Tag: Logitech

Logitech sees life in the PC yet

funny-pictures-cat-hunting-miceLogitech’s CEO Bracken Darrell said he is not ready to walk away from the personal computer business just yet, even though faster-growing accessory markets are making the outfit a pile of dosh.

The company recently introduced a home control device it calls Pop switch which can act as a remote control for lights, door locks, speakers, thermostats and other household devices.

Darrel Darrell told investors at Morgan Stanley European Tech Media and Telecom conference that everything the company is doing today is about creating cloud-based peripherals.

“I keep the PC business in a dark space in my mind. The rest of the business has just been super exciting.”
Committing PCs to a mental underworld has helped Darrell transform his company from one which was in steady decline. Logitech is now on track to report steady sales growth in constant currencies of around 10 percent and improving operating margins around the same level.

But Darrell said that Logitech was now holding its own in the PC peripherals business which really has no right to grow.

PC accessories like mice and keyboards still accounted for nearly half of net sales of $564 million for the quarter ended in September.

Logitech is also gearing up to build virtual reality or augmented reality gadgets. In a throwback, its product developers are reusing technology from a pointing device the company developed in the early 1990s for an earlier generation of virtual reality systems that went nowhere.

Firing the mice did not save Logitech’s cheese

funny-pictures-cat-hunting-miceLogitech’s quarterly operating profit fell 1.5 percent, as strong year-end demand for newer music and video accessories failed to to do anything to stop shrinking demand for its computer bits.

It reported an operating profit of $74.2 million for the fiscal third quarter, a decline from $78.6 million.  This was reflecting a move to exit the mouse business over the past year.

Still the results were better than Wall Street predicted so it was not all bad. Analysts thought looking for an operating profit of $73.11 million.

Net sales in the December quarter rose about 3 percent to $621.1 million compared to the mean estimate by analysts of $631.6 million.

Logitech has refocused on new accessory lines like wireless music speakers, video conferencing and video game controllers. It hoped this would offset a decline in personal computers and demand for its mice and keyboards that defined the brand.

 

Logitech tells Wall Street off

Mouse maker Logitech posted a nine-fold jump in fourth-quarter profit, beating the expectations of the cocaine nose jobs in Wall Street.

The Swiss company also makes speakers, webcams and keyboards and is apparently on a cost cutting exercise to boost profits as its European customers suffer from an economic downturn.

Logitech has removed a layer of business and sales management and plans to streamline most other functions by the end of the current quarter.

This means that the mouse maker will cut about $80 million in annual operating costs through the restructuring.

But what is surprising is that the company’s net income rose to $28 million in the fourth quarter from $3 million last year.

Reuters said that Wall Street predicted the company would make just  $12.2 million

Logitech said it expects to make a bit more cash in the second quarter having launched some new products.

Logitech is doing rather well. Its most recent forecast was for full-year sales of some $2.3 billion and operating income of around $60 million. 

Logitech tells UEI to stop raining on its patent parade

Peripheral product maker Logitech has gone all hurt and rejected after a company sued it on Friday over 17 patents.

Universal Electronics Inc (UEI) filed the suit after negotiations between it and Logitech broke down. Logitech appears to have forced UEI’s hand by refusing to renew licences on the patents  that relate to Harmony remote control technology.

Logitech claims that the patents, which it licensed back in 2004 after a previous lawsuit had expired, that some of them didn’t apply to products. Of the 17 different patents, Logitech claimed that it didn’t infringe 14 of them.

“Logitech respects the intellectual property rights of others and has a history of purchasing or licensing patents,” it said in a statement. “We are confident that Logitech does not need a licence from UEI. We believe that UEI’s lawsuit is without merit and we are confident that we will prevail in court.”

We are confident that lawyers acting for UEI and Logitech will prevail in court by trousering vast amounts of money while the argy bargy takes its oh so familiar route to a settlement.

