GLOBAL TECH WRAP: Apple falls on Wall Street Journal warning

New worry for the left: rise of the robots
Dell: said to be in buyout talks
Dell all-time Nasdaq performance (S&P Capital IQ; click to zoom)
Apple 12-month Nasdaq performance (S&P Capital IQ; click to zoom)

Apple shares (NAS:AAPL) fell nearly 4% today, dipping under the $US500 mark for the first time since February last year, and well off their $US702 high hit in September.

The fall was precipitated by a Wall Street Journal article yesterday afternoon NZ time (Sunday night US time) that said Apple had cut parts orders in response to weak iPhone 5 demand.

However, Boy Genius Report, an influential Apple-focused blog, has questioned the WSJ's piece in a article-headlined The strange math of Apple's alleged massive iPhone 5 order cuts. BGR says the Journal's original article said iPhone 5 display orders for the January-March quarter had been halved from 65 million. Boy Genius says the Journal was adding orders for the iPhone 5 and the latest iPod Touch (which uses the same 4-inch screen), and notes the 65 million figure has now disappeared from the article. But so far, investors seem to be buying the WSJ's report.

Nokia, which has lost a cumulative $US6.3 billion since it announced its Windows smartphone alliance with Microsoft in early 2011, is so pleased with its fourth quarter 2012 result that it spilled preliminary results - indicating it would break-even or achieve a 1 or 2% profit. The turnaround is in part thanks to relatively brisk sales of its Windows-based Lumia series, which sold 4.4 million during the quarter - or more than double the previous quarter (the momentum is positive, but the company still trails Apple by some margin. 26.9 million iPhones were sold during the fourth quarter. And while Lumia sales were strong, sales of Nokia's cheaper Asha smartphone line - which runs on the company's Symbian software were much stronger. Asha outsold the Lumia 2:1.

Samsung - the leading maker of mobiles based on Google's Android software says it has sold 100 million of its Galaxy S smartphone series since its 2010 launch, including 40 million of its flagship Galaxy SIII, released in May last year (PC Magazine).

Facebook has invited journalists to a mystery announcement 10am PST Tuesday (7am Wednesday NZ time). "We really don't know what Facebook is announcing Tuesday, but Ars will be there," says Ars Technica.

The Atlantic finds a new worry for the left in The End of Labor: How to Protect Workers From the Rise of Robots.

Michael Dell is considering taking his eponymous company private, again, according to a Bloomberg report that says the founder and CEO is in buyout talks with private equity firms. Dell shares (NAS:DELL) leapt 14% on the news.

Gartner says tablets are putting the squeeze on the PC market, which fell 4.9% to 90.4 million units last year (IT News). Windows 8 has made no significant impact yet, the research company says. Tablet sales grew around 50% over the same period and hit 27.8 milllion in the third quarter of 2012 alone.

Forbes says Forget Oracle's Latest Java Patch. Just Kill The Program In Your Browser For Good.

PayPal's in-store payment platform spreads to 18,000 retail locations across the US, says The Verge.

The New York Times says the shower and swimming-proof Fitbit Flex is the next big thing in wireless fitness trackers.

UBS estimates Microsoft sold one million Windows RT tablets during the last quarter of 2012, half the number the investment bank had been expecting (Computerworld US). The company hopes the full-blooded Surface Pro, due for launch later this month, will help boost sales.

Empty Wheel looks at a supression motion in the Aaron Swartz hacking case and reveals Two Days Before MIT and Cambridge Cops Arrested Aaron Swartz, Secret Service Took Over the Investigation.

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NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

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Gold Index 1241.1 -7.450 2014-10-22T00:
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Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5279.7 5280.9 5279.7 0.02%
NASDAQ 4429.2 4435.9 4419.5 -0.83%
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DJI 16615.3 16653.9 16614.8 -0.92%
FTSE 6372.3 6401.5 6372.3 0.43%
HKSE 23300.5 23460.8 23088.6 1.37%
NI225 15038.2 15195.8 14804.3 2.64%