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Archive for May, 2012

Apple CEO Tim Cook rejects $75 million bonus

May 25, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Ecommerce, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has turned down a bonus payout worth about $75 million (£48 million).Apple CEO Tim Cook rejects $75 million bonusThe technology company will pay a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share from July, the first time Apple Inc has declared a dividend since 1995.

But a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that Mr Cook will not take up his dividends.

A newspaper recently said that Mr Cook was the highest paid boss in the US with an income of more than $300 million.

“At Mr Cook’s request, none of his restricted stock units will participate in dividend equivalents,” the filing said. It did not say why.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr Cook made £245 milion ($378 million) last year, most of which came from a grant of one million shares awarded.

His base salary is £580,000 ($900,000). His predecessor, Steve Jobs, famously had an annual salary of $1.

Apple has about £71 billion ($110 billion) in cash.

In March, the technology company said it would use its cash to start paying a dividend to shareholders and to buy back some of its shares.

It expects to pay out £29 billion ($45 billion) over the next three years.

Technology addict parents guilty of child neglect

May 22, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, internet, Tablets, Technology Companies, Televisions, Uncategorized

Parents who are constantly using their mobile phones or iPads in front of their children are guilty of “benign neglect”.Technology addict parents guilty of child neglectA generation of people is growing up with a virtual addiction to computers, televisions and smartphones with striking similarities to alcoholism, according to Dr Aric Sigman.

He told the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health annual conference in Glasgow that parents need to “regain control” of their households.

He said: “Passive parenting’ in the face of the new media environment is a form of benign neglect and not in the best interests of children. Parents must regain control of their own households.”

Last month a Europe wide report called for nurseries to ban televisions and called for parents to resist pleas to let children have them in their bedrooms, in a bid to fight obesity among young people.

Dr Sigman, who is both a biologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, drew on research which suggests an association between high levels of screen use and both type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In a presentation on the parallels between screen dependency and alcoholism, he said that on-screen novelty and stimulation caused the release of dopamine, a chemical which plays an important role in the brain’s “reward” system and may be linked to the formation of addictions.

It is estimated that teenagers now spend up to six hours a day in front of some form of small screen.

Children as young as 10 now have access to as many as five different screens at home, often watching two or more at a time, he said in a presentation to the conference and screen dependency.

But parents’ behaviour can play a key role in determining how children will treat technology, he said.

Boys whose parents watch more than four hours a day of television are more than 10 times more likely to develop the same habit as those whose parents do not, he said.

He also singled out parents who maintain high levels of “eye-to-screen contact” at home warning that they are likely to instill similar behaviour in their children

“Technology should be a tool, not a burden or a health risk,” he said.

“Whether children or adults are formally ‘addicted’ to screen technology or not, many of them overuse technology and have developed an unhealthy dependency on it.”

“While there are obviously a variety of different factors which may contribute to the development of a dependency – whether it involves substances or activities – the age, frequency, amount of exposure along with the ease of access and the effects of role modelling and social learning, all strongly increase the risk.”

“All of these contribute to a total daily exposure to, or ‘consumption of’, an activity. And all are prerequisite factors that contribute to the risk of dependent overuse of technology.”

He called for children under three to have no screen time at all, and no more than an hour a day outside school for those under seven.

Facebook shares- good value or over hyped tech floatation?

May 18, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Apps, Customer Service, Ecommerce, Facebook, internet, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

On the day that Facebook is to be floated I have been asked whether they represent good value or are they another over hyped technology company.Facebook shares- good value or over hyped tech floatation? One of the best ways to calculate the potential value of a company- and it’s shares, is to look at it’s pe- which is it’s price/ earnings ratio.

This measures a company’s capitalisation as a percentage of the number of years current profits.

In Facebook’s case they made roughly a billion dollars of profits last year.

According to the Financial Times today the approximate value of it’s total capitalisation may be just above one hundred billion dollars.

So dividing capitalisation by profits derives a pe of around 100.

