Richard Waters

How much is Google prepared to spend as it searches for a breakthrough in the mobile handset business?

That question is prompted by the latest wacky-sounding ideas to come out of its Motorola division. Building-block smartphones? A vanity animation project to invent a whole new entertainment form for mobile? 

Richard Waters

Apple may have beaten Wall Street’s revenue and profit expectations with its latest quarterly earnings on Monday, but the market’s skittishness about the durability of its profit margins was much in evidence. Earnings guidance, on the face of it, seemed to point to steady margin erosion in the coming months. But Apple was able to silence the doubters – for this quarter, at least.

Read on for details of the earnings and our coverage of the earnings call as it happened.

 

Richard Waters

Step into the San Francisco offices of Climate Corporation, and the first thing you see is a giant suspended globe. It is a dramatic representation of the power of big data: cloud formations move across it in real time, attesting to the level of detail with which the company captures and models weather information.

Now, with Climate Corp’s sale to Monsanto for an up-front payment of $930m (with more cash set aside for staff retention), the big data business has its first significant acquisition, and an important vindication for those who argue that data analytics is becoming a competitive differentiator. 

Richard Waters

First, for Google’s opponents, let’s look on the bright side.

The company’s tentative deal with European regulators in April to head off a formal anti-trust complaint was, according to critics, worse than useless. In the words of Silicon Valley lawyer Gary Reback: “They were Nowheresville”.

Tuesday’s revised deal at least fixes the most glaring flaws. Whether it will do anything meaningful to change the competitive situation is another matter. 

Richard Waters

Wednesday will be a big day in the life of Lawrence J Ellison, co-founder and chief executive officer of Oracle, multi-billionaire, defending champion of the America’s Cup and head of Oracle Team USA.

It will also present an interesting test of where his true allegiances lie. As the boat he bankrolled with tens of millions of dollars faces defeat, will he choose to front Oracle’s quarterly earnings call or be out on San Francisco bay? 

Richard Waters

CEO Tim Cook sought to dispel Wall Street’s worries about falling profit margins, as Apple reported a jump in sales of older iPhone models to the emerging world. He also tried to shrug off a surprise 43 per cent sequential drop in revenues from China as a one-quarter blip that would have no bearing on huge growth still to come there.

Our live blog of Apple’s third fiscal quarter earnings call as it unfolded is after the jump.

 

Richard Waters

You’re wearing Google Glass. A stranger walks past in a T-shirt emblazoned with a QR code. Suddenly, your world changes: images you didn’t expect start appearing on the tiny Glass screen above your eye. It quickly becomes clear that someone has taken complete control of your eyewear. 

Richard Waters

Daphne Koller, one the founders of Coursera, makes no bones about the global ambition of her online higher education start-up. Thanks to huge interest in moocs (masssive open online courses) in countries like the US and UK, she says, there’s “an incredible opportunity opening up for us” to get big fast.

So why wait years to go global when investors are queuing up to push the money into your hands right now? 

Fifty years ago, after dabbling in computing at the birth of the mainframe industry, General Electric missed the chance to add leadership in information technology to its industrial heritage.

But with the shift towards cloud computing that is now taking place, it might just get another chance – although, this time around, it sees itself more as an industrial version of Facebook than the next IBM.

 

Richard Waters

A redesigned iOS was the centrepiece of Apple’s annual World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday, as CEO Tim Cook and other company executives sought to hit back at Google’s Android and prove that Apple has not lost its innovative edge.

Designer-in-chief Sir Jonathan Ive appeared only by video to talk about the new flatter, sleeker look that Apple called the most important redesign since the birth of the iPhone. Also as expected: new Macbook Airs and an iRadio music streaming service.

See below for our liveblog of the event as it unfolded.