Penalties of up to $16,000 could be assessed for each call
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided that Dish Network is liable for making 57 million phone calls in flagrant violation of telemarketing laws, including calling members of the "Do Not Call" list established by the US Government. A trial has been set for July in Illinois, with penalties of up to $16,000 possible for each violation. The Department of Justice filed the complaint at the FTC's request in March 2009. The US Department of Justice, on behalf of the FTC, is jointly litigating the case with four state co-plaintiffs -- California, Illinois, Ohio, and North Carolina.
Nearly doubles rival Samsung's sales, equals all combined competition
Apple's share of the US mobile phone market has nearly doubled following the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 in October, a new study has revealed. The report, by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, finds that the iPhone went from 28 percent of the market in the July-to-September quarter to just over 50 percent in the final three months of the year, an improvement even over the same time the year before, when the iPhone 5s was released.
New retail head claims more than any other Apple executive
The extremely high compensation package given to Apple's new retail head -- Angela Ahrendts -- was in large part to pay for the stock she abandoned with her early departure from Burberry, Apple explains in its SEC filings. In total, she received $73.4 million last year, beating out any other executive at the company. Since May, she has accumulated roughly $70 million in Reserved Stock Units (RSUs); of this, $37 million was specifically addressed toward the lost Burberry stock, though most of the Reserved Stock Units (RSUs) are not presently sellable, and are contingent on continued employment.
Acquisition of O2 by parent company of competitor Three could cost $15.4B
Telefonica, owner of British carrier O2, and Hutchison Whampoa, the parent company of competitor Three, have confirmed they are in talks over a potential acquisition, following earlier reports. The two have entered "exclusive negotiations," which could see O2 change hands for an estimated £10.25 billion ($15.4 billion) if discussions between the executive teams succeed.
J. Crew Group CEO will retire from Apple's board after 16 years
In a new filing with the SEC, Apple revealed on Thursday that CEO Tim Cook has been able to double his total compensation from that of last year, with the increase based largely on performance bonuses based on how well the company has done over the last year. In addition to $1.75 million in salary, Cook reaped $6.7 million in non-equity incentive compensation for his work. In addition, Apple disclosed in the filing that board member Millard "Mickey" Drexler will retire.
Alleged leaked document suggests Samsung considered BlackBerry purchase for months
Samsung is still interested in acquiring BlackBerry, according to rumor. A document allegedly created by investment bank Evercore Partners for Samsung seems to suggest Samsung has been mulling over a purchase of the competing smartphone producer for some time, and according to sources, is still very much interested in the prospect despite denials from both BlackBerry and Samsung.
Loss driven by pension, benefits adjustments; revenue climbs
Verizon has released its fourth quarter and annual financial report. Total operating revenues in the fourth quarter were $33.2 billion, a 6.8 percent increase compared with the fourth quarter of 2013. Full-year 2014 operating revenues were $127.1 billion, up 5.4 percent (or $6.5 billion) compared with full-year 2013. Howeveer, even given the revenue growth, the company posted a $2.1 billion loss for the quarter, cutting its annual profit to $12 billion.
Qualcomm chips dropped due to over-heating issues found in testing
A new report citing unnamed sources has claimed that Samsung will discontinue use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor in the forthcoming Galaxy S6 due to quality control issues. The Snapdragon 810 reportedly overheated in testing by Samsung, prompting the switch to the company's own Exynos line of processors, which it has used for certain editions of the flagship phone in the past.
Claims company knowingly infringed on two 3D UI patents from 1996
Apple has been named in a new lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Wednesday by patent non-practicing entity (NPE, often nicknamed "patent troll") TriDim Innovations. The NPE accuses the iPhone maker of knowingly infringing on a pair of patents from 1996 that covers a 3D workspace user interface, and claims that the company's Cover Flow technology, bought from Steel Skies in 2006, violates the two patents. Time Machine and Mobile Safari in iOS 7 and 8 also use the technology.
Company encouraged by results, expecting lower revenue for FY2015
After eking out a profit in two consecutive quarters, chip manufacturer AMD erased those gains with a massive loss. Despite its GPU processors being used in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and what the company calls a "solid" holiday quarter, AMD announced revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014 of $1.24 billion, with an operating loss of $330 million and net loss of $364 million, or $0.47 per share. This compares to the year-ago quarter, where the company made $1.59 billion in revenue, with a net income of $89 million.
