WASHINGTON, Dec 6- The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Friday to rule on the divisive issue of what kinds of software are eligible for patent protection in a case being closely watched by the technology industry. The court took no action on another case raising the same issue involving a patent dispute between WildTangent Inc and Ultramercial Inc..» Read More
Here we go again--when it comes to all the speculation swirling around whether Google will jump into the cell phone market, not with new software, but with a handset of its own. To wit, we've already reported the myriad possibilities and puzzle pieces pointing to a possible cell-phone market entry by the search giant
The experts call the 700Mhz wireless spectrum the last piece of undeveloped beachfront real estate in cyberspace, and Google wants it. "I'll tell you, even at Google you can't make a $4.6 billion commitment without being serious," says Chris Sacca, Google's vice president who's spearheading the company's aggressive lobbying effort of the FCC to make sure its voice is heard in the upcoming auction of wireless spectrum.
Microsoft's top brass are hosting the company's Financial Analysts Meeting at company headquarters in Redmond, Washington today. I was going to be there as well, but at the last minute, changed plans for several reasons. And it was probably a good idea, at least for Microsoft.
In my earlier post, I talked about the Street's expectations for Google. Now, I'll focus on Apple. The company suffered much the same thing as Google, these past few months, when it came to the iPhone and the exuberant expectations around this product. We knew it was going to be big; important; game-changing; huge; fill-in-the-blank with the adjective of your choice.
Now that the major tech earnings parade has largely passed by, I have a chance to reflect on some bizarre developments swirling around both Google and Apple. This is the first of two blogs today, but I'll focus here on Google. It's interesting to note, that both companies are caught in a strange whirlpool of shifting euphoria, great expectations--and then punishing share-price brutality when performance doesn't match up with what the experts were looking for.
Apple's conference call continues at this hour with the company's Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer re-iterating the company's projections to sell 10 million iPhones, despite the perceived slow start the product has suffered. Further, the company's shares opened to enormous volatility after being halted just moments before the earnings release hit the the tape.
Apple Inc. released its Third Quarter numbers and for a company more than doubling this past year, this was not the news investors were hoping for. The Third Quarter was a blow-out by normal standards: the 92 cents a share and $5.41 billion in revenue soundly beat the 72 cents and $5.285 billion the Street expected. Same goes for the 1.76 million Macs and 9.8 million iPods shipped on the quarter. Gross margins climbed to 36%. All very good news.
It's a weird Wednesday as we anticipate earnings news from Apple after the close later today. Weird because we got this hint into Apple's numbers from AT&T yesterday when the company disclosed 146,000 iPhone subs that first weekend the phone went on sale. We'll get a far better picture from Apple as far as iPhone sales are concerned today; but AT&T's news didn't stop Apple shares from suffering their worst, one-day point decline in seven years.
Shares in Europe's largest chipmaker STMicroelectronics fell 4.6% following disappointing quarterly results and a cut in its growth expectations for the industry.
Too much hype? Or not enough? It's clear, from AT&T's earnings news this morning, that Apple iPhone projections were way ahead of reality. That "popping" noise could be Apple shares. I wrote earlier today that Apple's highly hyped iPhone performed nowhere near Wall Street expectations during its first 30 hours on sale: AT&T reports 146,000 activations during its first weekend on sale.
AT&T reports earnings Tuesday and while the company's NYSE trading symbol is "T," in this case, "t" stands for telegraph, as in telegraphing what to expect from Apple which reports on Wednesday. In AT&T's case, the Street is looking for 67 cents on $29.61 billion in revenue. Rather than looking at the company's entire financial picture, I want to focus on the wireless sector since I'm really more interested in what all this could mean for Apple a day later.
Tech earnings for the week are in the books and we now all get to look ahead to Apple Inc.'s earnings next Wednesday. But reading the tea leaves from some of the biggest names reporting this week may signal a pretty good uptick in tech. And despite NASDAQ's declines today, some positive trends are developing that may signal a nice opportunity for investors.
So, earlier today, I delved into the drama gripping the blogosphere: Fake Steve Jobs and the efforts to unmask him. Now we have a fake Wall Street analyst purporting to be one of the key voices covering the company.
Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.
Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.
Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.