Archive for the ‘drop’ tag
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Amazon has just dropped the price for a Kindle to $269 in a fire-sale “deal of the day.’ Some folks, including us, are taking this as a sign that a new Kindle is on the way.
The usual list price for the Kindle DX, Amazon’s big ol’ 9.7-inch e-ink reader, is $379. Unfortunately, in a world replete with seven-inch e-readers and 10-inch tablets, the Kindle DX was a bit too large to fit in with its own kind and a bit too bare-bones in its feature set and applications to fit in with devices of the same size.
We have also been hearing rumors that Amazon is getting ready to roll out a 10-inch Kindle Fire. Fire is the company’s entry into the world of high-powered, full-featured Android tablets, and it’s been selling like crazy since its launch. With other 10-inch competitors on the market from companies like Samsung, Asus, Sony, and (of course) Apple, it makes total sense for Amazon to kick the Fire’s screen size up a notch.
In fact, the wee, seven-inch model has already played a big role in taking a bite out of Apple’s share of the tablet market. Overall, Android tablets gained 10 percent market share from Q4 2010 to Q4 2011 and now represent 39 percent of the overall tablet market; and Fire, which was first announced just last September already represents 35.7 percent of total Android tablet application sessions.
As revealed in one of Amazon’s recent quarterly earnings calls, the Fire tablet is still Amazon’s best-selling, most gifted, and most wished for product, as it’s been since the day it launched.
Filed under: mobile
Zillow’s revenue is movin’ on up.
The online real estate marketplace reported record revenue of $27.8 million during the second quarter, a 75 percent increase compared to the same quarter last year. While that slightly beat estimates, investors still punished the company: Zillow’s stock, which started the day at $41.76, is down slightly to $38 in after-hours trading.
The record numbers top a similarly impressive first quarter for Zillow, which reported $22.8 million in revenue three months ago.
Second quarter profits, however, took a dip to $1.3 million, down from $1.6 million year-over-year. The company says the drop was a result of its $40 million acquisition of software start-up RentJuice, which it announced in May.
Monthly unique users grew to 33.5 million in the quarter, a 61 percent percent increase over the same period from last year. Zillow says that starting earlier this year, most of these users came from mobile devices, not desktops. The shift isn’t the biggest surprise, seeing as how Zillow offers apps for every major mobile operating system.
The company’s Premier Agent subscription service added 22,696 customers, a 70 percent increase over last year.
Photo: Shutterstock/Stuart Miles
Filed under: VentureBeat
First, Craigslist blocked PadMapper and sued the one-person apartment-search startup. Then it changed the license under which users post ads to the site, making it exclusive, all in an attempt to ensure that what gets posted on Craigslist is only available on that site.
Now Craigslist has gone completely thermonuclear by preventing even search engines such as Google from accessing the site. At least, according to 3Taps, a service for accessing Craigslist data:
At about noon on Aug 6, it seems CL may have instructed all general search engines to stop indexing CL postings – effectively blocking us…
(@3taps) August 07, 2012
Because, of course, in order for Google to find what you’re looking for, it has to have found that data first itself. And stored it, and indexed it.
That’s the job of Googlebot, the search engine’s spider, which traverses the web, finding and reporting information.
It was a solution Paul Graham, legendary technologist, found innovative and “ingenious.”
There’s a way to squash spiders, however: robots.txt.
Put this file at the root directory of your web server, add some code to indicate what is and what is not allowed, and good spiders will do what they are told.
In Craigslist’s case, that means: don’t index our listing. And Googlebot, being a good corporate citizen, obeys.
This really is the thermonuclear option, however, because telling the world’s leading search engine to stop indexing your content is going to result in literally millions of fewer listings on Google … and potentially a huge concurrent drop in traffic.
Only a very confident — and very angry — company would do something this bold, this risky.
Craiglist has shown that it does not want any other parties using its listings and is ready to sue seemingly at the drop of a hat. And it’s not without supporters, including here at VentureBeat.
But if the company keeps jumping on rivals, it may have to drop the peace icon that shows up when you visit the site (see the screenshot above).
Because if there’s one thing the little company with big traffic has besides a virtual lock on the free listings market, it’s plenty of fight.
A quick note:
I just checked Craigslist’s top-level robots.txt file and I’m not seeing how listings are being blocked.
The third chunk of text applies to all robots, which would include Googlebot. Areas that are disallowed, however, do not seem to include /apa/, which is Google’s top level category for apartment listings, for instance.
