Apple stock hits all-time-high as it soars towards $700 a share


Apple stock hits all-time-high as it soars towards $700 a share

Apple closed at a new high yesterday of $676.27, as it continues its assent to $700 a share.

This is despite Amazon, Nokia and Google’s Motorola division introducing new devices. And the on-going competition from Samsung’s Galaxy S III, which Apple is hoping to add to its list of patent infringing products.

Fortune notes that Apple hit an all-time intraday high of $680.87 on 27 August, the first day of trading after the Apple versus Samsung verdict, but closed that day on $675.68.

This week a number of analysts have reassessed their expectations for the Apple stock. Analysts at Piper Jaffray reiterated an Overweight rating on Apple shares (which means it expects the stock to outperform the sector). They have a $910.00 price target on the stock, notes Daily Political.

Credit Suisse analysts have an Outperform rating (meaning they expect the stock to do slightly better than the marker) on shares of Apple. They have a $750.00 price target on the stock.

JPMorgan boosted its Apple share price target from $675 to $770, maintaining an Overweight rating on the Apple stock. However, JPMorgan noted that there may be stormy weather ahead, warning, in a note to investors, that the 12 September iPhone launch event could provide an “event-risk” for the stock depending on reaction to the new iPhone, notes Dofonline.

What will happen to Apple’s stock after the iPhone 5 announcement?

Covestor notes that only two of the five previous iPhones caused the stock to appreciate 4-5 days later, sharing a Statista graph that shows that following the announcement of the iPhone in January 2007, Apple’s stock soared. The only other time was the iPhone 4S. In the case of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3G the stock declined immediately following the announcements.

It is a common phenomenon for Apple’s stock to tank directly following product launches and Apple earnings announcements. For this reason, we’re heard it recommended that you should buy on the rumour, but sell on the news.

However, in the quarters following the announcement of the new iPhone, it is expected that Apple’s stock will see growth. In a Seeking Alpha report entitled “The current Apple situation might be the investment opportunity of the decade”, contributor Terry Allen suggests that we could see “higher than 25% growth thanks to the iPhone that is on its way.

What will happen if Apple splits its stock?

Another reason why Apple’s share price may rise in the coming months is if it splits its stock.

One prediction is that if Apple split its stock and joined the Dow Jones Industrial Average, many more mutual funds would buy it, causing the stock to soar.

In addition, with Apple shares available at a cheaper price, less experienced traders and faint-of-heart investors could get their hands on it, “meaning a potential and likely increase in volatility”, notes Seeking Alpha.

But, with more people able to buy, the share price could move from the $60 dollar range into the $80’s or more, adds that report.

“While a split would likely make Apple stock more volatile in the short term, I for one think a split would be good. I feel as though Apple will have an easier time getting to $100 after the split, than it will getting to $1,000 without the split,” writes Allen.

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US MS case goes back to lower court


US MS case goes back to lower court

The US Court of Appeals ruled to return Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson’s decision in the government’s antitrust case against Microsoft to a lower court yesterday.

The court also ruled that another judge should handle the case. It “vacated” – or cancelled – Jackson’s remedy of breaking up the company, but upheld the finding that Microsoft illegally tried to maintain a monopoly in operating systems.

The ruling said in part: “We vacate the Final Judgment on remedies, because the trial judge engaged in impermissible ex parte contacts by holding secret interviews with members of the media, and made numerous offensive comments about Microsoft officials in public statements outside of the courtroom, giving rise to an appearance of partiality.”

Split
In June of last year, Jackson ordered the break-up of Microsoft into two separate companies, one focused on operating systems and the other on software applications. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and 17 of 19 state attorneys general that are plaintiffs in the case had recommended that ruling. Jackson further ordered a variety of behavioural remedies meant to curb, according to the government allegations, Microsoft’s illegal use of its operating-system monopoly to further its dominance in IT. The break-up and remedies were “stayed” while the appeals process continues.

The judge’s harshest sentiments were not delivered in court. In public speeches and interviews, Jackson expressed his views on the case regarding both the DOJ and Microsoft attorneys and personnel. He likened Microsoft’s Bill Gates to Napoleon.

