Sony Ericsson reported its third-quarter results on Friday and while several figures suggest the company is on the upswing quarter-over-quarter, its net income and shipments were still down compared to the same quarter in 2010. The company shipped 9.5 million devices during the quarter, up 33% from the 7.6 million it shipped last quarter but down from the 10.4 million it shipped during the third quarter last year. It attributed the decline to fewer feature phone shipments as the company continues to pivot its focus to smartphones. Sony Ericsson’s Xperia family of devices accounted for more than 80% of its sales and 22 million such devices have shipped to date. ”We will continue to invest in the smartphone market, shifting the entire portfolio to smartphones during 2012,” Sony Ericsson president and CEO Bert Nordberg said. Net income for the quarter fell €49 million from the third quarter of 2010, but increased €50 million from the second quarter. Read on for the full press release from Sony Ericsson. More →
Microsoft released its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday and noted that its revenue of $17.73 billion was greater than any other fourth quarter in the company’s history. The Redmond-based firm also reported $69.94 billion in revenue for the fiscal year — also a record — up 12% from 2010. The company’s Entertainment & Devices division was particularly successful, reporting 30% growth in revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter and 45% for the entire year thanks to Xbox Live, the Xbox 360 game console, and the Kinect controller. “Throughout fiscal 2011, we delivered to market a strong lineup of products and services which translated into double-digit revenue growth, and operating margin expansion,” said Peter Klein, chief financial officer at Microsoft. “Our platform and cloud investments position us for long-term growth.” Read on for Microsoft’s full press release. More →
According to analyst estimates, Microsoft’s Xbox Live premium gaming service may generate over $1 billion in revenue for the fiscal year that ended on June 30th. Much of this revenue is coming from Xbox Live Gold members who pony up cash for additional content like game add-ons, avatars, and movies. Microsoft was uncharacteristically forthcoming about its Xbox Live memberships and confirmed that over half of its Xbox Live members pay for the premium Gold service at an average price tag of $50 per year. Though it still plays second fiddle to the Nintendo Wii in total console sales, this is good news for Microsoft’s gaming division and bodes well for the upcoming launch of its Kinect motion controller. More →
Today, HP announced that it has officially completed the acquisition of Palm. The former Palm business unit will continue with webOS development under the leadership of Jon Rubenstein who will report directly to Todd Bradley, the executive vice president of HP’s Personal Systems Group. Look for the new HP/Palm to further develop its webOS smartphone lineup as well as extend the mobile platform to slate PCs and netbooks. Anyone excited for the future of webOS now that it has some big guns behind it? More →
Motorola announced its Q1 2010 earnings and the communications hardware company exceeded analysts expectations. Twenty-Ten started off well for Motorola as the company posted a profit of $69 million or 3 cents per share which contrasts starkly with the $203 million loss or 10 cents per share posted in the same quarter last year. Net sales topped out at $5.04 billion, down 6% from the $5.37 billion posted in Q1 2009. Despite this slight slip, Motorola beat the Street as analysts were expecting 1-2 cents loss on $5.1 billion of sales. All this good news had a positive effect on Motorola’s stock which is currently trading at $7.20 per share, up 4% at the writing of this post. This is only part of the story, however, so hit the jump to see how the ever-important mobile division fared. More →
Clearwire announced its Q4 2009 and 2009 year end results today, and though WiMAX in the US is lagging behind its European counterparts, it is coming on strong and 2010 promises to be a banner year for the 4G service. Q4 2009 was a strong quarter for Clearwire with the wireless provider adding 85,000 new subscribers in that three month period alone, a single quarter increase that is the largest in company history and greater than its first three 2009 quarters combined. Revenue was also strong in Q4 with Clearwire reporting $79.9 million consolidated revenue, a 34% increase from the same quarter in 2008. Year end results for 2009 were equally as impressive with Clearwire reporting $274.5 Million in revenue, a 19% increase compared with Pro Forma 2008. On top of that, Clearwire also added ten new markets in 2009 and ended the year with a total of 688,000 subscribers, a marked increase over the 475,000 subscribers recorded at the end of 2008. What we’re really waiting for is more 4G in more cities, and Clearwire expects to cover up to 120 million people with its 4G network by the end of 2010, including several high profile launches in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Houston, the San Francisco Bay Area, Denver, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. Our HTC Supersonics will be waiting. More →
L.M Ericsson Telephone Company unexpectedly announced on Tuesday that it is laying off almost 1,000 employees in its native Sweden due to a 74% drop in net profits one quarter back. Ericsson is reportedly closing operations in the town of Gävle, a design and manufacturing facility that employs 856 people. They’re also slashing almost 9% of the workforce in the Borås facility, laying off 90 of the 1,037 employees. It is not surprising that much of this loss is attributed to falling sales with its joint venture with Sony. With software problems plaguing Sony Ericsson’s flagship Satio and both the upcoming Sony Ericsson X2 and X10 reportedly not slated for launch until 2010, things might be looking worse before they look better. More →
A funny thing happened on the way to acquisition. The two largest carriers in the US, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, have commanded and conquered some smaller carriers and are now seemingly sharing the spoils. As already reported, AT&T announced on Friday that it will purchase a substantial portion of Verizon’s divested Alltel assets. On the same day, AT&T also announced that it will be selling certain portions of Centennial communications to Verizon Wireless as AT&T seeks final regulatory approval for the its acquisition of the small, rural carrier. Verizon will pony up $240 million for Centennial assets that include nearly 120,000 current subscribers in five service areas across Louisiana and Mississippi. In the end, we have AT&T buying assets from Verizon and Verizon buying assets from AT&T while T-Mobile and Sprint are nowhere to be found.
