Apple Delivered The Ultimate Rashomon Earnings Report Last Night (AAPL)

Here’s the funny thing about Apple’s earnings report from last night — no matter what you thought of the company, the report can easily justify your opinion.  It’s the ultimate Rashoman report.  Do you think Tim Cook is mismanaging Apple? Well, revenue was only up 4.6%, and the iPad business was down 16%.  Are you wildly bullish on Apple? Well, the iPhone was up 17%, and was way ahead of expectations. And Apple easily crushed expectations on the top and the bottom line. The stock is up 9% this morning, justifying your bullishness. Are you the sort of person that thinks Apple’s iPhone business is in trouble if doesn’t lower prices? Well, on the earnings call, Apple management mentioned the iPhone 4S seven times, and the iPhone 5S zero times. Couple that with the fact that the iPhone’s average selling price was down $41 on a quarter-to-quarter basis, the biggest drop ever, and it seems like the low-cost iPhone 4S was driving sales. And that suggests Apple should be lowering prices.  Do you think lowering iPhone prices is a mistake? Well, you’re in luck because Apple hasn’t lowered prices and it’s still selling boatloads of iPhones. You can very easily argue that Apple should just stay the course. Are you the sort of person that thinks Apple is doomed? You’re a silly person, and you’ll spin the results how you want. Join the conversation about this story »

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By |April 24th, 2014|Tech News|0 Comments|

Amazon Paid $300 Million For HBO’s Old Shows (AMZN, TWX)

Amazon and HBO just announced a licensing agreement that will let Amazon Prime members watch old HBO shows like “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” starting on May 21. Amazon will shell out more than $300 million over the course of the three-year term, according to Re/Code’s Peter Kafka. The deal comes as part of Amazon’s big push to beef up its Instant Video selection to entice more people to become Prime members for $99 a year. The company — which is also releasing a handful of original shows in the coming months  — is spending at least $1 billion building up its content catalog, according to Re/Code.  Even though $100 million a year isn’t a staggering amount for HBO, selling old shows produces high-margins for the company. (HBO did $4.9 billion in revenue last year, and had $1.7 billion in operating income.) Although there was an initial shock factor after the announcement, HBO isn’t actually doing anything too radical by selling its classic shows to Amazon. It’s done syndication in the past. The Sopranos was sold to A&E, for instance. Because it’s only handing over seasons three years after they’ve aired (and never handing over “Game Of Thrones”), there’s little risk that it will lose paying customers because they decided to switch to Amazon.  SEE ALSO: Look What Happened To Amazon’s Revenues When A Sales Tax Was Imposed… Join the conversation about this story »

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By |April 24th, 2014|Tech News|0 Comments|

Samsung’s Global Ad Account Is Up For Grabs [THE BRIEF]

Good morning, AdLand. Here’s what you need to know today: Samsung is putting its global advertising and media accounts up for review, Campaign reports. The global ad account is split between Cheil, CHI & Partners and Leo Burnett. Samsung has a lot of agencies on its roster, and the plum assignments are in the U.S. and Korea. Nonetheless, this is a hugely prestigious and potentially lucrative account on one of the world’s hottest brands. Expect drama! Viral marketer Poo-Pourri, whose last video for its odor-masking spray was viewed more than 26 million times on YouTube, is back with another ad in which its smooth-talking female spokesperson speaks frankly about pooping. Only this time, she’s taking her boyfriend to task for his bathroom transgressions. Facebook reported revenues of $2.5 billion, up 72%, but Business Insider’s Jim Edwards thinks the company is headed for a period of slow growth. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg said they don’t expect autoplay video ads and Instagram ads to be significant parts of the revenue stream in the immediate future. CP+B’s LA office was tapped to launch the next version of the popular NBA 2K video game series, NBA 2K15. Chicago’s tourism marketing organization, Choose Chicago, selected FCB Chicago as its new creative agency of record and the Chicago office of Starcom USA as its media buying and planning agency. In a new study, the Mobile Marketing Association found that 75% of video ads are served in apps. Wieden+Kennedy named global coexecutive creative director Colleen DeCourcy partner. DeCourcy joined W+K in early 2013 from Socialistic, a social media content and design agency she founded. R/GA hired Robyn Tombacher to be svp, business operations. Tombacher joins from DigitasLBi, […]

