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Apple earnings report shocked analysts by topping the company’s formal revenue guidance for the holiday quarter by $9.3 billion and analysts’ revenue estimates by $7.2 billion.

The company reported $46.33 billion in revenue for its fiscal 2012 first quarter, and net profit of $13.06 billion or $13.87 per diluted share. By comparison, in the year-ago quarter Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) reported revenue of $26.74 billion and net quarterly profit of $6 billion, or $6.43 per diluted share. Apple said it also raised its gross margin for the quarter to 44.7 percent, up from 38.5 percent year-over-year. Additionally, international sales accounted for 58 percent of the company’s quarterly revenue.

Brian Marshall, IT hardware and data networking analyst with International Strategy & Investment Group (ISI), called it the “perfect quarter.”

“Before these results, AAPL had beaten its formal guidance by about $3.8 billion and about $1.85 [earnings per share] on average over the past four quarters,” Marshall said in a research note Tuesday.

“However, for the December 2011 quarter, AAPL beat its guidance by about $9.3 billion (or about 25 percent upside on guidance of about $37 billion) and its EPS guidance by about $4.60 (or 50 percent upside on guidance of about $9.30) due to its global pent-up demand for the iPhone 4S and the holiday season. Importantly, the upside surprise on units largely stemmed from the iPhone (about 5 million units of upside at about 37 million) and iPad (about 3.4 million units of upside at about 15.4 million). We estimate these two product families generated about 85 percent of AAPL’s total gross profits. For these reasons, the Dec-11 appears to have culminated into “the perfect quarter” for AAPL, in our view.”

Looking ahead, there seems to be little sign of Apple slowing its pace.

“We are very happy to have generated over $17.5 billion in cash flow from operations during the December quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer. “Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2012, which will span 13 weeks, we expect revenue of about $32.5 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $8.50.”

A number of analysts have suggested that those numbers are conservative, as is typical of Apple’s guidance. Many raised their price targets for Apple shares in response.

Marshall, who describes Apple’s revenue stream as a recurring one similar to that of a cable company—with iOS “subscribers”—raised his target to $525 from $500. But he wasn’t alone; UBS analyst Maynard Um set a target of $550, Charlie Wolf of Needham Research set a target of $540, Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty has a target of $515 but a “bull case” of $600.

“With minimal “real” competitive threats to AAPL’s major product families in CY12, we believe the outlook for the next four quarters can be characterized as “smooth sailing,” Marshall said. “If something were to go wrong with the story, it would most likely result from idiosyncratic mis-execution on the part of AAPL or a material change in support from the global carrier community. We believe both are unlikely given AAPL’s historical track record of execution and carrier contracts dictating subsidy levels. Therefore, we think the road for the “AAPL cart” is relatively smooth over the next few quarters (e.g., iPad 3 launch in March, iPhone 5 in Sept./Oct., etc.) barring any massive change in component costs.”

According to its latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company carries no debt and has $97.6 billion in cash on hand.

Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to chúng tôi the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals.

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The Looming Us$62 Billion Crypto Contagion

Like stock certificates sprinkled with pixie dust, inflated exchange tokens were at the core of FTX’s spectacular collapse. They are still in widespread use at major cryptocurrency exchanges around the world. Will they be crypto’s undoing?

In 2023, cryptocurrency exchange Binance created the first of a new kind of blockchain-minted digital asset: BNB coin, designed to reward customer behavior such as trading or referring friends to its own platform. “A model for building a scalable, and impactful cryptocurrency business,” heralded CoinDesk editor Pete Rizzo in 2023, after Binance moved the coin to its own proprietary blockchain. “Unbelievable brilliance.”

Today, the only unbelievable thing about the whole cloth of crypto inventions known as exchange tokens, like BNB, is that they have inflated to tens of billions of dollars in value and in large part have become the foundation upon which the fast-growing digital-assets markets rest.

The weakest link in former billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire was FTX’s own exchange token, which traded under the symbol FTT. According to Reuters, Bankman-Fried had lent his trading company, Alameda, billions of dollars in FTX customer funds, collateralized by these FTT tokens, which were essentially invented as a way to offer trading discounts and other perks.

