While Everquest and Ultima Online helped define MMORPGs, World of Warcraft is the game that most people think of when the genre is mentioned. But could its heyday in the sun be coming to a close after all these years? A Reuters report released late last night would have you believe so: its headline trumpeted “World of Warcraft loses steam” and the article went on to describe how Wall Street investors kicked Activision Blizzard after it said that the game lost almost 1 million subscribers in the past quarter. We actually read the report, though, and we’re calling it nothing but FUD.
Investors have been chomping at the bit for months in anticipation of getting a piece of that sweet, sweet Facebook stock. But the Financial Times is reporting that Zuckerberg and company have pushed the expected IPO back until late 2012 at the earliest. The upshot, you have more time to save your pennies in hopes of buying a share.
The collective cry from Wall Street this morning is, "They took our Jobs!" Wait, that might have been what was beaming from a repeat episode of South Park. In any event, Apple investors are trying to figure out what life will be like in the Cupertino camp after Steve Jobs dropped a bombshell late yesterday announcing his resignation, effective immediately, with former COO Tim Cook stepping in as his replacement.
One of the hazards of signing up with a start up is that the stock they use to lure employees in usually can’t be cashed out until the company allows it. That’s been the case with Twitter for years now, and both employees and investors are getting antsy. But the social service’s new round of funding, reported to be around $800 million, will include $400 million just for cashing out stock options.
In perhaps another sign the economy is recovering, popular internet brand Yelp is looking to make an initial public offering (IPO). CEO Jeremy Stoppelman told the Wall Street Journal in an interview the an IPO was back on the table. Stoppelman didn't say when the company would make the move, but indicated they were looking to bring a new CFO on board before moving forward.
The more we hear about Living Social's meteoric rise, the more we think Groupon should have taken that Google buyout offer. In the process of acquiring a company called SocialMedia, Living Social disclosed some financial data to value the shares they were handing over in the deal. According to the disclosure, Living Social is valued at $2.9 billion, and sees $50 million in monthly revenue.
According to All Things D, Facebook has made it known that it is offering to buy up $1 billion worth of employee-owned shares at a whopping $60 billion valuation. Apparently some large international investors have come calling, and Facebook has decided to offer employees that have been sitting on mountains of private stock a way to profit.
Oh, poor Microsoft and their declining business. No one thinks they're cool anymore, and that surely means they are going down in flames. After all, they only pulled in a measly $20 billion in revenue last quarter. Wait, what? Indeed, good old Microsoft has had a record quarter with nearly $20 billion in sales, working out to $6.63 billion in profit after all the bills are paid. That's $0.77 per share for you stock market folks.
The cheers are surly rattling the windows up in Redmond on the news. The Entertainment and Devices division saw a 55% increase in revenue on the strength of Kinect and the Xbox 360. This is rather astonishing seeing as the division that makes Windows is only $1.3 billion ahead of the Xbox folks now. That used to be a much wider gulf. All the more reason to milk the current console generation that much more.
One Microsoft product that isn't getting much attention is Windows Phone 7. If it had made an impact on the bottom line, we assume Ballmer would have been dancing on the roof, or something like that. Still, with these sorts of numbers, they can afford to build WP7 slowly.
Barry McCarthy, the Netflix CFO with one foot out the door, will end his tenure at Netflix on Friday and leave the company at least $40 million richer than he began. That's because McCarthy sold off large portions of his Netflix stock, not once, but twice in the last month, CNet report.
At the beginning of the month, McCarthy sold over 130,000 shares, netting more than $21 million. And then days before Netflix announced he was leaving the company, McCarthy sold another 100,000 shares for around $200 per share. Should we be concerned that this long-time CFO is abandoning a seemingly successful company and cashing in on over $40 million in stock?
"You should be confident that I'm leaving the business in good shape," McCarthy said at a tech conference. "There is nothing that I know that you don't know that would cause you to be sleepless about your position in the stock."
Whether McCarthy's comments come as any consolation to nervous investors remains to be seen, but it could be that he was simply looking to have cash on hand to fund whatever new venture he gets into. According to a report in Dow Jones, McCarthy said Wednesday that he wants to run his own company.
Most of us wouldn't think twice if the company we're working for offered us $3.5 million in restricted stock to stick around, but would you take it if Facebook was trying to pry you away? Probably, and according to TechCrunch, so did the Google employee who was given this very offer in order to keep him from joining Facebook.
"We've confirmed today that a staff engineer at Google being romanced by Facebook was offered a jaw dropping $3.5 million in restricted stock by Google (this means Google is handing over stock worth $3.5 million based on its value today, and that stock will vest over time. He quite wisely accepted Google's counter offer. Facebook lost this one," TechCrunch said.
That's quite the bonus in what's become a high stakes tug-of-war between Google and Facebook over talented engineers, but a drop in the bucket over what Google plans to pay in bonuses and raises over the next 12 months. In a confidential note to employees, Google recently stated it was giving every Google worker a $1,000 holiday bonus and at least a 10 percent raise effective January 1, 2011. It's estimated the move will cost Google around $1 billion next year.