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Apple Inc quarterly results smashed Wall Street expectations with record sales of big-screen iPhones in the holiday shopping season and a 70 percent rise in China sales, powering the company to the largest profit in corporate history. Apple's cash pile is now $178 billion, enough to buy IBM or the equivalent to $556 for every American. Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters in an interview that the company did not sell more iPhones in China than the United States, despite some earlier predictions by research analysts. The company's success in the competitive Chinese market can be attributed to its partnership with China Mobile Ltd , the largest global mobile carrier, and the appeal of the larger screen size of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Exploding Kittens, a card game illustrated by famed web cartoonist Matthew Inman aka The Oatmeal, has become the most backed Kickstarter project of all time. The game — billed as "a highly strategic kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette" — has overtaken Tim Schafer's Double Fine Adventure game, the movie reboot of Veronica Mars, and the return of the Reading Rainbow to claim the top spot, attracting just under 107,000 backers at the time of writing. "You wonderful people have come together to form the largest community in Kickstarter history, and the numbers keep rising," wrote the Exploding Kittens team in a blog post.
By Adam Jourdan SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Apple Inc is steering clear of Chinese rival Xiaomi Inc's [XTC.UL] low-price online strategy, ramping up store openings in China to harness its premium edge and fend off the fast-growing No.3 global smartphone maker. The U.S. firm's quarterly results smashed Wall Street expectations with record iPhone sales in the holiday season and a 70 percent rise in China, powering the company to the largest profit in corporate history. Its result in China, as well as other emerging markets such as Brazil, marks a riposte to critics who questioned the firm's strategy a year ago not to launch a cheaper phone to lure cost-conscious buyers from Xiaomi and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd . "In the long run Xiaomi is more of a threat to Apple than say Samsung," said Ben Thompson, analyst at Stratechery.com.
Google's super-fast Internet service -- up to 100 times quicker than basic broadband -- is heading for four more US metropolitan areas as the technology titan ramps up pressure on cable service giants. A Google Fiber program launched nearly five years ago will expand to 18 cities in the Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville and Raleigh-Durham areas. "We can't wait to see what people and businesses across the southeast US do with gigabit speeds," Google Fiber vice president Dennis Kish said in a blog post announcing the expansion Tuesday. Google Fiber is live in Kansas City, Provo and Austin.
Some of the world's preeminent food policy thinkers and researchers are taking part in a new Edible Education lecture series at UC Berkeley this spring semester, and their lectures are being made available to stream online. Starting this Monday with an introductory note from Michael Pollan (video above, jump to the 9-minute mark to skip the preamble), the series will be updated weekly with contributions from Marion Nestle, Eric Schlosser, and Raj Patel. The decisions made when setting food policy, argues Pollan, have broader consequences than most of us imagine. "Eating is, among other things, an ecological act," he says, before detailing some of the more devitalizing impacts of high-volume agriculture on our environment and ecology.
By Ritsuko Ando and Reiji Murai TOKYO/OSAKA (Reuters) - Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co on Wednesday issued a profit warning with a silver lining - even as it sells fewer consoles, the sharp weakening of the yen means overseas sales will inflate its net income this fiscal year. While operating profit still grew nearly 50 percent in October-December from a year earlier, the third quarter is Nintendo's biggest by far and it won't make up the shortfall by end-March. "We've made some progress in profit but in many ways we didn't score perfectly," Chief Executive Satoru Iwata told reporters at a briefing in Osaka. Iwata is hoping to steer Nintendo to its first annual operating profit in four years.
The California tech titan also announced Tuesday that it had sold its one billionth device powered by its iOS mobile operating system, on a day of dizzying figures -- even by Apple's high standards. "We'd like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high," declared chief executive Tim Cook. Blockbuster sales of the recently released iPhone 6, in particular, are signs of huge pent-up demand for larger-screen smartphones, likely to boost sales throughout this year, according to Forrester analyst Frank Gillett. "I would expect the surge in China and elsewhere to hold for quite a while before it settles down," Gillett said.
By John Ruwitch SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A China regulator has accused Alibaba Group Holding Ltd of failing to clean up what it called illegal business deals on the e-commerce titan's platforms, in an unusually strong government criticism of one of the country's biggest private firms. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), in a report published on its website on Wednesday, said many products sold on Alibaba's e-commerce websites and services infringed upon trademarks, were substandard or fake, were banned or endangered public security. The report was later removed from the main page of the SAIC website. SAIC said the report summarised a July 16, 2014, meeting between government business regulators and Alibaba, and that it had delayed releasing the report to avoid affecting the e-commerce firm's initial public offering, which took place in September.
By Se Young Lee SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's LG Display Co Ltd reported on Wednesday its highest quarterly profit in almost four years, buoyed by robust demand for liquid crystal displays (LCDs) from television makers and client Apple Inc. The profit was in line with expectations, and analysts said the world's top LCD maker will likely see strong earnings growth this year as well, as demand for high-end televisions is expected to increase further. LG Display guided for profit for the seasonally weak first quarter to fall sequentially, but analysts said earnings will likely be supported by sales to Apple. The U.S. company reported record iPhone sales for the fiscal quarter ended Dec. 27 and plans to launch a new smartwatch in April, suggesting further sales momentum for LG Display. LG Display said operating profit more than doubled for the October-December period from a year earlier to 625.8 billion won ($580.14 million), in line with a 623 billion won mean profit forecast by a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 36 analysts.
TOKYO (AP) — Nintendo reported a nearly six-fold increase in profit for the first three quarters of the fiscal year Wednesday and raised its earnings forecast as a cheap yen masked weak sales.
When Elon Musk first showed off the Model S P85D, Tesla's high-end all-wheel-drive electric car, he said that his company wanted to reach the kind of acceleration achieved by the world's greatest supercars. With the help of a dash camera, some unsuspecting victims, and the car's ability to accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in 3.2 seconds, a P85D owner made a super sweary compilation video to show that Tesla was certainly successful in making its newest model shockingly speedy. Musk tweeted a link to the video today, showing driver Brooks subjecting family and friends to the new P85D's ludicrous acceleration, causing squeals of surprise, dropped smartphones, and many, many curse words. The latest model of the P85D has two motors, ostensibly designed to help the car in inclement weather, that increase the amount of acceleration the car is capable of. In an industry where most gasoline-powered sports cars can only reach 60 MPH after six seconds from a standing start, Tesla's top-of-the-line car can catch people unawares.
Nintendo had a pretty good Christmas. Buoyed by a weakened yen, net profit was ¥45.2 billion ($383 million) and revenue was ¥271,521 billion ($2.3 billion). The solid holiday sales won't be enough for Nintendo to meet its forecast of ¥40 billion yen in operating profit for the financial year, however — the company has slashed that target in half, now expecting to make ¥20 billion. Since its account for the nine months so far stands at ¥31.6 billion, Nintendo is predicting it will lose more than ¥10 billion over the next three months.
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's LG Display Co Ltd said on Wednesday that profit in the first quarter would decline from the preceding quarter, as the display maker enters a seasonally weak period for consumer electronics products. The company also said shipments of liquid crystal displays (LCD) will fall by mid-single digit percent in January-March from the previous quarter. Earlier in the day, LG booked its highest quarterly profit in almost four years, buoyed by firm demand for liquid crystal displays from television makers and client Apple Inc. (Reporting by Se Young Lee)