In response, Microsoft urged the appeals court to consider the judge’s remarks. That court rebuked Jackson for offering his thoughts on the case. If all judges spoke publicly “the system would be a sham”, Chief Judge Harry Edwards said during two days of oral arguments before the appeals court.

During the arguments, Edwards also had a sharp exchange with Jeffrey Minear, an attorney from the Office of the Solicitor General defending the break-up order, casting doubt on the government’s contention that Microsoft exhibited monopolistic, anticompetitive behaviour against Web browser developer Netscape.

RealViz brings VTour to the Mac


RealViz brings VTour to the Mac

RealViz has released VTour for the Mac.

VTour originally launched for Windows in March this year. The solution for the creation of photo-real 3D environments, 2D pictures or panoramas and is based on RealViz’s award-winning Stitcher and ImageModeler products.

According to the company, VTour has been “specifically developed for use in a wide range of applications, such as virtual walkthroughs, 3D simulation, virtual reality, urban planning and video games, and is also well suited for the creation of virtual sets for film and television.”

Users can take panoramic or ordinary digital images and uses these as a base for the creatiuon of 3D scenes, which can then be exported or published as 3D movies or within interactive applications, such as Shockwave.

VTour also enables the creation of geo-referenced 3D scenes for Google Earth. 3D environments. The company promises small file sizes without poor quality, export to Maya.

The software costs €499.

Sims House Party in development


Sims House Party in development

The Sims House Party Expansion pack is being developed for the Mac by Westlake Interactive for games publishers Aspyr.

The Sims House Party was recently released by EA Games and developed by Maxis.

House Party is all about getting the Sims to socialise. The add-on doesn’t feature any new careers for the Sims, but there are new party decors, and items such as mechanical bulls and a giant cake designed to encourage wild parties.

The expansion pack will be distributed by Softline on its release.

Microsoft has closed Skype acquisition


Microsoft has closed Skype acquisition

Microsoft said Friday that it has closed its US$8.5 billion acquisition of Skype, the Internet telephony provider in Luxembourg, and the company will function as a new business division within Microsoft.

Skype CEO Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the new Skype Division immediately, reporting directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The acquisition is however still under review in a few countries, and will be completed in those countries when such reviews are closed, Microsoft said without naming the countries. The deal was cleared by the Department of Justice in the U.S. in June and antitrust regulators in the European Union this month.

Microsoft announced in May that it had agreed to acquire Skype, and said at the time that it would be integrated with Microsoft’s products, without affecting availability of the popular Internet telephony application on platforms from competitors.

The Skype division will continue to offer its current products to millions of users globally, Microsoft said on Friday. In the long term, Skype will also be integrated across an array of Microsoft products to broaden Skype’s reach and accelerate its growth as a fundamental way for people to communicate online, it added.

Founded in 2003, Skype was acquired by eBay in September 2005, and then acquired by an investment group led by Silver Lake in November 2009. Other members of the selling investor group led by Silver Lake include eBay International, CPP Investment Board, Joltid in partnership with Europlay Capital Advisors, and Andreessen Horowitz, Microsoft said

Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John’s e-mail address is [email protected]

MACWORLD FIRST: Apple ‘to buy Universal Music’


MACWORLD FIRST: Apple ‘to buy Universal Music’

In what could be the IT/Entertainment story of the year, Apple Computer is reportedly in talks to acquire the world’s largest record company Universal Music in a $6 billion deal, reports the LA Times.

Citing “sources”, the LA Times report explains that Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music division reaps about $6 billion annually in sales. Its roster includes well-known Mac user Bryan Adams and Irish-born pop superstars U2.

The artist’s roster extends across multiple genres. It includes Limp Bizkit, Beck, Blink-182, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, Elton John, and S Club 7.

Universal Music’s back catalogue includes Abba, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Patsy Cline, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Nirvana and The Who.

