The digital business week

20 Jun 2011

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

HP reshuffle – will Apotheker re-energise this IT giant?

HP CEO Léo Apotheker’s organisational changes appear aimed at getting the world’s biggest technology player into the right mindset for the road ahead. The biggest change has been the shifting of Ann Livermore, Pete Bocian and Randy Mott out of day-to-day management roles.

Livermore, who was twice tipped to be CEO and who has guided key divisions of the company for almost 30 years, is to be moved to the board of HP but will continue to be interim chief of HP’s Enterprise Services division until a replacement is found.

The positions of Bocian (who was VP and chief administration officer) and Mott (who was CIO) are to be eliminated.

Leading executives David Donatelli (enterprise servers) and Bill Veghte (software) will report directly to Apotheker while Todd Bradley (personal systems) will focus on growth in China and Vyomesh Joshi (imaging and printing) will focus on growth in India.

HP sues Oracle over software development

IT giant HP is suing Oracle because Oracle has decided to stop developing software for the chip HP uses in its high-end servers.

On March 22, Oracle decided to stop developing software for Intel’s Itanium processor. HP believes this is a breach of contract that violates commitments Oracle made to HP and their joint customers, HP said in a statement.

Oracle denies HP’s claims, calling them “utterly malicious and meritless.” Oracle also claimed HP, despite knowing of an Intel plan to discontinue Itanium, tricked Oracle into signing an agreement in September to continue supporting Itanium

Intel has not publicly announced any plans to stop developing Itanium.

Nokia and Apple reach patent agreement

Nokia and Apple have signed a patent licence agreement that settles all patent litigation between the companies, including both companies’ withdrawal of their complaints to the US International Trade Commission.

The agreement requires Apple to make a one-time payment and royalty payments to Nokia for the term of the agreement, the specific terms of which are confidential.

RIM earnings fall below expectations

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion has reported first-quarter earnings that were even worse than analysts’ lowered expectations, resulting in the company lowering its outlook and plummeting shares.

RIM is not only dealing with increased demand and production delays, but it plans to cut an unspecified number of jobs, the company said in a statement.

RIM reported profit of $695m, or $1.33 per share, for the three months that ended 28 May, compared with $769m, or $1.38 per share, in the same period last year. For the current quarter, it forecast earnings of 75 cents to $1.05 per share, less than analyst expectations of $1.36 per share.

The smartphone maker also lowered its annual earnings outlook to a range of $5.25 to $6 per share, down from an April forecast of $7.50 per share.

Facebook denies losses as IPO plans gather pace

Social networking giant Facebook has denied it is losing users, claiming 50pc of active users log on every day. The denial comes as it appears the company is getting ready to file documents with the SEC regarding a US$100bn IPO next year.

The company was responding to claims that Facebook’s growth has been stalling, particularly in countries like the US and Canada.

CNBC reported that the company is planning to IPO next spring, driven by SEC rules whereby if a company has 500 or more investors it must begin producing quarterly financial results.

Facebook is likely to pass the 500-investor threshold this year.

If the social networking giant – which is about to reach 700m users worldwide – IPOs, it is likely to be with a valuation of about US$100bn.

Pandora opens trading at US$20 per share

US-based music streaming service Pandora started trading on the New York Stock Exchange last week, opening at US$20 a share which valued it at US$3.2bn.

According to TechCrunch, shares rose up to US$25 each within minutes of trading, valuing the company at US$4bn.

Pandora, which will be trading under the symbol ‘P,’ has managed to raise US$235m in its IPO.

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