RBC Slashes Apple Stock Target to $70

appleVery simply, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) today will downgrade the Apple stock price and slash its target of $125 per share down to $70. RBC is citing concerns of earning potential and uncertainty about the company’s leadership. I do believe Apple remains in a good long position as the company is set to unveil new and exciting products in 2009 such as a new Mac mini, new iMacs and possibly a new iPhone, all that will surely boost sales. There are also rumors of an upgrade to the highly successful iPhone 3G. It is hard to believe only months ago the Apple stock was trading at almost $200 per share.

Google Announces First Job Cuts, Closes Popular Services

googleGoogle has announced its first layoffs in the company’s history. The job cuts will come from the closure of three engineering offices and the layoffs of 100 recruiters. Google maintains the company is still actively hiring but at a reduced rate. Google said it expects the company to grow by 20% therefore it does not need as many people to active hire. Google has also announced other cost cutting measures with the closure of some services. Google has announced the closure of Dodgeball, Google Video, Google Notebooks, Jaiku, and more services. Users will no longer be able to upload videos on Google Video in the coming months, but existing videos will remain accessible. It is possible Google may axe some other services including Grand Central and Google Base which are not as popular.

Windows 7 Flaw Could Kill Your MP3 Files

Microsoft is warning users of the new Windows 7 Beta of a flaw that can permanently impair your MP3 files, including purchased MP3 tracks. Microsoft said, “every time that metadata is edited in an MP3 file that already contains lots of metadata in the file header, some audio at the beginning of the track may be lost permanently,” Microsoft is urging users to download a simple fix for Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player for Windows 7 to avoid compromising your music collection. Microsoft just recently uncapped downloads for Windows 7 until Jan 24 2008. You can download it here. At CES, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, “we are on track to deliver the best version of Windows ever…and working hard to get it right.” Windows 7 should hit shelves by late 2009 at the earliest, or early 2010.

Number of Google Advertising Partners Unveiled

Google has always kept the number of advertising partners a secret. Google would always say the company had hundreds of thousands of partners, but never anything more than that. Now, from an SEC filing, Google said it had 1 million advertisers in 2007, and now likely has upwards of 1.5 million. Google had 90,000 advertising partners in 2003, more than 350,000 in 2005, and 600,000 in 2006. Google did not add anything else.

Palm Unveils New Palm Pre OS

Update 1: You can now watch the full Palm CES keynote here.

Update 2: In an interview with Palm CEO Ed Colligan, he apparently mentioned to IDG that Palm will release the GSM version of the Palm Pre powered phone in the first half of 2009 along with the CDMA Sprint version.

I firstly reported on Dec 15 2008 that Palm was set to unveil its new OS at CES. Palm has in fact done just that. Check out the video of the new and seemingly impressive new Palm Pre OS below. No price or availability information was released. It is expected the first Palm Pre powered device will launch first in the U.S., likely on Sprint, for about $400 on a contract, or about $550 unlocked.The Palm stock was up almost 50% following the news. More Videos at YouTube

See here for more screenshots of the new Palm Pre WebOS

Microsoft Tag Now on Your iPhone

Microsoft at CES has just unveiled its second iPhone app, Microsoft Tag. The program lets users take snapshots of almost anything then the program retrieves information including media, contact information, special offers, and so on. Microsoft Tags is based on Microsoft’s High Capacity Color Barcodes system, which is a high capacity barcode system that stores more information, as seen in the image below. The system is similar to the QR Code matrix. You can get Microsoft Tag now Continue Reading

IBM Completes ILOG Business Events Planning Acquisition

ilog-ibmIBM has just completed its $340 million acquisition of ILOG Inc. ILOG is a Pairs based business rules engine maker. The systems provide business intelligence and allow executives to make better decisions based on events analysis. IBM was interested in taking over ILOG as IBM felt the merger would allow businesses to process and monitor more complex events with the ILOG systems. More companies are beginning to enter the events planning space, including Oracle and Streambase.

IBM was not previously as successful in this field because none of the products “amounted to a real strategy. We didn’t have tight engineering, focused on business event management,” said Kramer Reeves, IBM manager of business process management marketing. IBM failed to disclose any product plans a result of the acquisition.

Rogers Releases 2008 Subscription Numbers

rogersRogers Communications has announced new subscription numbers for 2008. The company said there were 199,000 new subscribers in Q4 of 2008 in its mobile division. The company cited strong iPhone sales, which helped boost subscription numbers in 2008. About 130,000 iPhone 3G phones were sold in Q4 08 alone, the company said 40% of the 130,000 were new subscriptions. Other Rogers divisions did fairly well. The Rogers basic cable TV division added only 4,000 new subscribers, down from 20,000 in the same quarter last year. Digital cable subscriptions were up 61,000 in Q4 08. The Rogers Home phone subscriptions were up by 40,000, down from 65,000 new subscriptions in Q4 2007. Rogers continues to hold its monopoly on the mobile GSM networks in Canada.

China to Issue New 3G Licenses

China has announced it will begin to issue licenses to companies for its 3G mobile network for over $40 billion in government contracts. The Chinese infrastructure will include C and WCDMA, and TD-SCDMA. It is more likely China will opt for extensive use of the TD-SCDMA standard as it was developed by China and therefore China would avoid paying royalties. The Chinese government has awarded 3G contracts mainly to domestic Continue Reading

RIM Extends Certicom Acquisition Offer

rimBlackberry maker RIM has extended its offer to acquire encryption software company Certicom to Jan 27 09, from Jan 12. Originally, RIM was offering $1.50 per share, or $66 million in cash for the Ontario based company. RIM has not changed the terms of the offer. The issue here is that Certicom shareholders have moved to block the acquisition as they believe the offer undervalues the true company value, and they also accuse RIM of using confidential information in its bid. Proceedings in the Ontario Superior Court are scheduled Jan 9.

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