The principal usage of the pe calculation is to compare stock investors’ valuation of one company against the hype of another company.

So for example another possibly overhyped company- the world largest company by capitalisation,  is Apple Inc.

Apple’s current pe ratio is only 16. So they are less than 6 times underhyped.

“Value is in the pocket of the purchaser” is one of the Guaranteed Sales favourite phrases.

To answer the question of hype or value- please consider whether you would prefer to invest your hard earned cash in a company which is already sitting on $100 billion in cash with products flying out of the door all around the world- or where the other company is supposed to be theoretically growing it’s profits at six times even faster.

Given the choice my money is with Apple.

Microsoft to go carbon neutral in July

May 16, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Broadband, Computers, data security, Microsoft, search engines, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Microsoft has promised to help protect the environment by going carbon neutral and reducing its carbon footprint.Microsoft to go carbon neutral in JulyFrom July 1st 2012 its data centres, software development labs and office buildings would all be carbon neutral, the firm announced.

Environmental groups have been calling on the technology company to adopt more renewable energy sources.

Rivals Facebook and Google have already pledged to move away from coal-powered data centres.

“We recognise that we are not the first company to commit to carbon neutrality, but we are hopeful that our decision will encourage other companies large and small to look at what they can do to address this important issue,” said chief operating officer Kevin Turner in a blog post.

As part of its carbon neutral plan, Microsoft plans to charge an internal carbon fee to business units responsible for incurring emissions from data centres, air travel, offices and software laboratories.

“The carbon price and charge-back model is designed to provide an economic incentive for business groups across Microsoft to reduce carbon emissions through efficiency measures and increased use of renewable energy,” said Mr Turner.

It also plans energy efficient software solutions at its Redmond campus. It said that it hoped to achieve energy savings of approximately £937,000 ($1.5 million) in the fiscal year 2013.

Environmental group Greenpeace said that it showed Microsoft had listened to calls for a “clean cloud”.

Greenpeace urged Microsoft to follow Facebook’s lead and chose renewable energy when building new data centres.

Yahoo to axe non core services to improve profits

May 15, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: AdWords, bing, Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, Microsoft, Pay Per Click, Pay Per Click Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Results, search engines, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Yahoo has confirmed plans to shut down dozens of services which are not seen as core to the firm.Yahoo to axe non core services to improve profitsAs a result they said that it would be “shutting down or transitioning roughly 50 properties that don’t contribute meaningfully to engagement of revenue”.

The CEO Mr Thompson did not identify which units would be abandoned, but noted that news, finance, sports, entertainment and mail were safe.

“Each of our products and services may individually generate more engagement than most start-ups or even mid-sized companies in certain markets, but that does not mean that we should continue to do everything we currently do,” he was quoted as saying in a transcript of the conference call by Seeking Alpha.

The chief executive also noted that its search alliance with Microsoft was “not yet delivering” what had been expected.

The two firms agreed to team up in 2009. The idea was that Microsoft would provide Yahoo with the search results produced by its Bing service, which Yahoo would tailor to its audience. In addition Yahoo’s salesforce would target “premium” advertisers on behalf of both firms.

Mr Thompson said the UK and France were currently being moved to Microsoft’s search algorithm, and that other parts of the EU and Asia would follow.

However, he added that Yahoo was “working hard with Microsoft” to address the fact that the software firm’s AdCenter technology was still not delivering the sort of revenue it had hoped for.

For the time being Yahoo is protected against the shortfall by a “revenue per search” guarantee signed by Microsoft that is due to expire next March.

Mr Thompson was also quizzed for more detail about his promise to make better use of the company’s “vast data”.

He explained that the firm would use cookies to personalise its news content.

He added that the data would also be used to help advertisers understand how visitors used the site and to request “almost real-time” analytics data.

This is the latest in a series of turnaround plans promised for the web portal.

The key will be in getting the search and banner advert revenues higher.

Technology for small businesses- on your terms

May 14, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Broadband, Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their employees increasingly want to do business on their own terms.Technology for small businesses- on your termsTechnology has a fundamental role to play in transforming how we do business and succeed.

