Apple follow-ups, plus SunPower and Tesla pre/post earnings

Rounding up developments from Silicon Valley companies:

• Yes, Apple is making news again, as it has for most of the week.

First, the company is moving to bring the iOS and Mac experiences closer together with an upcoming update of its Mac OS. Mountain Lion is being made available to developers today, and the company says it will be sold to consumers this summer.

Apple also is facing a growing problem in China because of a trademark battle over the iPad name. Proview Technology, the Chinese company that won the right to the iPad name in China, reportedly said yesterday that customs officials said it might be impossible to impose a ban on iPad exports because of the popularity of Apple products. But authorities are seizing iPads in more cities, bringing the total number of cities in which iPads have been taken off shelves to four. According to Reuters, Proview has requested investigations of trademark violations in more than 40 cities.

More Apple follow-up: The company said Wednesday it would update its permissions policy after the recent controversy over apps’ collection of contact information. (See Twitter, Path and the privacy controversy over contact info and apps.) After several apps were found to have upload iOS users’ contact information, sometimes without permission, an Apple representative told Reuters that an upcoming software update will require apps to get explicit permission.

SunPower, the San Jose-based solar company that is majority owned by French oil giant Total, reports earnings today. Analysts expect SunPower to post a loss of 5 cents a share on $665 million in revenue, compared with a profit of $1.36 a share on $937.1 million in revenue in the year-ago quarter. Still, the company’s shares are up more than 1.75 percent to about $7.45 as of this post amid a broader stock-market surge.

In other SunPower news, the company has sued San Mateo-based rival SolarCity and former employees who now work there, alleging theft of trade secrets. And in other solar news, the U.S. industry is divided over how to deal with China, reports Dana Hull of the Mercury News today. Hull writes that some companies in the American solar industry disagree with one coalition’s trade complaint against China, which seeks to impose tariffs on Chinese solar products, whose low prices are undercutting that of American products and have even been cited as factors in the failures of companies such as Fremont-based Solyndra.

Tesla Motors on Wednesday reported a wider loss than Wall Street had expected. Still, shares are up more than 1.5 percent to about $34.15 as of this post. That might be because analysts and investors expect the Palo Alto electric-car maker’s investments to pay off after it begins delivery of its Model S sedan this summer, and saw reports of the company boasting that its next model, an SUV called the Model X that’s scheduled to roll out in 2014, has become its fastest-selling vehicle yet.


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  • RedRat

    That Tesla is losing money is not terribly surprising. Can a hand built car in very limited production turn a profit? They just can’t turn out enough of them. In order for them to make money, they are going to have turn out at Ferrari numbers. Is there really a market for a very expensive electric sports car in those numbers? I kinda doubt that. Perhaps if they can keep the price of the SUV below stratospheric they might break-even. At the end of the day, it is always volume that will carry the day. We just do not have enough millionaires who have a hankering for very expensive eclectic sports cars.