First QuickTime update in nearly three months focuses on security
In addition to an avalanche of updates ranging from major to security-patches-only, Apple has released QuickTime 7.7.7 for Windows, the first update to the multimedia technology since early April. The update fixes a clutch of security issues with the QT Media Foundation, which could allow a maliciously-crafted file to lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. The root cause of the issue, multiple memory corruption issues, were addressed through improved memory handling.
Microsoft hands technology licenses, collected data to Uber
Uber is significantly bolstering its mapping operations and research, by acquiring technology and staff from Microsoft for an as-yet undisclosed amount. Map-related assets from Bing are being passed on to the app-based taxi firm, reports TechCrunch, with approximately 100 employees also being transferred over as part of the purchase, in yet another navigation-related acquisition from the transport company.
Split expected to occur on July 8
Online auction giant eBay today announced that its board of directors has approved the completion of the previously announced separation of eBay and PayPal into independent publicly traded companies. The separation will occur through a pro rata distribution of all of the stock of eBay's subsidiary PayPal Holdings to eBay stockholders. The stock distribution still awaits necessary regulatory approvals, both in the US and overseas.
Deal puts advocates for Net Neutrality, Open Internet under Verizon control
As predicted by Verizon when it announced the deal, Verizon Communications and AOL today announced the successful completion of Verizon's tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of AOL for $50 per share in cash. As a result, AOL shares will no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and AOL is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon. The sale includes AOL properties like Engadget, The Huffington Post, and Tech Crunch -- all staunch defenders of Net Neutrality and the US Federal Communication Commission's Open Internet regulation.
Apple recalls, in-depth E3 game announcement coverage, more
As you might expect from a podcast with our title, most episode tend to lean heavily on the Apple-related news of the week, though we generally make sure to spend at least a little time on other big tech stories outside Apple's sphere. To celebrate our 20th episode, and because the big event was this week, we spend the majority of our time on the E3 gaming conference and its many announcements. Fear not, regular listeners, there's still Apple news a-plenty!
Speculation about merger consideration by Asus
HTC is not entertaining the prospect of being acquired by Asus, following recent reports suggesting such a transaction could be on the way. The smartphone producer has been forced to comment following reported comments made by Asus chairman Johnny Shih about the potential purchase, but HTC claims it will not be considering any acquisition attempts by the computer manufacturer in the near future.
Complaint similar to 2011 investigation against Apple, publishers
The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation into Amazon's business practices around e-book distribution and sales. The Commission will in particular investigate certain clauses included in Amazon's contracts with publishers that require publishers to inform Amazon about more favorable or alternative terms offered to competitors.
Latest Microsoft acquisition follows recent pattern of productivity app purchases
Microsoft is continuing its productivity app acquisition spree, with yet another purchase. 6Wunderkinder, the Berlin-based development team behind to-do list app Wunderlist, has been acquired by the software giant, in what is potentially a move for Microsoft to either add features from the app to its own Office productivity suite or simply rebrand it, in a similar manner to two previous app purchases in the last six months.
Formative stage merger talks could be beneficial to both T-Mobile, Dish
Dish Network is in discussions with T-Mobile over a potential merger, a report claims. According to sources of the Wall Street Journal, the two companies are said to be at the "formative stage" of the merger talks, with the potential purchase price still yet to be decided upon, but the eventual structure of the combined company has already apparently been sorted out, with Dish CEO Charlie Ergen becoming chairman and T-Mobile CEO and President John Legere becoming the CEO.
Combined company expects to pull down $15 billion in annual revenue
Avago Technologies Limited and Broadcom Corporation today announced that they have entered into an agreement under which Avago will acquire Broadcom in a cash and stock transaction that values the combined company at $37 billion. Upon completion of the acquisition, the combined company is expecting to generate combined annual revenues of approximately $15 billion.
The newest hardware, trends in industry, and possible Photoshop errors are our topics
Thanks to a combination of the Memorial Day weekend in the US (and bank holiday long weekend in the UK) along with continent-spanning long travel days for your MacNN editor, the process of putting the final touches on this week's episode of the growing-nicely and award-eligible MacNN Podcast was delayed by a couple of days, for which we apologize. As usual, we spent time on the weekend reviewing the top tech stories of the week, and bringing you our analysis.
New Time Warner Cable acquisition follows failed attempt by Comcast
Time Warner Cable has become the subject of another acquisition, barely a month after the attempted merger between TWC and Comcast failed. This time, Charter is the potential suitor to the cable company, with it providing $100 in cash and half a share of the "New Charter" parent company in exchange for each TWC share, a price that effectively values Time Warner Cable at approximately $55 billion.
Uncertain number of positions in smartphone software and app development lost
Earlier this month BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, said he believed the company was on track to be profitable again. At the time, Chen stated that design was key in the company's efforts to continue selling handsets while capitalizing on the fact that services were the primary source of income. Possibly contrary to Chen's remarks, BlackBerry has announced plans to cut employees from the device side, primarily from the smartphone software and application development area.
