Connect with us

Technology

Apple sales rise to $90bn amid Covid buying surge | Apple

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Apple sales soared to $90bn (£65bn) in the first three months of 2021, smashing previous records as locked-down consumers bought more iPhones and laptops and demand in China surged.

Revenue was up 54% for the first three months of the year compared with the same period in 2020, as the Californian tech giant sold more products in every category.

Apple’s bumper results – sales were 15% higher than analysts expected – led a strong quarter for US tech’s behemoths, which have cemented their dominant positions in the world economy during the pandemic as spending has migrated to digital products and online shopping.

Facebook, the social network, on Wednesday revealed that its revenues for the first quarter of 2021 grew by 48% to $26bn, far exceeding analyst forecasts, and net income nearly doubled to $9.5bn.

Alphabet posted record results on Tuesday, with its main Google subsidiary enjoying a boom in advertising demand as companies tried to reach consumers locked at home.

For Apple, profits of $23.6bn were double those of the equivalent quarter in 2020, when the pandemic’s effects on the global economy first became clear. Its sales in China doubled year-on-year. Mac computer sales were a third higher than predicted and iPhone sales came in around $48bn – roughly $6.5bn higher than initial estimates.

After more than a month of delays, Apple unveiled its iPhone 12 line last autumn, which outperformed its predecessors and analyst expectations. With the 5G-equipped devices, the new iPhone helped Apple finish 2020 with its most profitable quarter ever, drove a 21% increase in revenue in the first quarter of 2021 and carried those successes into the second quarter.

Booming sales have led to soaring valuations for the tech companies. Apple’s valuation has more than doubled from the low it hit during the pandemic-triggered panic just over a year ago to $2.2tn, and its share price gained another 2.4% in after-hours trading following its results statement on Wednesday night.

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said the results showed the “enduring” demand for its products and highlighted “optimism consumers seem to feel about better days ahead for all of us”.

Apple also announced a $90bn share buyback and assuaged investors’ anxieties over how it would handle a severe semiconductor shortage that has hampered other companies and the automobile industry.

“There wasn’t a material issue with our results due to supply,” Cook told Reuters.

David Vogt, an analyst at UBS, an investment bank, said the “strong across-the-board” results showed how sales of the iPhone drove sales by attracting customers to other parts of the Apple ecosystem.

Though Cook presented a sunny outlook, some analysts have doubts over whether the demand can be sustained as economies begin to transition out of the Covid crisis.

“Current high levels of both iPad and Mac demand are unlikely to be sustainable as the world reopens, so another beat driven more by these areas may not be enough to drive the shares further,” Rod Hall, at Goldman Sachs, wrote in a research note before Apple’s earnings call.

Guardian business email sign-up

Cook argued, however, that demand felt strong. “Where this pandemic will end, it seems like many companies will be operating in a hybrid kind of mode,” Cook said.

Apple is navigating uncertainties around a microchip shortage that’s expected to last into next year. Computer chips, which are essential to Apple’s product-lines, have been in short supply since last summer after chip factories were disrupted in the midst of the pandemic. The backlog was complicated by bumps in demand, former President Trump’s trade war, and the shift to 5G. Joe Biden’s $2tn infrastructure plan includes roughly $50bn to invest in domestic production of the chips, but it can take years to get the complex factories up and running.

Sidney Ho, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, another investment bank, said the supply chain disruption could cost Apple between $3bn and $4bn between April and June.

Apple is also facing increased scrutiny from US lawmakers – along with other big tech companies like Google and Facebook – over possible antitrust violations. In a Senate antitrust hearing last week, smaller tech companies criticised the company, saying it acts as a gatekeeper and uses its giant platform to squash competition. The day before the hearing, Apple introduced its new AirTags, which enabled users to track items with their iPhone’s “Find My” software, a device some believe was copied from a similar Samsung product.

Source link

Technology

Bridie Connell: the 10 funniest things I have ever seen (on the internet) | Comedy

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Ah, the internet. My reliable friend. I turn to it when I need to smile (cute pet videos), when I need to cry (war veterans being reunited with their kids), and when I need to destroy what’s left of my self-esteem (Instagram). There are plenty of arguments about why life would be better without it, and honestly? It probably would be. But it also wouldn’t be as funny. Here’s a bunch of things from the world wide web that never fail to make me laugh.

