France’s competition watchdog has raided a number of Apple premises and those of some of its French retailers and distributors in a probe into the US company’s resale practices.
In the latest in a series of moves against big US technology groups by the French authorities, the competition regulator said the raids took place in different locations in France last week, but declined to give further details.
The investigation follows the collapse last year of eBizcuss, previously the biggest reseller of Apple products in France with 15 stores. It lodged a legal complaint against Apple for alleged unfair supply practices. eBizcuss is reported by Les Echos to have also complained to the competition authority, alleging abuse of Apple’s dominant position and unfair competition.
Last week, iCentre, the largest Apple reseller in the Netherlands, also went bust. The Dutch company was hit by the shift in sales from computers to lower margin phones and tablets and a fall in consumer spending.
Apple is already under scrutiny by the EU’s competition authority, which is monitoring its pricing practices for iPad and iPhone products for possible antitrust abuse following alerts from telecoms operators. Apple declined to comment.>> Read More
Google’s big keynote at its I/O developers conference this week wore me out.
Not because it lasted a grueling three hours and fifty minutes, but because of what was announced. With every new product update, every new feature, every new virtual service, it became more and more clear that Google isn’t just a search company that makes loads of cash by showing you ads. It’s creeping into every aspect of our digital, physical, and private lives at an exponential rate.
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it.
Google isn’t just the backbone of the Internet anymore. It’s rapidly becoming the backbone of your entire life, all thanks to data you’re voluntarily giving up to a private company based on your Web searches, photos, Gmail messages, and more.
After spending three days at I/O this week, it became more apparent than ever that unless millions (billions?) of people suddenly change their mind and start using alternative tech tools, or unless the government steps in waving the anti-trust banner, our lives, our history, and our personal wealth could be managed by one company –– Google.>> Read More
Luxembourg is ready to share currently confidential information about multinationals’ bank accounts as part of efforts to shed the Grand Duchy’s image as a leading tax haven.
Under pressure amid a renewed global crackdown on tax evasion and avoidance, Luc Frieden, finance minister, said Luxembourg was willing to expand the number of accounts covered by new information-sharing agreements with the US and the EU to include global companies. The accords, agreed this month, currently only cover individual taxpayers.
The latest move demonstrates Luxembourg’s determination to shed its reputation as the EU’s capital for international tax evaders.
The Grand Duchy’s banking sector has nearly €3tn in assets – a figure 22 times greater than the tiny country’s gross domestic product.>> Read More
Forget looking for spare change in your couch cushions. More than half of Americans are sitting on $171 and they don’t even know it.
The extra cash comes in the form of unused cell phones, which, according data released by SellCell.com and OnePoll, adds up to $33.8 billion nationwide.
That’s a lot of cash to leave lying around the house.
“Many Americans are looking for ways to earn some extra cash, especially in a sluggish economy and following the expensive holiday season,” SellCell.com managing director Colin White said.
“So, it is very surprising that consumers are literally sitting on billions of potential dollars in their unused smartphones and feature phones, often stashed away in boxes at home.”
About 20 percent of people reported not selling their old phones because “they’re lazy,” and another 20 percent said they’re hanging on to the devices out of fear of jeopardizing their personal data by recycling them.
Neither of these are valid enough reasons to leave that much cash lying around. >> Read More
The most cartoonish stock of all time just came out with results that can only be characterized as WTF. To wit:
Q4 revenue of $21.27 billion missed expectations of $22.23 billion
Q1 EPS of $0.21 missed expectations of $0.27;
The firm guided top-line lower, seeing Q1 sales of $15-$16 billion, below the estimate of $16.5 billion
The firm guided operating income much lower, seeing Q1 op income of ($285)-$65 Million on expectations of $261.4 MM
The firm said the its physical books sales had the lowest growth in 17 years
Total employees grew by 7,000 in the quarter and 32,200 Y/Y to a record 88,400
Worldwide net sales Y/Y growth was the slowest in years at 23%, down from 30% in Q3 and 34% a year ago
And, last and certainly least, LTM Net Income is now officially negative, or ($49) meaning as of this moment the firm with the idiotically high PE has an even more idiotic N/M PE.
… And the stock is soaring in the after hours. Thank you DE Shaw, or actually that is Mr. Bezos who should thank you for the latest AH favor where accelerated HFT buying creates the impression that the numbers were good. They weren’t.
Record Christmas takings have swollen Amazon’s cash pile to as much as $9bn (£5.7bn), the online retailer is expected to declare on Tuesday in results that will inflame the debate over its tax contributions around the world.
In just 13 weeks, Amazon’s savings, which are held in cash and investments, have ballooned to between $7bn and $9bn, from $5.2bn in September, say analysts. The group’s performance helped topple a number of its UK high street competitors, with the camera shop Jessops and music store HMV going into administration earlier this month.
The UK generates an estimated 10% of Amazon’s revenues, pushing the proportion of the cash pile collected in the British Isles to an estimated $900m.
The retailer is under fire for paying low levels of corporation tax in the UK and other markets. With politicians across Europe casting about for ways to restore public finances, the sums are eye-catching. The issue will be forefront this week as parliament’s influential public accounts committee resumes its inquiry into tax avoidance by taking evidence on Thursday from the four largest accounting firms.>> Read More
This is a tough book to review, because I generally respect the author, but there are many things I don’t like about the book. Let’s start with the main one:
My friend Alice Schroeder came to speak to the Baltimore CFA Society early in November. It was a great talk, and afterward, I took her back to the Amtrak station. What was our main topic of conversation? The many authors with limited or no dealings with Warren Buffett who invoke his name in order to get better sales. I won’t name names. I have relationships with a number of them.
I will review “The Snowball” soon. Alice Schroeder spent around five years creating that lengthy book, and I can see why she would be upset over those that use Buffett for their own personal gain.
This book is another example of that. Only chapters 1 and 2 have anything to do with Buffett, and there he is quoted extensively to the point where he should be listed as a secondary author, and get a cut of the royalties. But in the next nine sections have almost nothing from Buffett; it is all the philosophy of Larry Swedroe.>> Read More
As Jesse Livermore said: “Trading is not a game for the stupid, the mentally lazy, the person of inferior emotional balance, or for the get-rich-quick adventurer.” In other words, to excel in the stock market, you have to work hard, have emotional control, and develop confidence in your strategy. I constantly get asked to recommend books that can help with these areas of trading. There are so many good ones out there, but here are a few that I suggest. (If you click on the titles, you can get a more detailed description from Amazon.com).
Confidence and emotional control are extremely important in order to become a successful trader. I believe the ideas taught in the following “self-help” books can help develop that “mental toughness” that’s needed. The concepts learned can also be applied to many areas of our lives: