Archive for the ‘billion dollars’ tag
Well, unless you’re a rational human being. Then maybe walk. Or stop. Look. And listen.
Why did Apple produce another miss this past quarter? It’s pretty straightforward, actually. They didn’t sell as many iPhones or as many Macs as most analysts were projecting. That’s important to note — Apple didn’t miss with regard to their own projections, they missed Wall Street’s projections. (The same thing happened last year, more on that below.)
To be fair, Apple did only beat their own revenue projections by $1 billion. Yes, $1 billion is a lot of money. But this is Apple. The company has developed a reputation for lowballing their guidance then destroying it. While beating revenue goals by a billion dollars would be a huge win for just about any other company, for Apple, it’s not what we’re used to. In other words, it’s all relative. With that in mind, I do think it’s fair to call this quarter disappointing.
And while Apple would never be caught saying that on the record, I’d bet they consider it a bit disappointing as well. You could hear it within the answers of CFO Peter Oppenheimer and CEO Tim Cook during their conference call today.
There are a few things at play here.
First and foremost, Apple has been growing at an insane rate the past few years. Revenues have routinely been up over 50 percent year-to-year — sometimes far above that number. This is already the most valuable public company on the planet. If the sky is the limit, they’re well into space. The growth had to slow down at some point. It just had to. They can’t be worth more than all the wealth on the planet.
As the second chart on this page shows, growth does appear to be slowing quite substantially. Apple is still growing — which is still remarkable — but at a much more modest pace. There’s probably still room for another surge or two in there. But there will likely be fewer and fewer of the mega-growth quarters. That is, unless Apple breaks into some completely new businesses. Not out of the realm of possibility, mind you. But to keep the growth rates up where they have been, they’d likely need that new businesses to be in the oil and gas space.
The second factor that led to Apple’s depressed numbers were related to broader economic issues. In other words, things out of Apple’s control. Over and over again today, Cook and Oppenheimer cited the economic weakness in Europe hurting their business there. The same was true for “natural resource-based economies” like Australia.
Further, they kept bringing up the fact that the strengthening position of the U.S. dollar to other currency has hit their numbers hard as well.
But the biggest factor that contributed to Apple’s more modest numbers this quarter is of their own doing. It’s all about timing.
Cook and Oppenheimer both specifically cited the decision to launch the new MacBooks towards the end of the quarter as a reason for the stagnant Mac numbers. Cook noted that before WWDC (where the new MacBooks were unveiled), Mac sales had been down below the rate of previous years. But since then, they’ve been way up, which led to an even quarter year-over-year with regard to the Mac.
Along those lines, Oppenheimer said they expect Mac sales to regain momentum next quarter, as the new MacBooks will presumably keep selling at a robust pace (the Retina MacBook Pro is still supply-constrained, but that will likely end in August, Cook noted).
But the Mac is now just the third most important product when it comes to Apple’s bottom line. The first, the iPhone, is far more important.
Apple sold 26 million iPhones last quarter, which was below the 29 to 30 million that most analysts were expecting. It was also well below the 34 million Apple sold last quarter. Quarter-to-quarter, the iPhone is responsible for about half of Apple’s overall revenue (and even more of the profit). With that in mind, 26 million iPhones sold versus 30 million is meaningful. That’s the true reason that Apple missed Wall Street expectations. (And the great iPad growth couldn’t offset the miss, because the iPad is still a lower-revenue product.)
Why were fewer iPhones sold last quarter? Apple gave a few answers, but the one they kept going back to was sort of odd: speculation about new products. In other words, rumors about a new iPhone coming soon may have led to less people buying the current variety.
It’s an interesting, if sort of silly, excuse. On one hand, I’m sure it’s partially true. But on the other, I think Apple also has to blame itself more than a bit.
Apple, as a company, are creatures of habit. They tend to release products on yearly cycles at the same time every year. If people are holding off on buying a new iPhone because they think a new one is coming, Apple is at least as much to blame for this as tech pundits are.
