Thiel blasts Twitter
Twitter shares have fallen over 20% in 2014 as the company has failed to grow its user base at the same pace as its competitor, Facebook. According to prominent venture capitalist and PayPal’s billionaire co-founder Peter Thiel, Twitter’s problems might stem from an issue of serious mismanagement…and pot smoking.
Theil, an early investor in Facebook, blasted Twitter on a Wednesday morning interview with CNBC, claiming that “it’s a horribly mismanaged company” and there is “probably a lot of pot-smoking going on there.”
Rumors suggest Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams never saw eye to eye. Neither still works for Twitter, but the inherent divisions in the company remain and could be having an effect on its growth prospects. “It feels like it’s vastly underperforming its potential,” Thiel said.
Thiel did hedge himself by admitting that the company’s business model is so sound that it would probably succeed despite internal problems. Perhaps that is why the CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, did not issue a public retort but instead responded with a playful Twitter jab at one of Thiel’s earlier investments.
While there is no evidence that Twitter’s senior management are pot users, Wall Street’s pricing of the media giant’s stock suggests that it may share the sentiment of Thiel. So far, Twitter has not lived up to its goal of growing in line with its fellow media incumbent. Facebook, and has actually witnessed a slowdown in user acquisition. Whether that is due to mismanagement, or another factor, the company has concerns that it must address heading into the last quarter of 2014.
Microsoft event on horizon
In the wake of Apple’s recent launch event for the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch, Microsoft sent out official press invitations this week announcing an event September 30 in San Francisco at 1 p.m. ET.
The invitation reads “Join us to hear about what’s next for Windows and the enterprise.” While the exact intent of the event is somewhat mysterious, most believe the tech giant will release the next major version of Windows. Unofficially dubbed Windows 9, the new software will likely be aimed at appeasing the corporate world, with many enterprises feeling that Windows 8 and its touch screen orientation did not support the conventional mouse-keyboard-PC work environment. This could be crucial for Microsoft, which registers around two-thirds of its profits from business-tech sales.
Details of the new Windows system have leaked over the past week, revealing features such as a new start menu, a virtual desktop feature, and a notification center. Either on or after the event, Microsoft is expected to deliver an official “Windows Technical Preview” to fully disclose the changes the company has made to its operating system. Many changes are still in progress, putting a broad release date for the new Windows at sometime next year.
Perhaps a larger question for Microsoft is whether a new Windows platform is relevant in a phase where competitors like Apple seem to have gained more traction in the post-PC computing world. As Microsoft strive to unite all devices under “one Windows” – unifying Windows, Windows Phone, and XBox in one converged operating system – this could be the last major release of a new version of Windows, with one click upgrades implemented instead.
iPhone 6 on shelves
Die-hard Apple enthusiasts finally got their hands on the iPhone 6, which became available in stores this week. Customers camped outside stores around the world in anticipation of the largest iPhone to date.
Waiting in long lines at retail stores may have proved the better option than pre-ordering. Apple said in a statement that demand for the phone far exceeded the pre-order supply, backing up orders to the point where some customers will only receive the phone in October. Pre-orders reached a record 4 million units for the two models (iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus) combined. One camper outside a retail store in Perth, Australia made the right choice as he became one of the first people in the world to own the device…and then subsequently dropped it on live television.
The iPhone 6 launch is therefore not without its flaws. Due to a strict Chinese bureaucracy, Apple’s plan for launch on the mainland has stalled, leaving one of the company’s largest markets untouched by the latest device. In another issue, one of Apple’s new feature apps, the HealthKit, ironically experienced an unhealthy bug and has also been delayed.
Still, most of the early signs for Apple are positive. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4, sequel to its largely successful predecessor, has also begun pre-sales but with much less publicity. Early research on supplies of the hybrid Samsung tablet/phone device suggest that its presales are just 60% of what was notched at the same stage in the Note 3’s launch, likely due to the market share that the iPhone 6 has carved.
Unphased by the iPhone 6’s $649 price tag without contract, and $200 with a major U.S. carrier, customers rushed to get their hands on the phones, on day one of Apple’s record launch. “iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are better in every way, and we are thrilled customers love them as much as we do,” said delighted Apple CEO Tim Cook. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be released in 20 additional countries on September 26.
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