Monthly Archives: April 2009

Chris Nuttall

After the hype, a supremely negative take on the prospects of the eagerly awaited Palm Pre smartphone and the company itself from Collins Stewart analyst Ashok Kumar today.

Mr Kumar says his supply-chain checks indicate that “due to multiple hardware and software issues, Palm has dramatically reduced its production orders” with its manufacturing partner. Read more

  • Time Warner moved closer to spinning off AOL, while at the same time reporting a 14 per cent decline in quarterly net profit due to a drop in online and print advertising. Disposing of AOL would untangle what many consider one of the worst mergers in US corporate history, one that has lost shareholders more than $100bn.
  • Google lost its fourth high-profile executive since March, with the departure of display ad chief David Rosenblatt, the former chief executive of DoubleClick, which Google acquired last year. Mr Rosenblatt reportedly doesn’t have another job lined up yet, but is aiming to leave Silicon Valley and move to New York.

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Richard Waters

When I caught up with Bill Hambrecht on Wednesday, he certainly wasn’t overflowing with sympathy for venture capitalists (the NVCA just launched a campaign to counter what it claims are structural obstacles that discourage young companies from seeking a listing on Wall Street, hurting VC returns.)

Asked why there weren’t more IPOs even before the financial crisis took hold, the veteran Silicon Valley financier had this to say: “I think what the [venture capitalists] really don’t like are the valuations.” Read more

Chris Nuttall

Sony opened its online kingdom Free Realms on Wednesday – its response to the success of the browser-based role-playing game, Runescape.

Britain’s Jagex has found a lucrative market among pre-teen boys and girls for Runescape, which has similarities to the world’s most successful online role-playing game World of Warcraft. Read more

  • Sun Microsystems, which last week agreed to be purchased by Oracle for $7.4bn, reported sharp losses in the opening months of this year, highlighting the impact of the recession on the computer systems company. In a departure from protocol, Sun did not host the usual conference call with investors and analysts following results.
  • IBM responded to the collapse of its own takeover offer for Sun this month with an announcement that it would return more cash to its shareholders instead in the form of a higher dividend and increased stock buy-back plan.

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Paul Taylor

Software engineers and device manufacturers continue to push up against the limits of human physiology in the search for the ultimate interface for mobile phones and other handheld mobile devices.

Thumb-operated mini-Qwerty keyboards, virtual keypads and  touch interfaces may all have their place, but perhaps the most logical interface for the mobile phone is voice?

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Chris Nuttall

Intel, which believes in investing during a downturn to the tune of spending $7bn on new manufacturing facilities over the next two years, is trying to persuade its customers to think the same way.

It released a survey and statistics on Tuesday that suggested investing in upgrading three or four-year-old computers will quickly pay for itself. Read more

David Gelles

The incessant media focus on Twitter (we’re guilty, too), coupled with a parade of celebrity endorsers (from Oprah to Lance) has excited enormous public interest in the micro-blogging service.

Eager to see what all the fuss is about, millions of people around the world are signing up to send their first “tweets.” Unique users of Twitter grew by more than 100 per cent in March, and are now estimated at 14m.

But it turns out most of those users are determining that the fuss isn’t about all that much, after all. A full 60 per cent of new Twitter users fail to tweet again the following month, according to Nielsen vice president of primary research David Martin. Read more

Maija Palmer

Phorm logoFor a little while it looked like things were looking up for Phorm, the internet advertising technology company. There had been a year of controversy about the company’s technology which monitors internet users web surfing behaviour at the ISP level – a technique known as “deep packet inspection”, which has raised accusations of spying with some privacy activists.

But at the beginning of the year, things went quiet.  There were a few positive statements about targeted advertising from UK officials like Stephen Carter, and the company launched a trial with KT, the Korean broadband provider.

Now, suddenly, the controversy is raging again. Read more

  • Verizon Communications has held talks with Apple about selling versions of either the iPhone or other Apple devices in the US. Currently AT&T is the exclusive distributor of the iPhone in the US, and the company was reportedly trying to extend that deal for another year. A lucrative deal with Apple would be a coup for Verizon, which reported strong quarterly profits from its growing mobile business.
  • Qualcomm, the world’s biggest maker of chips for mobile phones, put an end to legal wrangling by settling a four-year patent dispute with rival Broadcom. Qualcomm has agreed to pay Broadcom $891m over four years in exchange for the dismissal of all court cases and Broadcom withdrawing its complaints about Qualcomm’s business practices.

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