Logitech issues profit warning

Swiss peripheral firm Logitech said its results for the financial year ending March 31st 2011 won’t be as buoyant as it expected.

It’s blaming a drop on sales and profitability on Europe. In a statement it said: “Logitech has experienced lower than expected demand for its retail products in EMEA from both distribution partners and consumers”.

It didn’t say whether that is as a result of general weakness in the PC market.

It had forecast sales of $2.4 billion to $2.42 billion, but now estimates them to be between $2.35 billion to $2.37 billion.

Operating income will be between $140 million to $150 million, down from its forecast of $170 million to $180 million.

*EyeSee Lizards find it hard to manipulate mice but have no problems eating them.

Google asks TV makers to slow down Google TV

Google has asked TV manufacturers to delay the introduction of internet-capable Google TV sets, marking another setback in the much-hyped, yet much-flopped, launch of Google TV.

Sources close to Google revealed that the company wants to “refine” the software behind Google TV, according to the New York Times. The software has already launched, to poor reception, on Sony and Logitech devices. 

Toshiba, LG and Sharp were planning to unveil their branded versions of Google TV at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, but the planned mega-launch looks set to be missing Google’s well-known logo as it goes back to the drawing board.

January is a big time for shoppers, with big sales driving strong demand. Anything not sold in the pre-Christmas rush is sure to fly off the shelves in January, so missing out on both key months could jeopardise the overall success of Google TV.

The anonymous sources suggested that the TV makers were taken by surprise by this announcement from Google, which is likely to strain relations between the companies, particularly considering January stock is most likely already being produced or shipped.

Some of Google’s partners have yet to comment on the problem, but Toshiba has indicated that it will delay its product launches until Google introduces the new version of Google TV, which is set to bring an app store, a myriad of bug fixes and a number of other features.

This is not the first problem Google TV has encountered. Major stumbling blocks appeared when many of the US‘ leading television networks banned the broadcasting of their shows on Google TV devices, effectively destroying part of its intended purpose. 

Much of that dispute focused on the fact that Google had not negotiated anything with these networks and that copyright infringement could become a major issue. So even when Google TV devices launch there may not be a whole lot of content to access on them.

Google TV prices and info leaked

Pricing and screen size information for the Sony Google TV has been leaked, suggesting it will be well out of the reach of many people.

The leaked information came from Sony Insider, revealing the model names, screen sizes, and exorbitant prices we can expect to pay for them.

A 46-inch model, the NSX-46GT1, will be available for the hefty sum of $1,899.99. The 40-inch NSX-40GT1 will be $1,499.99, while the 32-inch NSX-32GT1 will be $1,299.99.

A smaller 24-inch model, the NSX-24GT1 (spotting a trend with the names yet?) will also be made available, but pricing for this one was not revealed. It will likely be under $1,000, with some suggesting it may be around the $899.99 mark.

That’s quite a steep price to pay, significantly higher than normal high-definition TVs of the same size, making it less likely for these to catch on with the masses.

There’s also the Logitech Revue, with is closer to the Apple TV in that it’s simply a box that connects to your TV via a HDMI port and gives you access to all the Google TV features. This is more modestly priced at $299.99 and is more likely to sell than its Sony counterparts.

In contrast, the Apple 2G is retailing at around $99, only $35.05 more than it costs to manufacture, suggesting that Apple is attempting to do what Nintendo did with its Wii by keeping costs down and appealing to a larger audience. This is an unusual move for Apple, considering its products are usually expensive with steep margins, but it may ensure success against the hyped Google TV.

The Google TV may have some very cool features, such as using your Android phone as a remote, but if prices will be as high as this leak indicates then it’s unlikely to catch on in the way it really could have. But really it’s far too early to tell.

The Sony lineup is expected to officially launch on October 12.

Google hires phalanxes of lawyers because of Apple's aggression

A team of heavyweights from the biggest tech companies in the world described the way they dealt with entrepreneurial inquiries.

