HP Inc profit beats Street amid weak market for PCs, printers

HP Inc (HPQ.N), which houses the former Hewlett-Packard Co's legacy hardware business, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as aggressive cost cutting helped counter weak demand for personal computers and printers.The company's shares reversed course to trade up more than 2 percent at $12.45 after the bell on Wednesday."I believe the general sentiment from HP Inc investors is that it could have been much worse given how poorly the PC market has been expected to be and the poor PC sales numbers put forth by peers," Bill Kreher, tech analyst at Edward Jones, said.Total costs and expenses fell by 10.3 percent to $10.75 billion in the second quarter ended April 30, from a year earlier.The company remains on track to cut costs by more than $1 billion in 2016, Chief Executive Dion Weisler said on a conference call.HP Inc said in February it was accelerating its restructuring program and still expects about 3,000 people to exit by the end of the financial year 2016, instead of over three years, as announced initially in September. Revenue in the personal systems business, the company's biggest, fell 9.9 percent in the second quarter, while revenue declined 15.8 percent in the printing division.HP Inc forecast an adjusted profit of 37-40 cents per share for the third quarter, largely below the average analyst estimate of 40 cents.The company lowered the top end of its 2016 adjusted profit forecast to $1.65 per share from $1.69, leaving the low end unchanged at $1.59. HP's earnings from continuing operations fell to $660 million, or 38 cents per share, in the second quarter, from $733 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier.The company's revenue fell about 11 percent to $11.59 billion.Excluding items, the company earned 41 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected earnings of 38 cents per share and revenue of $11.72 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.This is HP Inc's second quarterly results since Hewlett-Packard Co formally split in November.The other company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE.N), announced on Tuesday that it would be spinning off and merging its struggling IT services business with Computer Sciences Corp (CSC.N). (Reporting by Alan John Koshy in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel) Read more

Remarkable evidence of ancient humans found under Florida river

WASHINGTON Researchers who dove hundreds of times into a sinkhole beneath the brown murky waters of Florida's Aucilla River have retrieved some of the oldest evidence of human presence in the Americas including stone tools apparently used to butcher a mastodon.Scientists said on Friday the tools, animal bones and mastodon tusk found at the site showed that people already had occupied the American Southeast by 14,550 years ago, about 1,500 years earlier than previously known.The site provided some of the most compelling evidence that humans had spread across the New World earlier than the so-called Clovis people, who archeologists for six decades considered the Americas' first people. The Clovis people, recognized for their distinctive spearheads, are known from archeological evidence about 13,000 years old. The artifacts painted a picture of human hunter-gatherers butchering or scavenging a mastodon, an extinct elephant cousin, next to a small inland pond. The tusk had cut marks from a tool used to remove it from the skull, perhaps to access edible tissue at its base.Intrigued by previous archeological finds at the site, the researchers conducted 890 dives into the 35-foot-deep (11-meter) sinkhole in limestone bedrock at the so-called Page-Ladson site near Florida's capital Tallahassee from 2012 to 2014. They excavated stone tools including a biface, a stone knife useful for butchering animals, and bones of extinct big mammals including camels, bison, horses and mastodons.Florida State University anthropologist Jessi Halligan, who dove 126 times, said nomadic hunter-gatherers may have followed big prey like mastodons from water hole to water hole. Bones that appear to be from dogs suggest the hunter-gatherers had canine companions with them. There were no humans in the Americas until people crossed the land bridge that once connected Siberia to Alaska during the Ice Age but the timing of that event remains mysterious. "The evidence from the Page-Ladson site is a major leap forward in shaping a new view of the peopling of the Americas at the end of the last Ice Age," Texas A&M University archeologist Michael Waters said."In the archeological community, there's still a terrific amount of resistance to the idea that people were here before Clovis." Only a handful of pre-Clovis sites are known in the Americas. There is controversy about the legitimacy of some of them. The Florida site is roughly the same age as one in Chile that is considered the most scientifically accepted pre-Clovis locale.The research was published in the journal Science Advances. (Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Sandra Maler) Read more