Universal Music also owns several labels, including: MCA, Polygram, Motown, Geffen-DGC, Interscope, Island, Def Jam, Polydor, Philips, and the Verve Music Group.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has reportedly been in discussion with Vivendi for “several months”, the report claims. It also says accountants from Morgan Stanley are looking at Universal Music’s accounts on Apple’s behalf. It also states that if an offer is made, it will be before Vivendi’s April 29 board meeting.

According to the report, the French media giant Vivendi is trying to reduce debt – seeking to raise $7 billion this year by selling assets that would include all or some of its Universal film, television, theme-park and music units.

“There has been a lot of speculation surrounding Vivendi, and all the major music companies. Vivendi is in huge debt,” a music business insider told Macworld.

“A possible deal to acquire Vivendi assets is in play,” the source confirmed. The source also confirmed that analysts have been downgrading the values of the Big Five music companies “every month for months”.

Digital-music moves
The move comes as the music business struggles to create an acceptable business model to offer honest consumers a paid service that competes with illegal music download services.

It also comes as Apple applies the finishing touches to its own forthcoming digital music download system for Mac users. Apple has signed up four of the big five music labels to contribute tracks to this service, the report claims. Reportedly, the service makes downloading and purchasing music as simple as buying a book from Amazon.

“Jobs apparently is betting that music is finally on the verge of becoming a profitable presence on the Internet,” says the LA Times.

Apple has annual sales of about $5.74 billion with $4.4 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments, according to its December 28 annual report.

Vivendi Universal has a market capital of $15.132 billion. Apple’s market capital stands at $5.18 billion.

Steve Jobs also has a personal fortune worth an estimated $1.6 billion, according to a September 2002 report from analyst firm Christian and Timbers.

Universal Music, however, is in the doldrums as all the big music makers face declining CD sales; attributing this to music piracy. The company’s operating profit fell 23 per cent to $510 million in its last fiscal year, despite its worldwide music business dominance.

Universal is not alone. Yesterday, Billboard reported that the value of global music sales fell 7.2 per cent last year to $32.2 billion, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Unit sales have fallen 8 per cent since 2001.

IFPI CEO Jay Berman told Billboard: “I sincerely believe we’re getting close to a turnaround.” He did warn of a potential worse case scenario in which the value of the music business declined a further 5 per cent.

In response, the major labels are currently examining ways in which they can “rewrite the business model,” a source said. “Obviously, a strategic team-up with Apple or Microsoft would give a label a competitive advantage,” a source confirmed. “The Internet is not going away,” they said.

Negotiations
Reporting that negotiations began in December, the LA Times reports: “Impressed by Apple’s new digital service and Jobs’ vision of music’s future, Vivendi initially proposed selling him a minority stake in its record operation, sources said.”

In March, the report claims, Jobs hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to conduct due diligence.

The Los Angeles Times also warns: “The discussions could founder over unresolved issues.”

Jobs believes online music piracy will become harder to achieve, as such services face aggressive action from government’s and music industry forces worldwide, the report claims, “prompting fans to migrate to legitimate sources,” it said.

The news breaks as the music business prepares to launch its own Top 40 chart of legitimate music downloads, according to the BBC. “Incorporating digitally distributed music sales makes perfect sense,” a music business executive told Macworld.

The report also offers more details about Apple’s forthcoming music download service. It was, purportedly, developed by Apple specifically for Mac users and iPods. “Apple is likely to develop a version to run on Windows,” says the LA Times.

Neither Apple nor Vivendi have been able to comment.

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Comment on this story on Macworld Online’s Forum.

Launch trailer for Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst shows smooth parkour action


Launch trailer for Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst shows smooth parkour action

Serious question: is a launch trailer really a launch trailer when the game launch in question is 14+ days out?

To be fair, EA’s launch trailer for Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is pretty snazzy. It sets up the story, which sees you, in the comfy running shoes of series protagonist Faith, running and jumping and fighting en route to a showdown with Catalyst’s big bad, Gabriel Kruger, which is a great name for a bad guy.

Faith returns when Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst launches on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on June 7. The game was originally going to launch today, but developer DICE asked for a two-week delay to sand a few rough corners following feedback from the beta.

