And many advertisers, analysts and investors say Twitter already has the right person for the job: not interim CEO Jack Dorsey but Adam Bain, the company’s president and head of revenue, who has emerged as an early favorite.
Twitter’s outgoing chief executive, Dick Costolo, resigned abruptly last Thursday amid pressure from investors to increase the user base and improve what’s known as direct response advertising, the most lucrative type on the microblogging site.
Those ads prompt users to take an action, such as signing up for a website or buying a product. Improving them is central to Twitter’s ability to make more money.
Before joining Twitter in 2010, Bain served as president of the Fox Audience Network where he was responsible for monetizing advertising platforms across News Corp’s web properties. At Twitter, he has helped aggressively grow the advertising platform. He holds many of the company’s most valuable relationship with advertisers and understands the media business, advertisers said, and could help redirect Twitter so it meets advertisers’ demands and makes more money.
For now, advertisers hope the management change will “light a fire” under Twitter, said Adam Epstein, chief executive of ad Marketplace, which works with search advertisers. Even though they have discussed ways to improve advertising with Twitter executives, the company has been slow to change.
“When you talk to Twitter, you can throw some great ideas on a whiteboard, but there seems to be a lack of urgency,” Epstein said.
They also hope Twitter makes the site easier to use so that more people become regular users and click on ads. Advertisers also want Twitter to provide data that allows them to gather more information on consumers.
Last week, Asus Chairman Jonney Shih said he wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of buying HTC.
Such a move could help both companies: Asus has been trying to move beyond its traditional PC business into sales of Android smartphones, and acquiring smartphone maker HTC would boost its market presence. It could also provide support for HTC, which has seen its market share dwindle in the face of tough competition from Apple, Samsung Electronics and Chinese smartphone vendors.
Such arguments hold no sway with HTC, though.
“We didn’t contact Asustek, and will not consider the acquisition,” the company said in a posting to the Taiwan stock exchange on Monday.
With a deal out of the question — at least as far as HTC is concerned — both companies will need other strategies.
Asus is counting on organic growth in its smartphone business. This year it aims to ship 17 million phones, double last year’s total, but still a tiny fraction of the global market. It has already started selling phones in the U.S. in a bid to reach its target.
HTC’s future financial performance remains in question. Earlier this month, it revised its financial outlook for the second quarter, and said revenue would be down further than expected on slower demand for high-end phones. In the past three months, the company’s stock price has also dropped by almost half.
In March, HTC founder Cher Wang took over as CEO, with the hope of engineering a turnaround. She has said the company will cut operating costs, and look for opportunities outside selling handsets.
For a while now, people had been wondering what the next Wii would be called, with smart money being on the Number 2. However it seems that the new console dubbed the Nintendo NX has a few surprises under the bonnet.
According to Nikkei Nintendo is planning an Android console so that game developers would be able to port their games over with relative ease.
This could also indicate that games developed for the Nintendo NX could extend to other Android-powered devices like smartphones and tablets, play nice with the console.
Games developers have been ignoring the Wii U in droves so this might actually help Nintendo get back into the race.
Android-powered consoles have appeared before but they died horribly in the market place.
There’s something genuinely surreal about sitting down to write an article about region locking in 2015. It feels archaic and almost nostalgic; I might as well be writing something about blowing into cartridge ports to get games to work, or bemoaning the long load times for cassettes. Yet here we are. Years into the era of digital distribution, long after we reached the point where it became technically harder to prevent customers from accessing games from anywhere in the world than it is to permit the same, region locking is back in the news. Thanks, Nintendo.
The focus of this week’s headlines is the Humble Bundle promotion which Nintendo is running for a number of indie titles on 3DS and Wii U. It’s a great deal for some excellent games and is raising money for a solid cause; plus it’s wonderful to see console platform holders engaging with the Humble Bundle approach, which has been so successful at bringing indie games (and other creative works) to wider audiences on the PC. It ought to be a win, win, win for Nintendo, gamers and indie developers alike.
