Posts Tagged ‘street’

Simon Pegg, E.L. James Party at the Pub for the ‘The World’s End’

August 22, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

“The Brits are coming! The Brits are coming!” Simon Pegg shouted before the Aug. 21 premiere of “The World’s End” at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. He wasn’t kidding. After the hotly-attended premiere, Focus Features took the pub crawl laffer down the street to British pub The Cat and Fiddle where guests like “50 Shades... Read more

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Pandora Says Things Are Awesome, and iTunes Radio Is No Big Deal. Wall Street Is Confused.

August 22, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Pandora investors, who tend be a skittish bunch, freaked out this afternoon when the company released its quarterly numbers, and sent the stock down more than 12 percent in after-market trading. But that was a few minutes ago! Now the situation appears less dire, and shares are only down a few percentage points. For what it’s worth: Pandora beat Wall Street’s earnings and revenue estimates, and provided revenue guidance that beat the consensus, as well. The main issue investors had with its numbers, presumably, was earnings guidance — the company said it would make between three cents and six cents a share next quarter, instead of the eight cents analysts had predicted. Meanwhile, outgoing CEO Joe Kennedy had an upbeat story to tell about the company’s finances: “Everything’s going the way we want it to go,” he told me in an interview this afternoon. Most important is that Pandora is now making some real money from mobile ads. That’s crucial, because that’s where all of Pandora’s growth is coming from, and turning that growth into dollars has been a big problem for most of the Web, and the streaming radio service in particular. Pandora generated $116 million from mobile ads last quarter, up 92 percent from the previous year. Another way of looking at it: Every time Pandora served up 1,000 “listener hours” over phones and tablets last quarter, it made $33.90 from ads. A year ago, that that number was $22.17. But there’s still a big gap between desktop and mobile: For every 1,000 listener hours Pandora serves to PC listeners, it makes $59.31. ( Update : An earlier version of this story misidentified Pandora’s ad metric as revenue per thousand impressions.) Kennedy also dismissed concerns about Apple’s impending iTunes Radio launch, which will directly compete with his service. This one would be easier to take at face value if Pandora’s PR machinery wasn’t working so hard to downplay Apple’s entry. But, for the record, Kennedy repeated the lines he has always used to describe competition in the past. “We’ve now been around for eight years. We’ve seen competitors large and small enter the market and, in some cases, exit the market,” he said. “I’ve never seen an analysis that identifies an effect from any competitor … we don’t see the picture changing.” I can think of one real downside to Pandora’s upbeat report, though: It will make it harder for the company to generate sympathy in its ongoing campaign to lower its music-licensing rates .

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HP Says It May Not Grow Sales in 2014 After All

August 21, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

On Hewlett-Packard’s third quarter conference call today, CEO Meg Whitman explained her rationale behind the recent management shake-ups and many other things. She also revealed that the company no longer expects to grow revenue in 2014 as has been expected. This is the first major step back from the five-year turnaround plan outlined at last year’s meeting with securities analysts. The results were close to what Wall Street expected, but ultimately fell short. As I’m typing these words, HP shares are down about 1.5 percent in after-hours trading, mainly in response to the lighter-than-expected guidance for the remainder of the year. Earlier: 2:03 pm : The hold music has just ended and the call is about to get under way in earnest. Boilerplate on “forward-looking statements.” Meg is now speaking. Some sectors are showing progress. Overall our turnaround continues. I remain comfortable with where we’re heading. 2:07 pm : Meg is basically saying that the company is executing against the long-term turnaround plan. And also talking about some of the new product offerings. From a macroeconomic standpoint, we continue to see a weak enterprise spending environment. Sentiment is better in the U.S. China and Europe continue to be weak. Cash flow from operations was $2.7 billion

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ATD’s Staff Sounds Off on Hyperloop Plans, Facebook’s New Commerce Test and All Those Internet TV Options