However, sites do sometimes have multiple robots.txt files, and this is what 3Maps is currently reporting on its home page:
At approximately noon on Sunday August 5th, Craigslist instructed all general search engines to stop indexing CL postings — effectively blocking 3taps and other 3rd party use of that data from these public domain sources. We are sorry that CL has chosen this course of action and are exploring options to restore service but may be down for an extended period of time unless we or CL change practices. As soon as we know more, we will share it here and on our Twitter account.
I’ve asked a number of search engine optimization experts for their opinions and will update this post when I hear back.
HTC lowered its guidance after missing analysts’ expectations and reporting a 27 percent drop in revenues and a 57 percent drop in operating profits. The company’s slide is being blamed on increasing difficult competition in the smartphone arena.
Things aren’t getting better anytime soon for Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, which today forecast a difficult third quarter, with sales declines in every region except China.
The company announced its consolidated second quarter earnings today with revenues of $3.04 billion and profits of $247.7 million (pretty much the same as the unaudited earnings HTC released earlier this month). For the third quarter, HTC expects revenue to fall between $2.3 billion and $2.7 billion, Reuters reports. Analysts expected the company to earn around $2.92 billion in Q3.
“China will continue to see growth in the third quarter, while other markets will have different degrees of decline,” HTC CFO Chialin Chang said at an investor conference today. “Europe, Middle East, and Africa will face challenges because of macro softness and competition.”
HTC previously blamed U.S. customs delays and slow sales in Europe for its disappointing second quarter earnings.
Not only are revenues expected to fall, but HTC also said that its margins will drop in the third quarter. The company expects a gross margin of 25 percent (down from 27 percent) and an operating margin of 7 percent (down from 9 percent). Basically, that means that HTC’s overall profits will likely end up being disappointing next quarter as well.
HTC’s popularity exploded with the rise of Android over the last few years, but once Samsung locked in the Android lead with its Galaxy S phones, HTC has had trouble delivering a hit device. The company’s recent One series phones are its best yet, but now those are competing with Samsung’s popular Galaxy S III and will soon face the next iPhone.
Photo Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat
Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai ‘s “One Sony” strategy is having some adverse effects on the company’s bottom line — and sales elsewhere aren’t helping.
The company lost $312 million during its second quarter, a number attributed to poor sales in its gaming, home entertainment, and mobile divisions, as well as its ongoing restructuring efforts.
The gaming end was particularly bad, contributing $45 million to the losses on a 14.5 percent drop in sales. Sony blames the drop on its aging Playstation 3 and PSP consoles, neither of which are attracting much attention from consumers anymore.
Overall sales for the quarter came in at $19,2 billion, a shift Sony attributes to its acquisition of Sony Mobile. Still, overall restructuring efforts in the Mobile Products and Communications Division division contributed $356 million in losses.
Some good news is that Sony’s television business is still inching towards profitability: It cut operating losses to $84 million, though sales continue to slide. Translation: Sony is losing less money in a sector that’s struggling against competitors like Samsung.
Sony saw some success in its imaging products division, which reported a $160 million profit on a 7.6 percent increase in sales. Sony has been making a lot of big moves in the camera sector, including a planned $997 million investment in camera sensor production.
Sony admits that the market for digital cameras is shrinking as consumer interest has shifted to smartphones. The company says it aims to fix this problem by focusing on its high-end camera line, which has seen greater demand.
As a result of its numbers, Sony is lowering is outlook for the year.
Photo: pcruciatti / Shutterstock
Filed under: VentureBeat
If true, the lowered activity wouldn’t be a huge surprise. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings mentioned there could be a drop in user activity due to the Olympic games during the company’s Q2 2012 earnings call last week. The drop, he said, would likely occur over the two weeks that the games were being played in London, but Hastings said the company isn’t worried about it affecting subscriber rates. Also, he predicted that people who weren’t watching due to the Olympics would end up compensating for the lost activity during non-peak viewing hours, or by watching more videos after the games have ended.
The Olympics isn’t the only sporting event that supposedly causes a dip in streaming activity for Netflix. February’s NFL Superbowl was also reported to have caused Netflix streaming to decline upwards of 40 percent in the U.S.
Procera’s report also indicated that streaming usage in Canada remained unchanged for Netflix. Overall, the report said, streaming usage was up 100 percent in North America.
Olympic rings photo via Steve Heap / Shutterstock
Filed under: media
Macro lenses are generally pretty expensive, and buying an attachment for your iPhone’s camera isn’t going to be cheap either. The good news? You can get yourself some macro photos by just placing a drop of water on your iPhone camera’s lens. More »
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