Icahn endorsement, strong iPhone sales, coming holiday behind push
Apple's stock on Thursday hit a new all-time closing high, reaching $104.83 per share at the closing bell. While many are waiting to see if the company can close the week at that level or higher, others -- including activist investor Carl Icahn and CEO Tim Cook -- believe the stock remains undervalued. AAPL also set a new intra-day high of $105.05 during trading, and is up slightly from its close at this writing in after-hours trading. Stronger-than-expected iPhone numbers and the coming holiday season has helped fuel the rise.
Surface revenue increases 122 percent, commercial revenue up 10 percent
Microsoft beat analyst expectations for the first quarter of 2015 today, posting $23.20 billion in revenue with a diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.54. Analysts expected the company to post EPS of $0.50 on $22.02 billion in revenue. Strong sales in consumer hardware and a 10 percent growth in the commercial sector were responsible for the boost in revenue.
Wall Street expecting Amazon to rein in ambitions, turn a profit
Amazon.com today announced financial results for its third quarter that ended on September 30. Net sales increased 20 percent to $20.58 billion in the third quarter, compared with $17.09 billion in the third quarter of 2013. Despite the increase, Amazon's net loss was $437 million in the third quarter, or $0.95 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $41 million, or $0.09 per diluted share in the same time period of of 2013.
Unity founder David Helgason remaining with the company
Cross-platform game development engine designers Unity Technologies has named a new chief executive. John Riccitiello, the prior chief of EA, is the new head of the company, with David Helgason stepping down. Helgason will continue with the company, and is planning on focusing on improving relationships with developers as well as "working with some insanely talented people here at Unity."
Major investment made in augmented reality company using eye projection system
A start-up working on augmented reality technology has managed to secure $542 million in its latest round of funding, with the collection of investors led by Google. Magic Leap, which is apparently creating its own augmented reality glasses, will also receive extra guidance from the search company, with Android and Chrome lead Sundar Pichai joining the company's board, with head of corporate development Don Harrison also joining as a board observer.
Company uses restricted stock units, conditional on performance, as incentives
In its latest SEC 10-Q filing, Apple has revealed certain company details -- including the fact that it still spends a small fraction of the money other tech firms do on Washington lobbying, and that it continues its practice of awarding its executives restricted stock units (RSUs) that could be worth millions if they stay with the company and it continues to do well. CFO Luca Maestri and Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Dame Angela Ahrendts both received their first executive bonuses as part of the disclosure.
Now at $45 billion in buybacks for the year, double its 2013 buying spree
During its conference call to analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned that the company had spent $17 billion in the fourth fiscal quarter on further stock buybacks, the largest amount since the March quarter and bringing the total spent across the fiscal year to $45 billion. About half of the money was spent buying shares on the open market rather than through banking partners, an unusual move for a large corporation. The stock came close to another record high on Tuesday, but has yet to crack its $110 all-time (adjusted for both splits and buybacks) share high.
Unknown number of victims, data taken from PA, NY, NJ
Office supply store Staples appears to be the latest victim of a breach of customer payment information. The company issued a brief statement saying that they were looking into the matter, after several banks reported fraudulent activity with a pattern pointing to the source being Staples stores in the northeastern US.
Continued growth in wireless boosting dropping wired profits
Cellular carrier Verizon today reported double-digit, year-over-year percentage growth in reported and adjusted earnings per share for the 10th time in the past 11 quarters. Verizon reported $0.89 in earnings per share in third-quarter 2014, compared with $0.78 per share in third-quarter 2013. Total revenues for the company were $21.8 billion in third-quarter 2014, up seven percent year over year.