Apple did throw a bit of a curveball last year when they released a new iPhone in the fall instead of the summer — and you saw what happened as a result: Wall Street totally screwed up expectations for Apple’s Q4. That was the last time Apple “missed”. But it ultimately didn’t really matter because the change-up turned their Q1 into an absolute blowout.
I suspect we’ll see the same thing this year. Apple missed this past quarter, but the true shock could come if they miss next quarter as well. The guidance Apple gave indicates they’re thinking small (well, for them — it’s all relative, remember) as they prepare for a “fall transition”. Apple may well hit/beat their numbers next quarter, or they may not. Regardless, they’ll likely be fairly depressed again. But that’s only because everything is aligning for a mega Q1 holiday quarter. Again.
We know iOS 6 is coming then. A new iPhone seems to be a sure bet. New iPods seem like a good bet too. New iMacs and another Retina MacBook may be in the cards as well. And then there’s the heavily-rumored “iPad mini”. If legit, that could be the biggest blockbuster launch Apple has seen yet.
That device, mixed with a new iPhone (maybe with a new form factor and LTE capabilities), and the fact that it will be the holiday shopping season is scary to think about.
Such a quarter would obviously be great for Apple, but it will have come at the expense of the previous two quarters. Again, it doesn’t really say anything about the overall business other than timing really is everything. With their current release schedule, Apple is front-loading the fiscal year (or back-loading the calendar year, if you prefer). If that continues, you’ll keep seeing Apple have years that start off with a bang and then sharply fall until the next Q1 big bang.
In many ways, it’s not different from many traditional retailers which rely heavily on holiday sales to hit yearly goals. But Apple has previously been more even, with steady growth throughout the year. But again, that’s where the growth ceiling comes into play mixed with the move towards the Q1 front-loading. (Mainly the fact that the iPhone — again, Apple’s most important product from a bottom-line perspective — used to be released in the summer.)
Long story short, despite its miss today, Apple remains fine. Better than fine, really. They’re simply experiencing some expectation issues due primarily to timing. Maybe they consider that a problem, or maybe they don’t — maybe they’re simply releasing products when they’re done. Still, from a purely fiscal perspective, it may be wise to vary their release formula. That would keep Wall Street on its toes and keep analysts off-balance. But something tells me that Apple cares more about releasing products on their own schedule, when they’re ready, and less about what Wall Street thinks short-term.
At the end of the day, they’re still going to hit their insane numbers on a yearly basis. At least until they truly do hit their growth ceiling. It’s hard to know when that will happen, it depends on future products and consumer interests.
As for bloggers/journalists/pundits spoiling Apple’s numbers, Cook ended the call with the right answer. “I’m glad people want the next thing. I’m super happy about that,” he said, noting that he wasn’t going to waste any energy trying to stop speculation. Product speculation isn’t hurting Apple’s bottom line any more than Apple’s own methodical release cycles are. And neither are actually hurting sales at all — at worst, they’re simply delaying them. Q1 2013 is going to be massive.
HP has lost $80 billion dollars in value in the last two years. Yahoo has lost $42 billion, and RIM $78 billion. And before a quick rebound to $86 billion in market value, Bank of America shed a staggering $136 billion in the past six years.
But that’s just part of the story.
Poor hiring decisions, clueless management moves, scandals, and crazy acquisitions are all reasons why HP, RIM, Yahoo, and BofA are in the running for worst corporate governance of the year.
See all the details in this infographic from the Chamber of Commerce. After reviewing … answer our poll for which one you think is worst!
The biggest names in the LCD manufacturing business, including key Apple suppliers LG and Samsung, will pay out over a billion dollars to settle a price fixing class-action lawsuit.
Facebook makes an average of $1.21 on you per quarter, depending on who you are and where you live according to documents filed today. Most of that goes towards running the site, as Facebook’s net income from January 1st to March 31st this year was just $205 million despite its total revenue of $1.058 billion. So while you are “the product” on Facebook, just like on any website or physical venue that makes money through advertising, don’t expect a check in the mail.
