With most of the geek world squealing with excitement over Apple’s iPhone in the wake of its debut last June, the real purpose of the tech-gadget was sort of forgotten.
And no, that purpose had nothing to do with advancing touch-screen technology or unifying a wireless phone with an mp3 music player or even giving us Internet access with a legitimate browser.
The iPhone was created to generate sales and fatten the bottom line for Apple and its wireless partner in the deal, AT&T. And it definitely has done its job.
In fact, the telecommunications giant now claims 70.1 million wireless subscribers. That means that AT&T claims about a quarter of the nation’s population as wireless subscribers.
That’s a gain of 2.7 million in the fourth quarter, which is in addition to the 1.7 million subscribers the company gained in its acquisition of Oklahoma City-based Dobson Communications Corp., which closed in November.
AT&T revealed that it had just under 2 million iPhone users at the end of December.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs told a Macworld Expo audience last week that Apple had sold almost 4 million iPhones, which makes me wonder how much of that number were hacked by their owners to use with other wireless carriers.
So, now the world awaits the release of a so-called 3G iPhone, which would speed up all of its wireless features over the 2G model in the hands of subscribers today. When the 3G model hits, I predict the geek lovefest will begin anew.
Maybe it should happen on Valentine’s Day.
Business News Reporter
The Internet has revolutionized much of our world, including the way reporters cover public companies. This week, I wrote stories about two Oklahoma companies that are going public, which means they are issuing shares for the first time to be traded on a major stock exchange.
Although we already knew both companies — Oklahoma City’s OGE Enogex Partners and Tulsa’s Williams Pipeline Partners – were planning initial public offerings, this week’s newsworthy events each occurred late in the day. Typically companies about to issue stock for the first time refuse to make public comments to the media citing the so-called “quiet period” (although many business reporters think the executives are demonstrating an abundance of caution.)
That sent me scrambling to the Web site of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to read the companies’ updated registration forms that describe the IPOs in great detail. And that level of detail provides its own problems. For instance, OGE Enogex Partners’ filing is about 400 pages long, and is written as if a corporate lawyer was seeking to maximize billable hours. Here’s a quick example from page 11:
Our general partner has the right, at a time when there are no subordinated units outstanding and it has received incentive distributions at the highest level to which it is entitled (48%) for each of the prior four consecutive quarters, to reset the initial cash target distribution levels at higher levels based on the distribution at the time of the exercise of the reset election. Following a reset election by our general partner, the minimum quarterly distribution amount will be reset to an amount equal to the average cash distribution amount per common unit for the two quarters immediately preceding the reset election, referred to herein as the “reset minimum quarterly distribution,” and the target distribution levels will be reset to correspondingly higher levels based on the same percentage increases above the reset minimum quarterly distribution amount as in our current target distribution levels.
Don’t bother reading it again; it makes about as much sense the second time through. I generally have about an hour to digest such jargon and produce a story. Of course, one learns which sections of the filings tend to generate the kind of facts needed to write a news story. And it doesn’t hurt that I’m a little bit of an SEC filing wonk.
But if you’re interested in being a business journalist (long hours! free coffee!), speed reading is a marketable skill.
Not that anyone needs another reason to root against the New England Patriots as they seek to complete their perfect season, but here’s one you may not have been aware of: your wallet.
There is a strong correlation between the Super Bowl champion and the annual performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Index, the oldest, most prestigious stock index. When a team that was an original member of the American Football League wins the big game, the Dow slumps. When a member of the original National Football League wins, the Dow surges. It works about 80 percent of the time, a success rate the envy of any stock picker. Most recently, it worked last year when the Indianapolis Colts, an original NFL franchise, took the championaship and the Dow gained 6.4 percent.
So if you’re not already swayed by the Patriots’ cheating, slovenly, Machiavellian despot of a coach, their cheating (girlfriend, not football) quarterback or their cheating (drug policy violation) defensive back, then just vote your pocketbook. (And their uniforms are ugly.)
Back the Pack. Your portfolio will thank you.
Events often drive stock prices. Earnings, resignations, scandal and economic data can move shares up or down. But hype can affect stock prices as well.
