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Nintendo warns on it’s Wii-U sales forecast

February 01, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Ecommerce, Gaming, internet, Nintendo, Search Clinic, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Nintendo has cut the sales forecast for its new Wii-U console-  but still expects to make an annual profit thanks to the weaker yen.Nintendo warns on it's Wii-U sales forecastIt now predicts it will sell only four million Wii-Us in the year to March, down 27% from its previous forecast, after sales disappointed.

Nonetheless, the Japanese firm increased its annual net profit forecast to £98 million thanks to gains from its weakening home currency.

A year ago it made a loss of  £302 million.

For the first nine months of its year, the firm reported a £102 million profit, compared with a loss of  £115 million a year earlier.

The results, which came after the end of trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, provide mixed signals for stock analysts.

The apparent failure so far of the Wii-U to take off versus competition from tablet and smart phone game applications may bode ill for the company’s long-term growth prospects.

Nintendo also cut its full-year sales forecasts for its other games consoles, with 3DS sales expected to reach 15 million by March (down 14% from its previous forecast), and DS sales to total 2.3 million (down 8%).

Perhaps the biggest shock will come from the firm announcing that it now expected to make an overall operating loss of £140 million for the year, whereas previously it had foreseen a £140 million operating profit. Financial analysts had expected a £85.7 million operating profit on average.

The company said that the new forecasts took account of the evident turnaround in the yen with the election of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has taken a much more aggressively expansionary stance towards both government spending and the central bank’s monetary policy.

The weakening currency provides a two-fold benefit to the company – increasing the value of its foreign currency assets in the short-term, and reversing its steady loss of price competitiveness against foreign rivals in the longer-term.

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.

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.

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.

Google Nexus and Amazon Kindle in new content deals

December 10, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Amazon, Customer Service, Dr Search, Ecommerce, EReaders, Google, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle tablets have launched new deals that highlight how content are helping drive device sales.Google Nexus and Amazon Kindle in new content dealsThe Times newspaper is subsidising the cost of the Nexus as part of its digital editions bundle.

Amazon is launching an “all-you-can-eat” media subscription offer targeted at children in the US.

Apple’s share of worldwide tablet shipments dipped from about 66% to 50% between the April-to-June quarter and the July-to-September period, according to data from IDC.

By contrast the Kindle and Nexus devices’ share grew. Investors will watch to see how that trend is affected in the current period following the launch of the iPad Mini.

The Times is promoting its Nexus 7 Digi Bundle – which gives online access to The Times and Sunday Times papers – by offering the 32GB version of the tablet for £50, on top of the price of its standard package, rather than the £199 it is sold for in shops.

The deal involves an 18 month commitment to the paper, bringing the total cost to £299 for the period.

It is notable that the firm picked Google’s tablet, bearing in mind News International’s chief executive, Rupert Murdoch, had previously described the firm as a “parasite” for offering his papers’ content in its news search listings.

Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service charges a monthly fee for access to book, game and educational apps, movies and TV shows. Disney, DC Comics, Nickelodeon and the team behind Sesame Street are also among the publishers that have allowed their content to be included.

The product is focused at children aged between three and eight and will promote content depending on their gender and age.

It costs about £3 per month per child, although there is a discount for members of the Amazon Prime programme.

Sharp reports huge losses and issues survival warning

November 05, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, mobile phones, Search Clinic, smart phones, Smart TV, Tablets, Telecommunications Companies, Televisions, Uncategorized

Sharp has issued a warning about its future saying that it has found it tough to raise money after reporting huge losses.Sharp reports huge losses and issues survival warningIt issued the warning as it forecast a loss of 450bn yen (£3.5 billion) for the year to 31 March 2013.

Sharp, which has struggled amid falling sales and a rising yen, has had its credit rating cut to “junk” status.

It said it was looking to restructure its business in an attempt to return to profitability.

