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If you just happen to be sitting on top of a few million shares of stock from the chip making giant Intel, then you are in for a treat on September 1. Intel's Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of 22.5 cents per share of the company's common stock. Only stockholders on record by August 7, 2013, will be eligible for the dividend.
The previous quarter has been fairly nice to tech shareholders with many of Silicon Valley's biggest residents declaring quarterly dividends. The list includes telecommunications giant AT&T declaring 49 cents per share of common stock, and Apple being the biggest by paying $3.05 per share of common stock. Unfortunately, I misplaced that extra million shares of Apple I had laying around, so I guess all of you wonderful readers out there will just have to put up with me for at least another quarter of the year.
Last year, BlackBerry laid off over 500 employees in an attempt to lower overhead and operating costs and in more recent months, the company has seen several of its top-level management depart for one reason or another. Yesterday, Anthony Garreffa reported that the head of the now failed Playbook, David Smith, had resigned from the company as well. Call it what you want, but I call it a sinking ship.
Today we have learned that things are continuing to look darker for the once king of smartphones as the company lays off 250 more employees, this time from its New Product Testing and R&D Department. CEO Thorsten Heins says that these layoffs are part of the company's "complex transition phase."
A statement from BlackBerry's Lisette Kwong said:
I can confirm on the record, that BlackBerry on Tuesday informed 250 employees of their termination in Waterloo. These employees were part of the New Product Testing Facility, a department that supports BlackBerry's manufacturing and R&D efforts.This is part of the next stage of our turnaround plan to increase efficiencies and scale our company correctly for new opportunities in mobile computing. We will be as transparent as possible as those plans evolve.
This week, Electronic Arts reported their first-quarter earnings, stating that digital sales have now passed the numbers of physical store sales. This is a huge turn for EA, but considering they now have 50 million+ gamers on Origin, not so much.
Who are EA's top retail partner? We kinda spoiled it in the title, but it's Apple. Most would point their fingers at companies like Walmart, Amazon, GameSpot, but it's Apple. EA's COO, Peter Moore, explains: "Our quarter was notable for its strong digital sales. To that end, Apple was EA's biggest retail partner as measured by sales. That is a first."
Out of $495 million in total revenue that EA pulled in over the three-month period, $378 million of that was thanks to digital sales. $90 million or so of that came from smart devices, such as smartphones and tablets. $90 million isn't going to break records, but considering EA are the third-largest gaming company in the world, and we all know how big Apple is, this is quite interesting.
Facebook have just reported their Q2 2013 earnings, which saw the social networking pulling down a nice $1.8 billion in revenue, and enjoying $333 million in profits from the three-month period.
Investors are enjoying this news, with stock in the social network rising 17% in after-hours trading. Facebook's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission tells us that they're seeing daily active users of "699 million on average for June 2013, an increase of 27 percent year-over-year." When talking mobile numbers, their daily active users are sitting at "469 million on average for June 2013."
Facebook managed to beat analysts' expectations, leading most to believe that the social network might be making more money than previously thought. Michael Pachter, a Wedbush Securities analyst told the Wall Street Journal: "The revenue beat is huge. They are clearly doing a great job with local ad sales."
David J. Smith, BlackBerry's Vice President in charge of their PlayBook tablet, has resigned. Smith had been working for the company for 8 years, taking over the PlayBook project after it was released back in 2011.
We all know how BlackBerry's PlayBook has played out in the market, with the company pushing it as the "first professional tablet" but with a bunch of delays, it never took off. It missed huge features such as e-mail and more, something RIM (the name of the company at the time) made a very bad bet on. The company saw a near $500 million writedown on the tablet, which didn't help.
Today, Google and the FTC have finally settled a case in which the giant was accused of attempting to ward off competition with its acquisition of Motorola Mobility. The FTC says that following a public comment period, it has approved a modified final order that requires Google to abide by its commitments to license its standard-essential patents on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.
These Essential Patents are the ones that are based around the technology needed to create smartphones, tablets, laptops, and gaming consoles. These were the areas in which it says Google was attempting to block licensing of its patents on. The commission's vote was 2-1-1, with commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen voting no and Commissioner Joshua D. Wright recused.
From the FTC Release:
After considering the 25 public comments that were submitted, the FTC made technical modifications to several provisions in the Order, including those pertaining to the arbitration process established to resolve disputes over FRAND terms. In a letter sent to the commenters, the agency also provided further explanation for the basis and the rationale behind several other provisions in the Google-MMI Order.
Newegg has been denied Motion to Compel Discovery from patent troll, says it will seek further review
Any of my regular readers know that I absolutely, positively, 100 percent hate patent trolls. They do nothing to further innovation and quite frankly, they hurt the US economy more than anything else. Today, Newegg informed us of updates in a pending patent infringement case in which they have been battling a lawsuit filled by the notorious patent troll TQP Development, LLC.
Based in East Texas, TQP has filed hundreds of lawsuits against pretty much every kind of business imaginable over patent infringement. In the case against Newegg, TQP says that Newegg has violated its patent on encryption used on eCommerce websites. Newegg filed a Motion to Compel Discovery of TQP's communications with its patent monetization firm IP Navigation Group, which is associated with yet another patent troll, Erich Spangenberg.
Magistrate Judge Payne of the Eastern District of Texas denied Newegg's Motion on July 23, and said that the communication between TQP and IP Navigation was privileged as "work product" and were to be treated as mental impressions and notes created during litigation. This ruling came even though TQP never argued that its privilege applied to any of its briefs. Additionally, the judge ordered Newegg to pay 50 percent of TQP's reasonable costs and legal fees that occurred as a result of the motion filed by Newegg.
Yesterday, Electronic Arts released its quarterly financial results, and along with that release was a small announcement that during the previous quarter, Apple had became EA's biggest retail partner. The company said that games being sold through the App Store are earning the company more than any other retail outlet. That is pretty big news when you consider that their games are sold on Origin, Steam, and even in Walmart and GameStop.
"Our quarter was notable was for its strong digital sales," EA chief operating officer Peter Moore said in a conference call with investors. "To that end, Apple was EA's biggest retail partner as measured by sales. That is a first." Apple says that EA was the number one global publisher of games in the App Store for the June quarter as well.
Just how are South Korean electronics giant LG faring this year? Well, their Q2 2013 earnings report is out, pointing to profits dropping $139 million compared year-over-year for the same quarter.
LG did ship a record 12.1 million smartphones in the quarter, with an operating profit for their mobile division not doing as well as last quarter. But, it did grow year-over-year to 54.37 million with LG hoping that smartphones like the Optimus L II, Optimus F and the upcoming flagship G2 to continue their record sales.
TV revenue dropped year-over-year, with the South Korean company blaming lower demand and increased competition in the TV space. But we have noticed that Ultra HD and OLED TVs are coming, which should either have an overall positive, or negative effect on LG going into the second half of 2013.
We posted earlier about Apple's record iPhone sales for Q3, among their strong earnings, but iTunes' revenue was also strong. Year-over-year revenue is 25% higher, at $3.9 billion for Apple's Q3 2013.
Last quarter, iTunes pulled in a record $4.1 billion in revenue, so they've seen a slight slump in sales. Maybe this is because streaming services like Spotify are slowly but surely chomping into Apple's digital sales through iTunes? Apple CFO, Peter Oppenheimer, has said that over 1 billion TV episodes have been downloaded since iTunes opened its digital doors to the public.
Each day, iTunes pushes out over 800,000 TV shows and 350,000 movies. Apple are definitely enjoying good times with iTunes, but are those good times coming to an end, slowly? We'll find out over the coming months.