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Nintendo Keeps Drop Year Over Year

February 4, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Nintendo’s finances took a dip in the company’s third quarter report for FY 2015 – sales stayed relatively stable with just 3.9 per cent shrinkage to 427.7 billion Yen ($3.5bn), but profits dropped by 32 per cent year-on-year to 40.5 billion Yen ($336m).

Although the bottom line failed to excite, plenty of familiar faces performed well for the publisher’s software arm, as well as a few new names. Top seller was Child friendly Wii U shooter Splatoon, shifting over four million units. Super Mario maker wasn’t far behind on 3.34 million, whilst Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer reached 2.93 million. Collectively the 3DS family sold 5.88 million units of hardware and 38.87 million games. The Wii U totalled 3.06 million consoles and 22.62 million pieces of software. 20.50 million Amiibo figures were sold, and approximately 21.50 million Amiibo cards.

Those eagerly awaiting news of either the new NX system or the company’s first smartphone game will be disappointed – neither was mentioned in the company’s forward looking statements. Instead, the publisher focused on relatively known quantities.

“For Nintendo 3DS, we will globally release a special edition hardware pre-installed with Pokémon title(s) from the original Pokémon series on February 27 which marks the 20th year since the original Pokémon series release,2 read the accompanying statement.

“Furthermore, Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and key titles from third-party publishers are scheduled for release. For Wii U, we will strive to maintain the attention level of Splatoon and Super Mario Maker, which are continuing to show steady sales, while introducing new titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD. Meanwhile, for Amiibo, we will continue to expand the product lineup in order to maintain momentum. At the same time, we will aim to further expand sales by offering new gaming experiences with the use of Amiibo. In addition, the first application for smart devices, Miitomo, is scheduled for release.”

The company has maintained its full year target of 35 billion Yen in profit.

Courtesy-GI.biz

 

Twitter Blames Recent Outage On Software Update

January 21, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter Inc stated that it had reversed a glitchy software update and resolved outages widely reported across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America that affected users of the social network on computers and phones.

In a status update message Twitter said an “intermittent issue affecting some users” was related to “an internal code change.”

“We reverted the change, which fixed the issue,” Twitter said in a statement. There was no immediate way to determine whether full service had been restored for all users.

Wall Street has long worried about Twitter’s stagnant growth in users and advertising revenue, and analysts said the outage added to the concern.

“The current market malaise and the recent site outages are compounding the negatives and having a very negative reaction on the shares,” said Victor Anthony, Axiom Capital Management analyst.

Some users who tweeted with the hashtag #twitterdown reported they had not experienced problems or that their service had been restored. Others said they were still having problems after Twitter’s announcement.

Many pointed out that Twitter could not have been down for everyone since #twitterdown was among the top trending hashtags on the site.

Both Twitter’s Internet and mobile services began experiencing outages concentrated in northern Europe around 0820 GMT.

Users from Scandinavia to Saudi Arabia to South Africa reported outages. India and Russia also suffered performance issues, according to a Twitter technical site.

Intermittent breakdowns later spread to the United States and Canada in the early part of their working day.

Sporadic disruptions continued at 1420 GMT, six hours after they first began to spread. At approximately 1745 GMT Twitter reported that some users were still having trouble accessing the service.

Fifteen minutes later the company announced the service problems had been resolved. A company spokeswoman had no further comment.

 

 

 

Toshiba Struggles Continues, Slashing 7,000 Jobs

December 22, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Japan’s Toshiba Corp announced it will cut nearly 7,000 consumer electronics jobs after a $1.3 billion accounting scandal, in an overhaul that will streamline the sprawling conglomerate into a company focused on chips and nuclear energy.

Toshiba also said it would sell its television manufacturing plant in Indonesia, and that eventual job cuts spanning the entire PC-to-nuclear company could be over 10,000 including previously announced cuts and those seeking voluntary early retirement.

Due to restructuring costs, which include the sale of its Indonesian TV plant, Toshiba said it expected a net loss of around 550 billion yen ($4.53 billion) in this fiscal year ending in March.

“By implementing this plan, we would like to regain the trust of all stakeholders including shareholders and transform ourselves into a robust business,” it said in a statement.

Toshiba confirmed in August that it overstated profits going back to fiscal 2008/09 by 155 billion yen. It also reported a 37.8 billion yen net loss for the last financial year to reflect more costs and conservative estimates on operations, including the South Texas Project, a U.S. power plant project.

An independent accounting probe said in July that the company suffered from dysfunction in governance and a culture of discouraging employees from questioning their superiors.

