Facebook Market Value Tops $100 Billion


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Balasubramani Mariappan

Facebook Inc. (FB)’s market value passed $100 billion amid optimism that the world’s largest social network can bolster sales from mobile advertising.

The stock increased 1.9 percent to $41.34 at the close in New York. Earlier, it touched $41.94, the highest intraday price since Facebook’s first trading day on May 18, 2012. The shares have advanced 55 percent this year, compared with a 16 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.


Concern about Facebook Inc.’s ability to sell more ads for wireless devices weighed on the shares after its $16 billion IPO, the largest technology offering on record. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

 Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos., talks about Facebook Inc.’s second-quarter results and the outlook for the company. Surging demand for mobile advertising helped profit and revenue top analysts’ estimates in the second quarter yesterday. Munster speaks with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.” (Source: Bloomberg)

The burgeoning market value is a turnabout for Facebook, which slumped as low as $17.73 in September. Concern about Facebook’s ability to sell more ads for wireless devices weighed on the shares after its $16 billion IPO, the largest technology offering on record. In a sign that Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is making progress in mobile, Facebook last month said promotions on smartphones and tablets generated 41 percent of quarterly advertising revenue, helped by new marketing tools.

“The market is gaining confidence that Facebook is going to be a viable profit-generating machine in the future,” said Laurence Balter, an analyst at Oracle Investment Research in Fox Island,Washington. “People are checking their Facebook page more and more all the time.”

P/E Ratio

Facebook shares are now trading at about 180 times earnings. That’s a greater price-to-earnings ratio than all except three companies in the S&P 500, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A higher multiple can signal that investors think the company may report stronger profit growth in the future.

At a market valuation of $100.7 billion, the Menlo Park, California-based company joins a list of technology companies worth more than $100 billion that includes online retailerAmazon.com Inc. (AMZN), valued at about $130 billion, and chipmaker Intel Corp., which has a market capitalization of about $111 billion. Still, Facebook remains much smaller than iPhone maker Apple Inc. (AAPL), the most valuable U.S. company at more than $450 billion, and Google Inc. (GOOG), with a market capitalization of about $289 billion.

Facebook stock is approaching its all-time high of $45, an intraday record it set on the day of its trading debut.

The shares have climbed 56 percent since July 24, when the company reported second-quarter results that topped analysts’ estimates. Revenue rose 53 percent to $1.81 billion, topping the average prediction of $1.62 billion. Profit excluding certain items was 19 cents a share, while analysts had projected profit of 14 cents.

As it makes strides in mobile advertising, Facebook is pruning features that are underperforming. The company is phasing out physical goods from its gift-giving feature, which let users buy and send items to their friends through the website. Instead, the service will focus on gift cards, which made up about 80 percent of the program’s transactions since it was unveiled late last year, the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco atbwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net

A $21 Billion Dog’s Life


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Balasubramani Mariappan

Forget the flagging economy. Even as more people are loosing their homes, American pets are more pampered than ever.Americans spent $41 billion on their cuddly critters last year — roughly twice as much as they did in 1996 — and much of that growth comes from upscale pet spas and other luxuries, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturing Association.

“We’re noticing more baby boomers are pet owners and they are treating their pets like members of the family,” said APPMA President Bob Vetere in a statement. 

Photo © Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Guardian to share Snowden files with NYT


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Balasubramani Mariappan

In a movie designed to protect its right to publish stories from offshore. The Guardian has said it will share with The Newyork Times (NYT) some of the sensitive documents passed on by the whistleblower Edward Snowden to columnist Glenn Greenwald and film maker Laura Poitras. The aim of this partnership is to circumvent the extraordinary pressure that the newspaper has been under from the British government to had over the material in its possession.

This is the second time in recent years that The Guardian has forged partnerships with the other media publications to put information in the public domain. In 2010, the newspaper entered into an understanding with NYT and Dei Spiegel to release the huge cache of U.S. diplomatic and military documents released by Wikileaks, of which the relevant documents pertaining to India were published by The Hindu.

Government pressure on The Guardian has been building up dramatically in the last several weeks. The newspaper has run more than 300 stories in the last 11 weeks on the Snowden files, which has “….shed unprecedented light on the scale and sophistication of surveillance on both sides of the Atlantic — and the secret laws underpinning such programmes”, said a report published by it on Thursday. The report summed up the key findings that have emerged from the series of reports it has carried so far based on information gleaned from top-secret files of the National Security Agency(NSA) and the GCHQ, the U.K. intelligence agency.

The two most recent official attempts at preventing the newspaper from pursuing its exposure of secret surveillance mechanisms by the U.K. and U.S. governments appears to have been the immediate provocation for the decision to collaborate with the NYT.  Just two months ago, The Guardian was forced to allow the destruction of computer equipment under the supervision of security officials in the basement of its offices in Kings Place.

This was followed by the confiscation of electronic equipment that contained yet more incriminating material from David Miranda, the partner of Glenn Greenwald, in Heathrow airport last Sunday. The U.K. government is facing intense criticism from several political constituencies for having used the controversial Schedule 7 of the Terrorism gate Mr. Miranda, who was travelling to Rio de Janerio from Berlin via London. Mr. Miranda’s lawyers won only a limited injunction in the High Court on their appeal to block access to the material contained in Mr. Miranda’s laptops and other electronic devices. The judges ruled that the data could not be used for a fullscale criminal probe, action that the Met police have already initiated.

