Oracle, Rite Aid & FedEx Highlight Quiet Earnings Week

Oracle, Rite Aid & FedEx Highlight Quiet Earnings Week

Here is a quick look at what analysts are looking for from these results, as well as a peek at the week’s other most anticipated reports.

See also: What You Don’t Know About Banks Could Fill A Book
FedEx

The consensus estimate of 22 Estimize respondents calls for earnings per share (EPS) of $2.76, a gain of more than 10 percent from in the same period of last year. Also, revenues for the three months that ended in May are expected to have increased about 4 percent to around $12.31 million.

Note that the Wall Street EPS estimate for the fiscal fourth quarter is just $2.68, and that has not changed in the past 60 days. Look for this global transportation, e-commerce, and business services giant to release its latest results Wednesday before the regular trading session begins.
KB Home

When it shares its results first thing Friday, this Los Angeles-based homebuilder is expected to say its earnings for the most recent quarter came in at $0.10 per share, according to three Estimize estimates. That would be well down from the $0.27 per share posted in the same quarter of last year.

The Estimize forecast for nearly $650 million in revenue is higher than the Wall Street estimate of $622.70 million, and it also compares to last year’s $565.21 million for the fiscal second quarter. Note that Estimize respondents overestimated review in the previous two periods.
Kroger

The consensus of 10 Estimize estimates is EPS of $1.19 and revenue that totaled $32.43 billion for the fiscal first quarter, when the supermarket chain reports Thursday morning. That would compare to the $1.09 per share earnings and revenue of $32.96 billion reported in the same period of last year.

Wall Street analysts see a gain in revenue for the period to $33.35 billion, but they also anticipate that revenue in the quarter that ends in July will be essentially flat year over year. So far, they do see revenue for the full year that is marginally higher than in the previous year.
Oracle

In its report late Wednesday, this networking and enterprise software giant is expected to say that its EPS slipped by a penny from a year ago to $0.91, according to 33 Estimize estimates. Wall Street analysts are a bit more pessimistic, placing earnings at $0.87 per share for the fiscal fourth quarter.

The Estimize forecast also has revenues down marginally to $11.16 billion for the most recent quarter, compared to Wall Street expectations of $10.95 billion. Both Wall Street and Estimize respondents, on average, overestimated revenue in the most recent quarter.

See also: All The Right Option Moves: Take The Improv Out Of Earnings
Rite Aid

The third-largest U.S. drug store chain will report $0.03 per share earnings for its fiscal first quarter, down a penny from the year-ago period, according to Wall Street. However, some 11 Estimize estimates put the figure at $0.07 per share. Wall Street way underestimated EPS in the past three quarters.

Revenue for the three months that ended in May will be around 3 percent higher to $6.68 billion, says Estimize. Both Wall Street and Estimize have underestimated revenues in recent periods. Look for Rite Aid to report it latest quarterly results before Thursday’s opening bell.
And Others

Earnings growth is also anticipated from Adobe Systems, CarMax, Jabil Circuit and Red Hat this week.

If analysts’ estimates are correct, earnings declines are in store for Pier 1 Imports and Smith & Wesson.

Upcoming earnings to watch for include those from BlackBerry, Monsanto and Nike.

Keep up with all the latest breaking news and trading ideas by following Benzinga on Twitter.

 

Right to repair: Who owns your car’s software?

A woman links her iPhone to the MyLink system in a Chevrolet Spark. MyLink incorporates voice recognition software and can provide climate control, roadside assistance and vehicle diagnostics. (Steve Marcus/Reuters)

There’s a certain thrill to bringing a brand vehicle home and starting it up for the first time. And with the joy of ownership is knowing that once you buy it, it’s yours to do with as you please. But manufacturers including GM and John Deere recently argued before the U.S. Copyright Office that they think the car’s software should fall under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That means that you might own the car – but the corporation owns the computer systems inside it, you just license it. Brent talks to Kyle Wiens, the founder of iFixit – a crowd-sourced website that bills itself as “The free repair guide for everything, written by everyone.” He’s also an activist in the “Right to Repair” movement.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Let’s see I just put a third of my annual salary down to buy a brand new car. Is it fair to say that under this proposal, part of that car still doesn’t belong to me?

That’s what GM is saying. They’re arguing that you own the hardware piece of the car, but not the software piece of the car. The problem is that they’re the same thing because you have electronics that come with software on them and the car won’t work without the software.

