Posts Tagged ‘Apple’
The Alaska Permanent Fund sets aside a portion of oil revenue and gives some of that money back to Alaska citizens each year. This pool of money is also used to invest in the stock market, a practice that has proved to be quite lucrative.
A recent quarterly report from the company that manages the Fund reveals Apple and not oil revenue is the reason the Fund is growing. The Fund holds over 617,000 shares in Apple which were bought when Apple’s stock was much lower than its current US$391 per share. It’s initial $73 million investment is now worth $207 million. This jump has helped propel the Fund to a healthy $40.1 billion, its highest level ever.
The Fund also owns stock in IBM, EMC, Cisco, GE and others, but Apple is its largest single holding and its best performer.
Someone better tell Sarah she’s better off learning where Cupertino is – instead of Murmansk.
Extremely detailed knock-off Apple retail stores, complete with blue t-shirt-wearing employees claiming to work for the company, have been discovered in China.
According to the blog BirdAbroad, several counterfeit Apple stores have popped up in Kunming, China. One such location featured a winding staircase and employees in t-shirts with Apple logos and name tags.
“The name tags around the necks of the friendly salespeople didn’t actually have names on them – just an Apple logo and the anonymous designation “Staff,”” the report read.
The author called the store “the best ripoff store” she had ever seen, though there were several giveaways, such as the poor quality of the staircase and a sub-par paint job. Also, the stores do not appear to have upgraded to Apple’s Retail 2.0 layout that uses iPads as “smart signs.”
According to her, the employees at the store “all genuinely think they work for Apple.” After store security guards and employees prohibited her from taking photos, the author hinted that she and her husband were “two American Apple employees visiting China and checking out the local stores” and were then allowed to photograph the store.
A world-class “Har”.
Apple led U.S. retail growth in the first quarter of calendar 2011, accounting for a whopping 20 percent of all sales growth by publicly traded American retailers during the three-month period.
The data comes from retail sales expert David Berman, who told USA Today that he believes Apple’s retail success is “mind-boggling.” In the quarter which ended in March, Apple’s U.S. sales saw an 80 percent increase by $4.6 billion…
During the three-month span to start 2011, Apple’s retail sales were up 32 percent, and in-store revenue from Mac sales was up 90 percent. Revenue from retail stores was $3.18 billion, a year-over-year increase of 90 percent…
While international expansion has become a priority, Apple also has big plans for its stores in the U.S. The company’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City is currently under renovation, as the company is spending $6.7 million to replace the giant 32-foot glass cube that serves as an entrance to the underground retail store.
Though I’m a recent fanboy – I switched a few years back after a quarter-century of plodding in the wonderful world of Wintel – I post this because of discussions among investors who are already panicking themselves over what they call Bubble 2.0. That fear can be laid at their own feet if they’re foolish enough to make the same mistakes at root of the previous tech bubble: like investing in companies without a profitable business plan. The watchword among the timorous is “don’t invest in tech!”
But, Apple’s story doesn’t exist in a vacuum. What company followed them into 2nd place in retail sales growth in the 1st quarter? Um, Amazon.com.
Google’s bids for a pool of wireless patents were based on mathematical constants, say sources.
The portfolio of 6,000 patents was auctioned to realise some value from the assets of bankrupt telecoms firm Nortel. During the sale, Google’s bids were based on pi, other constants and the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
Google lost the auction as a consortium including Apple and Microsoft made the winning bid of $4.5bn…
The sale of the patent portfolio started as a five-way scrap between two separate consortia and individual firms including Google and Intel. Initial estimates suggested the portfolio would attract around $2bn but the four days of intense bidding saw the total rise sharply.
During its bids, Google picked numbers including Brun’s constant and Meissel-Mertens constant that were said to have “puzzled” others involved in the auction. When bids from rivals hit $3bn, Google reportedly bid pi, $3.14159bn, to up the ante.
“Either they were supremely confident or they were bored,” Reuters’ source said.
It is not clear what inspired Google to draw on obscure mathematics for its bids. However, Google co-founder Sergey Brin is widely acknowledged to be a maths prodigy and the bids may reveal his influence…
Ultimately the portfolio was being fought over by two groups: Google and Intel on one side and the Microsoft/Apple-led consortium on the other.
