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Apple Is Suddenly Spending Billions Of Dollars On Secret Projects (AAPL)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-is-suddenly-spending-billions-of-dollars-on-secret-projects-2012-12

In the quarter ending June 2011, Apple spent less than $1 billion on property, plants, and equipment.

By March 2012, the number had spiked beyond $2 billion, beyond $3 billion, and approached $4 billion.

Horace Dediu thinks that number will zoom past $4 billion in 2013.

Here’s a chart he made to show what the spike looks like so far:

Apple Spike

Here’s the the interesting part about all this massive spending.

No one outside of Apple knows where it’s going.

“The capital is being deployed almost silently and, though vast in scale, barely gets a mention from analysts,” writes Dediu. “Not even a single question has been raised at any earnings call about this spending.”

His theory is that Apple, which prefers an “integrated” approach in everything it does, will soon make more of the components inside its gadgets, like chips.

That would explain why Apple has been so busy hiring former Texas Instruments employees, for example.

The truth is, Apple is a very secret company and it doesn’t have to say, specifically, where it’s spending that money.

For all we know, it could be building TV set factories.

One thing one know for sure is the Apple is always working on products that would cannibalize its current lineup. 

Maybe Apple is investing billions in a product that could kill the iPhone, like computerized glasses.

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Thursday, December 13th, 2012 news No Comments

Here’s The ‘Irresistible’ Pitch Walmart CEO Mike Duke Used To Woo His Most Important Engineer

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/walmart-ceo-mike-duke-walmartlabs-2012-11

Walmart CEO Mike DukeWalmart may be the king of retail in the physical world, but on the internet, it’s still a challenger.

Jeremy King, a Silicon Valley engineer who built key parts of eBay’s infrastructure, joined global retail titan Walmart in the summer of 2011 as CTO of Walmart.com.

Farhad Manjoo interviewed King for his great story on Walmart’s evolution at Fast Company, and the engineer described the “irresistible pitch” that CEO Mike Duke gave him over a videoconference call, luring him into the job.

Duke wanted to become more experimental — and he was making the moves to prove it. From Fast Company:

After years of seeing his company lag online, Duke swore that digital was now a priority for Walmart. Duke had restructured the company, placing e-commerce on equal footing with Walmart’s other, much larger divisions. He had made serious investments in high-tech talent, acquiring several startups. One, a 65-person social media firm called Kosmix with expertise in search and analytics, was the impetus for Walmart rechristening its Valley operations “@WalmartLabs.”

Duke was looking for people who would revive the company’s sites and services, and energize its entire culture. He hoped to turn a company famous for rigid, coldly effective business processes into one that’s flexible, experimental, and entrepreneurial. In other words, Duke wanted to inject a bit of Silicon Valley into Bentonville, Arkansas. In the summer of 2011, King signed up as CTO of Walmart.com. “We’ve hired hundreds of incredibly talented peop! le, in S ilicon Valley and around the world,” says Duke of his aggressive moves. “We are playing to win.”

King now heads @WalmartLabs — the company’s skunkworks. He has been tasked with bringing Walmart into the rapidly morphing world of e-commerce. That means reinventing the shopping experience — both in-store and online — and facilitating Walmart’s digital transformation.

And, judging by Duke’s pitch, it looks like he has his CEO’s full support.

Read Manjoo’s full story at Fast Company >

NOW SEE: Black Friday Shopping Hysteria From Around The Country >

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Monday, November 26th, 2012 news No Comments

Facebook Is Launching a Numberless "Social Calling" Service

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5962449/facebook-is-launching-a-numberless-social-calling-service

Facebook Is Launching a Numberless "Social Calling" ServiceTechCrunch is reporting that Facebook is teaming up with carriers to provide a “social calling” service. Initially striking up a deal with French carrier Orange, it seems the service will allow friends to make voice calls without knowing each other’s numbers.

The service will apparently allow users to make calls from mobile and desktop flavors of Facebook, using ties on Facebook, rather than possession of a phone number, to allow calling. It’ll also apparently support group calls, too.