But if I don’t own the software, why should I care other than the fact it’s just part of the car I can’t have access to?

There are a few reasons you would care. One is the manufacturers are saying you have an implied license. Well, if it’s a license it’s not legal for you to modify the software in your car. You say, “Why in the world would I ever want to modify my car?” but most repairs these days involved tinkering with software as well as tinkering with hardware. It’s becoming more and more difficult for independent repair shops to do the repairs that they need without permission from the manufacturer.

But this is really complex technology. Everything from rearview mirror cameras to self-parking mechanisms. So why wouldn’t I want the company that made the software to be in charge of it and be the ones that are actually fixing it and changing it?

There are a lot of situations where you want to do something that the manufacturer never intended. A really good example is off road racing. Most of the innovations in the automotive industry, including things like cruise control, actually started in the racing realm. They’re not usually going to design a new car from scratch. They take something off the shelf, they tinker with it, change the engine settings. I’ve seen a lot of innovation come out of that. There are situations where people own fleets with lots of vehicles. Maybe they want to impose a speed limit on the trucks that their drivers are driving around? Or maybe they have a fuel efficiency improvement, like a friend of mine has developed some software that improves the fuel efficiency. They use it and it has a dramatic impact. And it’s not just cars; it’s tractors, it’s computers, it’s iPhones. It’s everything we have.

So if the software in a car may have been modified, how can used car buyers have confidence in the software that anyone may have tinkered with for any reason?

This is the case in the market now because people are doing modifications. They are changing things, so this should just be part of the checklist. When you buy a used car, you go to the mechanic and you say, “Hey, can you check out the car before I buy it? Let me know if it’s OK.” One of the things that they can do is something called a checksum. They basically download the software off the car, they run it through a checksum and they see if it’s the same car from the manufacturer or not. And if it’s not the same software, then you just take the latest software from the manufacturer load it onto the car, and you’re good to go.

John Deere is one of the manufacturers we’re talking about here. And you mentioned tractors earlier. What does all this mean for farmers?

So this is a brand-new argument that really has farmers concerned because if you think about who needs to be able to do repairs or modify the equipment that they own on a regular basis, that’s a farmer. The definition of a farmer is you’re out there, quite often very far away from civilization. If you have a problem, you’re the only person that’s going to solve the problem. You can’t rely on the manufacturer a thousand miles away. If you can’t solve it yourself, you’re in a pickle. Now John Deere is saying, “Well we know that’s how you used to do it, but we put software on the tractors and now we’re going to use copyright law to prevent you from being able to do repairs and modifications on your own equipment.”

Has changed the relationship between John Deere and farmers? Or is there a possibility that that could happen?

It sure seems like it. It’s very concerning. I’m getting a lot of letters from farmers saying, “What should I do?” And we’re saying, “Well, maybe buy something other than a John Deere at this point.” Right now John Deere is the only agricultural manufacturer that’s taken this position and is opposing the exemption to the copyright law that the farmers have been asking for, so the Corn Growers Association came out and said, “Hey, wait a second. This is really upsetting to us. We don’t think that your new paradigm of ownership gels with our expectations.”

So could there be a liability issue here as vehicles become more reliant on technology, could manufacturers be exposed to lawsuits if they allowed for more open access to the software? 

Well that’s what they’re arguing, but I think that that’s a little bit of a false concern because they’re already liable. I mean they have made the product. It’s out there. They put the warranty on it. If there’s a safety recall or something that they’re responsible for handling that. But at the point that you start modifying things, you know, if I get underneath my car and I cut the brake line I can’t go after GM for that. That’s something I did to my own equipment. We have this expectation that when you buy a product you have the right to be able to modify, improve, change it, color purple if you want. And there’s nothing that the manufacturing can do about that, so it really is more a question of control. They’re saying we want to control everything, but we don’t want any of the liability. We’re saying, “Well, if you’re not going to take on the liability, at least let us modify the things that we have.”

Kyle we’ve been talking about vehicles exclusively today, but there’s so much talk about the Internet of Everything. Can you give me examples of what else might apply to these kinds of closed systems down the road?

