Tag: apple

Apple’s App store is the kiss of death for sales

For a long-time, developers have been forced to bend over backwards to satisfy the fruity cargo-cult Apple’s controls so that they can be granted entry to its App store.

While developers admit that Apple is a nightmare to work for, the belief is that they can be sure of getting money back by being involved in the store.

However, developers are starting to question the wisdom of their Apple involvement and are discovering that pulling apps from Apple’s store do them no harm at all.

Techcrunch spoke to Dash creator Bogdan Popescu who thought he was in trouble when Apple pulled his Dash app off of the App Store. In the 100 day period since the move, Dash maintained and even increased revenue and found that its users didn’t care which platform they were using.

More than 84 per cent of the customers simply moved over to the independent app license from the App Store license and Popescu found that he did not have to deal with Apple anymore. He had full control over his business and did not have any App Store installation/updating/purchasing issues.

Paul Kafasis tried something similar. When he pulled his Appl a year ago he found that the 50 per cent of sales which went through the App Store turned into direct sales through his website.

“It appears that nearly everyone who would have purchased Piezo via the Mac App Store opted to purchase directly once that was the only option,” he said.

It appears that the Mac App Store was not driving sales to developers it was driving sales away from our own site, and into the Mac App Store.

Maintaining the app for the app store is costly and much of his revenue went to paying the App Store a commission. Moving to a direct model was much better than trying to obey Apple’s channel rules.

Basically, developers are discovering that having more than one sales channel is also massively important.

Many developers are considering setting up a system where they exist on the App store but charge more for the product. Smarter customer will go to the website where they can get it cheaper, but the lazier types will effectively end up paying Apple’s tax.

Apple blesses Brexit

apple-cultFruity tax-dodging cargo-cult’s supreme dalek Tim Cook told UK PM Theresa May that he was optimistic about Britain’s future after it leaves the European Union.

Cook met May at Downing Street and said he thought the UK would be “just fine” outside the European Union.

Last year, Apple said it was moving its London headquarters to the landmark Battersea Power Station, a move that was hailed by the government as a sign that major firms are still investing after the Brexit vote.

Of course, as far as Apple is concerned there is the small matter of having an English-speaking country which is free to negotiate over the troubling matter of the Jobs’ Mob paying its tax. European countries tend to have to answer to Brussels if they offer the sort of sweeteners that Apple likes.

Ireland might actually take on a big tech company

xblarneystone.jpg.pagespeed.ic.gZas-gsqnYThe nation which tends to give illegal sweeteners to big tech companies is gunning for Facebook.

Ireland’s privacy watchdog has launched a bid to refer Facebook’s data transfer mechanism to the European Union’s top court in a landmark case that could put the shifting of data across the Atlantic under renewed legal threat.

The move is the latest challenge to the various methods by which large tech firms such as Google and Apple move personal data of EU citizens back to the United States. It does not appear that Ireland is going for Google or Apple yet.

The issue of data privacy came to the fore after revelations in 2013 from former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden of mass U.S. surveillance caused political outrage in Europe and stoked mistrust of large technology companies and an overhaul in the way businesses can move personal data – from human resources information to people’s browsing histories – so as to protect Europeans’ information against US surveillance.

Ireland’s data protection commissioner, who has jurisdiction over Facebook as its European headquarters are in Dublin, wants The Court of Justice of the European Union to determine the validity of Facebook’s “model contracts” – common legal arrangements used by thousands of firms to transfer personal data outside the 28-nation bloc.

Irish Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon has formed the view that some of the complaints against the model contracts are “well founded.”
Collins said only the CJEU and not a national court or the Data Protection Commissioner has the jurisdiction to rule a European Commission decision invalid.

He said that under EU law, a transfer of data can only be made to a country outside the EU if that country ensures an adequate level of protection.

However the court agrees it could be a major headaches for companies that need to transfer personal data to the United States. Ironically Facebook is building a huge data centre in Ireland which is designed to prevent this sort of data shifting to the US.

The court has since agreed to a request to allow the United States government to join the case, potentially giving the new US administration a platform to lay out its views on surveillance laws. Since Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump has already signed an executive order which removes the safe harbour rules negotiated between the US and the EU it is unlikely that he will prove particularly helpful to Facebook.

Facebook, which is due to speak in court during the case, said in May that it was one of thousands of companies that used model clauses and said it had a number of legal ways of moving data to the United States.

Apple did not have a record quarter

Apple sauceThe Tame Apple press did a number on analysts and their readers last week when they reported that Apple had produced record results.

Last week the Tame Apple Press reported that Apple had total revenues of $78.4 billion bringing in a profit of $17.9 billion, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he as “thrilled” with the results and Wall Street was happy, too.

However, those who do not want to sacrifice their analyst and journalistic credibility smelt a rat. After all, Apple’s tablet sales were slumping and Apple had not ordered so many of its disappointing iPhone 7s.

