Friday, April 20, 2012
Gavin O'Malley, April 20, 2012, 11:53 AM
Microsoft Hit In Gaming AreaVentureBeat

In an otherwise strong third quarter for Microsoft, the software giant suffered in the key area of Entertainment & Devices -- home of the Xbox and Windows Phone.

“The division reported revenue of $1.62 billion, down 16% from a year ago,” reports VentureBeat, citing Microsoft Q3 earnings report. Microsoft blamed “a soft gaming console market” for the decline. Indeed, Xbox 360 sales were down 48%, while the company remained the leader in the video game console market with a 42% share.

That said, Microsoft reported quarterly revenue of $17.41 billion for the quarter, which represented a 6% increase year-over-year, eWeek notes. “However, net income slipped 2.4%  for the quarter.”

Writes Reuters: “The results buoyed optimism around the world's largest software maker, which is lining up a new tablet-friendly version of Windows for later this year and is looking to make a dent into Apple Inc and Google Inc's domination of the mobile market this holiday shopping season.”

Also of note, “though the Online Services division (which includes Bing and MSN) continues to lose money, it posted revenue of $707 million, a 6 percent increase,” according to The Seattle Times. “And it cut its losses by $300 million, which [Lisa Nelson, Microsoft's director of investor relations] said resulted from increased monetization and cost cutting.”

Still, “The Bing search engine, which also powers Yahoo's search, continues to be a big lossmaker for the company,” The Guardian points out. Overall, “These numbers are … impressive, and Microsoft is encouraged by their strength,” writes Forbes. "A good quarter for Microsoft,” agreed parislemon blogger MG Siegler.

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  • Gavin O'Malley, April 20, 2012, 12:03 PM
  • As if Google’s social strategy didn’t have enough problems, one of its key product execs has jumped ship for a rival upstart. Benjamin Ling -- who The New York Times’ Digits blog calls a “high-ranking Google product executive” -- is joining Badoo as COO. New to Badoo? Well, “If Facebook is the social network that allows people to connect with their current friends, Badoo is the social network for meeting new people, including potential dating partners,” Digits explains. “The company founder has called it a ‘nightclub in your smartphone.’” Also championing an interesting business model, Badoo’s Facebook app is free, but members can pay to increase the chances of being “discovered” by others. The company says it is now on pace to generate more than $150 million annually, and employs a staff of 200. Still trying to get traction in the United States, the 6-year-old company already has a large following in Europe and South America, with more than 35 million active monthly users. A computer science PhD from Stanford, Ling has long worked closely with Google vice president Marissa Mayer, according to Digits. At Badoo, Ling will oversee product, engineering, partnerships and corporate development.   Read the whole story...
  • Moving closer to a possible sale of the company -- and a massive shift of the mobile landscape -- Research In Motion is reportedly ready to pick JPMorgan Chase as its financial adviser. “RIM is considering options, such as a licensing deal or a strategic investment,” according to Bloomberg, citing sources. “A final choice hasn’t been made and could come within days.”  Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins, who recently took over for co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, said he is open to strategy changes in light of customer and market-share losses, which have led to five straight quarters of sales shortfalls for RIM. Analysts, meanwhile, see the potential arrival of JPMorgan as proof that RIM is in desperate need of a change. “This clearly indicates that opinion in Waterloo is changing much faster than people anticipated,” Anil Doradla, an analyst at William Blair & Co., tells Bloomberg. “It’s a far cry from what they stated six months ago.” Regarding Heins, Doradla thinks he is addressing RIM’s woes in a much more straightforward and honest fashion. “He’s recognizing the realities and saying, ‘You know what, let’s be realistic’ -- and credit to him,” Doradla said. RIM also reportedly discussed its options with Bank of America.   Read the whole story...
  • Fast Company checks in on Google Ventures and Bill Maris, who launched the division in mid-2009 with the hope of turning some of the search giant's cash in startup gold. "We're trying to do something completely different, not because it's different, but because we're looking for a different outcome," Maris tells FC. “Despite the mythology that has built up around venture capital, it has become a slowly moldering investment vehicle,” FC writes. Indeed, according to Maris: "The past 10 years haven't been very productive.” Indeed, during the decade ending last September, VCs as a class earned a 2.6% interest rate for their investors, according to research firm Cambridge Associates. That’s less than you could have earned in an S&P 500 index fund, FC points out. “The numbers look slightly better over shorter periods,” it writes. “VCs have delivered a 4.9% return the past three years and 6.7% over the past five, still far from terrific.” Perhaps as a result, the VC community has some pretty catty things to say about Google and its upstart venture efforts. “Behind the scenes, though, some question the firm's experience--most of its partners are former Googlers who haven't worked in venture capital before--and its passion,” FC adds.   Read the whole story...