Charges in the first alleged Bitcoin Ponzi scheme top our roundup of the day's top business news stories.
iPhone Sales Exceed Expectations, but Apple Profits Down
Despite a second quarter earnings report that saw its profits down 22 percent and sales up less than 1 percent, Apple confounded Wall Street naysayers with news it had sold 31.2 million iPhones last quarter, significantly more than analyst expectations of about 26 million. For its fiscal third quarter ended June 29, Apple reported sales of $35.3 billion, with net profit at $6.9 billion. Apple's stock has fallen 40 percent since reaching an all-time high in September. Coupled with a 20 percent increase in iPhone sales, Apple reported that iTunes sales grew by 29 percent last quarter, comprising 7 percent of Apple’s overall sales, The Associated Press reports. iPad sales, though, were down 14 percent from a year ago. Macs sales were down 5 percent. Apple anticipates sales of between $34 billion and $37 billion this quarter, below analysts' median forecast of just over $37 billion.
SEC Charges Man in First Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday charged a Texas man with allegedly defrauding Bitcoin investors, Reuters reports. The SEC says 30-year-old Trendon “The Pirate” Shavers of McKinney, Tx., raised more than 700,000 bitcoins from investors between September 2011 and September 2012, a sum worth about $4.6 million based on the average daily value of the digital currency during that period. Shavers allegedly promised investors up to 7 percent in interest per week, but in fact was using funds from new investors to pay out the promised returns. He is also accused of using roughly $147,000 worth of bitcoins to cover personal expenses including rent, food and gambling. An SEC spokesman said the case was the first the agency has handled involving Bitcoin.
Lockheed, Pentagon Negotiations Proceeding For New Fighter Jet
Lockheed Martin Co. Chief Executive Marilyn Hewson said Tuesday her company was making “good progress” in negotiations with the Pentagon about two new sets of F-35 fighter jets. According to Reuters, the U.S. government has set an unofficial deadline of the end of July for agreement on the new contracts. Lockheed is building three different models of the F-35 for nine countries, including the United States, Britain and Australia. Also in line for new jets are Canada, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway and Turkey.
Ford Motor Co. Ready to Hire 3,000 Workers; Mostly Tech-Savvy
Ford Motor Co. is going to hire 3,000 salaried employees, mostly “technical professionals” in preparation for an expansion of its fleet of fuel-efficient cars and trucks, the company said Tuesday. There were previous estimates the company would hire 2,200 new employees, but more employees were needed for the company’s plan to focus on product development, manufacturing, quality, purchasing and information technology. Because of the area of expertise the company is hiring from, job posts will be placed on social media sites to attract younger potential employees.
Google Growing Faster than the Internet: Report
Google accounts for nearly one-fourth of Internet traffic in North America, according to a recent study conducted by analytics firm DeepField. That makes Google's Internet presence bigger than Facebook, Netflix and Twitter's combined, the report finds. Google commands the largest percentage of the smartphone and tablet markets with its Android devices, whose devices all regularly check in with Google for updates throughout the day. Google is also Apple’s smartphone’s default search engine, which adds to Google's Internet traffic share. In 2010, Google comprised just 6 percent of Internet traffic.
Caterpillar Reports Lower Second Quarter Profits
With independent dealers reducing machine inventories, Caterpillar reported a lower second quarter profit Wednesday of $960 million, or $1.45 a share, down from $1.70 billion, or $2.54 a share, from the same period a year ago. Sales fell nearly 16 percent to $15.621 billion in the second quarter following reports that sales of the heavy equipment slowed everywhere in the world with the exception of North America. The June report saw sales down 8 percent from a year earlier, after May’s numbers were down 7 percent from the previous year.