Market Watch spotted that for the first time since 2013 Apple had recorded a quarter of 13 weeks.

On a prorated basis, Apple would have needed to report earnings per share of about $3.53, higher than its reported EPS of $3.38 a share, to account for the extra week of business. Revenue should have been $81 billion versus the reported $78.4 billion, which was a miserable three per cent increase anyway.

Basically, most Apple fiscal quarters are 13 weeks long. Occasionally, however, they have a 14-week quarter. Apple’s Q1 2017 was a 14-week quarter, for the first time since Q1 2013. This means that Jobs’ Mob could add in the results of an extra week’s profit.

The only reason it seems as if Apple grew is that there was an extra week added to Q4 2016 results that was not there in Q4 2015. So the company had 7.6 percent more time to add to revenue and EPS, but instead the net result was a weekly run rate contraction of 4.11 percent and 4.76 percent, respectively.

This was also a period in which archival Samsung suffered greatly, and Apple had the chance to reap the rewards. But it didn’t. Total iPhone shipments climbed only five percent in the three months through December as Samsung issued a recall for its flagship Galaxy Note 7. Samsung shipped 77.5 million smartphones in the period, almost the same as Apple which is terrible news for Jobs’ Mob.

Analyst Thomas Kee said that Apple should have been making 10 times what it claimed it was earning and he thinks it is a good idea to get rid of the shares quickly before the market realises.

But that was not the only thing Apple did. A huge settlement benefit  hit the first quarter of FY16, which makes Services look even better – but doesn’t change the overall net – so everything is artificially inflated.

Microsoft’s cunning anti-Apple plan is working

microsoft-surface-3-02Software King of the World Microsoft claims that its cunning plan to remove Apple’s from the high-end computer market, is working.

Microsoft CFO Amy Hood said that Microsoft’s business of licensing Windows out to PC manufacturers was up five percent last quarter,  accounting for both business and consumer PCs.

The outfit’s business of licensing Windows for the “non-pro” (as in, consumer) market had its own five percent growth last quarter, beating the overall shrinkage of the PC industry, “as our partner ecosystem continued to see growth and share gains in the Windows premium device category”.

These “premium devices” are computers in the $900-plus price range which in the consumer market are those with more money than sense – Apple’s turf.

Microsoft’s PC partners spent the last several years focusing on low- to medium-priced computers and let Apple have that ground. After all it was not really worth the effort.

Microsoft changed all that with the Surface Book laptop in 2015, the company explicitly declared that those days were over, pitching it as a more powerful and versatile alternative to Apple’s flagship MacBook Pro.

There was also a market for laptop/tablet hybrids like the Surface Pro 4. Meanwhile there had been a slow rise of virtual reality headsets like Facebook’s Oculus Rift – which requires a powerful gaming PC for the best results.

And what was the fruity tax-dodging cargo cult doing while Microsoft was staging its come-back? Well nothing really. In fact, it did not upgrade its hardware for four years.

When it did it stripped a lot of the functionality out of the MacPro making it useless for professionals.

Now Volehas  introduced the Surface Studio PC, a unique blend of tablet and desktop computer, competing with the Apple iMac. It is not cheap at $2,999, it’s reported to be selling better than even Microsoft’s most optimistic projections.

Microsoft waking from its Ballmer inspired snooze

alainhippoSoftware King of the World, Microsoft has emerged from its 17-year snooze where it has been doing well but not as good as it should have been.

Vole has announced that its market capitalisation topped $500 billion for the first time since 2000 after the technology giant’s stock rose following another quarter of results that beat Wall Street’s expectations.

Shares of the world’s biggest software company rose as much as 2.1 percent to $65.64, an all-time high, in early trading, valuing the company at $510.37 billion.

The last time Microsoft was worth that was in March 2000, during the dotcom bubble when it had a market value of a little above $550 billion.

The Tame Apple Press has been reassuring everyone that Microsoft is still not as valuable as  its favourite company. Apple’s market capitalisation is $642 billion and Google’s is more than $570 billion.

Vole’s second quarter results last Thursday beat analysts’ average estimate for both revenue and profit, mainly due to its fast-growing cloud computing business.

The company’s profit and revenue have now topped Wall Street’s expectations in seven of the last eight quarters.

Chief Executive Satya Nadella has been trying to spruce up Microsoft since taking over the snoozing giant nearly three years ago, from the shy and retiring Steve Ballmer. He appears to have built more credibility around the company’s efforts in areas such as cloud-based services.

When he started work in February 2014, you could pick up a share in Vole for $34 and the company value was $315 billion.

At least 11 brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, boosting the median price target to $68.50 from $68.

 

Apple getting its “internet of things” clock cleaned by Amazon

AmazonThe Tame Apple Press has just woken up to the fact that its favourite tech company is not doing that well in the “Intelligent Home” market.