Company's performance generally healthy
In the wake of its official announcement, Apple has posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its Q4 financial results. On a regional basis the company did well in most cases, for instance increasing Americans revenue 17 percent year-over-year to $16.247 billion, and European revenue 19 percent to $9.535 billion. "Greater" China -- including Hong Kong and Taiwan -- advanced 1 percent to $5.778 billion, and Japan was up 5 percent to $3.507 billion. Only the rest of the Asia Pacific region saw problems, with revenue dipping 3 percent to $1.923 billion. Global retail sales rose 15 percent to $5.133 billion.
iPad shipments see decline
Apple pulled in $42.12 billion in revenues during its fourth fiscal quarter, which ended in September, according to an announcement. That figure surpasses the $37.47 billion the company posted in Q4 2013, as well as consensus expectations of $40 billion, and Apple's own guidance in the last quarter. Net profits rose year-over-year from $7.5 billion -- or $1.18 per diluted share -- to $8.5 billion and $1.42 per share. Gross margins increased from 37 to 38 percent.
Net revenues positive for the first time in 2014, reduced workforce will save $9M
AMD missed analyst estimates for the third quarter of 2014 according to the results released by the company on Thursday. Thomson Reuters had estimated that the computer processor and graphics card manufacturer would see $0.04 earnings per share on $1.47 billion in revenue for the quarter. Posted financial results show that AMD saw only $1.43 billion in revenue and $0.02 earnings per share.
Continued growth in overseas ad markets driving Google growth
Google today reported consolidated revenues of $16.52 billion for the quarter that ended September 30, an increase of 20 percent compared to the third quarter of 2013. In the third quarter of 2014, total acquisition costs totaled $3.35 billion, or 23 percent of advertising revenues. Cost-per-click continues to decline, but continued growth, especially in non-US markets, has far more than offset this price decrease.
Supplier says it won't appeal decision
Sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies has today had its stock removed from NASDAQ listings, and is not planning to appeal the decision, according to an announcement by the former. NASDAQ based the decision on GT declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month. That event caused GT's stock to drop over 90 percent, and it has since slipped even further, last closing at 44 cents yesterday. Shares can still be bought under the GTATQ symbol on the OTC Pink marketplace.
Other sources say sapphire company has filed motion to wind down operations
More details continue to be dug up in the unexpected filing of bankruptcy by Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies, with the Wall Street Journal reporting for the first time that the failure of the company in meeting Apple's contract requirements stems directly from a failure to deliver sapphire glass in quantities intended to be used for the iPhone 6 line. The paper does not clarify if the sapphire glass was not up to par, or the company simply couldn't make enough to meet demand.
Says Apple shares are trading at half their actual value
(Updated with Apple response) Following up on yesterday's Twitter post, Carl Icahn has published an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, urging him to ask the Board of Directors to "accelerate and increase the magnitude of share repurchases" through a tender offer. He argues that Apple shares are trading at half of their actual value, pointing to personal estimates for Apple's growth in fiscal 2016 and 2017 should value Apple at $203 today. In real-world trading, Apple stocks are currently worth over $101.50.
Move may herald another dismal earnings report for AMD
Chip designer and manufacturer AMD has appointed a new chief executive officer amidst concerns of continuing profit decline. Ex-Chief Operating Officer Lisa Su is immediately supplanting three-year office holder Rory Read, one week before the company's quarterly earning report, generating concern for what the company will be reporting after losses continue to be suffered.
Investor may be angling for more payouts
Activist investor Carl Icahn has taken to Twitter to hint at an "interesting" open letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook. "Tmrw we'll be sending an open letter to @tim_cook. Believe it will be interesting," one post reads. In another, he comments about his firm's large stake in Apple and recent share performance. "Just over 1yr ago we tweeted our large position in $AAPL & belief the company extremely undervalued. Since then, stock is up 50.6 percent."
Lack of money caused sapphire maker's cash-on-hand to dip below contractual minimums
Details are still emerging from the surprise bankruptcy filing of Apple sapphire supplier and partner GT Advanced, with new stories of possible stock shenanigans by CEO Thomas Gutierrez and speculation that the bankruptcy was brought on, at least in part, by a withheld payment from Apple. On Monday, the first day of trading following the announcement, the company's stock dropped 93 percent from $11 to around 80 cents; it rose Tuesday to close at $1.21 per share.