August 19, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

It might be traditionally slow-news August, but the AllThingsD staff was still busy with a full slate of media appearances this week. Apple TV, Roku, smart TVs, Xbox and now Chromecast: With more and more options for watching Internet video on our TVs , it’s sometimes hard to figure out what’s the best device for your particular tastes. Walt Mossberg appeared on The Wall Street Journal’s “Digits” program to run through the different options and explain how they try to set themselves apart: Later in the week, Mossberg was a guest on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” where he discussed the pros and cons of the rise of media outlets crowdsourcing streaming video as part of their breaking news coverage: On Thursday, Wisconsin Public Radio invited Ina Fried to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of devices that try to predict our needs. And on Saturday, Fried appeared on the syndicated program “America Weekend” to talk about Apple’s highly anticipated Sept. 10 event, news of which she broke on AllThingsD last weekend . Bad posture? There’s an app for that. Katie Boehret appeared on “Digits” to walk us through her experience with LumoBack, an app-and-strap combo product that aims to buzz the slouching right out of us: Next up, Liz Gannes went on Marketplace to discuss just how realistic Elon Musk’s Hyperloop plans are.

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Jeff Bezos Doesn’t Want to Hear About Your Headache

August 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Jeff Bezos runs one tight ship. Back in 1999, according to a New York Times feature article published this weekend, Bezos was intent on cutting costs in an effort to appease Wall Street. “Just about the only thing that workers received free was aspirin,” the Times reports. “So the aspirin went.” The article, which spans about 2,800 words, also highlights the rigid and secretive nature with which Amazon still operates. Bezos rarely speaks to the press, and his communications department follows that lead. “Every story you ever see about Amazon, it has that sentence: ‘An Amazon spokesman declined to comment,’” [an early Amazon employee] said. Drew Herdener, an Amazon spokesman, declined to comment. Wall Street, for one, doesn’t seem to mind that approach. Amazon’s stock recently soared to an all-time high of $313 a share. It has since retreated about 10 percent, but Bezos still has Wall Street largely on his side, despite the continued focus on growth over profit. And if his employees have an issue with his style, it sure wasn’t on display during my recent visit to Amazon headquarters. There were — gasp! — smiles all around, but perhaps that had something to do with the outdoor festival for employee dogs going on in the middle of the company campus. But, as the Times pointed out, some of its warehouse employees might have a different opinion . Beyond observations about Bezos’s management approach, the Times feature contains some other interesting nuggets from the Amazon time machine, including this oft-overlooked one: Before customer reviews became prevalent on Amazon.com, the company employed an editorial team to write its own book reviews. So what does this all mean for Bezos’s new asset, the Washington Post? At the end of the long article, this is the only thing that’s clear: Pretty much no one, except maybe Bezos himself, knows what he has planned for the paper.

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Carl Icahn Denied in Bid to Upend Dell Buyout Vote

August 16, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Carl Icahn, the activist investor, can’t seem to get a break from the Delaware Chancery Court. A judge in that court turned away Icahn’s petition asking it to intervene and stop a buyout vote scheduled for Sept. 12 . That means that the vote, complete with its revised rules, will go on as scheduled. The Wall Street Journal has a closer look at the decision itself here . Meanwhile, Dell notified shareholders via a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that its regular annual meeting has been scheduled for Oct. 17. The date had been a point of contention for Icahn, who had sought to force Dell to hold the annual meeting on the same date as the special shareholder meeting during which votes on the buyout will be tallied. Either way, Icahn and his partner in opposing the deal, Southeastern Asset Management, say they will continue to run their own slate of directors and continue to fight for control of the company at the annual meeting in October. In another filing with the SEC, Icahn and Southeastern renominated the slate of directors they first put up on May 17 . CEO and founder Michael Dell and the private equity firm Silver Lake have offered about $25 billion to buy the company out. Icahn and several other large shareholders have argued that their offer undervalues the company. They have proposed a strategic recapitalization that would see 72 percent of shareholders bought out at $14 a share, and leave the remaining shares trading publicly. Shareholders would also receive a special dividend and receive warrants for the purchase for Dell shares at a later date.