For those who came in late, Apple does have a product to create “intelligent homes” called Homekit. It is just that no one has been buying it or even talking about it.  Of course that has not stopped outfits like Reuters pretending that Apple invented the whole industry, but claims it had lost ground to Amazon.

It sulked that it had taken only a year for Amazon’s combination of the Echo speaker system and the Alexa voice-controlled digital assistant had taken over the market.

It insists that means that Amazon is “squaring up” for a battle with Apple, implying that Jobs’ Mob is actually the market leader when it is not.

The strategic importance of the “connected home” niche looms large: Amazon wants a way to own its customer interactions -mainly shopping online – without an phone or a Web browser as an intermediary.

Apple’s app is also a long way behind Google, which is investing in both intelligent assistant software and home-automation devices like the Nest thermostats and, more recently, the Google Home speaker.

Getting back to Apple, Reuters seems to think that it controlled the intelligent home market when the iPhone rolled out with voice activated controls.

However, with Amazon selling 10 million Alexa-enabled devices over the holiday season, Apple’s own involvement in the market is invisible.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said the company is leading the industry by being the first to integrate home automation into a major platform with iOS 10. “The number of HomeKit-compatible accessories continues to grow rapidly with many exciting solutions announced just this month,” she said.

But that is software and most intelligent home packages are already running much better software packages based around Android, Linux forks and even Windows. There are 250 devices that are certified to work with Alexa while Apple’s Homekit, by contrast, has about 100 certified devices.

Apple has tried its normal “control everything” games which means that to be Homekit-certified, gadget makers must include special chips to work with Apple’s system. Apple also requires developers to buy specific WiFi and Bluetooth networking chips that cost more than competitors.

These devices must be made in Apple approved factories.  Only a few of these factories specialise in home automation products. The founder of one startup that considered pursuing HomeKit approval for a device that helps control home temperatures said the company picked a factory with 40,000 employees that was making well known “Star Wars” toys, but it couldn’t use that factory for HomeKit products.

This huge factory was black-listed because it was not Apple certified. Some developers can’t be bothered jumping through all the hoops when they can get a product out there which is much cheaper and runs on other software.

Alexa, by contrast, only requires smart home companies to write software code and submit it to Amazon for review. There are no special chips. To earn the “Works with Alexa” label -which isn’t required to function with Alexa but does help promote products on Amazon’s website – startups must have their products physically tested. Amazon does allow that to happen in a third-party lab, however.

Once those certifications are in hand, Amazon says it will decide whether or not a device gets the “Works with Alexa” label within 10 days.

 

Silicon Valley gears up to fight Trump

Donald-Trump-funnySilicon Valley is leading the corporate resistance to President Donald (Prince of Orange)Trump’s clampdown on immigration.

Apparently Big Tech is spending a fortune on financing legal opposition, criticising the plan, as well as helping employees ensnared by his executive order.

It had long been expected that Silicon Valley would fight back against Trump. The industry has depended on immigrants and championed liberal causes such as gay rights.

At the moment, it looks like they are still in the organisation stage. Over the weekend, as Trump tried to shut out immigrants from countries which he does not do business with, most in the tech industry stopped short of directly criticising the new Republican president.

Apple, Google and Microsoft offered legal aid to employees affected by the order. Several Silicon Valley executives donated to legal efforts to support immigrants facing the ban.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk and Uber head Travis Kalanick both said on Twitter that they would take industry concerns about immigration to Trump’s business advisory council, where they serve.

Kalanick has faced opposition on social media for agreeing to be part of the advisory group. Kalanick in a Facebook post on Sunday called the immigration ban “wrong and unjust” and said that Uber would create a $3 million fund to help drivers with immigration issues.

Khash Sajadi, the British-Iranian chief executive of San Francisco-based tech company Cloud 66, was stuck in London because of the ban.

Sajadi is hoping that bigger tech companies like Google and Facebook would take legal action to protect affected employees. That could help set a precedent for people in similar situations.

He warned that it is going to take legal action as people speaking up is not going to be enough.

The tech industry also has other matters where it may find itself opposed to Trump, including trade policy and cyber security.

Over the weekend startup incubator Y Combinator president, Sam Altman, wrote a widely read blog post urging tech leaders to band together against the immigration order. He said he has spoken with a variety of people about organising but remains unsure about the best course of action.

“The honest answer is we don’t know yet. We are talking with legal groups and tech groups, but this is so unprecedented that I don’t think anyone has a manual.”

At Lyft, co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green pledged on the company’s blog to donate a million dollars over the next four years to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which won a temporary stay of part of Trump’s executive order on Saturday night.

Dave McClure, the founding partner of 500 Startups and an outspoken critic of Trump, said his venture capital firm will soon open its first fund in the Middle East and will shift its attention to supporting entrepreneurs in their native countries, if bringing them to the United States proves impossible.

