Posts by Aaron Pressman

  • Steve Jobs painted as 'ruthless' villain in new documentary

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 2 days ago

    Steve Jobs will long be remembered as one of the most brilliant businessmen in American history, but the details of his portrait remain hotly in dispute.

    Walter Isaacson's 2011 authorized biography, fueled by 40 interviews with the subject, came first. But the book, rushed into print in the aftermath of Jobs' death, has drawn criticism from fans and supporters of the late Apple CEO, who say it painted too negative a picture of a complex man. Many techies say Isaacson also failed to understand the computer industry and thus didn't provide the proper context for Jobs' story.

    Now come two new entries revisiting the Jobs historical record. Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney's "Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine" debuted at the South by Southwest festival earlier this month. And this week, the new book "Becoming Steve Jobs" written by two former Fortune magazine colleagues, Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, hit stores.

    But there is also much that is new, including behind-the-scenes stories of the development of the iPhone and iPad, part of a secret effort known as "Project Purple."

  • IPO market shrivels as tech companies stay private

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 3 days ago

    The market for initial public offerings has tailed off considerably from last year's heady pace, especially for technology and energy companies, and there's no sign of a pick-up anytime soon.

    So far, just 27 firms have priced IPO deals and raised $4.9 billion in the first quarter, down from 65 companies which raised $12 billion a year ago, according to Ipreo. That would make the current quarter the slowest since 2010, though another six deals worth approximately $800 million are scheduled to be priced over the next week.

    Even assuming those deals are completed, the first quarter still looks below average. Over the past five years, the market has averaged 39 first-quarter IPOs and proceeds of $9.5 billion.

    A year ago at this time, the IPO market was flooded with cloud software firms vying to go public, along with a batch of oil and gas exploration and production companies. Crashing prices for cloud stocks and oil have waylaid most new offerings from those sectors.

  • Here comes, but will it help or hurt the company?

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 5 days ago

    The Internet and social media networks like Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB) already provide an outlet for unsatisfied consumers, disgruntled employees and anonymous haters to vent their fury against companies that have drawn their wrath. But the venting could reach a whole new level in a few months when a new Internet address suffix goes online: .sucks.

    Companies will have to decide whether it's worth $2,500 a year to tie up a .sucks address during a 60-day early access period set aside for trademark owners and celebrities that begins March 30. If they don't, anyone in the world will be able to register the name and set up their own protest site.

    The newest offbeat suffixes added to the Internet's domain name system are just a few of the hundreds that have been approved over the past two years. Most are far more innocuous, including .party, .shoes and .accountant.

    [Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App]

  • T-Mobile's Legere takes low price war to the business market

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 10 days ago

    T-Mobile (TMUS) CEO John Legere's latest attempt to blow up the wireless market may have been the least interesting for consumers, but it could be among the most significant for the company's bottom line. At yet another rock 'n roll-filled announcement event, Legere on Wednesday unveiled a highly discounted wireless service offering aimed at businesses. The new plans start at 10 lines for $16 each and scale up to thousands of lines for $10 a pop. The price includes 1 GB of high-speed data per line, with more available for additional fees.

    The rates are 40% below Verizon (VZ) and AT&T's (T) prices, Legere said. "Two things you can guarantee will happen as of today," the CEO said in an interview after the announcement. "Our business revenue will go up and their's will go down."

    [Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App]

  • Pandora tries to convince investors it can reignite growth

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 11 days ago

    Top executives from Pandora Media (P) have been on a goodwill tour with Wall Street for the past month, hosting the Internet radio company's first analyst day in four years and speaking at an unprecedented seven investment conferences.

    And it looks like, for now, most investors don't want to try.

  • Tiny Meerkat live video app taking Twitter by storm

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 15 days ago

    Heard of Meerkat? If not, you probably will soon.

    That’s the name, of course, of the super cute mongoose relative that kids love, but it’s also the name of a new app with a tiny following that’s growing like gangbusters. Meerkat the app allows anyone with an iPhone and a Twitter (TWTR) account to start broadcasting live video. And because the Meerkat network rides on top of Twitter’s social network, anyone who follows you on Twitter and also uses Meerkat can get pinged by an iPhone notification to watch your live video.

    The app itself comes from a small Israeli company called Life On Air that has been trying to crack the live amateur video space. It was posted in the iPhone app store on Feb. 21 and quickly shot up the charts of a website frequented by early app adopters called Product Hunt, leading to a viral wildfire of increasing usage. There are no fees or advertising yet, so it's hard to tell how long Meerkat will be able to sustain itself.

  • Think you are ready to cut cable?

