Monthly ArchiveSeptember 2011

Media & Technology 19 Sep 2011 09:09 am

Netflix CEO Gets Humble. Qwikster is Born

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings explains that the company’s decision to separate its DVD and video streaming services is because the DVD business will become Qwikster. Hastings writes that his company “realized that streaming and DVD by mail are becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.”

Customers who get get DVDs in the mail will soon receive separate bills from the Netflix-owned subsidiary.

On the company’s weblog, Hastings goes on to admit he did a poor job communicating recent changes to his customers:

When Netflix is evolving rapidly, however, I need to be extra-communicative. This is the key thing I got wrong.

In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success. We have done very well for a long time by steadily improving our service, without doing much CEO communication. Inside Netflix I say, “Actions speak louder than words,” and we should just keep improving our service.

But now I see that given the huge changes we have been recently making, I should have personally given a full justification to our members of why we are separating DVD and streaming, and charging for both. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do.

This is an interesting business strategy. Consumers want more on-demand, “right now!” content, and Netflix is choosing to deliver bits over atoms, while not being held back by the latter.

Netflix Separates DVD and Streaming Services”

Technology 16 Sep 2011 09:03 am

RIM Takes Earnings Hit

BlackBerry smartphones
Disappointing sales (only 200,000) of the PlayBook and tough competition with Android phones in the consumer market resulted in lower than expect earnings for RIM:

RIM said Thursday that its net income was $419 million, or 80 cents per share, in the three months ended Aug. 27. That’s down from $796.7 million, or $1.46 per share, a year ago. Analysts expected 90 cents per share, according to a survey by FactSet.

The company, based in Waterloo, Ontario, said revenue fell 15 percent to $4.2 billion.

Shares hit a fresh new five-year low, falling $5.74, or 19.4 percent, to $23.80 in after-hours trading. RIM’s stock has lost more than half its value this year.

“Phone Rivalry Drives Down RIM Earnings

Finance 15 Sep 2011 09:02 am

Unauthorized Trades Cost UBS $2 Billion

UBS office in Zurich
Hey CEOs, keep an eye on your employees or billions could go POOF like they did at UBS:

UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, said it may be unprofitable in the third quarter after a $2 billion loss from unauthorized trading at its investment bank.

London police arrested Kweku Adoboli, a UBS employee, in connection with the loss, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who declined to be identified. City of London police and UBS declined to identify the man.

UBS management aims to “get to the bottom of the matter as quickly as possible, and will spare no effort to establish exactly what has happened,” the bank’s group executive board, led by Chief Executive Officer Oswald Gruebel, said in a memo to employees today. “While the news is distressing, it will not change the fundamental strength of our firm.”

Trading desks aren’t like the “good old days” anymore.

UBS Has $2 Billion Trading Loss; Man Arrested in London”

[Picture via twicepix.]

Food & Shopping 13 Sep 2011 08:50 am

Free Money from Whole Foods

Whole Foods
Whole Foods, the organic grocer, teamed up with Living Social in a nationwide campaign. Giving away $10 per customer is one way to get people into a store nicknamed “Whole Paycheck.”

The deal is scheduled to run on Tuesday and is available to existing LivingSocial subscribers and anyone who registers for the service.

LivingSocial has agreed a cap of one million vouchers. Once purchased, buyers use a code to convert the voucher into a gift card in Whole Foods stores.

The daily deal business has grown into a multibillion dollar a year industry since Groupon started in late 2008. The two sector leaders have been expanding into different categories as they prepare for big initial public offerings, possibly later this year.