Reuters completely missed the Third Force analysis, which is – Google is often guided by a sense of humor reflecting the attitudes of the founders.
Apple has expanded its efforts to curtail the unchecked expansion of shovelware and scamware in the iOS App Store, focusing on keeping the store’s library attractive rather than simply aiming to maintain the biggest store in terms of raw numbers.
The company’s latest effort at curation has banned the practice of “incentivized app installs,” a gimmick used by some game makers to induce players to install specific other apps in order to continue playing. The practice is similar to “offer walls” promoted by free web games that ask players to participate in offers (such as buying a product or signing up for a trial service subscription) in order to obtain in-game currency required to continue game play.
Apple has banned the practice to prevent companies from artificially distorting the popularity of apps that are only being downloaded because of the incentives…With incentivized installs, one developer pays another an install fee (usually through a middleman pay-per-install network) to induce its users to download other apps. This is used to rapidly promote a new title into iTunes’ App Store rankings, a coveted position that results in exceptional visibility and exponentially higher sales…
While Apple initially advertised downloads and library size milestones for the App Store to note how fast it was growing and how far it was ahead of competing app markets, the company has already begun talking about other competitive metrics, particularly the billions of dollars it has paid out to developers…
Actual performance figures of mobile software stores demonstrate that the revenues earned by developers are not necessarily tied to the overall quantity of the devices running a platform (the installed base or market share), nor the raw number of downloads or library size…
Not only does this make sound business sense – it fits in well with Apple’s overall marketing style. If I was selling apps, it’s the way I would approach consumers. Short-term and in the long run.
Research In Motion shares fell as much as 14 percent as analysts said a reduced profit forecast hurts management’s credibility and raises pressure on the company as it heads into an annual trade show next week…
“This further damages already low credibility, making them the ‘poster boy’ for a show-me story from here,” Mike Abramsky, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Toronto, said in a research note…
RIM is struggling to compete against Apple and Google in the smartphone market. The company, which will host the BlackBerry World conference starting on Monday, has to update its BlackBerry lineup and provide some evidence its products can do better against Apple’s iPhone and devices that run Google’s Android operating system, said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO Harris Private Banking in Toronto.
“Management needs to deliver on the product side,” said Taylor, who manages about $14.5 billion including RIM and Apple shares. “That includes competitive next-generation smartphones and building out the app library.”
Apple offers more than 350,000 software applications, or apps, and Google’s Android Market has more than 150,000, compared with more than 25,000 in BlackBerry App World…
At least four other analysts — Jefferies & Co. Inc.’s Peter Misek, Cormark Securities Inc.’s Richard Tse, Gleacher & Co. Securities’ Stephen Patel and National Bank Financial’s Kris Thompson — reduced their ratings on the stock…
“The sales on their existing devices must have fallen off a cliff,” said Matt Thornton, an Avian Securities LLC analyst in Boston who has a “neutral” rating on the stock. “They are getting hit by a combination of a stale portfolio and heated competition on devices.”
Complacency, dealing with the most dynamic marketplace in the world of commerce as if it’s the railroad business in 1890 never delivers stability and long-term confidence.
I can recall emailing folks I knew inside Palm about the potential for building their OS into a fully functional operating system – keeping it small and adding needed potential while resisting bloat. Just like RIM they said, “Hey – we’re doing just fine as we are.”
A memo speech, subsequently posted on Nokia’s internal blog, from Nokia’s new chief executive Stephen Elop warning the staff that it is “standing on a burning platform” has leaked from the company and indicates that the former Microsoft executive is planning radical action to revive the company’s fortunes…
The memo post likens the company’s situation to that of a man standing on an oil platform in the North Sea and facing a raging fire on multiple fronts – who has no choice but to jump into freezing water to survive…
Elop is expected to make a significant announcement this Friday about what Nokia will do to stem the loss of market share, notably in the smartphone market, where despite being the biggest player it has been unable to compete with incomers, notably Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS…
Elop points to a number of problems for the company…
• the “battle of devices has become a war of ecosystems” (such as Apple’s App Store and Google’s Marketplace) and “our competitors aren’t taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we’re going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem”
• “Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry’s innovation to its core.”
