Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Google Takes On Facebook With Social Service

Google Takes On Facebook With Social Service

Google Inc. (GOOG), the world’s biggest Internet-search company, is making a fresh attempt at social networking with a service to compete with Facebook Inc.’s site.
The service, called Google+, looks similar to Facebook, with streaming updates of photos, messages, comments and other content from selected groups of friends, said Bradley Horowitz, vice president, product management. The service, which will integrate with Google’s maps and images, seeks to help people organize social contacts easily within groups of friends.
“Instead of coming directly at Facebook, which would be suicidal, I think they’ve recognized that they have to grow out from a niche -- and the niche here is people who want to be connected with a specific circle or a specific group,” Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Forrester Research Inc. “In that context this has a chance to be a small success.”

I can't quite visualize the idea behind Google+.  Google is very receptive to the needs of their customers so I'm sure it will be a hit but Facebook is an institution.  Facebook revolutionized social networking and took things to a new level.  Although Google does the same thing in it's own field of expertise, they're stepping out of their relm and into another, so their success is not guarenteed.

Stock Prices for closing 6/28/2011:
DELL: 16.01
AAPL: 335.26
LNVGY.PK: 10.92

Apple Starts Issuing Refunds For People Who Hate Final Cut Pro X

Apple Starts Issuing Refunds For People Who Hate Final Cut Pro X

In the wake of a tidal wave of less-than-positive reviews for Apple's new movie editing software Final Cut Pro X, Apple has begun refunding money to dissatisfied customers.

Customers who reached out via Apple's Mac App Store Customer Service Form (which we didn't even know existed) are receiving sympathetic emails that offer to refund the $299.99 purchase price of Final Cut Pro X (which is only available in the Mac App Store).

Previously, there have been a few sneaky ways you could grab a refund from Apple for an app you bought, but rarely has Apple issued refunds for apps you simply don't like (or aren't up to par, by your standards).

One customer service letter stated: "Please note that this is a one time exception because the iTunes Terms and Conditions state that all sales are final.”

There are no concrete details yet as to how the refunds will be handled, besides the fact that the purchase price will be refunded to users.

In case you didn't know, Final Cut Pro X is an editing system developed by Apple that runs on Mac Books.  I'm unaware of why Apple would chose to refund their dissatisfied customers.  There was nothing wrong with the product except that people were not happy with the outcome.  I guess it will help promote their brand as one that cares what their customer's think.

Stock Prices for closing 6/27/2011:
DELL: 15.94
AAPL: 16.01
LNVGY.PK: 16.42

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Option Income With Apple and Netflix Volatility

Option Income With Apple and Netflix Volatility

Two stocks which are active Nasdaq movers and shakers are Apple (AAPL) and Netflix (NFLX). Because the stocks are so volatile and highly active in the pre-market, market day, and after hour markets, the option trader can benefit on the implied volatility in the option markets. The option trader can sell covered calls for option income.
Apple Inc.
Business Model - Apple offers customers the ability to download apps, download iTunes, purchase iPads, purchase iTouches, and purchase Mac Notebooks. The ecosystem is incredible and growing quarter-by-quarter.
Balance Sheet - The company has zero debt, and approximately $31 dollars in net cash per share.

This article is really stupid.  I could barely pay attention it was so boring.  Before this class, I spent a minimal (none) amount of time invested in our world affairs, stock markets, and news.  If this class has taught me anything it's that finance and all things associated can be fun and I should have a better understanding of what goes on around me.  However, this article was so dry and boring I could barely focus.  Honestly, I wish I could reread it to better understand its content but even the thought of doing so is so unbearably boring.

Stock prices for closing 6/23/2011:
AAPL: 331.23
DELL: 16.27

LNVGY.PK: 10.95

Friday, June 24, 2011

Here's What Those Apple-Samsung TV Rumors Might Be About

Here's What Those Apple-Samsung TV Rumors Might Be About

One of this week's wackier Apple rumors is that the company is supposedly working with Samsung on some sort of television project.

What's that all about?

We do NOT expect some sort of Samsung-Apple co-branded TV any time soon, or any sort of Samsung TV running an Apple operating system.

If Apple's going to make a TV, it's probably going to do everything itself. That's how Apple makes money.

The most likely answer we can think of -- if there's any element of truth to the rumors -- is that Samsung could potentially be building TVs that support Apple's AirPlay technology built-in. This would allow you to stream video, music, photos, and apps straight from your iPad or iPhone to your TV.

