholders that we will work together to achieve our company's growth and profitability goals," said Mikan.

Continue reading 'Best Buy CEO resigns: Struggling retailer begins searching for a savior' (full post)

Microsoft building $112 million data center in Wyoming, as the state looks to boost such projects

The economy can not still be as bad as every seems to think it is. Apple's building a new data center and even spending the extra cash to power it with an alternative fuel. Now, Microsoft has joined into the party. Microsoft is building a new data center in Wyoming at a cost north of $100 million.

 

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Wyoming is hoping that this new project will bring other new data centers to the state. Microsoft has been quite busy with its construction projects as of late. Just recently, Microsoft has turned on two new data centers for its cloud service Azure. It's not clear if this new data center is for Azure or not.

 

Microsoft announced the construction this way:

 

To keep pace with growing demand, we are announcing two new datacenter options for Windows Azure. Effective immediately, compute and storage resources are now available in "West US" and "East US", with SQL Azure coming online in the coming months. These new options add to our worldwide presence and significantly expand our US footprint.

 

It's been floating around that Microsoft is trying to find customers to fill its capacity, but it could be that Microsoft has found enough demand to warrant the continued roll out of. For right now, it's clear that Microsoft is laying out some serious capacity and betting on cloud computing continuing to grow. And I think that's a pretty good bet.

Apple could be the world's first $1 trillion company

Apple are definitely on their way toward quite an amazing milestone: becoming the world's first $1 trillion company, according to a Wall Street analyst. Brian White from Topeka Capital Markets recently predicted that Apple stock would push past the $1,000 per share barrier in the next twelve months, which would tip the company very close to the $1 trillion mark.

 

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Apple stock has been quite popular over the last few years, with no signs of it stopping. Share prices topped Google's for the first time last week, a milestone that the late Steve Jobs was rumored to be working toward. How could Apple hit $1,000 in share value? Well, it's not that hard at all, really.

 

Apple's new iPhone could really boost their value, a new iPad that smashes the previous third-gen iPad, iOS 6.0, new MacBooks, iMacs, they're all coming this year alone. On top of this, Apple is opening up in the Chinese market, which is until now, nearly untapped for Apple. It's a huge market, and sure to boost their share prices considerably as iDevices start flooding into the hands of China-based customers.

 

Next year should see the release of an iTV, with television being a gigantic market in itself, if Apple could do something... magical... or revolutionary... in television, this would surely catapult them past $1,000 per share, and even inching over the $1 trillion value milestone.

RIM employee that was stabbed at BBM party dies of wounds

We reported on this as it happened, where a RIM employee was stabbed at a party for BlackBerry Messenger, has died from his wounds. Philip Sherriff, one of RIM's UK employees, died on Sunday. His attacker is believed to be Ashley Charles and has already been charged with attempted murder.

 

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What motivated Charles to stab Sherriff is not known, and the court hasn't made this clear, either. RIM has said in a statement through Twitter, where they gave condolences:

 

Our thoughts are with his family and those close to him and we ask for the respect of their privacy at this difficult time.

 

Our thoughts go out to Sherriff's friends, family and colleagues. Such an avoidable, yet unescapable event where a life was taken when it didn't need to be. Let's hope they find closure, and justice, soon.

Former Intel engineer, newly-hired AMD employee, pleads guilty to stealing sensitive Intel documents

Biswamohan Pani, a former Intel engineer and newly-hired AMD employee has plead guilty to fraud that is centered around the theft of sensitive Intel documents. The stolen information is considered to be worth approximately $1 billion, which includes chip-related design and manufacturing data.

 

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It's thought that Pani intended to use the information for career advancement, but AMD has denied any knowledge of Pani's wrongdoing, and has fully cooperated with federal investigators. Pani had previously worked at Intel's Hudson-based chip making plant located in Massachusetts before submitting his resignation on May 29, 2008. Pani's last day at Intel was June 11, but little did Intel know he had actually begun working at AMD on June 2, while simultaneously retaining access to Intel's network.

 

It is thought that during this time, Pani had been downloading sensitive documents that held information on Intel's manufacturing and chip designs. Corporate espionage and intellectual property theft, in the form of trade secrets, schematics, or other proprietary information can be extremely lucrative in the right hands. Investigators have found no links between Pani and AMD.

Continue reading 'Former Intel engineer, newly-hired AMD employee, pleads guilty to stealing sensitive Intel documents' (full post)

Samsung is planning to open up retail stores, in Canada

Samsung's national head, James Politeski has revealed in an interview that the company is planning to launch their own, fully self-run stores in Canada. He told Canada.com that the company will have dedicated stores at parts across the country, and like Sony and Apple, will have specific designs and train staff itself, but Samsung would outsource the actual management to unnamed companies.

