Friday, January 09, 2009
"Amazon’s current $24 billion market capitalization represents a whopping premium to that figure. Even stripping out $2 billion of cash, $9 billion of value is apparently unaccounted for. Could that be the “Kindle premium”?
Amazon is trying to copy Apple’s stunning success with its elegant iPod and cheap and user-friendly music store. The Kindle is not there yet, but it is getting closer. This year, Amazon is redesigning it, and a student version is also expected, an attempt to snag part of the $5.5 billion annual United States college textbook market."
"Q: One of the biggest parts of the PC business that's really taken off amid an, obviously, challenging time overall is the Netbook segment. What has that meant for Microsoft both in terms of the technology, but also from a business standpoint? How does that impact you?From netbook to ebook reader? 90 degrees.
Ballmer: Well, we've done very well on Netbooks. When they first came out, I'm not sure if people knew whether they were PCs or something else, and I think everybody kind of understands now that a Netbook is a small-form-factor, low-cost personal computer. And we're doing very well with Windows XP, which fits. Vista does not fit, and we're working hard to make sure Windows 7 fits very well on the Netbooks.
You know, from a business perspective, low-cost machine means a little less revenue per unit to Microsoft, but I think it gives us an opportunity to see expansion of the overall PC market."
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Imagine if you tracked your daily commute and every side trip for several months. What would your track reveal about the place you work? If you animated the track over time, what would it tell you about the daily flow of traffic in a city? Imagine using Google Earth to show the data and compare it to the underlying imagery and data GE provides? This is what a master's student named Fabian in the UK name Fabian is doing and sharing through his blog Urban Tick (see his introductory post about the project).
"Google, Yahoo and Microsoft were competing for a mobile search deal that would give the winner some good exposure through the Verizon network. Unfortunately for Verizon, they didn’t choose Google — something that would have given users a level of comfort, and a better user experience out of the box.
“The ultimate goal in mobility is contextual awareness and the delivery of highly personalized experiences,” Jackson said. “These are competencies Google has in spades, so it may be that Verizon’s customers ultimately end up with an inferior experience relative to what Google might enable.” — John Jackson"
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
"LITTLE ROCK, Ark.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to a $637,000 fine to settle allegations that it violated drug record keeping regulations at its pharmacies in south Texas.
Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that Wal-Mart paid the fine on Dec. 29 and that the settlement was made final on Tuesday.
Acting U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson says the case began with five Wal-Mart and Sam's Club pharmacies that allegedly didn't have records the government requires to help prevent diversion of controlled substances. Johnson said the problem with the records violated the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, under which the complaint was brought. More Wal-Mart pharmacies in the region were then audited, he said."
"MEXICO CITY -(Dow Jones)- Retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico (WMMVY) said Wednesday its sales rose 11% last year to a record 244.03 billion pesos ($17.7 billion), although growth slowed toward the end of the year with a decline in December same-store sales.
Same-store sales fell 0.8% in the last month of the year from December 2007, affected in part by a negative calendar effect.
Walmex, as Mexico's biggest retailer is known, said same-store sales for the full year 2008 were up 4.6% from 2007."
NEW YORK/LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc has chosen Microsoft Corp to provide Internet search services for cell phones, in what is seen as a blow to rivals Google Inc and Yahoo Inc."
"CHICAGO, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) said on Wednesday that Doug McMillon, the current head of its Sam's Club division, will become president and CEO of Wal-Mart International next month, when the current man in that role takes over as the company's president and CEO."
"Another company has come out with a solution for making 3D prints from Google Earth. This time the solution is actually based on SketchUp 3D models. The company is called Sweet Onion Creations, and they describe how to click on a 3D model seen in Google Earth (or any found in the Google 3D Warehouse) and using their '3D printing' service get back an actual physical model. Here's a video they've made showing how it works:"
"Wal-Mart said on Tuesday that it would pay at least $352 million, and possibly far more, to settle lawsuits across the country claiming that it forced employees to work off the clock. Several lawyers described it as the largest settlement ever for lawsuits over wage violations."
"Big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart gained market share against specialty retail GameStop over the holiday season due to highly-competitive pricing, Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey said in a research note Tuesday.
'We expect GameStop may have lost intended foot traffic this holiday to big-box retailers offering highly promotional pricing on numerous consumer products,' he stated. 'We think low price retailers like Wal-Mart, arguably the largest domestic videogame retailer, likely took market share this holiday.'"
: "Tuesday, January 06, 2009
GREENACRES — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT, $56.02) opens a Neighborhood Market store in Greenacres Wednesday at 8 a.m.
The 45,600-square foot store, which employs about 100, is the anchor store at the newly renovated Greenacres Plaza at 3911 Jog Road. Unlike the supersize Walmart stores, the Neighborhood Market sells only grocery itemsand is intended to draw people from only about a 3-mile radius."
"Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Netflix Inc. were accused of conspiring to create a monopoly for online video rentals in a consumer lawsuit alleging that the collusion drove up prices.
