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Investors Quiver Over Twitter's Shaky Prospects
October 29, 2014
Twitter shares closed Tuesday at $43.78, down almost 10 percent, even though the company's Q3 earnings report showed monthly active users grew 23 percent. Granted, that was down a tick from the previous quarter's 24 percent growth -- but recall the World Cup was being held at that time, driving user growth explosively. Germany's win saw Twitter use peak at nearly 619,000 tweets a minute.
Most Everything's Coming Up Roses for Microsoft
October 27, 2014
Microsoft last week announced better-than-expected Q1 2015 earnings, giving pause to its critics. Granted, net income registered a year-over-year drop. However, revenue totaled $23.2 billion, compared to the previous year's $18.53 billion. Bear in mind the results include $1.14 billion in costs related to Microsoft's restructuring plan and the ongoing integration of Nokia's mobile business.
Amazon's Cold Fire Phone Inflames Investors
October 24, 2014
Amazon on Thursday posted a net loss of $437 million for the third quarter. For the same period in 2013, it posted a net loss of $41 million. Amazon had warned shareholders when it reported its bleak second quarter performance in July that the next quarter would be equally grim. However, that did not keep investors from reacting in surprise and dismay when the Q3 report arrived.
Ello Sets Its Ad-Free Promise in Stone
October 23, 2014
Ello on Thursday made its ad-free philosophy official by incorporating it into a new company charter. Now converted to a public benefit corporation, the social network has stipulated not only that it will never make money from selling ads or user data, but also that any new owners will have to comply by those terms as well, in the event it's ever sold.
Google Takes a Flyer on Magic Leap
October 21, 2014
Magic Leap on Tuesday announced that Google was the lead investor in a $542 million round of funding for its secret endeavors. Also participating were Qualcomm, Legendary Entertainment, KKR, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz and Obvious Ventures. Details are scarce about Magic Leap's forthcoming products, but they are likely proprietary wearable technology.
IBM's Earnings Miss Gives Wall Street the Willies
October 20, 2014
IBM's earnings slipped in Q3, sending its share prices sliding 7.11 percent to close Monday at $169.10. The company announced it is unloading its Microelectronics OEM semiconductor business and manufacturing operations to GlobalFoundries. IBM will pay GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion to take over the business. IBM's bleak news is being blamed for sending the overall Dow Jones Industrial Average south.
Netflix Drives Into a Ditch
October 17, 2014
Netflix stock closed Friday at $357, up slightly from the depths it plummeted to earlier this week. Shares fell almost 25 percent in premarket trading on Thursday -- more than $110 a share -- to $338. The plunge followed news of weak subscriber growth in its third quarter. Netflix reported $1.2 billion in Q3 revenue, which was up 38 percent from the same period a year prior.
HP Does the Splits
October 06, 2014
HP on Monday announced plans to separate its major business lines into two separate companies. HP Inc. will offer PCs and printers, while Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, will focus on IT infrastructure, software and services. HP CEO Meg Whitman will be the president and CEO of HP Enterprise. Don Weisler, EVP of HP's printing & personal systems division, will be the president and CEO of HP Inc.
Restless Shareholders Pelt Mayer With Yahoo Merger Proposals
October 01, 2014
Alternative Investment Management this weekend sent a letter to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, urging her to consider merging with SoftBank. That request came a few days after Starboard Value sent Mayer a missive recommending that Yahoo acquire AOL. The proposals are independent of one another, but the investors making them are following the same line of reasoning. Shareholders want to see results.
PayPal, eBay Headed for Splitsville
October 01, 2014
eBay on Tuesday announced that its 12-year marriage to PayPal was coming to an end. The move comes mere months after eBay beat down an attempt by corporate raider Carl Icahn to peel PayPal from the online auction site. "For more than a decade, eBay and PayPal have mutually benefited from being part of one company, creating substantial shareholder value," said eBay President and CEO John Donahoe.
Sony's Mobile Malaise Lands It in Deep Ditch
September 18, 2014
Sony on Wednesday announced that it will post a loss of $2.14 billion for the fiscal year, far outpacing the loss it previously forecasted. It will take a quarterly write-down charge on the unit as a result. The reduction is due almost entirely to diminished growth in its mobile unit. Sony announced several changes to the unit, including adjusting its orientation away from sales.
Wall Street Strings Taut as Alibaba Edges Toward IPO
September 15, 2014
Alibaba's forthcoming IPO will have a significant impact on Yahoo, but it's not likely to cause many ripples in the U.S. e-commerce market overall. Although this one deal will make Yahoo more money than it has made in years of struggling, it could lead to its demise as an independent entity. "It would only take about $6 billion to control Yahoo," said Covestor's Barry Randall.