Smart software has also helped SMEs prioritise and protect what information is viewed by relevant people regardless of location, making ecommerce and mcommerce a competitive reality.

So long as information is delivered in a meaningful format that is quick to access, easy to view and efficient to use, the back office responsibilities of reliability and security are all too often assumed.

Responsibility for data integrity and protection will increasingly fall to the small business and its technology partners.

Today, data within small businesses still tends to be siloed and locked down, as software and systems are purchased in a standalone way by individuals or specialist teams who look after a function like payroll or marketing.

But to be effective in unlocking true business potential and aid growth, technology needs to be integrated so that it can provide accurate insights in real time.

But with so much business critical information digitised and available beyond the walls of the workplace, small business owners will want the freedom to choose where to host their data and how to protect it – locally, in the cloud, or most likely a combination of the two.

By digitising information and giving users a choice of how they access and analyse that shared data, technology will make more use of the rich information that exists within organisations.

Traditionally untapped insights will provide new opportunities for SMEs to drive competitive advantage and performance beyond divisional and geographic borders.

While business software enables small firms to realise the full value of their digital business intelligence, social networks will increasingly be used to help organisations identify new markets and engage new audiences on an unlimited scale.

But technology will never fully replace people’s fundamental need for social interaction and the role of a physical workplace – be it an office or a business community hub.

Small business owners are, and always will be, very pragmatic about their choice of technology, as what matters ultimately is getting the job done in the most timely and accurate way.

The opportunity to buy software as a service (SaaS) has created, amongst other benefits, more flexible payment options for SMEs, whilst the widespread adoption of smartphones and tablet devices has created an environment where entrepreneurs are used to snacking on apps and services.

No matter how individuals and organisations choose to consume their technology, their expectations for customer support and advice will remain high.

Those technology partners that offer 24/7 telephone support and a choice of online support tools will set new standards for how small businesses can rely on software and services and realise their full potential.

USA sues Apple and publishers over ebook prices collusion

May 11, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Amazon, Apple, Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Apple and four other major book publishers are being sued by the US Department of Justice over the pricing of ebooks.USA sues Apple and publishers over ebook prices collusionThe USA accuses Apple and Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon and Schuster and Penguin of colluding over the prices of ebooks they sell.

This lawsuit is over the firms’ move to the agency model where publishers rather than sellers set prices.

Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon and Schuster have already settled.

The case will proceed against Apple, Macmillan and Penguin “for conspiring to end ebook retailers’ freedom to compete on price”, the Justice Department said.

“As a result of this alleged conspiracy, we believe that consumers paid millions of dollars more for some of the most popular titles,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

“To effectuate their conspiracy, the publisher defendants teamed up with defendant Apple, which shared the same goal of restraining retail price competition in the sale of ebooks,” according to papers filed in New York’s Southern District court.

“Apple facilitated the publisher defendants’ collective effort to end retail price competition by coordinating their transition to an agency model across all retailers.”

In addition, the European Commission has also been probing e-book price fixing.

Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon and Schuster have now made proposals to settle that probe.

“The European Commission has received proposals of possible commitments from Apple and four international publishers,” said the EU’s competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

Electronic books are sold according to a different formula from that governing the sales of physical books.

For most physical books publishers set a wholesale price, often about half the cover price, and then let a retailer decide how much they actually want to charge for the title.

This model was initially adopted for ebooks but has since been changed for what is known as an agency model.

Under this scheme, publishers set the price of a book and the agent selling it gets a 30% cut. The agency model was adopted by publishers largely at the prompting of the late Steve Jobs.

The shift to agency pricing was also seen as a protective measure to head off attempts by Amazon to corner the market in ebooks. It had been aggressively cutting prices to win customers over to its Kindle ebook reader.

HTC shares fall as Q1 profits plummet 70%

May 09, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Shares of smartphone maker HTC plummeted on the Taiwan Stock Exchange after the company reported a sharp drop in its profits for the first quarter of 2012.HTC shares fall as Q1 profits plummet 70%Its shares dipped as much as 6.8% to 545 New Taiwan dollars.

