When Viacom's MTV unveiled its new "Urge," online digital music destination at the big Consumer Electronics Show last year, it had all the earmarks of a major initiative. Justin Timberlake joined Van Toffler on stage during Bill Gates' keynote to unveil the service which would ultimately be tied to the then-upcoming Zune media player from Microsoft.
The stories seem so bleak: The sub-prime mortgage mess threatening to torpedo the global economy and plunge this nation into recession. Yet here in Silicon Valley, something weird is going on. Sure, sales are plunging, but home prices are actually climbing! The experts call it the Silicon Valley Real Estate Paradox. The most recent figures from DataQuick show that sales dropped 11% in July; but the media price of a single family home climbed 7.4% to a record $805,000.
It's the kind of blowout quarter weary tech investors were hoping for. Just about everyone suspected that HP would beat estimates, thanks to ongoing momentum in the personal computer industry, as well as falling component prices, especially memory chips like DRAMs which have seen a 40% decline in some sectors.
Network Appliance posted first-quarter earnings of $34.3 million, or 9 cents per share, down from $54.7 million, or 14 cents per share in the year-ago period.
Ever hear of VMware? Probably not since the company works in high end "virtualization software" that makes a computer run better; the way STP or other fuel enhancers increase the performance of your car? VMware does that with software for your PC.
First things first: I'm disappointed. Fake Steve Jobs has been outed and I'm bummed about it. Some mysteries ought to just stay that way. Over the weekend, the New York Times' tech reporter Brad Stone outed Fake Steve as Forbes' Senior Editor Daniel Lyons. So now, as I read the blog, instead of hearing Steve Jobs' voice tell me the words, I hear someone else. Noise. A distraction. Something NOT Steve, but just another writer trying to be Steve. And that's a bummer.
Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software said Thursday it is delaying the release the latest installment of its top-selling "Grand Theft Auto" game until next year. The company cut its 2007 earnings outlook as a result of the delay, sending shares down sharply in after-hours trading.
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.
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.
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.
Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.
CNBC.com news associate
Michelle Castillo is a reporter for CNBC Digital, covering advertising and media.
Senior Tech Reporter
Harriet Taylor is a CNBC.com technology reporter based in San Francisco.
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.
Josh Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.