5 Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week1:45 PM EST Fri. May. 03, 2013
The tragi-comedy surrounding BlackBerry continued this week when CEO Thorsten Heins, in an interview with Bloomberg, predicted his company will be the "absolute leader" of the mobile computing space in five years' time.
Even more surprising was Heins' assertion that tablets are pretty much going to fade away by then. "In five years I don’t think there'll be a reason to have a tablet anymore," Heins told Bloomberg. "Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model."
BlackBerry's PlayBook flopped in the marketplace, so Heins probably cringes every time he hears the word "tablet" mentioned in conversation. Still, comments like these open the door for further ridicule of a proud -- and at one time, dominant -- mobile vendor.
The good news for Microsoft is that it has managed to crack the top five in global tablet market share for the first time, shipping 900,000 Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets during the first quarter. The bad news is that these figures give Microsoft a paltry 1.8 percent share of the global tablet market. With third-party Windows 8 tablets factored in, Microsoft shipped 1.8 million units. OK, so it's still early days in the tablet market, right? Microsoft knew this would be a tough road, and it is reportedly working on a 7-inch Surface tablet to grab some of the action in this hot segment of the market. However, "the notion that this will be the saving grace is flawed," Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC's Mobility Tracker program, said in a statement. Ouch.
HTC, which a couple of years ago was riding high on the hog with booming Android smartphone sales, continues to have its lunch eaten by the likes of Apple and Samsung. HTC's first-quarter profit dropped 98 percent and revenue fell 37 percent, and the company said part of that was due to delayed shipments of its HTC One smartphone. HTC says its second quarter is looking better, but there is a lot of negative momentum here that will have to be dealt with first.
A federal judge ruled that Microsoft won't have to pay billions to Google's Motorola Mobility unit in the first of two patent lawsuits over Microsoft's use of Wi-Fi and other technology in its Xbox and Windows products. Google was seeking 2.25 percent of the net selling price of Microsoft Windows and Xbox products for Microsoft's use of its patented H.264 and 802.11 technology, which would've added up to around $4 billion a year. Instead, the court ordered Microsoft to pay Google about $1.8 million. Round one goes to Microsoft, it would seem.
Raise your hand if you were aware that LinkedIn shares were trading above $200 a share earlier this week -- that is, until its first-quarter earnings report. On the surface it looked good for the social networking site -- $52 million in net income, $325 million in revenue -- but LinkedIn's guidance caused investors to stampede for the exits. LinkedIn is expecting revenue for its current quarter of between $342 million and $347 million, but Wall Street analysts were expecting $359 million. Shares dove more than 12 percent in the wake of the announcement.