New investors get just under 10 percent ownership stake
Today SpaceX released a succinct announcement that $1 billion had been raised in the latest financing round from two new investors -- search and advertising giant Google, and investment bank Fidelity, which now have a combined ownership share of "just under 10 percent" in SpaceX. Up until now, the company had been relying on investments from traditional venture-capital funders, but Google has its own agenda for helping the startup.
Transactions traced between Ulbricht, Silk Road Bitcoin accounts
The latest update in the trial of Ross Ulbricht's involvement with the controversial but now-closed Silk Road contraband market site involves Ulbricht's collection of bitcoins. A researcher who has audited the stash claims that approximately 20 percent of Ulbricht's bitcoin funds were transferred directly from Silk Road to his accounts, a transaction that would have been worth close to $3 million based on the value of the digital currency at the time.
Worker morale highest by far at iPhone maker; HP and IBM below average
Financial analyst UBS and its research offshoot UBS Evidence Lab has polled workers at a number of major tech firms, and found Apple and its enterprise partner IBM at opposite ends of queries about the management, values, culture and business outlook for the companies. In the report, Apple was -- by a significant margin -- the leader in all categories, while IBM came in last in all categories among the seven firms surveyed, said analyst Steven Milunovich.
Likely a third will go to legal fees; plaintiffs may see $4,000 each
More specifics have been revealed in the second proposed settlement offer from Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe in a lawsuit stemming from the companies' informal "no poaching" agreement. The new proposal has the four companies willing to pay a combined $415 million, up from the previous settlement's $324.5 million, to end the anti-trust lawsuit. US Federal District Court Judge Lucy Koh will need to approve the proposal before it can be finalized.
Increasing focus on FCC in ongoing struggle to codify access to broadband
February might not shape up to be such a great month if you're a large national Internet provider in the US. Not only will the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) be voting on the adoption of net neutrality rules FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, all but confirmed would be Title II-based in an interview at CES last week, but it's also possible the commission will be voting on petitions supported by President Obama to overturn laws in several states that are purported to block the build-out of broadband Internet access on the municipal level.
Company increasing research budget, pushing Internet of Things
Chip manufacturer Intel posted quarterly and annual financial results earlier today. For the fourth-quarter, Intel posted revenue of $14.7 billion, operating income of $4.5 billion, net income of $3.7 billion and earnings per share of $0.74. On the year, the company reported full-year revenue of $55.9 billion, operating income of $15.3 billion, and a net income of $11.7 billion. The company generated approximately $20.4 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $4.4 billion, and used $10.8 billion to repurchase 332 million shares of stock.
Purchase could cost $7.5B, provide Samsung with BlackBerry patents
[Updated with BlackBerry denial] BlackBerry could possibly be the target of an acquisition, with a report claiming Samsung may be looking to buy the Canadian smartphone producer for a hefty sum. Details from a source, along with documents, were allegedly provided to Reuters, suggesting Samsung may be willing to pay as much as $7.5 billion to take control of the company.
Reports initially claimed patent was Apple invention
The reassignment of a Kodak-held remote control camera system patent to Apple has been blamed for a 12.17 percent drop in GoPro shares on Tuesday. The patent is credited to three people -- Keith Stoll Karn, Marc Krolczyk, and Kazuhiro Joza -- who reassigned it to Kodak in 2012. Apple acquired a variety of Kodak patents that year, however, as part of one of two consortiums that raced to snap up some of the bankrupt imaging company's intellectual property.
Group representing $30.6 billion in holdings want unequivocal statement
Telecommuncations carrier Verizon has often said that it supports the concept of net neutrality, but its actions undermining the concept have annoyed investors, who are now putting pressure on the firm to embrace the concpt. A group of shareholders represented by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Trillium Asset Management, has re-submitted a proposal expressing support of net neutrality, lack of support for "paid prioritization," and calling for Verizon management to comply.
Chinese smartphone maker denies story, emphasizes good relations with partners
Last month, China's top smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi raised $1.1 billion in investment capital to help fuel expansion plans. However, prior to its successful fundraising round, CEO Lei Jun invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to his home for dinner, where the two discussed the possibility of an investment by the social media company.
Sensor supplier gave Apple 'sweetheart deal' that hurt profits, suit charges
A new lawsuit filed against gyroscope and accelerometer supplier for Apple, InvenSense, accuses the company of failing to tell investors about the concessions it made to secure a recent deal. InvenSense parts are used in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Executives should have warned investors, the suit alleges, that Apple was given a "sweetheart deal" that would hurt profits. "Instead of revealing the true condition of the company and its prospects, defendants hid those facts from investors and chose to issue strong guidance and paint a picture of a bright future with a new mega-customer," the complaint reads. More seriously, the suit charges that investors were led to buy stock at inflated prices, while insiders sold off $5.3 million in shares.
