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AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless Announce Joint Venture to Build National Mobile Commerce Network

Isis to Lead the U.S. Payments Industry from Cards to Mobile Phones; Available to All Merchants, Banks and Wireless Service Providers; Venture Led By Former GE Capital Financial Executive

T-Mobile Press Release 2012-02-09 18:58:16

AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless today announced the formation of a joint venture chartered with building ISIS™, a national mobile commerce network that aims to fundamentally transform how people shop, pay and save. Isis’ initial focus will be on building a mobile payment network that utilizes mobile phones to make point-of-sale purchases. By utilizing smartphone and near-field communication (NFC) technology to modernize the payments process, Isis intends to deliver new levels of competition and value to consumers and merchants. Isis expects to introduce its service in key geographic markets during the next 18 months.

Michael Abbott has been named as Chief Executive Officer of Isis. Formerly with GE Capital, Abbott is a veteran financial services executive with extensive experience in the payment and technology industries. “Our mobile commerce network, through relationships with merchants, will provide an enhanced, more convenient, more personalized shopping experience for consumers,” said Michael Abbott, Chief Executive Officer of Isis. “While mobile payments will be at the core of our offering, it is only the start. We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes.”

Isis Brings Both Consumer and Merchant Scale 

Founding members, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, collectively provide wireless services to more than 200 million consumers who will have access to the Isis service. Isis is working with Discover Financial Services’ payment network, currently accepted at more than seven million merchant locations nationwide, to develop an extensive mobile payment infrastructure for the joint venture. Barclaycard US, part of Barclays PLC, is expected to be the first issuer on the network, offering multiple mobile payment products to meet the needs of every customer.

“We believe the venture will have the scope and scale necessary to introduce mobile commerce on a broad basis. In the beginning, we intend to fully utilize Discover’s national payment infrastructure as well as Barclaycard’s expertise in contactless and mobile payments,” said Abbott. “Moving forward, Isis will be available to all interested merchants, banks and mobile carriers.”

How It Works

The new venture will enable contactless mobile payment and commerce services using near-field communication technology. NFC uses short-range, high frequency wireless technology to enable the encrypted exchange of information between devices at a short distance. The new system is being designed and built to include strong security and privacy safeguards.

LinkedIn Stock Up As Q4 Earnings, Revenue Beat Street

LinkedIn just reportedfourth quarter 2011 earnings and revenue that beat Street estimates. The stock is up 5.19% to $80.40 in after-hours trading.

Net income was $6.9 million, or 6 cents per share, compared to analysts’ estimates of 1 cent, according to FactSet. Non-GAAP net income was $13.3 million or 12 cents per share, versus analysts’ expectations of 6 cents according to FactSet.

Revenue came in at $167.7 million, up 105% compared to $81.7 million in the the year-ago period. Analysts had expected $160 million. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $34.4 million, up from $16.3 million in the year-ago period.LinkedIn previously provided fourth quarter 2011 guidance of revenue of $154 million to $158 million, with EBITDA of $19 million to $21 million.

For the full-year 2011, LinkedIn posted revenue of $522.2 million, which beat estimates of $514 million, according to FactSet.



For guidance, LinkedIn expects revenue of $170 to $175 million in the first quarter of 2012 and revenue of $840 to $860 million for 2012.

In terms of revenue mix, hiring solutions did the best and generated $84.9 million in the quarter, up 136% from a year ago. Hiring products makes up 50% of LinkedIn’s revenue, up from 44% a year ago. Marketing solutions generated $49.5 million, up 77% from a year ago, and dropped slightly to 30% of total revenue from 34% a year ago. Premium subscriptions generated $33.3 million, up 87% from a year ago, making up 20% of total revenue, compared to 22% a year ago.

