Mark Hibben

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  • Why Apple Needs to Keep Carl Icahn at Bay

    By Mark Hibben - August 16, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, GOOG, IEP, MSFT

    Carl Icahn has launched a new crusade to relieve Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) of some of its excess, and unused, cash. After tweeting that he had taken a "large" position in Apple, Apple's stock price jumped above $500 the following day. Should Apple investors be happy? That depends on your investment time frame. In the short term, Icahn's interest in Apple pumps up the stock price, but in the more »

  • Time Warner and the Virtue of Focus

    By Mark Hibben - August 14, 2013 | Tickers: CMCSA, TWX, FOX, DIS

    Once a poster child for the empty promise of synergy between Internet, print, and video media, Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) has rediscovered the old-fashioned virtue of focus, focusing on what it does best -- video and film content creation. This earnings season, it easily bested its media conglomerate rivals, Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOX), Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), and Disney (NYSE: DIS) in operating income growth.

    Spinning-off publishing
    The lesson of focus more »

  • Re-thinking Apple's "Thermonuclear War" Against Android

    By Mark Hibben - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, GOOG, SSNLF

    Incensed by what he deemed to be blatant theft of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) innovations, Steve Jobs told his biographer, Walter Isaacson, "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this." Far from destroying Android, the years since this declaration have seen Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android become the top mobile operating system for smartphones and tablets.

    IDC more »

  • What Bezos Brings to The Washington Post

    By Mark Hibben - August 8, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, WPO

    On its face, the purchase of The Washington Post newspaper by Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos appears to be a philanthropic good deed. For a mere 1% of his estimated net worth of $25 billion, Bezos takes a money loser off the hands of the The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) and frees it of the pressure to be profitable by taking it private. Bezos could have found a more »

  • Apple's Ebook "Intransigence"

    By Mark Hibben - August 6, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, AAPL

    In my previous writings on Apple's ebook trial, I warned that losing the trial could lead to a much wider ranging investigation into Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iTunes business. On Friday (Aug. 2), the U.S. Department of Justice proposed just such an investigation as part of its "remedies" for Apple's anti-competitive ebook practices. This investigation will take the form of an external anti-trust monitor to be installed more »

  • Apple's iPad Loses Market Share to Android

    By Mark Hibben - August 6, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, GOOG

    IDC's tablet market share data for the second quarter released today (August 5) confirmed that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has lost its dominance of the tablet market, going from a 60% market share in 2012 Q2 to a 32.5% share in Q2 2013.  Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android has gone in the opposite direction, moving from a 38% market share last year to a 62.6% share in the more »

  • Apple's Smartphone Profits Compared to the Competition

    By Mark Hibben - August 2, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, GOOG, MSFT, NOK, SSNLF

    On July 26, Strategy Analytics (SA) issued a report with the attention grabbing headline "Samsung Becomes World's Most Profitable Handset Vendor in Q2 2013." The report estimated Samsung's (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) operating profit from mobile phones to be $5.2 billion for Q2, whereas Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) operating profit from iPhone sales was estimated to be $4.6 billion. In fact, SA's number for iPhone operating profit more »

  • Apple's Relief Rally

    By Mark Hibben - July 26, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, GOOG, MSFT

    After Apple's second quarter earnings repor, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares staged a relief in relieved that things weren't worse.  Although the news was mixed, I found encouraging signs in Apple's bolstered R&D spending, as well as its continuing strong iPhone sales.

    Expectations of a humbled Apple

    It's indicative of how much market sentiment had turned against Apple that its arch rivals in mobile more »

  • ARM Holdings vs. Intel: The Calm Before the Storm

    By Mark Hibben - July 26, 2013 | Tickers: ARMH, INTC

    Shares of ARM Holdings (NASDAQ: ARMH) swung wildly on the morning after its 2013 Q2 earnings report, released on July 24. At market open the stock spiked to about $42.80, only to settle back by the end of the day to about $39.60, a change of almost 7.5%. It was a classic case of investors being initially excited by the report, only to have second thoughts after more »

  • Is Netflix Getting a Good Return for its Content Investment?

    By Mark Hibben - July 25, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, CMCSA, NFLX, FOX, DIS

    The second quarter earnings report of Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) exceeded Wall Street expectations, as well as demonstrating significant year over year improvement.  Yet investors were disappointed and a sell-off ensued the following day.

