Google on Track: Q3 Earnings Back to Stellar Again

google chartLast quarter Google shocked the world – not with their success, but with a failure.  Much to the surprise of analysts and others’ they stumbled and failed to meet second quarter earnings expectations in July.  The numbers were good, just not as high as the stratospheric expectations being asked of them.   It was only the second time since going public in 2004 they’d come up short.    So Thursday, rebuked for aiming too high last time (Google doesn’t give sales or earnings guidance) analysts were watching carefully to see if their picks were better when Google announced this quarters results. 

Was last quarter a fluke of mismanagement? A rogue wave to an otherwise steady ship?  Were analyst’s just too optimistic?   Investors who bid up the stock 19% during the last month haven’t thought so.  They’ve expected a windfall. Today, they all got their answer: all’s well in Mountain View.

Despite occasional criticism for being a “one trick pony” and deriving most of their revenue from one advertising strength, Google proved that pony still has plenty of speed and strength.  Click to Read More

Apples Two Step: Reversing Positions in Triplicate

seesawFirst it was iPhone pricing.  Tuesday,  iTunes pricing.  Wednesday, it’s third party applications for the iPhone.  For the third time in less than as many months, Apple is reversing course.  For a company as sure footed as Apple, that’s borderline bizarre.   Even with a stock price through the roof and products selling like hot cakes, it’s something to stop and scratch your head about.   Makes you wonder what’s going on in Cupertino. One of those things that makes you go “hmm?”

The first adjustment came last month when Apple cut the pricing on the iPhone.  They then waffled over whether to compensate early adopters who paid a substantially higher price. Click to Read More

Yahoo Q3 Earnings: Trending Up

yhoo q3Yahoo’s earnings are out.  After the close of markets Tuesday, Yahoo launched this quarter’s wave of tech earnings announcements (along with Intel and IBM which also reported).   One headline reads “earnings slip again” another says earnings “encourage investors.”  That’s about right.  With the first 100 days of CEO Jerry Yang’s new tenure now finished, watchers aren’t’ yet sure what to make of Yahoo’s present state… or future prospects.  Some are still concerned while others are seeing the glass half full; maybe even getting fuller.

To the numbers: the trend was positive and analyst consensus expectations were beaten. 

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MySpace and Sony in Music Pact

sony myspaceWith music licensing partner Snocap on its deathbed, MySpace is wasting no time lining up new music partners. Today, the social network announced they’d signed a significant licensing agreement with Big 4 music label Sony BMG.

Under the terms of the deal, which was likely in the works for some time, Sony will use the MySpace site and platform to promote its artists with individual artist pages.  They will also license a selection of music, music videos and other content for distribution around the MySpace site.  MySpace, in turn, will share revenue from advertising and sponsorships.

In many ways the deal is merely formalization of a relationship that’s already been in place.  Click to Read More

Discovery Buying Spree Continues: joins the portfolio

discovery how stuff worksCorporate M&A activity is a little like addictive behavior. Once a company sets down the road to grow by acquisition, chances are they won’t stop at just one hit.  For Discovery Communications, parent of TV’s Discovery Channel, TLC and others, the M&A road leads to a convergence of TV and internet initiatives. It seems they’re on it and happy to pay the tolls along the way.

Monday, Discovery Communications announced they’d agreed to buy privately held How Stuff Works, the informative and educational website property for a price reportedly near $250m.

HowStuffWorks is very much what their name describes.  Click to Read More

Entertainment in the Sky: Reviewing Virgin America’s Red In Flight Entertainment package

virgin redTouch screens, video-on-demand, GPS, Portable Entertainment, taxi’s with TV, highway rest stops with WiFi hotspots …. Entertainment technology is reaching into our travels and changing fast.   No where are these changes more apparent than airlines.  New planes have new technology and are trying to keep up.

Last week Virgin America, the newly launched U.S. low fare airline chose a handful of prominent Internet personalities and blogger’s as cartoon faces to front their new ad campaign.  They included people like Kevin Rose (Digg) and the team at popular blog Boing Boing.   I wasn’t among the chosen few – Metue is a good ways from the scale of audience to draw that kind of attention -  but I have flown VA twice this month and the time seems right to take inventory and do a review; a closer look at the entertainment technology aboard the newest company to take flight.

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Snocap lays off staff: another music retailer crushed by DRM

snocap stopWhen Snocap was founded in 2002 it was supposed to become Shawn Fanning’s coming of age; the original Napster founder’s arrival into legitimate music distribution success.  If peer to peer Napster was to be his fame, Snocap’s music licensing service was to be his cash cow.   Over four years, dealing with the complexities of selling music online,  that dream become less and less realistic.   Over the past few months, it began to look like it could finally be possible.  With DRM Restrictions waning, iPod owners which represent the majority of the digital music buying public, were starting to become potential customers.  They no longer have buy all big label music on iTunes.  EMI, and to a limited extent, Universal Music, are selling music without encryption.  Through deals with big players like MySpace (September 2006) and start ups likes Imeem (June 2007) were giving Snocap distribution.

Now it looks like those little successes were too little too late. The market isn’t maturing fast enough.  Like Virgin, Sony, Anywhere CD and other’s who have recently shut down online music ventures, competing with Apple’s iTunes in a world where much of the music sold is restricted is proving a costly business; one not worth being a part of.

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