The service will be powered by Orange’s new IP-based call app Libonalready available on iOS—which is effectively a mobile Skype competitor. The Facebook social calling service is planned to go live in France during the summer of 2013. Orange’s reach spreads far and wide across Europe, though, so it seems likely that the service’s tentacles will spread.

It remains unclear how quickly that will happen, of course, and whether or not Facebook plans to roll it out internationally any time soon. It’s also not clear how consumers will embrace the news: while there’s certainly a shift towards voice calls being made online, the idea of any Facebook contact calling at will is maddening even in theory. [Tech Crunch]

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Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 news No Comments

Facebook Is Launching a Numberless "Social Calling" Service

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5962449/facebook-is-launching-a-numberless-social-calling-service

Facebook Is Launching a Numberless "Social Calling" ServiceTechCrunch is reporting that Facebook is teaming up with carriers to provide a “social calling” service. Initially striking up a deal with French carrier Orange, it seems the service will allow friends to make voice calls without knowing each other’s numbers.

The service will apparently allow users to make calls from mobile and desktop flavors of Facebook, using ties on Facebook, rather than possession of a phone number, to allow calling. It’ll also apparently support group calls, too.

The service will be powered by Orange’s new IP-based call app Libonalready available on iOS—which is effectively a mobile Skype competitor. The Facebook social calling service is planned to go live in France during the summer of 2013. Orange’s reach spreads far and wide across Europe, though, so it seems likely that the service’s tentacles will spread.

It remains unclear how quickly that will happen, of course, and whether or not Facebook plans to roll it out internationally any time soon. It’s also not clear how consumers will embrace the news: while there’s certainly a shift towards voice calls being made online, the idea of any Facebook contact calling at will is maddening even in theory. [Tech Crunch]

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Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 news No Comments

hurricane load

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/31/att-and-t-mobile-temporarily-share-their-networks-in-nyc-nj/

AT&T and TMobile temporarily share networks in New York City and New Jersey, shoulder the posthurricane load

Communication has been all too spotty across much of New York City and New Jersey since Hurricane Sandy struck the region, and those who can get through on their cellphones have found themselves on particularly crowded networks. AT&T and T-Mobile are providing some much-needed, if temporary, relief: the two have struck a deal to share their GSM and 3G networks in the area with no roaming fees or plan changes while the networks come back, with the best-functioning network taking precedence in any given connection. A return to the normal state of affairs hasn’t been fixed in stone and will likely depend on many, many factors, but it’s a much appreciated gesture for residents who might not have a choice to relocate for a vital phone call.

Continue reading AT&T and T-Mobile temporarily share networks in New York City and New Jersey, shoulder the post-hurricane load

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AT&T and T-Mobile temporarily share networks in New York City and New Jersey, shoulder the post-hurricane load originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 31 Oct 2012 15:36:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 news No Comments

Hurricane Sandy has knocked out 25 percent of all cell towers, cable services in 10 states

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/31/fcc-sandy-fallout/

FCC Hurricane Sandy has knocked out 25 percent of all cell towers, cable services in 10 states

Julius Genachowski has revealed that Hurricane Sandy has knocked out a full quarter of cellphone towers and cable services in the 10 most affected states. The FCC chief believes that, as more towers expend their battery back-ups and the storm’s continued presence, the situation’s going to get worse before it gets better. He’s also reiterated that users should avoid making non-essential calls and use e-mail or social media to avoid overloading the straining networks. One point of interest in the call, was that land line phone outages were much less widespread — which might be something to remember if you’ve ever considered cutting the cord.

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Hurricane Sandy has knocked out 25 percent of all cell towers, cable services in 10 states originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 31 Oct 2012 06:29:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/vip/~3/kxnvLJen2SQ/best-buy-to-price+match-the-internet

Best Buy to Price-Match the InternetThe Wall Street Journal is reporting that Best Buy plans to match the price of internet retailers like Amazon over the holidays this year, as well as offering free home delivery when stores are out of stock.

