Business, Financial & Legal News - Page 240
US Customs stop HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE shipments at ports, the reason? Pending "investigations" of Apple patent claims
US Customs have stepped in and stopped some of the shipments of HTC's One X and EVO 4G LTE smartphones as a result of an earlier ITC order won by Apple. The ordeal is over a patent lawsuit for "data tapping" (context-sensitive text-based actions) in the browser and messaging apps on some HTC phones.
HTC have said that these features have been removed from the One X and EVO 4G LTE, where HTC are "confident" that it is in compliance with the ruling:
The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order. We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval. The HTC One X and HTC Evo 4G LTE have been received enthusiastically by customers and we appreciate their patience as we work to get these products into their hands as soon as possible.
Another research firm has confirmed that Samsung is the top cell phone maker in the world. With 86.6 million handsets sold in the first quarter of 2012, Samsung has reclaimed the title from Apple. That 86.6 million sold is 25.9 percent higher than last year's first quarter and helped give Samsung a 20.7% share of the market.
Of the 86.6 million handsets sold last quarter, 38 million of them were smartphones. Samsung's 38 million smartphones account for more than 40% of Android phones in the world. That number is huge considering not a single other handset maker has captured more than 10% of the Android smartphone market.
Nokia was thrown out of the way as Samsung flew past. Nokia, now in second place, sold 83.2 million handsets, a decrease of 22.7% from last year's quarter. "Smartphone sales are becoming of paramount importance at a worldwide level," Gartner principal research analyst Anshul Gupta said in a statement. "For example, smartphone volumes contributed to approximately 43.9 per cent of overall sales for Samsung as opposed to 16 per cent for Nokia."
AllThingsD is reporting that with sources close to the situation, investors are being told that the IPO price range for Facebook is between $34 and $38 per share. This results in the highest valuation being over $100 billion, fully diluted.
Last month, the predictions per share were at around $31, in filings related to its pending acquisition of photo-sharing start-up, Instagram. Recent ranges have put the social networking site at between $28 and $34.
Other reports have put the price between $35 and $40, so $34-$38 per share doesn't seem out of the question. The higher price is an indication that some of the reports from last week saying there was weak investor interest... but they were obviously wrong. The official pricing for the IPO for Facebook will arrive on Thursday, with a public offering on Friday under the "FB" ticker symbol on the Nasdaq market.
Kodak, in recent times, has not been doing very well, but apparently they have managed to keep a secret for over 30 years. Back in 1974, Kodak acquired a small nuclear reactor and has been maintaining the device in an underground bunker for over 30 years. The nuclear reactor was filled with 3.5 pounds of weapons-grade enriched uranium and was kept in a bunker with 2-foot thick concrete walls.
Incredibly, it seems as though very few people knew of the reactors existence. The reactor is one of only two ever made and known as a Californium Neutron Flex multiplier. The bunker in which is was located is in Rochester, New York and seemingly never caused any sort of problem through radiation leaks or other ways.
Apparently, Kodak used the device to conduct years of research. It was also used to check materials for impurities and to perform neutron radiography testing. Kodak continues to claim the device is safe and couldn't explode since it wasn't a power plant. The device had been mentioned in some research papers, but was never publicly announced.
The lawsuit between Apple against Motorola & HTC has been moved back, with the judge consolidating the disparate trials, which are made up from patent infringement claims by Apple against both Motorola and HTC, with both companies counter-claiming against Apple.
The new combined trial has been pushed back until April of 2014. Federal Judge Robert N. Scola of the Southern District of Florida approved Apple's consolidation request, in spite of the objections from both Motorola and HTC. Now that the case has been rescheduled to 2014, Motorola have lost their chance to enforce any patent suits against Apple in the short term.
Within the lawsuit, Motorola are being accused of violating 14 Apple patents, and at the moment, they have a six patent counter-complaint. Motorola gains the ability to add six other patents that it had filed a separate lawsuit for against Apple in regards to the iPhone 4S and iCloud, which potentially brings their counter-claim total to 12, from 6. HTC on the other hand benefits from the rescheduled lawsuit, as the trial is later than Apple's proposed date of December 2013, and long after Motorola's date of March 2013.
