Giant Apple : Will Apple become the first trillion-dollar company?

21. August 2012

Date: 21-08-2012
Source: The Economist

EARLIER this year, there was plenty of speculation that Apple’s stock had entered bubble territory. Investors apparently think otherwise: on August 20th the firm’s share price hit $665, giving it a market capitalisation of more than $623 billion—and making it the most valuable listed company of all time. This record was previously held by another tech behemoth, Microsoft, whose market capitalisation reached $616 billion in December 1999. Although in real terms Microsoft still holds the crown (in today’s dollars, its record market capitalisation would be around $850 billion), no other technology company has ever carried as much weight as Apple currently does in the global equity markets: it accounts for 4.8% of the S&P 500, 3.7% of America’s stockmarket and 1.3% of the global equity market. Some bank analysts have started to report America’s corporate earnings without Apple, because the firm’s inclusion skews results. Bulls reckon that the price could go even higher—and that Apple could become the world’s first public company with a trillion-dollar market capitalisation.

Apple becomes most valuable company of all time

20. August 2012

Date: 20-08-2012
Source: Reuters

Apple Inc became the most valuable public company of all time on Monday when the combined value of its shares exceeded a previous record set by Microsoft Corp.
Apple traded at $664.74 to give it a market value of $623.14 billion, above the record set by Microsoft of $620.58 billion reached in 1999 at the height of the tech bubble, according to data provided by S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Apple has been the biggest public company in the world since overtaking Exxon Mobil to reach the number one spot last year, but Monday’s move means that it has now entered the record books as the biggest company ever.

At Monday’s close of trade, Apple shares need to settle at $657.50 for the record to be set on a closing basis as well, according to S&P Dow Jones indices. The shares were trading 2 percent higher to $661.15 at around 1.19 p.m. EDT (1719 GMT). Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft’s Lost Decade

20. August 2012

Date: 20-08-2012
Source: Vanity Fair: Kurt Eichenwald

Once upon a time, Microsoft dominated the tech industry; indeed, it was the wealthiest corporation in the world. But since 2000, as Apple, Google, and Facebook whizzed by, it has fallen flat in every arena it entered: e-books, music, search, social networking, etc., etc. Talking to former and current Microsoft executives, Kurt Eichenwald finds the fingers pointing at C.E.O. Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates’s successor, as the man who led them astray. 

To the saccharine rhythm of a Muzak clip, Steve Ballmer crouched into a tackling stance and dashed across a ballroom stage at the Venetian Las Vegas. A 20-foot wall of video screens flashed his name as the 55-year-old Microsoft chief executive bear-hugged Ryan Seacrest, the ubiquitous television and radio host, who had just introduced Ballmer’s keynote speech for the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show.

More than 150,000 techies and executives were swarming the city’s hotels last January in the annual bacchanalia of cutting-edge gizmos and gadgets. Attendees ran from one vendor to the next, snapping up fistfuls of freebies, inhaling flavored oxygen, and rubbing elbows with stars such as LL Cool J and Justin Bieber. Read the rest of this entry »

How Big Data Became So Big

18. August 2012

Date: 18-08-2012
Source: The New York Times

THIS has been the crossover year for Big Data — as a concept, as a term and, yes, as a marketing tool. Big Data has sprung from the confines of technology circles into the mainstream.

First, here are a few, well, data points: Big Data was a featured topic this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with a report titled “Big Data, Big Impact.” In March, the federal government announced $200 million in research programs for Big Data computing.

Rick Smolan, creator of the “Day in the Life” photography series, has a new project in the works, called “The Human Face of Big Data.” The New York Times has adopted the term in headlines like “The Age of Big Data” and “Big Data on Campus.” And a sure sign that Big Data has arrived came just last month, when it became grist for satire in the “Dilbert” comic strip by Scott Adams. “It comes from everywhere. It knows all,” one frame reads, and the next concludes that “its name is Big Data.”

The Big Data story is the making of a meme. And two vital ingredients seem to be at work here. The first is that the term itself is not too technical, yet is catchy and vaguely evocative. The second is that behind the term is an evolving set of technologies with great promise, and some pitfalls.