In the U.S., journalists are protected by the First Amendment that prevents the government seeking pre-publication injunctions, a powerful reason for shifting the centre of the journalistic investigation there.

With Liberal Democratic leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg distancing himself from the detention of Mr. Miranda — he was not consulted about the police action, he has claimed — the case would appear to hang on the report of the Independent Reviewer of Terror Legislation David Anderson QC.



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Balasubramani Mariappan

Biopics have been often guilty of distorting history and selective omission because, as they say in show biz, why let facts come in the way of a great story!

Mark Zuckerberg didn’t exactly approve of The social Network, but that didn’t stop the film from winning critical acclaim. It was an instant classic.

Unfortunately, for Ashton Kutcher, Jobs is not even remotely close to greatness. Or goodness. Just as you are about to buy into the slightly hunched image of a thin fruitarian walking up to introduce the revolutionary iPod, Ashton Kutcher opens his mouth…. and it’s not Steve Jobs anymore. It is Ashton Kutcher. The Dude from Dude, Where’s My Car? and Kelso from That 70s Show!

Just about as convincing as Joey Tribbiani playing Gorbachev in a biopic! And Soon enough, we see Kuthcer in college. The player. Quick to jump into bed with the first chick he finds in college. He starts tripping on drugs. It’s not like Kutcher has ever played a stoner dude before…. No, wait!

The film unfolds as a literal, simplified, dumbed down account of a school essay on Steve Jobs, scene after scene. Steve Jobs was cool because he introduced the iPod. (Scene 1, Kutcher pulls it out of his pocket and introduce iPod) Jobs dropped out of college (Scene 2, Kutcher seen telling someone he is dropping out of college)

He met Chrisann Brennan (Scene 3, Kutcher in bed with a hot girl) And then started doing LSD (Montage of Kutcher coming to India and doing more drugs). He joined Atari where people hated him because he was good (Kutcher is told: You are really good but you are also an ……*Insert word Zuckerberg was called at the end of The Social Network*).

He took help from his buddy Steve Wozniak to build a more compact board for a video game (Kutcher tells Gad to build a board and overnight, they are done). And so on…

Every Scene is a bullet point compiled randomly from assorted trivia about Steve Jobs. The film makes no effort to find a story that moves you in between all this selective randomness.

Yes, Kutcher nails the walk, the look and the mannerisms and even gives a few scenes towards the second half some intensity but largely ruins Jobs for us. Though Zuckerberg was not a likeable character in The Social Network, we still liked how Jesse Eisenberg played him and eventually ended up admiring a flawed genius. But here, Kutcher just makes Jobs seem like a thankless psychopathic jerk who cheated everyone who helped him grow. Josh Gad, who plays Apple co founder Steve Wozniak, shines and lends the soulless film a little heart.

Otherwise, this is a film that has nothing to say apart from the obvious. Far from beauty, perfection, class or anything you would associate Apple with. Except maybe a new improved version next year. Hopefully, The Social Network writer Aaron Sorkin’s official biopic of Steve Jobs will do the visionary some justice. But right now, he is turning in his iGrave!

Leaked Photos: Rumored iPhone 5S in Gold, Black and Silver


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A number of just-leaked photos appear to show three cases of the next-generation iPhone in silver, black and gold/champagne.The images, published on weekly.ascii.jp, follow a slew of rumors about a gold-colored iPhone 5S. The rumors are unconfirmed, but seem to gain traction with every new leak.

The new iPhone is rumored to arrive on Sept. 10.

The photos only depict the backs of the cases, and while they appear convincing, they could be doctored. The backs of the black and silver models are inscribed with the standard “Designed by Apple in California” and FCC markings, but the gold case only has the iPhone logo on the back — nothing else.

Check out the rest of the photos here and tell us in the comments whether you believe the rumors.

Image: weekly.ascii.jp

Facebook Updates News Feed to Feature More ‘High Quality’ Content

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Facebook has updated its News Feed algorithm in an attempt to flag and display more “high quality” content from pages that users engage with.The social network already uses a technical algorithm to generate a personalized News Feed for each user. The algorithm, which the company explained in a recent announcement at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters, takes several factors into account to determine its place on the News Feed: the author and number of likes, comments, and shares.

Since News Feed is uniquely populated for each user, Facebook first needed to define “high quality” content, software engineer Varun Kacholia wrote in the company’s blog post. Facebook surveyed “thousands” of users on how they deem high quality content, folding the responses into a new machine learning system that was integrated with the master algorithm.

The updated algorithm considers “over a thousand different factors” — including the quality of the page’s other content and the level of completion on the profile — when determining whether a post is high quality, according to the blog post.

Facebook says it has tested the new algorithm on “a small segment of users” and reports that those users engaged more with content on their feeds and hid fewer stories. The new algorithm will be rolled out over the next few weeks to users on both desktop and mobile, according to the post.

Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

63% of Brands Have Multiple Twitter Accounts


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For top brands, one presence on Twitter isn’t enough.

In 2013, 63% of brands have multiple Twitter accounts, according to a report by Brandwatch. This trend represents an 800% increase from two years ago, when just 7% of brands had multiple Twitter accounts.

Statista‘s chart, below, breaks down the number of brands with multiple, single and zero Twitter accounts, measured over the past three years.


Do you think multiple Twitter accounts are a must for brands? Let us know in the comments.

Image: mhkmarketing