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Technology Round Up - September 4, 2012
There have been many noteworthy developments in the technology space recently. Some of these will likely have a material impact on the companies in the sector and the markets they serve.
Apple’s Day in Court
Apple (AAPL) has experienced its share of success over the past decade in the business and technology arenas. It’s most recent victory, however, occurred in the legal realm. The company won a judgment totaling $1.05 billion in Federal Court in the Northern District of California. Specifically, the jury found that rival Samsung infringed on a number of patents held by Apple. The company had originally filed suit against Samsung last year, claiming it had appropriated some of the technology and designs used in the iPhone and iPad. Apple originally sought up to $2.75 billion in damages, though some of its claims were denied. In a countersuit, Samsung requested $421 million for patent infringement, but was not awarded anything.
Obviously, the decision is a negative for Samsung. Observers have remarked that this outcome could also hurt the expansion of Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system, which Samsung devices make use of. Samsung maintains that the decision will hurt competition and innovation, and has indicated that it will continue to pursue the matter.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note II
Samsung has announced a new version of its popular Galaxy Note smartphone. The Note runs Google’s Android operating system and offers a stylus which allows the user to make notes and/or draw on the screen. Its large size (compared to other smartphones) has led observers to conclude that it is more of a hybrid between a smartphone and a tablet computer. Indeed, the Galaxy Note’s large screen makes it preferable for playing games and consuming media content. The new version has a 5.5-inch screen and features a faster processor. The Galaxy Note II is expected to be released in Asia and Europe in October. For now, it remains unclear when the product will launch in North America. This addition, along with a number of other upcoming new products (including a voice-controlled camera), should boost results for Samsung as it competes with Apple in the market for mobile devices.
Facebook’s Lock-up Expiration
Lock-up restrictions have begun to expire for Facebook (FB) stock, permitting insiders to sell their shares. Approximately 271 million shares became eligible for sale in August. Another 243 million will be eligible for sale from mid-October through mid-November. Then, 1.2 billion will be eligible for sale on November 14th. This doesn’t mean that most, or even the majority of, the stock will be sold. Nevertheless, this situation will probably continue to put downward pressure on the stock’s price in the coming months.
The expiration of the lock-up period is just the latest overhang for the shares, which have lost roughly half their value since originally debuting at $38 per share in mid-May. Investors are also concerned that limited mobile advertisements will hurt performance going forward, as more people access the site from smartphones and similar devices.
Madden NFL ’13
Video-game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) claims to have sold 900,000 units of Madden NFL ’13 in the first 24 hours following its release. (Madden NFL ’13 is the latest installment to the popular professional football simulation.) There appears to be a lot of buzz about the game on social networking Web sites, as well. This is not all that surprising, as the game has a pretty loyal fan base among football enthusiasts who play video games. Indeed, many Madden fans purchase a new installment every year or two. In addition to offering updated rosters, the game also features a new gameplay engine which makes use of real-time physics. The game also offers voice control, which allows users to call out plays. The title has received positive reviews from video-game publications.
It may be a little early for EA to declare victory. Though some users have cited realistic player movement and playability as positive attributes, others have been much less enthusiastic. A chief complaint was that the game lacks some of the features of its predecessors. Potential investors are advised to keep an eye on how the game fares in the marketplace going forward.
At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.