Google EU Antitrust proposal: rivals asked for input

Google’s long battle with European antitrust regulators may be winding down but it won’t be over until the company’s rivals have their say. The Wall Street Journal reports that EU antitrust regulators are giving Google’s competitors four weeks to weigh in on its proposed antitrust settlement that would force Google to clearly label its own services in web results and to retrieve links to rival services on its search page.

The Journal says that Google’s latest proposal involves “displaying three sets of results from rival search engines in a box under its own shopping results,” which seems like a fairly significant concession on the company’s part. An industry group partially funded by Microsoft has already said that the proposed settlement doesn’t go far enough, however, and argues that “Google still doesn’t appear to have offered anything that will prevent it from systematically preferencing its own services and manipulating results.”


Lumia 2520 easily outclasses Microsoft Surface 2: Says Qualcomm

Qualcomm has taken sides in the battle of Windows RT tablets. CNET reports that Qualcomm product management senior vice president Raj Talluri thinks that Nokia’s recently unveiled Lumia 2520 easily outclasses Microsoft’s own Surface 2 in terms of GPU performance, wireless connectivity and other metrics. In fact, Talluri thinks that the “brilliant” Lumia 2520 performs so well that “it’s not really even a contest” between the two tablets because “in every area, it’s much bigger, faster, and lower power.” Talluri’s remarks shouldn’t come as a surprise, of course, since Qualcomm supplies the chips for the Lumia 2520 while the Surface 2 relies on the Nvidia Tegra 4 chipset. Even so, the Lumia 2520′s specs are very impressive and it’s nice to see that people interested in Windows RT tablets will have at least one other choice besides the Surface.

Lumia 929 Specs revealed in leaked video

Nokia has announced six new devices since it jointly announced a deal to sell its handset and services divisions to Microsoft, and now a leaked video introduces us to the seventh. The upcoming Lumia 929 will be Verizon Wireless’ followup to the Lumia 928 and it looks like one of Nokia’s sleekest smartphones to date. The phone features a 5-inch full HD 1080p AMOLED display, a 20-megapixel PureView camera and a very thick case that looks to be about the same width as the 928. According to The Verge, the phone’s case is all aluminum and it will launch in both black and silver. No release timing or pricing were provided. The full leaked video originally published by YouTube user SDPhones follows below.

iPad sales are least compared to other Apple Products

Apple beat expectations on earnings, revenue, iPhone sales and Mac sales in its fiscal Q4 earnings report on Monday. But the tablet unit remains a thorn on its side, missing modest expectations of 14.5 million units by a hair and coming in at 14.1 million units. This is only a minor blemish on an otherwise stellar quarter. But the sluggish tablet sales did weigh on the share price a bit in after-hours trading, where Apple’s stock immediately dropped by 2%.

It is quite likely that fear of weaker tablet margins is the main reason why Apple is so cautious in its guidance for the upcoming Christmas quarter. Apple is expecting its gross margin will fall to 36.5% to 37.5% for the ongoing quarter and Wall Street would have liked to see that bracket just a tad higher.

This gross margin guidance leaves room for a slight margin dip during the Christmas quarter despite the success of the new iPhone line. But of course, Apple may well be just setting up a soft target to beat.

Nevertheless, the iPad unit is still boxed into a corner strategically — volume growth is tough to revive with a product range priced entirely above $400, but cutting prices would create the risk of bringing overall gross margins to 35% or below.

Apple reports $37.5b revenue for Q4 2013: 33.8m iPhones, 14.1m iPads, 4.6m Macs

Apple’s earnings are always the most highly anticipated results of the season among technology companies, and this year’s September quarter is no different. The tail end of Apple’s fiscal fourth quarter caught the launch of the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c handsets and while they were only available for a total of eleven days in fiscal Q4, Wall Street is still expecting Apple’s results to get a nice boost from initial sales of the company’s new iPhones. Apple announced that it sold a record-smashing 9 million new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c handsets through the devices’ first weekend of availability alone, and analysts have been raising their fourth-quarter estimates ever since.