May be connected to Apple, recent bankruptcy
The CEO of sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies, Tom Guitierrez, is facing scrutiny for a $160,000 sale of company stock he made on September 8. The Wall Street Journal reports that the sale came just a day before Apple announced the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which some rumors had suggested would use sapphire screen covers. Instead, the phones were revealed to be using a variant of Corning Gorilla Glass, and GT's share price fell from $17.38 to around the $11 mark. Yesterday, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, causing shares to plummet below $1. They have since rebounded slightly to over $1.50.
Factory at center of multi-billion dollar tax debt claimed owed to India
A Nokia manufacturing plant in India left out of the acquisition deal between Nokia and Microsoft will be closed on November 1. The Chennai facility, at the center of a tax dispute between Nokia and India and building devices under contract for Microsoft, will be closed following a lengthy asset freeze and extended court hearings held by the India tax authority.
European Commission investigation Amazon Luxembourg operations
Similar to various tech corporations' arrangement in Ireland, Amazon has a special -- and legal -- tax arrangement with Luxembourg. Amazon's tax rate in the country, like Apple's, is now under fire by the European Commission for corporate tax avoidance. The European Commission is claiming that despite its legality, a favorable tax rate deal with Amazon's own patent holding company in Luxembourg violates European Union rules on state aid for corporations.
Estimated operating profit 60-percent lower than same period in 2013
Investors in Samsung are being warned profits for the quarter are far below its estimates, in its earnings guidance before its expected third-quarter financial results release. The manufacturer's consolidated operating profit for the period is estimated at 4.1 trillion won ($3.8 billion), down from the 7.19 trillion won in the previous quarter, and down significantly from the 10.2 trillion won reported in the same period last year.
Original $19B purchase valuation of WhatsApp increases due to Facebook share price
Facebook has completed its acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp, days after the European Commission gave the all-clear to proceed. The purchase, originally valued at $19 billion when the process began ten months ago, has now concluded with the publication of an SEC filing, with the co-founder and chief executive of WhatsApp gaining a seat on the Facebook board.
Lower profit still an improvement for HTC compared to Q3 2013 loss
HTC has managed to continue its current financial form in its latest quarterly results, but not by much. In its most recent report, HTC earned revenues of NT$41.86 billion ($1.4 billion), down from the NT$65.06 billion it earned in the previous quarter, but the smartphone manufacturer managed to receive a net profit of NT$640 million ($21.0 million), again down from the NT$2.26 billion from last quarter.
Non-practicing entity seeking to use Apple expert testimony in possible trial
Patent licensing firm and non-practicing entity Unwired Planet (formerly known as Openwave) is demanding that Apple produce the damages reports it filed in 2012's Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trial. Unwired Planet's attorneys claim in a filing that the documents produced in the trial will prove how its patents, that it claims are abused in iCloud, iPhones, iPads, and Siri, drive sales of Apple hardware. Apple is fighting the filing, saying that not only is its confidential data at stake and not relevant to this issue, but Samsung's data is at risk as well.
Company's claims ruled invalid; second victory for Apple against patent troll
Non-practicing entity and patent holdings company WiLan has again lost to Apple in the second of three proceedings against the iPhone maker. The US District Court for Southern California granted Apple's motion for a summary judgement, following a finding that the two LTE patents the Canadian patent troll was accusing Apple of infringing were invalid, and therefore not infringed. Apple previously won a jury trial brought by WiLan in Texas over different wireless patents.
Demand for larger sizes, increase average selling price drive analyst interest
Apple is not the only company that believes the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will not only drive a bigger upgrade cycle, but also bring at least some switchers from the Android platform. Evercore Partners analyst Rob Cihra has reiterated his "overweight" rating for AAPL and raised the price target to $125, along with encouraging investors to buy the stock in a new memo to clients. He also published optimistic estimates for both the September and December quarters in terms of iPhone sales.
Will include initial iPhone 6 sales
Apple has announced that it will release the results of its fiscal fourth quarter on Monday, October 20. An earnings call is scheduled for 2PM Pacific time 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.