Apple's New iPhones: Ho-Hum and Controversial Too
September 11, 2014
Apple's new iPhones didn't take center stage at this week's big event. "The fact that they are ho-hum is interesting in itself," said Nick Spencer, a senior practice director at ABI Research. "Apple is now a company that follows rather than leads." Apple is "at least 18 months late with a large screen device," he pointed out, and its Apple Pay mobile payment feature is "not exactly new."
Bad News Hounds Apple Days Before iPhone Gala
September 05, 2014
Apple has been forced to do some serious damage control when it no doubt would rather be rallying fans for its big iPhone launch next week. The company on Tuesday learned that a number of celebrity accounts on its iCloud service had been cracked and some embarrassing photos posted. Then two activist groups on Thursday released a report critical of work conditions at an Apple supplier in China.
Alibaba's IPO Will Blast Mobile Retail Into Hyperdrive
September 03, 2014
It seems the long-awaited, much anticipated IPO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding is imminent. Granted, similar rumors this spring turned out to be groundless, but this time the drumbeats for the IPO are louder and more insistent. Whenever the IPO launches, it is clear that it will have a huge impact on the U.S. e-commerce space -- and the mobile retail subsector.
Salesforce Stock Climbs on Great Expectations
August 22, 2014
Salesforce.com on Thursday reported a second-quarter loss of about 10 cents per share -- but hey, who's counting? Not investors, apparently, who drove up the price of its stock 7.6 percent by market close Friday. Certainly not Wall Street analysts like Deutsche Bank, which promptly raised its target price for the company to $70.00 per share, pointing to a potential 25.65 percent upside.
Twitter Claims Legions of Uncounted 'Users'
July 30, 2014
Twitter posted healthy revenue for the second quarter -- US$312 million, up 124 percent year-over-year. Its profit? Not there yet. However, even though the company reported a net loss of $145 million, investors are likely to overlook the lack of profit for some time. Financials aside, what Twitter really wants everyone to know is that it is big -- as in average monthly user big.
What, Bezos Worry?
July 25, 2014
Amazon may wow customers with its extraordinary array of products and customer services, but its shareholders are less-than-impressed at the moment. The company on Thursday announced second-quarter losses that were nearly double what analysts had been expecting. Furthermore, Amazon informed shareholders that third-quarter earnings were likely to be just as dismal, if not worse.
Facebook Rolls in Mobile Ad Dough
July 24, 2014
Facebook chalked up $2.68 billion in ad revenue in Q2, up 67 percent year over year, and mobile ads accounted for about 62 percent of that haul, totaling $1.66 billion. "The ability of Facebook to move into the mobile ad space and to monetize it successfully was heavily questioned last year," said Andreas Scherer, managing partner at Salto Partners.
Microsoft's New Direction: One OS to Rule Them All
July 23, 2014
Microsoft will unify and streamline all its operating systems into one, and emphasize mobility and the cloud, CEO Satya Nadella told analysts in a call Tuesday after the company announced its earnings. In a nod to the growing bring-your-own-device trend, the company's devices and applications also will merge life and work. Microsoft will "consolidate overlapping efforts," Nadella said.
Tim Cook Reveals Apple's Plan for World Domination
July 23, 2014
Strong iPhone and Mac sales droves Apple to achieve record revenue for the June quarter -- quarterly revenue of $37.4 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, which is $1.28 per share and about a 12.3 percent rise in profits. Interestingly, Apple managed to bump up its profit margin, too: Gross margin was 39.4 percent compared to 36.9 percent in the year-ago quarter
Investors Wise to Secret's Tantalizing Promise
July 22, 2014
Secret last week announced that a recent round of funding, to the tune of $25 million, would help it expand its social networking reach. Since its launch about six months ago, Secret has provided a platform for users to post anonymous notes on topics ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Though its draw is anonymity, Secret points users to posts by people in their circle of friends.
Microsoft Layoff Rumor Gets Mostly Good Vibes
July 15, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella may launch a massive round of layoffs, possibly this week. Some details reportedly are still being worked out. Layoffs have been widely expected since Microsoft purchased Nokia, and Nadella's recent memo to Microsoft employees signaled they might soon be at hand. The layoffs are long overdue, said Mukul Krishna, digital media senior global director at Frost & Sullivan.
Wall Street Goes Gaga Over GoPro
June 27, 2014
Action camera maker GoPro, which went public Thursday, saw its share prices skyrocket, closing at $31.34, 30 percent over its asking price of $24. That was a rare positive note in an otherwise down market, but it has raised questions. Is the price justified, considering that GoPro has only one product? Can the company meet the challenges of going public? What about the competition?

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