I definitely think we should be expecting something to this effect in the near future.  An Apple TV would be greatly in demand.  We can now stream wireless to our televisions so the next obvious step would be synching your cell phone to your television

Stock Prices for closing 6/22/2011:
AAPL: 322.61
DELL: 16.21
LNVGY.PK: 10.93

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What’s Behind Apple’s Unusual Activity?

What’s Behind Apple’s Unusual Activity?

Just as Apple reached its lowest point in almost seven months, the stock bounced back Tuesday. If the stock has been struggling for so long, why are the shares rallying now?
According to Cramer, it’s more than just the rumor about Apple's [AAPL  325.30    9.98  (+3.17%)   ] iPhone 5 possibly coming out in August.
“When we see stocks bounce that’s usually because the people who have been playing the trend recognize that there are some buyers at a certain level,” he said, “and then the trend followers who have been shorting… realize they have to cover.” 
I was concerned that Apple's stock continuously dropped.  I did not watch the stock market before this project but I chose Apple because I thought that their stock would go well and continuously grow throughout the summer term because Apple as a company is thriving and doing so well.  I was caught off guard when the stock dropped day after day.  A nearly 10 point increase is a huge jump compared to the slight drops that have been happening everyday.  I don't know the cause, but I agree with the article that it probably doesn't have anything to do with the iPhone5 supposedly coming out in August.

Stock prices for closing 6/21/2011:
AAPL: 325.30
DELL: 16.33
LNVGY.PK: 10.79

Survey: iCloud likely to launch with 150 million subscribers

Survey: iCloud likely to launch with 150 million subscribers

Apple (AAPL) is not a company known for giving things away for free, but when they do, people tend to respond positively. According to a survey conducted for RBC Capital the week after Steve Jobs' iCloud keynote:
  • 76% of respondents said they were likely to sign up for iCloud, Apple's free e-mail, back-up and data syncing service
  • 73% said they were likely to use iMessage, Apple's answer to the BlackBerry's messaging service
  • Only 30% were likely to sign up for Apple's iTunes Match service, which costs $24.99 per year
I personally think that people either Apple or Android users.  Apple always keeps their customers satisfied.  When they had the recall on the iPad2 they handled it quickly and efficiently and their stock didn't take a major hit.  By introducing a new product they are just strengthening their brand and their loyal customers. 

Daily Stock Prices for 6/20/2011:
AAPL: 315.32
DELL: 16.19
LNVGY.PK: 10.81

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tango Video-Chat Service for Smartphones Said to Be Valued at $160 Million

Tango Video-Chat Service for Smartphones Said to Be Valued at $160 Million

Tango, a service that lets users make video calls from their smartphones, received about $30 million in a round of funding that values the startup at $160 million, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Investors include former Cisco Systems Inc. executive Daniel Scheinman, investment banker Bill Hambrecht, venture capitalist Bill Tai and entrepreneur Michael Birch, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the funding was confidential.
Founded in 2009 by video-technology veterans Uri Raz and Eric Setton, Tango has attracted 15 million users to its free application, which runs on Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and other camera- equipped smartphones. It competes with Apple’s own app and Skype Technologies SA in the surging market for free video calls made over mobile devices. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) agreed to buy Skype for $8.5 billion in May.

Well, I'm certainly not at all shocked that Microsoft bought Skype.  They buy everything.  Anyway, to the actual point of the article... I think that Tango is an excellent application and I'm not suprised that it's worth that much money.  It make video talk available to anyone with a smartphone instead of exclusively Apple users.  It's a revolutionary product.  However, I think it's more fun to play with than actually use.  Video chat is slow, you can't hear the other person s voice, it lags.  It has a long way to go in terms of being useful.  I look forward to seeing Tango improve their product over the next year or so.

Stock prices for closing 6/16/2011:
DELL: 16.00
AAPL: 325.16
LNVGY.PK: 10.82

Dell to Start $80 Million U.S. Ad Campaign as PC Sales Slow

Dell to Start $80 Million U.S. Ad Campaign as PC Sales Slow

Dell Inc. (DELL) is planning an $80 million advertising campaign to show consumers and businesses the breadth of its products, aiming to stem a drop in personal- computer sales amid competition from tablets and other devices.
The campaign, debuting this month with the tagline “The Power to Do More,” includes television, Web, print and outdoor ads in the U.S., Dell Chief Marketing Officer Karen Quintos said in an interview. The ads were created by Young & Rubicam Inc.

