Microsoft says apps growing
Microsoft Corp chief executive officer Steve Ballmer, in a surprise appearance at a technology trade show in Las Vegas, said the number of applications for new Windows tablets has increased fivefold since late October last year. There are four times more applications for Windows RT computers now than there were when the device was introduced, Ballmer said on Monday at the International Consumer Electronics Show. He said that more apps — including Twitter Inc, Dropbox Inc and Time Warner Inc’s CNN — are coming soon. Ballmer is trying to drum up interest in the latest flavor of Microsoft’s operating system as he plays catch-up to Apple Inc in the US$63.2 billion market for tablets. Early demand for some Windows tablets has appeared “disappointing,” FBR Capital Markets analysts said.
Citigroup fires executive
Citigroup Inc fired Richard Cookson, the chief investment officer of its private bank, as the third-biggest US bank by assets pares costs. Citigroup will no longer rely on one person to lead the firm’s investment strategy and will instead seek to “better leverage the existing in-house expertise across Citi,” including its markets and banking research teams, the New York-based firm said in an internal memo, a copy of which was obtained by the media. Chief executive officer Michael Corbat, 52, last month said that Citigroup will cut about 11,000 jobs, while also shutting branches and pulling back from some emerging markets as revenue at global banks dries up. Cookson’s dismissal was part of the announced job cuts, a person familiar with the matter said.
Trade surplus growing again
The national trade surplus returned to growth in November last year despite a fall in exports, official figures showed yesterday. The trade surplus in Europe’s biggest economy rose to 17.0 billion euros (US$22.3 billion) for the month compared with 15.7 billion euros in October, national statistics office Destatis said. In seasonally adjusted terms, the figure was 14.6 billion euros, which was below the forecast of 15.1 billion euros made by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires. The country exported goods worth 94.1 billion euros in November, falling from 98.4 billion a month earlier. However, Destatis said that exports remained at the same level as a year earlier, driven by exports to countries outside the EU, which rose by 5.6 percent, while exports to other areas — notably the eurozone — fell sharply.
Sony Mobile looks to parent
Sony Mobile Communications, the phone arm of Japan’s largest electronics company, said closer ties with its parent following a buyout last year are helping it create new products and win market share. The unit developed technology that lets its devices connect with other Sony Corp products after a venture with Ericsson AB ended, Sony Mobile chief marketing officer Steve Walker said in an interview in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Monday. The division has also gained from tapping into the group’s marketing budget, he added. Sony is focusing more on smartphones after customers shunned the devices it made with Ericsson in favor of Apple Inc’s and Samsung Electronics Co’s devices. The push has helped Sony boost its global market share to at least 5 percent from 3.6 percent in the first quarter of last year, Walker said. He reiterated Sony’s earlier target to boost smartphone shipments by 51 percent to 34 million units in the fiscal year ending on March 31.