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 it happened at the point of sale in many stores that it claims it was not responsible for, as opposed to a central failure in corporate data services, so 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.
FCC lawyer calls AT&T's anti-Title II gambit
Just days after AT&T said that it would pause new gigabit fiberoptic deployments pending resolution of the net neutrality discussion, the US Federal Communications Commission has requested information on the buildout. The FCC is demanding information on the current number of households that the carrier provides fiber to, the demographic breakdown of those locations, and proof that the AT&T investment model in fiber is unprofitable as it claims now or in the future.
Record falls even taking into account split, buyback programs
Apple on Friday ended the week with a new all-time record high for its stock, even taking into account the huge swing in the number of outstanding shares, which has changed significantly in the past two years. Last reaching its peak in September of 2012, the company has now broken its record for both its stock price and its highest-ever market capitalization, which now stands at $669.65 billion, with the stock still rising in after-hours trading from its Friday close of $114.18 per share.
Hachette allowed to set e-book pricing for all its titles on Amazon storefront
The long-running and rancorous dispute between publisher Hachette and Amazon seems to be over. Both companies have announced that a deal has been struck, with Hachette being able to set prices on the e-books that it sells. Other specific terms of the deal have not yet been made public, and will not likely ever face public scrutiny outside the publishing industry.
Predicts overall 190 million units for iPhone 6 models, Plus to be a hit in China
Financial analyst Steve Milunovich from UBS has raised that firm's target price on Apple stock by $10, to $125, based on a survey showing strong demand for the iPhone 6 Plus in China and other countries. Polling some 4,000 respondents across the US, UK, Italy and mainland China, Milunovich found strong demand for the larger, 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus in all the countries, but particularly in China. The 64GB model appeared to be the most popular choice among potential buyers, which included a third who are current Samsung phone owners.
Split, buyback program makes true all-time high price a moving target
Apple's stock closed at a new "all-time" high today, settling at $109.70 per share after an intra-day high of $109.75 -- breaking the record set just over a week ago. The company, now valued at $643.37 billion -- more than a third more than the next most valuable publicly-traded company -- may be within sight of besting its own split- and buyback-adjusted all-time high and market capitalization records, which would currently be around $113.86 per share and $667.77 billion, respectively.
Spoke on Apple Pay-CurrentC 'skirmish,' Apple Watch, Carl Icahn
The Wall Street Journal has now released the full 34-minute interview given by Apple CEO Tim Cook on its web site. In the conversation, Cook discusses Apple products, not-yet-available Apple products like the Apple Watch, the thinking behind Apple Pay, and activist investor Carl Icahn, among other issues. While little that was genuinely new was revealed, Cook again shared his thinking on the interface of television and made some fresh comments on things competitors and allies are doing.
Deal gives AT&T foothold in area, may buy more assets from other companies
AT&T has declared that it will purchase Mexico-based wireless carrier Iusacell for $1.7 billion in cash. The Mexican company has a network that blankets 70 percent of the country with 3G, and uses the same GSM frequencies that AT&T uses. The deal will also see AT&T take on $700 million in debt that Iusacell holds.
Inquiry should focus on selloffs linked to Apple woes
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has opened up an inquiry into potentially suspect share trading at former Apple supplier GT Advanced Technologies. Although the information was only revealed today, the SEC sent a letter to GT on October 15, requesting "certain information regarding trading activity in the Company's securities," plus more data on its sapphire business and securities, dating back to January 1 of last year.
Most makers not quite breaking even or losing money on device sales, analysts report
An analysis done by Michael Walkley of Canaccord Genuity has revealed that for the calendar third-quarter of the year, Apple took home 86 percent of all profits in the smartphone industry. He further found that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were, by far, the top-selling smartphones at all four major US carriers, and that buyers are tending to purchase the higher-capacity models, which should boost the average selling price (ASP) and Apple's profitability.
Parties agree to waive confidentiality agreements, but some documents remained hidden
The judge in the bankruptcy case involving GT Advanced Technologies and its chief client Apple ordered more documents unsealed and made public in the proceeding on Tuesday. Both Apple and GT Advanced came to an agreement regarding the papers that waived the confidentiality conditions of the two companies' original contracts, allowing GT Advanced to drop its objections to making the documents public. A statement made by GT Advanced officials detailing the firm's agreement with Apple is among the papers that will be made public.
Money will go towards financing buybacks, dividends in US
Confirming earlier rumors, Apple has set forth plans to issue its first-ever bonds in Euros rather than US dollars. The bonds will be available in two sets, maturing in eight and 12 years. Ultimately, the company is hoping to raise 2.8 billion Euros, or about $3.5 billion, to help finance share buybacks and dividends in the US without repatriating some of its foreign cash reserves.
Reduced revenue causes $192M operating loss for Sprint
Sprint's fortunes have suffered in the last quarter, the carrier's latest financial results advise. A loss in postpaid subscribers and reduced revenue in the period has led the company to an operating loss of $192 million for the quarter, with the carrier also announcing it is getting rid of 2,000 employees, as part of an effort to make $1.5 billion in annual cost reductions.
Money will allow company to pay for buybacks and dividends
Apple, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs will today host a conference call with investors arranging for a bond deal that will be at least partly in Euros, a source tells the Wall Street Journal. The bonds could be issued as soon as this week, and would mark the first time Apple bonds would be issued in a currency other than US dollars. The timing for such a deal is believed to be ideal, since borrowing costs in Europe are at record lows.
