BlackBerry Set To Report 4QFY16 Earnings

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BlackBerry will report its financial results for the fourth quarter on April, 1 , 2016. Everyone is anxiously waiting for it to report the sales figure for the android powered smartphone

The Canadian smartphone manufacturer, BlackBerry Ltd will be reporting its fourth quarter earnings for fiscal year 2016 (4QFY16) on April 1, 2016. As per the pre-announcement, the smartphone maker is expected to report revenue of $559.5 million along with adjusted loss per share of $10 cents.

Credit Suisse has shared its reviews on the quarterly financial results of the smartphone maker stating that it is expecting revenue of $558.9 million along with an adjusted loss per share of 9 cents. Kulbinder Garcha, analyst at the financial services and research firm, is estimating that the company will report gross margin of 42.9% along with a free cash flow of almost $56 million.

Analysts further predicts that in case the Canadian company shows even remote signs of recovery in its financial performance, it will be because of its IP licensing sales which were reported to be $53 million in the previous quarter. He also added that BBRY still faces a number of issues, pointing fingers at the constant decline in the company’s services business along with doubtful acquisitions that includes that of Good Technology.

Credit Suisse’s analysts further expect that the smartphone manufacturer will report revenues of $775 million for fiscal year 2016 which he expects will decline in fiscal year 2017 to $459 million . In addition to that, he says that revenue for fiscal year 2016 and 2017 are estimated to stand at $526 million and $634 million – as it has been facing continuous slowdown in its hardware services sector. He noted that despite the fact that the hardware sector of BlackBerry dropped significantly last quarter, it managed to report stronger gross margin of 44.9%.

With the introduction and success of the android powered BlackBerry Priv, the average selling price (ASP) of hardware rose significantly during the previous quarter but for the current quarter, analysts are predicting that the hardware sector will report revenue of $265 million.

He stated that inherent challenges can be observed in the company and it is taking a lot of effort on the company’s part in the services as well as the hardware business. They are assuming that BlackBerry might be shutting down its hardware service business by the end of fiscal year 16 and further winding up its hardware service sector by 2017.

The financial services and research firm, Credit Suisse, have maintained a underperform rating with a price target of $6. In an effort to turn the fortune of the smartphone company’s fate, it gave in and launched its first android-powered smartphone, Priv hence moving away from its blackberry operating system. It was also an attempt to turnaround the slow hardware sales that was prevailing however since it did not disclose the sales of the smartphone during the previous quarter it cannot be said for sure how the device is currently performing. This will be the first full quarter that will witness Priv sales, so we are expecting that the company will announce the sales figures of it.

Individual reviews of the Priv suggest that the 5.4-inch size display smart device has performed well and has been taken positively in the market. It was priced at $799 including itself in one of the top brands in the industry. The success of the company, at this point, completely lies on the sales of the Priv. In case it fails to impress the investors and the industry as the CEO John Chen stated earlier, the organization will exit the smartphone market.

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Qualcomm Inc. Doughs Another Bullet With ParkerVision Inc.

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Qualcomm has one less problem to think about now; all it has to do is work on its products and excel in the category of mobile processing chips.

Qualcomm Inc. has had a victorious start and first three months of the New Year. According to recent news, ParkerVision Inc. filed a patent infringement case against the chip-maker. However, the US Supreme Court has declined to review the case, which means that was another strike by the company in the current year.

The patent infringement case was filed against the chip manufacturer by ParkerVision Inc. was back in July of 2011. Initially, the court reviewed the lawsuit and the jury found the chipmaker guilty of violating the company’s mobile technology patents. The violation resulted in Qualcomm Inc. paying damages of $173 million to Parkervision. However, this decision was overturned by a United States District Judge due to which the company further approached the United States Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C.

Furthermore, the judge in the Court of Appeal upheld the decision which led Parkervision to directly approach the US Supreme Court. But since the largest court order did not work out in the favor of the Jacksonville based company, it has officially exhausted all its legal avenues.

In the past few months, the chip manufacturer has had a number of legal lawsuits being filed against it however this decision in the favor of Qualcomm give get some heat off of it. In addition to that, it is also be blamed for unfair practices by the International Trade Commission. The apparent unfair practices conducted by the chipmaker, that the ITC has been blaming it for include the sale after importation of products along with sale of importation.

