It's that time of year where many companies report their Q1 financial results, or if you're Nintendo, you report your entire fiscal year. Nintendo reports its finances only once a year (annually) as opposed to 4 times like most companies (quarterly). This report is the first time in 30 years that Nintendo has reported a loss.
A lot of this is due to the financial climate that is affecting everyone worldwide. Additionally, the gaming market has changed as of late, due to the availability of high quality, free, mobile games. The 3-way struggle between Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony hasn't exactly helped the market either. While competition is good, it does cause companies to lower prices to compete, sometimes below cost.
In August, Nintendo was forced to cut the price of the 3DS by 40%. A cut that big is never good for the bottom line. Between the price cut, and a few popular new 3D games such as Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land, they managed to sell 13.53 units last fiscal year. This time around they hope to sell 18.5 million.
Now, the financial results. Ninteno said it suffered a net loss of ¥43.20 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31st whereas last year they recorded a profit of ¥77.62 billion. Also, they recorded an operating loss of ¥37.32 billion with revenue dropping by 36% to ¥647.65 billion yen. They really are depending on a successful WiiU launch, which is expected later this year.
Apple's super-powered earnings call during the week has impressed the entire tech industry, but Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White has said that his target for Apple shares in the near future will be $1,111. Apple are poised to become the world's first trillion-dollar company when its share price hits $1,072.
With White throwing his dart toward a $1,111 per share estimate, he is predicting that Apple's market cap will hit $1 trillion sometime in 2013. Brian White has said:
Apple's performance once again demonstrated how quickly Apple fever is spreading around the world, and this trend continues to drive meaningful upside in the company's financial results. We believe the negative vibes that have held back the stock over the past couple of weeks will now be replaced with the fear of missing the next leg up in the stock price that we are forecasting will reach $1,111 over the next year.
Could they do it? Apple are unstoppable right now, you can't contest that. Right now, they are a smart device powerhouse.
Apple had an amazing, record-breaking quarter and tech sites across the world were grinning whilst posting this news. It was amazing, and huge. HTC also announced its own figures, but didn't get anywhere near the same press.
HTC reported a massive 70-percent drop in profits, taking in just $151.5 million during the quarter. The blame? HTC says its the iPhone 4S. HTC Chief Executive Peter Chou has specifically singled out the iPhone 4S for HTC's crappy financial results during an analyst call two days ago. Chou remained confident that HTC had better times ahead of them, but he was also razor sharp when saying that there's no chance HTC will see a return to the times when they took 50-percent of their revenue from the US. Chou adds:
A major challenge we faced last year was the big drop in sales in the U.S. because of competition from the iPhone 4S.
If we compare the $151.5 million HTC made in that quarter, to the smartphone they blame for their dismal drop in profits, the iPhone 4S, it's quite the kick in the teeth for HTC. Apple's iPhone 4S let Apple make over $11.6 billion during the same quarter. $151.5 million to $11.6 billion is quite the jump. HTC does have hope though, hope that their family of One smartphones will help turn the company around. Chou is also optimistic that China will help make up the lost revenue from the US.
Time for another update in the oh so fun battle that is Oracle vs Google. Today former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz took the stand as a witness for the defense and proceeded to dispute Oracle's claim and support Google's. He testified that Google did not need a license to use the Java APIs. Oracle contends that Google violated some of its patents around Java and its APIs when producing Android.
When questioned by the defense about whether Java APIs were considered proprietary code of Sun, he said "No. These are open APIs, and we wanted to bring in more people...we wanted to build the biggest tent and invite as many people as possible." His answers corroborated Eric Schmidt's in that what Google did was and is legal.
"My understanding is that what we were doing was permissible because of the sum of my experiences and interactions I had," Schmidt said. He added that he was "very comfortable that what we were doing was both legally correct and consistent" with the policies of Google and Sun.
Schwartz continued to reiterate that what Google did didn't violate any of Sun's policies or intellectual property. As long as a company didn't call their implementation Java, it was Schwartz's view that they could ship their version without any sort of licensing from Sun. It seems as though this testimony should deal a massive blow to Oracle's case, but it's hard to say how the jurors will see it.
