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How about that Apple Inc.! Today marked the fateful day when the company’s stock price soared above the $500 per share mark, so there was likely a cascading fountain or champagne in ol’ Cupertino today. Definitely a nice early Valentine for Apple, but the week is young and there’s plenty more excitement to come, we’re sure. For now, let’s kick back and bask in the glow of a warm Monday, February 13, 2012, shall we…?
It wasn’t so long ago that open-source media player VLC appeared marked for death on the Mac platform, with developer VideoLAN short on coders capable of moving the application into a 64-bit world. Thankfully, that nightmare has passed and now The Verge is reporting that a version 2.0 of VLC will debut later this week sporting “an all-new UI for Mac users, support for fullscreen mode in Lion, experimental support for Blu-ray playback in OS X, and extended codec support.” The new version consolidates playlists, media libraries and controls into one window, introducing a new white on black look that echoes QuickTime X, rather than the QuickTime of yore seen in previous versions. A release candidate is available for download now, and the change log included there also teases that VideoLAN is hard at work on a port of VLC 2.0 for both iOS and Android -- quite the shocker considering the drama that erupted last year when the VLC iOS app was unceremoniously yanked from App Store shelves over an open-source licensing dispute.
AllThingsD is reporting that the European Union has given an “all-clear” to Google for the purchase of Motorola Mobility, a big step toward making the deal a reality in the early part of this year. However, EU regulators still have some concerns, most notably in how Google intends to use Moto’s bulging patent portfolio. “This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices,” Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters. “This is our worry.” While there’s little chance of Google using the patents to keep Android away from other manufacturers, there’s a much larger possibility of the search giant using the patents as a club against competitors like Apple. For now, Google is simply basking in the joy of crossing a major hurdle. “This is an important milestone in the approval process and it moves us closer to closing the deal,” Google said in a blog post. “We are now just waiting for decisions from a few other jurisdictions before we can close this transaction.”
You’d think handling a big chunk of manufacturing for the world’s hottest technology company would be enough for Pegatron, but apparently not. According to DigiTimes, Pegatron is being pressured by Apple to abandon manufacturing for Asustek Computer’s new line of ultrabooks. The problem stems from how closely the Asus Zenbook notebooks resemble Apple’s MacBook Air, “especially in its outer design.” Needless to say, “Apple reportedly was unhappy” to discover Pegatron was also manufacturing the knockoff ultrabooks, and given that the manufacturer just started assembling iPhones last year “and is eager to solicit orders for next-generation iPads,” something’s gotta give. The report claims Pegatron will wind down Zenbook production by the end of March, forcing Asustek to outsource the work to either Compai Electronics or Wistron.
Apple’s blowout final quarter for 2011 continues to make shock waves across the industry, and today The NPD Group released data that showed Cupertino “accounted for 19 percent of all sales dollars” during the period, eclipsing second-place Hewlett-Packard by nearly double for a 36 percent growth in sales over previous 2010 data. That puts Apple as the number one ranked U.S. brand for the entire 2011 calendar year, while second place HP declined three percent, third-place Samsung declined six percent, fourth place Sony declined 21 percent and fifth-place Dell declined 17 percent. (Hey, we’re sensing a pattern here: Apple rises, everyone else falls?) Despite record traffic to Apple’s retail locations, Best Buy walked away with the top retailer spot for the year, followed by Walmart and Apple, with a tie between Staples and Amazon in fourth place to round out the top five, a repeat of last year’s results.
MacRumors is reporting that Apple’s stock price made the record books today, breaking the glass ceiling of $500 per share after rising more than $75 per share in less than three weeks, an 18 percent increase. Thus far, the price appears to be staying put, too: At the close of the stock market on Monday, AAPL is $501.53, which puts its worth at more than $469 billion -- “the most valuable public company in the world by a significant margin,” notes MacRumors, since second-place ExxonMobil is only worth around $400 billion at the moment. That said, Apple still has a way to go if they want to match Microsoft, who had a peak market cap of $642 billion back in September, 2000.
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