According to a good ol’ “person familiar with the matter”, the electronics chain is assuming the strategy over the holiday season to draw customers away from shopping purely online. That’s something that will appeal to many consumers—especially those who prefer a traditional shopping experience.

It does, however, seem to contradict comments made by Best Buy’s new CEO Hubert Joly. He recently claimed that the prevalence of “showrooming”—where consumers head into shops to check out goods before ultimately buying online—has been blown out of proportion.

Maybe that contradiction is just reflective of the conundrum all big-box retailers face: they need to keep up with online retailers, but they don’t want to lose sight of what once made them successful. That’s a tough call.

Either way, price matching would inevitably draw in more custom. Would you buy something at Best Buy instead of ordering online, all prices being equal? [WSJ]

Image by Lynn Watson / Shutterstock.com

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Friday, October 12th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Teenagers In Europe Have Given Up Candy, And It’s Hurting Our Business

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/kraft-foods-ceo-teenagers-in-europe-have-given-up-candy-and-its-hurting-our-business-2012-8

Kraft Foods Inc. reported Thursday that its second-quarter profit rose 5 percent as higher prices helped offset pressure from commodity costs and currency exchanges rates. The company said that it continues to see strong demand for its power brands such as Oreo and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. However, the company is still feeling the pinch of the tough global economy and said that its gum and candy business in Spain, France and Greece suffered during the period as teenagers there struggled financially.

Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld discussed the matter further with analysts in a conference call.

QUESTION: Your results have obviously been very resilient through the first half of the year but you did highlight more difficult macro-conditions during the second quarter. You spoke to gum and candy in southern Europe. Could you go into detail on what you’re seeing in key markets and where on the margins may be becoming a bit more difficult outside of southern Europe? And if you look at market share in aggregate across your categories, are you still comfortable you’re gaining share?

RESPONSE: Again, I feel very good about our performance in Europe. … As I mentioned in my remarks, we still are still growing share in 14 of 17 countries so we’re feeling quite good about our performance across the continent including the U.K.

The challenge really has been southern Europe and there it has been disproportionately a gum category. But our four categories are doing exceptionally well across the landscape there. … We’ve got some exciting new campaigns in support of Cadbury dairy milk as well as Milka and some terrific innovation in the pipeline that I’ve talked about a couple times on this call, all of which together are helping to fuel our strong performance. I expect that that will continue as we exit the year, despite the challenging macroeconomic conditions.

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Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 news No Comments

Amazon reportedly acquires UpNext, 3D map wars begin in earnest

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/02/amazon-reportedly-acquires-upnext-for-3d-maps/

Amazon reportedly acquires UpNext, 3D map wars begin in earnest

We might as well call 2012 the year of the 3D map. We’ve seen both Apple and Google show their cards, but GigaOM now hears that Amazon has jumped in by acquiring newcomer UpNext. The details are scant, but the approximately $2.5 million deal would give Amazon the startup’s 3D, Android-native maps of 50 US cities, complete with navigation and extra information about notable buildings. The online reseller hasn’t confirmed whether or not the acquisition is happening, which leaves it very much in rumor territory for now. That said, it’s not hard to imagine Amazon taking that leap. The Kindle Fire is cut out of the official Android ecosystem and won’t get built-in 3D maps without effort on its creator’s part — a buyout would certainly put that mapping on the fast track.

Amazon reportedly acquires UpNext, 3D map wars begin in earnest originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 02 Jul 2012 20:09:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 news No Comments

A Bird-Man Crashed The Trophy Ceremony At The U.S. Open

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/video-heres-a-bird-man-crashing-the-trophy-ceremony-at-the-us-open-2012-6

We have seen hundreds of fans crash major sporting events. But this might be the first time that a fan jumped in front of the cameras during a trophy presentation and started making sounds like a bird call before being ushered away by security.

Here is the video (via NBC Sports) and the subsequent zingers from both US Open champion Webb Simpson and Bob Costas…

 

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Monday, June 18th, 2012 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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