China Telecom returns to profit
With 3 billion Yuan in Q4 :
The China Telecom office
China Telecom , China's largest fixed-line operator, said it returned
to profit in the fourth quarter of last year, matching expectations as
competition continued to intensify in China's overhauled mobile
China Telecom made a net profit of 3 billion yuan for the
October-December quarter, according to Reuters calculations using
company data, versus a 16.4 billion Yuan loss a year earlier that
included provisions for its PHS service, which is being discontinued.
The results were in line with market expectations for a 3.1 billion
Yuan net profit, according to a survey.
The company, the smallest of China's three mobile carriers, reported
a net profit of 14.4 billion Yuan for all of 2009, in a filing to the
Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday, up from an 884 million Yuan profit
Bigger rival China Mobile reported forecast-beating results on
Thursday, as years of investment in its 3G network paid off as
subscribers began paying more for value-added services.
Palm shares plunge on weak forecast
Palm shares plunged Friday after the struggling US mobile device
maker posted more disappointing results and speculation mounted that it
could be an acquisition target.
Shares in the Sunnyvale, California-based company were trading 18.94
percent lower at mid-day at 4.58 dollars.
Bank of America analysts painted a gloomy future Friday for the
handset maker, which has been unable to make a significant dent in the
grip on the smartphone market of Apple and Research in Motion, maker of
"We see no quick fix to the challenges as competitive risks are
intensifying and Palm's response appears insufficient," the Bank of
America analysts said.
While an acquisition of Palm "is an option, it is too speculative as
the rationale to own the stock," they wrote.
"In our view, Palm has at best two to three quarters to turn things
around before it may need to consider more extreme options," they added.
Palm Chairman and Chief Executive Jon Rubinstein declined Thursday to
comment on speculation the company may be an acquisition target.
"If there's a reasonable proposal the board has to consider it," he
"But for the three years I've been here our focus has been to build a
great company with a great mobile platform and great products".
Palm reported a third-quarter net loss of US $ 22 million on Thursday
and said that although it shipped 960,000 smartphones during the third
quarter only 408,000 were actually bought by consumers.
Palm's fourth-quarter revenue forecast of less than 150 million
dollars was well below the US $ 350 million expected by Wall Street
Palm came out with some of the first personal digital assistants in
the 1990s, but in recent years it has been lagging behind rivals Nokia,
Apple and RIM.
AOL plants Seed for Internet Age news operation
Faded Internet star AOL is reinventing itself as a digital age news
operation with an army of freelance writers wielding online tools.
Fresh from being spun off by Time Warner in December, AOL launched
Seed.com to groom freelance writing talent to crank out stories for its
array of websites on topics ranging from pets and sports to politics and
"AOL is repositioning itself as a news and information company," Seed
programming director Saul Hansell said Tuesday as he demonstrated the
website at the annual South By South West (SXSW) gathering of
"This is really just taking the freelance writing model that has
existed forever and using the Internet to make it vastly more
efficient," Hansell said.
"We have a chance with Seed and a lot of our other assets to make a
big difference in journalism," he said. Hansell worked for 17 years as a
reporter and blogger at The New York Times before joining Seed three
AOL editors post assignment descriptions on an online Seed bulletin
board. Pay for writing jobs ranges from five dollars to 300 dollars per
Writers then submit their versions of a story along with headlines
and pictures. AOL editors sift through queues of submissions deciding
whether to accept, reject or kick stories back for improvement.
"Some of the assignments serve as an audition," Hansell said.
"We get to know you, you get to know us, and you are invited into our
extended family of freelancers."
Authors names are displayed on stories at AOL Web properties without
"asterisks saying 'look at the cute little citizen journalists,'"
Freelancers that have proven themselves may be given personal
assignments and invited to pitch story ideas.
"We can use this methodology to write about vastly more things on a
much broader scale than other models," Hansell said.
Seed, for example, assembled a team of 500 freelance writers that
collectively interviewed for stories each of the approximately 2,000
bands slated to perform during the renowned music portion of SXSW.
Seed is in a testing phase and is expected to evolve with feedback.
AOL's dial-up Web access business has been supplanted by high-speed
broadband services and the company, formerly known as America Online, is
currently the number four gateway to the Web after Google, Microsoft and
Yahoo! AOL chairman and chief executive Tim Armstrong, a former Google
executive who took the reins of AOL in March, has said he plans to
refocus the company on "content, ads and communications." In what is
considered one of the most disastrous mergers ever, Time Warner combined
with America Online in 2001 at the height of the dot-com boom with AOL
using its inflated stock as currency for the transaction.
Time Warner was forced in 2002 to massively write down the value of
AOL and the AOL name was removed from the group's corporate title in
AOL became a separate traded company on December 10.
AOL properties include online map service Mapquest, technology blog
Engadget, social network Bebo and other sites.
Desktop computer sales soared in February-NPD Group
Sales of desktop computers soared 30 percent in February defying talk
that such machines are being made obsolete by laptops, smartphones and
other mobile devices.
"Desktops have been the surprise consumer technology growth category
of 2010," said NPD vice president of industry analysis Stephen Baker.
