1 Samsung profit lowest in three years (BBC) Samsung Electronics has seen its quarterly operating profit fall to its lowest level in more than three years because of slowing smartphone sales. The South Korean company said profit fell 60% to 4.1tn won ($3.8bn) in the three months to September. Shares of the world’s biggest smartphone-maker have lost nearly 20% of their value this year.
Samsung’s mobile division, its biggest business, has been struggling to maintain its dominance against rivals such as Apple, which recently released the new iPhone 6. Its flagship Galaxy smartphone line has been losing market share to Chinese smartphone-makers Xiaomi and Lenovo, which sell cheaper models that also have large screens and multiple features.
Samsung said market competition is “expected to further intensify”. It said the year-end surge in competitor smartphone launches “may require a potential increase in marketing expenses associated with year-end promotions”.
2 Despite oil price fall, Shell profit up 31% (Sean Farrell in The Guardian) Royal Dutch Shell’s profit rose strongly in the third quarter as more profitable production and lower exploration costs helped compensate for the sharp fall in the price of oil. Shell’s core profit, excluding one-time items, for the three months to the end of September increased 31% to $5.8bn from a year earlier.
Profits fell 5% from the second quarter of this year, mainly because of lower oil prices and reduced production. Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, said: “The recent decline in oil prices is part of the volatility in our industry. It underlines the importance of our drive to get a tighter grip on performance management, keep a tight hold on costs and spending, and improve the balance between growth and returns.”
Oil companies have had billions of pounds wiped off their stock market valuations as oil prices dropped by a quarter over the past four months. The price of crude has slumped to a four-year low of about $85 a barrel as plentiful supplies have outstripped slowing slowing global demand, particularly in China.
Goldman Sachs slashed its forecast for Brent crude prices to an average of $85 a barrel for the first quarter of next year, down from its earlier estimate of $100 a barrel. In response, the oil companies are selling surplus assets and cutting costs and investment spending to support profits. Shell, Europe’s biggest oil company by market value, plans to shed $15bn of assets this year and sold $3.6bn in the third quarter, taking the running total to $11.6bn.
3 US theatres to ban Google Glass (Seung Y Lee in San Francisco Chronicle) Movie theaters across America will soon ask movie-goers to silence their cell phones and turn off their Google Glasses. The National Association of Theater Owners and the Motion Picture Association of America jointly banned Google Glass and other wearable tech devices in movie theaters Wednesday. The decision, however, is more of a policy recommendation to combat film piracy in theaters rather than an enforceable mandate.
Despite the voluntary nature of the ban, NATO — yes, the trade group calls itself NATO — expects most of its 32,000 theaters will adopt the policy. Some movie theaters, including Alamo Drafthouse, which is opening a Mission district location next year, had previously banned wearable tech devices. Google Glass advocates call the concern over piracy unreasonable.
“A smartphone is far easier to record a video or a movie with and will be much higher quality,” Robert Scoble, a tech blogger and author, said. “The battery in a Google Glass only lasts 45 minutes right now, not long enough to do a feature-length film. The fear of these is unwarranted.”
For some movie theater owners, the issue extends beyond piracy. It is about preserving the cinematic experience devoid of distractions. “Once the lights go down, the only way to watch a movie is with full, rapt attention,” Tim League, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse, wrote in an e-mail. “Multitasking was invented by Satan.”