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Two marketing firms representing Samsung have been caught red-handed hiring writers to post good reviews about its products while at the same time giving HTC products a bad review. This practice violates Taiwan Fair Trade Rules and has ended up costing the electronics giant $340,000 USD in fines from the Taiwanese government.
The two firms who were the actual offending parties have been fined more than $100,000 each themselves for their participation in the violation. This is not the first time something like this has happened either. Earlier this year, Samsung was caught up in a similar scandal where 3rd party firms were hiring developers to promote Samsung on StackOverflow.
We know HTC is experiencing issues, with one of those roads it could go down would result in the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturing shutting its doors. But according to the company, it won't be doing so.
HTC issued a statement, where it talked to Reuters and said it was "not shutting down or does it have plans to sell any of its factory assets." This doesn't mean that the company won't be selling itself in pieces to another company, which is where I think it is headed in the coming months.
Reuters even claimed that HTC had already shut down one of its four major production facilities, after one of its reports actually went there and found it abandoned. The Taiwanese manufacturer fired back stating it closed the factory because "like any manufacturer, we do volume planning to optimize our lines, our manufacturing and production facilities."
AT&T posted its Q3 earnings on Wednesday, with some impressive results. The US carrier saw $0.66 earnings per share over a consolidated revenue of a hefty $32.2 billion.
This means the carrier beat Wall Street expectations of $0.65 EPS. AT&T's Q3 results saw an addition of 363,000 more post-paid subscribers, including an additional 178,000 smartphone subscribers. Continued strong wireless performance helped AT&T increase its wireless revenues by 5.2% year-over-year from the same quarter of last year.
It looks like Samsung's Galaxy S4 has been super popular for the South Korean giant, with Samsung CEO JK Shin announcing that the flagship Android-powered smartphone from Samsung has sold over 40 million units.
Considering the Galaxy S4 launched just five months ago, this is a mammoth effort. At the two-month mark, there had been over 20 million Galaxy S4's sold, but now we're talking about double that. Considering the Galaxy S III sold 30 million units in its launch last year, this is a great jump. We should expect Samsung to break through the 50 million unit milestone before 2013 is wrapped up.
The makers of Gorilla Glass have just signed an agreement with Samsung to see the South Korean electronics giant secure a 7.4% stake in the company. Corning and Samsung have been involved in each others worlds for the past 40 or so years through equity investments, product development and commercialization initiatives.
The agreement will see Corning securing Samsung's 43% stake in their Samsung Corning Precision Materials joint venture for $1.9 billion, as well as minority investors for around $300 million. Samsung will slap down a $400 million investment in Corning, which would see them acquire 7.4% of the company at today's share prices.
We should expect the deal to close early next year, and will see the two sign a 10-year LCD display glass supply agreement that will add a hefty $2 billion to Corning's annual sales.
If you thought that Apple's Tim Cook, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, or even Google's Larry Page held the top spot for highest paid CEO in North America, you are sadly mistaken. Today a report released by GMI Ratings shows that in fact, it is Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg who claims the #1 spot as highest paid CEO.
During the last fiscal year Zuckerberg received a total compensation of just over $2.28 billion, most of which came from share options when Facebook completed its IPO in which Zuckerberg exercised 60 million stock options that he was given in 2005 and vested in 2010. This landed him more than $2.7 billion in profit when the IPO launched at $38 per share.
If a new report is correct, BlackBerry's knight in shining armor could be coming out of the far east. A new report from Digital Trends is suggesting that Lenovo is seriously considering purchasing BlackBerry as a whole. This deal would provide Lenovo a cheap and easy entry point into the US smartphone market, something it has been eyeballing for sometime now.
While Fairfax Financial has experienced issues securing the $4.7 billion it would need to purchase the company, Lenovo would have no such issues and could offer up cash on very short notice. The only thing standing in the way of the deal would be BlackBerry's co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fredin who are also considering buying the company. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Lenovo has signed a nondisclosure agreement that allows them to look at BlackBerry's books, so this offer could be more serious than originally thought.
Google is on a path of serious domination, with its stock prices hitting nearly $1000 a piece after it had reported a large increase in mobile and video advertising that helped the Mountain View-based giant increase its quarterly revenue up 23%.
The company has seen paid clicks increase 26% in the last three months ending on September 30, which represents the highest rate of growth in the past year. There's an offset though, with an 8% fall in average cost-per-click. J.P. Morgan analysts said "We view solid paid clicks growth to be a good indicator of demand, driven by the continued shift to mobile." The analysts expected a huge 21.5% growth.
Comparing this to Apple in 2012, who were poised to become the first company to be worth $1 trillion, it has certainly fallen from grace. Google is now positioned to be a serious contender as one of the most powerful, valuable companies in the world.
Huawei is set to build a new R&D center in the UK, where the Chinese telco giant will spend around $200 million on it as part of its $2 billion investment plans. At the moment, Huawei employ around 80 R&D staff in its office in Ipswitch, with this number ballooning out to 300 once the new R&D offices are opened in 2017.
This is big news as it pushes Huawei to be bigger and bigger, with the Chinese company now the biggest telecommunications equipment maker in the world, where it employs over 150,000 people across the world. Over the next couple of years Huawei will employ an additional 5,500 people throughout Europe as it focuses on making inroads into Europe after the US accused it of having strong ties with Chinese military and the government.
Sony has some great devices, but it looks like those in the two biggest smartphone markets in the world, China and the United States, won't be markets that Sony will be concentrating on going into the future.
The Japanese electronics giant will instead focus its business to markets where it is strong, which is Europe and Japan. Sony does not have any plans for "the world's two largest smartphone markets, China and the United States." Sony CEO, Kazuo Hirai, says: "Those two are the most important areas for us and we'll put substantial resources there. But not yet for the U.S. and China."
The US market is a hard one, and even harder for Sony as T-Mobile is the only major US carrier to offer consumers Sony smartphones. Moving to China, where "homegrown brands" like ZTE, Huawei and Xiaomi are making leaps and bounds, even in front of global superstar Apple and its iPhone.