The new Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad is not the perfect product it is supposed to be, despite sales of three million units in four days. Consumer Reports says that, under certain conditions, the tablet runs much hotter than its predecessors — up to 116 degrees. That may not matter to users, but it is bad PR. Also, the Wall Street Journal reports that people who have watched a few hours of movies on the machine hit the high end of their data plans. That could make owning an iPad very expensive. Apple no longer has Steve Jobs to take the stage at a major event and explain away the problems. The company has to hope that the sales frenzy the iPad has created will not be undermined by these reports.
Bernanke on Europe
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s concerns about the Europe financial crisis are not over, based on comments he will make before the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform of the U.S. House of Representatives. He points out that one-fifth of U.S. exports go to the region, where the gross domestic products of many nations have started to contract. The next actions the European Union and its members must take to help stability and improve GDP expansion will be hard, although Bernanke says they are essential:
Full resolution of the crisis will require a further strengthening of the European banking system; a significant expansion of financial backstops, or “firewalls,” to guard against contagion in sovereign debt markets; and, critically, continued efforts to increase economic growth and competitiveness and to reduce external imbalances in the troubled countries.
He has made similar comments before. Based on the actions of EU leaders, his opinions have fallen on deaf ears.
Japan on Iranian Oil
Japan is the latest major importer of Iranian oil to put pressure on the nation, which faces sanctions because of its nuclear programs. Leaders of the country with the third-largest economy in the world said Japan will “considerably” cut its oil purchases from Iran. What “considerably” means was left open. What also was left open is how a nation as dependent on crude imports as Japan is will make up for the lost supply.
Microsoft on Apple Products
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) told many of its employees that the company will not pay for their Apple iPads and iPhones. Given the level of competition between the two companies, the action should be no surprise. But members of Microsoft’s marketing and sales unit who favor Apple products will have to use ones they consider second-tier. According to ZDNet, one part of Microsoft will cut support for all Apple hardware, according to an e-mail from the chief financial officer of Microsoft’s Sales, Marketing, Services, IT, & Operations Group.
Douglas A. McIntyre