Weekly Tech Business Recap: Google TV, Bing Overhaul
A Google-powered (NASDAQ:GOOG) Internet-enabled TV is expected to intro in the U.S. in two weeks by LG Electronics (LGEAF.PK). The product represents as assertive drive to counter Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) much rumored iTV, which will feature a much larger Cinema Display, according to insider sources, says Cult of Mac. In agreement with previous rumors, the same source reveals that the TV will include Siri, and an iSight camera to enable FaceTime video calls.
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) reports that it will increase its quarterly dividend by 7 percent to 22.5 cents a share, beginning with the payout that will be declared for the third quarter. With expectations pointing to another record year, Intel CEO Paul Otellini remarks that his company is experiencing “strong demand in our core business and significant progress in smartphones and other new growth areas.”.
Cree (NASDAQ:CREE) shares bounce following the news of an LED lighting control system in partnership with Lutron Electronics. The firm is searching for business customers willing to pay the higher prices attached to LED lighting products, and the solution will be available by this summer.
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Facebook’s (FB) upcoming initial public offering is again at the top of analysts’ comments on Monday. Sterne Agee’s Arvind Bhatia and Wedbush are taking bullish stances, and the former believes that FB can increase its share of online advertising to 8 percent in 2016 from 5 percent in 2011, and also that mobile and China could be source of impressive growth in the future. Bhatia forecasts the firm’s 2013 revenue nearing $6.3 billion, and earnings per share of 69 cents. As for Mark Zuckerberg, Henry Blodget contends that his unique leadership style is an asset to his company’. Some notable traits of Zuckerberg’s style include a laser-like focus on optimizing Facebook’s products; a willingness to “break” existing products in order to launch new ones; and an ability to both hire top talent and let go of old employees.
More Degree-Gate morsels, as Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) doesn’t respond (so far) to activist shareholder Dan Loeb’s demand that CEO Scott Thompson be fired today for discrepancies involving his false claim for a computer science degree. Kara Swisher opines that the board, while busy on matters that are more urgent, is waiting upon a more thorough inquiry into the situation, i.e., how the wrong degree got onto Thompson’s resume and why he failed to correct it. Loeb, however, is not waiting for anything; he is suing for information connected to Thompson’s hiring, and the appointment and/or selection of several board members, as well.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) now offers a rumored Xbox 360 package which features a Kinect sensor for the price of $99, on purchase of a 2-year contract to its Xbox Live Gold service at $15 per month. However, this arrangement is currently available solely in Microsoft Stores, which increases the company’s retail footprint, but not by all that much
Web.com (NASDAQ:WWWW) shares slide late, following news that insiders will divest 8 million (16 percent of all outstanding) shares in a secondary sale.
Priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN) might acquire Trainline, which is an online rail ticketing service, says a Sky News report. The latter company is said to be worth as much as £400 million, and PCLN is but one of the suitors, which includes KKR and a pension fund in Canada.
Software firm Synchronoss (NASDAQ:SNCR) is plummeting post-earnings, and AT&T’s (NYSE:T) smartphone slowdown isn’t helping a bit. The softening in smartphone sales is said to be due to subsidy reductions and a weakening domestic market. SNCR obtains approximately one half of its revenue from AT&T, and currently projects second quarter revenue of between $65 million and $68 million, against a consensus of $68.6 million. Further, it sees only a 5 to 10 percent growth in AT&T sales in the current year, which is less than prior estimates.
Way too little, too late. Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) CEO Scott Thompson has apologized to his employees for the ‘distraction’ of his resume controversy, but not for the problem itself. The board is resolving the issue by forming a committee to look into the case, but Director Patti Hart, who chaired the search that resulted in Thompson’s placement, is said to not be standing for re-election at the next shareholder meeting. Meanwhile, employees are reportedly quite upset over the whole thing, as they remember that soon following his installation as chief, Thompson layed off huge numbers of their colleagues. One has commented that “Everyone hates his guts”.
The dynamic random access memory industry might soon be getting too monopolized, if Micron (NASDAQ:MU) succeeds in buying Elpida. In that event, there would essentially be three large vendors in the industry: Samsung (SSNLF.PK) with a market share of 44 percent; Micron and Hynix (HXSCF.PK) with 33 percent each. Further, Sterne Agee suspects that analysts are concerned about both the acquisition’s price and Micron’s funding needs, and it values Elpida’s assets at more than $7 billion, far in excess of Micron’s reported bid of $2.5 billion.
Strong April audience figures for Pandora (NYSE:P) cause its shares to bounce against Tuesday’s downwards tide. Listener hours increased 87 percent year-to-year to1.06 billion, contrasted with 88 percent in March and 99 percent in the first quarter. In addition, active listeners jumped by 900,000 month-to-month, to 51.9 million, and its share of total domestic radio listening reached 5.95 percent compared to 5.75 percent in the previous month, and 3.11 percent year-to-year. Finally, Pandora claims it currently has more than 150 million registered users, all in the U.S.
Shares of cloud backup/storage company Carbonite (NASDAQ:CARB) spiked 56 percent during the last 20 minutes of trading before circuit breakers ceased the actions. Though the shares have now lost much of the gains, they remain sharply higher.
Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), before Wednesday’s fiscal third quarter statement, reveals that it is developing a new product called Cloud Connect, which is intended to enable secure links between data centers hosting and accessing cloud apps. Further, Cisco is cooperating with Citrix Systems, VMware, EMC, Red Hat, and NetApp on the solution, which is financially doable from the payoffs from enterprise spending on public and private cloud infrastructures.