By |April 24th, 2014|Tech News|0 Comments|

PayPal Is Piloting A ‘Wearable Wallet’ For Smartwatches

Welcome to our new E-Commerce Insider newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the e-commerce industry, produced by BI Intelligence.  Click here to sign up for E-Commerce Insider today, and receive it every morning in your inbox.  PAYPAL, STARBUCKS PILOT ‘WEARABLE WALLET’: PayPal is using the Starbucks coffee shop located on its corporate campus to test a new payment method that uses beacons and wearable devices. The beacon detects when a customer enters the store, sending a push notification to the person’s wearable device (PayPal is only using Samsung devices for the test). The customer can then use their wearable device — such as a smartwatch — to buy their coffee or redeem an offer. PayPal says it’s a natural progression in beacon-enabled payments. (Mobile Commerce Daily) QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The Wearable Wallet, in particular around smart watches, has some go-to-market advantages over the mobile phone. Because the devices are issued by a non-carrier, there shouldn’t be the historical battles for access … That should accelerate the usage and adoption since there are fewer intermediary hurdles to overcome when launching a product. For many mobile payment players, it was difficult to create a business model that worked if you were paying the carrier a portion of each transaction. The Wearable Wallet can remove at least one stakeholder from the business.” — Drew Sievers, former CEO at mFoundry and now founding partner at Operative Capital. FACEBOOK’S RELEVANCE TO E-COMMERCE: During Facebook’s earnings call yesterday, chief operating office Sheryl Sandberg said online payments are not yet a major factor in the company’s business. She said that Facebook is still relevant to e-commerce though, with or without a popular payments system, because brands can reach […]

By |April 24th, 2014|Tech News|0 Comments|

A Nonprofit In Queens Helped Aspiring Developers More Than Quadruple Their Income

The New York City tech industry is still largely dominated by men, as recent data has shown, but a  non-profit in Queens is helping women and minorities get more involved in the programming industry. In addition to bringing more diversity into the New York tech scene, graduates from the program have said that their income has jumped from $15,000 to $72,190. “We saw lots of people in the City University of New York system who graduated as computer science majors but weren’t going into the tech industry,” Jukay Shu, founder of Coalition for Queens, the nonprofit behind Access Code, said to Vox. “Why was the not happening? It was a lot of access and network problems, and a lack of technical training. Tech startups don’t think of recruiting at CUNY.” The 18-week course helps students learn how to code their own iOS apps. Of 21 students, 15 graduates have accepted job offers and have seen their income grown from $15,000 to $72,190. The other six students are either still in college or are in the process of creating their own startups, Vox reports.  There’s a lack in diversity within the tech industry, as Access Code’s website acknowledges, but the Queens-based coding school says its inaugural class comes from a versatile background. According to Access Code, women only account for 12% of the developer workforce across the United States. Hispanics and African Americans only comprise seven percent.  Fifty-seven percent of Access Code’s first class was made up women, while underrepresented minorities accounted for 52% and immigrants comprised 40%. Students break up into groups to build applications, and Access Code brings in accomplished entrepreneurs offer expert advice to students. Past speakers include Patrick Moberg, founder of […]

By |April 24th, 2014|Tech News|0 Comments|

Confide, The ‘Snapchat For Professionals’, Now Has An Even Better App For Android

Confide, a private messaging app that’s being marketed as the “Snapchat for professionals,” launches on Android today. The app is basically the same as the original iPhone version that launched in January, letting you send self-destructing text messages to your contacts. But the company’s co-founder Howard Lerman told Business Insider in an interview that he thinks the Android version is even better. Before we dive into the Android version though, here’s a quick primer on how Confide works. The app lets you send other Confide users text messages that they can only view once before they disappear for good. The messages are blacked out, so you have to swipe your finger over the text to read it. This method makes it tough for someone to take a screenshot of a message since it’s nearly impossible to swipe over the whole thing at once. Here’s what it looks like when you get a new Confide message: Confide for Android does all that, with the added benefit of letting you quickly copy text from one app and sending it to one of your Confide contacts. For example, if someone sends you an email with some juicy gossip, you can use the standard share button in Android to send the text through Confide.  Like this: Lerman said Confide for Android is also more secure than a lot of private messaging apps because messages aren’t stored on your device’s flash drive. Instead, messages are stored in the phone’s temporary memory and deleted when you close the app. It’s a good workaround, considering WhatsApp got into some trouble a few weeks ago after someone discovered messages weren’t securely stored on Android devices’ flash drives, making them relatively easy […]