The two companies agreed in 2005 that Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, would close its online rental business and refer customers to Netflix, which would promote Wal-Mart's DVD movie sales, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco."
"A new report from Forrester presents a cost analysis of cloud-based email systems in enterprises, such as Google Apps or Yahoo!'s Zimbra. In the report, Forrester argues that cloud-based email services are cheaper than running email on-premise for all companies with less than 15,000 employees. What's more, Google Apps is significantly cheaper than both on-premise solutions and other cloud-based email services - even for very large enterprises. This could spell trouble for Microsoft, as we explain below."
"The soon-to-be-released iPhoto '09 incorporates signature features of each social networking website. Users will be able to tag faces in photos and view all their pictures of a particular person, just like on Facebook. And like Flickr, the software also will use GPS data recorded by some cameras (the one on an iPhone, for example) and display the location they were taken on a Google map.
The faces and places data carry over to images uploaded to Facebook and Flickr, respectively."
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
"Analysts say that Tesco's big advantage over major international rivals, which also include Germany's Aldi and Lidl, is its unrivaled ability to manage vast reams of data and translate that knowledge into sales. While data crunching may sound dull, it has given Tesco two major advantages: an unmatched ability to operate multiple retail formats—ranging in size from convenience stores to hypermarkets—and the market knowledge to offer what many analysts say is the best and broadest range of house brands from any retailer.
Tesco uses information gleaned from Dunnhumby, a British data mining firm of which it has majority control, to manage every aspect of its business, from creating new shop formats to arranging store layouts to developing private-label products and targeted sales promotions. In 2003, U.S. supermarket chain Kroger (KR) copied Tesco's example, setting up a joint venture with Dunnhumby in the U.S. Since then, Dunnhumby also has signed deals with a number of other U.S. retailers including Home Depot (HD), Best Buy (BBY), and Macy's (M).
. . .
Tesco's other strength is its private-label goods. While U.S. retailers have struggled to convince shoppers that supermarket brands are as good as big-name counterparts, Tesco's private-label products account for as much as 60% of sales in many countries. According to the company, private-label products also account for more than 70% of Fresh & Easy's sales. "Wal-Mart and France's Carrefour are lucky to get 35% of sales from private label," Flickinger says. The reason, he says, is that Tesco has a range of house brands to cover every price point. In fact, some of its premium-range products, such as Tesco Finest chocolate or yogurt, even sell at up to a 50% premium to established brands such as Cadbury (CBY) and Danone (DANO.PA).
. . . Tesco has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1919 at a market stall in London's East End. Today, it runs the world's largest and most successful online grocery operation and is Britain's biggest private-sector employer, with 280,000 staff. Its broad portfolio of businesses in Britain also encompasses telecom services, gas stations, personal finance, an online digital music and film download business, and even a home insulation service.
Tesco reckons there's plenty of potential for some of these businesses, especially personal finance, which it hopes to launch into new markets such as Poland.
Meanwhile . . . in NORFOLK, VA
The state's first Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, a grocery concept focused on convenience and low prices, is scheduled to open Wednesday morning on East Little Creek Road.
The 45,000-square-foot store looks like a traditional supermarket - more akin to local rivals Harris Teeter and Farm Fresh than its sister Wal-Mart Supercenter. About one-fifth the size of a Supercenter, the Neighborhood Market abandons the open, brightly lit, warehouse feel and straight aisles of a Supercenter in favor of cozy specialty areas with track lighting and curved walls for produce, meats and deli.
"More options on the way for watching Netflix (NFLX) streaming movies in your living room: Beginning this spring, Korean electronics giant LG will build Netflix streaming directly into some of its plasma and LCD HDTVs, the companies will announce today.
This means that Netflix subscribers will be able to stream more than 12,000 movies and TV shows on their TVs without a separate set-top box or a PC."
Monday, January 05, 2009
"Americans appear to be getting more comfortable watching videos online--and Google is the clear winner.
Internet users in the U.S. watched 12.7 billion online videos in November, an increase of 34 percent versus a year ago, according to numbers released Monday by market researcher ComScore.
Thanks to YouTube, Google Sites retained the crown as the top U.S. video property with nearly 5.1 billion videos viewed--or about 40 percent of all videos viewed online--with the video-sharing site accounting for more than 98 percent of Google's traffic. Fox Interactive Media was a distant second with 439 million videos watched (or 3.5 percent), followed by Viacom Digital with 325 million videos watched (2.6 percent).
The data also showed that 77 percent of all U.S. Internet users had viewed online videos in 2008, and that the average online video viewer watched 273 minutes of video."