Unfortunately, though, the bundle only works in the Americas; North America and some bits of Central and South America. Customers elsewhere are entirely locked out, a matter which has been a source of deep frustration not only to those customers, but also seemingly to Nintendo’s own staff working on the project. The result is that what ought to have been a straightforward PR win for the company has turned bittersweet; there has been more widespread news coverage of the region locking debacle in the past few days than there has been for the bundle itself.
Although this is a terrible shame for the developers involved – and I sincerely hope that Nintendo can pull its thumb out of its backside and launch an international version of the bundle in short order – no sympathy is due to Nintendo in this situation. It’s a problem entirely of the company’s own making; the firm made a deliberate and conscious decision to embrace region locking even as the internationalisation of digital distribution made that look increasingly ridiculous, and until that stubbornly backwards piece of decision making is reversed, it’s going to continue causing PR problems for the firm, not to mention genuine problems for its most devoted customers.
Remember, after all, that the rest of the gaming world has ditched region locking en masse – Sony gave it up with the PS3, even making it painless to use digital content from different regions by creating multiple accounts on the same console, while Microsoft made region locking optional on Xbox 360 (making a bit of a mess where some publishers enforced it and others didn’t) before ditching it entirely on the Xbox One. At the same time Nintendo, ever the merry contrarians, went the opposite direction, not only maintaining region locking on the Wii and Wii U, but even extending it to the 3DS – in contrast to the company’s prior handheld consoles, which had been region free.
The idiocy of a region locked handheld is staggering; these are systems which are quite simply at their best when you’re traveling, yet lo and behold, Nintendo don’t want you to buy any games if you go on holiday or on a business trip. The excuses trotted out were mealy-mouthed corporate dishonesty from start to finish; it was all about protecting customers, honest, and respecting local customs and laws. Utter tosh. Had those things been a genuine issue, they would have been an issue in the previous decades when Nintendo managed to sell handheld consoles without region locking; they would also have been an issue for Sony and Microsoft when they removed region locking from their systems.
In truth, there’s only one reason for region locking in this day and age – price control – and Nintendo’s calculation must have been that they had more to lose from the possibility, real or imagined, of people buying cheaper 3DS games from countries overseas, than they had to lose from annoying a chunk of their customer base, be they keen gamers who wanted to try out titles unlikely to be released in their regions, expats who want to play games brought from their home countries or parents who find that a game bought in the airport on the way home from holiday results not in a pacified, happy child on the flight but in an angry, upset child with a game that won’t work.
In Nintendo’s defence, Satoru Iwata has recently been musing publicly about dropping region locking from the Nintendo NX, whenever that turns up. That the company is clearly planning to move down that path does rather confirm that it’s been fibbing about its motivations for region locking all along, of course, which might be why Iwata is being cautious in his statements; it’s a shame if such face-saving is the reason for Nintendo failing to keep up with industry moves in this regard, because the company is going to keep being periodically beaten with this stick until the problem is fixed.
Admittedly, there would be problems with removing region locking from its existing consoles – not least that Nintendo’s agreements with publishers probably guarantee the region locking system, so even if it could be patched out of the 3DS and Wii U with a software update, that can’t happen legally due to the contracts it would breach. What Nintendo could and should do, however, is to offer gamers a gesture of good faith on the matter by dropping region locking from all its first-party software from now on – and perhaps emulating Xbox 360 era Microsoft by making it optional for third-party publishers as well. I can envisage no legal barrier to that approach; it would earn the company enormous kudos for responding to its audience and dealing with the problem, and would cost them precisely nothing. There aren’t that many easy PR wins floating around the industry right now; Nintendo should leap on this chance to show itself to be on the customers’ side.
Wheels turn slowly in Kyoto, though, and it’s probably too much to expect the company to react in a startup-like way to the region locking issue. In some ways it’s Nintendo’s strength that it reacts slowly and thoughtfully rather than jumping on every bandwagon, but in recent years, it’s also been a weakness far too many times – and the thoroughly wonderful software that the company has been turning out in the past few years, perhaps the finest line-up it’s produced in decades, has been regularly undermined by bad decisions in marketing and positioning of its platforms, many of which can be traced to a failure to understand where the market is and where it’s moving.