Subsequently, Qualcomm is not the only victim that the ITC is blaming for such biased practices; other companies that have been under the spotlight by the ITC include Samsung Electronics, LG and the Silicon Valley giant, Apple Inc. – as most of these technology companies are going through the same investigations. The complaint by Parkervision Inc. was filed back in December 2015 however after the Supreme Court declined from reviewing the complaint, it might have an impact on the other ongoing investigations as well.

On the other hand, Qualcomm Stock has also reverted back from its all-time low of $42, as the stock of the chipmaker is currently being traded in the market for a share price of $50.69. However, the company is still a long way from its initial all-time high stock price of $70 but it seems as though the future will be brighter for Qualcomm and investors are quite happy with the current performance.

The technology company managed to outperform at the Mobile World Congress as its latest Snapdragon 820 processor was a big hit at the event and make companies are planning on using it as their official processor. Moreover, the chipmaker has decided to work on mid-tier smartphones as well. Presently the undisputed chipmaker leader in the market is Intel however with the recent announcements of Qualcomm; it is safe to say that it is likely to become a potential threat for the market leader in the recent times. Currently, Intel owns over 99% of the market share however the day is not far when Qualcomm is standing right next to it.

However, given the future guidance of the company, it is expected to outperform Intel in the recent times. Samsung Electronics, the Korean largest smartphone manufacturer is already the company’s biggest client. And the company has already tasted the downside of not expanding; it’s going to be very careful before making the same mistakes again.

Google Being Discrete About Its Amazon Echo Rival

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The search engine organization is working on its own digital assistant to give Amazon’s Echo competition.

Google Inc. doesn’t like being left behind and this time, it is taking the battle up against Amazon.com, the retail giant. According to recent news, the search engine giant has been developing its own version of something close to Amazon’s Bluetooth Echo Speaker. However, at this point Alphabet Inc.’s subsidiary has not provided much information on the latest development or even when it will be launching the future product.

Amazon’s Echo has gained increased popularity in the technology market ever since its debut. This device is connect via Bluetooth to various home appliances etc. and users are able to perform various functions through voice commands.

Google currently has planned to exert its efforts in making this help-assistant without the support of its sister company, Nest. The search engine organization has decided to ditch Nest in the creation of this future product, mainly because of Nest’s lack of launching products on their release dates. The largest internet company did not want to risk being involved with its sister company due to its recent reputation.

Consequently, another reason for not involving Nest in its latest development is that the internet company wants to create its own digital assistant that is good enough to go up against Amazon’s Echo. Echo has already managed to take most of the market share in the digital help-assistant market; it works with the help was Alexa, that the users can speak to. It is integrated with complex voice recognition. Alexa, simply with the help of its user’s voice, is able to call an Uber, playback music, access the smart-lights in a user’s house.

Furthermore, the retail giant has expanded its Echo product line with the introduction of ‘Dot’ and ‘Tap’ devices – it becomes evident that Google needs to speed things up with the introduction of its digital assistant. Since Echo has managed to attract most of the market share, it will be a difficult task for the search engine internet business to attract consumers at once. However, given its credible name and reputation in the technology industry, we are sure people will buy and pursue Google’s latest product.

However, Alphabet Inc. has always been known for being discrete and secretive while working on a new product; hence we do not know much of the product at this point. In addition to that, given that it has not made any such announcement regarding the future device as it, we can conclude that the launch of this product will not be anytime soon. But the launch of such a product is likely to excite its user-base in case the company decides to integrate this with Google Maps, Play Music, and Gmail etc.

This introduction of digital assistants has gained quite the popularity in the tech world as many technology organizations have decided to experiment with their very own digital helpers. Amazon has been showing off its technology by integrating it with voice recognition on smart-homes, and smart appliances. It’s safe to say, that if Google rolls out a competitor for Echo, android users will be the first to get their hands on it ultimately helping the company boost its hardware sales.

 

Netflix’s Performance In Various Regions

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The streaming media service provider, with its expansion spree has managed to gain a lot of popularity in some of the major countries of the world however in a few regions, it will need to try a little harder to attract the right audience.

According to a report, over 1.4 million households subscribed for Netflix Inc.’s service in 2015 in United Kingdom while nearly a quarter of households in the region are subscribed to the service now. In the last few months 2015, over more than 5 million households subscribed for the service while in 2014 over 14% of the total so.