• “we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us” – from Apple, Android, and from Chinese competitors that can produce a device “much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, ‘the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation.’ They are fast, they are cheap, and they are challenging us.”
• “we’re not fighting with the right weapons. We are still too often trying to approach each price range on a device-to-device basis.”
RTFA for the text of the whole speech, details of the internal criticism.
Though some rumors indicate an alliance with Microsoft to match the high end of the marketplace dominated by Apple, there is a quote separate from this speech from Elop which seems to counter that likelihood: “Two turkeys do not make an Eagle” – which is about the funniest quote I’ve heard in a long time.
Yes, you will probably see me use it, again, discussing American politics.
News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch introduced a news publication tailored specifically for Apple Inc.’s iPad, a bid to expand his media empire with a new business model for delivering content digitally.
Called the Daily, the publication will cost 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year, the companies said at a news conference in New York today. Apple unveiled a subscription payment system for the Daily and said it will soon be available for other publishers.
Murdoch, News Corp.’s chairman and chief executive officer, is betting the popularity of Apple’s iPad will draw subscribers and advertisers to the digital publication run by Jesse Angelo, the former managing editor of the News Corp.-owned New York Post. The Daily will feature general news, sports, arts and opinion sections, along with high-definition video and 360-degree photos.
“The iPad demands that we completely reimagine our craft,” Murdoch said at the event. “I’m convinced that in the tablet era there’s room for a fresh and robust new voice…”
Murdoch developed the Daily after Apple demonstrated there’s a market for tablets, which blend the functionality of a touch-screen smartphone with a notebook computer. He said News Corp. has spent $30 million to get the publication off the ground and that it will cost about $500,000 a week to operate.
The editorial position of the publication will be “in the hands of the editor,” Murdoch said.
Angelo said the target demographic is everybody. “In terms of our editorial page, at the highest level, we are patriotic,” he said. “As for specific issues, read the editorial page every day…”
Cue said a subscription system for other publishers will be announced “very soon.” With the Daily, users can pay the 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year through an iTunes account.
You can try the online paper for these first couple of weeks for free – via a subsidy from Verizon. An advertising troll awaits. In any case, the app is free.
I’ll be trying it if for no other reason than a chance to examine the tech smarts, how well the subscription model works for me. The politics will be – I imagine – stultifying at best. But, that’s me. I do agree with Steve Jobs’ analysis of such projects vs. traditional newspaper pundits. That is, they all think their product is worth more than the paper they used to print it on – and it ain’t. An inexpensive subscription model results in expanding profits. If he’s right – Rupert is out to prove it.
In response to calls for increased security from enterprise clients, Apple has hired cybersecurity expert and author David Rice as its director of global security…
A “deeply respected name in IT security circles,” according to those who know him, Rice is reportedly being brought on to bolster Apple’s security and gain the trust of corporate CIOs.
Rice graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1994 and received a master’s degree in Information Warfare and Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He previously worked as a Global Network Vulnerability analyst for the National Security Agency and as a Special Duty Cryptologic officer for the Navy…Rice is also the author of “Geekonomics,” a 2007 book which likens software security vulnerabilities to weakened bridges and other physical infrastructure.
Apple has ramped up its security efforts in recent years, in part to gain the trust of corporations and government agencies who have begun adopting the iPhone and iPad. As the iPhone maker has upgraded the security of iOS, it has found itself gaining ground on Research in Motion, the self-professed leader in “CIO friendliness…”
A recent partnership with Unisys is also meant to boost Apple’s security reputation. In an interview last October, a Unisys executive said the deal came about because his company had “put a lot of heavyweight engineering into securing the [iPhone], which, frankly, no one else has figured out yet.”
My experiences with government security types lead me to believe that Rice’s own top-level clearances are somewhat compromised by the fact that he went to work with geeks at Apple. That has nothing to do with the realities of security or politics. Just bureaucratic silliness.
BTW – if you’d like a look into his public brain, drop by his blog.