Region locking isn’t the biggest problem. Fixing it would be cheap and easy but would hardly be a panacea for Nintendo’s issues – but it’s a problem that’s symptomatic, emblematic even, of the broader problems Nintendo has with putting its customers first and applying the same care and attention to its corporate aspects which it always applies to its software development. Fix a problem like this in a proactive, rapid way, and we might all start to believe that the company has what it takes to get back on top.
Salesforce shares rose from $71.4 to $75.82 in about a minute late Tuesday afternoon, after which trading was temporarily halted.
The stock closed 1.6 percent higher at $72.75. Microsoft shares closed down 1.3 percent at $47.60.
Microsoft is evaluating a bid after Salesforce was approached by another potential buyer, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
Microsoft is not in talks with Salesforce, and no deal is imminent, the report said.
Microsoft declined to comment, while Salesforce could not immediately be reached.
Bloomberg had reported last week that Salesforce was working with financial advisers to help it field takeover offers after being approached by a potential buyer.
The news sent the company’s shares up as much as 17.3 percent to an all-time high of $78.46 last Wednesday.
Japanese consumer electronics maker Sony Corp expects operating profit to more than quadruple this year, as strong sales of camera sensors and cost reductions anchor a much needed turnaround after years of losses on TVs and mobile phones.
Sony said on Thursday it estimates operating profit will jump in the year ending March 2016 to 320 billion yen ($2.7 billion). For the previous fiscal year, operating profit was 68.5 billion, in line with an April 22 forecast.
This year’s earnings would be Sony’s biggest annual operating profit in seven years, though well below an average analyst forecast of 408 billion yen, according to Thomson Reuters. Achieving it would mark another milestone in Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai’s long haul to pull one of Japan’s most iconic technology firms out of heavy losses, squeezed by cheaper and more nimble rivals in mass consumer electronics.
Under Hirai’s direction, Sony has reshaped itself to target expansion in lucrative new areas such as sensors used in cameras for popular devices like Apple Inc’s iPhones. That strategy has vexed some former executives who have urged Hirai to focus on innovation, not cost cuts.
“We are emerging from losses but still recuperating,” Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida told reporters on Thursday, saying Sony was being cautious in forecasting to break with past habits.
“In the past seven years, we revised (earnings guidance) downwards around 15 times,” he said, citing fluctuations in foreign exchange rates as a major concern.
As part of its restructuring, Sony has exited PCs and spun off its TV business. It also plans to split off its audio and video business in an effort to hold subsidiaries more accountable for making a profit.
Investors have welcomed the new-look Sony. Shares have risen more than 30 percent in 2015, and year-on-year, the stock has nearly doubled, hitting 3,827.50 yen earlier this month, its highest since 2008.
Discount and deal site Groupon has a novel way of dealing with bounty hunters who point out security flaws in its systems. It lets them discover the flaws and refuses to pay up.
Brute Logic says that the security issue is all the more serious because Groupon stores credit card details, and it would be incredibly easy to craft a spoof Groupon-related URL to trick victims into visiting a fake site.
On April 17 he contacted Groupon security team then got back saying that it had isolated the issue and would be back in touch once a patch has been produced.
As a contributor to XSSposed.org Brute Logic spoke with people at the site and made a reference to one of the security issues ended up being published. This only appeared online for a few moments, and was removed after it was realized it had been published in error. But Groupon is using this as a reason for refusing to pay out.
Groupon’s Bug Bounty Program terms say:
“We encourage you to report it to us in a private and responsible way. In order to encourage this, we have established a reward program which will pay a bounty for verifiable security issues reported to us through the proper channel.”
Brute Logic argues that an additional 30 problems still existed and very scant details of the security flaw were published for only a very short time. In a further email, Groupon said:
“Unfortunately we won’t be able to offer you a bounty for this submission. In the future we ask that you respect our responsible disclosure policy and not publicly disclose the vulnerability without properly notification. We noticed that you submitted the vulnerability to xssposed.org.”
Understandably Brute Logic is not happy, seeing the company trying to get out of a bounty on the basis of a technicality.