We’re talking here about copyright law and you say, “What does copyright law have to do with our things?” Well, the moment you put a computer chip inside of the physical thing, whether it’s a toaster or a phone or anything else, the moment you have that computer chip, now you have software. So rather than the traditional rules that regulate property, now you have intellectual property rules which are completely unintuitive and say all kinds of things like it’s not legal to break a digital lock. But it’s completely legal to pick a lock on something that you own. So if you have something like a tablet and you want to install an app that isn’t in the Apple app store, it’s not necessarily legal for you to do that. Now they granted an exemption so it’s legal to do that for phones, but not for tablets. So we’ve got this really unintuitive restrictive copyright law that now, by virtue of the electronics moving into everything that we own, the copyright law is moving into everything that own.

As you see it, how will the upcoming decision on American copyright law affect Canadians who buy these vehicles? 

The interesting thing about U.S. copyright law in particular is that it tends not to stay in the U.S. They end up getting ensconced in trade treaties. And so with the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership, we don’t know the exact text of the treaty that’s being discussed, but the leaks that we have seen have showed that the pieces of American copyright law that we are most concerned about are in that treaty. And what we have heard from the negotiations behind the scenes is that Canada has been the most vociferous at trying to get those provisions removed from the treaty and that other countries like New Zealand have opposed Canada’s position.

Right, but that doesn’t mean that Canada will be successful or even if it’s part of their overall plan. It may just be a negotiating ploy.

It may be, although from what I’ve heard, it seems like it’s very genuine. So I would say, “Please support your local trade representative.” They’re on the right track and we need to make sure the other countries stand up alongside Canada and oppose this very unfortunate U.S. policy.

How a Dutch firm is going to 3D-print a bridge in Amsterdam

3D-printed bridge

3D printing technology has been put to all kinds of weird and wonderful uses as it moves further towards mainstream use, and the latest ambitious project being tackled by the experts is a fully functioning bridge across one of Amsterdam’s canals.

3D printing research and development firm MX3D is in charge of the operation, getting help along the way from the likes of software developers Autodesk and construction outfit Heijmans. What makes the idea particularly interesting is that everything will be automated — 3D-printing robots will start on one bank and gradually make their way over to the opposite side, building as they go.

Related: GE engineers just made a fully-functional 3D printed jet engine

The bridge isn’t just showing off how far 3D printing has come, it actually has some practical value too — imagine robots being able to build their own supply lines through emergency disaster areas for example, where existing road and rail infrastructure has been disrupted for whatever reason.

“What distinguishes our technology from traditional 3D printing methods is that we work according to the ‘printing outside the box’ principle,” says Tim Geurtjens, CTO at MX3D. “By printing with 6-axis industrial robots, we are no longer limited to a square box in which everything happens. Printing a functional, life-size bridge is of course the ideal way to showcase the endless possibilities of this technique.”

The robots will be creating the bridge out of steel, heating up the raw material to around 2,732°F (1,500°C) before welding the structure in place — the resulting bridge will be strong, sturdy and protected against the elements. MX3D says a visitor center where people will be able to follow the progress of the robots is going to open in September, though as yet the exact location of the bridge hasn’t been confirmed.

Amsterdam seems to be the place to be as far as 3D printing innovation goes: You may remember we featured the story of a full-sized 3D-printed house under construction in the Dutch capital last year. The technology remains too cumbersome and too expensive for household use, but it’s set to become far more accessible and capable in the years to come.

TCS, Infosys visa issue: Government to intervene when required

With the US probing TCS and Infosys for alleged visa rule violations, Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday said the government will intervene if the need arises.

“I am sure these two companies will be able to address this issue properly, they are very reputed companies and the government fully appreciates the good work they have done over the years. If the visa issue ultimately requires certain other considerations…at government level, we will consider that,” Prasad told PTI.

According to the US media reports, the Labour Department has opened an investigation against Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys for “possible violations of rules for visas for foreign technology workers under contracts they held with an electric utility Southern California Edison”.

Denying any wrongdoing, the two software giants have said they are “fully compliant” with the immigration rules.

Often used by the IT firms, H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in speciality occupations.

Infosys, in the past, has faced visa-related issues when one of its former employees, Jack Palmer filed a whistle-blower lawsuit, saying he had been punished and sidelined by company executives after he reported of witnessing widespread visa fraud.

Industry body Nasscom said attempts were being made to portray the Indian IT sector negatively without paying attention to “facts and logic”.

Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said its members continue to cooperate with the US authorities in respect of any requests for information.

The US is the largest market for the over US $140 billion Indian IT services industry. Exports account for over US $98 billion.

Update YU Yuphoria with Official CM12.1 (Android 5.1.1 Lollipop) Custom ROM Nightly via CyanogenMod

Cyanogen releases Android 5.1 Lollipop based Cyanogenmod 12.1 Nightly ROMs for numerous  smartphones

YU’s official software partner Cyanogen has released CM12.1 based custom ROM to the recently released budget handset Yuphoria.

This new CyanogenMod CM12.1 is based on the latest AOSP (Android Open Source Project) 5.1.1 Lollipop update. It brings bug fixes, improvements to battery life, performance tweaks and other personalisation options to enhance user experience of the YU Yuphoria.

Prerequisites (Things to remember before installing the Custom ROM):

  1. Make sure the device is rooted before going forward for custom ROM installation.
  2. This new CyanogenMod CM12.1 [official] Android 5.1 Lollipop custom ROM – has to be installed on the YU Yuphoria aka lettuce model only ; if tried on other devices, it might get bricked [To check your device model: Go to Settings >> About phone >> model number]
  3. Installation of custom ROM requires clearing of memory in the smartphone, so make sure to back all the data by installing Clockwork Mod (CWM) Recovery/ TWRP in the smartphone.
  4. Users make sure you have installed USB drivers on the PC, or else your smartphone (Yureka) will not be recognised by the computer.
  5. Make sure your device has more than 80% battery, or else there is a chance of smartphone getting temporarily bricked if the installation process is interrupted mid-way.

[Disclaimer: This procedure is very technical and should be performed by a person with sound knowledge of manual software installation of Android devices. If the installation process is not followed properly, there are chances of the device getting bricked or may even lead to the device being permanently irreparable. IBTimes India cannot be held responsible for any damage or claims from readers if the procedure does not yield the required results or if devices get bricked.]

Tutorial: Step-by-step installation procedure of CyanogenMod (official) CM12.1 Android 5.1 Lollipop Custom ROM on YU Yuphoria (aka lettuce) model-

Step 1: After downloading CyanogenMod CM12.1 [official] Android 5.1 Lollipop custom ROM in to your PC, connect Yuphoria to PC via USB cord.

Step 2: Place CyanogenMod CM12.1 ROM zip file into the phone’s memory (root-folder only).

[Note: Before users’ begin installing the custom software, be sure that the device must be rooted and has installed ClockworkMod Recovery/TWRP tool.]

Step 3: Turn off the device and disconnect from the PC.

Step 4: Perform the regular Recovery Mode sortie by press holding – ‘Volume Up + Volume Down + Power’- buttons.

Step 5: After entering the RECOVERY mode, clear the phone memory, by selecting ‘wipe data/factory reset’.

[Note: use ‘Volume’ keys to navigate and ‘Power’ button to select options, while operating under Recovery Mode]

Step 6: Clear the cache memory by choosing ‘wipe cache partition’.

Step 7: Go back to ClockworkMod recovery, and select ‘advanced’ and tap ‘wipe dalvik cache’ [Note: This step is optional, but many recommend this procedure so that user will not face boot loops or any other errors in the middle of custom ROM installation]

Step 8: Come back to main recovery screen and then tap ‘install zip from SD card’.

Step 9: Tap ‘choose zip from sdcard’ and go to software ROM .zip file in SD card and enter the installation process. [Note: use ‘Volume’ keys to navigate and ‘Power’ button to select options]

Step 10: Once done with the installation process, navigate to ‘+++++Go Back+++++’ and re-start the device by opting ‘reboot system now’ seen in the recovery menu.

Now, your device (Yuphoria) will take a few minutes to complete the booting process.

Users then head to Settings >> select ‘About phone’ to confirm the installation of CyanogenMod CM12.1 [official] Android 5.1.1 Lollipop Custom ROM on YU Yuphoria.

NPD: The Witcher 3 Topped Software Sales in May

witcher 3 inline

According to the latest NPD Group report, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt claimed the top spot for software sales last month.

The Witcher 3 was not only the number one game for the month of May, it also had the best-selling first month unit sales for RPGs for the current generation of consoles. There is no surprise to this considering the recent announcement by CD Projekt Red.