There’s nothing I enjoy more than people trying to make the world a better place. Particularly when they make the world better in a way they’d never intended. I can just imagine the conversations that took place in the drafting process for this campaign:

“We need a catchy and educational campaign to tackle the horrors of addiction.”

“Yes, one that shows we’re in this together, as a community.”

“One that doesn’t stereotype addicts.”

“I’ve got it!”

The result is what I believe they call a “swing and a miss.” A+ for effort, though.

If there was an award for best award acceptance speech, this would win. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is brilliantly funny (while accepting an award for being brilliantly funny) and she remains my hero.

Allow TikTok content?

This article includes content provided by TikTok. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. To view this content, click ‘Allow and continue’.

Here’s one for my fellow theatre kids. This pitch perfect sketch is from comedian and writer Jacob Kaplan. Does it make me laugh? Yes. Does it make me tense every single muscle in my body and hold my breath while I try not to think about the time that 14-year-old Bridie wrote a play about the dangers of DRINK-DRIVING and also DRUGS, which inexplicably culminated in a peppy dance routine? … No comment.

Amber Ruffin is one of the most versatile and talented comedians around. I love a lot of what she does, but this song is a special favourite. Hilarious, a little creepy and downright catchy: a winning combo!

This sketch from the late 1990s sketch group Big Train still delights me. Short, sharp, silly. Please and thank you!

Allow TikTok content?

This article includes content provided by TikTok. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. To view this content, click ‘Allow and continue’.

Adrian Bliss, Certified Internet Star™, is a go-to for inventive sketches (and a seemingly endless supply of costumes). Many of his skits feature historical characters, like this one about a Greek soldier inside the Trojan horse. That layer of awkwardness that the Brits do well drives this skit, and now that I’ve seen it I can only hear The Aeneid being read in Bliss’s voice: “I sing of arms and a man, innit.”

Now this, THIS is some relatable content. Don’t pretend you’ve never tied one on and woken up on a golf course/boat/gold lame suit, because I won’t believe you. Perfectly encapsulating the delight of a great night-turned great story, I give you this hungover Scotsman who woke up in the wrong house. Of course, it’s made all the better by the Glaswegian accent.

*Assumes elderly wizard voice* I have been studying and performing improv since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, so the Whose Line crew are some of my longtime heroes. This game is one of my faves, not just because it’s so funny and clever, but because the “mistake” that happens around the 2:20 mark encapsulates the joy and collaboration that good improv is all about. Oh dear, this got more earnest than I intended. Just watch it!

A masterclass in physical comedy, from one of the greats.

Last but not least, here’s a video to save for a day where you need a bit of a pick-me-up. This is my favourite of all “laughing baby” videos, a classic in a crowded genre. And sure, if we’re measuring “funny” by incisive satirical commentary or well crafted punchlines, then this is a fail – but no other video fires up my mirror neurons and makes me laugh as much as this one.

Seriously, if you watch this and don’t feel at least a little bit better, then call a cardiologist because you have NO HEART.



Source link

Continue Reading

Technology

North Korean ransomware dubbed Maui active since May 2021 • The Register

Voice Of EU

Published

on

For the past year, state-sponsored hackers operating on behalf of North Korea have been using ransomware called Maui to attack healthcare organizations, US cybersecurity authorities said on Wednesday.

Uncle Sam’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the FBI, and the Treasury Department issued a joint advisory outlining a Pyongyang-orchestrated ransomware campaign that has been underway at least since May, 2021.

The initial access vector – the way these threat actors break into organizations – is not known. Even so, the FBI says it has worked with multiple organizations in the healthcare and public health (HPH) sector infected by Maui ransomware.

“North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors used Maui ransomware in these incidents to encrypt servers responsible for healthcare services – including electronic health records services, diagnostics services, imaging services, and intranet services,” the joint security advisory [PDF] reads. “In some cases, these incidents disrupted the services provided by the targeted HPH Sector organizations for prolonged periods.”