Facebook’s total first-quarter revenue was US$3.54 billion, up more than 40 percent from a year earlier, the company reported Wednesday. That was a bit less than the consensus analyst estimate of $3.56 billion, as polled by Thomson Reuters.
With a bounty of personal data on its billion-plus members — many of whom now log in from their smartphones — Facebook’s mobile ad business has become a juggernaut.
During the quarter, which ended March 31, Facebook grew its mobile ad sales by 59 percent to $2.59 billion. After going public in mid-2012, Facebook faced questions from investors over its ability to grow its business on mobile, but the company eventually dispelled those doubts.
Net income came in at $512 million, down 20 percent, while earnings per share dropped 28 percent to $0.18.
On a pro forma basis, which excludes certain costs, such as share-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses, Facebook had earnings per share of $0.42, up from $0.35 last year, and beating the analyst consensus estimate of $0.40.
“This was a strong start to the year,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.
The company’s costs and expenses rose by more than 80 percent from a year earlier, to $2.61 billion.
The number of people who log in monthly to Facebook grew by 13 percent, to 1.44 billion. And the number of those people who log in from a mobile device grew faster, by 24 percent to 1.25 billion.
In addition to its primary mobile app, Facebook now operates a suite of apps including Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. But its flagship app generates by far the most mobile ad sales.
Facebook began placing ads in Instagram in 2013, but by its own admission has done so slowly and gradually. Neither Messenger nor WhatsApp carry ads yet.
Activist investor Jana Partners is urging Qualcomm Inc to consider spinning off its chip unit from its patent-licensing business to boost the chipmaker’s sagging stock price, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a quarterly letter that will be sent to Jana investors on Monday.
Jana, one of Qualcomm’s largest shareholders, is also calling on the company to cut costs, accelerate stock buybacks and make changes to its executive pay structure, financial reporting and board of directors, the newspaper said.
Qualcomm said last month it would buy back up to $15 billion of shares and raise its quarterly dividend. The company also said it would continue to return at least 75 percent of its free cash flow to shareholders annually.
In the letter, Jana said the buyback is a positive step but Qualcomm needs to do more to capitalize on its strong position in the chip market. It said Qualcomm’s chip business is essentially worthless at the company’s present market value, the Journal reported.
While the majority of Qualcomm’s revenue comes from selling so-called baseband chips that enable phones to communicate with carrier networks, most of its profit comes from licensing patents for its widespread CDMA cellphone technology.
Earlier this year, Qualcomm’s longtime customer Samsung Electronics Co opted to use an internally developed processor for its new Galaxy S6 smartphone rather than Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon mobile chip.
Jana executives and Qualcomm’s management have held private discussions since late last year, the Journal said, citing a person familiar with the conversations. In the letter, Jana described the talks as constructive.
Throw away your capacity flash drives! Tape is king once more! Continuing the renaissance of a format that dates back to 1952, the same year as Alan Turing’s seminal paper The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis, researchers at IBM labs have created a tape storage system capable of an aerial recording density of 123 billion bits of uncompressed data per square inch.
That’s equivalent to a palm-sized 220TB cartridge. Or about 1.37 trillion text messages.
The speed at which tape can be recalled means that the format is best served for cold storage (write once, read many), but it will give some of the newer kids on the block, such as SanDisk’s 512TB InfiniFlash array, something to think about because of its potential cost-effectiveness.
IBM states that a single cartridge is the equivalent of a bookshelf stretching from Las Vegas to Houston (2,200km).
“With this demonstration, we prove again that tape will continue to play an important role in the storage hierarchy for years to come,” added Evangelos Eleftheriou, IBM Fellow. “This milestone reaffirms IBM’s continued commitment and leadership in magnetic tape technology.”
The continued development of the tape format is nothing new. This is the fourth time since 2006 that IBM has teamed up with Fuji and cracked the record.
Last year, Sony managed to cram 148GB per inch on to a tape format developed in association with IBM, only for the IBM/Fuji alliance to knock it out of the park weeks later clocking 154GB per inch.
IBM scientists are exploring ways of combining this technology into services such as Openstack Swift, making for a very low cost big data platform.