Toshiba’s stock has fallen about 40 percent since news of its accounting problems began to emerge in early April. The scandal and subsequent earnings restatements highlighted weaknesses in a range of Toshiba’s businesses.

Analysts have said restructuring was long overdue. The company launched the world’s first mass-market laptop in 1985 but has seen its consumer electronics business dwindle amid price competition with Asian rivals.

The change in fortune highlights the decline of the 140-year-old conglomerate, which remains highly influential in the Japanese business community. Over the years, its former executives often played key policy advisory roles in government.

 

 

Yahoo Decides To Keep Alibaba Stake

December 11, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo Inc squahsed plans to spin off its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, under pressure from activist investors worried about billions of dollars in taxes, and said instead it is looking at creating a separate company to hold the rest of its assets.

The decision, following three days of board deliberations last week, is an explicit rejection of Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s plan to spin off the Alibaba stake and may cloud her focus on reviving Yahoo’s core business of selling ads on its popular news and sports websites.

Investors were unenthusiastic as they digested the complexity of the “reverse spin-off.” Shares of Yahoo the were lower for most of the trading session.

“You’ve got a sinking ship right now,” said Jeffrey Carbone, senior partner with Cornerstone Financial Partners in Cornelius, North Carolina, a former Yahoo shareholder. “Yahoo is just a company in trouble.”

The company, overtaken by Google, Facebook and others since pioneering the commercial web in the 1990s, said it had no plans to sell its core business, as some investors had hoped, but the move effectively invites offers for the new entity.

“There is no determination by the board to sell the company or any part of it,” Yahoo Chairman Maynard Webb said on a call with investors. “We believe that the business remains very undervalued, and we are focused on realizing and unlocking that value.”

The new publicly traded company will house Yahoo’s Internet business and its 35 percent stake in Yahoo Japan, worth about $8.5 billion at current exchange rates.

Its Alibaba stake, worth more than $30 billion, accounts for the bulk of Yahoo’s current market value of $32 billion.

 

 

Is Yahoo’s Internet Business Up For Sale?

December 3, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo’s board may be mulling over the sale of its core Internet business, after an activist investor demanded last month that the company explore the sale of its core search and display advertising businesses.

The board will be meeting this week to discuss the sale in a series of meetings from Wednesday through Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Yahoo had previously planned to spin off its shares in Alibaba Holding Group, through a company called Aabaco Holdings, but has held back on the move because of uncertainties about potential tax implications.

In a letter last month to Maynard J. Webb, chairman of Yahoo’s board, and its CEO Marissa Mayer, investor Starboard Value’s Managing Member Jeffrey C. Smith wrote that the proposed spin off of Aabaco was not Yahoo’s best alternative, and the company should instead be exploring a sale of Yahoo’s core business of search and display advertising, while leaving Yahoo’s ownership stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan in the existing corporate entity.

Smith threatened that his firm “will look to make significant changes to the Board if you continue to make decisions that destroy shareholder value.”

Yahoo’s core business has not been very strong, despite a turnaround effort by Mayer, including a search advertising agreement with rival Google announced in October. Its revenue grew 6.8 percent in the third quarter to US$1.2 billion, while profit dropped to US$76 million. The company also had some key staff leaving.

A separation of Yahoo’s Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan stakes from the core business would unlock immediate value for shareholders and allow Yahoo’s core business to better recruit and retain talent, according to Starboard Value.

 

 

Sprint Confirms Thousands Of Jobs To Be Cut

November 6, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Sprint Chairman and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has confirmed that job cuts at Sprint will be “in the thousands” as part of a restructuring plan.

His comments came as SoftBank, which owns more than 70% of Sprint, reported its quarterly earnings.

“Sprint is now in the position to increase the pace of user acquisition while cutting costs,” Son said, according to Bloomberg and other news sources. “We will also cut staff. The cuts will be in the thousands.”

Son’s comments are not out of line with things Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has been telling Sprint workers for months.

On Tuesday, Sprint’s stock price sagged downward after an earnings report included a statement saying that the carrier plans to cut $2 billion or more in operating expenses for its 2016 fiscal year, which begins in April.

Son also said the $2 billion is a “minimum target” and should be the amount slashed annually, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The company now has more than $25 billion in annual costs.

Sprint has been investing in attracting new customers — an effort that has been costly but effective. On Tuesday, Sprint reported it gained 237,000 postpaid phone customers in its second fiscal quarter, which ended Sept. 30. It was the first time the company had showed gains on that measure in two years. It also reported its lowest customer cancellation rate in company history.