In its previous earnings report for the third quarter, 2011, LinkedIn beat analysts’ estimates, with non-GAAP earnings per share of 6 cents, beating First Call’s estimate of 1 cent. GAAP EPS in the third quarter was a loss of 2 cents and revenue of $139.5 million. Revenue was 139.5 million, up 126% from $61.8 million in the year-ago period.

Update: Notes from LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner’s call with analysts:

  • LinkedIn ended 2011 with more than 9,200 corporate customers, up 139% year-over-year.
  • Mobile is Linkedin’s fastest growing service, with mobile page views up more than 300% year-over-year. And 15% of member visits come from mobile. Mobile products don’t cannibalize web activity, but is accretive, Weiner said.
  • The company is testing mobile advertising and marketing solutions, though no details are out yet.
  • In January, LinkedIn started testing Talent Pipeline, which was announced in October 2011, the company’s new recruiter product.
  • LinkedIn plans to refresh its major “pillar products” soon or this year.
  • More than 60 million members joined in 2011.
  • International: The company has 60% of members outside of the U.S.
  • New college grads and students are the company’s fastest growing demographics.

2/09/2012 @ 4:20PM  January 23, 2012 by D.H. Kass – IT Channel Planet

Gartner: Global IT 2012 Budgets Flat, Analytics Top Technology Priority

In survey of 2,300 CIOs enterprise growth tops business goals, 61 percent plan to improve mobile, many using technology to improve customer experience.

Enterprise chief information officers (CIOs) will have to address top priorities such as attracting and retaining customers without an increase in IT budgets in 2012, according to a global study of business priorities and strategies conducted by researcher Gartner Inc.

The study, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2011 and entitled “Amplifying the Enterprise: The 2012 CIO Agenda,” polled 2,335 CIOs covering 37 industries in 45 countries and representing some $321 billion in IT budgets.

Results of the survey show IT budgets flat for 2012, increasing only by .5 percent on average while declining .6 percent in North America and .7 percent Europe. Organizations with IT budgets exceeding $500 million have continued to cut IT expenditures, Gartner said, balancing moderate growth among the remainder of the survey’s participants.

In addition to revealing tighter IT budgets, the study’s results also suggested that businesses are leveraging technology to alter the way they interact externally with customers rather than only to improve internal operations, the researcher said.

Gartner also said that the survey’s findings point to the increasing importance of technology in the enterprise to improve business growth. The researcher said that CIOs are beginning to view technology priorities such as business analytics, mobility, cloud computing and social media as tools to use in concert to address business issues such as customer attraction and retention.

“CIOs concentrating on IT as a force of operational automation, integration and control are losing ground to executives who see technology as a business amplifier and source of innovation,” said Mark McDonald, Gartner Executive programs group vice president and Gartner Fellow.

“Mobility, social media, information and analytics can be used to re-imagine the customer experience, as well as sales and service channels,” he said. “These technologies do more than automate or administer processes–they are the processes and the sources of value,” he said.

Indeed, some 61 percent of the study’s participants said that they plan to improve their mobile capabilities in the next three years, Gartner said.

The majority have crafted a mobility strategy to become a market leader in their industry, with many combining technologies to address key business issues such as analytics plus mobility for field sales and operations, and analytics plus social for customer engagement and acquisition.

CIOs in the study consider growth as their top priority, followed by attracting and retaining customers, reducing enterprise costs, and creating products and services, according to survey data. Factors such as improving profitability, attracting and retaining the workforce, improving the effectiveness of marketing, and expansion rank lower on CIOs’ priority lists, Gartner said.

Slightly less than half of the CIOs in the survey reported that their IT budget would increase from 2011 to 2012 in terms of actual dollars spent. The average firm in the study will see a modest budget increase of between 2 and 3 percent, Gartner said.

“As business executives see the potential of technology to transform customer channels and the customer experience, their view of technology has leapfrogged conventional ideas of IT,” said said Dave Aron, Gartner vice president and Fellow.

 January 23, 2012 by D.H. Kass, IT Channel Planet