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Cisco Plans to Cut 4,000 Jobs Starting This Quarter

August 14, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Cisco Systems just said it plans to eliminate about 4,000 jobs starting next quarter. Word of the cuts came on a conference call with analysts along with the forward-looking guidance for the quarter ending in October. It said it expects to earn 50 cents to 52 cents on sales that will grow between five percent and seven percent. That’s about in line with the 51 cents the Street had expected. CFO Frank Calderoni said the company expects to take a charge of about $550 million on a pre-tax basis to cover the restructuring costs, and most of that will be done during the first quarter. Cisco is calling the move a “workforce rebalancing.” CEO John Chambers said on the same call that the company is seeing a slow and steady economic recovery, consistent with what was seen last quarter , but “not at the pace we want.” The cuts will amount to about five percent of Cisco’s overall workforce. It would be Cisco’s second round of layoffs this year. In March the company cut 500 . Last July it cut 1,300, about two percent of its headcount at the time. This cut is closer in scale to the big one Cisco made two years ago, when it said it would cut 6,500 people from its payroll . CEO John Chambers has repeatedly said that Cisco’s restructuring, which began in earnest in 2011, would be an ongoing process. It’s starting to look like layoff announcements are going to be a regular feature of the summer quarter. Cisco shares are down more than nine percent in after-hours trading on the heels of an earnings report that was weaker than expected . Sales were up about five percent in Cisco’s main business, Internet switching, which accounted for $3.8 billion or about 30 percent of sales.

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Groupon Wants to Be Costco, Not Amazon, CEO Says

August 9, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

When Groupon reported second-quarter earnings earlier this week, its Groupon Goods business accounted for $242 million of the company’s $609 million in sales, or 40 percent of total revenue. That’s a huge percentage for a business that launched less than two years ago. But with that growth comes challenges. And new CEO Eric Lefkofsky said in an interview this week that he recognizes that improvements are needed. For starters, the company needs to increase the selection of products for sale under the Groupon Goods banner. “Today, we don’t have enough SKUs to merchandise the site as much as I’d like,” he said in an interview on Wednesday. On Friday, for example, there were just 578 products available to purchase through Goods in the U.S. Featured Goods products included single-serve coffee cartridges and something called “tint hair chalk.” At the same time, Lefkofsky said he only wants to see the Goods business expand to a point. “The way I envision it, it will be a highly curated selection of deals,” he said. “It’s not going to be a big-box retailer like an Amazon or Walmart; it’s going to feel much more like a Costco with a select number of SKUs.” Lefkofsky also admitted in a call with analysts that Groupon has a long way to go to lower costs on the Goods business. Gross profit of the Goods business decreased 16 percent year over year in the second quarter. He said shipping and logistics costs are “disproportionately high” compared to other big e-commerce companies.

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The Restaurant Business Is Like the News Business, Says Geoffrey Zakarian

August 9, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Who

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AllThingsD’s Week In Review: Microsoft’s Unhappy Family and Samsung’s Steroid Specs

August 4, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

In case you missed anything, here’s a quick roundup of some of the news that powered AllThingsD this week: Starbucks said it would bring wireless cell phone charging to 10 of its coffee shops in Silicon Valley. The initiative could translate into a big win for Starbucks’ charging partner, the Power Matters Alliance. On Sunday, Apple’s senior vice president of technologies Bob Mansfield disappeared from the company’s web site. Why? Because he’s no longer a member of Apple’s executive team , and the reasons for the move are murky, at best. In other Apple news, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that Apple’s next iPad Mini will likely feature a high-resolution “retina” display, made by Samsung. Meanwhile, a low-cost plastic iPhone appears to have been outed by a human rights group alleging labor abuses at Pegatron, one of Apple’s Chinese suppliers. Some of Microsoft’s larger partners were grumbling this week about the company’s latest operating systems: first, Nokia VP Bryan Biniak said Windows Phone needs to nimble up ; the next day, Asus chairman Jonney Shih said Windows RT was “not very promising” — a claim perhaps supported by these underwhelming Surface sales numbers . Fab laid off more than 100 of its European employees, about 15 percent of its total workforce. An investigation by AnandTech revealed that the impressive specs for its Galaxy S4 were only reachable while using popular processor-benchmarking software . In response, Samsung confusingly both denied and confirmed the investigation’s findings. Walt Mossberg reviewed the Chromecast , Google’s newest TV-streaming device: “I’ve been testing Chromecast for about a week, and I like it and can recommend it, despite some drawbacks,” he wrote. Also announced this week was the Moto X , the first hardware produced by a Google-owned Motorola. As expected , the phone may not be a total game-changer, but it’s an important first step for the hardware unit. If you’re in the market for a new phone, here’s how the Moto X stacks up against the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4. U.S. Senators and industry groups urged the White House to think carefully about a looming ITC ban on imported older iPhones and iPads. After days of uncertainty, the Obama administration vetoed the product ban Saturday morning

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