Hon Hai – a Taiwanese firm also known as Foxconn, said that its fourth quarter profits rose to $1.8 billion on the back of the success of Apple’s iPhone.
Hon Hai makes most of Apple’s iPhones and has been criticised in the past for harsh employment practices.
But Bloomberg estimates, based on yearly results filed on Taiex – the Taiwanese bourse today – is far higher than financial analysts originally estimated.
Bloomberg claims the profits have been generated by iPhone 6 phones, which saw a surge in sales since their launch in Autumn last year. It believes half of Foxconn’s revenues are generated by Apple business, although there’s no hard and fast evidence for that.
But while Hon Hai may have turned in a rather healthy profit, its operating margin was only about 4.2 percent. Generally speaking, Taiwanese manufacturers of electronic devices have very slim margins indeed – not anything like the kind of margins Apple itself generates.
Although Foxconn’s Terry Gou had forecast growth of 10 percent in its full financial year, the actual growth was only 6.6 percent, Bloomberg reports.
A report from IDC estimates that there’s so much interest in so-called smart buildings that spends will grow to $17.4 billion worldwide by 2019.
IDC said that although the market had been expected to blossom before now, it’s flowering pretty vigorously and will soon bear fruit.
Growth will be concentrated at first in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, with people becoming a bit smarter themselves and realising that investing in the technology can save money.
Commercial buildings in particular are expected to grow more than domestic buildings and companies realise that such construction can save energy as well as create operational efficiencies, the report said.
In Europe, legislation driven by EU regulations is helping the market to burgeon.
Spending in 2014 was only $6.3 billion but that’s expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.6 percent, reaching $17.4 billion by 2019.
That figure, however, is only a small percentage of the whole construction market.
Manufacturers of notebooks and tablets are looking to new markets to bolster their businesses because Europe can no longer be relied upon for healthy sales.
Last week we reported PC demand, particularly in Eastern Europe, was well done.
Now, Taiwanese wire Digitimes said that the manufacturers are looking to other market such as South East Asia and and Central and South America to make up the shortfall.
It’s not just lack of demand that is the problem because the margins the mostly Taiwanese companies are also taing a hit because of the parlous state of the Euro.
The notebook manufacturers can’t see light at the end of the tunnel in Europe until at least the end of the second quarter, the report adds.
The research wing of Digitimes believes that 221.4 million tablets will be shipped this year, and that’s a fal of 11.9 percent compared to 2014.
British Airway’s air miles scheme appears to have been hit by Russian hackers.
The BBC reported that a number of people appear to have their air miles accounts cleared out, or even used to book items using air miles.
But BA said only a small number of people appear to have hit – and it has written to all its users to notify them of the problem.
The report points to Flyertalk.com, which has several people complaining that the BA points – called Avios and two rooms in Spain were booked under the name of the person who owns the account.
Some people, apparently, had their own mobile phone number substituted for a Russian number.
BA said that its customers could be re-assured that their personal credit card details hadn’t been hacked, and it has taken steps to prevent the hack from happening again.
Chinese CEO and billionaire Jia Yueting, has created a storm by comparing Apple to the Nazi Party.
For those who are not in the know, Jia Yueting is the chairman of Leshi Television, one of the China’s most popular online video sites. Jia’s private Leshi Holding (Beijing) invests in film and TV show production.
In a weibo post, Yueting compares the attributes of the Android and iOS ecosystems as “Crowdsourced, freedom vs arrogance, tyranny”, painting Apple as the villain.
He goes on to say, “Under the arrogant regime of iOS domination that developers around the world love yet hate, we are always carefully asking, ‘is this kind of innovation okay?'”
It might be that he is wanting a reasonable debate between closed and open source, he does not seem to want to make many friends by starting the debate by invoking Godwin.
The Tame Apple Press of course is spitting blood about the comments claiming that it must be some promotional move by LeTV to enter the smartphone industry. After all the only reason people need to criticise something as perfect as Apple is for click bait or marketing,
LeTV has already announced it will be creating an electric and autonomous vehicle as well, so to the Tame Apple Press that means that Yueting wants to be Apple.
“It is rather ironic that LeTV would use the Nazi Party as a symbolism of closed source systems, when modern day China is perhaps a more usable source, with Mainland China banned from seeing anything outside the “Great Firewall” and US companies regularly attacked by Chinese regulators,” hissed David Curry on Betanews .
He then attacks Xiaomi for copying Apple’s store layouts and TV designs, perhaps forgetting that Xiaomi is not LeTV.
Former HP boss the winsome (and lose some) Carly Fiorina said the chances she would run for the US presidency in 2016 were “higher than 90 percent” and that she would announce her plans in late April to early May.
Fiorina said she could not yet announce the bid because she was working to establish her team and put together what she described as “the right support” and financial resources.
Fiorina was seen as a divisive figure at HP. Her wielding of the corporate axe made staff scared of losing their jobs. It is also not clear if HP ever did that well from her massive buy out of Compaq which left HP as the world’s largest hardware maker just in time for the economic rut which gutted PC sales.