 

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Politeski didn't reveal whether the new Samsung retail stores would have their own service areas, which for Apple, have been very successful. Locations weren't given, either, but hints have suggested the first store would arrive in Yorkdale Mall, West of downtown Toronto. The mall is noteworthy in the way that it was the home of Apple's first retail store in Canada.

 

Samsung will want to have their own stores to push their own branded products, by staff who are trained in only Samsung products. Compared to bigger retailers such as Best Buy where they've been blamed for damaging brands by burying products in large display sections, have employees who don't have much technology experience, or knowledge in that particular brand.

Microsoft adds more than 800 patents from AOL in $1B deal

Not looking to be left out of the fun, Microsoft has acquired more than 800 patents from AOL in a deal worth $1 billion. AOL's stock surged 45% on the news of the deal and the fact that a "significant portion" will go directly into the hands of share holders. Patent advisory firm M-Cam Inc. values AOL's patent portfolio at $290 million.

 

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"Most on the Street viewed $300 million as the likely maximum value," explained Benchmark analyst Clayton Moran. "Relative to this expectation, AOL has created $7.63 per share in stock value." Because of this, the analyst believes a one-time dividend would be in order.

 

The sale will leave AOL with a license to use the patents as well as leave Microsoft with "a nonexclusive license for Microsoft to AOL's remaining portfolio of 300 patents, which include those for advertising, search, content generation, social networking and mapping technology." It will be interesting to see if Microsoft joins in the patent trolling.

RumorTT: Sony to cut 10,000 jobs to return to profitability as new CEO takes over

Sony isn't doing very well. According to one report, they haven't been profitable in 7 years. Another report pegs that number at 4 years. Either way, it paints a bleak picture as to the standing of the once giant company. A new report by Japanese newspaper Nikkei says that Sony is preparing to layoff 10,000 workers.

 

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10,000 workers is 6 percent of Sony's entire workforce. And this isn't the first time that Sony has made large layoffs such as this. Sony previously laid off 10,000 workers in 2005 and killed 8,000 temporary positions in 2008. But even those cuts weren't enough to save its TV business. These forthcoming cuts are expected to address the TV division as well.

 

More news will be forthcoming this Thursday when the new CEO, Kaz Hirai, addresses investors. The plan should include Sony focusing on its core businesses, but it's not exactly clear what those are. This is just a rumor as of right now, but we expect it to be confirmed this Thursday. More as it comes.

Analyst cuts Apple rating on prospect of iPhone subsidy revolt

With all the fanfare that Apple often brings to a financial discussion, it's odd to hear the words "Apple" and "downgrade" in the same sentence. But those two words found themselves together in a sentence released by BTIG Research's Walter Piecyk when he downgraded Apple's rating on the company's shares from "buy" to "neutral."

 

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And why shouldn't he? There is plenty for investors to be worried about in the company. First, they no longer have Steve Jobs. Old news I know, but it still has an effect on the company's future. More importantly, though, is that wireless carriers are getting fed up with the subsidies that they give to new iPhone buyers.

 

Carriers are taking a cut in their profit margins while Apple continually earns larger and larger portions. Take a look at AT&T: in 2010, AT&T's margin was over 44% but now are hovering around only 30%. "We expect post-paid wireless operators to remain firm in their plan to stunt the pace of phone upgrades in 2012 and we expect to see some initial evidence of their success in the current quarter," Piecyk said.

 

This would result in lower sales. But how much lower? Says Piecyk, "We expect Apple's iPhone sales to drop to 27.5 million units in Fiscal Q3, resulting in a revenue estimate that is $1 billion below consensus."

 

Ouch.

Instagram to be acquired by Facebook for $1B cash and shares, service to remain as-is for now

The insanely popular photo app and social sharing site Instagram has been aquired by none other than Facebook for a sum somewhere around $1 billion in cash and shares. CEO Kevin Systrom confirms that the service is not going anywhere and will continue to run as-is for now.

 

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Zuckerberg confirms the acquisition and says that the Facebook team will be "able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests." This purchase comes with some incredible statistics.

 

This deal took place roughly 551 days after Instagram's launch meaning that they made $1B in value in less than 2 years. That's simply incredible. But there's more. This incredible company only has 13 employees! Also, with a valuation of $1 billion, that means each Instagram user is worth approximately $33 a piece.

 

Zuckerberg posted about this on his Facebook Wall:

 

This is an important milestone for Facebook because it's the first time we've ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don't plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.

We're looking forward to working with the Instagram team and to all of the great new experiences we're going to be able to build together.

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