A new report from Game News identifies some pretty staggering sales numbers for the Playstation 3 over the past year. Black Friday was particularly kind to the Sony console, with sales up 245 percent over the same time last year. That’s great news for Sony’s sales department, but it’s just a small piece of a larger picture of victory. The company has seen unit sales increase by 178 percent, and overall sales $’s increase by 154 percent over the course of the past week, entering the holiday season with bang. This is due, in large part, to the recent price drop for the 80GB model, combined with the introduction of the 40GB model.
“With its affluent customer base and uncanny knack for drawing crowds, Starbucks has long seemed immune to the slowdowns that plague most retailers when the economy falters.
But the king of the $4 coffee is feeling the pinch now. Dairy prices have skyrocketed, fast-food chains have made it easier to find a good cup of joe, and traffic in U.S. stores has flattened amid high fuel prices and turmoil in the housing and credit markets.
Add it all up, and it’s dragged the company’s stock down nearly 40% since it hit an all-time high one year ago……….”
“Day one at my new job. Sporting white headphones, I am plugged into a computer watching Ridley Scott’s awe-inspiring “1984” Macintosh ad, reviewing the company history, and getting pumped up about my new workplace. Like most of my coworkers, I’m already a loyal fan of the company, so starting this job will take my interest to the next level. I’m working as a Mac specialist at the Apple Store.
What happens between now and Christmas is the most important time for a very large sector of our economy: The National Retail Federation predicts almost $475 billion will pass between customers and merchants this holiday season, and whether such notable brands as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Gap (NYSE:GPS), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), and many others think 2007 was a good year or a bad one comes down to this fourth-quarter finish line. The people most responsible for that success are, in many ways, their retail-store employees.
You can only learn so much about frontline employees as a customer, or even as a reporter. I knew that to find out how the best companies train and indoctrinate employees, I’d have to become one myself. In what wound up as a two-year undercover project, I took a series of entry-level retail jobs, becoming that critical employee who represents the company’s face. I did it to better understand the world of commerce and the corporate cultures that drive it. In the process, I learned that Apple Stores, with their aura of cool, were in fact living up to their mission to “reinvent retail” and setting a high bar for other companies in the retail world.
I knew I’d have competition when I applied at the Apple Store, but I also knew store managers hire from the ranks of the brand’s fans. Apple is surely a rare bird–few companies have such a broad and committed following, let alone frontline employees who revere its CEO. (When I worked at Gap, then-CEO Paul Pressler showed up in the store and coworkers knew he was a bigwig but didn’t realize he was the boss.)
But even companies that have devotees don’t always look as hard for passion as they should. On its hiring application, Starbucks asked briefly about my interest in coffee (“What do you like about coffee?”) but left it at that………”
“Researchers for Strategy Analytics claim that the iPhone could become the best-selling handset in the US within the next six months. In addition, the handset has already become the best selling device for AT&T, according to reports. “The iPhone has become AT&T’s top selling device, commanding some 13 per cent of AT&T’s overall handset sales, and the fourth top selling handset in the US market,” said Barry Gilbert, vice president of the Strategy Analytics BuyerTRAX programs. “Although the iPhone hasn’t had an expansionary impact in the market, the iPhone has quickly assumed a leading market share position and raised the ante for smart devices. The sales trajectory we are observing with the iPhone could make it the top selling device in the US over the next 1-2 quarters.” The current best-selling handset, the Motorola RAZR V3, has seen its lead diminished recently, according to Strategy Analytics.”
“Apple Inc.’s share of the U.S. personal computer market for the third calendar quarter of 2007 was 8.1 percent, up from 6.2 percent during the same period one year ago, according to preliminary results released from Gartner on Wednesday.
The Cupertino-based company’s U.S. Mac shipments grew 37.2 percent year-over-year — more than twice as fast as any other manufacturer ranked in Gartner’s top 5 PC vendors for the three-month period ending September — helping it snag a spot as the No. 3 U.S. PC vendor overall.
Apple’s US-based Mac shipments during the quarter totaled 1,338,000, compared just 975,000 during the same time last year. Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba also posted somewhat healthy growth during the quarter of 16.5 percent and 16.3 percent to garner a 25.7 percent 5.7 percent share of the U.S. market, respectively…..”
“In 1997 Steve Jobs was named the interim CEO of Apple after haven been “ousted” in 1985 by the same company. It was a year of uncertainty and doom for Apple. You couldn’t go a month without reading an article by a major publication proclaiming the death of Apple. Back then you had to wonder why Steve Jobs would take on such a task, but now the answer is clear: because he knew he could make it work……..”
“HowStuffWorks is the latest acquisition by Discovery Communications, for $250 million. Included in the purchase are HowStuffWorks’ entire network of online properties, including a map database. While the map database doesn’t seem to be figured into the overall price of this particular acquisition, as it’s not yet profitable, this is Discovery’s largest online acquisition.
HowStuffWorks is an online reference tool with a reported 11 million users around the world and 3.8 million unique US visitors per month. Launched nearly 10 years ago, the reference site will be merged with Discovery’s video content, as well as its future programs. This is all in an effort to improve Discovery’s own websites, which are in need of an update and help building out vertically. HowStuffWorks was a well-funded company, raising a total of $125 million over three rounds, with investment from Carl C. Ichan, and international funding from venture companies in China and Brazil.
There’s a number of reference sites being acquired by traditional media companies as they look to leverage the existing networks for additional information to be incorporated into their ongoing programming and for their web presence. Lonely Planet, which produces content for Discovery as well, was recently acquired by the BBC.”
“…..take for example Apple – maker of the iPod , iPhone, and the Macintosh computer. If you had invested $50,000 in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) five years ago, that investment would be worth a cool $1.2 million today. In the last 5 years, shares in the Silicon Valley company have gone up $160, or 2273% (charts). This works out because 5 years ago, Apple shares were hovering around the $7 mark. $50,000 five years ago could afford you 6887 shares. Today, those 6887 shares are now worth over a million dollars, because Apple’s share price has gone up to $167 ($167 * 6887 = $1,150,129). To put that in perspective, if you had decided 5 years ago to purchase Apple shares instead of a 2nd generation 20GB iPod for $499, you’d have $11,000. That is a lot of apples.”