Sales up in India, Mac sales higher, suppliers announce record earnings
While the idea that Apple probably had another record-breaking holiday quarter (what the company calls fiscal 2015 Q1) is unsurprising to all but selected pundits, a spate of reports released on Monday may be painting a general portrait of not just significant improvement, but more importantly growth in key areas of importance both to investors and analysis as well as to the health of the company. Sales of Macs look to be way up, iOS devices are selling much better in a key foreign market, and Apple's suppliers are flourishing -- all signs that point to better-than-expected quarter.
Carrier now covers potential 256 million people in the US; CEO calls year 'record-breaking'
Last month, T-Mobile CEO John Legere made a number of predictions about the coming year in a humorous (and almost entirely swearing-free) Christmas video. Now that 2015 is here, T-Mobile's Q4 2014 and full-year 2014 numbers have been released, showing a net total of 8.3 million new customers for 2014 -- with 2.1 million of those joining the "un-carrier" in the final quarter.
Holiday season expected to give Apple another record-breaking quarter
Apple has announced that it will release the results of its fiscal first quarter of 2015 on Tuesday, January 27. An earnings call is scheduled for 2PM PT that day, or 5PM Eastern, but the company typically issues a press release about 30 minutes beforehand. Barring unexpected developments, the call should include commentary by CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri as they respond to questions from analysts and investors, and is expected by most pundits to result in a record quarter for the company.
Slim margins, heavy advertising impact profits for otherwise-popular devices
In a blog post of all the notable developments in the mobile market for 2014, industry analyst Chetan Sharma includes a number of observations about Android hardware and its profit margins. The primary one is that the Android device manufacturer community suffered its "most significant ever" drop in profits during 2014, with earnings having dropped 50 percent from expected levels across 2014.
Top activated device was iPhone 6; rivals far behind, many not even a factor
Mobile analytics firm Flurry posted new data on the holiday buying season on Monday, and summarized its findings on global mobile devices purchases for Christmas in a single sentence: "It's clear that Santa is no longer into cookies -- he prefers Apples." On a worldwide scale, 51.3 percent of mobile activations between December 19 and Christmas Day were Apple devices, outstripping the combined might of all competitors and leaving each individual company -- even Samsung -- far behind.
Overall carbon footprint down 27 percent over last eight years
On Monday, Apple updated its previously-released 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report and its Environmental Initiatives website with new figures covering both fiscal 2013 and some revised figures from fiscal 2012. Due to a recalculation of energy use in 2012, the company now says it reduced carbon emissions for that year by three percent -- and that while energy use overall has increased 44 percent since fiscal 2011, the carbon footprint has been offset dramatically by the use of renewable resources.
Debenture payoff forces loss for the quarter, CEO promises profit in FY 2016
Cellphone manufacturer BlackBerry has published its most recent quarterly results. While the company is trumpeting a return to profitability, it still incurred a fair value debenture charge, forcing the company to post a $148 million loss on the quarter, or $0.28 per share. Without the debenture, it would have posted a modest profit of $2 million. While it appears that the cost-cutting measures are starting to pay off, given the improvement in the loss numbers, the company showed a 34 percent drop in revenue over the year-ago-quarter, suggesting that the road ahead for the company is still challenging.
Whole Foods, McDonald's, Walgreens seeing biggest jump in usage
A study by research firm ITG suggest that Apple Pay -- introduced in October -- is already accounting for one percent of all digital payments - for comparison purposes, the three-plus-year-old Google Wallet system holds about four percent of digital payments. The firm also noted that those using Apple Pay increased spending using mobile payments, and tended to use the technology frequently -- resulting in a jump in sales at top merchants that accepted Apple Pay, such as Walgreens, Whole Foods and McDonald's.
Broad proposal gains specifics; Internet penetration in Cuba about five percent
In a fact sheet released on Wednesday, the White House has outlined some of the ways normalization of relations with Cuba will impact trade and travel. The document covers not only how many cigars Americans can bring home with them from trips to the island nation, but encouraged telecommunications companies to improve the Cuban people's connection to the rest of the world.
