Weekly Tech Roundup: Company Quarterly Earnings & More

The past week saw companies reporting their Q2 earnings, All Things D’s Asia conference, the Web 2.0 Summit and new cell phones.

Apple disappoints, everyone else fairs well

The quarterly earnings were quite surprising.  Apple’s numbers did not meet expectations.  Nokia, on the other hand, who many expected to mock and shame, did quite well. Here are some numbers posted by the tech giants:

Apple’s Q4: 

  • 17.07 million iPhones sold (missed the 20 million forecast)
  •  11.12 million iPads sold
  •  4.89 million Macs sold
  • 6.62 million iPods sold (drop of 27%)
  •  Quarterly revenue: $28.27 billion
  • Quarterly net profit: $6.62 billion

Wall Street was disappointed by these numbers and Apple’s stock took a hit after the results came out. Apple, however, blames the iPhone 5 rumors as one of the reasons for the disappointing Q4 numbers.

(Apple’s Q4 Press Release)

IBM’s Q3:

  • Total revenue: $26.2 billion
  • Revenue from software: $5.8 billion
  • Revenue from hardware: $4.5 billion
  • Net income: $3.8 billion

Even though IBM believes their quarter was strong, investors disagreed. IBM’s stock, not surprisingly, took a hit.

Yahoo’s Q3:

  • Total revenue: $1.07 billion (down 5%)
  • Net Income: $293 million (down 26%)
  • Display ad revenues: $449 million

For the company the numbers are disappointing, but somehow they beat Wall Street’s expectation. Yahoo’s shares were up. (That’s Wall Street 0, IT companies 3.)

(Yahoo’s press release)

Microsoft’s Q1:

  • Total revenues: $17.37 billion
  • Net income: $5.74 billion
  • Business Division reported $5.62 billion revenue (driven hugely by Microsoft Office sales)
  • Server & Tools division: $4.25 billion

Microsoft’s results were in line with Wall Street’s expectation. (Wall Street 1, IT companies 3) Microsoft did not give any details about Windows Phone 7’s sales while highlighting their acquisition of Skype, a deal that recently closed.

(Microsoft Press Release)


  • Net loss: 68 million Euros ($94 million)
  • Handset shipments 106.6 million units (basic handsets 89.8 million units)

The company’s losses weren’t half as bad as the analysts expected. The company’s results led to an increase in their share price in Helsinki. (Wall Street 1, IT companies 4, for those keeping scores.)

(Nokia’s press release)

I wrote about Google’s earnings in the previous weekly roundup.

Now that those numbers are out of the way, let’s get to the more interesting stuff.

Cell Phone launches:

With the holidays coming, companies are gearing up for some interesting product launches.  Apple’s iPhone 4S was the first of many phones to come out. Google introduced Ice Cream Sandwich—the latest version of their Android OS with Galaxy Nexus. Partnering with Nokia (despite purchasing Motorola) the latest of Google’s flagship Nexus handset comes with some interesting features.  With built-in NFC (near field communication) and facial detection to unlock, the handset looks enticing. You can register for a device and get more details about Ice Cream Sandwich at Google.com/Nexus. The folks at This is my next have a very interesting read on the philosophy behind Ice Cream Sandwich and TechCrunch has compiled a list of the new features.

Microsoft announced AT&T’s Windows Phone lineup with some interesting handsets. AT&T will be offering the HTC TITAN, Samsung Focus S and Samsung Focus Flash. Microsoft’s Ben Rudolf shared details about the handsets on the company’s blog. Windows Phone with the new Mango update (WP 7.5) catches up with Android and iOS.

The three handsets announced aren’t all that’s new. Nokia’s upcoming Nokia World in London will see the company announcing their Windows Phone handsets. As widely reported, Nokia has bet the company on Windows Phone and Nokia World is a highly anticipated event. One of Nokia’s Windows Phone handset is the modified N9. Nokia and Microsoft hopes to be able to cash-in on their brand reputation to sell more phones and perhaps post better results.

(Nokia World is expected to be streamed live.)

Security flaws in iPhone 4S and iPad 2

With the launch of iOS5 and iPhone 4S, security flaws in the platform have been discovered. In iPhone 4S, one can make a phone call using Siri even if the phone is locked. While the initial reports made it sound like a huge deal, there is an option under Settings to turn it off.  The iPad 2, on the other hand, can be hacked into by anyone who knows the trick and has the Smart Cover. As explained in the video shared by 9to5 Mac, a few simple steps is all it takes to gain access.

Groupon’s IPO, Sean Parker’s Airtime and Skype founders’ Vdio

After hitting several roadblocks, it looks like Groupon will finally be going public. The company is expected to announce their IPO and raise close to $540 million next week. According to Reuters, the IPO will be selling 30 million shares or 5% of the company at somewhere between $16 to $18.

There is something about creating and innovating that drives people to keep doing it. Successful and controversial entrepreneur Sean Parker (of Napster, Facebook and Spotify fame) is working on his next project called Airtime. The project is rumored to be like Chatroulette but SFW.

The second exciting development is from Skype’s founders. Called Vdio, the service will be competing with Netflix. Currently available only in the UK, Gigaom spoke to the people behind the project.

Updates to Gmail, Google Reader and YouTube

Google recently introduced a new look to pretty much all their products. The theme, based on the Google+ design, brings some consistency across the company’s products. In an accidentally leaked video, new Gmail features were demonstrated. While Google asked that the video be removed, Business Insider has shared screenshots of the upcoming design changes and new features. Changes include updates to how conversations are shown, more granular search and new layout.

Google’s popular RSS reader, simply named Google Reader, will get some changes too. Google is betting on Google+ and hopes to have all social interaction happen on their network. The Google Reader team announced that they will be retiring the following social features from Reader:

  • friending
  • following
  • shared link blogs

The company says they will be replacing these features with tighter Google+ integration.

In a separate announcement, YouTube introduced a merchandise store for music labels to sell concert tickets (via Songkick), merchandise (via Topspint) and songs (via Amazon and iTunes). The introduction of the store makes YouTube into a platform for music enthusiasts. The ability to buy items while watching videos is a great way for companies to sell and for users to buy. The store is expected to go global in a few weeks.

Microsoft shows insane interaction research projects

The common myth about Microsoft is that the company doesn’t innovate. Say this to the guys who know about Microsoft Research and you’ll be laughed at. The past week saw Microsoft Research share details about two of their projects. The first, known as PocketTouch, enables users to control their devices without removing them from their pocket.  The ability to interact with devices covered by fabric is the real goal and Microsoft researchers see use cases like silencing phones or controlling music while the phone is in your pocket. This can be done by making gestures on the fabric. If my explanation has confused you, here’s the demo video:


The second project is called HoloDesk. I’ll avoid confusing you with words, here’s the demo video:


Other interesting reads:

Why computer voices are mostly female

Son of Stuxnet in the wild

Dropbox: The inside story of tech’s hottest startup

Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Out of Deal

  • NFC is about to explode on a global scale, even as there is only one phone in the U.S. at present that supports it.  Both Google Wallet and Isis have banked on it and all forecasts I’ve seen point to a very rapid adoption.

    From a consumer’s point of view, the best mobile wallet would store all of our cards, as well as cash and checks. What we would not want to have is a clutter of apps for each individual card type or even each card issuer. So Google is moving in precisely the right direction and I hope the promised future versions will build on that foundation.  http://blog.unibulmerchantservices.com/google-wallet-goes-live-more-consumer-friendly-version-to-follow