Google becomes Alphabet’s subsidiary, Sundar Pichai becomes CEO in massive restructuring

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 10, 2015

Sundar Pichai, Google Senior Vice President of Android, Chrome and Google Apps, is now officially the new CEO at the search company, which itself has now become a subsidiary of a bigger company called Alphabet, Inc.

Yeah, a lot has happened since you were away from your desk! According to a bombshell press release published on Google’s Investor website and sent out to media Monday morning, Google is undergoing a massive overhaul of its business structure.

With Pichai now taking the CEO reigns at Google, former Google CEO and company co-founder Larry Page will assume the CEO role at Alphabet. The other co-founder, Sergey Brin, is Alphabet’s President.

The Google brand will undergo some changes, too, and will focus on popular web properties such as Search, Gmail, Maps and Advertising. Other ambitious Google projects that have failed to gain traction will be broken out of the Google brand. Read More

 

Nokia sells HERE maps division to German carmakers Audi, BMW and Daimler

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 3, 2015

Nokia, once the dominant force in the mobile industry, has sold off its prized HERE maps division to a German carmaker consortium comprised of Audi, BMW and Daimler, technology blog Re/code reported this morning.

The $3.07 billion transaction (2.8 billion euros) is pending regulatory approval and should be completed in the first quarter of 2016. The deal is meant to “secure the long-term availability” of HERE maps as an open platform, as per a media release.

News of the deal arrives following months of speculation that a bunch of Silicon Valley technology giants were interested in a takeover bid, including ride sharing service Uber, as well as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Baidu and others. Read More

 

Samsung’s woes continue with yet another disappointing quarterly earnings

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 30, 2015

Surging iPhone demand on the high-end and plummeting sales of its feature phones that are getting squeezed out of the market by Chinese upstarts like Xiaomi are largely blamed for yet another disappointing quarterly earnings that Samsung posted Thursday.

The South Korean conglomerate reported an eight percent annual decline as profits decreased to 5.75 trillion Korean won, or approximately $4.9 billion, from 6.3 trillion won a year earlier. Analysts predicted 5.6 trillion won of net income. The results mark a fifth straight drop in quarterly earnings for the consumer electronics giant.

The bad news gets worse as Samsung’s mobile division, its bread and butter, reported a huge 37.6 percent drop in mobile operating income which fell from 4.42 trillion won in 2014 to 2.76 trillion won during the April-June period. Read More

 

Samsung bracing itself for another profit drop after miscalculated Galaxy S6/Edge demand

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 7, 2015

Samsung just can’t catch a break.

Although Korean investors thought the flagship Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones would turn Samsung’s fortunes around, the financial freefall continued when the South Korean conglomerate said Tuesday it expected to report a decline in revenue and profits when its second-quarter results go public later this month.

As the Wall Street Journal noted today, the unfortunate development marks Samsung’s seventh straight quarterly profit decline. A source attributed worse than expected results to seemingly lackluster sales of Samsung’s latest flagship handsets and a gross miscalculation in demand for the Galaxy S6 versus the Galaxy S6 Edge. Read More

 

Apple to reveal June quarter earnings on July 21

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 30, 2015

Apple is going to release earnings for its third fiscal 2015 quarter on Tuesday, July 21, according to an update published last evening on the company’s Investor Relations webpage. A conference call to discuss third fiscal quarter earnings with Wall Street investors will be taking place on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 2pm Pacific / 5pm Eastern Time.

A live webcast of the conference call will be available here. Read More

 

Happy launch day anniversary, iPhone!

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 29, 2015

Today eight years ago, the original iPhone went on sale in the United States after a 6-month period of unprecedented hype triggered by its January 9, 2007 introduction. Like most other Apple products were panned as duds but went on to become smash hits, the Apple smartphone was universally dismissed.

Then industry heavyweights such as Nokia, RIM and Palm—with a little help from shortsighted technology press—ridiculed the device for its poor (by non-smartphone standards) battery life, multitouch interface, software keyboard and many other features that were ahead of its time.

In retrospect, rivals’ knee-jerk reaction to the iPhone, coupled with their risk aversion and stubborn insistence on old ways of doing things, contributed to their incredibly fast undoing.

Doomsayers notwithstanding, the device went on to sell hundreds of millions of units worldwide (726 million units to date, to be precise), becoming the de facto gold standard for smartphones. And while the iPhone is now common sight in all corners of the globe,  its beauty isn’t that it invented, but re-invented the hopelessly-out-of-touch (to quote T-Mobile CEO) industry.