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 16 days ago

    The good folks at Nielsen published their fourth quarter video audience report. There are lots of interesting factoids contained therein, but the one that jumped out at me was the increase in households that watch video without a traditional cable or satellite subscription, so-called pay TV homes. And this year, Time Warner’s (TWX) HBO, CBS (CBS) and many others are making even more popular shows available online to those without cable subscriptions.

    Take the illustrated survey below to see if cable cutting is a viable option from you:


  • The bad old days may be back for Intel and other PC stalwarts

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 16 days ago

    Intel (INTC) warned Wall Street on Thursday that it wouldn’t be able to meet the quarterly guidance it offered less than two months ago, raising the specter of a return to the bad old days of frequent disappoints.

    The Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker hasn’t had to lower its guidance abruptly mid-quarter in over two-and-a-half years, but it used to be at least an annual occurrence. From 2006 through 2012, Intel warned and cut its sales or profit guidance seven times, according to FactSet data.

    But much of the unexpected strength was companies upgrading PCs running Windows XP after Microsoft ended support for that ancient operating system. The move was likely to provide only a temporary boost, as thelarger forces pressuring overall PC sales remained.

    And that may leave investors feeling an unpleasant sense of deja vu for the rest of the year.

  • 4 reasons why Wall Street is underestimating the Apple Watch

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 18 days ago

    A day after Apple’s (AAPL) big Apple Watch reveal, much of the reaction could be summed up with the ultimate Internet shrug: meh. From Wall street analysts to tech journalists to bloggers who follow Apple, few were impressed with what they saw on stage in San Francisco on Monday, at least in terms of watches. The raves were reserved for Apple’s super-thin new Macbook laptop computer. “The question will be whether [the watch] offers enough utility and is enough of a time saver to warrant plugging in yet another device every night,” Brian Blair, an analyst for Rosenblatt Securities who attended the event, noted in one typical comment. “We are skeptical.” But without resorting to one of those endless laundry lists of wrong-way predictions about earlier Apple products, here are four reasons why the conventional wisdom may have it wrong about the Apple Watch. 1. They don’t get fashion As CEO Tim Cook noted when he (finally) got to the Apple Watch details in Monday’s presentation, the device is by far the most personal gadget the company has ever made because it’s something worn on your person and outwardly for all to see. In addition to whatever functionality it provides, the watch is also a statement about personal style, fashion and appearance. That’s not exactly the bailiwick of Wall Street analysts and technology bloggers. But it has been clear for a while that top tech companies, led by Apple and Google, were aware of the coming importance of fashion and actively sought to recruit the talent necessary to compete on that playing field. Apple over the past two years hired former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, Paul Deneve from Yves Saint Laurent and designer Marc Newson, among others. And despite the loud criticism from tech heads, plenty of fashionistas are raving. As watch aficionado Benjamin Clymer wrote after first seeing the Apple device last fall: “There is nothing that comes close to the fluidity, attention to detail, or simple build quality” among traditional watches or smartwatches at the $350 price point. Comments after Monday’s presentation were equally effusive. It’s just too bad that Ahrendts didn’t get to take the stage on Monday. Apple hasn’t ever had a female executive from the company present and only two of 59 featured speakers since 2007 were woman, as Yahoo Tech’s Alyssa Bereznak reported. 2. They don’t appreciate the size of the potential market Apple has grown so large — sales in 2014 totaled almost $200 billion — that the potential size of the watch-buying market has been missed. Only a relatively small fraction of iPhone buyers could create a sizable hit in the wearables market, which has thus far barely gotten off the ground. Over 300 million people own an iPhone 5 or later model, which will be compatible with the new watch. If only 5% of those iPhone owners buy a watch this year, Apple will have sold 20 times as many watches as its Android Wear competitors did last year. And 5% penetration may be conservative.

  • Apple's $10,000 gold watch fails to impress investors

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 19 days ago

    Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook kicked off the festivities for the Apple watch on Monday by taking his time getting to the hotly anticipated new device on everyone's minds, eventually disclosing that the high-end gold model would start at $10,000.

    Investors were unimpressed. Apple shares, which traded as high as $129.57 during the early portion of the event, closed at $127.14, up 0.4% on the day. Of course, stock market investors also shrugged off the iPhone and the iPad when they were introduced.

    Cook didn't start touting the watch until after spending nearly an hour talking about the company's television, phone and Macintosh products.

    “Apple watch is the most personal device we have ever created,” Cook said. “It’s not just with you. It’s on you.” With the entry-level model starting at $349, a midtier watch with a stainless steel case will start at $549. Models with slightly larger screens will cost $50 more at both tiers. But the Apple Watch Edition with its 18-karat gold case will start at $10,000 when the watches arrive on April 24, Cook said.

    Cook said Apple would cut the price of its Apple TV box to $69 from $99.