"On December 28, Wal-Mart began selling Apple's iPhone -- and made sure that its customers knew about it. The cover of the retailer's 15-page Sunday flyer featured the iPhone3G (8GB) for $197. Best Buy chose to retaliate by dropping its price to $189.99. Frankly, the price difference will probably do little to sway those willing to pop for a $200 phone -- and, more significantly, the two-year contract and monthly data charges that go along with it. IPhone's move into Wal-Mart is not about the discount of a few dollars, it is all about Apple striking while the iron is hot and expanding the accessibility of this must-have product. With one fell swoop Apple (and AT&T) put the iPhone in the retail chain with more accessibility than any of the U.S.-based smart phone rivals."
"Here are some facts about Wal-Mart as verified from Snopes.com:
1. At Wal-Mart, Americans spend $36,000,000 every hour of every day
2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute! 5.8133333% margin
3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year
4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot Kroger Target Sears Costco K-Mart combined
5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private employer. And most can't speak English
6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the World
7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger & Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this in only 15 years
8. During this same period, 31 Supermarket chains sought bankruptcy (including Winn-Dixie)
9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world
10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are Super Centers; this is 1,000 more than it had 5 years ago
11. This year, 7.2 billion different purchasing transactions will occur at a Wal-Mart store. (Earth's population is approximately 6.5 billion.)
12. 90% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart"
"The FDA outlawed the use of ozone-damaging CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) in inhalers beginning in 2009, so many manufacturers are switching to the less injurious HFA (hydrofluoroalkane) instead. While HFA inhalers are generally comparable in performance to those that include CFCs, they also tend to be somewhat more expensive, with prices between $30 and $60. This can be a problem for people on limited and fixed incomes—and as it happens, asthma tends to occur more frequently in that very group.
This is where Wal-Mart comes in. The ReliOn(R) Ventolin HFA inhaler, which will be sold exclusively by the retail giant, is priced at $9.95, bringing it within reach of many suffering asmathics.
U-2 Spyplane Caught in Flight in Google Earth
Sometimes the satellite images Google acquires happen to capture some really unique sight. This one is really awesome for those of us who try to find planes captured in flight in Google Earth: A U-2 Spyplane flying over Kuwait! [Google Earth Required. You must have GE installed.] This one was found by plane aficionado 'Delta102' of the Google Earth Community. He's found many other planes in Google Earth, but this is one of the best. NOTE: the orange colored 'shadow' to the upper left is actually an artifact of the satellite cameras which is caused by the plane's motion. You see this in GE with planes and cars (the further away, the faster the object)."
"While the US recession deepened last year, Wal-Mart climbed the most since 1999 as it started to sell $4 medicines and reduced prices on groceries, jeans and other basics to attract more US customers. The company is extending discounts on laundry detergent, vacuum cleaners and fresh foods into 2009, and adding products such as Apple’s iPhone."
"One of Google’s “experiments” is apparently being tested out in the main Google search results — Timeline View. This unique view shows search results over time — making it great for searching for things that can be visualized over time.
This is the first time anything found in Google Experimental has made its way out into the wild, and of any, it’s probably the one that is most useful. The trick for Google is to be able to determine when a timeline view makes sense, and when it doesn’t."
"But on the other hand, if you’re not looking for an authoritative map of our deepest desires, Google trends are greatly satisfying. India’s search trends confirm lots of our gut judgments. That Bengal is football mad or that Kerala tops the suicide search may not be revelatory; but that Oriyas simply wanted “love” and that what most urban Indians urgently wonder about (after weight-loss) is “how to kiss” — has a certain sweet pathos. And this Zeitgeist captures both space and time — as Sarah Palin and Katrina Kaif replace last year’s Carla Bruni or Britney Spears before that, Google search trends hold up a mirror to this peculiar moment and its fleeting preoccupations."
Sunday, January 04, 2009
. . .the company from Bentonville, Arkansas, has decided to ban products from two Latin-American countries: Cuba and Venezuela. The former has to do with the embargo that the United States has on Cuba. The US prohibits American companies from trading with Cuba; and since Wal-Mart is opening up new stores in Chile, they are obligated by American law to stop importing these goods. The problem with Venezuela seems to be produced by the many Hugo Chavez' anti-American speeches. Because of this US . . . there will be an overall of forty-two affected products from this country alone.
. . .
The bans do not only apply to Latin-America's economies; the following countries will be affected by this policy: Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Belarus, North Korea, and Liberia. These cases are all due to interrupted relations with the United States. This contradicts the Chilean law, which goes as follows: "there is no foreign law over the rights of the customer, in the case the product is been acquired by a sale or advertisement". According to this law, the customer has the right to sue Wal-Mart and is encouraged to do so by Chile's National Costumer Service.
"In the lead-up to the release of the next Bruce Springsteen album on Jan. 27, two exclusive deals involving the Boss have been struck.
Wal-Mart will be selling a 'Greatest Hits' album beginning Jan. 13 and f.y.e. stores will be offering Springsteen cards and posters to consumers who pre-order 'Working on a Dream.'
The 12-track hits package is all Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band recordings, which differentiates it from the 1995 'Greatest Hits' release."
See: Why Media Companies are Hosed