It gave the sleepy, self-absorbed wireless carriers—and handset makers, their partners in crime—a much needed kick in their butt for not listening to consumers’ needs at all. Sure, there were smartphones before the iPhone but they looked like they were designed by committees (which they actually were) and one needed a user manual to master them.

There were phones with touchscreens before the iPhone but none implemented the sensation and immediacy of touch so elegantly and seamlessly as Apple’s device. There were also mobile app stores, of sorts, before the App Store. But none has offered the ease of use and instant gratification of tapping a colorful icon to have an app arrive wirelessly on your Home screen.

No smartphone other than the iPhone has managed to consistently earn highest customer satisfaction scores to this date. And as we’ve witnessed, in the process of doing so the iPhone has turned the largely written off, beleaguered computer maker from Cupertino into the most powerful corporation in the world, one that can easily sway whole multi-billion dollar industries with their decisions. Read More

 

Apple becomes Promoting Member of Bluetooth SIG, gains voting rights

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 23, 2015

Apple has become a Promoter Member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), a non-profit industry organization that oversees the development of Bluetooth standards and the licensing of the Bluetooth technologies and trademarks to manufacturers.

As one of the biggest proponents of Bluetooth, the iPhone maker now holds a continual seat on the SIG Board of Directors and can influence future development of the standard even more than before. Read More

 

Google secretly buys technology for streaming smartphone apps without downloading

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 19, 2015

Late last year, the Internet giant Google stealthily snapped up a startup called Agawi whose technology let people stream an app to a phone without the need to actually download and install it first.

The deal went under the radar until yesterday, when it was reported by The Information’s Amir Efrati. Agawi’s tech can stream Android apps and Windows PC games to connected TVs, as well as iOS and Android devices.

While it’s unclear whether Google plans to bake app streaming into Android, the acquisition signals a potential new direction for mobile software deployment. Read More

 

Spotify grows to 75 million active users and 20 million paid subscribers globally

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 10, 2015

Spotify has a lot to lose should Apple Music catch on with music lovers. Following Monday’s WWDC 2015 keynote which saw, amongst other things, the announcement of Apple’s ten bucks per month on-demand music subscription service, Spotify has felt compelled to share the latest stats to reinforce its position as the world’s leading streaming music provider.

As of May of this year, the Swedish startup had more than 75 million active users, of which more than 20 million are on one Spotify’s paid Premium tiers. Read More

 

Wunderlist gets acquired by Microsoft

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 2, 2015

6Wunderkinder GmbH, the makers of Wunderlist, the popular to-do, list and tasks application for the Mac, iOS, Apple Watch and other platforms, confirmed today it’s being acquired by software giant Microsoft.

With more than thirteen million users across platforms and more than one billion to-dos created in Wunderlist, the app should seamlessly fit in Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s mobile first, cloud first vision.

But don’t fret, mobile Wunderlist apps aren’t going anywhere, at least for the time being. “As Wunderlist becomes a part of the Microsoft family, we’ll introduce a host of new features, keep adding partner integrations, and progress further in delivering Wunderlist to billions of people,” Christian Reber, 6Wunderkinder founder and CEO said Tuesday. Read More

 

Apple promotes Jony Ive to Chief Design Officer, Tim Cook sends memo to troops

By Christian Zibreg on May 25, 2015

According to an internal memo CEO Tim Cook sent to Apple employees on Monday, Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design, has been promoted to a brand new role: Chief Design Officer.

According to the memo, a copy of which was obtained by 9to5Mac, Apple has also appointed Richard Howarth, who has been part of the iPhone team from the onset, its new Vice President of Industrial Design in charge of hardware design.

Human Interface chief Alan Dye has received a promotion, too. He is now Apple’s new Vice President of User Interface Design in charge of both desktop and mobile user interface experiences. Read More

 

TomTom renews Apple Maps agreement

By Christian Zibreg on May 19, 2015

TomTom, an Apple Maps data provider, announced Tuesday renewing its partnership with the iPhone maker “for maps and related information.”

“TomTom has renewed and extended its global agreement with Apple for maps and related information,” wrote the Amsterdam-based company in a short notice on its website. “No further details of the agreement will be provided,” they added. Read More

 

Apple Watch screen maker LG Display dominates 90% of market as Sharp posts huge losses

By Christian Zibreg on May 14, 2015

One Apple supplier’s misery is another Apple supplier’s fortune. Two of Apple’s key display suppliers — Sharp and LG Display — are not enjoying quite the same positive effects from working with the Cupertino firm. At one end of the spectrum is LG Display, an exclusive supplier of flexible OLED panels for the Apple Watch.

