We have been talking about this since September of last year. Popular etailer Amazon has finally confirmed these long-standing rumors with an announcement today that they are acquiring the remaining stakes in popular European online movie streaming, LoveFilm. The deal is expected to get all the required regulatory clearings by the end of this quarter.
LoveFilm has a good presence in both movie streaming as well movie rental market in UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The company had also recently announced their foray into alternate movie streaming channels like PlayStation 3 and Blu-ray players. The acquisition will give Amazon a terrific boost in its aspirations to improve its presence in the lucrative European market.
The value of the deal has not been announced although it was learned to be in the range of £200 million last time. Amazon stocks in Frankfurt (Frankfurt: AMZ.F) have fallen 0.12% in the opening hours of trade.
Groupon, the daily deals website has been the subject several acquisition related rumors in the past. Earlier this year, we had word that Yahoo was in talks with the company over a possible acquisition. That apparently fell through. Now there is word that Google could be wooing the company in a bid to reaffirm its position in the local commerce market. According to reports, Groupon has a reported revenue of close to $50 million a month and that Google could be making an offer that is notably higher than the $2-$3 billion that was offered by Yahoo.
Though the revenues are pretty attractive, the Groupon management has apparently been actively talking to the potential buyer themselves. The reason, it is believed, is possibly because of possible uncertainties of the business model in the long run.
Anyway, let us wait and watch to see how these rumored talks pan out.
Yes you can. But only if you live in Canada. Much to the envy of Apple customers around the world, Canadian carrier Rogers has announced a new data sharing option that will allow iPhone 4 customers to share their data plan with their iPad. Accordingly, if you are on the 6GB data plan, you can now share your plan between your iPhone 4 and iPad by paying an additional monthly fee of $20. However, a big caveat here – This data sharing option is presently on a limited period trial and will end on September 30. The $20 fee will exclude the government’s regulatory recovery fee.
If this sounds awesome, check out the other deal from Bell Canada. The Rogers rival carrier has announced a largely similar offer, except that the iPad data sharing option is available at only $10 a month.
Technically, this is not too different from what AT&T offers with its tethering functionality. American iUsers may note that Ma Bell offers tethering at an additional cost of $20 per month to their Data Pro subscirbers. However, this tethering functionality is not compatible with the iPad.
Nevertheless, this is a good start and hope more carriers start offering such data sharing services (at little to no monthly fee of course)
Vodafone Group Plc. (NASDAQ:VOD | LON:VOD) may be planning on selling off its minority 4.39% stake in Bharti Airtel – the India based telecom service provider who recently became the fifth largest network carrier in the world in terms of subscribers after its acquisition of Zain’s Africa operations. The value of its stake is worth to be over Rs.5,200 crore ($1.1 million).
This is not a Airtel-specific strategy. The UK based company, it is learned, has been weaning itself away from all the minority stakes that the company has been holding in several entities across the world. You may remember statements from Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao during the Q1 announcements when he said, “We are not here to manage minorities,”.
The company early held close to 10% stake in Bharti Airtel which was diluted to less than 5% after former Vodafone CEO, Arun Sarin purchased the 67% stake held by Hutchison in India’s rival network operated by the Hutchison-Essar group.
Verizon Communications has announced its second quarter results and among the most anticipated details in the report is the performance of Verizon Wireless – the joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone.
The results have been positive. Revenues for Verizon Wireless increased by 3.4% YoY and now stands at $16 billion. The operating margin corresponding to these revenues is 30.3% which is a growth of 2.5% from the earlier quarter. Verizon has announced an addition of 1.4 million net customers – 665,000 post-paid – in this quarter which takes the total number of subscribers with the carrier to 92.1 million.
There are speculations about the iPhone reaching Verizon in a couple of quarters from now. I wonder if the changed market dynamics could make a significant impact on the company’s subscriber growth. The Verizon stocks (NYSE:VZ) has risen by 2.96% in intra-day trading up till now.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced its quarterly earnings yesterday. The company has had an overall growth in the quarter ending June. Revenues rose 41% year-over-year to reach $6.6 billion. Profits were up too – by 45% – to reach $207 million.
Despite the growth, the markets have shown a disappointment as the results were below expectations. The market closed at 120.07 yesterday and prior to the opening hours, the stock is already down by close to 11% to trade at 106.89. Analysts had earlier estimated the quarterly revenues to reach $7.16 billion.
However, the results have shown some interesting trends moving forward. Amazon announced that their platform has now been selling more Kindle books than paperbacks. Apparently, over 180 Kindle books are being sold for every 100 hardbacks. This number is expected to be much higher if free Kindle books are also to be counted, though that wouldn’t matter since they do not technically contribute to the company’s earnings.