In November 2014, Sprint had said it would cut 2,000 jobs as part of $1.5 billion in cost reductions. That announcement came after Sprint had cut 5,000 jobs from January through September 2014. The company had 31,000 workers at the start of its current fiscal year on April 1.

 

 

Google, Yahoo Sign Advertising Pact

October 22, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo Inc announced that it has signed a search advertising deal with Google Inc, providing a potential boost to Marissa Mayer’s efforts to turn around the company, which also reported revenue and profit that fell short of market estimates.

The deal with Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, builds on an existing search partnership Microsoft Corp under which Yahoo gets a percentage of revenue from ads displayed on its sites.

Yahoo, whose shares were down 1.6 percent in after-hours trading, said the companies have agreed to delay implementation of the deal in the United States to allow the antitrust division of the Department of Justice to review it.

Yahoo has been struggling to boost revenue from ad sales in the face of stiff competition from Google and Facebook.

The Google deal was one of the few bright spots included in the company’s third-quarter results statement.

Yahoo said it expected fourth-quarter revenue of $1.16 billion–$1.20 billion, well below the average analyst estimate of $1.33 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Mayer, in her fourth year as chief executive, said the forecast was “not indicative of the performance we want.”

“We are also experiencing continued revenue headwinds in our core (advertising) business, especially in the legacy portions,” Mayer said on a call with analysts.

 

 

Mobile Trading Apps Continue To Gain In Popularity

October 21, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Once the dominion of big international banks, smartphones are putting the power to deal currencies into the hands of a new cohort of traders, who can make a deals in just about any location.

Retail foreign exchange trading has grown rapidly in recent years, but the image has been of a lone trader in front of a computer screen. Smartphones, owned by around half the world’s adults, are changing that.

Mobile trading makes up about 60 percent of transactions, up from 10 percent four years ago, at London-based broker Trade 212, whose app has been downloaded over a million times. More than a fifth of clients trade only on smartphones or tablets.

“We are seeing a big number of clients who are not only mobile first, but mobile only,” said Ivan Ashminov, Trade 212′s co-founder.

Like others, Trade 212 offers demo accounts allowing users, largely male and mostly aged between 25 and 45, to practise with fake money. Many have no previous trading experience, Ashminov said.

Faheem Bismal, a 32-year-old father of two from Glasgow, sold his chain of convenience stores and restaurants two years ago to focus on property investment and trading currencies. He trades on broker FXCM’s smartphone app on the school run and in bed before he turns out the light.

When he only traded on his desktop and could not check the market when he was out and about, he was less successful, Bismal said. But he warns that the ease and accessibility of trading apps can be dangerous.

“I see guys sitting on their phones just tapping away, being in and out of the market within seconds or minutes … and losing all their money. If you’re going to use the app you have to use it very sensibly.”

In 2013, the Bank for International Settlements estimated the value of retail currency trading at about $185 billion a day, or 3.5 percent of the market. Industry analysis website Finance Magnates reckons that figure is now closer to $320 billion. Smartphones, it seems, are helping drive growth.

Almost 40 percent of trading at IG, one of the world’s biggest retail FX platforms, is done on mobile devices, up from around 20 percent three years ago. In April, the firm became the first to offer a trading app on the Apple Watch, which vibrates when a user-set price is reached.

 

 

Steve Ballmer Believes In Twitter

October 19, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Ex Microsoft Corp  Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has purchased a 4 percent stake in Twitter Inc, according to his spokesman, making him the third-biggest individual shareholder in the social media company.

Ballmer’s stake is worth more than $800 million based on Twitter’s $21 billion market value. Only co-founder Evan Williams and Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal have greater stakes among individual investors.

Friday Ballmer tweeted from a non-verified account that he built up his stake over the past several months.

His tweet lauded Twitter’s new ‘Moments’ feature, which curates the best tweets of the day, and Dorsey’s appointment as permanent CEO last week.

“Good job @twitter, @twittermoments innovation, @jack Ceo, leaner, more focused,” the tweet said. “Glad I bought 4% past few months.”

Twitter declined to comment. Ballmer himself did not return requests for comment.

Ballmer, who bought the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team after retiring as Microsoft CEO in February 2014, has a personal fortune of about $21.5 billion, making him the 35th richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

Ballmer now owns more of Twitter than co-founder and CEO Dorsey, who has a 3.2 percent stake, according to Thomson Reuters data. Williams is the largest individual shareholder with about 7.5 percent, followed by Alwaleed with about 5.2 percent.

Like @alwaleedbinT move too,” Ballmer’s tweet said. Alwaleed and his investment firm, Kingdom Holding Co 4280.SE, said earlier this month they had raised their stake in Twitter to more than 5 percent.

