Friday Briefing: Microsoft Earnings Beat Estimates and BP’s Writing Checks
So many technology stories, so little time.
With the weekend fast approaching, I thought I’d whip together a brief sampling of a few technology stories I’m following closely right now.
Let’s get right to it…
~ Microsoft Beats Earnings Despite Tablet Domination: Thanks in large part to the popularity of Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad, PC sales continue to slow with shipments growing only 1.9% this quarter, according to Gartner. Such tepid growth had analysts believing that Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows PC sales would take a dip this quarter. But its computer sales were actually up 4%, proving that the PC – and the Windows operating system in general – still has legs.
The company beat estimates on earnings and revenue, too. Earnings per share clocked in at $0.60, compared to the estimated $0.58. And revenue of $17.4 billion topped the projected $17.2 billion. As a result, shares are up over 5% so far today.
However, if the company fails to perform in the mobile space in the upcoming quarter, I don’t expect next quarter to be quite as rosy. (It didn’t release specific sales numbers for its new Lumia 900 phone developed by Nokia (NYSE: NOK).)
~ Mobile Payments on the Rise: Speaking of earnings, eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) also reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue this week. During the earnings call, CEO, John Donahoe, said that its mobile payment solution for small business, PayPal Here, is already gaining traction. Over 200,000 merchants are on board after just over a month.
PayPal Here consists of an iPhone attachment that allows customers to purchase goods by swiping a credit card. The attachment is free, but merchants are charged a flat 2.7% fee for each credit card transaction. The company expects the service to officially launch during the second quarter, so we might be able to see PayPal Here’s initial impact on eBay’s sales in the next earnings report.
~ Raspberry Pi Out for Delivery: Remember that $35, credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computer I wrote about last month? Well shipments for the device – which sold out within minutes after launching – have finally begun. Recall, the device allows schools to beef up their computer labs without breaking the bank. And as I said before, with its ability to play high-definition video, “consumers could end up purchasing it simply as a low cost alternative to video streaming devices that are currently invading living rooms.” Given its price, advantages and proven demand, I expect the company to rake in impressive sales in the coming months.
~ BP’s Catching Heat: On Wednesday, BP (NYSE: BP) agreed to pay $7.8 billion to pay for injuries, property damage and economic hardship caused by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And today, MarketWatch said that “an audit by the U.S. Department of Justice found the oil major owes an additional $64 million in payments.”
But you can bet that the bill is only going to get bigger, thanks to a new report from Al Jazeera that came out yesterday, showing the devastating effects of the oil spill. The oil, combined with two million gallons of chemicals used for the cleanup, left some marine life “horribly mutated.” Including fish without eyes or with deformed gills, crabs with missing claws or holes through their shells, and shrimp with tumors on their heads.
BP’s response? “Seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is among the most tested in the world… According to the FDA and NOAA, it is as safe now as it was before the accident.” Okay. But that doesn’t mean people are going to want to eat tumor-ridden shrimp. Any takers?
That’s all for today’s round up. Have a great weekend!
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