The top ten films in the U.S. grossed $115.4M over the weekend, up 27% from the same period a year ago.
Sony's (NYSE:SNE) Fury was the top movie of the weekend with a $23.5M take, while 20th Century Fox's (NASDAQ:FOXA) Gone Girl impressed by taking in $17.8M in its third week at theaters. The David Fincher film crossed the $100M mark over the weekend vs. a production budget of $62M.
"I think that if you’re not already spending a lot of capital in the order of four or five billion dollars each year to just grow your cloud, probably it’s a little too late to enter the market," Satya Nadella (NASDAQ:MSFT) asserted during a CNBC interview (video). Rackspace and VMware would probably beg to differ; Amazon and Google, maybe not so much.
The CNBC talk was followed by a webcast in which Nadella unveiled the Cloud Platform System, an on-premise appliance (to be sold by Dell) that enables Azure private cloud and (by linking with Microsoft's public cloud) hybrid cloud services. Microsoft has long argued Azure's strong hybrid cloud support (aided by the company's on-premise software) acts as a differentiator relative to Amazon/Google).
Also unveiled: 1) An Azure Marketplace that allows clients to quickly add apps and services from third parties; Amazon has something similar. 2) New high-performance Azure virtual machine and storage options. 3) Azure support for CoreOS, a Linux variant that's popular among companies deploying app containers (a lightweight alternative to virtualization software from the likes of Microsoft and VMware).
Driving home his multi-platform push, Nadella made the CoreOS announcement in front a sign that (amusingly enough) read "Microsoft [hearts] Linux." Last week, the company announced support for Docker's app containers (already big on Linux) would be included in the next version of Windows Server, which is expected in mid-2015.
Total SA (NYSE:TOT) CEO Christophe de Margerie is reported dead after a plane crash in Moscow, according to Interfax.
De Margerie, 62, has held the positions of chairman and CEO at the oil/gas giant since 2010.
Updated 7:13 p.m.: Various sources are saying that de Margerie was the only passenger on a light aircraft aside from a three-person crew, all of whom also died when the plane hit a snowplow on takeoff.
British Columbia will require proponents of liquefied natural gas terminals to keep their carbon emissions at the lowest level in the world, not to exceed the equivalent of 0.16 metric ton of carbon dioxide per ton of LNG, the province's Environment Ministry says.
The lower carbon stipulation for LNG plants would add to an existing levy on greenhouse gases in B.C., which has a target to reduce emissions by a third below 2007 levels by 2020.
Legislation regarding an LNG-specific tax - long awaited by major players such as Petronas, Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX), who are proposing as many as 18 projects to ship LNG from the province to meet Asian demand - is scheduled to be announced tomorrow.
Gold Resource (NYSEMKT:GORO) reports Q3 production of 17.2K gold equiv. oz., which brings total YTD production to ~65.1K gold equiv. oz.; GORO also maintains its FY 2014 outlook at 85K-100K gold equiv. oz.
Q3 production fell 28% Q/Q as slower than expected mine development resulted in fewer tons delivered to the Aguila Mill; GORO says the production issues revealed needed managerial changes at the Arista mine, which are underway.
RightSignature provides a solution for quickly adding electronic signatures to PDFs and Word docs, both on PCs and mobile devices. Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) has acquired the startup for an undisclosed sum.
RightSignature's solution is already integrated with Citrix's ShareFile cloud file-storage/document-syncing platform (acquired in 2011), as well as with cloud services from the likes of Dropbox and Salesforce.
Over the last few years, Citrix has bought a a slew of startups (I, II, III) providing cloud and/or mobile productivity tools for office workers. VMware and SAP are among its top rivals in this space.
Though FQ4 iPhone sales beat estimates, iPhone channel inventory is below Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) historical 4-6 week target range, the company disclosed on the CC. Apple is upping its target range to 5-7 weeks, but doesn't expect to reach it in FQ1. (live blogs: BI, WSJ)
As expected, a mix shift towards the iPhone 6 and the costlier/supply-constrained 6 Plus is boosting iPhone ASPs. "We're selling everything that we make," Tim Cook interjected during a question about product mix.
iPad channel inventory fell by 500K during FQ4. In spite of the 14% Y/Y drop in iPad revenue, Cook dismisses suggestions the market is saturated, noting over half of sales still go to first-time buyers. He did, however, admit consumers hold onto iPads (less likely to be sold with subsidies/installment plans) longer than they hold onto iPhones.
CFO Luca Maestri Maestri noted Apple, like many other U.S. companies, is dealing with forex headwinds caused by a strong dollar. He added forex is factored into FQ1 guidance.
Other details: 1) Apple bought 7 more companies in FQ4 (only 4 are known), bringing the FY14 total to 20. 2) App Store revenue rose 36% Y/Y. 3) Cook asserts Mac market share (previous) is at its highest level since 1995. FQ4 Mac revenue was 25% above iPad revenue. 4) Apple expects to open 25 new stores in FY15, ~75% of which will be outside the U.S.
Seadrill (NYSE:SDRL) was downgraded to Neutral/High Risk from Buy today at Citigroup, which cited a combination of disappointing exploration, further investment decision delays and increased oil price uncertainty as leading to a 10% reduction in its medium-term rig demand forecast.
Citi believes the decline, combined with significant supply added in 2015, likely will extend the current market weakness into 2016, which could materially affect SDRL’s ability to sign and thus finance the next wave of its newbuilds; it also sees increased risk of dividend cuts to maintain the leverage ratio within covenants.
SDRL finished flat today but most offshore drillers rose even as the firm lowered its growth estimates across the sector to reflect a slowdown in investment: ATW +3.4%, HP +3.3%, RDC +3.2%, DO +2%, RIG +1.8%, NE +1.7%, PACD +1.2%, ESV +1%.