Satya Nadella named as new Microsoft CEO

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 6th, 2014, 08:40
Category: Announcement, Business, Microsoft

Satya-NadellaAfter a long guessing game about who would be the next CEO, Microsoft finally announced Tuesday that it was appointing Satya Nadella to the post and adding him as a member of the Board of Directors. Nadella, who has been at Microsoft for 22 years, previously held the position of Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. He is replacing Steve Ballmer, who has held the position of CEO for 13 years following Bill Gates’ transition from CEO to Chairman of Microsoft’s Board of Directors in 2000. Ballmer will now take a position on the Board of Directors. Gates, meanwhile, makes another title change as he relinquishes his Chairman position to John Thompson and goes on to assume the role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor. There is still plenty of guessing and speculation to go around as everyone waits to see what possible fallout results from the announcement. Many speculate that some of Microsoft’s executives, who were in the running to take a seat in the CEO chair, may move on to jobs outside of Microsoft now that the decision is made. Also of interest will be Nadella’s vision for Microsoft now that he is in the driver’s seat.

Will subscribers of Amazon Prime still think it’s a good value at $119?

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 4th, 2014, 08:46
Category: Amazon, Business, Finance, Opinion, Services

amazon-money1Last Thursday, Amazon reported their holiday quarter earnings and things didn’t look good. Their overall revenue was up 20% at $25.59 billion but analysts expected sales to come in at  just over $26 billion. This sounds very similar to the report of Apple’s earnings, which were good, but given the thumbs down for not meeting analysts’ expectations?  Unfortunately, Amazon’s net income of $239 million missed estimates by a huge margin. During the call, Amazon cited the rising cost of fuel and transportation for the increase, as well as the high frequency of orders from Prime members. As a result, Chief Financial Officer Tom Szkutak suggested that it may raise the price of Amazon Prime memberships between $20 and $40 per year (currently $79), bringing the total annual cost of the service up to as much as $119.

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Acquisitions and the annoyance of abandoned apps

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 31st, 2014, 13:00
Category: App Store, Apple, Apps, Business, Developer, Google, iPhone, Opinion, Services, Software

pirate_skull_crossbones_square_sticker-r77418cb09c3345e7b8854da982e2526a_v9wf3_8byvr_512Yahoo! has just acquired Incredible Labs, which developed the Donna personal assistant app for iPhone. The latest update on the Donna blog makes it clear what the fate of the app and service will be;

“The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close shortly. Following closing, Donna will be removed from the app store and discontinued as a service.”

No date has been given, but they are likely to follow the model where users will be given a window of a few months in order migrate their data and find a new solution. I’m not personally a user of Donna, however if I was I’d be pretty upset.

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Motorola Mobility finds yet another new home…minus a few bits

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Date: Thursday, January 30th, 2014, 19:29
Category: Android, Business, Finance, Google, Mobile Phone, Patents

logo-moto-footerThis Wednesday, Google CEO Larry Page announced that they were selling off its Motorola Mobility division to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. Google had acquired Motorola in 2012 to help boost development of Andoid, with speculation that they would use it to create more of its own branded hardware and ecosystem. At the time, Google paid $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola and its cache of patents. Apparently the division was not fulfilling its promise, hence the sell-off. However, what appears to be a huge loss for Google may not be so bad after all.

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Tim Cook hints at possible mobile payment feature

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014, 13:40
Category: App Store, Apple, Business, iOS, iPhone, iTunes, Retail Store, security

touch-id-iconApple’s earnings numbers weren’t the only thing that came out of Monday’s call. As is typical, analysts were given the chance to put some questions to CEO Tim Cook. Also typical, Apple’s answers were fairly vague. When asked about Apple’s plans for entering the mobile payment space and how Touch ID technology might be applied, Cook responded;

“[...] we’re seeing that people love being able to buy content—whether it’s music or movies or books, from their iPhone using Touch ID. It’s incredibly simple and easy, and elegant, and it’s clear that there’s a lot of opportunity there.

The mobile payments area in general is one that we’ve been intrigued with. That was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID, but we’re not limiting ourselves just to that. So I don’t have anything specific to announce today. But you can tell by looking at the demographics of our customers, and the amount of commerce that goes through iOS devices versus the competition that it’s a big opportunity on the platform.”

A number of reports have speculated that Apple plans to offer the ability to purchase online and physical items through a user’s iTunes account, which for most iPhone users already has their credit card information. Touch ID would be used as an added layer of security by not exposing the credit card info itself, simply passing off the transaction to iTunes. In the light of the recent hacking of Target’s customer credit card info, along with other similar incidents in the recent past, iPhone users may find mobile payments more appealing. Authorizing transactions with Touch ID then steps in to make payments quick with additional protection of a customer’s information. This could give Apple some leverage to increase the adoption of their iBeacon technology. If you’ve ever used the Apple Store app on your iPhone to buy something at their retail stores, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how it would all work together. Now the only thing you need to do is not feel oddly guilty when you grab a product, scan it with your iPhone, and walk out the door without talking to anyone.

