Thursday, October 18, 2012

Miscellaneous Ramblings

These new Apple ads are great. They are product centric, yet brand conscious. How many brand's ads are simply generic product information dumps followed by a repeated tagline, image and or tune? Not these.
There has already been a lot posted about Google's inadvertent early earnings announcement and the implications of it's less than stellar performance relative to market expectations for the last quarter. When I checked around noon today, its stock price was down as much as 9% and trading was halted. It ended the day down about 8%. Growth companies like Google bank on positive sentiment and today's announcement seemed to temper the market's past enthusiasm. That said, the top line results were actually pretty good. Revenue was up 45% to $14.1B year over year. However income missed by a large margin, coming in at $6.53 per share compared to last year's $8.33 a share. Still, an expanding top line is a great thing. If anything, today's reaction on Google shows just how much of the market trades on "anticipointment" rather than significant changes in operating performance.
Microsoft is a company that has struggled with it's strategy even while posting consistent results for the past few years. Given it's past dominance in personal computing that meant investors were willing to bank on the company even as other growth ventures struggled during the economic downturn. But consistent performance in a stagnating industry eventually catches up with you. With the impending release of Windows 8 and its Surface tablet in a couple of weeks, the company posted quarterly earnings today and they demonstrated how far Microsoft needs to improve to once again be considered a relevant company in the tech sector. Income dropped 22% while revenue dropped 8% year over year. No doubt Window's 8 will improve short term financial results. New software releases are generally expected a benefit earnings, but much of the company's future success and market performance will depend upon new products like Surface and whether Microsoft can reinvigorate their product lines.
This fabulous video and story brightened my day. It's always been a dream of mine to one day shoot a feature for National Geographic. Paul Nicklen has been a National Geographic photographer for a few years. He recently won Veolia National Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. And yet his encounter with a Leopard Seal in Antarctica was marvelous even for him. 

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