The Feds assume the reason HPH sector organizations have been targeted is that they will pay ransoms rather than risk being locked out of systems, being denied data, or having critical services interrupted.

Maui, according to Silas Cutler, principal reverse engineer at security outfit Stairwell, is one of the lesser known families of ransomware. He says it stands out for its lack of service-oriented tooling, such as an embedded ransom note with recovery instructions. That leads him to believe Maui is operated manually by individuals who specify which files should be encrypted and exfiltrated.

The advisory, based on Stairwell’s research [PDF], indicates that the Maui ransomware is an encryption binary that a remote operator manually executes through command line interaction. The ransomware deploys AES, RSA, and XOR encryption to lock up target files. Thereafter, the victim can expect a ransom payment demand.

According to SonicWall, there were 304.7 million ransomware attacks in 2021, an increase of 151 percent. In healthcare, the percentage increase was 594 percent.

CrowdStrike, another security firm, in its 2022 Global Threat Report said North Korea has shifted its focus to cryptocurrency entities “in an effort to maintain illicit revenue generation during economic disruptions caused by the pandemic.” For example, consider the recent theft of $100 million of cryptocurrency assets from Harmony by the North Korea-based cybercrime group Lazarus. But organizations that typically transact with fiat currencies aren’t off the hook.

Sophos, yet another security firm, said in its State of Ransomware Report 2022 that the average ransom payment last year was $812,360, a 4.8X increase from the 2020 when the average payment was $170,000. The company also said more victims are paying ransoms: 11 percent in 2021 compared to 4 percent in 2020.

The advisory discourages the payment of ransoms. Nonetheless, the FBI is asking any affected organization to share information related to ransomware attacks, such as communication with foreign IP addresses, Bitcoin wallet details, and file samples. The advisory goes on to suggest ways to mitigate ransomware attacks and minimize damage.

Last month, the US Justice Department outlined its Strategic Plan for the next four years and cited enhancing cybersecurity and fighting cybercrime among its objectives. One of its key metrics for success will be the “percent of reported ransomware incidents from which cases are opened, added to existing cases, or resolved or investigative actions are conducted within 72 hours.” ®

Source link

Continue Reading

Technology

Revolut banks on Stripe tech to expand payments globally

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Soon to launch in Mexico and Brazil, Revolut joins a long list of Stripe users including N26, Ford and Spotify.

Revolut will now use Stripe’s financial infrastructure platform to power its payments in the UK and Europe.

Stripe’s international reach is also expected to accelerate the global expansion of Revolut, helping it enter and grow in new markets. The UK neobank is soon planning to launch in Mexico and Brazil.

With this latest partnership, Revolut joins a long list of tech companies that have turned to Irish-founded Stripe to power payments, including German neobank N26, Swedish fintech Klarna, US carmaker Ford and streaming giant Spotify.

“Revolut builds seamless solutions for its customers. That means access to quick and easy payments and our collaboration with Stripe facilitates that,” said David Tirado, vice-president of business development at Revolut.

“We share a common vision and are excited to collaborate across multiple areas, from leveraging Stripe’s infrastructure to accelerate our global expansion, to exploring innovative new products for Revolut’s more than 18m customers.”

Founded in 2015, Revolut has become one of Europe’s biggest fintech start-ups. The London-headquartered company now offers payments and bankings services to 18m customers and 500,000 businesses in more than 200 countries and territories.

Last month, the fintech made its debut in the highly competitive buy now, pay later market in Europe, with roll-out starting in Ireland. It also revealed this week that it is moving into in-person payments, launching a card reader for businesses in the UK and Ireland.

“Revolut and Stripe share an ambition to upgrade financial services globally. We’re thrilled to be powering Revolut as it builds, scales and helps people around the world get more from their money,” said Eileen O’Mara, EMEA revenue and growth lead at Stripe.

Even though Revolut has 1.7m customers in Ireland and is rolling out banking services here, the fintech is set to face stiff competition from Synch Payments, a mobile payments app venture from some of Ireland’s pillar banks. Synch recently took another step towards launch by picking a technology partner for its app.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!