Tag Archives: Gadget Features

Square files for IPO, say reports, in new wrinkle for Dorsey, Twitter


Mobile-payments company Square, the other firm dreamed up by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has filed confidential paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell stock to the public, according to several major news outlets, which cited unnamed sources.

The reports add a new angle to the current situation for Dorsey and Twitter, where he’s serving as interim CEO while maintaining his role as full-time head of Square.

Twitter has been on the hunt for a new full-time chief since Dick Costolo left last month. Though Dorsey’s name has come up, and though he’s reportedly intrigued by the idea of returning full-time to the social network (where he served as head during the company’s first year and a half), he’s said he won’t give up the post at Square. An IPO might underline that assertion — leaving prior to an initial public offering of stock could send an awkward message to potential investors. Twitter’s board has said a new CEO would have to fully commit to the position.

Square is perhaps best known for the little white-plastic card-reader that plugs in to a smartphone or tablet and enables small businesses to accept credit card payments (Square takes a cut). It also makes the Square Stand, which converts an iPad into a point-of-sale system. And last month it unveiled a wireless gadget that lets merchants take Apple Pay for transactions, so customers don’t need to swipe their card through a reader.

But the company has moved beyond the realm of the high-tech cash register. Its Square Cash app lets friends send money to each other, much like competing offerings from Venmo and PayPal. And its Square Capital program hands business owners a onetime cash advance in exchange for a cut of sales in the future. The company has also fired up a payroll-processing service for businesses in California, which it says it will expand to other states.

Jack Dorsey
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Square processed $30 billion in payments last year, according to Bloomberg, which reported news of the IPO filing earlier (to be followed by various other news outlets). Fortune had reported in June that Square was expected to go public this year.

The filing was reportedly made under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS, Act, which lets companies with annual revenue of less than $1 billion file IPO papers confidentially and hash out details with the SEC privately.

Square declined to comment.

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New ‘X-Files’ trailer gets ready for another tease

Like clues in an FBI case, small bits and pieces about the upcoming “X-Files” TV series reboot on Fox are emerging. In the most recent clip, released last night, we have Mulder popping a very important question — though not the one that “X-Files” fans have wanted to hear for years.

“Are you ready for this, Scully?” he asks the partner who investigated all things supernatural, extraterrestrial and just plain creepy with him on air for nine years. “I don’t know there’s a choice,” Scully replies.

In the 17-second clip called “Ready” we also get a glimpse of what looks like a crashed plane engine, and a flashlight-armed military-looking squad skulking through the ever-present fog.

Thus far the teases for the new show have been slim indeed, and this doesn’t really give us much more. The first teaser released was really just a recap of the previous nine seasons.

The second “X-Files” teaser to come out was a little juicier and featured “not only Mulder and Scully, but also a possible crashed UFO, soldiers, a cryptic autopsy, someone stepping on the iconic “I Want to Believe” UFO poster from Mulder’s office and a few other tidbits,” according to my fellow Crave writer Bonnie Burton.

Now, however, that video has been mysteriously reclassified as “private” on YouTube so it can’t even be seen anymore. Think it’s the Syndicate at work? We’re not quite sure, but we know that the truth is out there — so let’s have it, Fox! Where’d that trailer go? Actually, I asked Fox exactly that and will update this story once I hear back. [Update, 8:00 p.m. PT: The trailer is available again.]

I guess for now, it’s just glimpses and glimmers for all us fans till the show debuts in January. I do know one thing: I’m definitely ready. How about you?

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Amazon’s stock hits all-time high after winning Wall Street’s expectations game

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Inside Amazon’s sprawling fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, where the online retailer takes in and ships out millions of products.
Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

How does Amazon follow up a surprise quarterly profit? By watching its stock price rocket to an all-time high the next morning.