Company continues to collect navigation- and map-based companies
On Sunday, Apple confirmed that it had acquired precision global positioning company Coherent Navigation, a small business that worked on military-grade precision navigation systems, robotics, and autonomous navigation technology. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Coherent, which was founded in 2008, "focused on creating commercial navigation services based on partnerships with companies like Boeing and Iridium, the satellite network operator," according to the former CEO's LinkedIn page.
New spec includes 4k, object-based sound compatibility
The Blu-ray Disc Association yesterday announced completion of the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification. In addition to delivering content in up to 3840x2160 resolution, the Ultra HD Blu-ray format enables delivery of a significantly expanded color range and allows for the delivery of high dynamic range and high frame rate content.
May strike deal with Alibaba ahead of long-stalled Union Pay to move forward
[Updated with Tuesday meetings information] In a move to underscore the importance of the rapidly-growing Chinese market, Apple CEO Tim Cook has opened a social media account on Sino Weibo, and has told the Chinese press that negotiations with regional banks and credit card partners in China to bring Apple Pay to the country continue. The iPhone maker has had trouble reaching an accord with UnionPay, the largest credit-card issuer in the country, but may be bypassing the stalemate by striking a deal with Alibaba.
AOL purchase provides Verizon with major online advertising, publishing business
Verizon has signed a deal to acquire AOL, the telecoms company has revealed. The purchase will see Verizon paying out $50 per share of AOL stock, a transaction estimated to be worth $4.4 billion, which the company claims will help its LTE wireless video and "over-the-top video strategy," along with helping it support Verizon's Internet of Things (IoT) platforms.
Google Play adds option to pre-register for Android apps
Android users are now able to pre-register for apps due for release in the near future on Google Play. According to Android Central, Glu Media's Terminator Genisys: Revolution game currently gives the option to sign up for an alert when the app is released, allowing them to buy it as soon as it becomes available. The same system also allows users who have registered their interest to unregister, if they no longer want a release alert for the app.
Uber allegedly joins fight to acquire Nokia mapping arm
Uber has apparently placed a bid to acquire the Here mapping arm of Nokia, according to a report. The New York Times claims the company has placed a bid in the region of $3 billion for the mapping technology, though it still has competition from other sources, including a collection of German car manufacturers working with Baidu, as well as another offer from an unnamed private equity firm.
Company has more cash than most US industry sectors combine, Moody's finds
Apple, which is closing in on holding some $200 billion in cash, is well known for being one of the richest companies on the planet. A new report from Moody's Investors Service release on Thursday notes that the iPhone maker actually held more cash on hand at the end of 2014 -- when it had $178 billion -- than most US industrial sectors put together, surpassed only by the whole of the tech sector, the financial sector and the medical industry.
Spent $99M in two consecutive quarters on costs associated with TWC purchase
Comcast's failed attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable cost the cable company a considerable amount of money, according to analysis of its earnings reports. While the transaction would have cost $45.2 billion if it did indeed go through, Comcast has apparently spent at least $336 million to get the purchase moving over the last five quarters, before it ended.
Multinational tax haven ruling will wait to prevent sacrificing the rule of law
Europe's anti-trust agency, the European Commission (EC) will miss its own internal deadline for a ruling on the tax probe it has underway against Apple, Starbucks, and Amazon. Citing the need for justice and accuracy in its ruling, EC chief Margrethe Vestager said that "we will not sacrifice the rule of law or the quality of our work to speed up the process."
Stylus technology could help Microsoft improve handwriting input in apps
Microsoft has acquired the technology behind the Surface Pen used in the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3. The acquisition from Israel-based patent holder N-trig allows Microsoft to invest in improvements to the stylus, as well as making it harder for other tablet manufacturers to use the same technology in newer tablets, without Microsoft's agreement.
Commission may demand back taxes avoided due to Irish corporate tax laws
Apple has filed its latest quarterly report with the US government, and in so doing noted that an ongoing European Commission investigation of Ireland and its government's corporate tax rate could "require Ireland to recover from the company past taxes covering a period of up to 10 years reflective of the disallowed state aid," calling that potential amount "material." While difficult to gauge, the eventual impact could be in the billions for Apple.
Mobile plummet may be halted by Galaxy S6 launch
Samsung has posted its quarterly earnings statement, missing analysts' and Wall Street estimates by nearly eight percent. The company reported income of 4.63 trillion won ($4.35 billion), notably lower than its 7.49 trillion won ($7.04 billion) it posted the same time last year, and the 5.35 trillion won ($5.03 billion) it posted last quarter. The vast majority of the declining profits came from what appears to be a struggling mobile division of the company pre-Galaxy S6 release, posting 2.74 trillion won ($2.58 billion) in profit, down from 6.43 trillion ($6.04 billion) won this time in 2014.
