Alibaba’s historic IPO, iPhone 6 goes on sale and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

The highly-anticipated IPO of Alibaba is finally here under the ticker “BABA” at the NYSE. The offering price of the shares were at $68 yesterday, giving the company a market value of $168B and making this the largest US-listed IPO since 1995. The stock finally opened at $92.70, lifting market capitalization to $236B. You can read a live blog of the IPO here.

Infographic from Alibaba’s IPO filing with the SEC

Meanwhile, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus goes on sale today, September 19, becoming available first in Australia. The devices are also available in: Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, France, Germany, Puerto Rico, Canada and the United States. The new iPhone models are not available in mainland China while Apple waits for regulatory approval from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Read on for this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail.

In tech:

  1. Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle, steps down as CEO but will remain as co-chairman and chief technology officer (CTO) of the business software company
  2. SAP, another business software company, acquires expense and travel management company Concur Technologies for $8.3B
  3. Apple’s iOS 8 and Google’s Android L updates will offer default device encryption (Android has offered optional encryption since 2011), which means that the companies will not be able to “unlock” phones on government requests
  4. Amazon introduces 6 new tablets and e-readers; pre-orders started Wednesday to arrive sometime in October
  5. Microsoft lays off 2,100 employees as part of a previously announced plan to reduce workforce by 18,000

In retail:

  1. Home Depot confirms data breach from 56 million cards in its cash register systems in US and Canada
  2. Earnings reports: Jewelry maker Richemont reports 5-month sales slide in Asia, 4% increase worldwide at constant currency rates; founder returns as chairman; Prada SpA first half profits down 21% on slowdown in Europe and Asia; Zara owner Inditex first half profits fell 2.4% while revenue grew 5.6% on aggressive expansion in Asia and Eastern Europe
  3. UK-based online fashion retailer Asos Group issues profit warnings, the third in 6 months; as US sales stall and sales in rest of the world outside Europe reverse
  4. Neiman Marcus Group acquires Munich-based online luxury site for an undisclosed amount; has annual sales of $130M
  5. Jimmy Choo courts investors with a prospectus promising 10% annual sales growth  ahead of IPO decision

Weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

Here’s the most relevant news this week in technology and retail.

In Tech:

  1. Amazon announces streaming service Fire TV to compete against Google’s Chromecast, Roku and Apple TV
  2. Microsoft slashes prices on cloud services by 35%-65% in response to recent price cuts from Google and Amazon AWS
  3. Square now accepts Bitcoins which can help push for more mainstream acceptance of the crypto-currency
  4. Microsoft introduces the Cortana personal assistant years after Siri and Google Now
  5. Google splits into two: GOOG (Class C, non-voting) and GOOGL (Class A) for Sergey Brin and Larry Page to maintain control

In Retail:

  1. Prada SpA falls due to slowing luxury sales growth, optimistic in new stores and improving its supply chain
  2. Alibaba buys 26% stake in Intime Retail, moves into brick and mortar stores
  3. UK online retailer Asos first half earnings down due to expansion investments in new stores and product offerings
  4. Marks and Spencer to open 250 stores over the next 3 years to grow global sales by 25% and profit by 40%
  5. Hudson Bay Company shares, owner of Saks Fifth Avenue, fall 9% as the company forecasts weaker-than-expected 2014 earnings and plans to spend more on e-commerce