Improvement in customer service, expansion of low-cost broadband demanded
Several states are having regulatory discussions in governmental circles about the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger. Two New York state agencies, the Division of Consumer Protection Utility Intervention Unit (UIU) and the Department of Public Service, are taking serious issue with the merger and are demanding concessions. As a result, the UIU's vote on its discussion has been postponed from October 2 until November 13, over "deficiencies associated with the Companies' current substandard customer service" and other issues that is sees as being generated or exacerbated by a combined company.
Splitting of eBay, PayPal expected to be beneficial to each business
Auction site eBay and payment service PayPal are splitting apart into two separate companies. A plan has been approved by the eBay board of directors to separate the two into independent publicly traded companies by next year, subject to regulatory approval, with each company set to be presided over by two new chief executives.
Claimed offer from SoftBank to buy animation studio may be worth $3.4B
Japanese carrier SoftBank is still on the hunt for acquisitions in the United States, following its earlier failed attempt to merge T-Mobile with Sprint, a report claims. The company is said to be in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation, a studio behind film franchises including Shrek and Kung-Fu Panda, with the deal claimed to be worth somewhere in the region of $3.4 billion.
Long-delayed device hampered by regulatory approval process
While it is currently possible to legally buy an iPhone 6 in some parts of the regional "Greater China" area (such as Hong Kong or Taiwan) the country of China itself -- which manufactures and assembles the new iPhones - ironically does not yet offer them for sale, due to a cumbersome regulatory process. This may finally be changing, as various reports out of the region indicated that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will finally debut in China on Friday, October 10.
'Bendghazi' controversy not phasing sales, swift refutation by Apple credited
After falling four percent on Thursday, Apple's stock closed out the week by bouncing back and regaining more than half the drop as Wall Street reacted positively to the company's refutation of the "bending" controversy. Some new questions are being raised about the original video that started the kerfuffle, as careful observation reveals that the video was edited (and the reported noted in the video that his iPhone 6 was already slightly bent before demonstrating the flaw). Investment firms Stifel Nicolaus and BMO Capital Markets have both raised their target prices for AAPL.
Products made from the deal to be sold in summer of 2015
Intel Corporation and China state-owned holding company Tsinghua Unigroup today jointly announced that both parties have signed a series of agreements. The purpose of the deals is to expand the product offerings and adoption for Intel-based mobile devices in China and worldwide, by jointly developing Intel architecture and communications-based solutions for mobile phones. The agreements will see Intel invest $1.5 billion in a pair of semiconductor companies, one of which is known for the chip found in Firefox phones.
Recovery seemingly working, but phone sales still need to climb for profit
While still not yet profitable, BlackBerry has posted a significantly lower-than-expected loss for the quarter. At the end of its fiscal 2015 Q2, the company reported a net loss of $207 million. This time last year, the company posted a $965 million loss. Of the $207 million loss, $33 million was attributed to mandatory charges from the company's near-complete restructuring program.
DirecTV internal issues now resolved, all that remains is US Government approval
As part of the process towards a purchase by AT&T, DirecTV shareholders have voted nearly unanimously in favor of the acquisition. Votes representing 77 percent of all outstanding shares have been cast, with 99 percent of them in favor of proceeding with the merger. Discussion amongst US regulatory bodies is continuing, but the shareholder vote was potentially a major issue, now overcome.
Deal said to be unconditional, no conditions likely to be assessed
According to sources familiar with the matter, the European Commission is poised to offer unconditional approval to Facebook's purchase of message service WhatsApp. The official decision is due by the European regulatory agency on October 3, and no official comment of approval has yet been made.
Up to 480 songs on your wrist, perhaps, but only iPad Airs for Xmas
A new pair of rumors -- one from sketchy sources in Taiwan, the other a claim by a Wall Street analyst -- offer some unconfirmed sources of new details for the Apple Watch, as well as the company's holiday plans for the next iPad, the latter thus far being unmentioned by Apple but expected sometime next month. According to Taiwan's Commercial Times, Apple will only offer an updated 7.9-inch iPad Air for the holidays, leaving the second-gen Retina iPad mini until early next year.