Despite solid Q4 2008 earnings, Verizon Wireless is apparently not layoff-proof in this struggling economy but then no company is. Rumor has it that Verizon is in the process of an unannounced work force reduction that began yesterday, February 9th. The rumored layoffs will continue through the end of the month and will affect an unknown number of employees from management level down. As always is the case, low performing employees and those facing disciplinary action are at the highest risk of losing their jobs. This is certainly a difficult economic time and even successful companies may be prompted to let employees in an effort to minimize the impact of the downturn. We hope that this rumor is not as dire as it seems but if it does pan out our condolences are certainly with all who are affected.
UPDATE: Here’s what we think happened after talking with some people in the know… it seems as if this is concerning employees associated with Circuit City (estimated at around 240). Since they are Verizon Wireless employees, Verizon is said to have tried and relocated as many of them as possible to other stores, etc. We’re told that the employees that were let go got severances packages including outplacement services to help them find other employment.
Bucking the downward trend, Verizon Wireless announced strong Q4 2008 earnings yesterday amidst the downturn. Verizon Wireless saw a net increase of 1.4 million non-acquisition related customers in Q4 2008, most of which were in the retail sector. Verizon added a total of 5.8 million new subscribers in 2008, a 9.9% increase which brings its total subscriber base to 72.1 million. These figures do not include customers added with the Alltel acquisition. Verizon also had a low churn rate with 1.35% churn amongst all customers and 1.05% amongst retail postpaid customers. Verizon saw double digit percentage increases in revenue with a total revenue of $12.8 billion in Q4 2008 and $49.3 billion over the year, a 12.3% and 12.4% increase respectively. With 65% of retail customers rocking 3G enabled devices, data revenues reached $10.7 billion for the year, a 44% increase over 2007. All in all a solid performance from Verizon Wireless.
Best Buy reported on Tuesday its earnings for Q3 2008 which, despite a strong Black Friday showing, were abysmal. Best Buy pulled in a meager $52 million in earnings or 13 cents per share which is a 77% drop from the same quarter last year during which Best Buy raked in earnings of $228 million, or 53 cents a share. Best Buy did not even come close to meeting Wall Street’s expected earnings of 24 cents per share which were adjusted downward from Q3 2007 to reflect the slowdown in the economy. As result of this poor Q3 2008 showing, Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson has announced that Best Buy will be offering voluntary buyouts to all 4,000 of its employees. If a sufficient number of buyouts are not taken, then layoffs may ensue. In addition to cutting back on its workforce, Best Buy also plans on cutting expenditures in half and delaying new store openings. Not so good end of the year news for Best Buy and its employees but as always, we feel for all of those who will be affected by this announcement.
As has consistently been the case in recent history, Sprint’s Q3 2008 results show a decline in revenue and a loss of customers. Sprint’s overall revenue fell 12% to $8.81 billion from $10.04 billion a year ago. Sprint’s wireless service also showed a similar decline, losing 13% from last year and 3% from last quarter. The decline in revenues was due primarily to a loss of customers as Sprint’s total number of wireless customers declined by 1.3 million during this quarter alone and almost 3.5 million since Q3 2007. Post paid customers make up the bulk of this loss during the current quarter as 1.1 million post paid customers left Sprint for its rivals. Sprint did have some good news as post-paid ARPU has stayed at $56 compared to Q1 and Q2 2008, primarily due to increase in the numbers of customers using data. Prepaid ARPU also showed a $1 increase from Q2 2008 as the number of Boost Unlimited subscribers also increased. Nonetheless, the take home message is that Sprint is continuing to lose customers at a relatively fast rate. Sprint’s introduction of several customer care programs to keep customers and encourage them to sign up for data plans may help stem the tide of its decline. It also has a decent lineup of new phones but that nagging question still looms, will new phones and new services be enough to compete against the likes of Verizon and AT&T?
RIM announced on Tuesday their new Web Signals technology that lets content providers push relevant and timely alerts directly to your Blackberry. Like SMS alerts on steroids, the new Web Signals will alert Blackberry users of the latest news, weather, sports, entertainment, financial information, etc. You won’t get plain old 160 character text alerts sent out en masse at regular intervals; the new Blackberry alerts will be automatically generated when new content is published and will provide one-click access to the associated online content. Can you see the content providers jumping for joy as they envision large increases in site traffic? Oh, yeah. Can you also see Blackberry users sinking under a deluge of push content? Nah, we didn’t think so either. Berryheads love their push content! At launch, RIM has Canada’s CBCNews, Thumbplay, Dada Entertainment, and The Washington Post on board and ready to launch their Web Signals powered alert services. Hey Blackberry users, let’s crank it up a notch and get on with some serious pushing!