Sales of personal computers running on Microsoft Window's operating
systems and of Macintosh desktop machines made by Apple both grew in the
month, according to NPD.
Microsoft's release of its latest Windows 7 operating system software
in October was credited with propelling sales of desktop personal
computers. "We are also seeing tremendous growth numbers from the iMac
after a few lackluster quarters from Apple," the industry tracker said.
"This new decade is off to a booming start."
While the number of desktop computers sold in February was 30 percent
higher than the figure in the same month last year, the dollar value
climbed 33 percent due to slightly higher selling prices, according to
Latest 'God of War' videogame hits US
The 'God of War III' videogame hit the stores Tuesday eagerly awaited
by US fans of the franchise based on a Spartan warrior's vendetta
against Greek gods.
The ‘God of War III’
Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) said the videogame is the
final installment in a trilogy crafted exclusively for the Japanese
electronic titan's PlayStation 3 consoles.
The latest title "couples jaw-dropping visuals with a gripping story
sure to amaze fans and newcomers alike," said SCEA marketing vice
president Scott Steinberg. The action game picks up where the second
title in the franchise let off. Fictional warrior Kratos must battle his
way through Hades and to the top of Mount Olympus in a quest to alter
SCEA promises 3-D worlds that allow for "astonishing realism and new
heightened levels of brutality and gore." Some US shops opened a minute
into Tuesday to begin selling "God of War III," which was priced at 60
dollars per copy.
Sony is counting on blockbuster titles to boost sales of its
PlayStation 3 consoles, which compete with Microsoft Xbox 360 and
Nintendo Wll devices.
China says HP violated customer rights rules
China's product-quality watchdog said US computer maker
Hewlett-Packard violated Chinese consumer rights rules, after an
investigation into complaints about faulty laptops from dozens of
The General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and
Quarantine has ordered HP to "strictly abide by" Chinese rules
concerning repair, replacement and return of faulty products.
The agency said HP failed to deal with customer complaints in
accordance with the rules and it "has to improve after-sales service and
address quality problems in some of its laptops responsibly", according
to the statement posted on its website Thursday.
The investigation found problems in a number of HP Pavilion DV2000
and Compaq Presario v3000 notebooks, which led to crashes, black screens
Another six HP laptop models were found to have defects in display
screens, the statement said. The statement came after the quality
watchdog said on Sunday it was investigating complaints filed by 60
laptop users that certain HP computers were defective. HP issued an
apology and extended the warranty for relevant laptops yesterday.
Alibaba.com enters Brazil
Alibaba.com, China's biggest business-to-business web group, on
Thursday officially started operations in Brazil, which it said showed
huge potential for growth.
The Hong Kong-based company, which is partnered in the venture with
another firm from the same territory, Ludatrade Technologies, presented
its activities at a news conference in Sao Paulo.
Alibaba's sales director, Timothy Leung, said Internet penetration
and a blossoming emerging-market economy made Brazil ripe for the
Chinese group's formula of marketing small- and medium-sized companies
on its website.
"We want to see a growth rate of 30 percent to 50 percent,"
Ludatrade's chief executive, Kenneth Ma, said.
Alibaba is well known in Asia for matching up buyers and sellers on
its web platforms, which operate in English, Chinese and Japanese.
Each selling company pays a flat fee to display wares and contact
information to potential clients in 240 countries and territories.
Worldwide, that fee is 3,000 dollars, Leung said.
But Ma said Brazilian businesses would be asked to pay 50 percent
more 4,500 dollars to cover the cost of translating into English product
descriptions and catalogues, and for buyer verification.
Leung said 156,000 users in Brazil had already signed up for
The company staff of 20 was to be expaned to 1,000 by the end of
2010, he said.
Brazil was currently ranked 23rd among exporting nations and its
small companies had trouble finding clients abroad, Leung said.
"We want to bring Brazil from 23 to the top 10. That's our dream," he
Alibaba.com, whose parent Alibaba Group is 40 percent owned by US
Internet giant Yahoo!, had net revenue of 162 million dollars in the
last quarter of 2009, Leung said.
The entire year showed 29 percent growth compared to 2008, according
to figures for the publicly traded company.
Google to add maya, Nahuatl language to search engine
Internet giant Google is adding two native Central American languages
- Maya and Nahuatl to its universal search service, a company official
"Searches in these two pre-Columbian languages and mobile
satellite-linked connections to the Internet are part of Google's growth
strategy," Google's Mexico marketing technology director Miguel de Alva
told AFP. "The two languages are of interest to online searchers because
the first (Maya) is spoken by 1.5 million people and the second (Nahuatl),
by more than one million." He noted that people speaking either of the
two languages also speak Spanish.
Nahuatl is mostly spoken in southern Mexico and northern Central
America, while Maya is spoken across Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula,
Guatemala and Belize.
De Alva said the Google language project was well underway.
"We're looking to team up with some academic institutions that will
validate the languages, because we want to make sure our customers are
getting the real, correct language both in vocabulary and meaning, as
well as the word's particular usage." The Google Translate service is
fast becoming part of the California-based Internet firm's popular main
search engine. As of December, searchers can use the automatic
translation program to look for Web pages written in any of 51
languages. The tool displays results from as many as five languages at a