Facebook releases employee guidelines amid accusations of political bias

Facebook on Thursday emphasized that it does not permit its employees to block news stories from its "Trending Topics" list based on political bias, amid a controversy over how the social media superpower selects what news it displays.Technology news website Gizmodo on Monday reported that a former Facebook employee said workers "routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers" while "artificially" adding other stories to the trending list.The Gizmodo story triggered a reaction on social media, with several journalists and commentators raising concerns about alleged bias, and prompted a U.S. senate inquiry.The social media company, whose reach is global, had over a billion daily active users on average in March, according to statistics the company posted to its newsroom. In a post published to Facebook's media relations section on Thursday, a senior company official outlined its "Trending Topics" guidelines at length."Facebook does not allow or advise our reviewers to discriminate against sources of any political origin, period," wrote Justin Osofsky, vice president for global operations. "We have a series of checks and balances in place to help surface the most important popular stories, regardless of where they fall on the ideological spectrum."The post went on to explain how certain topics emerge in Facebook users' trending feeds. Potential trending topics are identified by an algorithm, or formula, Facebook said, then reviewed by a "Trending Topics" team. Gizmodo Editor-in-Chief Katie Drummond responded to the post with an email saying, "I don't see anything that contradicts our reporting--do you?"Gizmodo's story sparked a Senate committee inquiry. Republican U.S. Senator John Thune, chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, said in a statement on Tuesday that Facebook needed to respond to "these serious allegations.""Any attempt by a neutral and inclusive social media platform to censor or manipulate political discussion is an abuse of trust and inconsistent with the values of an open Internet," said Thune. (Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Jonathan Oatis) Read more

Report claiming bias in Facebook 'trending' topics sparks social media outcry

Facebook (FB.O) workers have often omitted conservative political stories from the website’s "trending" list, the technology news site Gizmodo said on Monday in a report that sparked widespread comment on social media.An unnamed former Facebook employee told Gizmodo that workers "routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers," according to Gizmodo, while "artificially" adding other stories into the trending list.Facebook told Reuters on Monday that there are "rigorous guidelines in place" to maintain neutrality and said that these guidelines do not prohibit any news outlet from appearing in trending topics.Facebook did not respond directly though to questions about whether employees had suppressed conservative-leaning news."These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives. Nor do they permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or one news outlet over another," a spokesperson for Facebook said. The report alarmed some social media users, with several journalists and commentators criticizing Facebook for alleged bias."Aside from fueling right-wing persecution, this is a key reminder of dangers of Silicon Valley controlling content," tweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald)."Well, you go to Hell, Facebook," tweeted Kyle Feldscher (@Kyle_Feldscher), a reporter at the Washington Examiner, a conservative-leaning publication. "For anyone who cares about press freedom, this is frightening stuff," tweeted Bloomberg Editor Bill Grueskin (@BGrueskin), with a link to Gizmodo's story."Former Facebook Workers" quickly became one of the top-ten trending topics on Twitter (TWTR.N) in the U.S. after the Gizmodo story broke.The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), one of the groups reportedly blocked from Facebook's trending list, said it would closely monitor how the claims against Facebook unfold. "If we can confirm that the allegations are true and accurate, that would be disappointing," said CPAC Communications Director Ian Walters, who added that he was sensitive to the fact that the claims are as of yet unconfirmed.A post on Facebook's help center said that the "trending" section of the site "shows you topics that have recently become popular on Facebook." It lists "engagement, timeliness, Pages you've liked and your location" as some of the factors that determine what trends show up for each Facebook user. Facebook users can also manually remove certain topics from their trending list. (Reporting By Amy Tennery) Read more

Facebook beverages won't be a thing in China after rare trademark win

HONG KONG Chinese people won't be able to quench their thirst with a refreshing "face book" beverage, after the U.S. social networking company won a rare trademark victory against a local firm in China.By contrast, Apple Inc (AAPL.O) last month lost its battle to prevent a domestic company from using the "iPhone" trademark on leather goods in China.China's intellectual property protections are often perceived as quite lax but they are steadily improving, lawyers say. The victory may offer a glimmer of hope for Facebook Inc (FB.O) in China, where its social network is not accessible and its business is mainly selling overseas advertising for Chinese companies.The Beijing Municipal High People's Court said the Zhongshan Pearl River Drinks application, filed in 2011, to label certain foods and beverages "face book" was an obvious act of copying and harmed fair market competition. A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment. An employee at Pearl River Drinks said the case was not widely known at the company and that the staff member in charge of it was not available for comment.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives have made concerted efforts to woo Chinese officials. In March, Zuckerberg had a rare meeting with the country's propaganda tsar, a suggestion of warming relations between Facebook and the government. Zuckerberg frequently makes headlines in China, where he has achieved celebrity status by making speeches in Mandarin and sharing pictures of runs through noxious smog in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.Facebook had previously objected to China's Trademark Review and Adjudication Board twice but was unsuccessful, prompting its decision to take the case to court. (Reporting by Stella Tsang; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Edwina Gibbs) Read more

Older Post