In 2005, Fiorina was forced to resign as chief executive officer and chair of HP following “differences with the board of directors about how to execute HP’s strategy.”She has frequently been ranked as one of the worst tech CEOs of all time, although we would suspect that at least one of those who followed her into the HP chair were a lot more apocalyptic [surely Apothelkayptic. Ed].
Potential Republican presidential candidates including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz became the first major figure from either political party to formally announce his 2016 presidential bid.
Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton is expected to be the front-runner for the nomination, although she has yet to formally announce her plans.
Salesforce.com wants to overtake SAP in terms of sales on the German company’s home market in the coming years.
The outfit which has been making a killing on the cloud wants to get into SAP’s form of expensive esoteric business software line.
Salesforce’s Europe chief Joachim Schreiner told the German magazine Wirtschafts Woche that Salesforce wanted to become the biggest software company in Germany by sales.
He did not set a date for his conquest of Germany, but instead made it clear that Salesforce needed Lebensraum in the Fatherland.
Salesforce was growing at a rate of more than 30 percent per year in Europe, adding Germany was one of its strongest markets on the continent.
SAP last year generated sales of $19.2 billion, of which close to 2.6 billion were in Germany. Salesforce had revenues of $5.4 billion, of which close to $1 billion were in Europe. It does not break out figures for the German market.
Britain’s Interoute, a high-capacity data network and corporate cloud services provider, is knocking on the doors of private equity investors to fund acquisitions across Europe and the United States.
Aleph Capital Partners, a UK investment firm headed by former Goldman Sachs European private equity investment chief Hugues Lepic, and Crestview Partners, a U.S. private equity firm founded by ex-Goldman colleagues, have agreed to buy a 30 percent stake in London-based Interoute.
Aleph is allowed to make investments that range from 100 million to 400 million euro so it could be anywhere in that price range. The deal is expected to close in April, it said.
The deal is Aleph’s first since it was set up two years ago, is a share purchase deal to buy out shareholder Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT), part of a conglomerate owned by the ruler of Dubai, which has been looking to pare debt.
Privately held Interoute is majority-owned by Switzerland’s Sandoz Family Foundation.
Interoute wants the cash to build out its network of datacentres and cloud computing services linking around 124 cities across Europe, as it seeks to more than double revenue to 1 billion euros in five years.
Interoute Chief Executive Gareth Williams told Reuters that the change in the shareholder structure means that “instead of being considered potential prey, we can now turn to being one of the predators”.
The pan-European network operator hopes to stick its foot in the door where there are highly fragmented markets. Currently s quarter of European data traffic flow over its networks and datacentres in 24 countries. It also has datacentres in key Asian and US locations.
The London-based company said it had 425 million in revenue in 2014, up two percent from the year earlier. Core earnings rose slightly to 93 million euros, while free cash flow grew to $25 million, reversing a shortfall of 20 million euros in 2013.
Sixty percent of revenue comes from providing computing, voice and video communications services over its networks to corporate customers such as the European football association and Coca-Cola.
The other 40 percent comes from its older business wholesaling raw network capacity to interconnect European telecom network operators and Internet services such as Google and Facebook.
Hacking attacks are becoming a rite of passage for startups.
Slack, the communications start-up and witch, the hugely popular video streaming service both said that they had been hacked within days of each other.
But they are the latest in a long line of start-ups to get hacked. Apparently the moment a start-up starts to get momentum with users they are being hit by hackers.
Most of the time the hackers are hackers looking to steal, and monetize, the vast personal information they store on users, like email addresses and passwords. The idea is that the start-ups don’t have the security that bigger outfits have.
Slack and Twitch have the user base and the cash to beef up their security. Once Slack had surpassed 200 million messages a month, it attracted $180 million in venture funding. Once Twitch surpassed 55 million users, Amazon scooped it up for nearly $1 billion.
Both companies said they had put measures in place to keep hackers from easily exploiting their users’ information.
At Slack, the company said hackers were able to access a database containing usernames, email addresses, phone numbers, Skype IDs and passwords. The company noted that those passwords were encrypted using a process known as hashing and salting, which makes it much harder, though not impossible, for hackers to crack them. Last month, Slack had half a million daily users.
Twitch also said it encrypted passwords, but warned that hackers might have been able to capture passwords in the clear as users were logging on.
Like something out of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book, “The Black Swan”, the Wall Street Journal reported that Intel was in talks to buy Altera Corp. Taleb also predicts that the so called experts will then tell us why it makes perfectly good sense for Intel to acquire Altera – all after the fact of course.
To get an idea what’s involved on the money side; Intel’s market capitalisation is around $140 Billion with Altera at about $10.4 billion.
What premium Intel would have to pay is, of course, one of the finer points of the ongoing discussion. As a basis of estimate analysts are using Intel’s last acquisition of McAfee at $7.7 Billion as a benchmark indicating the acquisition could be in excess of $14 Billion making it the company’s largest acquisition to date if consummated.
Intel stock, which had risen 18% in the past year, rose 6.4% to $32 following the report of the potential acquisition. Altera stock, down 2.5% in the past 12 months, jumped 28% Friday to $44.41.
