Tech results wrap
Some interesting tech results out of the US today:
Nokia: a little Windows Phone traction
Nokia reported its fifth-straigth quarterly loss and, worse, lost four times as much money ($US1.73 billion) than this time last year.
Overall, its smartphone sales were down. But sales of its Lumia series, based on Microsoft's Windows Phone software, doubled from the previous quarter to 4 million. That's still modest compared to the 35 million iPhones sold in the first quarter (which was in turn eclipsed by the Android camp). Still, it's enough to provide Nokia with a glimmer of hope.
Microsoft: first quarterly loss
Microsoft reported its first quarterly loss since it went public in 1986, sliding $US492 million into the red (vs a year-ago profit of $US5.87 billion).
The main culprit was a (previously flagged) $US6.2 billion write-down on the company's online services division - reflecting a huge write-down on Microsoft's purchase of aQuantive, and the related failure of its Bing search engine to live up to expectations (and Bing's local profile is certainly subterranean. Did you know Bing Maps was upgraded yesterday with higher resolution photos for NZ? Did you know Bing exists?).
In 2007, Microsoft paid $US6.3 billion for ad serving company aQuantive - twice what Google paid for rival DoubleClick.
Another factor in the loss: $US540 million in deferred revenue from a Windows 8 promotion offering cut-price deals for those who buy PCs with Windows 7 between June and January (the deal is a bid to prevent a slow-down in sales ahead of Windows 8, expected in October).
Total revenue was a record $US18.06 billion (up from a year-ago $US17.30 billion, with the company's cash cow Office division in rude health.
But Microsoft's online services division posted an operating loss of $US1.45 billion on revenue of $US2.1 billion.
Google: Motorola drags, everything else pretty sunny
The search giant remains utterly dominant in its core business.
Google reported a net profit of $US2.79 billion up from $US2.51 billion in the year ago quarter.
Excluding new acquistion Motorola Mobility (Motorola's spun-off cellphone division, which Google bought for $US12.5 billion in a deal finalised during the quarter), revenue improved 21% to $US8.36 billion.
Motorola Mobility - as expected - was a drag on Google, recording a $US233 million operating loss (the popular wisdom is that Google bought Motorola - the inventor of the mobile phone - for its huge patent library, a useful weapon in the ongoing, multi-fronted legal war between the Android camp and Apple).
And CEO Larry Page was absent from the comapny's conference call this morning (he has mostly been out of the office for weeks, having lost his voice due to a mystery ailment).
But elsewhere, it's all good news.
According to analysis quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Google had 74% share of all US-based web-search ad revenue in 2011, which is expected to grow to 77.9% this year.
And paid clicks on search ads (a key metric for the company) were up 42% over the year-ago quarter.
Yahoo: 100 million reasons to switch jobs
Some wondered why Marissa Mayer would leave the planet-ruling Google to head struggling Yahoo.
Today came the answer: Ms Mayer (37) will be paid up to $US100 million over the next five years.
Ms Mayer revealed she was five months pregnant - a surprise to some in the industry, but not her new employer.