Samsung has clawed back its crown from Apple as the world’s biggest smartphone seller by volume, but it still has a long way to go to reclaim its golden years.
While still on top of the industry, the Korea-based tech giant posted yet another profit decline on Wednesday, its fourth-consecutive quarter of declines. The $4.3 billion it made in the first quarter of 2015 is 39% lower than the same period in 2014.
Samsung has been hit by what Neil Mawston, executive director of Strategy Analytics, called a “pincer movement.” Competition on the high end of the market from Apple and the low end from Chinese upstarts like Huawei have pinched Samsung’s business.
“It’s taken several quarters for Samsung to react to [the competition] and to create products to slow down that attack,” Mawston said. “Samsung probably has another year or two of work to say they’ve recovered.”
To do this, Samsung is banking on its new high-end products — notably the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge — to compete with Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6+ and help get the company back on track.
It was a year ago this week that Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook responded to a climate-change heckler at the company’s annual shareholder meeting with an impassioned rebuttal in which he famously told investors who care only about profits to “get out of the stock.”
Now Cook is putting his prodigious sums of money where his mouth is, proclaiming the “biggest, boldest and most ambitious project ever,” an $850 million agreement to buy solar power from First Solar, the biggest U.S. developer of solar farms. The deal will supply enough electricity to power all of Apple’s California stores, offices, headquarters and a data center, Cook said Tuesday at the Goldman Sachs technology conference in San Francisco.
It’s the biggest-ever solar procurement deal for a company that isn’t a utility, and it nearly triples Apple’s stake in solar, according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). “The investment amount is enormous,” said Michel Di Capua, head of North American research at BNEF. “This is a really big deal.”
Being a contender in the mobile payments space is becoming a coveted position by large and small businesses. A largely fragmented sector with several unexpected turns over the years, the digital wallet battlefield has recently been showing signs of maturation, which tells us that the market is starting to consolidate and that prominent players may soon emerge.
Since the inception of mobile payments, there has been a lack of a cohesive solution by key players in the space. For example, businesses and payment vendors are at odds with the banks over sharing transaction revenues. And now cellular providers are creating a proprietary solution to avoid dealing with Apple and Google. As we leap into 2015, mobile payments are expected to become mainstream within the next 12 months, and the market has already begun to straighten out.
Technology giant Apple is expected to raise at least $5bn by issuing bonds on Monday.
Some of the funds raised will be used for Apple’s share buyback programme. The California-based company plans to return more than $130bn to shareholders by the end of this year.
The move comes despite the company sitting on a cash pile of $178bn.
Apple will raise less than half the $12bn generated in April 2014 when it was last active in the US bond market.
A year earlier it raised $17bn.
Thinner, lighter and more powerful than last year’s model, the iPad Air 2 is a tablet that’s hard to beat. It’s the sleekest tablet on the market, and its 9.7-inch display is beautiful to behold. Plus, the addition of Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner gives it a big security boost. But as a work device, Apple’s flagship iPad still has some noteworthy shortcomings — especially with so many great Windows-powered slates to choose from. That bottom line is that the iPad Air 2 is a very good productivity device, but it’s far from perfect.
The introduction of Apple Pay last Monday was widely described as the dawn of a new era for smartphone payments. But within a week, two major pharmacy chains, Rite Aid RAD and CVS CVS, rejected Apple’s AAPL version of the future: Both disabled Apple Pay as well as other tap-to-pay mobile payments systems Google Wallet and Softcard. As expected, customers took to Twitter to complain, and they almost universally sided with the smartphone company over the drugstores.
CVS hasn’t publicly explained itself. Rite Aid spokeswoman Ashley Flower defended the company in an e-mail to Bloomberg Businessweek. “We are continually evaluating various forms of mobile payment technologies, and are committed to offering convenient, reliable, and secure payment methods that meet the needs of our customers,” she wrote.
Apple reported its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter results on Monday, and in a surprise to absolutely no one, iPad sales are down again.For the third consecutive quarter, iPad sales have declined year-over-year. On a call with analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook positioned the decline in sales as “a speed bump, not a huge issue.” Still, Cook conceded that this isn’t where Apple wants to be. “We want to grow. We don’t like negative numbers on these things.” That need for future growth is probably one of the reasons Apple realigned its iPad offerings last week.