So, as a sort of red herring for acceptance of the deal, the market reacted positively – considered good feedback for the talks to continue.
Techeye Take – Why Altera?
Altera is one of the anointed companies qualified to run their programmable FPGAs on Intel’s 14 nm Fabs. The two companies have been working closely together in a number of areas and in some cases with involved third parties. Altera FPGAs, for the most part, are not involved in the consumer electronics segment but are directed almost wholly at the high end of the server and HPC markets.
We believe Intel has become deeply involved (nay dependent) on Altera’s Programmable FPGAs in their next generation data center architecture and began suffering pangs of paranoia over the company becoming too exposed to outside influences deciding that complete control over Altera was their only option (taken from Andy Grove’s guidebook; “Only the Paranoid Survive’). [Altera used to belong to AMD, Ed.]
The UK Court of Appeal has turned down an attempt by Google to overthrow a previous verdict that allowed people to sue it over privacy settings.
The case, according to the BBC, centres around allegations that Google got round security settings on the Apple Safari browser and threw advertising cookies on people’s websites to advertise stuff.
Google said it wasn’t pleased with the court’s decision. It had attempted to get the courts to prevent peole suing it because it claims people didn’t suffer financially.
But the judges said that the allegations raise serious problems which do merit a trial.
They continued: “The case relates to the anxiety and distress this intrusion upon autonomy has caused. They concern what is alleged to have been the secret and blanket tracking and coalition of information.”
Google’s motto is it does no evil. It claims it hasn’t done anything wrong.
But the US Federal Trade Commission has already fined Google $40 million, while 38 US states also fined the search giant.
It seems that BlackBerry has turned the corner as it reported a quarterly profit today – results that sent its share price up by over five percent.
Revenues however fell to $550 million for its quarter, down from $793 million in the same period last year. Net profit was £28 million, compared to a loss in the same quarter last year of $148 million.
So what’s BlackBerry doing right? It seems that CEO John Chen is keeping a close eye on expenses but its revenue from software rose 20 percent in the quarter, accounting for $67 million in revenues.
Despite its formerly impregnable position as the handheld of choice for the corporate market, sales of its more up to date models don’t appear to be particularly good.
BlackBerry is attempting to change its model from hardware and services to software.
Wall Street analysts hailed the profit figure but fretted about the revenue, which the company had estimated would be $786 million.
More tales of poor sales of PCs have emerged.
This time it’s Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) which are showing a decline, according to IDC.
Sales fell in 2014 by a rather whopping 14 percent, representing 18.55 million units – it’s the second year in a row that this region has declined.
Even notebook PC sales fell, by 14.5 percent year on year.
IDC said that sales were inhibited by currency fluctuations and poor economics, but even given that, there’s a fairly constant underlying trend worldwide.
Russia accounted for 42.6 percent of total PC shipments in the region last year, and IDC said the plummeting sales sales were accounted for by the poor economy.
However, the picture in places is not so dim. Some countries showed a rise in sales on the back of PC upgrades from Windows XP.
In particular, Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania all showed double digit growth in 2014.
The RSA Conference next month will be missing “booth babes”.
According to a post by security expert Bill Brenner on the LiquidMatrix blog:
“All Expo staff are expected to dress in business and/or business casual attire. Exhibitors should ensure that the attire of all staff they use at their booth (whether the exhibitor’s direct employees or their contractors) be considered appropriate in a professional environment. Attire of an overly revealing or suggestive nature is not permitted.
Examples of such attire may include but are not restricted to:
- Tops displaying excessive cleavage;
- Tank tops, halter tops, camisole tops or tube tops;
- Miniskirts or minidresses;
- Lycra (or other Second-Skin) bodysuits;
- Objectionable or offensive costumes.
The rules apply to all booth staff, regardless of gender, and will be strictly enforced. If someone attractive shows up in anything remotely skimpy they will be asked to change their attire or leave the premises immediately if organisers feel their appearance might be offensive to other exhibitors or attendees.”
Linda Gray, event manager, RSA Conferences said that the change in the language in the exhibitor contracts was the best way to ensure all exhibitors were made aware of these new guidelines.
“We thought this was an important step towards making all security professionals feel comfortable and equally respected during the show.” They have yet to receive any complaints, Gray said.
German car makers have been tied up with red-tape over driver-less car technology.
German auto-manufacturers have moaned that domestic laws limit their efforts to test the appropriate software for self-driving vehicles on public roads and this means that that US competitors, such as Google, are ahead when it comes to developing software designed to react effectively when placed in real-life traffic scenarios.
In December, Google unveiled a fully-functioning prototype of its Self-Driving Car which it plans to start testing in California this year.
Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen CEO said: “We are currently testing at our research facilities, some of them in the United States. The question is: do we only test these cars on public roads in the United States or can we also do it in Germany. Not enough has been done.”
Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have all revealed prototype driverless vehicles which can be tested on German roads – however currently they are not legally allowed to test the cars with a distracted driver, i.e. emailing or texting in a moving car on public roads.