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Archive for January, 2013

Tax dodging Amazon announces lower profits

January 30, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Amazon, Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, Online Marketing, Search Clinic, Uncategorized

Amazon has announced a sharp fall in profits for the end of 2012.Tax dodging Amazon announces lower profitsNet income for the three months to the end of December was £61.5 million, down from £112 million for the same period in 2011.

The fall came despite an increase in revenues during the period, from £11.08 billion a year ago, to £13.54 billion- a jump of 22%.

That growth came as the world’s largest internet retailer bagged a big share of internet spending during the crucial holiday period.

After reporting the results, Amazon’s shares rose by close to 7%.

“We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon.com.

“After five years, e-books is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast – up approximately 70% last year.

“In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just 5%.

“We’re excited and very grateful to our customers for their response to Kindle and our ever-expanding ecosystem and selection.”

The Seattle based company also said operating income increased by 56% to £257 million in the fourth quarter.

Yahoo reports quarterly revenues increase

January 28, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Dr Search, internet, Search Clinic, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Results, search engines, Social Media, Uncategorized, Yahoo

Yahoo has reported fourth quarter revenues of £860 million in the fourth quarter, up nearly 2% on the same time a year before.Yahoo reports quarterly revenues increaseA one off accounting charge meant that the fourth quarter net income was £174 million, down by 8% compared to £189 million in the same period 12 months earlier.

In trading in New York the shares in the company gained 4.5%.

About 700 million web surfers visit its website every month, ranking it among the top three in the global industry.

However, it shed more than 1,000 jobs during 2012, and has long been divided over whether it should focus on media content or on tools and technologies.

Chief executive Marissa Mayer was brought in last July from Google to turn the company round, and the latest financial figures are the first full quarter’s under her leadership.

Ms Mayer has been focusing on building better mobile and social networking services.

She said that during the quarter Yahoo made progress “by growing our executive team, signing key partnerships including those with NBC Sports and CBS Television and launching terrific mobile experiences for Yahoo Mail and Flickr”.

Yahoo hired the former Google executive on a pay package of $58 million ( £37 million) which Dr Search thinks is nice work if you can get it.

Apple Inc loses it’s most valuable company crown

January 25, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Customer Service, mobile phones, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Apple Inc has lost its crown as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company after its shares continued to follow the basic law of physics- gravity.Apple Inc loses it's most valuable company crownThe Oil company Exxon Mobil has regained the top slot after Apple shares fell a further 2.4%-  following a 12% drop on Thursday.

Apple, which posted disappointing iPhone sales figures on Wednesday, has seen its shares fall 37% since their record high last September.

Exxon became number one in 2005, traded places with Apple during 2011, and had been number two since early 2012.

At the close on Wall Street, Apple had a market value of £261 billion, against Exxon’s of £264 billion.

The technology company has been hit by fears over its future growth, despite record profits.

Although the firm said on Wednesday that it had sold more iPhones (47.8 million) and iPads (22.9 million) in the final three months of last year than in any previous quarter, investors and analysts had expected yet more.

On Thursday, about £32 billion was wiped off Apple’s value after the biggest daily drop in the firm’s stock in four years.

Apple is also facing fierce competition from rivals like Samsung, which accounted for one in four of all mobile phones shipped worldwide last year, according to Strategy Analytics.

Apple’s share price rose sharply following a revival under Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, which came about first in computers and then the iPod music player, and was then followed by the iPhone and iPad.

Apple’s shares were worth as little as $3.19 in 1997 when it faced the possibility of bankruptcy, and reached a record $702.1 on 19 September 2012.

Atari US operations file for bankruptcy protection

January 21, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Dr Search, Gaming, Search Clinic, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, Video Marketing

The US operations of Atari have filed for bankruptcy protection.Atari US operations file for bankruptcy protectionThe maker of the ground breaking video game Pong is seeking to separate from its loss making French parent Atari SA.

Atari Inc, together with Atari Interactive Inc, Humongous Inc. and California US Holdings Inc. want to secure independent funding to develop digital and mobile games.

Atari’s Pong was an arcade game credited with helping to create the multi billion pound video games industry but it’s more recent titles which include ‘Centipede’, ‘Missile Command’ and Rollercoaster Tycoon’ have been less successful.

Atari said in December it was looking to raise cash and was talking to investors.

It is believed Atari US hopes to find a buyer to take the firm private, subsequently allowing it to focus on mobile and digital games.

Atari’s revenue dropped by 34% in 2012 and 43% the year before. Profits, meanwhile, have also been relatively small, while Atari SA share prices are now worth less than a single euro.

The company is also said to be reliant on London’s BlueBay Asset management for cash, which has left Atari US unable to release a number of games currently in development.

Atari Inc has since secured financing worth $5.25 million to continue operations, and will emerge from bankruptcy with little or no debt should it find a buyer.

In a statement, the companies said, “with this move the US based Atari operations seek to separate from the structural financial encumbrances of their French parent holding company, Atari SA”.

Atari SA, formerly known as Infogrames SA has been struggling financially for years.