And thanks to your contribution, Facebook now values itself at $71.97 billion dollars. That’s based on what it paid for Instagram, which could end up being way more than $1 billion.
Here’s how that $71.97 valuation for the social network breaks down. Bloomberg Business Week reports that the total outstanding shares of Facebook number 2.33 billion. To buy Instagram, Facebook paid $300 million in cash plus 23 million shares of its stock that it valued at $30.89 each. Multiply 2.33 billion by $30.89 and you get $71.97 billion dollars.
That means the Instagram founders may have gotten a sweet deal, as the last SecondMarket auction of Facebook stock before the IPO saw shares priced at $44.10 for a total valuation of $102.8 billion. If the public Facebook stock price reaches the SecondMarket level once the company IPOs, the stock paid for Instagram would be worth $1.014 billion. That would make the total price paid for Instagram $1.314 billion.
Back to how much you’re worth to Facebook. Its global average revenue per user (ARPU) of $1.21 per quarter went up 6% since the end of the first quarter of 2011. That’s still down 10% from the last quarter of 2011 when the holiday season led brands to buy more ads and led users spend more on virtual goods.
Now to keep growing its business, it will need to earn more per user by showing them more accurately targeted ads that advertisers will pay more for, or it needs to sign up more users. The latter is getting tough, as with 901 million users, one in 7.7 people on Earth uses Facebook every month.
A tech company called Splunk, Inc. (SPLK) shot up 109% on its first day on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the Wall Street Journal reports, raising its market value to more than $3 billion dollars.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Overall, the results that Microsoft shared yesterday from their 3rd quarter efforts were good. Overall, revenues were up 6% to over $17 billion and net income was just over $5 billion. All in all, pretty darn good.
It appears that in order to fund the company’s efforts in the online world moving forward this performance will need to continue. You see, the online unit lost $479 million in the quarter. But hey, that sure beats the fact that last year’s Q3 results netted a $779 million loss so this quarter is really a good thing. Check out this slide from the Microsoft announcement.
I understand that you have to try to make things sound good even when they aren’t quite that way. But Microsoft consistently produces quarterly losses in their online efforts that are measured in large percentages of $1 billion. That can’t go on in perpetuity can it?
Let’s face it. Microsoft really wants to be in the online space but they are rarely mentioned in a positive light. In fact, they have to count on Google to seriously stub a toe to make true inroads as a search competitor. The degree to which Google needs to screw up in order for Bing to be a truly viable alternative search engine is quite high. It’s not impossible that something like that couldn’t happen but the reality is that it is pretty unlikely.
And my final question. If the Online Services Division reported $707 million in revenues for the quarter and STILL lost almost a half a billion dollars, where in the heck does all of that go? Anyone from Microsoft want to fill us in?
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Some Terms May Not Apply: Learn to Skim a Terms of Service Contract, Pay Less for Apps, and Work Better with White Noise [Video]
This week on the Ask Lifehacker podcast, we’re learning how music affects your ability to work, getting great deals on mobile apps, and protecting your passwords on public Wi-Fi networks. Also, Facebook blows a billion dollars on Instagram, terms of service contracts are no longer the ironclad documents companies wanted them to be, and a whole lot more. More »
Facebook spends a billion dollars for some pictures and an app, Google Plus redesigns the user interface and PlaceMe makes location services even creepier.
TheSocialGeeks roundtable comes to order with Robert Murray, Michael Cummings, Corvida and hosted by Chris Miller.
We all agree why Facebook bought Instagram, but the amount is staggering. PlaceMe makes checking into Foursquare look like childs play with added creepiness and Google Plus changes the UI, small revolts are quickly extinguished.
Here is the price of Best Buy stock … from the start of the multi-channel era (2001) through the day that Facebook became so big it could pay a billion dollars for a few warehouses of servers that store pictures on hard drives in the cloud.