Ironically this will help countries identified by Trump as “enemies” develop their technology base.

 

Qualcomm defends its licensing and bottom line

siege_of_Troy_2Chipmaker Qualcomm has reported a lower than expected 3.9 percent rise in quarterly revenue and defended its licensing model.

The US Federal Trade Commission and Apple have sued Qualcomm accusing it of resorting to “anticompetitive” tactics to maintain a monopoly over chips used in smartphone.

The Apple tactic appears to be designed to force Qualcomm to reduce its already discounted pricing by jumping on the bandwagon of anti-trust actions in the US and Korea.

The fruity cargo cult also filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm in Beijing, alleging that the chip supplier abused its clout and is seeking $145.32 million in damages.

Qualcomm executives firmly defended the company’s licensing model on its quarterly conference call, and said its revenue forecast did not include any impact from the dispute with Apple.

Qualcomm president Derek Aberle said that Apple’s attack on Qualcomm’s business model is not only an attack on Qualcomm, but also an attack on the smartphone competition that Qualcomm’s business model enables.

Qualcomm said it expects to continue to supply to Apple during the dispute, and that the company’s contracts with the iPhone maker’s suppliers were still valid.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of $1.20 per share and revenue of $5.90 billion so they are slightly disappointed.

Revenue rose to $6 billion from $5.78 billion, but missed analysts’ estimate of $6.12 billion.

Qualcomm’s shares have risen nearly 20 percent in the past 12 months, compared with the 62.1 percent gain in the broader Philadelphia Semiconductor index.

Donald Trump could be Apple’s arch-Nemesis

poison-appleApple is hoping for a better 2017 after an embarrassing fall in dominance last year, but it is starting to look it might have found itself an enemy for all things Applish in the new president Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump.

Apple was a frequent target of Trump’s criticism on the campaign trail. He encouraged supporters to boycott Apple because of its encryption policies while also condemning the company for building its products overseas.

One of the few things we know about Trump’s stated economic and trade policies is that damaging large, multinational tech companies who don’t have a plant in the US is high on the agenda. Apple and any company that relies heavily on overseas manufacturing and the global economy and this is the same business model which will suffer.

Trump said that the aim was to get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries.

Things would be bleak had not Trump has backed away from or moderated his tone on some of the issues he brought up during the campaign. He didn’t jail Hillary Clinton and he backtracked on corporate lobbying – several of his cabinet represent big companies. But he did rather go on about Jobs’ Mob.

Trump claimed to have spoken to Apple CEO Tim Cook about building “a big plant in the United States” and about cutting taxes and regulations that would currently keep Apple from doing so.

Trump claims he’s going to get Apple to “build a big plant” in US. Apple will then be made an example of and it could avoid a huge amount of pain if it does what it is told.

Apple makes most of its gear through Chinese outfits Foxconn and Pegatron. Foxconn has already said it is investigating building a plant in the US. It probably will not create many jobs as the outfit has said that it wants to be nearly fully robotic. However, if Trump says that Apple’s tech is being made in the US he will use that to create a sound-bite win and hope the country are too think to notice that it has made no difference to jobs.

If Apple is clever, it will suck up more government money and maybe get a tax break or too to bring its cash pile to the US and have the phones made by Foxconn robots.

But Apple’s Tame hacks at the New York Times reported that Apple’ Chinese manufacturing arrangements would be nearly impossible to replicate elsewhere.

Cook also has a balancing act to play out if Apple wants to stay in the lucrative Chinese market. While the Chinese interest in Apple has fallen lately, the outfit did get its foot in the door.

Trump has hacked off China big time and appears to be itching for a trade war.

Trump has promised to impose a 35 percent import tax on American companies that manufacture their products in countries like China and Mexico. This will be increased to a 45 percent tax on all Chinese imports from the country, compared to an average tax rate of about three percent currently.

While this could jack up the price of consumer goods, particularly smartphones and other technology China has promised to retaliate by further raising prices.

Obama raised taxes on Chinese tyre imports to 35 percent and the country added between two and 21.5 percent to the taxes for cars imported from the US and caused hell for US companies trading in China.

If Trump follows through, China will buy Airbus instead of Boeing. US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and US soybean and maize imports will be halted.

Apple has promised to invest in China and Chinese companies in an effort to maintain good relations with the country, but if the Trump administration takes a hard line on China, the benefits that the company relies on to keep its costs down and margins high could evaporate.

Tim Cook the chief executive officer of one of the world’s most valuable companies still showed up to Trump’s tech summit in New York last month, despite looking less than pleased about it.

He explained his presence at the meeting to Apple employees in an internal memo saying that he had to show up because Governments can affect the company’s ability to do what Apple does.

This year we will see how much of Apple is going to go down in a blaze of Trump.