Morgan Stanley is a massive investment firm, so when the company looks at a market it does so with plenty of care. In the world of tech their predictions are normally bang on the money, which is why I tend to believe their latest guides for iPhone performance through this current fourth quarter, which happens to include the Holiday Season.
Apple's manufacturing process and labor treatment has been questioned in a new report by the BBC. Current affairs and scandal expose show Panorama has found that factories used by Apple are home to poor working conditions. While some will immediately say it is not directly Apple's fault, it is worth remembering that the company has promised to protect workers interests and has even openly boasted about how much better Apple is than other companies in this regard.
Motorola has started a pre-Christmas sale that will run until December 23rd and offers a $50 saving on all orders over $350 or more through its official website store. If you are a big spender and splash more than $500, Motorola will give you a $100 discount.
We are used to doomsday scenarios being discussed about Blackberry, yet the company keeps on chugging along and surviving. Sure, there were times when things were touch and go for the company formerly known as RIM, but according to executives and the last financial reports, Blackberry is moving in the right direction. CEO John Chen has said he expects to be back in profitability by the end of 2015, but some analysts are still painting a grim picture.
Xiaomi's rise in the market has been nothing short of extraordinary and unprecedented. The Chinese brand entered a mature market and gained massive success within it in just four years, but there are some compromises to that success as it turns out Xiaomi did not make as much money in 2013 as was originally reported.
The popularity of smartphones shows no sign of slowing down around the world as 20% more handsets were sold through the last quarter compared to the previous period. The data (and a lot more besides) was compiled by reputed market researchers Gartner. The company found that 310 million smartphones have been shipped during the last three month period, while feature phones continue to tumble to obscurity thanks to more availability of budget smartphones.
Chalk this up as surprising because Apple has added PayPal support for online payments in the United States and United Kingdom, making it even easier for consumers to buy products through the checkout process. The new feature is only available in those nations at the moment, with PayPal balances now usable for transactions through Apple.com.
The Sony Pictures hack saga show no signs of abating, and in fact the perpetrators, the so-called Guardians of Peace (GOP), are even hinting at a worldwide cyber terrorism act and that Sony is just the first target. They managed to steal 100 terabytes of data including information on employee salaries, movie scripts and even screening versions of upcoming films that have since been leaked online.
Samsung's involvement in the next iPhone model (iPhone 6s or iPhone 7) has been well documented with the Korean company set to make 90% of the new A9 chips that will be used in Apple products in 2015. After winning that huge contract to make the new processor with 14nm FinFET technology Samsung is readying to put the A9 into production. In fact, the company is prepping its manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas and has started making the chip this week.
Windows Phone is a hard platform to predict. The OS enjoyed growth worldwide through 2013 but has struggled in key markets this year while maintaining a solid base in emerging markets. The lack of interest in the US is of particular worry to Microsoft, with the WP market share falling consistently through 2014.