Notice the clear peak of the multi-channel era (2006), when the stock price appreciated from about $20 to almost $60.
And now, six years of consistent declines, sending the stock price from almost $60 to about $20.
CRM is a massive business. At least an $8 billion industry according to Gartner. Salesforce, the company you think of when you hear CRM (after all, it is their ticker symbol) has a market cap north of $21 billion dollars. And while sales departments are typically most commonly thought of in conjunction with these systems, they’re far from the only adopters of CRM.
In the human resources and recruiting space the equivalent to CRM is the applicant tracking system or ATS. This is also a big business, worth somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion dollars. Taleo, a leader in the ATS market, was recently acquired by Oracle for $1.9 billion. SuccessFactors, another provider of ATS software, was bought by SAP for $3.4 billion.
And it’s not just big companies that are worth watching in the space. Streak, a stripped-down CRM that sits within GMail, is experiencing tremendous growth. Nimble, an LA-based company, is posting solid numbers as well with the company’s CEO Jon Ferrera sharing that active users of the product are spending about four hours a day on the platform. Jon knows a thing of two about CRM. After all, he was a founder of Goldmine, one of the largest players in the CRM space (back when the industry was commonly referred to as contact management software).
Indeed, it’s an interesting time to be in CRM. But there’s a noteworthy trend that could change CRM as we know it. It has the potential to be as revolutionary as the movement to cloud-based SaaS platforms at the turn of the century. That trend is the rise of the “full-box CRM” and this trend seems noticeably different from the buzz around “social CRM” which focuses more on social media monitoring (think Radian6).
So what is full-box CRM? Let’s start with what empty-box CRM is. When you buy a CRM platform and roll it out inside of your organization what you initially start out with is an empty box. Your sales, marketing and human resources organizations are then tasked with filling the box with leads. Significant energy is spent on prospecting, data entry and management of existing contacts. Filling the box is, in itself, a multi-billion dollar industry with leaders like Eloqua, Hubspot and Marketo among the fastest-growing SaaS companies in history.
Enter the full-box CRM. A full-box CRM comes pre-filled with “customers” (e.g., sales leads) and this is a big deal. Now the workflow of your team is spent on searching your existing system for the right people rather than going “outside the box” to find those people. And because all of the data is contained internally the massive amount of wasted productivity on data entry goes away.
But where does this data come from? And this is where the enabling factor for the full-box CRM comes in: the rise of the social web. The types of people that would end up in a company’s CRM are more visible than they’ve ever been. They’re on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and a whole host of other sites. People are already using tools as well-known as Data.com and Klout and as obscure as Follower Wonk to mimic full-box CRM systems today (Disclosure: Our company Entelo is doing work in the full-box CRM space.)
The rise of full-box CRMs brings up a host of potential issues and challenges. Privacy concerns will be paramount and there is sure to be some backlash as has already been seen in older controversies surrounding Jigsaw/Data.com (see Michael Arrington’s 2009 TechCrunch post The World Has Changed. Is Jigsaw Still Evil?) and more recent controversies involving Klout (see Charlie Stross’s Evil social networks post and Klout CEO Joe Fernandez’s response).
Despite concerns there’s a tremendous productivity gains to be made here. At a minimum, billions of hours are spent each year on rudimentary data entry and on scrubbing and maintaining that data. Furthermore, increased visibility into more efficient communication channels made possible by social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook provide a historic opportunity to do business in new ways.
Indeed, LinkedIn seems exceedingly well-positioned to pounce on the full-box CRM opportunity and their recent acquisitions of Connected and Rapportive seems to indicate that they’re positioning to go after this full-force. Changing tides make for unpredictable sailing of course and ago a decade it wasn’t clear who would dominate the CRM landscape as it shifted to the cloud. Similarly, it’s entirely too early to declare a winner here but given an industry of this size, the stakes are significant.
[image via flickr/Roger H. Goun]