Following the two day strike instituted by the Nokia India Employees Progressive Union (NIEPU) earlier this month, the management has agreed to revise the wages of its employees at its plant in Sriperambudur near Chennai.
According to the announcement, the revised wages will increase employee compensation by between Rs.6100 ($129) and Rs.10,000 ($211) based on seniority. The Sriperambudur plant produces between 500,000 to 800,000 handsets every day and stalling of work due to strikes could cost the company as much as $76 million per day. As part of the deal worked out between the management and workers, 48 employees who were earlier suspended have also been reinstated. The deal is expected to benefit 3826 employees in the company’s Sriperambudur plant.
Incidentally, Nokia stocks in NYSE (NYSE:NOK) have taken a tumble in the past day dropping by as much as 2.11%. The stocks have recovered in the pre-market though and is presently valued at 9.11.
Love him or hate him, you just have to give in to the fact that Apple is 99% Steve Jobs and 1% Engineers, marketers and PR put together. The success of Apple as a company, and iPhone/iPad/iPod as products is simply so heavily reliant on the trust that people have on Jobs. He is God, say some and others (me included) believe in the reality distortion field that seemingly surrounds Jobs.
While that has helped Apple as a company in successfully taking on the various market leaders, it has once again come to the forefront this week when Apple’s brand value was at stake. So how did Steve Jobs use the reality distortion effect to keep the Apple brand spotless? Here is a recap of the various things Jobs said over the past one month.
Late June – when the issue was reported first
“Gripping almost any mobile phone in certain places will reduce its reception. This is true of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and many other phones we have tested. It is a fact of life in the wireless world”
Apple Internal Memo- In response to demand for Free bumpers
“We ARE NOT appeasing customers with free bumpers – DON’T promise a free bumper to customers…[And] ONLY escalate if the issue exists when the phone is not held AND you cannot resolve it…Do not perform warranty service.”
Steve Jobs’ success comes from his ability to get the audience swaying to his tunes during presentations – a trait I honestly admire. And that has now helped the company once again in tackling the crisis.
So this is how it rolled out on Friday morning
Step 1 : Speak about the success of your product
Step 2 : Trivialize the issue so much that you start wondering if the issue was actually blown up so much disproportionately
Step 3 : Tell how much you love your customers. How revenues and balance sheets are nothing compared to the love they show you. And how you would throw away anything free just to get them happy. At this point, customers actually start wondering if Apple is doing them a favor by offering a free case to each of these 3 million users even though just 0.5% of the population is affected. This company must be a charity when it comes to customer-love!
So there you go. Imagine how Microsoft would have tackled the same issue.
Step 1 : Agree there is a problem
Step 2 : Offer a free bumper fix as solution
See there, it is not too different, but people would actually come back complaining about how they wouldn’t want a life support case to keep their device running and how Microsoft makes shitty products with an equally awful customer service (who wants a pink bumper on top of a phone that cannot make calls!)
Like I told you earlier – Apple is 99% Steve Jobs and 1% everybody else.
Have you worked with Infosys before? India’s largest software exporter by sales may be interested in hiring you back. The Bangalore based company has instituted a program called “Green Channel” that is aimed at getting former employees back into the fold. The new program is to reduce the time and resources spent in hiring and training new employees.
According to reports on the WSJ, the post-recession period is seeing an increased level of technology spending by global firms that has put a huge strain on the talent demand among ITES firms. Consequently, firms such as Infosys are learned to be looking at newer ways to maintain a regular pool of talent.
Other rival firms including Tata Consultancy Services and MphasiS too have instituted similar homecoming programs to win talent back.
India has not enjoyed high internet penetration levels – though in absolute terms, the country is still among those nations with the highest number of internet users. However, as the penetration levels pick up, small and medium businesses are slowly coming to terms with using the internet platform to market their wares.
Most enterprises have however not given this business opportunity a second thought. The reason, it is learned, has been the lack of awareness with respect to project execution.
India is one of the primary focus areas for Google and the company has taken it upon itself to grow this awareness. The search giant incorporaated the SMB Business Consulting close to one and a half years back to reach out to small businesses. Only 2 million of the over 40 million businesses in India have some sort of presence online.
In a recent report on the DNA, Google is learned to have made terrific strides forward in their venture.
“We are seeing the demand increasing. And we are well placed to ramp up the capacity from handling 1,000 calls to 5,000 calls per day. That will take about 2-3 months.”
The company has outsourced all of its SME consulting call center operations to a firm in Delhi. Google is now learned to be setting up one another call center in South India to cater to the vernacular languages of the south. The firm aims at providing support in 10 languages in the next 18 months.
Google’s SME consulting is mutually beneficial as India matures its online market. It will be interesting to see how much growth we can see in the next two to four years.