The firm said net profit for the first three months of year fell 70% from a year earlier to £95 million (NT$4.46 billion).

The numbers come as the firm faces increasing competition from rivals such as Samsung and Apple.

HTC also reported a 35% drop in revenue for the period. Analysts said the weak results had raised concerns about the impact of increasing competition on the firm’s future growth.

HTC, which used to be a contract electronics manufacturer, started making phones under its own brand just five years ago.

The firm made rapid progress and was one of the early market leaders in the Android sector. It gained valuable share in key markets such as the US, and at one time was the world’s third-largest mobile phone maker.

However, the company failed to hold on to its dominant position and has been losing ground to other Android phone makers, as well as Apple’s iPhone.

The firm is launching a new series of phones, dubbed HTC One, in a bid to regain its market share.

Analysts said that even though the company had suffered a setback, it had a good chance to bounce back.

Artists move online to sell their work to wider audience

May 04, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, Facebook, internet, Online Marketing, Social Media, Technology Companies, Twitter, Uncategorized

Art galleries and curators are increasingly using the internet to sell art at affordable prices.Artists move online to sell their work to wider audienceSome websites are even letting people rent out works of art for less than the price of a monthly mobile phone bill.

Young artists are hoping that this will help them reach an entirely new audience.

They also rent out original works of art to people to try out on their living room wall before they commit to buying it.

The pictures are delivered with a curator’s description of the piece and a pair of white gloves to minimise damage.

The social networking part of the site encourages potential customers to join the online community and talk to the artists about their work.

This gives the artists a chance to promote their work to a new generation of collectors.

Some galleries are now just using their studio space as a marketing tool to promote their e-business.

DegreeArt is both a physical shop in Bethnal Green and a website, which allows art lovers to buy the works of art students, and those who have recently graduated.

It is co-directed by friends Isobel Beauchamp and Elinor Olisa.

The women realised there was a gap in the market for a company that could promote and sell graduate art work.

Both of them advise students on how to brand themselves post-university and surrounded by a colourful exhibition of pictures of rats and amphibians Ms Beauchamp stresses the importance of online promotion. If you don’t have Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Flickr then you’re missing a massive trick.

Ms Beauchamp says that artists now have to be business savvy and appeal to buyers with less disposable income.

Samsung profits double from smartphone boost

May 03, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Customer Service, Ecommerce, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, Samsung, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Samsung Electronics has said it’s profit for the first three months of the year to almost double as its smartphone sales continue to grow.Samsung profits double from smartphone boostThe company said it expects an operating profit £3.2 billion (5.8tn won) for the period.

The success of Samsung’s Galaxy range has seen it become the world’s biggest selling smartphone maker.

Analysts said the firm had benefited from keeping its margins healthy, despite growing competition.

With memory chip prices rising, chips will play a big part in second quarter profits. Expectations for operating profit will reach somewhere between 6.5tn to 7.5tn won.

While Samsung’s phone unit has prospered, other divisions, including memory chip manufacturing, have been going through a tough time.

Prices for memory chips have been falling globally, not least due to oversupply.

Analysts said that natural disasters last year in Japan and Thailand had resulted in a fall in production of various electronics products, which use these chips, resulting in high inventory levels putting pressure on prices.

At the same time, slowing demand from key markets such as the US and Europe hurt chipmakers.

However, analysts said that as the global economy recovers and supply chains in the region get back on track, chip prices were likely to recover, boosting Samsung’s profits further.

While the company is expected to grow further, analysts warned that Samsung will have to overcome potential hurdles on the way.

To begin with, it will have to fend off competition from its biggest rival Apple, they said.

The fear is that increased competition may force Samsung to lower its prices in a bid to attract customers, a move which, if implemented, would impact on its profit.

At the same time, Samsung is also involved in a legal battle with Apple over patents involving technology it uses in its smartphones and tablet PCs.