Heading into Apple’s report on Monday evening, consensus estimates were looking for Apple to post earnings of $7.93 per share on $36.8 billion in revenue, right near the top of Apple’s Q4 revenue guidance of between $34 billion and $37 billion. The numbers are now in and Apple crushed estimates, having managed a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $8.26 per share on $37.5 billion in sales.

Apple’s September-quarter results certainly fall in line with the trend we’ve been seeing recently as the breakneck growth Apple has enjoyed in recent years continues to slow. In the year-ago quarter, Apple posted an $8.2 billion profit on revenue totaling $36 billion. Apple’s record profit in that quarter represented 24% year-over-year growth, and revenue was up 27% between the fiscal fourth quarters in 2012 and 2011.

The star of the show is always Apple’s iPhone lineup, of course, and analysts were expecting the company to sell 31 million units in the September quarter — though some estimates reached as high as 36 million units. Apple reported on Monday that actual FQ4 2013 iPhone sales totaled 33.8 million handsets, beating estimates.

Outside of the iPhone, analysts didn’t have tremendous expectations for Apple’s product lineup, particularly since most device lines had gone unrefreshed for so long. Consensus estimates were looking for Apple to move 14.5 million iPads in the September quarter and actual iPad sales came in at 14.1 million units. Apple sold 14 million iPads in the same quarter last year.

Apple said that Mac unit sales slid to 4.6 million units, down from 4.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

Wall Street was also looking for Apple’s gross margin to slide on-year from 40% in the fiscal fourth quarter last year to 37% in FQ4 2013 as cheaper iPhone models and Apple’s iPad mini continue to impact the company’s margins. Apple on Tuesday reported that its FQ4 2013 gross margin was in line at 37%.

Where Apple’s current quarter is concerned, analyst were looking for massive holiday-quarter revenue guidance with the consensus at $55.5 billion, and Apple said that it expects sales in fiscal Q1 2014 to total between $55 billion and $58 billion.

Apple’s full press release follows below.

CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2013 fourth quarter ended September 28, 2013. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $37.5 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.5 billion, or $8.26 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $36 billion and net profit of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 37 percent compared to 40 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“We’re pleased to report a strong finish to an amazing year with record fourth quarter revenue, including sales of almost 34 million iPhones”

The Company sold 33.8 million iPhones, a record for the September quarter, compared to 26.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple also sold 14.1 million iPads during the quarter, compared to 14 million in the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.6 million Macs, compared to 4.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

Apple’s Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend of $3.05 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on November 14, 2013, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on November 11, 2013.

“We’re pleased to report a strong finish to an amazing year with record fourth quarter revenue, including sales of almost 34 million iPhones,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re excited to go into the holidays with our new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, iOS 7, the new iPad mini with Retina Display and the incredibly thin and light iPad Air, new MacBook Pros, the radical new Mac Pro, OS X Mavericks and the next generation iWork and iLife apps for OS X and iOS.”

“We generated $9.9 billion in cash flow from operations and returned an additional $7.8 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the September quarter, bringing cumulative payments under our capital return program to $36 billion,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO.

Microsoft shows off best features of Xbox One in new ad [Video]

We hope you like the new look of Windows 8, gamers, because that’s what you’re in store for if you opt for Microsoft’s upcoming new Xbox One video game console over the PlayStation 4 this holiday season. In its new “Meet Xbox One” video, Microsoft has shown off a number of key Xbox One gameplay and navigation features for the first time. We now finally get an official look at exactly what navigating the Xbox One’s tile-based dashboard screen will be like, and the video also shows off gameplay, apps, browsing, Kinect features and more. The experience as a whole looks very smooth and incredibly immersive, and we even see how quickly and seamlessly users can bounce around between games, apps, activity feeds and more. Microsoft’s new Xbox One demo video is embedded below.

Here’s first ad for an Smartphone with curved Display [Video]

Samsung thinks that the Galaxy Round is a lemon. In a new ad showcasing its first-ever curved smartphone, Samsung compares the Galaxy Round’s shape to several other similarly curved objects, including an egg, a whiskey flask and, yes, a lemon. The ad doesn’t really show us why anyone should bother buying the Galaxy Round other than because it has a curved display and it actually gives us a reason not to buy the device: Namely, that the curved display means that the smartphone can never rest stably on its back when placed on a flat surface. The full video of Samsung’s ad follows below.