In comparison to its competitors, Amazon Prime and Sky, the streaming media giant is doing incredibly well in the area; furthermore it is continuing to grow at a faster pace than all the other video streaming services in the region. As per the data, over 1.4 million households in UK have Amazon Prime, on the other hand, over 1 million have subscribed for Sky TV’s service. This data has been based on a survey conducted by UK’s Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (Barb). It stated that Netflix is ahead in compared to other services by a significant margin and it is growing more than all the other service providers.

The report further suggested that the customers who are subscribed to either Netflix or Amazon are likely to be subscribed to traditional television services as well from various cable TV providers including Sky, Virgin Media and BT.

On the contrary, the video streaming leader had announced earlier this year that will be make its service available in all the major countries of the world except for China. It has managed to conquer most of Asia Pacific however gaining popularity in these regions will not be as easy as it seems to be. The major obstacles that are in the way could be the region’s size, different regulations that are followed in those regions, language barrier (language based content) and also competition that it will receive from local service providers.

The first problem to be taken into consideration is the language barrier; in most of these regions people have subscribed to traditional cable service where they get to access content of their language. However, in Netflix’s case, it needs to work on content for all these regions where it is providing its service in order to gain the popularity that it has received in the United States and Europe.

Local content is what majorly matter when entering a new region and can prove to be a huge hindrance in the way of success. Some of the regions that the company had targeted, that might have a language barrier issue are South Korea and Hong Kong as the audience in these specific regions prefer to watch content in their language.

Jonathan Friedland, the chief communication officer told Bloomberg that the on-demand subscription provider’s content does well in the United States but in other countries great TV is being made. Since that is the market that Netflix has decided to target, it will need to produce content that appeal to that audience as well which means spending millions of dollars again.

However, the company stated that due to its expansion spree last year, the company gained a humongous subscriber base.

 

Ford Motor’s Executive Gets a Hefty Pay Check For Delivering Record Profits

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Due the tenure of the CEO and President of Ford Motors, the company has reported record breaking profits hence receiving a huge pay check for his performance.

Due to his incredible performance this year, Ford Motor Company’s CEO Mark Fields has been rewarded with a huge paycheck. From the previous year, Mr. Field’s compensation for the year has been bumped up by 17% as he delivered record profits this year.

As the company’s top executive, Mark Fields had received approximately $17.3 million after adjusting his pension value for his first full year as an executive. During the year, the automobile giant managed to report best profits mainly due to the increasing sales of its sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Inclusive of pension value, as per a recent SEC filing, the CEO was rewarded with a total of $18.6 million which included $1.75 million in salary, over $13.36 in stock options along with performance based equity incentive; along with a bonus of $3.46 million while the rest was pension value.

Mark Fields was appointed at the CEO and President of the auto-maker back in July 2014; ever since his admission into the organization, it has seen increased profits and improvement in Ford’s operations. Last year’s major cash cow was the company’s aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup which was redesigned by him and was praised for that improvement as well.

In addition to that, due to the declining fuel prices in the market, Mr. Fields also rolled out more SUVs into the market which ultimately improved the automobile organization’s top and bottom line numbers. With all this positivity that has been witnessed by analysts and investors so far many now believe that this might not last for long. As the specific auto industry might hit a peak and hence reach to a saturation point due to which the margins will feel the pressure.

On the contrary, the CEO also agrees with this notion, and during a conference held in January he stated that the company’s North American operating profits margin are likely to witness a decline this year; which is the country’s largest market. This decline in the market is likely to lead to an overall performance decline in the earnings.

Furthermore, according to a proxy report, the executive reported that the top team is to make sure they achieve 99% of the goals that are to be set by the board. In pre-tax earnings, the company posted $10.8 billion which is the record breaking profit of fiscal year 2015. Additionally, during Mark’s tenure the automaker managed to sell as many as 780,354 units of its F Series pickup trucks. All these units were sold in the United States which for the 34th consecutive time made Ford Motors the best-selling vehicle.

 

Twitter Inc. Keeps 140 Character Limit – To Stay True To Itself

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The social media website might be going through a rough patch, it might be unable to attract users however it is keeping its identify intact.

