Yearly Archives: 2013

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

OMG! TXTING REVS TO FALL BY $23BN IN NXT 5YRS! 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.

 

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

Hannah Kuchler

The first advert on Instagram, the social photo app owned by Facebook, was published on Friday to a chorus of complaints from users. Read more

Richard Waters

Google is constantly on the receiving end of patent lawsuits: its last annual report listed challenges to 13 of its services, including Android, YouTube and Chrome.

But when a claim comes along that’s aimed squarely at AdWords, the money-minting machine on which its entire fortune rests, it has a way of grabbing the attention – particularly when the case is launched by a consortium of tech companies that include Microsoft and Apple. Read more

It is deja vue time for Sony investors as the Japanese electronics company revises down its income expectations again.

The profit warning is the latest in a slew of downgrades over the past few years – in 2011 Sony infamously downgraded its net income forecasts four times.

The red bars below are Sony’s net income forecasts for 2011 at various times, and the blue bar shows the actual net loss of Y456.7bn.

 Read more

The inventor of the 3D printed gun has trained his sights on Bitcoin, fronting a campaign to keep the virtual currency anonymous and beyond the reach of the authorities, writes Jane Wild.

Cody Wilson’s move hits back at efforts by the Bitcoin trade body, businesses and investors who have been working with officials mainly in the US to press for acceptance of virtual currencies and hasten their integration into mainstream financial systems. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Facebook thoroughly beat expectations on the back of a rise in mobile user numbers as mobile advertising now contributes almost half of ad revenue. But the social network still failed to impress investors when it told them usage was declining among younger teens and warned the switch from adverts on the right rail to the newsfeed would slow in coming months. Facebook reported earnings of $0.25, far exceeding forecasts of around $0.19.

Here is how it happened: from the share price soaring in after hours trading to a new all-time high when traders saw the initial figures, to it falling back down rapidly during the earnings call. Tim Bradshaw and Hannah Kuchler brought you the live reaction and the all details from the call.  

Tim Bradshaw

Say you’re a fairly aggressive taxi app company with a reputation for hiking prices at peak times and raising hundreds of millions of dollars to crush your competitors. What’s the one thing with enough internet love to offset your karma? That’s right: kittens.

And so it came to pass that Uber, “everyone’s private driver”, for one day only delivered kittens and cupcakes. And the internet said it was good. Even for $20 for 15 minutes of “snuggles”. Read more