Apple will get a little less, other creditors more in revised agreement
The judge in the New Hampshire-based bankruptcy court overseeing the legal wrangle between Apple and its former sapphire production partner GT Advanced Technologies has signed off on a revised agreement between the two companies that is intended to stave off additional court proceedings that could tie up the matter for years, from creditors who were concerned that Apple was getting paid first. The new deal doesn't change the fundamental tenets of the agreement, but allows other creditors more funds from the first sales of GT Advance's furnaces.
BT enters acquisition exclusivity agreement with Deutsche Telekom, Orange
British Telecom has confirmed it is looking to acquire a carrier in the United Kingdom, with EE being their primary target. BT has entered into an "exclusivity agreement" with Deutsche Telekom and Orange to acquire EE in its entirety, which if completed will mean that BT will own a mobile phone network for the second time in its lifetime.
South Korea, China fail to come to agreement on battery tariffs
Despite celebratory press releases issued in November by President Obama and the Chinese government trumpeting an imminent deal, international talks designed to dramatically cut technology tariffs by up to $15 billion worldwide have collapsed. The deal, had it been completed, would have reduced the price of technological consumer goods, and generated hundreds of thousands of jobs worldwide in all aspects of technology manufacture, design, and sales, according to the two governments.
CFO Mark Garrett says company as 'completed' transition to subscription business model
As part of its fourth quarter and 2014 financial report, Adobe announced its agreement to acquire stock content marketplace Fotolia, and a new, often wished-for, collaboration feature in its Creative Cloud suite. Saying the firm had successfully transitioned to its subscription-based business model, CFO Mark Garrett said the company now expects revenue to grow sequentially every quarter of the year, rather than only when upgrades are announced.
Apple essentially spending all that it makes in US market on shares and shareholders
A new analysis by Above Avalon's Neil Cybert suggest that in order to avoid patriating foreign profits -- which now make up the majority of Apple's revenues -- the company is raiding its US cash reserve and ongoing US revenue to fund its ambitious stock-buyback and dividend programs. Of an estimated $155 billion in cash reserves, Apple has only around $18 billion in the US. Cybert believes that Apple will spend around $30 billion in 2015 on dividends and buybacks, keeping the foreign profits offshore until more favorable tax rates are enacted.
US' leading carriers seeing increased competition from T-Mobile, Sprint
In the telecom industry, "churn" is the rate at which subscribers jump from one service to another, and it appears to be increasing with 4G cellphone subscribers during the present quarter. So much so that both AT&T and Verizon have indicated to investors that their margins may be "impacted" in Q4 by the loss of subscribers, and the promotional efforts it will take to lure them back from rivals such as T-Mobile and Sprint.
Blog post by CEO promises Uber will become a humble company
Ride-hailing service Uber has increased its warchest, after its latest round of funding brought in $1.2 billion. The extra funds come at a turbulent time for the company following various negative reports, though CEO Travis Kalanick claims upcoming changes to the way the firm is managed will lead to a "more humble company" in the future.
Buying back stake claimed to help separation of Nook Media from retail business
The commercial agreement between Microsoft and Barnes & Noble is ending, the retailer has revealed. The termination of the two-year partnership is said in the latest quarterly earnings report for the book retailer to help "further rationalize the Nook business and provide a clearer path for the potential separation of our retail and Nook Media business.
AT&T claims it will adhere to fiber build, but freezing any new expansion plans
Following the US Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) demand for more information about a "frozen" fiber buildout, AT&T has responded to the call late yesterday. The company claims that the announced expansion of the gigabit network is not actually frozen -- only new, unannounced expansions have been halted in the wake of the FCC's net neutrality and Title II regulation discussion, though the announcement was seen a thinly-veiled threat against the FCC.
Company didn't warn about dangers in Apple contract
A Louisiana lawfirm, Smith Segura & Raphael, has filed a class action lawsuit against GT Advanced on behalf of investors. The case alleges that GT "failed to disclose the significant risk" it would incur in its sapphire supply deal with Apple, which it announced on November 4 of last year. Apple agreed to pay GT $578 million in four installments, with the expectation the latter would start paying it back in 2015. GT was unable to meet Apple demands though, which resulted in delayed payments, the withholding of the final one, and ultimately GT's bankruptcy on October 6, followed by the company being delisted from the NASDAQ.