A Closer Look: Cisco Earnings Cheat Sheet>>
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is soon to introduce a search engine overhaul which will yield more semantic information about query subjects within search result pages. This follows word two months ago, that the company promises a refurbishment that would bring search results closer to “how humans understand the world”. At the same time, Bing (NASDAQ:MSFT) has long advertised its inclusion of semantic data, as has Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), via its Box Computing platform.
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Foxconn (HNHAF.PK) will manufacture Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) much anticipated 7-inch iPad, and it will be introduced in August, says sources linked with Digitimes. Also predicted by the site, is that the next iPhone will debut in September, and that a new 10-inch iPad will come forth in the fourth quarter.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) does not reveal specific figures on its e-ink Kindle sales, but the e-ink display manufacturer major E Ink remarks on demand for such products in general by saying “Our major customer was too optimistic about its sales in the fourth quarter of last year and ordered too much from us. That made the customer order almost nothing from us in the first quarter.”
MEMSIC (NASDAQ:MEMS) released its first quarter numbers, and its shares went over the cliff. Earnings per share of 5 cents exceeded consensus by 8 cents, but second quarter guidance of losses between 4 and 6 cents, and revenue in a range of $14 million to $16 million, compared to estimates of 3 cents and $23.1 million, respectively, took their toll. A substantial drop in smartphone design wins with a major customer (Samsung?), was blamed. Meanwhile, peer chipmaker InvenSense (NASDAQ:INVN) shares did much the same last week post-earnings.
China Mobile’s (NYSE:CHL) international-service license application is making U.S. officials uneasy, as they fear that it could enable China to spy on the U.S. more easily and could make theft of intellectual property from U.S. companies easier as well, says a McClatchy-Tribune report.
In the second half of 2012, Samsung (SSNLF.PK) expects to market TVs that use organic light-emitting diodes, as the company is focused upon an early entry into the market for next-generation TVs. The downside is that the ‘razor-thin and razor-sharp’ OLED TVs could cost as much as twice the higher-end flat screen TVs.
Shares of Digital Generation (NASDAQ:DGIT) fall decidedly, in spite of first quarter figures that slightly exceeded consensus. Higher high-dimension growth in its TV unit brought revenue up 46 percent year-to-year, but Janney Capital says that HD pricing declines are intensifying, down some 40 percent, as the internet segment is troubled by problems concerning integration and client migration.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) reveals its huge overhaul of Bing and promises to improve the quality of its searches by tapping into Facebook and other social networks. Qi Lu, who is president of Microsoft’s online services division, calls it “A fundamentally different way to look at search”.
Don’t Miss: Does This Prove Microsoft LOVES Monopolies?
Verizon Wireless’ (NYSE:VZ) offer to sell spectrum to T-Mobile (DTEGY.PK) is rejected by the latter, which calls the spectrum rife with interference problems and limited coverage availability. In April, Verizon had said that it would divest the 700mhz band upon regulator approval, but T-Mobile has vociferously opposed such a sale, calling it a risk to TV stations that already occupy nearby spectrum bands.
More serious woes lie ahead for MEMC Electronic (NYSE:WFR) following its most recent quarterly miss, according to Wunderlich, which remarks that “We have serious reservations about the future of MEMC given that there is still a tremendous oversupply of polysilicon worldwide, its vertically integrated solar business has no barriers to entry, and the solar gold rush is over as subsidies and stimulus run out.”.
Scott Thompson News…Scott Thompson News… The embattled CEO of Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is said to have told company executives on Thursday that not only did he not make false statements about his academic records, he didn’t submit a resume. In a further clarification, a check by the New York Times reveals that Yahoo files and PayPal corporate biography do indeed include a computer science degree connected with Thompson, but that it does not show up in eBay files, nor in those of two firms of which he is Director. One might think that in the process of applying to be CEO of a major world company, his college transcripts might have been requested.
TheStreet.com (NASDAQ:TST) will partner with online brokerage Zecco in content swapping, to benefit trading technology, say the two companies. The latter is now one of the first firms to allow users of Facebook to trade directly from their accounts.
It is rumored that certain new additions to the YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOG) repertoire might soon be subject to subscription, i.e., fees, says the New York Post. These new items would be part of a premium offering, with ‘top-shelf’ content. The report assures us, however, that YouTube will not begin charging for its programs that are already free.
Slumping smartphone growth in the United States is negatively impacting even Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), reports Credit Suisse’s Kulbinder Garcha, who lowers the giant’s 2012 and 2013 earnings estimates to reflect increased carrier pressures from tougher smartphone upgrade policies. Further, Garcha notes that Apple is more susceptible to carrier changes near-term than other suppliers but he remains confident of robust bottom-line growth, and thinks its valuation is still compelling.
Shares of chip- equipment supplier Brooks Automation (NASDAQ:BRKS) move lower even though Friday’s fiscal second quarter earnings report beat consensus. Although net earnings fell 64 percent year-to-year due to weaker sales, Brooks’ profits were saved by a stronger demand from the life sciences unit.
As Facebooks’s (FB) road show moves across the U.S., the company’s co-founder Eduardo Saverin officially moves out of the U.S., as he renounces his American citizenship. Saverin is said to be living it up in Singapore, and apparently he will shave off a wad of his U.S. tax bill there, as well.
American depository receipts of Sony (NYSE:SNE) slide following release of the news that the Japanese conglomerate posted its fourth straight annual loss Thursday night. On the upside, Sony says that it projects a fiscal year 2012 swing to profit.
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