Strong sales of PlayStation 4 not enough to reclaim profitability
Earlier this week, Sony reported its quarterly earnings, missing already-bad Wall Street estimates. Friday, Sony reported a staggering $1.2 billion loss, even with the company having unloaded its television and PC operations. The only bright spot in Sony's future appears to be the PlayStation 4. Much of the bad news came from an operating loss of 172.0 billion yen ($1.6 billion) attributed to the company's mobile communications segment. This compares to an operating profit of 8.8 billion yen in the same quarter a year ago.
Stock is up nearly 35 percent for 2014, has reduced outstanding shares by 800M
Shareholders of record in AAPL as of November 6 will receive a dividend of 47 cents per share once again in the second dispersal of revenue since the stock was split 7-to-1 last June. The company will pay out some $2.75 billion in dividends on 5.866 billion outstanding shares -- about 800 million fewer shares than seen before the aggressive share buyback program started last year. The stock closed the week at an all-time record high of $108 per share for the second week running.
Deal would apply Title II to content providers, less regulation to consumers
Reports are circulating that US Federal Communications Commission chief Tom Wheeler is evaluating a hybrid approach to Internet regulation and net neutrality proposals. One of the four proposals would apply Title II regulation to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but would also allow them to sell "fast lane" access, breaking up applicable fees and regulations into wholesale and retail transactions.
Sales of Samsung smartphones, televisions expected to pick up over holidays
Samsung has recorded an operating profit of 4.06 trillion won ($3.84 billion) in its latest quarterly financial results. Just as the manufacturer warned at the start of this month, the operating profit represents a decrease of 3.13 trillion won ($2.96 billion) from the previous quarter, with other parts of the financial report offering similar dismal and disappointing figures.
Purchase valued at $12.5 billion, with Google retaining most of the patents
Lenovo has completed the acquisition of Motorola Mobile from Google. The deal, according to Lenovo, makes the combined company the "world's third-largest maker of smartphones." Motorola is a now wholly-owned subsidiary of Lenovo, but will remain headquartered in Chicago. Lenovo is expecting profitability to return between four and six quarters from now.
Handheld game sells 3.32 million units, propels company to $85 million profit
Nintendo posted surprising figures for it second quarter results for 2014, seeing an $85 million (¥9.25 billion) operating profit. The news comes on mixed analyst projections, with Thomson Reuters Starmine expecting a $33 million (¥3.7 billion) loss and Quick expecting a net profit of $63 million (¥62.4 billion). Nintendo posted a net profit of $222 million (¥24.2 billion) for the period ending September 30.
'Limited time promotion' sees Verizon, Netflix coexisting
Surprisingly given the public animosity between the two companies, Verizon has begun offering a year of video streaming service Netflix to some of its new customers. Customers who sign up for FiOS Internet and television bundles in the immediate vicinity of New York City are being offered the deal. Packages including a year of Netflix start at $80 a month and include a free year of Netflix.
Company beats projections, monthly users up only 2.2 percent from last quarter
Facebook released its third quarter results for the 2014 fiscal year, announcing that $3.2 billion in revenue was pulled in for the period ending September 30. The company beat Wall Street projections of an earnings per share (EPS) of $0.40 on $3.12 billion in revenue. While Facebook beat the EPS on diluted non-GAAP figures by three cents, the company posted only a $0.30 EPS under GAAP.
Mostly grandfathered plans hit by throttling, speeds cut to dial-up
The US Federal Trade Commission has launched a suit against AT&T for its admitted throttling of unlimited wireless data users. The FTC claims that AT&T has implemented the up to 90 percent slower data speeds on over 3.5 million customers a total of more than 25 million times since implementation on October 1, 2011.
Company admits to sagging iTunes music sales
Apple's 2014 10-K filing, just published by the Securities and Exchange Commission, shows major increases in acquisitions and research spending. Even excluding its $3 billion Beats takeover, the company still managed to increase acquisition spending from $496 million to $957 million during the last fiscal year. Annual research and development spending has more than doubled during the past three years, rising from $2.4 billion to $6 billion.
Best revenue performance in seven reporting periods, user growth strong
T-Mobile's growth continues according to their third quarter figures for the 2014 fiscal year. In the financial results released late Monday night, T-Mobile said it pulled in $7.35 billion in revenue for the reported period. Consumer growth hit 2.34 million, the second highest number of additions to the carrier in the last seven reporting periods.
Posts $175 million net loss, average monthly active users increase by 13 million
Twitter posted its third quarter results for fiscal year 2014, posting $361.2 million in revenue. Revenue was up compared to the same quarter in 2013, with quarter-on-quarter results improving by approximately $49 million. The company beat out analyst projections of $351.35 million, but posted lower than the $0.01 earnings per share (EPS) expected with a loss of $0.29 EPS.
Stitcher content to be integrated with Deezer Talk
Paris-based streaming music service Deezer has acquired Stitcher, the company has announced. The purchase, for an undisclosed amount, will allow Deezer to take control of the personalized Internet talk radio service, which currently provides access to eight out of the top ten US terrestrial radio programs to users, as well as a collection of around 35,000 radio programs and podcasts.
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 example increasing Americas 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 one percent to $5.778 billion, and Japan was up five percent to $3.507 billion. Only the rest of the Asia Pacific region saw problems, with revenue dipping three percent to $1.923 billion. Global retail sales rose 15 percent to $5.133 billion.
iPad shipments see decline
Apple made $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.