Apple not given what it wanted; Samsung appeals, Apple filing shortly
Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing the myriad Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trials, has partially granted a motion by Apple. The ruling would allow the Cupertino manufacturer to collect post-judgement royalties on ongoing sales of some Samsung devices -- but the amount received will be less than Apple wanted. The motion, filed for the second Apple versus Samsung trial, covers two patents -- data detectors and "slide to unlock" -- and specifically covers 10 products and other devices that infringe on the patent or are not "demonstrably different" than the infringing products.
Pre-November record dates back to September 2012
Apple's market capitalization has temporarily surpassed $700 billion in early Tuesday stock trading, setting an all-time record for the company. The company's previous peak -- ignoring gains earlier this month -- was $658 billion, achieved in September 2012. Shortly after achieving the figure -- the first publicly-traded company to ever do so -- Apple stock prices dropped substantially and took some time to recover. At closing, it had been reduced to around $660 billion.
Retailer points to third party payment processors as guilty party
Five banks are suing retailer Target over the infamous "Black Friday" data breach in a federal lawsuit. In a hearing yesterday before US District Judge Paul Magnuson, Target claimed that the bank's losses weren't the retailer's fault, as they happened at the point of sale in many stores that the corporation claims it is not responsible for, as opposed to a central failure in corporate data services - therefore, the Minnesota and US Plastic Card Security Act provisions don't apply.
Strength of iPhone 6 demand, Apple Watch predictions to fuel growth, analysts say
Two leading investment and analysis firms have joined with others in raising AAPL target prices recently, in part because the stock has already outperformed most expectations on its most recent bull run. Longtime Apple analyst Gene Munster from Piper Jaffray has raised his target from $120 to $135 on the strength of iPhone 6 demand, while Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty raised her view to $126 per share from the previous $115, which the stock has already surpassed. The two join a growing list of AAPL bulls.
Lack of production experience, ineffective leadership to blame for bust-up, Apple says
More details on the collapse of the GT Advanced Technologies deal with Apple were made available today, as sources have reported that a letter sent by Apple to other creditors in the GT Advanced bankruptcy case reveals more details on why the partnership collapsed. Included in the letter were pictures of defective sapphire boules produced by GT Advanced, pointed to by Apple as the main reason the company went under -- it contracted to produce high-quality boules of the material, but simply couldn't produce enough usable product.
Note-holders want settlement hearing postponed, access to internal documents
[Update: Judge has delayed settlement hearing until December 10] Other creditors left holding the bag after the surprise bankruptcy of GT Advanced Technologies are crying foul over the proposed settlement between Apple and the sapphire-making company, which is due to be ruled on at a hearing next week. Note-holders such as Aristeia Capital have complained to the court that charges from GT Advanced executives that claim a "bait and switch" arrangement from Apple that forced the company into bankruptcy require investigation, and "call into question the adequacy" of the proposed settlement.
Some current employees may be able to continue working in revamped facility
The sapphire manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona owned by Apple but currently occupied by the now-bankrupt GT Advanced Technologies will eventually be re-purposed by the iPhone maker, according to a report from Mesa City Manager Chris Brady. This could allow some employees, who are looking at possible layoffs as early as this month, to continue working at the facility. Currently, GT Advanced is being allowed to remain in the facility rent-free through the remainder of the year in order to wind down operations.
Reduction in Samsung smartphone launches an attempt to reverse drop in profit
Samsung plans to release fewer models of smartphone next year, in an attempt to improve its profit margin following its most recent quarterly financial results. The electronics giant's head of investor relations Robert Yi advised it will be reducing the number of device variants released in 2015 down by between 25 and 30 percent compared to 2014.
CEO Krzanich emails company, confirms shift
Perhaps burdened by the weight of the "post-pc" era, Intel is planning to combine its PC and Mobile Chip groups into a "Client Computing" department. The shift will take place in early 2015, and will consolidate marketing, production, and staff into one department serving both needs of the company. The division will be led by the PC Client group chief Kirk Skaugen. Mobile's lead Herman Eul, a veteran of Infineon Technologies, has been asked to help with the transition until his new position is generated in 2015.
Analyst firm believes Apple will sell 20 million units in first full year
The Apple Watch is not yet out, and is expected to entirely miss the holiday buying season this year -- and may not even hit the alleged internal goal of coming out before Valentine's Day -- but is still expected to sell some 20 million units in its first year, according to analyst Amit Darayanani of RBC Capital Markets. The firm raised its target price on AAPL from its current $115 a share -- a goal likely to be accomplished before the year's end -- to $120. Darayanani predicts the average selling price of the Apple Watch range will be about $520.