Bernard Gander, Logitech; Deborah Magid, IBM strategist VC group; Anil Hansjee, Google; and  Tero Mennander, Nokia were sitting on the dais. Google lit out against Apple and said it had hired a whole team of lawyers to deal with patents because Steve Jobs had been so litigious.

Now read on…. and try to make sense of this…

The  big guns are trying to explain corporate development to a handful of people at the White Bull conference in Sitges. We think people slept in this morning and forgot to have breakfast, but we’re not sure.

IBM’s Magid has a department called corporate development which reports to the chief beancounter and looks at what is called deal flows. Strategy is split into two functions – the corporate HQ that looks at new businesses – an example being cloud computing which includes software and data centres and that. Each business unit has a strategist -the hardware business has one of them, and Magid is a software strategist.

Anil H from Google said every company has a different implement. It has a separate group for partnerships, a separate M&A team, a separate Google investment team in the US – it has tactics as well as strategies. There is a difference you know. High level strategies involve the executives on the executive committee.

Nokia has three levels – the chief beancounter portfolio which is top down, the second level is core business development and the third level is new business development.

Frank Kelcz, the moderator from SEB Ventures, said he had found ways to sneak into companies.

Deborah Magid said she is the friendly face of Big Blue. She admitted she had oversimplified things but part of her job is to take a view of what IBM’s business priorities are. Relationship building helps people find a path into the business.  Anil H said he aspired to have the maturity level of his colleagues on the dais. He’s been with Google for four years and over time the company has realised the intensity of the relationships he has to maintain. Google is closer to the setups that IBM, Logitech and Nokia have. You wouldn’t think that would you?

Gander from Logitech said that he is having a gander three or four years down the line as well as doing current deals. It’s a bet, he said. You have to look at strategic fits. If you talk to VCs or entrepreneurs it’s with the objective of finding an emerging or disruptive technology that will enhance existing business.

Anil H disagreed, not profoundly, but subtely. As a banker, VC or entrepreneur, if you approach any corporation you should have the mindset that you might want to sell your company, “full stop”. You should always have that in the back of your mind, said Anil. You should always have the end goal in mind.

IBM almost never buys a company that it hasn’t a relationship with, said Majid. It looks at those deals, and occasionally may do one. Nokia agrees. You shouldn’t approach Nokia with the mindset of selling your company.

Interesting. No wonder Google is so powerful.

The Nokia guy says it can take quite some time to find the relevant time to find the right people in big elephants like Google, IBM and Nokia.

IBM’s switchboard has a very well structured telephone directory and it’s possible to get to the right person using its “Blue Pages”. Google doesn’t have a switchboard. Anil H said you have to think of the number of deals people get. This is kind of Sales 101, he said. Logitech has a switchboard but also has a way for entrepreneurs to get through the front door. Nokia has a switchboard but it’s not the best way to approach the Finnish company. Personal relationships work better, said the man.

Logitech does not sign NDAs. IBM does screen things in a way that’s safe. Magid said she has a central position within the business. It’s possible that people might “cross contaminate” each other. Google’s guy said the company has a separate team focused entirely on patents and has a big team of lawyers and has grown since Apple decided to be aggressive. It’s only going to get worse. Apple has opened up a Pandora’s Box, said Anil. Patents have always been a big issue. Google did need to separate out that team to make sure there’s no taint in patent issues. Ultimately, Google would never buy a company unless it had a good understanding of the team, the quality of the team and how the technology works.

Logitech intros rechargeable keyboard with loads of bells, whistles

Logitech has launched a rechargeable keyboard with ambient light and motion sensors.

The Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800’s features are said to ensure people have the right amount of backlight when they need it, while conserving battery life when they don’t.

The backlighting automatically adjusts based on the amount of light in the room using ambient light sensors. Motion sensors detect  a users hands as they approach to turn the backlighting on and to turn it back off when their hands move away. The company claims that as “a result, you’ll enjoy bright, precise illumination and more battery life — up to 10 days of battery life without recharging.”  Sheesh.

