Apple trounces Q4 expectations
Apple shares jumped nearly 7 percent in extended trading after the company reported a 67 percent jump in quarterly profits, to $904 million. Apple’s $1.01-a-share earnings easily beat analysts’ expectations for $0.86 a share. ( Apple’s stock has more than doubled since the start of the year, boosted by the new iPhone and strong iPod sales. But the sale of a record 2.16 million Macs fueled the quarter’s earnings, pushing Apple’s computer market share up to 8 percent. “Two years ago you had to explain to your friends why you are buying a Mac,” said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. “Now you have to explain why are buying a PC.” (AP in Yahoo! Finance)
BP profits drop 29 percent
Oil giant BP reported that its quarterly net income sank 29 percent, to $4.41 billion, even as oil prices flirted with record levels. BP’s results still beat analysts’ expectations, and its shares edged up this morning. (MarketWatch) BP CEO Tony Hayward blamed the “dreadful” quarterly earnings on outages and shrinking profit margins at BP refineries. “It is a poor set of results but not as bad as expected,” said analyst Jason Kenney at ING Wholesale Banking. (Bloomberg) In other earnings news, Netflix’s profits rose 23 percent, handily beating expectations and fueling investor optimism that it can withstand a tough challenge from Blockbuster. (AP in Yahoo! Finance)
Microsoft concedes in EU fight
Microsoft ended its nine-year battle with European Union antitrust regulators yesterday, agreeing to abide by a landmark 2004 court decision and change its business practices. Microsoft agreed to share proprietary code with outside software developers worldwide, allowing them to create programs that run on Microsoft-powered PCs and business servers. ( The deal is expected to influence how other U.S. businesses operate overseas. (The Washington Post) Also yesterday, Microsoft took on the BlackBerry, introducing business-friendly software that will allow IT departments to manage portable devices running Windows Mobile. (Reuters)
Hotels 2.0, sort of
Some hotels in the traditionally stodgy $133 billion lodging industry are getting with the high-tech times, in fits and starts. The investment is customer-driven: in a recent survey of business travelers, 58 percent said free high-speed Internet access was at least “very” important in determining where they stayed. But some innovations are still works-in-progress: At the W Los Angeles-Westwood, guests can order drinks from a small touch-screen device—but it still requires a waiter, and sometimes a plastic finger stylus. “We’re a business that’s still trying to come to grips with the toaster,” said John Burns of Hospitality Technology Consulting. (Los Angeles Times, free registration required)