“The way that FTT works,” said Bankman-Fried in an August 2023 interview with Forbes, “It is not that you get free FTT for doing things. The way to think about it is that you get free shit for having FTT. So, there’s a bunch of doo-hickeys.”

At the peak in 2023 FTT had a market value of US$9.6 billion, but unlike a common stock, which represents legal ownership in the assets of a corporation, FTT does not represent any equity ownership in the FTX company. If FTT had any intrinsic value, it was in the form of discounts that FTX customers using these tokens could get trading on the exchange–as much as 60% for active traders. You can think of these exchange tokens as being akin to loyalty or reward points you might get as a frequent customer of Starbucks or the UnitedMiles by flying on that airline. They have value, but it’s unlikely that a bank would allow you to use them as collateral if you wanted to purchase a home.

However, in the highly speculative and often bizarre world of digital assets, these loyalty tokens trade on numerous crypto exchanges just as stocks do on the New York Stock Exchange, and FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried reportedly used them as collateral for the loans his company made. Up until a week ago FTT traded at US$26 and had a market capitalization of $3.5 billion. But after Bankman-Fried’s rival Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s billionaire founder, went on Twitter to say he was planning to sell over $500 million of FTT, it sparked the crypto equivalent of a bank run. Today FTT sells for $2.70, and given FTX’s recent bankruptcy filing, it is likely headed to zero.

But the story of exchange tokens in cryptoland is far from over. Forbes counts more than 16 global crypto and DeFi (decentralized finance) exchanges currently using these tokens for a combined market value of no less than US$62 billion.

In fact, so-called exchange tokens are an important underpinning to the crypto exchange ecosystem because they are effective in creating customer loyalty–especially when token prices are rising. Virtually all such tokens offer holders exchange-specific perks such as trading fee discounts, preferential margin loan terms, enhanced rewards for staking (lending) and exchange-branded cashback Visa cards. Exchange tokens are also awarded to customers that refer new traders to a platform, in a system similar to multi-level marketing organizations like Amway. Exchange tokens function as the fuel for crypto’s self-fulfilling bubbles.

Binance–the largest crypto exchange in the world–has its own token, BNB, which by itself has a market capitalization of US$45.9 billion, though it does not represent any equity in Changpeng Zhao’s company nor has it been registered as a security with the U.S. SEC.

Anyone who opens an account on Binance and starts trading can buy or earn these BNB tokens, which offer 25% discounts on spot and margin transaction fees and 10% on futures. If you refer friends, you can get up to 40% commission every time they make a trade on Binance. Also, because Binance has created its own blockchain that mints BNB coins, you can use BNB to pay for goods and services, book airfare and hotels on sites like Travala for instance, participate in exclusive token sales and even earn free tokens by completing surveys and tasks. You can also put BNB to use by staking, earn a flexible percentage yield by depositing it on BNB Chain-based projects and apply for crypto loans. Notably, these digital assets are also essential for anyone who want to use Binance’s decentralized exchange (DEX), which theoretically can’t be shut down by U.S. regulators.

Unlike bitcoin, which is mined every ten minutes, all of the 350 million FTT tokens that would ever exist were created in what is known as a pre-mine. “There will never be any more minted,” said Bankman-Fried recently. In fact, over a period of about three months starting around June of 2023 almost all of FTT’s premined tokens were sold prior to getting listed on crypto exchanges. “Effectively, all of the FTT tokens were owned by a collection of people and entities,” said Bankman-Fried.

In terms of governance, exchange tokens, like loyalty reward programs, are completely under the control of the entity that issues or redeems them, even if they profess to stick to pre-arranged schedules for issuance or burning. DeFi tokens, by contrast, claim to offer holders the ability to propose and vote on platform changes. But in reality, many large DeFi platforms concentrate governance in the hands of big investors and founding teams. Additionally, just as FTT did not give holders stakes in FTX, purchasing a DeFi token does not necessarily convey ownership rights into the underlying platform.

Apple Is Safe With Tim Cook

Apple is Safe with Tim Cook

Wednesday afternoon Apple’s long-time CEO and founder Steve Jobs sent a letter out to the company’s Board of Directors and the greater Apple Community announcing his resignation as CEO of Apple. His letter requests and the board has agreed that now former Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook would become the new Apple CEO while Jobs himself would become Chairman of the Board, director, and, as he put it, “Apple employee.” As we find confidence in the fact that Jobs will continue to be a large member of the Apple family, we of course look to Tim Cook to fill the role that Jobs has defined for several decades. Is Tim Cook up to the task?