Spherical video software will help GoPro produce content for VR headsets
GoPro, the action camera manufacturer, is joining other manufacturers in the virtual reality market, by acquiring French startup Kolor. Specializing in spherical media, namely 360-degree videos and the associated software, the Kolor purchase will help provide GoPro with a way of creating content for the slowly-growing VR headset market and content stores.
Alleged debt problems may prompt Ouya sale at auction in future
Ouya, the Kickstarter-funded Android game console, may be in significant financial trouble. The company is looking to sell itself at auction as soon as possible, according to an allegedly leaked memo reportedly sent to investors, with the sale prompted by the company's failure to restructure it's hefty debt, and potentially being used as a way to rectify itself financially.
Buyback program will add another $50 billion, dividend set at $0.52
On Monday, Apple announced major increases in dividends, as well as an increase in both the share buyback program and total capital return to investors. Apple will expand its buyback program to $140 billion, an increase of $50 billion over the current program. Dividends will increase starting with fiscal Q2, rising to 52 cents per share from 47 cents per share -- and the company has reiterated that there will be more dividend increases annually.
Apple Watch debut doesn't materially affect debut, China growth up sharply
Unexpected strength in Mac sales along with the previously-predicted strong staying power of the iPhone 6 line has helped Apple see record-breaking performance for a fiscal second quarter this year. The company sold more than 61.17 million iPhones, about 80 percent of the number sold during the holiday quarter, which is usually followed by a drop of about 40 percent. Macs sold 4.56 million units, another record for a fiscal Q2 and up 10 percent year-over-year.
Analysts expect continued monster iPhone sales and pressure on iPad's share
Last month, Apple announced that its financials for fiscal Q2 2015 would be released on April 27. Just one day before the conference call, analysts are rushing to get their predictions out regarding what is very likely to be another monster quarter for the company. The short version is that the iPhone will continue to drive the lion's share of revenue and grow sales from the year-ago quarter, while the downward pressure on earnings from the iPad will continue -- and nobody's really sure what's going to happen with the Apple Watch.
Future uncertain for AT&T and DirecTV merger, future suitors for TWC
As expected, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have both walked away from the blockbuster merger deal, citing governmental resistance from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. In a statement about the collapse, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that "we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn't agree, we could walk away."
Company in the middle of model shift from Windows to services revenue
Microsoft today announced that revenues for the quarter that ended March 31 grew to $21.7 billion. Net income, however, was a bit less than expected, coming in at $5 billion -- a 12 percent drop from the same quarter a year ago. These financial results include $190 million of integration and restructuring expense related to Microsoft's turnaround plan, and the ongoing integration of the Nokia Devices and Services business.
Company points to foreign exchange rate issues, maintains execution excellent
Despite posting sales figures of $22.7 billion, e-retailer giant Amazon has posted a net loss of $57 million in its first quarter of business of 2015. Net sales increased 15 percent to $22.72 billion in the first quarter, compared with $19.7 billion in first quarter 2014. Excluding the $1.3 billion unfavorable impact from changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales increased 22 percent compared to first quarter 2014.
Company posts income of $3.6 billion for the quarter
Google today announced financial results for the quarter that ended on March 31. Google's first quarter revenue was $17.3 billion, up 12 percent from the same time period of 2014. Income for the company hit $3.6 billion, up from $3.5 billion, sitting in the middle of its own guidance, as well as meeting Wall Street estimates. The company's cash on hand and marketable securities grew to $65 billion, from $59 billion in the previous quarter.
FCC, Department of Justice threatening deal
Facing stiff opposition from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as well as staunch opposition from the Department f Justice and members of Congress, Comcast is reportedly going to drop plans to acquire Time Warner Cable. A final decision will be made today, and an announcement of the breakdown could be as soon as Friday, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Apple is three-quarters to previously-unthinkable all-time world record
Although it is well-known that Apple is the world's most profitable and most highly-valued publicly-traded company, most of the public and even many investors are unaware that its market valuation of nearly $750 billion now puts it 75 percent of the way to world record that has been a dream of investors for decades: the world's first company valued at $1 trillion. A Virginia-based investment bank now believes Apple will reach that goal by 2016.
Company points to acquisitions, costs growing stifling profit growth
Facebook today reported financial results for the quarter that ended on March 31. Revenue for the first quarter of 2015 totaled $3.5 billion, an increase of 42 percent, compared with $2.5 billion in the first quarter of 2014. Revenue slightly missed Wall Street estimates, with the consensus being $60 million more than the company reported. On the strength of user growth, revenue from advertising was $3.3 billion, a 46 percent increase from the same quarter last year. Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 73 percent of advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2015.