Apple earnings good but not great

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 27th, 2014, 19:18
Category: Announcement, Apple, Business, Finance

apple-moneyThe business and financial markets are a kooky thing. You can make a ton of money, even more than the previous year, but if it’s not as much as other people expected, you’ve failed. That is essentially what Wall Street is saying after todays earnings announcement from Apple. As a result, Apple stock price fell almost 6%. That is in spite of the fact that Apple sold a record setting number of iPhones and iPads, and better Mac sales than it did in the same quarter of last year. Apple made $13.1 billion in profit on $57.6 billion in revenue, driven by sales of 51 million iPhones and 26 million iPads. In addition, Mac sales in the first quarter clocked in at 4.8 million which was up from 4.1 million a year ago. That seems like it should be a win right, but the market predicted Apple to post $58 billion in revenues on sales of around 56.5 million iPhones and 24.5 million iPads. Seems a tad nit-picky if you ask me, but if you believe CEO Tim Cook, Apple couldn’t be happier;

“We are really happy with our record iPhone and iPad sales, the strong performance of our Mac products and the continued growth of iTunes, Software and Services. We love having the most satisfied, loyal and engaged customers, and are continuing to invest heavily in our future to make their experiences with our products and services even better.”

Well, I guess you can’t everybody, but as far as I’m concerned, Apple is healthy and doing great.

Apple’s iOS App Store nets $10 billion in 2013

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 10th, 2014, 09:26
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Apps, Business, Finance, iOS, iPhone, Software

apple-moneyAccording to an announcement by Apple on Tuesday, the company took home more than $10 billion last year from iOS app sales. Christmas sales put them over the top with customers downloading almost 3 billion apps, making December Apple’s most lucrative and successful month in the App Store’s history. BusinessWire’s coverage of the record setting sales quoted Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue;

“We’d like to thank our customers for making 2013 the best year ever for the App Store. The lineup of apps for the holiday season was astonishing and we look forward to seeing what developers create in 2014.”

Apple also reported that iOS developers have now earned a collective $15 billion from sales on the App Store.

Apple promises more diversification in executive positions

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 7th, 2014, 09:44
Category: Apple, Business

apple_logoRecently, Apple has been on the receiving end of criticism and pressure from its shareholders that there isn’t enough diversification among its current board members. Currently, Apple has only one woman among board of eight executives, and one incoming female member of their executive team that will report to CEO Tim Cook. In response, Apple recently added language to a board committee charter vowing to diversify its board. According to Bloomberg.com, shareholders met with Apple representatives several times in the past few months and said they would bring the issue to a vote at a Feb. 28 shareholder meeting. They said they backed off after Apple added language to the charter that promises to consider women and minorities as board candidates, without making any specific commitments. Apple isn’t the only one either, Bloomberg also reports that only 17 percent of board seats on Fortune 500 companies and 15 percent of executive officer positions were held by women in 2013, as determined by Catalyst Inc., a non-profit researcher on the subject.

Apple to hold it’s fiscal Q1 2014 earnings call on January 27 at 5PM ET/2PM PT

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 7th, 2014, 09:10
Category: Announcement, Apple, Business, Finance

apple_logoApple posted the date of its first quarter earnings release and conference call on its Investor web page, announcing the date to be January 27th. MacRumors notes that the release will…

“… provide a look into initial iPad Air and Retina iPad mini sales during their first quarter of availability as well as iPhone 5s and 5c sales throughout the holiday. Apple reported a record number of iPhone/iPad sales during fiscal 2013, at 150 million iPhones and 71 million iPads. In its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call, Apple guided expected revenue of $55–58 billion and gross margin between 36.5 and 37.5 percent. If the company meets even the low end of that guidance, it will count as the strongest quarter for Apple in history.”

It is expected that CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer will be on hand for questions. Apple will live-stream the earnings call via its Investor website. A link to the upcoming broadcast should show up on the web page in the coming weeks.

Tim Cook takes self-inflicted pay cut

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 31st, 2013, 08:43
Category: Apple, Business, Finance, News

Tim-Cook-to-be-declined-Double-Salary-Bonus-by-AppleI remember the days of Gil Amelio (sorry to single you out Gil) and other CEOs of Apple who basically ‘took the money and ran’. In those days, the “golden parachute” was the norm for essentially kicking out CEOs who weren’t helping the company. Definitely a weird practice. Then Steve Jobs came back and famously paid himself a salary of $1.00 per year…yes, 1000 pennies. Of course he received a truckload of stocks which paid off more than a salary would have, and was also good PR. Now it appears that Tim Cook may be taking a page from Steve’s handbook by sacrificing some of his profits as a result of poor Apple stock performance in 2013. According to Apple, Tim Cook wanted to “…set a leadership example in the area of CEO compensation and governance.”.

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