Big Data is a shorthand label that typically means applying the tools of artificial intelligence, like machine learning, to vast new troves of data beyond that captured in standard databases. The new data sources include Web-browsing data trails, social network communications, sensor data and surveillance data. Read the rest of this entry »

Modern supply chains are making it easier for economies to industrialise

8. August 2012

Date: 08-08-2012
Source: The Economist

GETTING rich used to be tough. For most of the past two centuries, few countries managed it. Lant Pritchett, an economist now at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, wrote in 1997 that “divergence, big time” between the rich and the rest was “the dominant feature of modern economic history.” But those stubborn gaps have begun to close. Industrialisation is suddenly everywhere. Since the mid-1980s, emerging markets have grown faster than advanced economies (see chart).

Liberal reforms and sound macroeconomic management surely helped. Yet recent research by Richard Baldwin of the Graduate Institute in Geneva suggests it is not so much the developing world that has changed as development itself. Today’s emerging markets face a different sort of globalisation than their predecessors 50 or 100 years ago.

Most advanced economies industrialised as part of what Mr Baldwin calls globalisation’s first great unbundling: the geographical separation of producers and consumers. Early in the industrial era, high transport costs restricted trade. Expensive shipping limited most manufacturers to sales within the same city or country. But as the industrial revolution progressed, steamships and railways slashed transport costs, exposing firms to foreign competition for the first time. The most productive firms were those best able to take advantage of economies of scale. A single large plant could produce goods at a lower unit cost than lots of smaller factories, and a cluster of large suppliers at lower cost still. Production clustered in massive cities in a few economies. Read the rest of this entry »

Brand new: Emerging-market companies are trying to build global brands

3. August 2012

Date: 03-08-2012
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

AMERICANS can stop worrying about China’s plans to take over their country. The worst has already happened: on July 25th Lenovo, a Chinese computer firm, announced a deal to sponsor the National Football League. America will continue to provide muscle-bound linebackers, but the Chinese will provide the clever laptops and desktops that make their tussles possible.

Lenovo was founded in 1984 by 11 engineers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences who wanted to supplement their meagre stipends. It spent years building its business in China. But then in 2005 it burst onto the global scene—and rattled America’s Congress—when it bought IBM’s ThinkPad personal-computer business. The company is now the second-largest PC maker in the world and hopes to grab the top spot from Hewlett-Packard soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Hightech: Eine Waffe aus dem 3D-Drucker

2. August 2012, 2/8

Kann man mithilfe eines 3D-Druckers eine Waffe bauen? Ein Amerikaner hat es gezeigt: Aus einer so hergestellten Pistole feuerte er 200 Schuss ab. Der 3D-Druck zeigt: Nicht nur Lampen und vielleicht Organe, auch Waffen können ein Erzeugnis sein.

In Zukunft könnten nicht nur normal gebaute Waffen wie diese gefährlich werden, sondern auch Eigenkonstruktionen aus dem 3D-Drucker. Ein Amerikaner hat gezeigt wie. Quelle: Fotolia
In Zukunft könnten nicht nur normal gebaute Waffen wie diese gefährlich werden, sondern auch Eigenkonstruktionen aus neuster Technik: dem 3D-Drucker. Ein Amerikaner zeigt im Internet, wie man eine solche Waffe baut. Quelle: Fotolia

Eine Pistole des Kalibers 22 beweist, wie einfach es sein kann, eine Waffe zu bauen – und wie günstig. Ein US-Waffenliebhaber diese Schusswaffe zum Teil aus Plastik-Teilen eines 3D-Druckers hergestellt. Und sie scheint zu funktionieren, denn laut dem Magazin „New Scientist“ gab er daraus 200 Schuss ab.

Für die Eigenkonstruktion verwendete er einen Stratsys-Drucker, um das untere Gehäuse der Pistole als Komponente eines Maschinengewehrs M16 bauen zu können. Die restlichen Teile sind aus Metall.

Die Krux an der Aktion: Der Waffenbauer, der sich im einschlägigen AR-15-Forum „HaveBlue“ nennt, konnte die Waffe nach eigenen Angaben besonders günstig bauen – und am Gesetz vorbei. Read the rest of this entry »