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Hard-Pressed Pebble Sheds 25 Percent of Workforce
March 29, 2016
Pebble -- once viewed as the little smartwatch company that could -- last week cut its worldwide workforce by 25 percent, according to news reports. That's reportedly about 40 people, but actual figures are hard to come by because Pebble is privately held. The company has raised $46 million, but CEO Eric Migicovsky blamed the layoffs on the difficulty of raising funds in Silicon Valley these days.
Salesforce Springs Some Q4 Surprises
February 26, 2016
Salesforce shares held strong on Friday, following Thursday's spike on the company's release of a fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report that beat Wall Street estimates and raised revenue guidance for 2017. The stock finished up 11 percent Thursday, at $69.42, and held the gains on Friday, closing at $69.11. Fourth-quarter revenue was $1.81 billion, an increase of 25 percent from a year ago.
Yahoo Sets Itself Up for Buyout
February 20, 2016
Yahoo on Friday announced that it has hired banking advisers and formed a committee to explore its strategic alternatives, the latest indication that it's serious about pursuing a possible sale. The committee, along with advisers Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase and PJT Partners, will identify and recommend to the board transactions that it deems beneficial to employees and shareholders.
Groupon Flies High on Alibaba Investment
February 17, 2016
Groupon's stock slipped a little on Wednesday, following Tuesday's dramatic 40 percent spike on the news that Alibaba had purchased about a 5 percent stake in the company. Alibaba last week disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had bought about 33 million shares of Groupon. The disclosure boosted shares of Alibaba, as well as the struggling Yahoo, which owns a stake in Alibaba.
Twitter's New Algorithm Raises De-Democratization Fears
February 10, 2016
Twitter on Wednesday gave users the option of using a new algorithmically organized feed that would deliver more relevant messages -- not necessarily the newest -- first. The new approach to disseminating tweets was spearheaded by Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey, who is under pressure because of the company's lack of growth. Compared to other social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter is lagging behind.
Twitter Clobbered Over Timeline Algorithm Plans
February 9, 2016
Twitter plans to introduce an algorithmic timeline, possibly this week, according to a report last week. The algorithm would organize tweets based on relevancy. Twitter users criticized the idea using the hashtag #RIPTwitter, prompting CEO Jack Dorsey to respond: "Regarding #RIPTwitter: I want you all to know we're always listening. We never planned to reorder timelines next week."
LinkedIn Stock Tanks Despite Company's Professed Confidence
February 8, 2016
LinkedIn last week lost about $11 billion in market valuation after it provided a 2016 revenue forecast that fell short of analysts' expectations. The company's stock fell by as much as 44 percent Friday afternoon, with shares hitting a three-year-low of $108. LinkedIn generated $862 million in revenue in its fourth quarter of 2015, a 34 percent gain year over year.
The Next President's Alternative Energy Agenda
February 4, 2016
Alternative energy has become a real growth engine during the last several years. It seems to bounce up and down, depending on the leadership in the White House. President Obama is a supporter, so growth has been relatively strong in recent years. The big question is, what will happen under a new president? That is a question every investor and industry worker is asking.
Virtual Reality May Be Coming Around Again for Nintendo
February 3, 2016
Nintendo is looking into virtual reality, 20 years after its failed Virtual Boy console, suggest reports that surfaced Tuesday. Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima reportedly described VR as "interesting technology" during an earnings call to discuss the company's Q3 financial report. With VR finally poised to break into the mainstream, it could find a way forward by returning down an old path.
Alphabet Leapfrogs Apple to Top of the Heap
February 3, 2016
Google's new parent, Alphabet, sent a tingle up the spine of investors on Monday after reporting fourth quarter earnings that exceeded expectations. The good news sent its share price skyward, resulting in a market valuation that surpassed Apple, which for years has been the most-favored technology firm on Wall Street. Alphabet reported adjusted earnings of $8.67 per share.
Facebook Bathes in Q4 Mobile Magnificence
January 28, 2016
Facebook on Wednesday reported earnings of 79 cents per share on $5.84 billion in revenue for Q4 2015, and annual revenue of $17.93 billion, an increase of 44 percent year over year. Net income for the full year ended Dec. 31 was $3.69 billion. Analysts reportedly had expected per-share earnings of about 68 cents on revenue of $5.37 billion for the quarter.
Sprint to Lay Off Thousands of Customer Service Reps
January 28, 2016
Sprint plans to lay off about 2,500 employees, including five vice presidents, according to news reports this week. About 2,000 of the cuts are in customer service. The company reportedly will close or reduce operations at six customer care centers: at its Overland Park headquarters in Kansas and in Colorado, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Wall Street Backs Off Apple
January 28, 2016
Their fears confirmed, investors were bearish on Apple Wednesday, the day after the company reported its slowest-growth quarter ever. The company's shares closed the day at $93.44, down 6.55 percent. In its Q1 earnings report, Apple prepared investors for what may come next: its weakest quarter for iPhone sales in 13 years. Even worse is its gloomy forecast for next quarter's iPhone sales.
GoPro Shooters Can Send Live Streams Up Periscope
January 27, 2016
GoPro on Monday announced an integration with Twitter's Periscope app that allows live streaming from a GoPro Hero4 camera. Periscope users can switch between broadcasting from their iPhone's camera to their GoPro directly from the phone screen with the touch of a button, GoPro said. The feature allows GoPro shooters to use the Periscope interface like a production switchboard.
iPhone Sales Could Be Slowing
January 26, 2016
In the runup to the release of Apple's Q1 2016 earnings report Tuesday, one of the big unanswered questions was whether the iPhone could maintain its sales momentum. Q1 2015 iPhone sales hit a record 74.5 million units, and it's possible the latest quarter's shipments may not equal -- let alone exceed -- that mark. IDC has forecast of slowing sales industrywide for 2016.
