Posts by Aaron Pressman

  • Apple offers peek at Apple watch capabilities

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 1 day ago

    We may not know exactly when the Apple (AAPL) Watch will go on sale, or how much most models will cost, but the tech giant this week made it a bit clearer how useful the gadget could be.

    Apple on Wednesday released a huge set of software guidelines and tools for making apps for its new device.

    But there was one important catch: The actual processing power for this first generation of apps has to come from a linked iPhone. Only the user interface would appear on the watch. Such an app wouldn’t work at all if the owner didn’t also have their iPhone close at hand. Apple said “starting later next year” developers would be able to create “fully native” apps for the watch.

    It sounds like a smart trade-off. Putting all the computing action on the phone should prevent app developers from doing anything that will overtax the Apple watch processor or deplete the battery too quickly. But it also allows developers to get a head start on designing unique and useful watch apps now, instead of forcing them to wait another year.

  • Investors unlikely to agree that Microsoft CEO Nadella is overpaid

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 1 day ago

    The controversy over excessive CEO pay this week hit Satya Nadella, Microsoft's (MSFT) leader for the past nine months. Institutional Shareholder Services, a well-known advisory firm, urged big investors to oppose Nadella's 2014 compensation package in a non-binding vote at Microsoft's annual meeting next month.

    Nadella, appointed in February as only the third CEO in Microsoft history, got a package of cash and restricted stock worth almost $91 million, according to Institutional Shareholder Services. Much of the stock won't vest for at least five years, but ISS said the total was far more than CEOs of comparable companies earned and not tied closely enough to the performance of Microsoft's stock. Although ISS has considerable sway with mutual fund, hedge fund and pension fund mangagers, the criticism isn't likely to convince many to vote down the pay package even in the purely advisory vote at the annual meeting.

    Unlike Microsoft's first two CEOs, Ballmer and Bill Gates, Nadella is not a major shareholder or a billionaire, no doubt figuring into the board's decision to make the larger stock award.

  • Nielsen ratings for Netflix opens the door for the next Aereo

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 2 days ago

    The TV ratings gurus at Nielsen (NLSN) have found a sneaky way to start measuring how many people are watching online streaming video services like Netflix (NFLX). Eventually, the move could pave the way for new online video business models, benefitting cord cutters.

    At a Fortune magazine conference this summer, I asked some of the media moguls in attendance why they showed so much hatred for Aereo, the upstart online TV service beloved by cord cutters. After all, Aereo carried local television shows complete with all the advertising. Weren’t its viewers just as valuable as those who watched free over-the-air broadcasts, if not more so?

    That seemed to be the reaction in the stock market, as shares of Netflix, which keeps all its viewership data secret, dropped almost 5% and shares of CBS rose almost 2%. Nielsen shares were almost unchanged.

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

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  • Fidelity sees investors picking stocks in virtual reality app

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 3 days ago

    In StockCity last week, the weather was sunny and most neighborhoods had a distinctly greenish tint. Or at least that’s how it looked to me under the hood of an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

    The city, which exists only on a computer, is an early working version of a financial analysis app developed by mutual fund and online brokerage giant Fidelity Investments. Right now, it’s pretty rudimentary, kind of like Minecraft crossed with a stock market heat map.

    Peering across the virtual city in the Oculus headset, each building represents a stock in a portfolio or index. The buildings are organized by sector into neighborhoods and each roof is colored in a shade ranging from bright red to bright green, reflecting each stock’s performance that day. The weather indicates the market’s overall performance: rainy on down days, sunny when the market is on the upswing.

    Fidelity developers say they’ve only begun tapping the potential to display and organize more information in StockCity. One of their ideas is to show a flock of birds congregating around a stock’s building if the stock is the subject of growing chatter on Twitter. Traffic in the streets could reflect trading activity.

  • Facebook plans to take on companies trying to be the Facebook for work

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 5 days ago

    Facebook (FB) has been an explosive social phenomenon pretty much since it was founded in Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room a decade ago, letting people share their personal lives with friends around the world.

    Now Zuckerberg is looking to tap into people's work lives, with plans to expand Facebook-like connectivity and sharing into corporations. Ironically, he’ll be following in the footsteps of more corporate-oriented tech firms that have been racing to become “Facebook for the office.”