The US operations of Atari have shifted their business from retail games to digital games in recent times and have become a growth engine for Atari SA.

“The Chapter 11 process constitutes the most strategic option for Atari’s US operations as they look to preserve their inherent value and unlock revenue potential unrealized while under the control of Atari SA,” the statement said.

Neither Atari SA or Atari Inc. were available for comment.

SME card payment solutions- using smartphones

January 17, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, data security, Dr Search, Ecommerce, Mobile Marketing, Personal Security, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

A new solution is available to small businesses who want to take customers’ payments by credit or debit card- but do not want to be tied in to a monthly payment contract.SME card payment solutions- using smartphonesSeveral companies are now offering SMEs the chance to take these payments using a dongle on their smartphone or iPad. The start-up costs are either zero or minimal, and there is no monthly fee, but the business pays a percentage of each transaction.

iZettle is one of a number firms offering the small card reader that plugs into iPhones, iPads and a number of Android smartphones or tablets.

The customer hands over their card to the stallholder – or plumber or window-cleaner – and it is swiped through the device. Mastercard and American Express card holders then sign for their purchase.

The merchant pays a commission of 2.75% per transaction, and the consumer gets to use their plastic rather than cash in new places.

Traders say the system is secure and customers can request a receipt- which is then sent to their own smart phone with the details of the transaction.

iZettle says 15,000 traders signed up with it in November. But several other firms are also fighting for their share of the market.

Sum Up offers a similar service. It launched five months ago, and as well as its UK operation it says it is expanding in nine other countries.

Payleven, based in London and Berlin, is another firm offering a service where Mastercard and American Express cards holders sign when making a purchase.

It says it will be launching the first chip and pin version of this payment for smartphones running Google’s Android software or Apple’s iOS in February.

Nokia promotes 3D printing for mobile phone cases

January 14, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Dr Search, mobile phones, Nokia, Search Clinic, smart phones, Telecommunications Companies, Uncategorized

Nokia is releasing design files that will let owners use 3D printers to make their own cases for its Lumia phones.Nokia promotes 3D printing for mobile phone casesFiles containing mechanical drawings, case measurements and recommended materials have already been released by the phone maker.

Those using the files will be able to create a custom designed case for the flagship Lumia 820 handset.

The project makes Nokia one of the first big electronics firms to seriously back 3D printing.

In a blogpost, John Kneeland, one of Nokia’s community managers, revealed the Finnish phone maker’s decision to release the 3D drawings.

Printing in 3D involves sending a design file to a printer that then forms a solid version of that object by slowly building it up in layers of plastic. Early 3D printers could only work in one colour but the latest versions can produce intricate, multicoloured objects.

Mr Kneeland said Nokia was releasing what he called a “3D printing development kit” to help people produce the cases. The files are already available on the site Nokia maintains for its developers.

He said 3D printing was another way that the firm wanted to build links to that vast community of software and hardware engineers. To get the files, users must have registered with Nokia.

He said Nokia already used 3D printing internally to do rapid prototyping, but decided to back it more publicly to help the nascent technology realise its “incredible potential”.

In the future, he said, 3D printing was likely to bring about phones that were “wildly more modular and customisable”.

Nokia might just end up selling a phone template, he said, allowing entrepreneurs to use that to produce handsets that satisfy the particular needs of their locale.

“You want a waterproof, glow-in-the-dark phone with a bottle-opener and a solar charger? Someone can build it for you – or you can print it yourself,” he wrote.

He added that, in his view, 3D printing was a technology that justified its hype and said it was “the sequel to the Industrial Revolution”.

“However, it’s going to take somewhat longer to arrive than some people anticipate, and that may disappoint people,” he said.

Facebook announces Graph Search- a social search tools for users

January 11, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Dr Search, Facebook, internet, Search Clinic, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Results, search engines, Social Media, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Facebook has announced a major addition to its social network – a smart search engine it has called Graph Search.Facebook announces Graph Search- a social search tools for usersThe feature allows users to make “natural” searches of content shared by their friends.

Search terms could include phrases such as “friends who like Star Wars and Harry Potter”.

Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg insisted it was not a web search, and therefore not a direct challenge to Google- however, it was integrating Microsoft’s Bing search engine for situations when graph search itself could not find answers.

Mr Zuckerberg said he “did not expect” people to start flocking to Facebook to do web search.

“That isn’t the intent,” he said. “But in the event you can’t find what you’re looking for, it’s really nice to have this.”

Earlier speculation had suggested that the world’s biggest social network was about to make a long anticipated foray into Google’s search territory.

“We’re not indexing the web,” explained Mr Zuckerberg at an event at Facebook’s headquarters in California.

“We’re indexing our map of the graph – the graph is really big and its constantly changing.”

In Facebook’s terms, the social graph is the name given to the collective pool of information shared between friends that are connected via the site.

It includes things such as photos, status updates, location data as well as the things they have “liked”.

Until now, Facebook’s search had been highly criticised for being limited and ineffective.

The company’s revamped search was demonstrated to be significantly more powerful. In one demo, Facebook developer Tom Stocky showed a search for queries such as “friends of friends who are single in San Francisco”.