After much consideration, the chief executive officer of Twitter Inc. has announced that the micro-blogging company will be keeping the 140-character limit word count. The social media company was contemplating to increase the word count for a while now however with the final decision those rumors can be put to rest now. On Friday at the NBC’s Today show, Jacky Dorsey when asked regarding the matter simply stated that ‘It’s staying’.

The speculations regarding the character count limit started back in January when a rumor ticked off that the social media website will be removing the character count on the Tweets although. However this latest development might come as a relief for all those who were against the idea of an increased character count on the website to share their opinions and views regarding certain events.

Jack Dorsey talked about the important of the word count and stated that it’s a constraint for the company as people can be as concise as they want with their Tweet and allows to them instantly in the spur of the moment, with limited words share how they feel.

Presently, the CEO of the networking organization has been in the spotlight because of the performance of Twitter in recent times. Mr. Dorsey, who is also the CEO of a payment company Square have been receiving a lot of negativity as people are blaming him for the slowdown in the user growth – and at this point many are questioning his ability to run two companies simultaneously.

Twitter Inc. has been looking for different ways to make its platform more engaging and attractive for users. Back in August 2015, it increased the character count limit from 140 to 10,000 characters in its direct messages. The management of the microblogging giant has continuously been working on user engagement and user growth however most of those efforts have gone in vain till now.

In addition to that, it also introduced an algorithm based timeline with the help of which users were able to view posts on their feeds by relevance instead of showing tweets in chronological order. This was yet another upgrade on the company’s part to attract users towards the social media platform that did not work too well in its favor either. Many users stated that Twitter was trying to copy Facebook Inc., the largest social media platform on the planet.

Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napset, talking to Bloomberg’s Emily Chang stated that Twitter should differ itself from Facebook, for instance it should not consider itself as a social media platform anymore, instead the company should turn it’s a news website. He added that it is not a ‘closely knit community’ as Facebook is, as the survival of the website has been on the relationships that are based on celebrities and politicians so far.

Having said that, we can see that twitter will still not go of what it considers its competitive advantage in the industry which is its word limit – it believes that is what differentiates it from all the social networks and this move is bound to earn some appreciation for the network.

Facebook, Inc.’s Oculus Welcomes Users to the Virtual Reality World

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Oculus users will be able to integrate their Facebook accounts with the virtual reality headgear; its time to step into the world of virtual reality.

Facebook Inc.’s much anticipated Oculus Rift, which is perhaps the biggest, most popular virtual reality headset in the industry, had its first ever pre-launch event in San Francisco recently. The launch of the much awaited head gear is only a few weeks away. People at CNET got a chance to spend a whole day with the final version of the device to see how it works and what it is like to use it.

According to CNET, they only got a chance to play with half of the 41 games that have been made available on the product. The most important gadget with the gear is Oculus Touch which will not be available at once with the device but with the help of The Touch it becomes easier to move hands in space and grab things.

The Facebook owned platform has been gaining a lot of popularity on the social media lately. As per the new features on the device, users will be able to connect it with their Facebook accounts; the gear will allows users to watch 360 videos from the social media platform. Furthermore, they will be able to connect with their friends and Twitch streams with their Facebook friends in real time.

At this point, Oculus Gear’s integration with the social networking website is all about videos. The users who get their hands on the gears will need to download the Oculus Video app which should be directly installed once the user downloads the Oculus Gear VR app. As soon as the user installs both these apps on their device, they will require an update which will allow them to use the new social media features that have been made available on the platform.

After the installation stage, the user will be able to witness a list of Trending and Featured 350 degree videos which is the default menu screen of the virtual reality headset. Based on the pages and people you follow on the platform, you will be suggested with a list of videos, that you can choose from and enjoy the VR experience. In addition to that, any video that your friends or people you follow have shared on their Facebook profile will also be viewable to you.

This is just the beginning of the Virtual Reality fiasco, in a few weeks when the device is released with all its games and other features, users will be able to directly like and share the videos on their social media profiles. If a user has already been using the Gear VR app, they are likely to have an Oculus account – all they need to do now is add friends and follow people and they are good to go.

On the contrary, even though Oculus and HTC Vive, rival ritual reality gear run on the same Windows Operating System, it is not necessary that if a user buys a game for Oculus, the same game would work on Vive. Oculus stated that all the headsets communicate with the PC in a different way so it should be brought into the user’s attention that they might not be able to play with their friends if they are on a different headset.