The company now dominates the smartwatch display market with a ninety percent market share thanks to its lucrative contract with Apple, as per Business Korea.

On the other is Japan-based Sharp, one of Apple’s display suppliers that has barely managed to avoid collapse after posting an annual net loss of a whopping $1.9 billion, according to The Financial Times on Thursday. Read More

 

Verizon announces buying AOL for $4.4 billion

By Christian Zibreg on May 12, 2015

Verizon Communications, an American broadband and telecommunications company and the largest U.S. wireless communications service provider, announced Tuesday that it is buying New York City based AOL, previously known as America Online, for $50 per share in a transaction valued approximately at $4.4 billion.

The deal is believed to reinforce Verizon’s desire to enter the mobile video and advertising business, while giving them access to technology AOL has developed for selling ads and delivering high-quality web video. Read More

 

Apple to expand key Irish operation as demand for products grows

By Christian Zibreg on May 11, 2015

Apple is considering a major expansion of its key Irish operation just months after completing a massive €300 million (about $335 million) development in the country, according to Independent.ie Monday.

Already employing more than 4,000 people in Ireland and its Cork plant in Hollyhill, the latest expansion should deliver a multi-million euro boost to the move. Read More

 

Tim Cook charity fundraiser earns $200,000 for RFK human rights campaign

By Christian Zibreg on May 6, 2015

Bidding for the annual Tim Cook lunch auction closed today and the winning bid stands at a cool $200,000, which goes to the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Even though there were more than twenty bids, with the starting bid beginning at $10,000, the fundraiser has actually earned less this year than previous auctions held in 2013 and 2014, probably due to a shift in CharityBuzz’s authentication policy to better prevent false bids.

The annual auction broke records in 2013 when it raised $610,000 for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. In 2014, the auction ended at $330,001. Read More

 

Apple announces 7-part bond sale to finance its capital return program expansion

By Christian Zibreg on May 6, 2015

During a conference call discussing its fiscal 2015 second-quarter results, Tim Cook & Co. also announced expanding their already massive capital return program to a whooping $200 billion through March of 2017 to “reflect strong confidence in what lies ahead for Apple.”

A filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission posted today on Apple’s Investor website casts more light on the initiative, confirming the company will fund this expansion through a new seven-part bond to raise the funds. Read More

 

Final Cut Pro creator Randy Ubillos calls it quits after 20 years spent at Apple

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 23, 2015

Randy Ubillos, who created the first three versions of Adobe Premiere — the first popular digital video editing application — and whom Apple hired away from Macromedia to lead Final Cut Pro development, announced on Twitter this morning that he’s ready to jettison from the mothership.

He was Apple’s Chief Architect of all Photo and Video Applications across the company. He lead Aperture and Final Cut Pro development and was instrumental in bringing iMovie and iPhoto to the iPhone and iPad.

“After an amazing 20 years working on Apple products, today is my last day,” the tweet reads. “I look forward to retirement and the adventures ahead,” he added. His departure comes just 24 hours after Apple’s senior PR director Natatlie Kerris announced, also on Twitter, her retirement to spend more time with her family. Read More

 

Apple posts ‘Better Starts Here’ video highlighting environmental progress during 2014 fiscal year

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 20, 2015

Apple on Monday published 2015 Environmental Responsibility Report and an accompanying video entitled ‘Better Starts Here’, which highlights “significant progress” the company has made in terms of its commitment to preserving our environment during the 2014 fiscal year.

“We don’t want to debate climate change,” said the iPhone maker. “We want to stop it.” The video, along with the latest Environmental Responsibility Report, highlights projects that focus on renewable energy, climate change and forest preservation, as well as Apple’s efforts to preserve resources throughout its supply chain, data centers and solar power plants and get rid of toxins in its products. Read More

 

Win lunch with Tim Cook and two VIP tickets to attend future Apple keynote

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 15, 2015

For the third year in a row, Apple CEO Tim Cook is participating in a charity auction organized by the fundraising service CharityBuzz. You can now bid on the opportunity to have lunch with Cook on the Apple campus in Cupertino, California, and to be his guest at an Apple keynote event. In fact, the highest bidder will win not one but two VIP passes to an Apple keynote. Read More

 
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