Tech 2.0 for Monday, September 23, 2013
BlackBerry has agreed to sell itself for $4.7 billion to a group led by largest shareholder, Fairfax. BlackBerry said Monday that a letter of intent has been signed and its shareholders will receive $9 in cash for each share. Fairfax head Prem Watsa is a former board member who owns 10 percent of BlackBerry. Watsa stepped down when BlackBerry announced it was considering a sale last month. The billionaire is one of Canada's best-known value investors. Trading of the company's stock was halted ahead of the news. BlackBerry shares plunged after the company announced Friday a loss of nearly $1 billion and layoffs of 4,500 workers. The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, was once the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and other consumers before Apple's iPhone debuted in 2007.
Apple says shoppers snapped up 9 million of its newest iPhones since the devices were launched Friday, and that demand is exceeding supply. Its shares jumped 6 percent in premarket trading. Apple says the two new models gave it its strongest iPhone launch ever. The company began selling the low-cost 5C and top-of-the-line 5S on Friday. The company says demand for iPhone 5s has exceeded the initial supply, and many online orders are scheduled to be shipped in the coming weeks. Wall Street hadn't been enthusiastic about the new models, which were unveiled earlier this month. Apple shares jumped 4 percent in early trading.
Microsoft is introducing new Surface tablet computers and accessories, including a professional model that allows people to use it more like a laptop or a desktop. The Redmond, Wash. company is trying to boost its tablet business as sales of traditional desktop and laptop computers decline. The Surface Pro 2, unveiled at an event in New York, is targeted at professionals who want the full power of a laptop in a tablet-style device. The kickstand built into the device is redesigned to make it easier to use on laps. In the past, it worked best on a flat surface such as a table. Microsoft says the Pro 2 also offers a 75 percent improvement in battery life over the previous model. There's also a new cover accessory that extends battery life even further. An optional docking station allows the Pro 2 to be used like a laptop. A cheaper model, Surface 2, offers a better screen and other improvements over last year's Surface RT. Microsoft didn't immediately announce prices or a release date.