After numerous mobile lawsuits from Apple, Samsung CEO Choi Gee Sung explained that the company plans to be more aggressive in securing patents that can be used to defend itself, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. During the company’s annual shareholders meeting, Sung said that due to slow industry-wide growth and strong competition, the company was bracing for a tough year. “The electronics industry will enter a low-growth period,” he said. “Reorganization of the industry will gain speed and competition among global players will intensify.” Shareholders also approved the company’s plan to spin off its LCD division on April 1st. Samsung posted record revenue last year — thanks largely to its Galaxy smartphones — and looks to enhance its competitiveness in hardware, while strengthening new businesses including medical equipment in 2012. BGR exclusively reported last month that Samsung will launch its flagship Galaxy S III smartphone later this year with a 1080p high-definition display, a ceramic case and a quad-core 1.5GHz Exynos processor. More →
During the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Thursday, CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that Apple has more money “than we need to run a company.” Apple’s board is currently engaged in “active discussions” about what to do with the $100 billion in cash it has on hand, hinting at the possibility of a dividend. “The board and management team are thinking about this very deeply,” Cook said. A dividend returns a portion of the company’s profit to shareholders, and the last time Apple paid one was in 1995 prior to the return of Steve Jobs. Investors have pushed the company to again pay a dividend, hoping it will boost Apple’s stock price by bringing in a new breed of investors, reports Bloomberg. “You can be assured we are working as hard as ever this year to deliver an incredible year and some products that will blow your mind,” Tim Cook also noted during the meeting. Apple is expected to release a new iPad next month, an HDTV this summer and a redesigned iPhone this fall. More →
Apple announces Joint Venture to retail employees; looks to service small businesses at Apple Stores
On schedule and as we exclusively reported, Apple announced its Joint Venture service this weekend to Apple Store employees. The new offering aims to bring small business customers into retail stores, providing more business-centric and personalized services. Users can enroll in Joint Venture for an annual fee of $499. What does that steep fee get you? The fee covers up to five users (additional users can be added for $99 per person per year) and provides priority service at Apple’s Genius Bars (skip the line), phone support from business-focused Geniuses, loaner machines for repairs taking over 24-hours, and access to customized workshops. The new service is set to roll out beginning March 2nd.
There has been quite a bit of noise recently about a quarterly, morning meeting for Apple retail employees scheduled for this Sunday, February 27th. Apple retail staffers have been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement — not a standard procedure for such meetings — sparking speculation about Macbook Pro, iPad, and other hardware-related unveilings. BGR has learned that the topic in question is a new, retail-based service being called Joint Venture. First rumored back in March of last year, Joint Venture is an extension of Apple’s current Genius Bar services aimed at small businesses and prosumers. Subscribers of the new service will be able to speak with a store-based Apple technician — lovingly referred to as Geniuses — over the phone for one-on-one consultation and troubleshooting, or they can request an on-site visit. Currently, Apple’s Geniuses are not allowed to provide support remotely via the phone or in-person outside of Apple’s retail locations. A source has confirmed that Apple will reveal these plans to retail employees this Sunday, explaining how to properly position, explain, and sell the new offering. Not quite as sexy as new hardware or software, but it’s something, right?
The list of things that enterprise calendaring systems (e.g. Microsoft Exchange) can do that Google Calendar can not do is getting shorter and shorter. Today, the Big G announced a new feature it is folding into its online Calendar implementation: optional meeting attendees. As Google explains:
Guests’ roles in meetings tend to vary as well. Some people have to be there to lead the meeting or help make decisions, whereas others are gathering information they may be able to digest just as well via the notes. Without knowing which attendees are crucial and which are optional, it can be difficult to know which meetings you really need to attend.
With a couple clicks, you can openly communicate the importance of a meeting for each attendee. Click on the “Make some attendees optional link” above the guest list and then toggle the role of each attendee by clicking the icon next to his or her name.
The optional attendees feature should be rolling out to Google Calendar users shortly. Hit the read link to check out the official article. More →
Today, Motorola announced that it would be holding a special meeting for all stockholders on November 29. The company is seeking approval of a reverse split buyback of common stock; ratios being reported are anywhere from 1-for-3 to 1-for-7.
“If approved by stockholders, the reverse split is expected to be implemented on Motorola Solutions common stock in the first quarter 2011, immediately following Motorola’s previously announced separation into two, independent public companies,” reads the press release. “Motorola’s Board of Directors believes that implementing a reverse stock split on Motorola Solutions outstanding shares is likely to improve the marketability and liquidity of Motorola Solutions common stock.”
An approved, reverse stock-split will obviously not affect the ownership stake any one shareholder has in the company, but the stock price will increase by a factor of 3 to 7 (depending on which split ratio is approved). The release also noted that investors who end up with a fraction of a share in the company — as a result of the reverse split — will be given cash for the partial share. More →