Apple’s earnings are out, and the iPhone’s 17 percent growth was likely the most noteworthy number in its hardware results. That’s a big increase for a device that analysts expected to perform pretty much on par in terms of Q2 last year. One probable reason: growth in Greater China, where Apple saw 5 percent increase in revenue sequentially between Q1 and Q2, versus a pretty consistent 20 to 30 percent dip across the board in all other regions, which is the usual course for post-holiday results.
That the iPhone’s growth is probably tied to China comes down to one major factor, and a few smaller ones; Apple launched the iPhone with China Mobile during the quarter, adding a massive new potential subscriber base to its existing customer pool in the area. Analysts had reported that they saw “several million” pre-orders for iPhone on China Mobile ahead of launch, and Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster predicted sales of 3 million devices on the new network through March. On the earnings call today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company saw all-time record sales of iPhone in the BRIC countries, and that revenue of near $10 billion in Greater China also represents a new all-time record.
On the call, Cook also noted that in China, 62 percent of iPhone 4S buyers came from Android, as well as 60 percent of iPhone 5c buyers, indicating those lower cost options are doing what Apple needs them to do.
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Apple’s Stock Surges In After-Hours Trading Following Earnings Beat, Promise To Return More Cash To Investors
The market likes what Apple reported today, sending its share up more than 7% in after-hours trading. The company reported an earnings beat today, with $45.6 billion in revenue, $10.2 billion in net profit, or $11.62 in earnings per share. Analysts had expected Apple to report $10.18 in profit per share, and revenue of under $44 billion.
The company also reported that it will execute a stock split, increase its dividend by 8%, and also increase its share buyback program by $30 billion, to a total of $90 billion.
Slowing revenue growth has some worried about the company’s momentum, and its year-over-year sales decline in iPads isn’t sunny, but investors are enthused about the company’s larger position. Up go the shares.
Roughly calculating, the firm’s $38.91 dollar price spike in its value is worth around $34 billion dollars.
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Earlier today I spoke to Reddit General Manager Erik Martin about the process of demoting subreddits as a form of punishment for mismanagement. Side note: I know Martin from back in the day when Reddit had only one developer. It now has 12.
Martin tells me that the consensus decision to demote the subreddit happened after the volunteer moderators used the AutoModerator program to filter out the huge volume of submissions by keyword, leading to an effective suppression of certain topics like Tesla, bitcoin and startup. He called the strategy “hamfisted.”
Martin told me that before it was demoted, the /r/Technology subreddit brought in 15 million pageviews a month, 4 million uniques a month. To most of us, these numbers are impressive, but in the context of Reddit traffic, r/Technology was not a top subreddit. Reddit as a whole sees 114 million uniques a month and 5.4 billion pageviews a month, with 500 subreddits created each day. It sees one million comments and 22 million votes per day on average. Sixty percent of its traffic comes from outside the US.
As odd as it might sound, this isn’t the first time a subreddit has been booted from the Reddit homepage. The company removed /r/Politics last summer after similar moderation issues, such as the banning of specific domains like the Huffington Post’s. The traffic on the /r/Politics subreddit fell by half after it was demoted.
(Note: The subreddit /r/WTF chose to remove itself after it had issues with the limit on the number of moderators. And subreddits have been removed completely for other reasons that weren’t as mundane as moderation, like what happened with /r/Jailbait.)
While they comprise some of the most contentious topics online, Martin tells me that /r/Politics and /r/technology weren’t even in the top three top subreddits in terms of popularity when they were pulled. For comparison the League of Legends subreddit got 200 million pageviews last month. Perhaps we should start LeagueofLegendsCrunch?
Martin said that subreddit controversy is nothing new, and that there is a possibility that another tech related subreddit like /Tech might eventually overwhelm /r/Technology in appeal, similar to how /r/Trees grew larger than /r/Marijuana and how /R/ainbow grew larger than /LGBT after their respective moderation controversies.
He said that the one thing that hasn’t yet been conveyed thus far in the press coverage of /r/Technology incident is the difficulty of moderating a subreddit. “You can ask 20 people what should belong in there and get 10 different answers,” he said.
Martin also said that Reddit’s team of 40 was working on better tools to help the moderators manage their formidable task, and better options than filtering things by keyword. Hundreds if not thousands of links are submitted to a given subreddit daily.
Martin revealed that the Reddit’s return to the homepage was “certainly possible.” When I mentioned to him that it was a shame that there’s current a tech shaped hole on Reddit.com, he replied, “We share that view.”
Center image via SocialNewsDaily
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Earlier today reports struck that the FCC was considering new net neutrality rules that would allow content purveyors to pay ISPs for preferential access to their networks. This would have made it possible for content companies to speed the delivery of their material across the Internet. The FCC, nearly a full working day after the story broke, has responded in the negative:
“There are reports that the FCC is gutting the Open Internet rule. They are flat out wrong. Tomorrow we will circulate to the Commission a new Open Internet proposal that will restore the concepts of net neutrality consistent with the court’s ruling in January. There is no ‘turnaround in policy.’ The same rules will apply to all Internet content. As with the original Open Internet rules, and consistent with the court’s decision, behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted.”
Two cheers for the FCC: It won’t make the Internet worse, at least in this fashion.
Why all the kerfuffle? Simply put, a tiered Internet is slanted towards incumbents at the expense of newcomers. This stifles innovation and harms the consumer, at the anti-cost to extant powers in the form of all-but-unearned financial renumeration.
So if the FCC had in fact created rules that would have allowed for companies to pay to accelerate their content’s delivery, it would have fucked the Internet. Said fucking will not take place.
We still have a very long way to getting net neutrality back to where it was, and perhaps even bolstering it past where it sat before it was knocked from its perch. But it appears we do have one less battle ahead of us. I’ll take it.
More tomorrow when the FCC let’s us in on its thinking.
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Apple’s new retail chief Angela Ahrendts is going to start officially at the company officially beginning next week, CEO Tim Cook revealed on the company’s earnings call today. Ahrendts comes from Burberry, and her move to Apple was announced in October of last year, but she hadn’t yet begun in her new role yet.
A report from last year suggested that Ahrendts might be delaying her start at Apple until halfway through this year, with the main factor cited being a bonus she would receive at Burberry mid-year. Cook’s statement disproves this earlier report.
Ahrendts will occupy an SVP role at Apple, and is the first retail head since Apple dropped former Dixons CEO John Browett in 2012. Her experience in fashion could signal a move from Apple to appeal more to that market, but already, Apple’s retail is more comparable to high fashion brands in terms of revenue generated per square foot of retail space, than to other consumer electronic retailer brands.
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In June of last year, Apple announced that over 575 million accounts had been created for iTunes
Just 10 months later, they’ve grown that number by nearly forty percent.
On the Apple earnings call today, Tim Cook announced that they were just about to surpass their 800 millionth iTunes account.
If my quick calculations are correct, that’s a growth rate of something like 710,000 accounts per day. Continuing at this rate, iTunes could easily find its billionth user in less than a year.
The crazy part? The vast majority of those accounts have credit cards attached to them. That’s nearly 800 million accounts with one-click purchase access on things like the App Store.
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