When a firm’s bonds are rated as “junk” it means some institutions may no longer invest in them, making it harder for them to raise fresh capital.

“Sharp is in circumstances in which material doubt about its assumed going concern is found,” the company said in a statement.”

Sharp’s troubles are not isolated. Most of the big Japanese electronics giants have seen their fortunes tumble in recent times.

Japanese electronics makers have been hurt by a slowing demand and falling prices of TVs in key markets.

At the same time, rising competition from low-cost manufacturers coupled with a strong yen – which makes Japanese goods more expensive – has also hit their competitiveness.

Faced with these challenges, Sharp, Sony and Panasonic have all announced plans to restructure their business in an attempt to cut costs and improve profitability.

However, analysts said that while these attempts were a step in the right direction, it was unclear how the firms will drive future profit growth, not least because demand for their key products continued to remain subdued.

Microsoft profits fall 22% waiting for Windows 8 launch

October 24, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Microsoft, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Microsoft has reported a 22% fall in quarterly profits after waiting for the release of its Windows 8 operating system and its latest version of Office.Microsoft profits fall 22% waiting for Windows 8 launchNet profit for the three months to September fell to £2.79 billion ($4.47 billion), from £3.58 billion a year earlier and consequently they missed shareholder expectations.

Total revenues fell 8% to £10 billion.

PC sales fell as consumers either put off new purchases in a tight economy or opted for tablet devices instead.

Microsoft deferred a total of £850 million of revenue, which it will regain in the following quarter.

This included £489 million in licence fees for PCs pre-loaded with Windows 8, because it cannot recognise the revenue until the units go on sale on 26 October.

It also deferred £240 million for PCs that shipped with Windows 7 but are eligible for a £9.50 upgrade to Windows 8, and £118 million for PCs that shipped with the new version of Office or are eligible for an upgrade.

Microsoft shares fell 3% in extended trading.

Amazon claims Kindle Fire HD and Paperwhite sales are profitless

October 15, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Amazon, Apple, Customer Service, EReaders, Google, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Amazon has claimed that it will not make a profit from sales of its latest Kindle tablet and e-reader devices.Amazon claims Kindle Fire HD and Paperwhite sales are profitlessThis is in strong contrast to the strategy of the best selling tablet maker Apple.

The comments as Amazon launches its new Paperwhite e-reader and an associated book lending scheme in the UK, Germany and France.

The latest e-ink powered device features a built in light that will help the firm compete against Barnes & Noble’s Nook Glowlight and Kobo’s Glo, which offer a similar feature.

Amazon is seeking to distinguish its line-up by offering a subscription package that includes access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

The service offers users the ability to borrow up to one book a month from a selection of titles including well known authors – such as JK Rowling – and writers who have published their works through Amazon’s own publishing system.

The UK service will include more than 200,000 ebooks at launch.

While other e-readers lack a matching facility, if they support the ePub format their owners can still borrow ebooks from their local library if it supports the OverDrive system.

Deliveries of Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite will begin in Europe on 25 October, coinciding with the release of its 7 inch Kindle Fire HD tablets.

Android tablet makers also rely on hardware sales. While Google provides their system software for free, the search company keeps a cut of app and digital media sales made via its Google Play marketplace.

Amazon is also attempting to use its hardware to stimulate sales of other physical products sold via its store.

Access to its Lending Library facility will be tied to a £49 annual subscription to its Amazon Prime service.  The offer includes rapid delivery, at no additional cost, of products from its warehouses.

Although this adds to the firm’s shipping costs, evidence from the US suggests that subscribers end up spending more on its site and are less likely to compare prices with rival retailers.

Barnes & Noble’s UK launches new Nook

October 01, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

US book chain Barnes & Noble plans to launch new Nook tablets alongside its e-readers in the UK later this year.
Barnes & Noble's UK launches new NookThey will compete against products from Amazon, Kobo, Sony and others.

B&N boasts that its smaller tablet – which features a 7 inch screen – is the lightest such device to offer a “high definition” experience.