Wall Street estimates missed badly, stock taking a hit
Chip manufacturer AMD continues its financial slide. AMD yesterday announced revenue for the first quarter of 2015 of $1.03 billion, an operating loss of $137 million and net loss of $180 million, or $0.23 per share. AMD's results fell far short of Wall Street estimates for the company, which is attempting to maintain consistent profitability.
Over 40M Netflix subscribers in United States, $1.57B total revenue
Netflix has crossed the 60 million members barrier, the streaming service revealed in its latest quarterly results. Globally, it now has 62.27 million members in total, 59.62 million of which are paid, and reflects a quarterly increase of 4.88 million users. In the United States, total members reached 41.4 million, with paid subscribers nudging past another milestone, with 40.32 million subscribers.
Acquisition will help Nokia bolster network services, research efforts
Nokia has confirmed rumors it was interested in acquiring Alcatel-Lucent to increase its network technology holdings, by announcing it will do just that. Subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, the boards of the two companies have agreed to a purchase price of 15.6 billion euros ($16.5 billion) in stock, more than double the cost of what Microsoft paid for Nokia's mobile business.
Rumored sale of Here could aid Nokia in acquiring Alcatel-Lucent wireless business
Nokia is looking into the possibility of selling off its mapping business and apps, a report claims. The remains of the company, following the sale of its smartphone business to Microsoft last year for $7.2 billion, is apparently planning to hand off its Here maps business in order to focus on its wireless network division, and is said to have already received some interest.
Contested tax code a patch for decades of tax law allowing Irish loophole
As previously reported, the Diverted Profits Tax, also known as the "Google Tax," has come into effect in the United Kingdom today with very few changes to the proposed law. The tax law requires companies to list revenue and profit from other countries, aiding officials to determine if profits are being transferred elsewhere against UK tax code and making them subject to the tax.
Proposal to rescue majority of 1,740 RadioShack stores approved by bankruptcy court
A plan to co-brand the majority of remaining RadioShack stores with Sprint has been approved by a US bankruptcy court. The approval will give the carrier a large number of extra outlets, with its brand appearing on the signage of a number of the 1,740 remaining RadioShack locations, as part of a wider plan to try and keep the stores open and to safeguard approximately 7,500 jobs.
Apple to release fiscal second quarter report on April 27
Apple has announced that it will reveal the results of its fiscal second quarter of the year (which ends today) on Monday, April 27 at 2PM Pacific, or 5PM Eastern. The company generally offers a press release shortly after US markets close at 4PM Eastern. Analysts are expecting sales to be up from the year-ago quarter, but down around 25 percent from the holiday quarter.
Remainder of locations will re-open on April 4 with Best Buy branding
Canadian technology retailer Future Shop has essentially been absorbed into parent company Best Buy overnight. While 66 locations were completely shut down overnight, 65 locations will be reborn as Best Buy stores on April 4. Reports scattered across Canada are seeing employees being notified of the closure and their future employment status as they arrive for a Saturday shift at the store.
CEO calls recovery on track, Wall Street not so sure
BlackBerry is declaring a win on restructuring efforts, despite plummeting revenue. The company today reported a profit of $28 million for the last quarter despite currency exchange issues, and still falling sales. Wall Street was expecting a $5 million loss on the quarter, with $734 million in revenue -- well more than realized by the company.
Acquisition of rival carrier by Three owner could create largest UK mobile carrier
The owner of British carrier O2 has agreed to sell the company to Hutchison Whampoa, the result of negotiations between the two owners which started in January. Telefonica, the owner of O2, has confirmed it will be handing over the carrier for £10.25 billion ($1.53 billion), with the deal still to receive regulatory approval before it can close completely.
Raid in 2013 first step in hunting down diverted Apple profits
The Italian government has concluded its investigation into Apple's tax practices in the country, and diversion of profits generated in Italy to its Ireland operation. The investigation's completion, which spans tax years 2008 through 2013, paves the way for the Italian government bring Apple to trial in Italy with nearly $1 billion in taxes owed at stake, though it is unclear if the government found enough evidence of any malfeasance to bring the case forward.
FCC agrees with read of Title II, denies smaller companies fees from AT&T
AT&T continues to use Title II regulation as a tool to escape lawsuits and fees, while publicly deriding the mandate. In a court ruling this week, the telecommunications giant utilized its Title II status with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to escape fees from Great Lakes Comnet (GLC) and Westphalia Telephone Company (WTC) imposed for " interstate access services under an unlawful tariff."
Ex-CEO Peter Chou remaining in inventive role
Attempting to reverse sliding fortunes, electronics manufacturer HTC's board of directors has appointed co-founder Cher Wang as the company's new chief executive. She replaces Peter Chou, who is headed for a role as the leader of the company's new HTC Future Development lab, and will focus on future growth for the company. Over the last two years, Wang had been increasingly involved in the running of various aspects of the business.