FFXV GamesCom 2015 Trailer Titled As "Dawn", Dev Shares Brief Glimpse via Animated Gif, Looks Stunning


FFXV GamesCom 2015 Trailer Titled As “Dawn”, Dev Shares Brief Glimpse via Animated Gif, Looks Stunning

Square Enix has just shared a small sneak peek at new Final Fantasy XV footage which will be showcased today at GamesCom 2015 at 11PM Pacific. Via Final Fantasy official Twitter account, Square Enix released an animated gif showing glimpse of FFXV GamesCom 2015 footage “Dawn”. You can check out the animated gif below.

FFXV

Apart this new trailer, Final Fantasy series can expect to hear some more development update on FFXV as members of development team will be in attendance at the event including game director Hajime Tabata.

Final Fantasy XV (formerly Final Fantasy Versus) is the story of a young king sworn to defend the last crystal in the world from the “hectic order” outside of his kingdom. It’s a fight between ancient and modern technology, and the struggle of one king to protect the old ways.

J.J. Abrams and Gabe Newell to Give Keynote on 'Storytelling Across Platforms' at DICE Summit | Assassin's Creed 3 | Half-Life 2 | Half-Life


J.J. Abrams and Gabe Newell to Give Keynote on ‘Storytelling Across Platforms’ at DICE Summit | Assassin’s Creed 3 | Half-Life 2 | Half-Life

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Leading Hollywood director J.J. Abrams signs up to address the interactive entertainment industry alongside Valve’s Gabe Newell at the D.I.C.E. summit on the 6 February.

J.J. Abrams, Hollywood film director renowned for Cloverfield and the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness, will be giving the keynote presentation at the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas on 6 February 2013, alongside Valve supremo Gabe Newell, the brains behind the Half-Life video game series.

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Science‘s prestigious gathering is focused on promoting and celebrating entertainment and creative culture in “our rapidly changing global theatre” and with Abrams and Newell spearheading this year’s soirée, the message should prove to be an interesting one.

The D.I.C.E. press release stated that “the two industry legends will meet in Las Vegas for a unique session titled, ‘Storytelling Across Platforms: Who Benefits Most, the Audience or the Player?’” which should be a fascinating discussion, especially as the press release also claims “each year, the D.I.C.E. Summit sets the tone for the year ahead in games and adding J.J. and Gabe’s shared insights is a natural fit as we see all forms of entertainment converge.”

This will be the 12th anniversary of the conference founded on the principles of “Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain”, which sees industry heads from across the interactive entertainment industry network and share ideas. The 16th DICE Awards  as advertised in the above video will take place on the following evening of the 7th .

As much as it will be a celebration, it may also be that – more than ever before – eyes from beyond industry will be watching with interest, as the moral and cultural influence of video gaming continues to be under increasing scrutiny in the wake of last year’s Sandy Hook shootings.

No doubt, how that attention might be handled and addressed will be as influential as the creative inspiration.

Korean soldiers play Hearthstone during service by using paper | HeartStone


Korean soldiers play Hearthstone during service by using paper | HeartStone

When a PC isn’t near by, whip out the good old pen and paper

In Korea, there is a mandatory military service of a period of 2 years for men aged between 18 and 35. One of the soldiers there wanted to play Hearthstone during his free time, but it wasn’t allowed. So this soldier devised a different approach to play the game – doing it the old fashion way with cards. Well, not cards exactly, with loads of paper.

This soldier, along with the help of two other men, started drawing out all the cards needed to play a game of Hearthstone. These men only had one hour a day to work on this project, between 10 and 11PM. Below is an example of some of the cards they drew. 

The soldiers use dice to deal with the random effects of the cards. They also changed the mana cost for Leeroy Jenkins “because he got nerfed”. By the end of it, these men were able to play an actual game of Hearthstone.

This is quite impressive to see, as there are hundreds of cards in the game. These soldiers were quite determined to play a game of Hearthstone, and after the work they put into it, I think they deserve to play a few games