Ballmer’s investment is a sign that Twitter’s efforts to revive growth under Dorsey is being appreciated, Monness, Crespi, Hardt, & Co Inc analyst James Cakmak said.

“I think it’s just another point of evidence that the step that they are taking to redirect the business toward growth is resonating,” Cakmak said.

Twitter has made several new announcements since Dorsey, who also served as CEO in 2008, returned on a permanent basis last week. On Tuesday, Twitter said it will lay off about 8 percent of its workforce and on Wednesday, it hired Google Inc executive Omid Kordestani as executive chairman.

FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi said Ballmer’s stake could be indicative of widespread confidence in Dorsey and his strategy.

 

 

 

 

Chip & Pin Cards Responsible For Netflix Subscriber Slowdown?

October 16, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Video-streaming service provider Netflix Inc reported third-quarter U.S. subscriber growth below its own forecast, blaming a transition to chip-based cards for the miss.

Shares of Netflix, known for its original shows such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black”, plummeted about 15 percent after the bell, before finally reversing most of the loss to trade down 2.4 percent.

U.S. credit and debit card companies have been shifting to chip-enabled cards ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline mandated for the switch.

For Netflix, the switch meant that many of the older cards on its file no longer worked as the companies gave new cards to their customers, leading to “involuntary churn,” as Chief Executive Reed Hastings put it in a letter to shareholders.

“It’s just the dumbest thing I’ve heard,” Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said.

FBR Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett said the issue around the chip cards is particularly confusing, given that these cards have been around for a bit.

“It begs a million questions,” he said.

Netflix said on Wednesday it added 0.88 million U.S. subscribers in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with its forecast of 1.15 million.

“The slowdown in U.S. subscriber growth was particularly disappointing because one would expect that since Netflix just raised rates last week, this number would have been strong,” said Crockett.

Netflix increased the subscription rate for some new members earlier this month by $1.00 a month to $9.99 in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

Internationally, Netflix added 2.74 million subscribers, compared with its projection of 2.40 million.

Netflix, which is also battling competition from streaming services such as Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video service and Hulu, has been aggressively building its overseas presence.

The company said it was in the “early stages” of its China entry and said it was “still learning a lot”.

Netflix said in July its plans to enter China in 2016 could be delayed.

Netflix is being “more adventurous” on the news side, company executives said on a post-earnings conference call.

The company added it was not looking at live sports as an offering currently.

 

Oracle Disappoints As Licensing Sales Free Fall Continues

September 18, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Oracle Corp’s sales declined more than expected in the first quarter, hurt by a strong dollar and a continued drop in licensed software sales and the company warned revenue could fall in the current quarter even on a constant currency basis.

Like its rivals such as SAP, IBM Corp and Microsoft Corp , Oracle is striving to boost Internet-based software sales to head off fast-growing competitors such as Salesforce.com Inc.

But, analysts have said Oracle’s cloud software business has not been growing fast enough to make up for declines in the 38-year-old company’s licensed software business due to reasons ranging from slow customer adoption to tough competition.

Oracle’s revenue declined 1.7 percent to $8.45 billion in the quarter ended Aug. 31, missing analysts estimates for the third quarter in a row.

The company said sales increased 7 percent on a constant currency basis. However, it forecast revenue to range between a fall of 2 percent to growth of 1 percent in the current quarter.

“On an apples-to-apples basis, that’s disappointing. It’s pretty clearly below consensus even at the top end,” Wedbush Securities Inc analyst Steve Koenig said.

Oracle’s shares fell as much as 2.8 percent in extended trading on Wednesday.

The company’s net income declined 20 percent to $1.75 billion in the first quarter. Excluding items, it earned 53 cents per share, more than analysts’ estimate of 52 cents.

Sales of Oracle’s cloud-computing software and platform service rose 34 percent to $451 million. Sales of traditional software licenses fell 16 percent to $1.51 billion.

Wall Street was expecting cloud-based sales to increase 35 percent and licensed software sales to decline 17 percent, according to RBC Capital Markets.

“In the foreseeable future the database business continues to be a dark cloud over the company’s head,” FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said.

Cloud-based software sales account for a small portion of Oracles’ total revenue as they are subscription based, which promise a steady revenue stream but with lower margins.

Fundamentally, all of Oracle’s software will be available on the cloud by the OpenWorld conference at the end of October, Co-Chief Executive Mark Hurd said on a call with analysts.

Ives said Oracle needs to make acquisitions to fuel growth in its cloud business and convince investors who are skeptical of a turnaround.