I'm not suprised in the drop of sales Dell is experiencing.  Like you said in class, every new invention does away with the product that previously held its place, CD's replaced tapes and so on and so on.. As technology and the Internet becomes more accessible on our handheld devices the need for desktop computers dwindles.  Although I'm almost certain Dell will always see an increase in sales around the time of year school begins any other use of a laptop or desktop is becoming unnecessary.

DELL: 15.99
AAPL: 326.75
LNVGY.PK: 10.71

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sony Revamps Retail Stores 6/14/2011

Sony Revamps Retail Stores

Aiming to take a bite out of Apple Inc., Sony Corp. is revamping its retail stores, integrating the Japanese electronics behemoth's sprawling product line into a sleek and fresh new look.
On April 1, Sony opened a self-branded store, in the high-end Westfield Century City Mall in Los Angeles. The store, with hardwood floors and sleek lighting fixtures, echoes Apple's airy retail concept.
Sony's Los Angeles store is the first in a series that is expected to replace the company's existing chain of retail shops, called Sony Style. The Tokyo-based company hopes the renewed retail presence will reinvigorate enthusiasm for products, like its Vaio laptops and Walkman music players, both of which have been lapped by Apple's competing devices.

It's funny because I when I saw this article I thought "I'll pick that one I never hear anything about Sony these days," and sure enough, the article is about how Sony has been thrown into the back of our minds with all the new Apple products coming out.  Sony used to be what Apple is now, a household name.  But since that time walkmans have been replaced with iPods, and Vaio laptops by Apple's.  They were redoing their stores to become more customer friendly and see if they can't bring in more business with new concepts and ideas.  Although the ideas do seem similar to Apple's, I see a lot of companies going the modern route and making things feel more open and comfortable.  I hope their new concepts will generate more business for them, but I personally feel like Sony is a dying brand in the world of personal computers.

AAPL: 332.44
DELL: 16.12
LNVGY.PK: 11.02

Monday, June 13, 2011

Apple Spends $1.3 Billion A Year To Run iTunes And App Store 6/13/11

Apple Spends $1.3 Billion A Year To Run iTunes And App Store

Apple is spending about $113 million a month -- or more than $1.3 billion a year -- to run iTunes and the App Store.

That's according to analysis by Horace Dediu, who took new numbers revealed last week at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference and plugged them in alongside past data. 

I'm personally suprised that Apple spends that much money running those two apps, but at the same time whenever I think of Apple the FIRST thing that comes to mind is iTunes.  When building a brand it's good to be a household name and I've never sat down to anyone's personal computer who didn't have iTunes on their desktop.  Everyone uses it.  Although keeping up with it is important, they could update less to save some money, but Apple isn't hurting for cash.  If anything these free products, atleast free to us, give Apple a good name and .

AAPL: 326.60
DELL: 15.78
LNVGY.PK: 10.88

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dell gets $252M contract with NRC -Friday 6/10/2011 written on 6/11/2011

Dell gets $252M contract with NRC

Dell Inc. has been awarded a $252 million, six-year contract to provide information technology services and products to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Round Rock-based Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) received the contract through its Perot Systems Government Services division, according to a Friday report in Washington Technology.
I definitely think that Dell singing on with NRC will raise their stocks.  They will be basically recreating the IT infrastructure for the entire company.  Hopefully it will create new jobs.  The fact that Dell has been chosen for such a project shows good faith and security in the company.  I firmly believe Dell's stock will be increasing in the near future.

APPL: 325.90
DELL: 15.47
LNVGY.PK: 10.93

Apple to Recall Some IPad 2 Tablets for Verizon Connection Flaw -Thursday 6/09/2011, written on 6/11/2011

Apple to Recall Some IPad 2 Tablets for Verizon Connection Flaw

Apple Inc. (AAPL) said it’s recalling an “extremely small number” of iPad 2 tablet computers to correct a manufacturing flaw that prevents some users from connecting to the Verizon Wireless network.
The recall only involves devices running on the Verizon network, Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California- based Apple, said yesterday. She said the company will replace those tablets with new ones and declined to say how many users were affected.

Originally, I thought the recall of the iPad would have a decreasing effect on AAPL stocks.  After some thought I do think they will see a slight drop but it will bounce back quickly.  The error seems to have been recognized and fixed.  However, since they declined to say how many people were affected it may be a bigger drop than anticipated.  "extremely small number" is very opinionated.

AAPL: 331.49
DELL: 15.67
LNVGY.PK: 11.19