) kicked off the earnings season last week, but there were plenty
other things going on…
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Will More Heads Roll at Yahoo?
) shares took a tumble last week as CEO Marissa Mayer fired two
executives in rapid succession. The first was Chief Operating
Officer Henrique de Castro who had come from Google to serve the
company for around 14 months. Mayer was apparently dissatisfied
with his inability to bring targeted growth to Yahoo despite her
efforts to boost the people and products side of the business.
Firing de Castro was an expensive decision (he leaves with $60
million), so one can only hope that Mayer has a definite game
plan. A replacement has not been named yet.
The second person to leave Yahoo was Editor-in-Chief Jai Singh,
who had joined the company from the Huffington Post in 2011.
Details of this dismissal were unavailable. Mayer seems to be
shaking things up at Yahoo all over again, and not a minute too
soon. Following Alibaba's IPO and Yahoo's subsequent gains there
will be very little to hold up share prices if growth in the core
business does not return.
Yahoo has been publishing positive trends in its quarterly
results that seemed to indicate that the company was moving in
the right direction. But the firings seem to indicate that growth
is either not where it was targeted, or that the company is now
taking a different road. Recent hires indicate that the different
road is a possibility.
Google Goes from Robotics to Home Automation
) recent acquisitions have been unusual. Last year, it acquired
eight robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics, which is
particularly good at making humanoid robots. Last week, the
company announced another strange purchase, this time a company
called Nest, a very successful maker of intelligent thermostats
and smoke alarms.
While the two may not be related, one can't help but wonder if
they are. The robots can of course be used for industrial
automation and goods delivery as well. But somebody did suggest
the role of domestic help to take care of routine household
chores especially for the aged and this makes sense. Whatever be
the case, Google's entry into the home now appears cemented with
Privacy watchdogs are concerned because Google will now gain
access to energy consumption data in the household or other data
from devices that may be developed in the future using Nest
technology. But it's hard to stop Google.
Intel Results Were a Big Disappointment
Intel's fourth-quarter results
and first-quarter guidance were below expectations. The company's
mobile plans are heading in the right direction, albeit a little
behind schedule. Still, considering its manufacturing advantage
and ability to churn out volumes, Intel should see rapid adoption
once it catches up on the design side.
As far as its core computing market is concerned, market research
from both Gartner and IDC indicate that there are chances of
stabilization or moderate growth this year. Intel remains a
strong player on the server side, especially the emerging cloud
computing markets. So the first half of the year is likely to be
slow as the company gets ready to launch new products, with the
second half picking up somewhat as it delivers on its promise of
40 million tablet units this year.
More Proof Teens Don't Like Facebook
iStrategyLabs has published some research that indicates a 25%
decline in teen usage of
) over the past three years. The period indicates a disturbing
trend, particularly since most of the defections appear to be in
the age groups 13-17 and 18-24. The research indicates that
Facebook seems to be out of favor with high school and college
students, while gaining significantly in every other age group.
An earlier report by another market researcher indicated that
Instagram, which Facebook acquired not such a long time back
continues to see steady increases in teen usage. So the overall
impact may not be all negative for Facebook as a company.
Other stories you may have missed-
Apple/Samsung Lead in the U.S.:
The NPD Group reported in a recent report that the fourth quarter
of 2013 saw
) and Samsung leading the U.S. smartphone market with 42% and 26%
market share, respectively. Motorola, HTC,
) and Nokia phones were not very popular and Motorola the worst
off as its Moto X failed to catch on.
Russian Search Engine Inks deal with Facebook: Yandex, the
leading search engine in Russia has entered into an agreement
with Facebook according to which it will receive Facebook user
data in countries from Russia to Ukraine and Turkey. The
agreement is important for Facebook because it will show up
better on Yandex search results.
Intel Branding Strategy for the Cloud:
Intel, along with 16 cloud service providers, is branding its
products for cloud computing. The key phrase being used is
"Powered by Intel Cloud Technology." The things being highlighted
are the differentiation of these components that enable superior
infrastructure, performance, reliability and security and
therefore, ultimately, improved ROI. Notably, Intel's cloud
business did extremely well in the just-reported quarter, growing
Microsoft Acquires a Strategic Partner:
) has entered into a long-term agreement with GoDaddy, which is
an Internet domain registrar and web hosting company also selling
software and services for Internet businesses. GoDaddy has agreed
to make Office 365 its exclusive core business-class email and
productivity service. This is significant because its small and
medium business customer roster is 12 million and growing.
Google Takes Moto X to Europe:
Google has announced its intention to launch the Moto X in the
U.K., France and Germany. Starting next month, the phone will be
available for GBP 380 without a contract and GBP 25 with one. The
phone will compete with high end versions from Samsung, as well
as Apple. Moto G, a lower-end phone started selling in Europe in
November last year.
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