Best Buy has announced that its founder Richard Schulze will step down as chairman of the company, following the company's annual shareholder meeting to be held on June 21. Schulze is set to be replaced by Hatim Tyabji, the current chair of the audit committee and chairmand and CEO of Bytemobile.
A statement released today, Tyabji said that the story of Best Buy is a remarkable American success story and that Schulze's leadership and vision helped to change the landscape of American retail. But, Schulze's reputation could be hit, following an investigation of former CEO Brian Dunn. A story from CNET, says that Best Buy hired law firm WilmerHale to investigate the conduct of Dunn.
The investigation found that Dunn had an "extremely close" relationship with a female employee that negatively affected the work environment. This relationship between Dunn and the employee demonstrated poor judgment and a lack of professionalism but the report concluded that he didn't misuse any company resources. Dunn resigned as CEO only last month. The problem here is that Schulze found out about the incident back in December of last year, but failed to inform the board members.
The world's largest daily deals company, if you didn't already know, is Groupon. The company has proudly posted their first quarterly profit, where they reined in marketing spending while signing up more customers and merchants, with these effects driving up stock 12.5-percent higher.
Groupon now sports more than 36.9 million active customers, and has passed 100,000 merchants served in the first quarter. Groupon's after-hours rally to roughly $13.21 followed a big gain of more than 18-percent in regular trading on Nasdaq, the company's largest single-day gain since they went public in November.
Analysts have said short-sellers scrambled to cover their positions, anticipating better-than-expected results after the bell. But, the good news does come at a price. Groupon has lost more than half its market value this year, with concerns of waning demand for its daily deals, as well as the company's accounting troubles. Revenue sits at $559.3 million, compared to $295.5 million in the first quarter of 2011. So we can see year-over-year revenue is up considerably.
NVIDIA's first quarter of fiscal year 2013 is now over and the results are slightly lackluster. Don't get me wrong, NVIDIA still made money, but they made quite a bit less than last quarter. Revenue fell a few percentage points and overall net profit fell by nearly 50% to settle in at only $60.4 million.
I would blame this lackluster performance on the fact that they didn't get a Kepler GPU out until the middle to end of the quarter. As such, their products couldn't really compete with AMD's, so it's unlikely that as many people were purchasing them. NVIDIA still sounds positive, however, as this is what Jen-Hsun Huang, , president and chief executive officer of NVIDIA, said:
Kepler GPUs are accelerating our business. Our newly launched desktop products are winning some of the best reviews we've ever had. Notebook GPUs had a record quarter. And Tegra is on a growth track again, driven by great mobile device wins and the upcoming Windows on ARM launch. Graphics is more important than ever. Look for exciting news next week at the GPU Technology Conference as we reveal new ways that the GPU will enhance mobile and cloud computing.
In another move that threatens the open and free internet, Dutch courts have ruled that the countries ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay or face fines of 10,000 euros per day. That massive of a fine will likely prevent any dissenters of the ruling, however, there are always ways around the blockade as shown in the UK.
Court rulings demanding ISPs block access to The Pirate Bay are stacking up in countries and one has to ask themselves what are the effects of the blocks? In this case these blocks aren't really going to do anything as they can be bypassed pretty easily. However, the idea that the government can order censorship is the scarier prospect.
These rulings are the first attacks on the site. The Pirate Bay is no stranger to trouble with the law as many companies have sued them for copyright infringement along with governments seizing the servers. It has persevered, but it will probably get tougher to do so as more court rulings come in. I know one thing, if the US government tries to make this ruling, I will be in the masses that protest.
It's a tough economy out there still, and it's hitting some companies harder than others. Nintendo, for the first time ever, posted a loss. Now Sony has reported its fiscal year 2012 results and the picture is bleak. Sony lost a record $5.55 billion as revenue fell 9.6% to $79.2 billion. This earns fiscal year 2012 the title of being Sony's worst year ever.
Sony is doing its best to remain strong through these tough times saying that the losses are mostly due to unforeseen circumstances. These unforeseen events would include a strong yen, an earthquake in Japan, and floods in Thailand. Not every sector of Sony lost money, but a few were hit extremely hard.
The company's Consumer Products & Services division is one of those that was hit hard. In 2011, they division posted a small profit, but this year sales were down 18.5% to $38.3 billion. This created a massive $2.8 billion loss for the company. None of this surprises shareholders, however, as Sony has posted difficult quarters during the year.