Fourth settlement deal falls through, deal not likely before departure of head
European Commission anti-trust head Joaquin Almunia has called for Google to improve its proposal to mitigate concerns that the search engine is abusing its industry-leading position and manipulating search results. The previous deal struck has now apparently collapsed, leaving the Mountain View, California-based company to start negotiation a new one, or face fines of up to $6 billion if the complaint moves to formal monopoly charges.
Change in focus to high-end smartphones follows Sony financial guidance warning
Sony is effectively giving up on the low and mid-range smartphone market, in order to focus on high-end mobile devices like the Xperia Z3 range, a report claims. The manufacturer is apparently making the change after releasing new financial guidance it would make a loss of $2.1 billion for the fiscal year, itself partly caused by dismal smartphone sales throughout the year.
Mark Hurd, Safra Catz both named as CEO of Oracle following exit
Surprisingly, Oracle has announced that founder and CEO Larry Ellison will be stepping down, effective immediately. The outgoing CEO will be replaced by Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, who will both be named CEO of the company, but not use the title co-CEOs. Ellison is remaining on the board as executive chairman, and in a business capacity as chief technology officer for the company.
Starting price expected to be set between $65 and $67, may break records
Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba will officially launch its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange under symbol "BABA" Friday morning at commencement of trading. Executive Chairman of the company, Jack Ma, will be on hand to ring the opening bell on the start of trading, which is expected to reach between $20 and $25 billion.
Move essentially guarantees Sony will take massive loss on the year
Sony has revised -- downwards -- its financial guidance for the quarter, and intends to take a 180 billion yen ($1.7 billion) "impairment charge" as a result of overestimating smartphone sales. The revision will take a serious bite out of earnings, with the company now expecting to take a loss for the fiscal year of $2.1 billion dollars, versus the possibility of returning to profitability.
Acquisition cost pinned at eight times Minecraft's 2013 sales
More details are emerging from Microsoft regarding the rumored deal for Mojang deal. According to sources familiar with the matter, the software giant could announce the deal which would net it the Minecraft developer as soon as Monday, for $2.5 billion in cash. The acquisition cost is about eight times the developer's sales for 2014, and there is no clear known heir to the Minecraft throne in the pipeline.
Bribery of Russian prosecutorial office at heart of matter
Hewlett Packard has pleaded guilty to international bribery charges, as part of a plea arrangement it had previously negotiated. As part of the deal. the company's Russian subsidiary has admitted to charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a transaction arranged with Russia's top prosecutorial office. The company will pay an additional $58.7 million to settle the charges on top of the $108 million it agreed to pay in April.
Company may be forced to liquidate if relief not found
Following a 10th-straight quarterly loss, electronics retailer Radio Shack noted that it may need to file for bankruptcy protections. The company, with its stock in danger of New York Stock Exchange delisting, is also reportedly evaluating other options for the future, including an outright sale, or a call for investors to boost cash stocks to survive until the generally lucrative holiday season.
Qualcomm 'nearly done,' Microsoft well underway
Following international criticism, China's antitrust regulators vigorously defended ongoing antitrust actions. With concern from other nations growing over 30 multinational firms coming under fire for alleged anti-trust activity, the three heads of China's anti-trust regulatory agencies stood fast with their convictions that what they are doing is being accomplished "legally, transparently and fairly," according to China's Premier Li Keqiang.
Cantor Fitzgerald, Piper Jaffray push expections to $120 and beyond
The long-awaited but finally-approaching arrival of larger-screen iPhone models and Apple's probable entries into health, home automation and mobile payments have some Wall Street analysts believing Apple's oft-repeated mantra that its forthcoming product and services pipeline is the strongest the company has had in years, if not ever. In new notes to clients, both Cantor Fitzgerald and Piper Jaffray have raised targets for AAPL to new all-time highs.
Companies from US, China said to be interested in buying Ouya
Ouya may be acquired in the not-too-distant future, a report claims. The company behind the Kickstarter-funded Android game console is said to be in talks with a number of companies, both located in the United States as well as in China, though apparently discussions are at an early stage and no offers have been made by any potential suitors.