Last week highlighted iPhone sales at
), leadership concerns at
) and leadership compensation at
Apple Beat Samsung in September
Despite indications that Apple has become less innovative, the
company appears to have played some cards right. A recent report
from Canaccord Genuity indicates that Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c
models have both done very well at U.S. carriers. The report says
that the 5s was the top selling device at all the big carriers:
AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. While the S4 from Samsung
came second at Verizon and T-Mobile, it dropped behind the 5c at
the other top carriers.
So what is Apple up to? The 5s model was a hit from the get-go,
especially the new gold version that far exceeded Apple's own
expectations. The 5c, which had a shaky start, was helped by
heavy discounts on trade-ins. The credits received for the
trade-in could be used to buy a 5c. It is possible that as the
trade-ins continued at Apple, Wal-Mart and RadioShack, carriers
were driven to discount the product in order to push inventory.
iPhones have good resale value and Apple can sell the devices in
Cisco Rewards John Chambers
Cisco just more than doubled its CEO compensation, taking John
Chambers' pay from $375,000 to $1.1 million. Chambers also got
$15.2 million in stock awards for fiscal 2013, up from the $7.3
million that he earned for fiscal 2012. The company said that
growth at Cisco and the lack of compensation revisions since 2008
warranted the distribution.
Cisco has been a huge innovator with significant market share and
cash flows. The company is currently in a transition of sorts as
its core hardware business has fallen prey to new-age software
defined networking (SDN).
Cisco has a plan in the works and is also likely to make
strides on the Internet side of things, but the going could be
rough in the near term. In the last quarter, the company managed
to beat expectations, but a significant job cut saw shares
plunge. Cisco intends to reallocate resources to faster-growing
areas, but it's obvious that all is not well.
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Gates Could Win the Confidence War
Microsoft is undergoing a metamorphosis to emerge as a
devices-and-services company. The last few months have seen great
upheaval, as the operating structure was reorganized, a devices
and services strategy framed, Nokia's handset business brought
in-house and Ballmer's retirement announced.
Microsoft has reigned supreme in the PC market, but its mobile
efforts have failed miserably. With the PC market giving way to
tablets and smartphones where Microsoft has had next-to-no
success, its Windows franchise is at stake. Its S&T and
business solutions remain in strong demand and Microsoft is
banking on this success to build a position in mobile.
Given the amount of change the company is seeing, it is necessary
that there is a steadying influence. Irrespective of the fact
that Gates is reducing his holdings in the company, the founder
remains a good choice to complement the efforts of a more dynamic
Additionally, Ballmer and Gates together hold a significant
percentage of the voting power, so it would take an overwhelming
opinion against them to remove Gates. This does not look likely,
since Gates retains some clout.
The Board has recommended Ballmer and Gates for re-election to
their current positions and shareholders will vote on Nov 19.
Other stories you may have missed -
Icahn Talks to Cook:
Last week, activist investor Carl Icahn met with Apple CEO Tim
Cook to discuss a $150 billion share buyback program. While no
plan was announced, the discussion itself raised hopes and Apple
shares jumped. Investors have for some time felt that Apple
should distribute some cash. The company generates very solid
cash flows and Moody's estimates that it now hoards 10% of all
Cisco and Facebook Tie Up to Offer Free Wi-fi:
) have entered into an agreement to provide free Internet access
for customers entering a store. The customer has to sign in to
Facebook after entering the store's Wi-fi zone in order to enjoy
free Internet access. Facebook will then display the store's
promos/ads. Cisco will provide the networking gear and Facebook
the traffic. The store will pay for Internet access.
Intel Launches Galileo:
) recently released a development board called Galileo, powered
by its newly-launched low-power Quark chip and supported by the
Arduino software development environment. The board is available
to the do-it-yourself community and in order to spur innovation,
Intel is giving away 50,000 units to 1,000 universities over one
and a half years. Similar boards from ARM are priced lower than
the $60 Intel intends to charge starting November.
Yahoo Sued Over Email Scanning:
) users have filed a case against the company alleging that it
scanned email content to push targeted ads. The case is currently
seeking class action status and regulatory bodies are not likely
to take it lightly. Google has been charged similarly and its
plea to dismiss was recently set aside by Judge Lucy H. Coh in
San Jose, CA.
Google Adds Hulu Plus to ChromeCast:
) $35 dongle has been a runaway success, being sold out at
Amazon.com, Best Buy and others soon after it launched in July.
It became a top-selling product on Amazon last week. Google has
now added Hulu content to Chromcast, which is in addition to
Netflix, YouTube and Google Play that existed from the start. The
promised addition of Pandora has not been announced yet.
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