In a recent open letter to fans, CD Projekt Red made the announcement that The Witcher 3 sold over 4 million copies in its first two weeks. In addition, The Witcher 3 took the top spot for UK sales for three consecutive weeks.

Marcin Iwiński, co-founder of CD Projekt Red, wrote that the success is a “sign that we did something right,” and promised to harness the “positive energy” into upcoming expansions.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the four million gamers worldwide who bought The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in the first two weeks from launch. Four million RPG fans spending their hard-earned money on our game is a sign that we did something right, and you can be sure that we’ll harness all that positive energy and make the upcoming expansions worthy of the grand adventure that you’re telling us Wild Hunt already is! Until then, keep on enjoying Wild Hunt, do not forget to grab your weekly set of free DLCs, and stay tuned for constant updates and enhancement to the game we are continuously working on.”

The top 10 games for May, according to the NPD Group, are as follows:

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Mortal Kombat X
Grand Theft Auto V
Minecraft
Splatoon
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
NBA 2K15
FIFA 15
MLB 15: The Show
Super Smash Bros.

 

EU must be joking: £1.24m spent on jokes

The cash is paying for University of London scientists to work on their new What-If Machine (WHIM).

But last night Ukip deputy leader Paul Nuttall failed see the funny side.

He branded the programme “a complete waste of taxpayers’ money”.

He added: “The What-If Machine? Is that really what people want to pay their taxes for? I don’t think so.

“This software will apparently be able to tell jokes. I wonder if it knows the one about the pointy heads in Brussels who have agreed to spend our money on this stuff?

“I think most people imagine ‘what if’ we didn’t have to send £55million a day to the EU so it can spend the money on daft exercises like this. It’s a complete waste of money and a perfect example of why the EU referendum on Britain’s membership of this spendthrift organisation cannot come quickly enough.”

The three-year WHIM project began in 2013. It is being led by Professor Simon Colton, pictured, head of computing at Goldsmiths College at the University of London.

The plan is to engineer an automated system that will “generate, assess, select and present fictional ideas within a variety of constructions”.

These include “short stories, poems, neologisms, tweets, jokes, plot lines and dialogues”, according to the project website.

The EU’s support for the software is hardly the first wacky decision it has made.

It has been ridiculed for a string of bizarre rules including a ban on the sale of powerful vacuum cleaners last year.

Plans are also in place to save power by limiting the use of around 30 domestic appliances including toasters and hairdryers.

Last year Brussels proposed regulations to force makers of washing-up gloves to prove they could withstand detergent.

Oven gloves would also have to be certified to show they could withstand heat of 200°C. In July 2009, a controversial ban on supermarkets selling wonky fruit and veg was lifted.

The EU also forced to backtrack after its scientists said there was no proof that drinking water helped prevent dehydration.

Other rules included a ban on under-eights blowing up balloons without adult supervision.

Microsoft Office 2016 Public Preview Now Available for Download

microsoft_office_2016.jpg

The Microsoft Office 2016 Preview has been made available for download on Monday for Office 365 subscribers (with Pro Plus as part of their subscription), non-subscribers, as well as both home and enterprise users.

The Redmond giant has promised real-time editing/co-authoring in Office 2016 in the future versions of the software, adding it for the first time to its apps, but the feature is not available just yet.Microsoft confirmed to The Verge that this feature will be first enabled in Word, while PowerPoint and Excel will follow suit soon after. As a long-term plan, the Redmond giant also has plans to enable the co-authoring feature in the Android and iOS apps.

The public preview of Office 2016 is supported by Windows 7, 8 and Windows 10 PCs, laptops and tablets but it requires users to uninstall Office 2013 because both the versions cannot work in tandem. Microsoft has plans to update the pubic preview frequently before the final version is actually made available commercially in fall of 2015.

The first preview build was made available to IT professionals and developers in March. Those who have been testing the new version of Office since then have stated that there are very few brand new features.

That said, Microsoft is tooting its horns about the Cloud Connectivity enhancements in Office 2016. The new features in Office 2016 Preview also includes navigation support in the form of Tell Me, integration with Power BI – their critical enterprise BI tool, and more lockdown/rights management capabilities.

We had earlier reported about Microsoft’s making Universal Office apps for mobile devices, which will run near-identical code as their desktop counterparts. Microsoft had stated the apps have been designed ground-up for touchscreen devices.