The market won't get GoPro's(GPRO) - Get Report fourth-quarter and full 2015 report until Feb. 3, but after the close on Wednesday it did release some preliminary financial results, and they don't look in any way upbeat.
GoPro said it expects revenue to be about $435 million for the fourth quarter and $1.6 billion for the full year. Weakness in the fourth-quarter number derives from the most obvious sources: Retailers moved fewer GoPro devices than the company had expected, and the company cut prices on its HERO4 Session to try to get sales moving. The early guidance for the fourth quarter was for $687 million; that had already been lowered to the $500 million to $550 million range.
Next on tap: Pink slips. GoPro, which had doubled in size over the past two years to a workforce of 1,500, said it would lay off 7% of its workers, incurring a charge of $5 million to $10 million.
GoPro closed Wednesday at $14.61, up a fraction, but in after-hours trading the report sent shares plunging 23% at $11.26.
The world's most populous country is naturally one of the biggest potential markets for ride-sharing services, and Uber is there to compete.
As Bloomberg Business and others have reported Wednesday, Uber recently completed a funding round that values its China unit at $7 billion. The round's investors in Uber China include state-owned investment bank Citic Securities, and publicly traded China Life (LFC) - Get Report , China's biggest insurance company.
Uber will hardly have an easy road in China, however. Its No. 1 rival there is Didi Kuaidi, which is valued at more than $16 billion, and has local tech giants Alibaba(BABA) - Get Report and Tencent (TCTZF) behind it.
Closer to home, Uber may not be ready to go public yet, but it is opening up to investment from individuals. High-net-worth clients of Bank of America's(BAC) - Get Report Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley(MS) - Get Report will be able to get in on Uber's latest funding round, if they meet the requirements. At Merrill Lynch, participants will have to invest at least $1 million and have a net worth of $100 million. Morgan Stanley is more liberal -- a mere $250,000 investment and a $10 million net worth will get you in the door. The funding round's terms value Uber at $62.5 billion, and its stock at about $49 a share.
And in an Uber side note that is likely to effect more people than the equity sales, the company is relaxing its policy on not hiring drivers with criminal records, at least in California. Applicants with some nonviolent and nonsexual offenses who would have previously been automatically rejected won't be anymore.
From news in the billions of dollars to news in the millions but still interesting to the tech cognoscenti: Intel(INTC) - Get Report has put $15 million into robotics startup Savioke, whose top product is a device that zips around hotels delivering towels, toiletries and other sundries to guests on demand. Think of it as a cross between R2D2 and Housekeeping. As The Wall Street Journal explains, this investment is just one move in Intel's new strategy to get inside the growing robotics industry.
Intel is going to need a multi-pronged approach in the future. As TheStreet's Chris Ciaccia noted Wednesday, the semiconductor giant is also betting big on its data center chip business to make up for some of the slack as PC sales continue to decline. Data centers are certainly a growth market for Intel.
But it faces a new challenge in the market: Alphabet(GOOGL) - Get Report and Facebook (FB) - Get Report are among its top server chip customers, and both are now looking to build their own. Amazon(AMZN) - Get Report has already started.
Intel reports quarterly earnings Thursday after the market close. It ended Wednesday down 2.4% at $31.91.
is still inventing the future: For proof: an
report out Wednesday that Big Blue once again was issued
than any other company, by a large margin.
In its 23rd straight year leading the list, IBM's 7,355 patents covered a wide range of hardware and software arenas, but cloud computing and cognitive computing accounted for more than 2,000. (For those unfamiliar with the jargon, cognitive computing is that combination of machine learning and data analytics that produced IBM's A.I.-like Watson.)
A distant second on the list was South Korea's Samsung (SSNLF) , with 5,072 patents, followed by Japan's Canon(CAJ) - Get Report with 4,134, U.S. based Qualcomm(QCOM) - Get Report with 2,900, and Alphabet in fifth place 2,835.
Wondering where the world's most-valuable tech company landed? Apple(AAPL) - Get Reportwas in 11th place, with 1,938 U.S patents, edged out of the top 10 by another of its long-time rivals: Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report , which finished the year with 1,956.
IBM closed Wednesday down 1.3% at $131.21.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.