Monthly Archives: November 2013

Hannah Kuchler

Apple, the world’s largest public company by market capitalisation, has a problem. The lawyer appointed to ensure it is not price-fixing e-book sales is just too expensive.

The iPhone and iPad maker complained to the New York court this week that Michael Bromwich’s $1,100 an hour fee is “excessive” and he has not justified it as either “reasonable” or customary”. Read more

Richard Waters

It’s financing season for cloud storage. With Dropbox reported to be looking for another $250m and Box working towards an IPO, the company hoping to stake a claim to being the number three independent name just took in a more modest round of $34m.

Hightail – the new name of file-transfer company YouSendIt – has been in the business longer than its bigger rivals and needs to step on the gas if it wants to be a player in a market that is destined for consolidation before long. Read more

Richard Waters

Europe may be more sensitive to breaches of online privacy, but the US has levied larger penalties when things go wrong.

The latest case in point: the $17m that Google agreed on Monday to pay to a group of US states and the District of Columbia to resolve complaints that it circumvented cookie controls in Apple’s Safari browser. According to Google’s critics, however, it is still too easy for the company to buy its way out of trouble. Read more

Is there any privacy in the afterlife? In the FT this weekend, April Dembosky looks at what happens to personal data after death. Here, she adds a coda on how social media is recycled into memorials – regardless of the wishes of the deceased’s loved ones.

Of the various digital details Jennifer Kwong had to deal with after her fiancé’s death, the mass media’s trawling of social media sites was not one she expected. Read more

Hannah Kuchler

Pinterest, the online scrapbook recently valued at $3.8bn, will allow companies including Walmart, Nestle and Random House to show off the most popular pins about their products on their own websites. Read more

The smartphone as social enterprise: that is the pitch for Moto G, the latest product from Google-owned Motorola that went on sale on Wednesday for $179.

It also makes business sense for the struggling division, which might find it easier to rise above a pack of voracious competitors by focusing its efforts on faster-growing, more malleable emerging markets. Read more

Some newspapers hate Google, so trust the Economist to be contrary and hire its executive chairman.

The Economist Group said that Eric Schmidt (pictured) had joined its board for a three-year term.

Schmidt is, of course, only the latest internet evangelist to get his hands grubby with news. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos paid $250m to buy the Washington Post, while eBay’s founder Pierre Omidyar is investing a similar amount in an investigative outlet to be fronted by Glenn GreenwaldRead more

Chris Nuttall

The PlayStation 4 is a key element of Sony’s attempt at a turnaround under Sir Howard Stringer’s successor Kaz Hirai, and the first reviews are now in on the new console, which goes on sale in the US on Friday. Read more

Industry watchers scrutinise Apple announcements as hard as a customer might look at its high-resolution Retina displays, trying to see the individual pixels that are supposed to be indistinguishable to the human eye.

Thus, this morning’s announcement – that the iPad mini with its own new Retina display is now on sale – will be subject to the usual intense analysis. Read more


Richard Waters

There was plenty of self-congratulation going on between Twitter and its advisers on Thursday. They had just avoided a repeat of the messy Facebook IPO: Twitter is officially the new darling of Wall Street.

But did they err in the other direction instead and massively under-price the offering? Read more

Twitter began life as a public company today as it started trading on the New York Stock Exchange in the most closely watched initial public offering of the year.

The San Francisco-based company priced its shares on Wednesday at $26 a piece. It will raise about $2.1bn by selling 80.5m shares, or about 13 per cent of the company.

The shares closed up 73 per cent at $44.90.


Robin Kwong

Who says the PC is dead? Lenovo’s notebook sales rose 8 per cent year-on-year in the three months to September, a period when global industry shipments fell by 12 per cent.

Fiscal second quarter results on Thursday showed clearly that the Chinese company is not just the world’s biggest PC maker, it is also the only one that has its act together: Acer this week lost its second chief executive in three years, HP still has at least three years to go in its turnaround plan, and Dell has retreated from the public markets to nurse its wounds. Read more

Activision Blizzard’s $1bn number for sales of its latest Call of Duty game sounds impressive – at double the $500m in first-day sales it announced last year – but these figures have a hard-to-grasp ghost-like quality to them. Read more

So this is it. Google’s revised offer to settle the European Commission probe into its search business has been described extensively in the press. But the actual text and screenshots of how new Google searches will look under the proposal were not published, much to the annoyance of the complainants asked for confidential feedback. One of the parties has decided to revolt and set the documents free. We’re publishing them here in full.

 Read more

Sarah Mishkin

A Beijing customer buys two new iPhone 5s

A customer celebrates buying two new iPhone 5s at the Wangfujing flagship store in Beijing

When Xiaomi, a popular Chinese smartphone maker, overtook Apple’s market share in China the second quarter, the shift prompted a double take by consumers and investors who had never heard of the small but growing brand.

The ascent was short-lived. Apple’s two new iPhones have proved popular in China, enabling the US company to shoulder past Xiaomi in the market share rankings for the three months ended in September.

But Apple and everyone else are still miles behind the clear market leader — Samsung, which now has a fifth of China’s smartphone market, up from 14 per cent in the third quarter of last year. Read more


For the first time in eight years, almost the entire top management team at Samsung Electronics will present themselves on Wednesday before an audience of about 350 analysts and investors at Seoul’s Shilla Hotel.

The full-day event will feature addresses from eight executives, who will also take questions. Chairman Lee Kun-hee and his son, vice-chairman Jae-yong, will not be on stage – but this represents a rare opportunity for the audience to press senior figures about Samsung’s long-term strategy, writes Simon Mundy.

So what are the key questions surrounding the future of the world’s biggest technology company by sales? Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Rihanna gives away a personalised HTC phone on stage

How badly is smartphone maker HTC doing?

By many measures, very badly. October sales are down 13 per cent year on year. Revenue next quarter could be as low as NT$40bn, a third less than the same quarter last year and lower than analysts’ expectations. And after reporting its first ever quarterly operating loss as a company in the third quarter, it shows no sign of returning to profit in the fourth.

But one measure in particular, released today with its full third quarter results, shows the Taiwanese company’s travails — its accounts payable. That measures how long it is taking the company to pay its bills to its suppliers, who make the parts of its phones. Read more

Richard Waters

Helpouts is just the kind of big, ambitious project Google should be working on. A marketplace for people to sell – or just donate – their knowledge and expertise through live video sessions, it’s an all-embracing platform covering everything from the simplest how-to advice to full, personalised masterclasses.

So why does it feel like a re-run of Knol, the crowd-sourced Google knowledge base that was closed in 2012 after a four-year run? Read more

Hannah Kuchler

Until Twitter revealed its list of principal shareholders in its initial public offering filing, few knew who actually owned the company.

But now a new book published on Tuesday reveals how three co-founders split the stock and why Evan Williams may be the only one to become a billionaire from the offering.

 Read more