Welcome to this week’s edition of “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we cover Yahoo’s plan to spin off its Alibaba stake, Cablevision’s Wi-Fi-only mobile network, Apple crushing its last quarter, and where to watch the Super Bowl online.
Yahoo to sell stake in Alibaba
Yahoo scored a cool $9.4 billion by selling off a piece of their stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba after it went public in September. This week Yahoo revealed plans to spin off its remaining 15.4% share of Alibaba, worth nearly $40 billion, into a new company.
The new firm, dubbed SpinCo, will be an independent, publicly-traded company that will include the Alibaba stake combined with “legacy, ancillary businesses.” Shares of the new company will be distributed to current Yahoo shareholders, and Yahoo will avoid a hefty $16 billion tax bill with the move.
Over the last few years, Yahoo has essentially been kept afloat by its ownership of Alibaba shares, as that stake made up nearly 85% of the Sunnyvale, California company’s market share. The pressure is now on CEO Marissa Mayer and the rest of the Yahoo staff to focus on and grow its core businesses.
While Yahoo has seen declining revenue for its overall advertising business, some metrics, such as mobile activity and native advertising, has seen rapid growth. Yahoo also shows promise in search, as it recently became the default search engine for Mozilla’s Firefox browser and is in the running to claim the same position for Apple’s Safari.
Cablevision to launch wifi-only mobile network
As if mobile carriers weren’t busy enough bashing each other with price cuts and competitive stunts, they now have even more competition – from a cable provider.
Cablevision announced that it is launching Freewheel, a low-cost mobile network based solely on Wi-Fi. The company will offer existing Cablevision internet customers unlimited talk, text, and data for only $9.95 per month; non-subscribers can access the network for only $29.95.
Cablevision will leverage its over 1.1 million Wi-Fi hotspots in the New York tri-state area, and Freewheel customers will have access to over 300,000 hotspots across the country. The issue is that there is no backup cellular connectivity in case Wi-Fi isn’t available, which was a conscious decision made by the company since 93% of wireless data is sent over Wi-Fi.
Apple absolutely crushed it last quarter
Apple reported record-breaking results from its most recent quarter, which ended on December 27, 2014. The company posted record revenues of $74.6 billion and an eye-popping, company-best net profit of $18 billion. That’s in only three months!
The results were driven primarily by sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus; the company sold a record 74.5 million phones, which made up about 69% of quarterly revenue. Apple also broke company records in Mac and App Store sales. I’m not sure how many times I can type the word “record” in one section of a blog post.
The company also looked ahead to 2015. They confirmed that Apple Watch will ship in April, pledged continued growth of iPhone sales in China, dubbed 2015 the year of Apple Pay, and will make progress in changing how people work with its partnership with IBM.
Here’s where you can watch the Super Bowl online
Football’s biggest game is happening on Sunday, and whether you’re drawn in by the on-field action, the ads, or just hanging with friends and stuffing your face with food and drink, you know you’re going to watch.
But if you can’t get in front of a TV or if you’re a cord cutter, you’ll be able to watch the Super Bowl in its entirety on NBC.com without having to enter cable subscription credentials. There are plenty of other apps and sites where you can view the game and its ads; check out all the info on GigaOm.