The same technology could be used for recruitment, he suggested, using graph search to find people who fit criteria for certain jobs – as well as mutual connections.

Such queries are a key function of LinkedIn, the current dominant network for establishing professional connections.

“We look at Facebook as a big social database,” said Mr Zuckerberg, adding that social search was Facebook’s “third pillar” and stood beside the news feed and timeline as the foundational elements of the social network.

Perhaps mindful of privacy concerns highlighted by recent misfires on policies for its other services such as Instagram, Facebook stressed that it had put limits on the search system.

Payments by text message services to launch in UK in spring 2014

January 09, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, data security, Dr Search, Ecommerce, mobile phones, Personal Security, Search Clinic, smart phones, Telecommunications Companies, Uncategorized

UK mobile users will be able to send and receive money by sharing only their phone number by the spring 2014  the Payments Council has announced.Payments by text message services to launch in UK in spring 2014Account owners will be asked by their banks if they want to opt-in to a database that will allow the sending of money by text message.

The scheme is being backed by eight major financial institutions.

Its launch will bring the UK up to speed with technology which has been used for several years in the developing world.

Many African nations use systems such as M-Pesa, which is typically seen as a secure way to transfer funds quickly between individuals and businesses.

Mobiles in the UK are already being used for a variety of online banking tasks, with services such as Barclay’s PingIt simplifying sending money to and from accounts.

But this new set up will be the first to not require users to set-up a separate account with a mobile wallet service.

The scheme will be administered by the Faster Payments service – which processed more than 800 million online and phone banking transactions in 2012 – and the Link network, which processed 3.1 billion cash machine withdrawals last year.

The system will mean people can send and receive money to others by sharing just their mobile number – rather than having to swap other details such as sort code or account number.

However, the Payments Council said a passcode or similar security measure would ensure the system could not be abused.

Also, banks will have the ability to remotely disable accounts suspected of misuse.

Research would be conducted to make sure the limit represented a blend of “convenience and security”, the spokesman added.

Pearson invests in Barnes and Noble’s Nook ereader

January 07, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Computers, Ecommerce, EReaders, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The publisher Pearson has said it will invest in the Nook series of ereaders and tablets.Pearson invests in Barnes and Noble's Nook ereaderPearson said it would pay £55.5 million for a 5% stake in Nook Media, which includes the digital bookstore and 674 stores serving US colleges.

The maker of Nook-  US book chain Barnes & Noble (B&N), sells the devices online in the UK and in its stores as well in the US.

Microsoft is another big investor in the Nook.

After the deal, B&N will hold 78.2% of the Nook business and Microsoft will have about 16.8% , Pearson said.

It added that, subject to certain conditions, Pearson will have the option to buy another 5% stake in Nook Media.

“Pearson and Barnes & Noble have been valued partners for decades, and in recent years both have invested heavily and imaginatively to provide engaging and effective digital reading and learning experiences,” said Will Ethridge, chief executive of Pearson North America.

“This new agreement extends our partnership and deepens our commitment to provide better, easier experiences for our customers.”

B&N offers its own curated magazine, newspaper, book and app stores – and plans to add a video service offering movies and television shows by early 2013.

Its devices compete with tablets and ereaders from Apple, Amazon, Sony and products using Google’s Android software.

B&N does not operate its own stores in the UK, but as well as online, it sells its products through Sainsbury’s and the bookstore Blackwell’s.

Apple boss Tim Cook takes massive pay cut

January 03, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Dr Search, mobile phones, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies

Tim Cook will take home a salary of just 1% of the £235 million ($378 million) that he received to be Apple’s boss last year.Apple boss Tim Cook takes massive pay cutIn a regulatory filing, the iPhone-maker’s head said he would get a salary of £875,000 with a bonus of £1,750,000 for 2012.

Most of his money from 2011 came from a grant of shares awarded for becoming the chief executive and Apple said he would not get any new shares.

“Mr Cook’s target cash compensation remains significantly below the median for CEOs of peer companies,” it said.

Last year, following the death of co-founder Steve Jobs, Mr Cook received a bonus in the form of stock of more than $370 million, making him reportedly the best paid boss in the USA.

His base salary was $900,000. His predecessor, Steve Jobs, famously had an annual salary of $1.

Mr Cook’s salary was raised to $1.4 million and he received a bonus of 200% of his salary for exceeding Apple’s own targets in a year when its profit grew 61% to $41.7 billion and Apple became for a time the most valuable company in the world.

“Mr Cook did not receive an RSU [restricted stock unit] award in 2012 in light of the RSU award he received in connection with his promotion to CEO in August 2011,” Apple said.

It added: “Following a recommendation by Mr Cook to the Compensation Committee, the company adopted stock ownership guidelines for the CEO and the non-employee directors. Under the guidelines, Mr Cook is expected to own shares of company common stock that have a value equal to ten times his base salary.”

His colleagues received hefty pay packages after a successful year. Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of technologies, will get almost $86 million and chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer will receive $68.6 million.