The team has been working on perfecting a technique with a combination of higher track densities, thanks to head alignment accurate to 6nm, a more accurate write head, writing to much finer barium ferrite particles and more accurate signal processing algorithms based on noise-predictive detection principles.
So a little bit more advanced than your C90 mixtape then.
Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp said it is gearing up to spend 1 trillion yen ($8.4 billion) on acquisitions over the next four years, bolstered by a stronger profit outlook for its automotive and housing technology businesses.
Chief Executive Kazuhiro Tsuga said at a briefing on Thursday that Panasonic doesn’t have specific acquisition targets in mind for now. But he said the firm will spend around 200 billion yen on M&A in the fiscal year that kicks off in April alone, and pledged to improve on Panasonic’s patchy track record on big deals.
“With strategic investments, if there’s an opportunity to accelerate growth, you need funds. That’s the idea behind the 1 trillion yen figure,” he said. Tsuga has spearheaded a radical restructuring at the Osaka-based company that has made it one of the strongest turnaround stories in Japan’s embattled technology sector.
Tsuga previously told Reuters that company was interested in M&A deals in the European white goods market, a sector where Panasonic has comparatively low brand recognition.
The firm said on Thursday it’s targeting operating profit of 430 billion yen in the next fiscal year, up nearly 25 percent from the 350 billion yen it expects for the year ending March 31.
Panasonic’s earnings have been bolstered by moving faster than peers like Sony Corp and Sharp Corp to overhaul business models squeezed by competition from cheaper Asian rivals and caught flat-footed in a smartphone race led by Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics. Out has gone reliance on mass consumer goods like TVs and smartphones, and in has come a focus on areas like automotive technology and energy-efficient home appliances.
Tsuga also sought to ease concerns that an expensive acquisition could set back its finances, which took years to recover from the deal agreed in 2008 to buy cross-town rival Sanyo for a sum equal to about $9 billion at the time.
PC and printer makers have struggled in the recent past as companies reduced printing to cut costs and consumers shifted to mobile devices from PCs.
Hewlett-Packard Co plans to separate its computer and printer businesses from its corporate hardware and services operations this year.
Xerox Corp has also increasingly focused on IT services to make up for the falling sales of its copiers and printers.
Lexmark divested its inkjet printer business in 2013 and has since boosted its enterprise software business.
The Kofax deal will help the company’s Perceptive Software business achieve its revenue target of $500 million in 2016, Lexmark said.
The business makes software to scan everything from spreadsheets to medical images and provides services to banking, healthcare, insurance and retail companies. It contributed about 8 percent to Lexmark’s revenue in 2014 and has grown at more than 30 percent in the past two years.
Kofax provides data services to the financial, insurance and healthcare companies such as Citigroup Inc, Metlife Inc and Humana Inc.
Lexmark said it expects the deal to “significantly” expand operating margins in its enterprise software business, which would now be worth about $700 million. It will also add about 10 cents per share to the company’s adjusted profit in 2015.
Nintendo has formed a comprehensive new alliance with DeNA that will make every one of the company’s famous IPs available for mobile development.
The bedrock of the deal is a dual stock purchase, with each company buying ¥22 billion ($181 million) of the other’s treasury shares. That’s equivalent to 10 per cent of DeNA’s stock, and 1.24 per cent of Nintendo. The payments will complete on April 2, 2015.
What this will ultimately mean for the consumer is Nintendo IP on mobile, “extending Nintendo’s reach into the vast market of smart device users worldwide.” There will be no ports of existing Nintendo games, according to information released today, but, “all Nintendo IP will be eligible for development and exploration by the alliance.” That includes the “iconic characters” that the company has guarded for so long.
No details on the business model that these games and apps will be released under were offered, though Nintendo may well be reluctant to adopt free-to-play at first. The information provided to the press emphasised the “premium” experiences Nintendo currently offers on platforms like Wii U and 3DS. Admittedly, that could be interpreted in either direction.
However, Nintendo and DeNA are planning an online membership service that will span Nintendo consoles, PC and smart devices. That will launch in the autumn this year.