Blogger Matt Haughey decided to see how much the much-hyped announcements of Apple Inc. at Macworld each January moved the computer and software company’s shares. Haughey evaluated how much a hypothetical $10,000 investment in AAPL on the day before the announcements would return if sold the day after.
Tuesday’s announcements of an ultra-slim, ultra-light laptop along with the ability to rent movies from iTunes apparently didn’t impress traders. Apple stock slipped about 7 percent on Tuesday, and this morning was continuing to trend downward.
But Haughey’s Web site clearly demonstrates the benefits of a buy-and-hold strategy. Although the returns in each of the past two years have been remarkable, $10,000 invested in Apple in 1997 would be worth about $500,000 today.
My co-worker who sits across from my cubicle condo here in The Oklahoman newsroom claims that I drank the Kool-Aid that Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs has been pouring for the last decade. He calls me an Apple “fanboy” and worse. Well, I admit that I’ve viewed the products that Apple has introduced in recent years with a certain childlike sense of wonder. So, it’s with great anticipation that I await Jobs’ keynote address this week at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. I will search out the live bloggers tomorrow and follow the speech as closely as I can without actually sitting in the Moscone Center. Later, I’ll watch the two-hour Webcast of the event at my leisure, and even invite the infidel sitting across from me to watch it with me. Anyway, the world awaits the latest high-tech gadget that Apple will introduce this week. Rumor-mongers are speculating that Jobs will introduce a flash-based MacBook. Or a product line that uses WiMax for long-range wireless reception. The iPhone is expected to be upgraded to 3G technology and at least 16 gigabytes of memory. And Apple TV should become even more DVR like.
My co-worker who sits across from my cubicle condo here in The Oklahoman newsroom claims that I drank the Kool-Aid that Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs has been pouring for the last decade. He calls me an Apple “fanboy” and worse.
Well, I admit that I’ve viewed the products that Apple has introduced in recent years with a certain childlike sense of wonder.
So, it’s with great anticipation that I await Jobs’ keynote address this week at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. I will search out the live bloggers tomorrow and follow the speech as closely as I can without actually sitting in the Moscone Center.
Later, I’ll watch the two-hour Webcast of the event at my leisure, and even invite the infidel sitting across from me to watch it with me.
Anyway, the world awaits the latest high-tech gadget that Apple will introduce this week.
Rumor-mongers are speculating that Jobs will introduce a flash-based MacBook. Or a product line that uses WiMax for long-range wireless reception. The iPhone is expected to be upgraded to 3G technology and at least 16 gigabytes of memory. And Apple TV should become even more DVR like.
But what will the “one more thing” announcement be that takes everyone’s breath away?
I’m betting that it will be word that The Beatles are finally on iTunes. We’ve been waiting for what’s left of the Fab Four to finally give in and let Apple sell digital versions of their music. And Jobs will bring down the house when he brings Paul McCartney onto the stage to seal the deal. Wish I could be there. Business News Reporter
I’m betting that it will be word that The Beatles are finally on iTunes. We’ve been waiting for what’s left of the Fab Four to finally give in and let Apple sell digital versions of their music. And Jobs will bring down the house when he brings Paul McCartney onto the stage to seal the deal.
Wish I could be there.
Business News Reporter
Roy Georgia clicked on the RSS feed of a blog post from Newsok.com earlier this week and said, “let’s pimp this thing.”
A few mouse clicks and minutes later, a link popped up on the screen.
When Georgia clicked it the computer started talking. In a sort of stilted, but understandable computer-guy voice, the machine spoke the entire blog post.
Welcome to PimpMyNews.com, a new Internet-based business started by Georgia, and a Cincinnati-based partner.
Georgia also is chief executive officer and founder of Oklahoma City-based Medibis.
“PimpMyNews is a social news ‘mashup’ that integrates RSS feeds for blogs and news sites,” Georgia said.
PimpMyNews takes any news feed or blog feed and turns it into an mp3 file that can be played on the computer or loaded into an iPod and heard at the leisure of the listener. It automatically compiles feeds that users designate and updates them on the subscriber’s page.
PimpMyNews was the “Cool Site of the Day” featured site on Monday of this week and has seen traffic more than triple in three short weeks that it has been in existence,
The site is free to users, although a subscription option will add more content options in the future.
