Happy Friday! It’s time to look forward to the weekend, enjoy Louis Basenese’s breakdown of the market through charts and get your weekly does of tech news.
Remember to cast your vote in the survey at the end, though. As this lets us know which story has you most tuned in. That way we can get to know what makes you tick, and if one story gets an unusually high amount of votes, I’ll expand it into a full article next week.
Let’s get right to it.
Tech Trend #1: Research in Motion, Clueless as Ever
Beleaguered Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) continues its attempt to make a comeback.
Back in January, co-CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stepped down, handing the reigns to then-COO Thorsten Heins. Since then, the company’s been wooing developers to begin designing applications that work on its upcoming BB10 operating system.
Last month, the company announced that it was partnering with JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM) and RBC (NYSE: RY) to help review RIM’s business and financial performance. It’s also trying to cut costs by downsizing staff.
Good plan… Except now the company has paid out nearly $12 million combined to its ex-CEOs. Seriously.
As Business Insider says, “SEC filings show that Balsillie received a payout of $7.93 million for this current fiscal year, including a nice severance package worth nearly $5 million. Meanwhile, Lazaridis, who remains on RIM’s board, received a payout of $3.96 million.”
Huh? Am I missing something, or did the co-CEOs lead the company to ruin? Yeah, yeah, I know… They also helped BlackBerry rise to stardom. But does that mean they deserve fat bonus checks for what they’ve done (or haven’t done, rather) for the company lately?
As AllThingsDigital’s John Paczkowski says, “Just as Lazaridis and Balsillie built RIM into a global smartphone juggernaut, so too did they drag it into the mud with a series of tragic strategic missteps that began with their failure to recognize Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android as threats when they first emerged back in 2007.”
Nice knowing you, RIM.
Tech Trend #2: Don’t Be Fooled By This Recent Tablet Data [Updated]
In May, I warned Wall Street Daily readers to ignore the hype surrounding the huge 90% run-up in Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) shares. At the time, Barnes & Noble was spinning off its digital book and college textbook segments, and partnering with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT).
Shares have since dropped 20% by yesterday’s close.
Now, a new study by data analytics firm, Chitika, is once again bringing Barnes & Noble into the spotlight. This time, the study claims the company’s Nook e-reader has passed Amazon’s (Nasdaq: AMZN) Kindle Fire tablet in terms of web traffic: “Barnes & Nobles’ e-reader with tablet capabilities now accounts for 0.85% of all tablet web traffic versus Kindle Fire’s 0.71%.”
Color me unimpressed.
From what I’m seeing, it seems that the analysts only considered Kindle Fire sales (ignoring simple e-readers). At the same time, it looks like they took all Nook traffic into consideration, not just its tablets, which would have been a more solid comparison to the Fire alone.
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As the study states (emphasis added),“In the time since [the previous] study, Barnes & Noble has launched a new advertising campaign, and their newest device sold out within weeks. While that device is a simple e-reader without web browsing capabilities, the increase in Nook use may be attributed to brand familiarity through these advertisements.”
Now, Chitika has informed us that “We ONLY looked at web traffic coming from Nook tablets and compared it to web traffic from Kindle Fire, a fair comparison.”
Indeed, that would certainly make for a more solid comparison. Because if simple Nook e-readers were used, I’d hope they’d include all Kindle devices, as well, not just the Fire. That would likely alter Chitika’s data considerably, considering Nook can only claim 27% of the simple e-reader market, while the Kindle’s maintaining a solid lead with 60%, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Tech Trend #3: Facebook Growth is on a Slippery Slope
After a rough month following its IPO, more bad news surfaced for Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) this week. New research from comScore shows that the social network’s growth rate is on a downward slope.
More specifically, in the United States, unique visitors to the site in April increased by only 5% over last year. The Wall Street Journal says that it “was Facebook’s lowest U.S. user growth rate since comScore began tracking the data in 2008 and was down from 24% growth in April 2011 and 89% in April 2010.”
Making matters worse, users are spending less time on Facebook now, too. Users spent an average of more than six hours on the site in April. That’s up from 16% last year. But when you compare it to increases in time spent on the site of 23% and 57% in 2011 and 2010, respectively, the outlook isn’t as rosy.
Hate to say we told you so… But Facebook’s inability to sustain its current growth rate was one of the main reasons Louis Basenese advised readers to short the company’s IPO all the way back in July of last year.
So, yes, we told you so.
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That’s all for today. Have a great weekend!