This marks a significant change in strategy for Nintendo, which has been the subject of reports about plans to take its famous IPs to mobile for at least a year. Indeed, the company has denied the suggestion on several occasions, even as it indicated that it did have plans to make mobile a part of its core strategy in other ways.
Analysts have been offering their reflections on the deal, with the response from most being largely positive.
“Nintendo’s decision to partner with DeNA is a recognition of the importance of the games app audience to the future of its business,” said IHS head of gaming Piers Harding-Rolls. “Not only is there significant revenue to be made directly from smartphone and tablet consumers for Nintendo, app ecosystems are also very important in reaching new customers to make them aware of the Nintendo brand and to drive a new and broader audience to its dedicated console business. Last year IHS data shows that games apps were worth $26 billion in consumer spending globally, with handheld console games worth only 13 per cent of that total at $3.3 billion.
“The Nintendo-DeNA alliance is a good fit and offers up a number of important synergies for two companies that are no longer leaders in their respective segments.
“DeNA remains one of the leading mobile games company’s in Japan and, we believe, shares cultural similarities with Nintendo, especially across its most popular big-brand content. The alliance gives Nintendo access to a large audience in its home market, which remains very important to its overall financial performance. Japanese consumers spend significantly more per capita on mobile games than in any other country and it remains the biggest market for both smartphone and handheld gaming. While the partnership gives Nintendo immediate potential to grow its domestic revenues through this audience, gaining access to DeNA’s mobile expertise is important too to realise this potential.
“This alliance makes commercial sense on many levels – the main challenge will be knitting together the cultures of both companies and aligning the speed of development and iteration that is needed in the mobile space with Nintendo’s more patient and systematic approach to games content production. How the new games are monetised may also provide a challenge considering the general differences in models used in retail for Nintendo and through in-app purchases for DeNA.”
In a livestreamed press conference regarding the DeNA deal, Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata reassured those in attendance that the company was still committed to “dedicated video game systems” as its core business. To do that, he confirmed that the company was working on a new console, codenamed “NX”.
“As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand new concept under the development codename NX,” he said.
“It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project but we hope to share more information with you next year.”
Gemalto said its initial investigations into a reports that U.S. and British spies had gained unauthorized access to it systems showed its products were secure and it thus did not expect a significant financial impact.
Gemalto’s shares fell sharply late last week after news website Intercept reported a hack by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
The hack into the world’s biggest maker of phone SIM cards allowed the spies to potentially monitor the calls, texts and emails of billions of mobile users around the world, the investigative news website reported.
Gemalto said it would communicate on the results of its investigations on Wednesday, Feb. 25 through a press release and a press conference that will be held in Paris at 0930 GMT.
Gemalto makes smart chips for mobile phones, bank cards and biometric passports and counts Verizon, AT&T Inc and Vodafone among its 450 wireless network provider customers around the world.
Samsung’s components businesses is finding itself under pressure to pick up the slack and secure external customers for chips and display panels and might even start flogging them to rival mobile companies.
According to Reuters the reason for this is that the Smartphone industry is tanking and the only one making any money out of it is Apple — and even it is suffering a bit.
Samsung Display has begun supplying organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels to Chinese smartphone makers Lenovo, Coolpad, Oppo Electronics and Vivo Electronics.
The subsidiary says it’s on the lookout for more clients, aiming to have half its total revenue by 2017 from sales to outside customers, up from just over a third in 2013.
Industry experts think that external clients account for around a fifth of Samsung Display’s sales of smaller smartphone and tablet panels compared to about 50 percent for large panels for TVs, underscoring a need for more mobile clients.
Samsung was not interested in overseas sales when Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S devices were selling well, but suddenly it is trying to push into new pastures.
Samsung’s systems chips business is also trying to grow its customer base . It lost a $1 billion last year on declining sales of Galaxy smartphones and the loss of a contract to supply the processor for Apple Inc’s iPhone 6.
Samsung’s next Galaxy S smartphone is widely expected to be powered by its own Exynos processor.
The outfit is in talks with third-party customers about supplying its Exynos mobile processors. Samsung is likely to win back the Apple contract and supply the majority of mobile processors for the next iPhone.