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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Samsung posts record net profit on smartphone sales

Samsung Electronics has reported record profits in the three months to September, led by strong sales of its Galaxy range of smartphones.

Net profit was 6.5tn won ($5.9bn; £3.7bn), a 91% jump from a year earlier.

Strong demand and improved profitability at its display panel unit also boosted earnings.

However, increased competition and its legal tussles with Apple have raised concerns over its future performance.

“There are concerns that Samsung’s earnings would peak this year,” said Lee Sun-Tae an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

‘Not sexy enough’

While Samsung has enjoyed tremendous success with its Galaxy range of smartphones, other manufacturers have been releasing new models, crowding the market space.

Last month, its biggest rival Apple launched the latest version of its iPhone.

Meanwhile, HTC and Nokia have also introduced new models powered by Windows 8, as the two firms look to regain some the market share they have lost in recent times.

Analysts said that increased competition means that firms may have to lower their prices to attract buyers as well as spend more on their marketing campaigns – which will dent their profit margins.

Samsung, which derives the bulk of its earnings from smartphone sales, is likely to feel the affect of any such moves.

“It’ll be difficult for Samsung to maintain such a high profit margin from handsets as the market gets crowded,” said Nam Dae-Jong, of Hana Daetoo Securities.  Read More

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Social media battle: Obama engages more voters despite aggressive Romney debate strategy

The pundits have declared Barack Obama to be the winner of last night’s third and final presidential debate of the 2012 general election.

The big loser?

It’s not Mitt Romney.

The loser in the bid for buzz was social media itself. Twitter and Facebook, the prime sources of instant commentary on the presidential campaign, rung up lower numbers than the record-breaking response to the first debate.

Call it debate fatigue or social media overkill.

Besides the spike in activity over Obama’s “fewer horses and bayonets” comment, Twitter came 4 million tweets short last night of breaking the record set by the first presidential debate.

Despite the social media slump, both campaigns were able to enlist new followers on various social media platforms.

And who was the winner?

Even though Republicans clearly approached social media with a specific strategy in mind, Obama’s team was once again able to engage more users throughout the night.

How it all played out:

 

Breakdown of mentions was provided by U.S. Politics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/uspolitics) and @gov on Twitter (www.twitter.com/@gov). (Jana Kasperkevic/Hearst Newspapers)

This might have been a foreign policy debate, but the conversation often strayed to other topics as well, including economy (20 percent), taxes (7 percent), and energy and environment (4 percent).  Read More

Brace yourself: Microsoft Surface ad barrage may start tonight

It sounds like it’s time for Microsoft to finally start sharing more information, beginning with TV ads and a new official Surface blog, about its coming tablets and PCs.

Microsoft is expected to begin airing the first of its TV ads for Microsoft Surface on October 15, possibly during Monday Night Football and “Dancing with the Stars.”

Windows Supersite Editor Paul Thurrott tweeted about the alleged timing of the ads, based on information from unnamed sources, on October 15. Thurrott also tweeted that he’s been told that Microsoft is spending $400 million on its Surface ad campaign — plus whatever it’s spending on its Windows 8 ad campaign. Microsoft kicked off its U.S. TV commercials for Windows 8 on October 14 in the U.S.

While Crispin Porter + Bogusky is the ad agency behind the Windows 8 ads, they are not believed to be the ones behind the Surface campaign. Microsoft used a Seattle-based duo to create the initial promotional short film about the Surface.

I asked Microsoft for comment and didn’t hear back. Update: I received a no comment from a spokesperson about anything and everything to do with any alleged Surface ads.

Whatever happens on the ad front, it looks as if a new official Surface blog is set to launch soon. The Microsoft Surface Twitter account posted its first tweet this past weekend.

Microsoft has yet to advertise its coming Surface PC/tablet devices other than via some display ads in various cities in the U.S. and elsewhere. Here’s a picture I snapped this weekend of the Surface ad in Times Square that is right above the Microsoft Times Square holiday pop-up store that is under construction:

moretimessqstore

The ARM-based Surface RT devices are due to go on sale starting on October 26, which is the same day that Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs and tablets from Microsoft OEMs also will go on sale at retail. The Intel-based Surface Pro device will go on sale approximately three months later, Microsoft execs have said.  Read More

Both Nintendo and Microsoft Drop Console Prices Ahead of Holiday Season

The holidays are undoubtedly one of the most aggressive times of the year for game retailers, with multiple consoles competing for a place in your living room. This year is perhaps going to be one of the most aggressive, especially with the Nintendo Wii U hitting the market in November and rumors surrounding Microsoft and Sony’s next consoles circulating. Along with the anticipated holiday bundles, both Nintendo and Microsoft have announced price cuts for their respective consoles. While the Wii andXbox 360 are pushing 6 and 7 years respectively, the price cuts are an effort to ship more units of the ageing hardware. Any sort of a price reduction is welcome, but you’ll still notice a huge contrast in prices between the two systems.

For Nintendo’s part, they are bundling together a black Wii system and two games, Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, which will be packaged on one disc. The price reduction is  $129.99 US, which is $20 less than most retailers are currently selling the system for. The value of this new bundle will depend on how much you enjoy the Wii Sports titles, as this will now be the default pack-in game for the console. The previous bundle retailed for $149.99 and included New Super Mario Bros Wii, which on its own still retails for $60.  In that respect, the price drop is not as grand as it might initially seem. Having said that, you would be hard pressed to argue that the Wii is still the more affordable system when compared to its competition.  Read More

5 Huge Myths About Social Security

Social Security has been providing Americans with old age, disability, and widow and orphan insurance for as many as 77 years. But like so many of today’s crucial financial topics, it’s also shrouded in myth. Here are five big ones.

Myth No. 1: Social Security is going bankrupt
The biggest misunderstanding out there relates to Social Security’s financial challenges. (A Google search for “Social Security bankruptcy” turned up 50 million hits.) But the fact is that Social Security isn’t going bankrupt, nor is bankruptcy really possible as the system is currently set up.

Here’s the source of the confusion: Historically, Social Security has collected more than it paid out. The extra money built up in a trust fund that collects interest. But due to demographic and economic changes (more on that in a minute), it’s expected that insurance payments will begin to exceed income in 2021. Around 2033, the fund will run out.   Read More

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