Tim Cook is a name you really should recognize. He’s already served as interim CEO for Apple several times, each of them while Jobs took health-related leaves. These periods of Cook as Apple CEO took place in 2004, in the first half of 2009, and since Jobs took a leave of absence this past January, a period where Cook has handled day-to-day CEO duties daily. Jobs’ letter of resignation referred to a succession plan that included Cook already laid out well before today came around. As a former VP for Corporate Materials at Compaq, Chief Operating Officer of the computer reseller division of Intelligent Electronics, and having spent 12 years as director of North American Fulfillment at IBM, Cook would have been a qualified candidate for a high position in the business even before you consider his exemplary service with Apple since 1998.

During his years with Apple he rose from senior vice president of operations to his current position of COO starting in 2005. His several accolades include reinventing Apple’s approach to inventory supply chains, managing perfectly timed releases of new products, and keeping in-demand products in stock, each of these puzzle pieces essential to the current success of Apple. In fact, his contributions to the success of Apple can literally be counted in dollars and cents during his 2009 stint as acting CEO as Apple’s stock rose 67 percent according to CNN’s profile of Cook.

As a 2009 profile of Tim Cook with Wired notes, Michael Janes, the first general manager of Apple’s online store gives one look at Cook as the guy who turns all the fabulous designs Apple is set to release into “a big pile of cash for the company.” The profile goes on to note:

In some ways, Cook and Jobs are poles apart. Cook is the yin to Jobs’ yang. A quiet, soft-spoken, low-key executive, he couldn’t be more different from Jobs’ sarcastic, fearsome, larger-than-life personality. But that’s exactly what makes him perfect for the job, say people who have worked with Cook.

On the other hand, a profile of Cook from Fortune calls him a much less feeling sort of fellow – and that’s a good thing:

Tim cook arrived at Apple in 1998 from Compaq Computer. He was a 16-year computer-industry veteran – he’d worked for IBM (IBM, Fortune 500) for 12 of those years – with a mandate to clean up the atrocious state of Apple’s manufacturing, distribution, and supply apparatus. One day back then, he convened a meeting with his team, and the discussion turned to a particular problem in Asia.

“This is really bad,” Cook told the group. “Someone should be in China driving this.” Thirty minutes into that meeting Cook looked at Sabih Khan, a key operations executive, and abruptly asked, without a trace of emotion, “Why are you still here?”

Khan, who remains one of Cook’s top lieutenants to this day, immediately stood up, drove to San Francisco International Airport, and, without a change of clothes, booked a flight to China with no return date, according to people familiar with the episode. The story is vintage Cook: demanding and unemotional.

As Lex Friedman notes in the Macworld profile of Cook, the known Apple share holder puts down on paper the thoughts many people in such a position had in early 2011 when the article was written and what we’re sure many people are feeling now:

Should Steve Jobs by choice or necessity ever need a full-time replacement at Apple, it will of course be the board’s decision to decide who should fill his black turtleneck. But with Tim Cook taking over now for the third time in seven years—and his consistent track record when called upon thus far—one might expect that Apple’s future is already in safe hands.

As I noted back in February, Apple’s legacy and future is safe, doubly so now that Jobs is confirmed to still be a part of the company and Cook is at the helm.

Also note that you can read the official press release on this event in the post Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple from earlier today.

Samsung Tops Android Sales Chart In Us Last Quarter

Samsung’s approach of pushing Galaxy S family smartphones out on every major US carrier seems to have worked out, with Gartner confirming that the company took the number one spot for US Android device sales in Q3 2010. According to their figures, Galaxy S handsets – like the Verizon Fascinate, AT&T Captivate and T-Mobile Vibrant – accounted for 32.1-percent of Android device sales that quarter, with total sales of the devices in the country recently exceeding three million units.

It’s a fair step up from Samsung’s previous performance with Android; the company had a mere 9.2-percent of the Android market in the US in Q4 2009. It’s likely that strong sales performance will continue, as the Google Nexus S – the Samsung-made next-gen Googlephone – is expected to debut imminently.