Shares rose much as 20 percent Friday following quarterly results the day before to boost the e-commerce giant’s market value by about $36 billion — roughly the market value of Macy’s and Gap combined — to a total value of about $265 billion. The stock reached $556.55, up 15 percent, in morning trading. By the end of the day, the stock closed at $529.42, up about 10 percent.

It’s part of the topsy-turvy Wall Street expectations game. Amazon eked out a $92 million profit on expectations of another loss, and investors cheered. Apple earlier in the week posted a monster quarterly profit of $10.7 billion (yes, billion), yet investors wiped out $30 billion of its market value because its iPhone numbers weren’t quite perfect.

But it puts in perspective what the difference a big name in a hot sector can do when it exceeds expectations. By Wall Street’s view, Amazon now is worth more than Walmart — the biggest retailer in the world — despite the fact that Walmart’s sales dwarf all other US merchants and Amazon has posted a total profit of $625 million over the past four years. Walmart’s profit was $3.3 billion — in just its last quarter.

“We continue to point out that Amazon still remains in the early innings in terms of international Prime selection,” Benchmark analyst Daniel Kurnos said in a note Friday, referring to Amazon’s membership program, “and expect they will be able to become category leaders in several important domestic verticals,” such as apparel or electronics.

Amazon’s stock tends to fluctuate wildly after it reports quarterly results, but the reason for Friday’s enthusiasm may stem from the hope that Amazon is finally take its foot off the gas on spending. The company has a reputation for forgoing short-term profits for long-term investments, which helped transform Amazon from a mere online bookstore into a device maker, TV studio and purveyor of millions of products. That legendary spending spree has also resulting in some duds, such as its failed attempt to offer its own smartphone.

Investors for years have been waiting for Amazon to slow its spending so it can finally start reaping profits. It’s possible the second quarter results signal that change, and if they do it means Amazon wouldn’t be coming out with as many moonshot projects going forward.

That also means Amazon could be on the road to more consistent profits. But investors may have to wait a little a longer for that. For the current quarter, Amazon projected operating income to come in between a loss of $480 million and a profit of $70 million, compared with a $544 million loss last year. Sales are expected to be $23.3 billion to $25.5 billion, mostly ahead of analysts’ estimates.

Wall Street analysts likewise predict more strong results, as the company’s Amazon Web Services division — which rents out datacenter space to other companies — continues to grow. Also, Amazon’s 20th anniversary Prime Day sale this month likely helped push revenue higher.

Amazon Prime, a $99-a-year membership service that includes unlimited two-day shipping, remains a crucial part of the company’s growth, since members tend to spend nearly twice as much on Amazon than non-Prime customers. However, Amazon is now facing a new wave of competitors to Prime, with both Walmart and newcomer Jet.com developing their own membership services.

As long as Amazon can keep Prime growing — membership is now about 44 million in the US — those tiny profits could start building up to something bigger.

Update, 2:45 p.m. PT: Added closing stock price.

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Crave giveaway: System Mechanic Pro PC tune-up software

systemmechanic.jpgEnlarge Image

Iolo Technologies

Congratulations to Clarissa W. of Dover, Tennessee, for winning a Tokyo Flash Kisai Blade Wood Link wristwatch in our last giveaway.

Did you know System Administrator Appreciation Day is next Friday? To celebrate the inestimable value of a well-running machine, we’ve got a free copy of PC performance software designed to fix and clean up your rig, System Mechanic Pro from Iolo Technologies.

The highly rated software accelerates your PC by removing junk files and diagnosing and fixing over 30,000 different PC problems. It also provides online backup, recovers deleted files and securely wipes data. The software works with all versions of Windows.

So how do you go about snagging this software worth $69.95? There are a few rules, so please read carefully. And don’t forget to hug your favorite system administrator on July 31!