By |April 24th, 2014|Tech News|0 Comments|

17 Emerging Energy Technologies That Will Change The World

Policy Horizons Canada worked with futurist and data visualizer Michell Zappa of Envisioning to produce a report called MetaScan 3: Emerging Technologies and accompanying infographics. We are reproducing the summary for emerging energy technologies. Below are technologies related to energy under three key areas of accelerating change: Storage, Smart grid and Electricity generation. Energy storage involves new, cost-effective ways of storing energy, either in improved batteries, as new fuels or other ways. A smart grid is a set of technologies that pairs information with moving electricity around, enabling more efficient generation and use of energy. Electricity generation is characterized by technologies that generate power from unused sources and that more efficiently produce electric power or fuels from sources in use today. We have included predictions based on consultation with experts of when each technology will be scientifically viable (the kind of stuff that Google, governments, and universities develop), mainstream (when VCs and startups widely invest in it), and financially viable (when the technology is generally available on Kickstarter). Storage Fuel cells: Unlike batteries, fuel cells require a constant source of fuel and oxygen to run, but they can produce electricity continually for as long as these inputs are supplied. They inherently displace the need for natural gas turbines, and are ideally used for stationary power generation or large passenger vehicles such as buses (especially at energy-dense future iterations of the technology). Scientifically viable in 2013; mainstream in 2015; and financially viable in 2016. Lithium-air batteries: Advances in materials technology is enabling the advance of high energy Li-air batteries which promise an energy density that rivals gasoline, offering a five-fold increase compared to traditional Li-Ion batteries. By using atmospheric oxygen instead of an internal oxidizer, […]

By |April 24th, 2014|Tech News|0 Comments|

Why Tim Cook Decided To Do A 7-For-1 Stock Split

Last night Apple announced a 7-for-1 stock split.  It was pretty unexpected since in 2012, Tim Cook told shareholders he didn’t think stock splits did much. He reportedly said they provide a short term bump, but in the long term, they don’t do much to change things.  On last night’s earnings call, Cook explained why the company decided to do a split: We are taking this action to make Apple stock more accessible to a larger number of investors. Each shareholder of record at the close of business on June the 2nd, 2014 will receive six additional shares for every outstanding share held on the record day and trading will begin on a split-adjusted basis on June the 9th, 2014. The key phrase here is “accessible to a larger number of investors.” Apple shares are currently trading at ~$570, which makes them expensive to retail, mom-and-pop type investors. Anecdotally, I’ve had people tell me they would buy Apple shares but it’s too expensive to buy one share.  Splitting the stock makes it cost ~$81 per share, which is much more affordable for small investors.  Cook is probably sick of Apple’s shares being bought by big institutions and hedge funds, and wants to make it available to the people that buy iPhones. It could lead to valuation bump as people go to buy Apple stock just like they buy iPhones.  Another benefit of the stock split is that Apple will likely be added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow didn’t include Apple in the past because its share price was too high. Join the conversation about this story »

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By |April 24th, 2014|Tech News|0 Comments|

Xiaomi — ‘The Apple Of China’ — Actually Spent $3.6 Million On A Two-Letter URL

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi spent $3.6 million to obtain the “” URL as part of an international rebranding, one of its executives said on the Chinese social network Weibo, according to The Next Web. (Originally, The Next Web said it paid 3.6 million yuan, which is ~$577,000. It updated its story to reflect that it is actually $3.6 million. We have updated our story, too.)   Xiaomi is immensely popular in China. It makes high-quality Android smartphones, but sells them for cheap. They’re usually only available online and new models sell out within minutes. The company is often called “the Apple of China” because it evokes the same kind of fervor Apple does in the U.S. Xiaomi is now trying to expand outside China. It announced today that it’ll start selling its products in 10 new countries this year, including India and Brazil. It also announced a few new products, including a sleek-looking streaming TV box called the Mi Box Pro, which is capable of pumping out 4K, or Ultra HD, video. SEE ALSO: What it’s like using one of Xiaomi’s phones Join the conversation about this story »

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By |April 24th, 2014|Tech News|0 Comments|

Apple Is Surging This Morning (AAPL)

Apple’s stock is up 9% in pre-market trading after last night’s earnings report.  Apple delivered significantly better than expected iPhone sales. It sold 43.7 million iPhones versus analyst forecasts of 37.7 million iPhones. That represented 17% growth. Analysts were expecting low single digit growth.  Apple is the iPhone company. The iPhone was 57% of Apple’s sales. A healthy iPhone business, means a healthy Apple.  Apple also announced plans to increase its stock buyback, dividend, and stock split. Join the conversation about this story »

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By |April 24th, 2014|Tech News|0 Comments|