    On the basis of year over year revenue and income growth, the report should have come as good news. Total revenue grew 20% to $1.07 billion, and operating income grew by over 250% to $57.12 more »

  • Nokia's Long March to Profitability

    By Mark Hibben - July 23, 2013 | Tickers: MSFT, NOK

    Even as Nokia's (NYSE: NOK) smartphone sales continued to collapse, down 32% year over year and 6% sequentially, CEO Stephen Elop claimed that Nokia had "achieved underlying profitability" at the quarterly conference call.  As usual, his claim excluded restructuring charges that pushed Nokia into an operating loss of  $152 million for the quarter. The sole legitimate, though limited, sign of progress was an increase in sales of Lumia Windows more »

  • A Cold Shower for Microsoft Investors

    By Mark Hibben - July 23, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, MSFT

    Microsoft's latest earnings report, released on 7/18, was a cold shower of disappointment for investors.  Microsoft's share price plummeted 11% the following day.  In retrospect, Microsoft's reorganization announcement, which many regard as an attempt to remake Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) in Apple's image, appears timed to deflect criticism of Microsoft's Q2 performance. The company has been trying to emulate Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) as an integrated more »

  • AMD Pulls out of its Nose Dive

    By Mark Hibben - July 22, 2013 | Tickers: AMD, INTC, MSFT, SNE

    The long, steep decline in revenue of AMD (NYSE: AMD) has finally come to an end, thanks to the start of processor deliveries for the new Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Sony (NYSE: SNE) game consoles.  Ramp up of production of the custom game console processors can be expected to return AMD to profitability in Q3. The question for investors now becomes, is this profitability sustainable?

    Pulling out of the dive more »

  • Is the Cost of Intel's Entry Into Mobile Too High?

    By Mark Hibben - July 19, 2013 | Tickers: ARMH, INTC | Editor's Choice

    Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) reported revenue of $12.8 billion and operating income of $2.7 billion for 2013 Q2.  Revenue grew 2% from Q1 but was down 5% year over year, but more surprising was the nearly 30% decline in operating income from the year ago quarter.  Intel's entry into the mobile business is proving costlier than expected, and Intel management guided slightly lower for the second half.

    Continuing more »

  • Of Course Apple Is Doomed: It's Earnings Season

    By Mark Hibben - July 16, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, GOOG, MSFT

    As we approach Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) earnings report on July 23, the steady stream of negative pronouncements, downgrades, and forbodings of imminent demise reaches a crescendo of despair.  But Apple's fate is not written in the stars.

    Affectation of inevitability

    The list of negative articles in the tech business media is already too extensive for me to summarize here, so I'll only touch on the most egregious more »

  • Apple's Ebook Trial: The Takeaway

    By Mark Hibben - July 12, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, AAPL

    When I wrote about Apple's ebook antitrust trial not long ago, some of the comments I received expressed incredulity that I could even contemplate an Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) loss.  Didn't I realize that the government's case was a shambles? Had I even followed the trial?  The daily coverage of the trial by Philip Elmer-Dewitt (PED) in was held up to me as a model more »

  • Microsoft Moves Windows 8 Forward

    By Mark Hibben - June 27, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, GOOG, MSFT

    Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) released a preview of Windows 8.1 yesterday, which contained some desirable new features and improvements.  Is 8.1 going to "save" Windows 8?  No, but Windows 8 really didn't need to be saved.

    Divergent reactions

    The reactions to 8.1 have ranged from Adrian Covert's characterization of it as a "huge improvement" to fellow Motley Fool blogger Sam Mattera's as "fundamentally broken."  After more »

  • Do Gartner's Smartphone Numbers Add Up?

    By Mark Hibben - June 26, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, IT, GOOG

    Gartner (NYSE: IT) released a report yesterday (6/24) detailing its projections for computing device sales for 2013 and 2014.  Up until now, I've considered Gartner to be a reliable source of information on mobile device sales and market share, but after taking a closer look at their latest numbers, I have serious doubts about Gartner's data for 2012 as well as their projections for 2013 and 2014 more »

  • Adobe's Candy Coated Earnings Report

    By Mark Hibben - June 24, 2013 | Tickers: ADBE, AAPL, MSFT | Editor's Choice

    Until Adobe's (NASDAQ: ADBE) fiscal Q2 earnings were released last Tuesday, I had never before encountered a presentation so short on traditional financial metrics but long on invented metrics.  It was as if Adobe's management wanted to distract investors from certain inconvenient truths.  Judging by the market reaction the day after the report was released, Adobe succeeded, if briefly.

    Don't ask, don't tell

    Adobe's slide more »

  • Microsoft Does an Xbox One – Eighty

    By Mark Hibben - June 20, 2013 | Tickers: MSFT, SNE

    It's only been a week since E3, and Microsoft's DRM approach for Xbox One has utterly collapsed under the pressure of angry gamers everywhere. Yesterday Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced a policy that essentially mirrors that of its rival in the coming next-gen console wars, Sony (NYSE: SNE).

    DRM backlash

    In the announcement, Microsoft reversed all the essential elements of the DRM system it had intended to impose with more »

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