  • Register as a CNET user. Go to the top of this page and hit the “Join CNET” link to start the registration process. If you’re already registered, there’s no need to register again.
  • Leave a comment below. You can leave whatever comment you want. If it’s funny or insightful, it won’t help you win, but we’re trying to have fun here, so anything entertaining is appreciated.
  • Leave only one comment. You may enter for this specific giveaway only once. If you enter more than one comment, you will be automatically disqualified.
  • The winner will be chosen randomly. The winner will receive one (1) copy of System Mechanic Pro from Iolo Technologies, with a retail value of $69.95.
  • If you are chosen, you will be notified via email. The winner must respond within three days of the end of the sweepstakes. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen.
  • Entries can be submitted until July 27, 12:00 p.m. ET.

And here’s the disclaimer that our legal department said we had to include (sorry for the caps, but rules are rules):


(And be sure to follow Crave on Twitter at @crave; some of our giveaways are now Twitter-based.)

If you can’t have your own personal system administrator, at least you can have software that does the same thing.
Iolo Technologies

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Kepler-452b is a potential ‘Earth 2.0’ with exciting possibilities (Tomorrow Daily 214)

We’re only discussing two stories today, because they’re both pretty huge in their respective fields.

First up, the massive news from NASA: they found a planet that pings the trifecta of potential life markers! It’s in the habitable zone, it’s close to Earth’s size, and it’s orbiting a star not unlike our own yellow sun. It’s also got about a billion-year head start on our planet’s evolution, so there’s definitely some exciting possibilities surrounding it. Unfortunately, it’s a bit far for exploration (about 1,400 light years!), so expect information and studies to be done slowly.

Meanwhile, eSports is going through some serious growing pains as it ascends to massive heights in the gaming community, particularly after one player admitted to using performance-enhancing prescription drugs alongside other players during competitive matches. The Electronic Sports League is taking action, though, and beginning to draw up plans for player drug tests, support networks for athletes as they navigate the waters of professional gaming, and potential penalties if a player is found in violation of their new policies.

Have a great weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

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Uber to courier Xiaomi Mi Note phones directly to customers in Asia

The Xiaomi Mi Note will hit markets in Asia this month.
Aloysius Low/CNET

For those who really can’t wait for their latest new phone, they can now have it delivered by hand within the hour. One Internet-savvy company, the Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, has enlisted another, the ride-sharing service Uber, to convey its devices across the city state of Singapore as fast as traffic allows.

Drumming up publicity for the launch of its 5.7-inch Mi Note phone at an event in Singapore, Xiaomi said customers will be able to order the phablet from within the Uber app when the phone goes on sale.

Unlike Xiaomi’s regular online sales, where customers have to wait an excruciating five working days for their new devices, the Uber partnership will let customers get their hands on a unit on the same day. Within 4 minutes of them placing the order, Xiaomi says, an Uber driver will be on the way to deliver the phone.

The partnership will also be expanded to Malaysia as well, but only in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. A limited number of Mi Note phones will be specially allocated for the Uber and Xiaomi event and will take place on July 27, a day before online sales begin.

While obviously a publicity stunt, this new approach also shows how two of the world’s most valuable startups can work well together. Xiaomi, valued at $45 billion, is in a growth phase, expanding for the first time outside of Asia to Brazil, and selling 35 million handsets so far this year. The company sells its phones close to cost, forsaking traditional retailers in most of the markets in which it operates in order to keep costs as low as possible.

This allows Xiaomi to sell its high-end flagship phone, the Mi Note, at a killer price of S$569 in Singapore — that’s around $415, £270 or AU$560, much lower than comparable devices such as the HTC One M9 or the Samsung Galaxy S6. The low price also plays very much into Xiaomi’s favor in an ultracompetitive smartphone market such as Singapore.

The 5.7-inch Mi Note is already available in Hong Kong and will go on sale on July 28 in Taiwan and Malaysia. Besides a 5.7-inch display, the glass-clad phablet boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM. Other specs include a 13-megapixel rear camera and 64GB of onboard storage. It’s powered by Google’s Android software, with Xiaomi’s own MIUI 6 user interface.

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