Apple planning to build off-campus restaurant to stop competitors from overhearing staff conversations
In another attempt to further separate Apple from the rest of the world, Apple has just had a planning request approved to build a new off-campus cafeteria for employees. The idea behind this is to prevent competitors from overhearing those common conversations that often take place during lunch. This way employees can discuss secret projects without the fear of the idea being stolen.
The new facility will be 21,468 square feet and will be a short walk from Apple's headquarters. The cafeteria will provide cafes, meeting rooms, lounge areas and courtyard facilities. Apple's director of real estate spells out why the new building will be beneficial:
We like to provide a level of security so that people and employees can feel comfortable talking about their business, their research and whatever project they're engineering without fear of competition sort of overhearing their conversations. That is a real issue today in Cupertino because we've got other companies here in our same business.
Additionally, the current cafeteria at Apple's HQ isn't private. Visitors can eat there if they are signed in by an employee. The new restaurant won't have this problem since it will be strictly for Apple employees only. This new building is only a stop-gap measure until Apple gets its new 'Spaceship' HQ approved.
Another partial win comes for Motorola today as a judge sides with Motorola that Microsoft is infringing on 4 of the 5 alleged patents. The preliminary decision from US ITC Judge David Shaw sides with Motorola that 4 of Motorola's patents are being infringed upon by Microsoft's Xbox 360.
Two of the patents involve Wi-Fi, two cover H.264 video, and one describes communication between consoles and accessories (5,319,712, 5,357,571, 6,069,896, 6,980,596 and 7,162,094). Shaw found that one of the Wi-Fi patents isn't being infringed upon, but upheld the claims regarding the others.
His ruling will be gone over by a six-person committee similar to the Apple ruling that was reported yesterday. Motorola, here again, is trying to ban the selling of the Xbox 360 in the United States, and unlikely as it may be, it could happen. It is probably, however, just a way for Motorola to gain leverage with Microsoft.
"Motorola is demanding that Microsoft take its products off the market, or else remove their standards-based ability to play video and connect wirelessly. The only basis for these actions is that these products implement industry standards, on which Motorola claims patents. Yet when the industry adopted these standards, we all were counting on Motorola and every contributor to live up to their promises," Microsoft wrote at the time.
Good news everyone! Even with a somewhat bleak financial report for Q1 2012, AMD has managed to snag some market share back from rival chip giant Intel. While it may not be much, some more market share is better than nothing and should help the company financially going forward if this trend continues.
AMD's market share went from 18.2% to 19.1% whereas rival Intel's dropped from 81% down to 80.2%, according to Mercury Research. AMD remains strong in the desktop market where it has 43% of the market, which is the same as last year. "When you look on it as a quarterly basis, desktop has had some strength relative to mobile," said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.
AMD's mobile segment saw a boost, however, as users opted for cheaper laptops, many of which contained AMD processors. "One of the things that is clear is that the market is adopting new technology faster than it used to. I would expect Ivy Bridge to ramp aggressively," McCarron said. AMD is behind Intel one generation, so keeping competitive isn't the easiest of tasks.
If you're sitting in a swish hotel lobby one day soon and a few men in suits walk in with a suitcase with a sticker on the side saying "Money Inside", and they're all wearing Intel Inside shirts or something to that effect, you've just witnessed a deal between Intel and Cray for $140 million.
Cray are handing over technological patents to Intel, where they'll receive $140 million in cash for them. The patents include hardware patents concerning interconnect technology that it used to link up multiple processors together to exchange data at high speed. Cray's shares jumped because of the news, with an increase of 24-percent to $8.75 in pre-trading, and are currently climing past $9.
Part of the deal includes around 80 of the 800 employees Cray has will be joining Intel. Cray CEO Peter Ungaro has said:
This agreement also dramatically strengthens our balance sheet and increases our options for further growth, profitability and creating shareholder value.
Google had huge expectations for their Android-based tablets back in 2010, where according to a quarterly Android review presented back in 2010 and uncovered by none other than The Verge, Google expected to sell 10 million Android-based tablets in 2011 which woud equate to a 33-percent stake in the tablet market.