[via Android Community]

Press Release:


Independent research from leading industry analyst firm shows Samsung captured

top spot in U.S. Android smartphone market in third quarter of 2010

DALLAS, December 3, 2010 — Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile)1, the No. 1 mobile phone provider in the U.S., today announced that third party research firm Gartner® reported Samsung as the top Android smartphone provider in terms of sell through to end users in the United States for the third quarter of 20102. According to Gartner, Samsung Mobile captured 32.1 percent of the U.S. Android smartphone market in Q3 2010 based on retail sales, an increase from 9.2 percent of the Android smartphone market in Q4 2009.

Samsung Mobile attributes much of the success to its Galaxy S portfolio of premium smartphones, which recently passed the three million shipment milestone in the U.S. Galaxy S smartphones are currently available with AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, along with U.S. Cellular and Cellular South.

“I want to personally thank everyone who selected a Galaxy S smartphone as their mobile handset of choice. Neither of these wonderful accomplishments would have been possible without the loyalty and support of our customers,” said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile. “The Galaxy S portfolio has played a significant role in Samsung’s success in 2010 and we are extremely excited to show you what products, services and innovations we have in store for the U.S. market in 2011.”

The Samsung Galaxy S portfolio is packed with premium features and services, including a brilliant 4-inch Super AMOLED display screen, 1GHz Hummingbird Application Processor, Samsung’s Media Hub premium movie and TV programming download service and a full array of entertainment, messaging and social networking capabilities. The Galaxy S portfolio will be upgraded to the Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system in the near future.

1 Number one mobile phone provider in the U.S claim for Samsung Mobile based upon reported shipment data, according to Strategy Analytics, Q3 2010 U.S. Market Share Handset Shipments Reports.

2 Number one Android smartphone provider in the U.S. claim for Samsung Mobile based upon reported sales data according to Gartner Inc. Competitive Landscape: Mobile Devices, Worldwide, 3Q10 Report (published November 9, 2010 by authors Roberta Cozza, Carolina Milanesi, Anshul Gupta, Hugues J. De La Vergne, Annette Zimmermann, CK Lu, Atsuro Sato and Tuong Huy Nguyen)

With Ios 5, Apple Mostly Plays Catch

When it’s released this fall, iOS 5 will be a major update to Apple’s mobile operating system. But it won’t be very revolutionary. Rather than introduce innovations, Apple will mostly fill in iOS’s holes by borrowing features already found on other mobile operating systems, or correcting longtime annoyances.

A fall iOS 5 release syncs with the expectation that Apple will announce iPhone 5 in the fall (that’s somewhat late; typically, Apple unveils a new iPhone at WWDC). This fall will also be one year after Apple released a major OS update for the iPad.

iOS 5: The Big Changes

The one seismic change to the new version of iOS announced at today’s keynote: Finally, your iPhone or iPad won’t have to be connected to a computer in order to get started, or get OS updates. Currently, to activate an iOS device, the first thing you need to do is hook it up via a cable to a PC. Apple was ridiculed for that fact after the introduction of the iPad 2 because Steve Jobs had emphasized that the iPad was designed for a post-PC world. Now, with iOS 5, you’ll get a simple Welcome screen when you start up; and you can sync your data-including contacts, calendar, apps, and music-directly from iCloud, the Web-based data syncing service Apple also announced Monday.

Apple will deliver OS updates over the air. Does that sound like it’ll take forever? Apple will only send the parts of the OS that have changed, instead of reinstalling the full OS. You’ll also be able to originate some actions directly from an iOS device; for example, you’ll be able to create or delete calendars.

Over-the-air updates is a huge change, but it wasn’t first in Apple senior vice president Scott Forstall’s presentation. First up was a change Forstall said was heavily requested: Updating notifications. Indeed, the inefficient and disruptive notifications system has been a long-standing sore spot with many iOS users.

Apple noted that iOS has sent out some 100 billion notifications. The catch is, whenever you see notifications on the lock screen, they disappear as soon as you unlock your phone. If you’re already logged into your phone, the notification pops up on your screen, interrupting whatever you were doing at the time.

More Notable Improvements: Mail and Safari

Oh, and you can now search through the entire text of a message, whether it is on the server or on the device. For enterprise users, Apple added S/MIME support: if you have the certificate of your message’s recipient, you can send your message encrypted (indicated by a lock in the address field).