The firm has secured distribution deals with some of the country’s leading retailers, but may suffer because its brand is less well known.

While B&N and Amazon have decided to enter the UK’s tablet market at the same time, they are pursuing different strategies: the former has decided to offer its full line-up from the start, while the latter is selling a more limited range.

So, while B&N will offer a 9 inch tablet called the Nook HD+ in the UK from mid-November, Amazon has opted to limit sales of its 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD to the US for the time being.

This may help B&N make inroads into the larger-screened tablet market – the Nook HD+ is £100 cheaper than Apple’s 9.7 inch iPad 2, and £70 below Samsung’s 10.1 inch Galaxy Tab2.

Competition is likely to be more fierce in the 7 inch category where the basic £159 Nook HD, featuring 8GB of storage, will compete against similarly priced offerings from Amazon, Kobo and Elonex as well as Asus’s £199 Google-branded Nexus 7 tablet.

The Nook tablets run on an adapted version of Android 4.0, giving them access to an existing wide range of third-party software.

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

These facilities can also be used on other devices allowing users to share material from the tablets to smartphones and PCs.

The decision to restrict which apps can be sold provides the firm with an opportunity to limit malware. However, some owners might be frustrated by the fact they are not offered an opportunity to install material from either the Google Play or Amazon Appstore marketplaces unless they hack the machines.

The Nook tablets do not display adverts, unlike the Kindle Fire which shows “special offers” when put into lock mode.

The tablets build on B&N’s earlier announcement that it would sell its full range of black-and-white-screened e-book readers in the UK from early-October.

These will include a Simple Touch model featuring a built-in light, allowing it to be used in the dark.

While Amazon has announced a device with a similar feature for US shoppers – the Kindle Paperwhite – it has not put the model on sale in the UK. However, Kobo does offer the facility with its new e-reader, the Kobo Glo.

With a flood of new devices coming onto the market, the various companies’ fortunes may be determined by their High Street distribution deals.

While B&N does not operate its own stores in the UK, it will sell its products through Sainsbury’s and the bookstore Blackwell’s.

Kobo’s partners include WH Smith and Asda, while Amazon has teamed up with Waterstones, Comet, Ryman, Carphone Warehouse and Tesco.

John Lewis, Currys, PC World and Argos will sell all three devices as well as other similar products made by Sony, Archos, Delium and others.

Apple’s manufacturer stops production after China riots

September 26, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Computers, internet, mobile phones, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Foxconn Technology- a major supplier for Apple products has halted production at a plant in northern China after a fight broke out among workers.Apple's manufacturer stops production after China riotsFoxconn confirmed that a “personal dispute” escalated into an incident involving about 2,000 workers, injuring 40 of them.

Police later dealt with the situation near the facility in Taiyuan, which employs about 79,000 workers.

Foxconn has previously been accused of having poor conditions for its workers- with 20 workers committing suicide in the past few years.

Foxconn said the incident started on Sunday at about 23:00 local time (15:00 GMT) in a dormitory near the Taiyuan manufacturing facility in Shanxi province.

Internet users in China posted pictures on microblog sites which they said had been taken at the scene showing windows of nearby shops smashed and police vehicles overturned.

Some photos showed police and paramilitary officers in riot gear being deployed to the scene.

About 40 people were taken to hospital and a number of individuals have been arrested, the company said.

A senior government official from Taiyuan City was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying that three of the injured people were in a serious condition.

The Xinhua agency reported that the dispute had been brought under control by 5,000 policemen by 09:00 local time on Monday.

Unverified messages on the Twitter-like social network Weibo suggested that violence from security guards may have sparked the unrest.

One said that four or five security guards had beaten a worker almost to death, while another said that rioting workers had been targeting security guards who had earlier beaten some of their colleagues.

Earlier in the year a fight broke out in a restaurant at a Foxconn plant involving about 100 workers.