In fact, Georgia said PimpMyNews is such a good fit for iPhone users that he and business partner John Atkinson are showcasing the concept next week at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
Business News Writer
On your list of things to accomplish this month, productivity “expert” Marsha Egan wants you to add one more: clean out your e-mail box.
Eagan, chief executive officer of The Egan Group Inc, has declared Jan. 28-Feb. 1 as “Clean Out Your Inbox Week. She suggest that the average e-mail interruption costs each American worker four minutes of lost time.
If a worker receives an average of 15 e-mail interruptions per day, that’s one hour of time lost to e-mail interruptions.
If that worker is part of a 20-person department, that’s 20 hours of work time lost per day. And if the employees average $20 per hour, that’s a loss of worker productivity that amounts to $400 per day or $2,000 per week.
This e-mail is a call to action for me. I’m cleaning out my e-mail box immediately, starting with any e-mail that arrives from my editor.
If I’m going to lose an hour a day of productivity it’s going to be lost to idly surfing the Internet and NOT answering e-mails that only pile on more work.
So, thank you Marsha Egan, productivity “expert.” Now whenever anything flies unexpectedly into my e-mail box I’m slamming the “delete” key immediately.
Business News Writer
Back-to-back-to-back telephone calls to the business desk this morning revealed a key issue to me: Oklahomans are interested in the upcoming transition from analog to digital broadcasts.
What that means is that all the television stations will pull the plug on their analog over-the-air broadcasts on Feb. 17, 2009, rendering old non-digital capable televisions useless, unless they are connected to a cable or satellite service. Or a digital converter box.
For the estimated 14 percent of the U.S. population that relies soley on the over-the-air broadcasts of local televisions stations, the impending transition is a huge issue.
So, early this morning — Jan. 2, 2008 — I got three phone calls from Oklahomans wanting to know how they could get one of the subsidy coupons the government is issuing.
Congress authorized the coupons, which knocks $40 off the price of a digital converter box. The agency commissioned with the task of issuing the coupons began accepting applications for them on New Year’s Day.
We ran a short item in Tuesday’s paper about the process, which prompted the calls from readers.
So, if you or someone you know needs up to two of the coupons that will cover much of the estimated $50 to $70 cost for each of the digital converter boxes, here is the phone number to call: 1-888-388-2009.
Better still, log on here and order the coupons online.
Business News Reporter
A hand-written warm fuzzy left over from the recent ice storm that hit the state:
As were their counterparts from other telecom and utility companies, U.S. Cellular employees worked round the clock to ensure that cell towers were up and running and that wireless calls could be placed on their network during the long electrical outage.
Bobby Van Horn, a network field engineer based in Roanoke, Va., was one of the many U.S. Cellular employees who traveled to Tulsa to help. He and other U.S. Cellular technicians stayed several days in a hotel in Tulsa.
One morning, as they went out to the parking lot to get in their trucks, they each found a note. Someone had hand-written a note and put one on the windshield of every US Cellular truck in the parking lot.
The note read, “Merry Christmas. Thank you for helping.” The picture above is a sample of their handiwork.
Business News Reporter
Do you party like a rockstar? If so, then there is a pretty fair chance that the ringtone on your cell phone might tell the world.
According to AT&T, “Party Like a Rockstar” by Shop Boyz was this year’s No. 1 downloaded ringtone among its 60 million-plus subscribers.
AT&T sells ringtones for $2.49 each or through a monthly subscription that begins at $5.99.
If “Party Like a Rockstar” is not your style, then maybe one of the other nine songs on AT&T’s top 10 most downloaded ringtones of the year is on your phone.
Here is the complete list:
- Shop Boyz — “Party Like a Rockstar”
- Mims — “This Is Why I’m Hot”
- Soulja Boy — “Crank That (Soulja Boy)”
- Nickelback — “Rockstar”
- Akon — “Don’t Matter”
- T-Pain — “Buy You A Drank (Shawty Snappin)”
- Hurricane Chris — “A Bay Bay”
- Sean Kingston — “Beautiful Girls”
- Huey — “Pop, Lock & Drop It”
- Fergie — “Big Girls Don’t Cry”
Business News Reporter