    The secret new website, dubbed Facebook at Work, will look much like the current Facebook site with newsfeeds, groups and chat, the Financial Times reported. Users will be able to keep their personal posts separate from work-related material, the story said. Facebook did not immediately return a request for comment.

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

    That’s what Facebook does for people’s private lives, but it’s taking a very different approach for work life.

  • Authors may be long-term losers in Hachette-Amazon deal

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 9 days ago

    Amazon (AMZN) and book publisher Hachette on Thursday announced an end to their long-running, public feud, while revealing just a few details of the terms of their settlement. Both sides claimed to be pleased with the result, but it may be book authors who lost over the long term.

    Hachette said starting next year it would regain the power to set ebook prices for Amazon customers, a power it and other big publishers lost after settling a price-fixing lawsuit with the Justice Department two years ago. Amazon had used its control over pricing to discount ebooks and stimulate sales, but Hachette and other publishers feared the online giant was getting too powerful and crushing competing retailers with low prices.

    Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch, in a letter to authors, added that the publisher held the line on the percent of revenue Amazon got to keep on each ebook sale. Some unconfirmed reports said the online retail giant was pressing to increase its 30% share.

  • Google finally announces YouTube music subscription service

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 10 days ago

    Google (GOOGL) finally unveiled its paid, ad-free Youtube music service on Wednesday and it looks a lot more appealing than the company’s previous music offerings.

    Dubbed Youtube Music Key, the new service will allow subscribers to use the YouTube phone app to watch music videos and listen to songs of their choosing -- without any ads -- for an introductory price of $7.99 a month. The music keeps playing even if the subscriber switches to do something else on their phone or loses their Internet connection, Google says.

    The service opens to beta testers next week and to the general public at some future date to be determined. The introductory price eventually could go up to $9.99, the same as Google’s existing Play Music service and competitors like Spotify, Google says. A subscription to Music Key will include all of the Play Music features, as well, such as saving songs to your phone for offline listening.

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

  • Investors looking to Alibaba's smaller businesses for next growth spurt

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 11 days ago

    Alibaba’s (BABA) record-breaking sales on China’s 11.11 holiday failed to provide any lift for investors.

    The Chinese ecommerce giant said consumers grabbed over $9 billion of highly discounted goods on “Singles Day,” an anti-Valentine’s Day that has become one of the biggest shopping days on the planet. But Alibaba shares, which had been on a tear of late, lost almost 4%, trimming about $10 billion off the company’s market value.

    Some ups and downs are inevitable for such a fast-growing company. In the long term, however, further major gains in the stock price will depend on more than just the ecommerce habits of China’s growing middle class.

    Alibaba is currently worth $284 billion, up 69% from its initial public offering two months ago. That’s four times the current stock market value of eBay (EBAY), double the value of Amazon (AMZN) and even 10% more than Walmart’s (WMT) value.

  • Obama's call for net neutrality spells trouble for Time Warner Cable-Comcast deal

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 12 days ago

    The fight for an open Internet just got a lot stronger, as President Obama waded into the fray and issued a call for utility-style regulation to limit the power of phone and cable companies.

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

    But as some investors hit the panic button, here are three quick thoughts to keep in mind before open Internet nirvana arrives: 1. Just because the president wants it doesn't mean it will happen. Republicans just solidified control of the House and won majority in the Senate. They’ve never been fans of regulating the Internet like a utility and have close ties to big telecom and cable firms. (Sen. Ted Cruz is already calling the plan "Obamacare for the Internet.") Also, the federal courts would have a field day over any FCC action. They dismantled much of the force of the 1996 Telecommunications Act -- a vast effort to create more competition in the cable and telecommunications markets -- piece by piece until there was nothing left but a gutted shell.

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  • U.S. smartphone growth stalled. Blame the iPhone?

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 15 days ago

    The number of people using a smartphone in the United States barely increased from June to September, leaving analysts debating whether the market has matured or consumers were simply holding out for Apple’s (AAPL) newest iPhones.

    The new data from Comscore (SCOR) revealed that 174 million people owned smartphones in September, the same number as used the mobile devices in August and only 0.6% more than the 173 million users reported in June and July.

    “It’s fair to raise the question of smartphone growth,” says Andrew Lipsman, vice president of marketing and insights at Comscore. About 72% of adults have a smartphone, close to the three-quarters penetration that has often marked a maturing market for consumer products, he says.

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