The Apple CEO has had no shortage of advice from Wall Street lately on what to do with his company’s $137bn cash mountain. Hedge fund manager David Einhorn thinks he should issue a new class of preferred stock that would appeal to investors looking for yield. A combination of a higher dividend and stock buybacks that raised Apple’s three-year payout plans from $45bn to $60bn might be less radical but could be effective, according to Brian Marshall of ISI.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs technology and internet conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, he talked about his views on big acquisitions (he’s considered them seriously), the legal battle with Einhorn (“a silly sideshow”) and whether Apple needs bigger or cheaper iPhones to expand its market. Read more
Forget all the dire warnings about the disruptive effects of mobile: for Google at least, tablets are on some measures starting to look like a better business than PCs, even if smartphones still lag.
That’s according to digital marketing company Marin Software, which has just published the results of its latest survey of global search trends. The amount of money spent on search advertising on tablets has already eclipsed smartphones – and with advertisers getting more bang for their buck on tablets than on PCs, the redirection of ad dollars looks set to continue. Read more
Why is it that text-to-speech services so often come with that cool-yet-sexy synthesised female voice straight out of a male fantasy?
Ivona, a Polish company, is no exception, judging by this avatar from the company’s website. She is likely to be coming to more Kindle devices soon, following Amazon’s acquisition of the company on Thursday. The most tantalysing question, though: Is Ivona also Amazon’s answer to Siri and a sign that it will soon be in the smartphone business? Read more
Could a Dell no longer weighed down by the anchor of its original PC business carve out a new future of growth as an enterprise technology company?
That is the only conceivable rationale for a potential buy-out that has once again become a hot topic of conversation on Wall Street. But it will take a strong nerve to call the bottom at a time when Dell’s PC business looks to be in free-fall. Read more
There are few greater indignities for a tech company than to be sought out by investors chasing dividend yield. The industry was founded on growth: yield is for old-economy investors who can’t stomach the risk of investing in the next big growth markets.
So spare a thought for the PC world, which in remarkably short order has become the tech world’s high-yield haven. After years of talk about a post-PC future, the alarms are now sounding loudly: rather than growth, accelerating decline is assumed in Wall Street’s forecasts. Read more
Victory on the main issue raised in the US anti-trust investigation of Google – the charge of search bias – is likely to remove any self-imposed limits the company has observed while under intense regulatory scrutiny over the past two years (Google’s own response, hinting at more aggressive competition to come, certainly suggested as much.)
Another consequence, noted by former FTC official David Balto: Any hopes that rivals had about riding on the back of regulatory action to bring their own private lawsuits have been dashed.
But in the area of patents, at least, the concession Google has made to end a US anti-trust investigation could have wider ramifications. Read more