Tabs on Safari

The new version of mobile Safari will allow tabbed browsing, a feature already found in the native browser on Google’s Android 3.x Honeycomb (and available in third-party browsers running earlier versions of Android). The on-stage demos didn’t reveal many details, though, such as if there were any limits on the number of open tabs.

Game of Catch-Up

The addition of tabbed browsing and wireless syncing of contacts and calendar aren’t the only features that Apple’s playing catch-up on, as compared with its mobile competition.

Apple has, finally, introduced the ability to use the volume up button as a camera shutter button. Many Android and Windows Phone 7 phones have had physical shutter buttons for a while now. (Other additions to the camera: The inclusion of gridlines for framing images, built-in image enhancement software, and a shortcut to the camera app on the lock screen.)

GameCenter, launched nine months ago, has 50 million users now; Apple pointedly noted that Xbox Live has 30 million users, amassed over the past eight years. Without saying so directly, Apple squarely pitted its GameCenter platform for social gaming against Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Windows 8 integration. In iOS 5, GameCenter adds such features as achievement points, the ability to see friends of friends, friend discovery, game discovery through recommendations, and turn-based gaming.

While iMessage puts the squeeze on instant messaging apps, third-party Twitter developers saw iOS encroach on their turf, too.

In another sign that Twitter has become synonymous with daily mobile life, Apple has integrated Twitter directly into its operating system. With iOS 5, you won’t need to re-log in every time you want to tweet, and sending tweets-including Web links, photos, YouTube videos, businesses and locations from Maps, and contacts–becomes as simple as a menu tap option, as seamlessly as if Twitter were a native app.

Less Noteworthy

No matter the approach, Apple is behind in adding support for subscribing to periodicals and updating them in the background. Barnes & Noble and Amazon already offer this capability.

Hybrid Cloud Management A $3.6 Billion Business By 2023

Hybrid cloud deployments are attractive to many enterprises in that they offer the best of both public and private cloud approaches.

The move to hybrid is part of the evolution of cloud, according to IDC Research VP Mary Johnston Turner. It’s an evolution that will require a new generation of IT management technologies.

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“We see increasing interest in open standards based heterogeneous and hybrid cloud architectures,” Turner said during a Red Hat sponsored webcast this week. “A couple of years ago, we mostly saw tactical cloud initiatives, focused on enabling fast self-service deployments for relatively specific needs.”

The early focus with cloud involved rapid setup and teardown of cloud computing. In contrast, Turner noted that today increasing numbers of organizations are approaching cloud as a strategic evolution of their IT architecture and management strategy.

According to an IDC survey conducted this month, approximately half of the survey respondents indicated that they are planning on a private cloud strategy while the other half plan on rolling out a hybrid public and private cloud approach.

“It’s going to be a very diverse and complex environment out there for a number of years,” Turner said.

That diversity includes the use of different virtualization hypervisors as well as underlying operating systems. Turner noted that according to recent IDC research, over half of enterprises plan on introducing new hypervisors into their cloud environments.

She added that 47 percent of enterprise cloud customers have also told IDC that they expect to increase their open source and Linux spend over the next 12 months. Additionally, IDC research found that 72 percent of enterprises identified open source and open standards as being a key factor when it comes to evaluating cloud software options.

Cloud Management

When it comes to managing the cloud, Turner stressed that virtualization management technology alone is not enough.

“Successful cloud management has to be thought of as more than just virtualization management or a provisioning portal,” Turner said. “IT decision makers are finding that they need new management approaches that can really consistently monitor, optimize and provision across complex multi-tier environments.”

IDC research also indicates that 75 percent of enterprise IT buyers currently believe that the cloud will require them to buy new management software beyond what they already have in place. That need will propel the cloud systems management business to $3.6 billion in revenue by 2023, according to IDC

Turner suggests there are a number of steps for success when it comes to hybrid cloud deployments. She recommends that enterprises embrace an end-to-end services view of management and operations.

Enterprises also should consider a scaled approach to embracing the cloud.

“I think we’ll find organizations plan for a deployment that can start small, deliver a quick ROI, and scale up quickly as needed,” Turner said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at chúng tôi the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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