In addition to its flashy features, the keyboard has a micro-USB cable that recharges the device while it’s being used. It also uses Logitech’s so-called “PerfectStroke” key system, which is claimed to make keys quieter and Logitech’s Incurve keys to make typing more quiet. Additionally, the letters and characters on the keys are claimed to be durable and won’t wear off.

The Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800 is also the latest in a line of Logitech Unifying-compatible mice and keyboards that feature the tiny, leave-in receiver — so small you can leave it in your laptop.  Sort of a NeedleInAHaystack kind of thing.

ASMI rebounds, telecoms carriers more or less flat, Logitech happier

ASM International has seen revenues rebound in its second quarter, profiting from strong demand in the chip market and for new process technologies. The Dutch company witnessed its net sales grow 153 percent from €119.5 million last year to €302.4 million this year. Sales rose 38 percent compared to the first quarter, in which ASMI had sales worth €219.1 million.

The company’s net profit increased to €47.5 million, after a loss of €55.7 million in the same period of last year. On top of it all, ASMI’s order backlog for machines which make chips grew 355 percent year over year, hitting €556.6 million after a rather pale €122.4 million one year ago. New orders amounted to €526.1 million, an increase of 238 percent.

“Our front-end business returned to profitability, we reached the cost reduction targets as set out in our global restructuring program Perform!, and we experienced an acceleration of orders compared to prior quarters. In back-end, revenues, orders, and profits once again set quarterly records for our assembly and packaging operations serving the semiconductor and LED markets”, commented Chuck del Prado, ASMI’s CEO.

Spanish carrier Telefonica managed to grow revenues by nine percent year over year in the second quarter, from €13.87 billion to €15.12 billion. Its net profit increased from €1.83 to €2.12 billion, or by 15.9 percent. Telefonica had 278 million customers worldwide at the end of the quarter, 5.2 percent more than in the same period of last year.

In the first half year, revenues decreased 4.5 percent in Spain, falling from €9.76 billion to €9.32 billion. However, growth of 10.2 percent in Latin America and 10.8 percent in Europe more than offset the slight decline in the former home market.

Telefonica’s mobile business O2 improved in Germany and the UK, however it experienced trouble in Ireland and the Czech Republic. Revenues for O2 UK grew 9.2 percent from €1.63 billion to €1.78 billion in the second quarter. Thanks to including HanseNet on paper, O2 Germany managed to increase its revenues by 33.5 percent, from €896 million to €1.2 billion. Revenues stayed flat at €549 billion in the Czech Republic and decreased by 7.9 percent in troubled Ireland, falling from €226 million to €208 million.

Rival carrier France Telecom also unveiled its earnings today, stating revenues worth €22.14 billion, 2.2 percent less than last or, if one were to discount regulatory effects, flat. Consolidated net income after tax grew from €2.76 billion to €3.96 billion year-over-year in the first six months of 2010, whereas the group share of net income (i.e. what the shareholders get) was €3.73 billion, compared to €2.6 billion last year.

France Telecom had to admit selling out to T-Mobile to create the “Everything Everywhere” joint venture was the reason for the rise in profit. The carrier managed to grow its customer base 3.8 percent, to 182 million.

As for computer paraphernalia, Swiss company Logitech saw its sales rise by 47 percent in its fiscal first quarter, hiking upwards from $326 million to $479 million. Logitech’s net profit amounted to $20 million, after a loss of $37 million one year ago.

Retail sales increased 39 percent, claimed the company buried in the Swiss Alps. Demand was strongest on the American continent, where retail sales spiked by 66 percent, whereas sales in Asia and EMEA grew a not-so exciting 24 and 21 percent, respectively. OEM sales grew 38 percent.

Strong demand has led the company to raise its expectations. Despite the fact the second quarter of its fiscal year has just begun, Logitech believes sales will be in the range of $2.3 billion to $2.35 billion, after previously expecting sales worth $2.3 billion.