Execs Exit as Dorsey Works to Reshape Twitter
January 25, 2016
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Sunday announced that four executives have exited the company. Alex Roetter and Kevin Weil, who managed the engineering teams responsible for generating ads; Katie Stanton, who helped guide the international offices; and Skip Schipper, who oversaw HR and recruiting, all have departed. Roetter, Weil and Stanton each had been with Twitter for more than five years.
Foursquare Shifts Gears
January 16, 2016
Foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley has assumed a new executive role, and the company has raised $45 million in a new round of funding led by Union Square Ventures. Crowley has moved from his perch as CEO into the newly created position of executive chairman, which will let him focus on developing new products. Jeff Glueck, who served as COO for the past year, has taken the CEO helm.
Time Warner Possibilities Put Glint in Apple's Eye
January 14, 2016
Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes this week hinted at a meeting with investors that he might consider a sale of the company, according to a news report. Apple, which reportedly is interested in purchasing Time Warner or its media assets, is keeping a close eye on the discussions. Buying Time Warner's assets would give the flailing Apple TV streaming service much-needed programming.
Apple Execs' Salaries Go Up as Stock Goes Down
January 9, 2016
All but one of Apple's top team received a pay raise in 2015, according to a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week. While Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president for retail and online stores, didn't get a raise, she's still pulling down the highest executive compensation at the company at $25.8 million. Her compensation in 2014 was $73.4 million.
Investor Calls for Leadership Changes at Yahoo
January 7, 2016
Activist investor Starboard Value, which has dogged Yahoo over the years, on Wednesday sent a letter to the company demanding it make changes or face a proxy fight. Yahoo "made the right decision" by suspending the Alibaba spinoff, but "the continued downward spiral of Yahoo's core Search and Display advertising businesses" has been "frustrating for us, and likely for you," the letter states.
Fitbit Shares Surge on Healthy Downloads
December 30, 2015
Fitbit shares earlier this week climbed several percentage points after the company's app topped the iOS charts over the Christmas holiday. The Fitbit app was the top free app downloaded from Apple's App Store on Christmas Day. It was already the most downloaded app in the store's fitness and health category. It wasn't just downloads that told the story of Fitbit's success, however.
Disgruntled Yahoo Investors Suggest Different Paths Forward
December 16, 2015
Two Yahoo investors, acting independently, have publicly called for radical changes or a potential sale of the firm. Both Canyon Capital Advisors and SpringOwl Asset Management apparently were unappeased by last week's announcement that Yahoo would spin off its core Internet business. Canyon Capital Advisors on Friday sent a letter urging Yahoo to find a buyer for its core Internet businesses.
Atlassian Surges in Eye-Popping IPO
December 14, 2015
Atlassian last week exceeded expectations with its initial public offering, beginning trading at more than $27 per share, about 30 percent higher than the $21 issue price. That means the company -- trading under the ticker "TEAM" -- was valued at about $5.6 billion Thursday. Atlassian's shares closed at $27.78. The company, founded in 2002, is best known for its Jira and HipChat products.
Yahoo Spins in Reverse
December 9, 2015
Yahoo on Wednesday announced that its board of directors decided to suspend plans to spin off its Alibaba holdings and instead will undertake a reverse spinoff, transferring its other assets and liabilities to a newly formed company. The stock of the newly formed company will be distributed pro rata to Yahoo shareholders, resulting in two separate publicly traded companies.
Ballmer Points Out Error of Microsoft's Ways
December 4, 2015
Former CEO Steve Ballmer on Wednesday called out Microsoft on finance reporting and its app strategy for Windows Phone. CEO Satya Nadella this summer laid out his vision for the company in a letter to employees. It included a Windows 10 strategy founded on universal apps, software that could be scaled to Xbox One, Window Phones, tablets and desktops. That's the wrong way to go, Ballmer asserted.
Investors Buying In Following Salesforce's Q3 Stunner
November 19, 2015
Salesforce shares rose to an all-time high Thursday, after the company reported better-than-expected Q3 revenue and raised earnings estimates for 2016. Salesforce reported earnings of 21 cents a share and a revenue increase of 24 percent to $1.71 billion, compared with a year ago. The company is on pace to become the fourth largest enterprise software company in the world.
Time for Apple to Broaden Its Model?
November 16, 2015
Apple shares have been sliding since Credit Suisse last week warned of weaker-than-expected iPhone 6s demand. Credit Suisse lowered its earnings estimates for calendar year 2016 by 6 percent, based on Apple cutting component orders by as much as 10 percent due to the weak demand. Credit Suisse lowered its calendar year estimates to 222 million units from 242 million units.
HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Go Separate Ways
November 2, 2015
The long-awaited split of HP's personal computer and enterprise operations has taken place, and CEO Meg Whitman clearly faces the most challenging crisis of her career -- trying to save a legacy business from being buried by the sands of time and progress. HP on Monday began its first official business day as a house divided into two brand new $50 billion enterprises.
Google Views Itself Through Machine Learning Lens
October 26, 2015
Google CEO Sundar Pichai last week lit up his first earnings call with accounts of a solid third quarter and machine learning dreams that could permeate all the company's products. As the call drew to a close, investors asked about the vision for machine learning. Google has been rethinking everything it has been doing, and doing so through the transformative field of machine learning, he said.
Amazon Rides High on Profit Stunner
October 26, 2015
Amazon last week stunned Wall Street by releasing third-quarter earnings that blazed past consensus estimates on the strength of its growing cloud services business and surprisingly strong response to its efforts to boost membership in its Prime program. Shares rose almost 7 percent to $601.72 in late trading Friday. Net income was $79 million in the quarter, or 17 cents a share.
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