 

 

Acer Warms To Takeover Possibility

August 28, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Acer Inc founder Stan Shih said he would welcome a takeover of the struggling Taiwanese computer manufacturer after a drastic decline in its stock price, while warning any potential buyer would have to pay a heavy amount.

“Welcome,” Shih told reporters in response to a question about whether Acer would be open to a takeover. He added however that any buyer would get an “empty shell” and would pay dearly.

“U.S. and European management teams usually are concerned about money, their CEOs only work for money. But Taiwanese are more concerned about a sense of mission and emotional factors,” he said.

His remarks were first reported by Taiwanese media on Thursday and were confirmed by a company spokesman.

Acer has reported steep on-year sales falls in recent months, including a 33 percent drop in July.

It suffered a T$2.89 billion ($90 million) loss in the first six months of 2015, versus a slight profit in the same period last year. It booked losses for all of 2011, 2012 and 2013 amid cratering PC sales.

Its stock price has fallen by nearly half since early April.

 

 

HTC To Cut Devices, Focus On High-end Market

August 7, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp said it will eliminate some jobs and discontinue models as part of its strategy to focus on high-end devices to better compete with the likes of AppleInc and Samsung Electronics.

“The cuts will be across the board,” Chief Financial Officer Chialin Chang told reporters after HTC reported a second-quarter loss and forecast another for the third-quarter. “They will be significant.”

Chang said the cost reductions would extend to the first quarter of next year, but declined to give further details.

A pioneer in early smartphones, HTC has been dismissed by industry watchers as confused, unoriginal and uncompetitive.

The company has been losing market share over the past few years, hit by intense competition at the high-end of the market from the likes of Apple and Samsung Electronics while budget Chinese rivals have also eclipsed its low-cost offerings.

HTC shares have fallen 51 percent so far this year. The stock closed 1.69 percent lower before the results were announced.

Chang said HTC was banking on selling high-end models in emerging smartphone markets such as India, where he said the company has a 20 percent market share of phones priced between $250-$400.

Analysts, however, are less optimistic, saying HTC is likely to continue to struggle for the next four quarters at least.

“We believe HTC will keep losing share in the smartphone market and will keep losing money,” analyst Calvin Huang with Taiwan’s SinoPac Securities wrote in a recent research note.

 

 

Nintendo Goes AMD

July 21, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

The last of the console makers is ready to sign up to AMD chips, according to the latest rumor

Some details are now coming to light on Nintendo’s upcoming NX console. The console will be in the shops in a year’s time, but we might know who’s building the NX’s chips.

AMD will manufacture the CPU + GPU combo, giving the outfit total control of the console market. It was pretty much a no brainer. AMD created the APUs found inside the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.  Although it is getting increasingly difficult to tell the consoles apart.

AMD’s CEO, Lisa Su, confirmed that the company had a new chip contract. Su said the deal could generate billions, but she did not identify the customer .

It now seems she was referring to the Nintendo deal, which means she is more optimistic about the products’ success than us.

The NX will be based around the Android operating system and should released some time next year. Nintendo is saying nothing about the deal at the moment.

AMD is needs more deals like this if it is going to turn around its dependence on the ever-shrinking PC market. There are only so many consoles that made every year and AMD appears to be inside them all.

Courtesy-Fud

 

YouTube Gains Adds Billions To Google’s Bottom Line

July 20, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google shares rose by 16.3 percent to $699.62 on Friday, adding about $65 billion to its market value, as strong growth in YouTube viewership eased investor concerns about Facebook Inc’s push into video.

Google’s class A shares chalked up their largest single-day percentage change in more than seven years on Friday.

The surge, which comes a day after it reported better-than-expected profit for the first time in six quarters, sent the Nasdaq composite index to a record intraday high.

The rise in Google’s market value was more than the total market capitalization of Caterpillar Inc, the world’s biggest construction equipment maker.

Google’s shares hit a record high of $703, valuing it at $471.50 billion and cementing its position as the world’s second most valuable company after Apple Inc.

At least 27 brokerages raised price targets on Google’s stock, with analysts also welcoming new Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat’s emphasis on disciplined spending.

At the highest price target of $800, Google would be valued at $545 billion. Apple is valued at about $740 billion.

The energy brought to Google by Porat, who joined in May from investment bank Morgan Stanley, is likely to drive the stock in the short and medium term, analysts say.

“She is known to be tough as nails when it comes to expense management …,” FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi said. “A lot of investors are comforted by the fact that her first quarter as CFO, reporting, she is delivering.”