Google expected another 10 million sold in 2012 with a 22-percent market share in 2012. At the time, most would've thought that was reasonable of the company to expect, but Apple have been working quite hard at their tablets and the arse kicking of the market.
How far off the 10 million mark were the Mountain View-based company? Well, they did sell just over 6 million according to Andy Rubin when he spoke at the AsiaD conference in October of last year. Definitely short of their 10 million expectation. Smartphone-wise, Google are triumphantly kicking ass. Tablets, not so much.
Way way back, at least for computers, Intel was slammed with a massive $1.45 billion fine for atni-competitive practices. This fine was levied by the EU back in May of 2009, so a long time ago at the rate technology changes. It appears that Intel will finally get a long awaited chance to appeal the fine this July 3-6.
The case is set to be heard by an EU General Court between July 3 - July 6. The details on just how Intel may challenge the fine are not known, but it could rely on an ombudsman finding that the European Commission hadn't conducted the investigation properly and, apparently, missed a meeting with Dell.
Back when the fine was first levied, EU officials found that Intel was being anti-competitive through its practices in order to dissuade PC makers from using AMD's offerings. Some of these practices accused were pricing the chips so low that it could hurt Intel's finances, but were below were AMD could compete. Intel was also accused of threatening companies that put a lot of effort into selling and marketing AMD-based offerings. More as it comes.
In the David vs. Goliath case that is Motorola vs. Apple, Motorola has gotten won a partial U.S. International Trade Commission judge's ruling in its attempts to block the import of Apple's iPhone and iPad. The judge has found that Apple has indeed violated one of the four patents that Motorola has accused Apple of violating.
The patent that the judge feels Apple has violated is one that relates to 3G technology. Bloomberg notes that "Pender's findings are subject to review by the six-member commission, which can block imports that infringe U.S. patents." However, in Germany, the same case was heard by another judge and the judge said that Apple hasn't done anything wrong.
"These are long wars, and it's one more battle in the war," said Carl Howe, an analyst with Yankee Group. "It's about accumulating as much intellectual property as possible. It's not good for innovation if you do that, but that seems to be where we're heading."
The six-member commission should complete its finding by August 23. Should it decide to ban imports of Apple's devices, it would have to go before President Obama and an appeals court that specializes in patent law. "A court in Germany has already ruled that Apple did not infringe on this patent, so we believe we will have a very strong case on appeal," Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, said.
In the aftermath of the Occupy protests, about 2000 protesters are being charged with various crimes in a special courtroom set up to oversee these trials. The judge in charge of overseeing this court has just made an important ruling which could affect all of us, but probably not. Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. ruled that Tweets could be subpoenaed without a warrant.
He drew a parallel to bank records and how they weren't property of the defendant. "Twitter's license to use the defendant's Tweets means that the Tweets the defendant posted were not his," the judge wrote in a decision filed Friday. Since I think FaceBook has similar language, I wonder just how this will affect them as well.
The judge went on to say that even though the defendant lacked standing to quash the subpoena, the prosecutors had met the low legal threshold to issue a subpoena because the prosecutors were able to show relevance to the case. The defendant's attorney plans to appeal. "I think the judge is incorrect in his understanding of the law," he said.
So like I said, this could affect all of us...if we ever end up in court.
We were staring down the barrel of Facebook's initial public offering (IPO) which is two weeks from now, but according to people "familiar with the matter", the social networking companies recent acquisitions and other business distractions are threatening to delay the IPO, reports CNBC.
Management at Facebook have been looking at a May offering, with a roadshow launch somewhere around May 7, and the start of trading late the week of the 14th, people with knowledge of the deal said. But recently, founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has been focusing more on running the business and acquiring other companies such as Instagram, than preparing for the share sale.
This is according to the same people leaking this information, which is reportedly making it hard for him and other managers to focus 100-percent on the IPO preparations. Facebook is now looking to delay their roadshow a week from May 7 to May 14, or possibly the very end of May. This would delay initial trading until mid-June.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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."
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.