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The Gradual Decline of the Washington Post

The Washington Post, the seventh largest daily newspaper in the United States and one of the country’s most renowned publications, is being sold to founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, in a $250 million all-cash deal that surprised the media industry on Monday afternoon. Just this weekend, the New York Times Company had announced the sale of The Boston Globe, making Bezos’ acquisition of The Washington Post the second large-scale newspaper deal in the past few days.


The deal also marks the end of an era in newspaper publishing, as the selling Graham family, whose ownership of the Post dates back 80 years, is succeeded by Jeff Bezos, an internet entrepreneur best-known for building the world’s largest e-commerce company. The fact that his company,, has recently ventured into digital publishing, has possibly been the only hint that Bezos could be interested in buying a newspaper. Hence not only the sale itself, but also the name of the buyer came as a surprise.

Just as many other newspapers, The Washington Post has been struggling with declines in circulation and ad sales for some time now. Average daily circulation dropped 38 percent in the past 10 years and the Post has been slower than some of its rivals in adapting to new digital realities. According to the Alliance for Audited Media, daily digital circulation of The Washington Post averaged at 42,313 between October 2012 and March 2013. Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported digital circulation more than 20 times as high. Maybe an internet whiz such as Jeff Bezos is just the right guy to fix that. At the very least it will be interesting to observe what Bezos’ vision for the newspaper’s future is.



Google Maps is the Most-Used Smartphone in the World


Google Maps is the most-used smartphone app in the world. According to data published by GlobalWebIndex, 54 percent of global smartphone owners used Google’s navigation app in the month preceding the survey. Facebook’s smartphone app ranks second with 44% of smartphone owners using it. The fact that YouTube and Google+ are ranked third and fourth shows Google’s dominant role in the mobile marketplace: three of the four most-used smartphone apps in the world are Google apps. 

Google’s decision to develop an open source mobile operating system and give it away for free apparently pays off. 
Android’s market share in the smartphone market recently soared above 70 percent and since Android phones come preloaded with several Google apps, the search company controls a significant share of mobile web usage.



Almost 2/3 of All Online Adults Use Social Networking Sites Today


According to a national survey by Pew Research, the number of users joining social networking sites is steadily growing. While only 5 years ago social networks were dominated by 18-29 year olds, today the gap is not so wide with 72% of all online adults now using social networking sites. Social networking sites polled are Facebook, Linkedin, and Google+.

Groupon Shares Soared 134% Since CEO Switch


A little less than half a year ago, on February 28, Groupon founder Andrew Mason was fired as CEO of the company he built. His dismissal came as no surprise at that point, since he had had to report another weak quarter to disappointed investors the day before.

Mason’s exit and the appointment of co-founder Eric Lefkovsky as interims CEO was greeted favourably on Wall Street and Groupon’s troubled stock began climbing right after the news had broken. Last Wednesday, after the stock had closed at $8.72, up 92 percent from its February low, the company announced that Lefkovsky has been named permanent CEO. That news, combined with positive second quarter results gave Groupon’s stock price another boost and it shot up more than 21 percent the next day.

On Friday, Groupon shares closed at $10.61, up 134 percent since Mason’s dismissal in February. The company still has a long way to go in reaching its IPO price of $20, but its new leadership appears to be on track to successfully transform Groupon from a daily deals platform to a more versatile online marketplace.



Number 1 Device in Mobile Browsing?


According to Statcounter, 25.5 percent of mobile page views by smartphones in June 2013 came from Samsung devices. This means that the South Korean manufacturer is slightly ahead of arch competitor Apple for the very first time. Together, the iPhone and iPod Touch accounted for 25.4 percent of global page views during the same period. Statcounter claims that 15 billion monthly page views to more than three million websites forms the basis for the calculations.


Samsung Made More Money Than Apple in Q2


For the first time in years, Samsung posted a higher quarterly profit than Apple last Friday. The company made $6.93 billion in the past three months as it continued to dominate the smartphone market. Samsung shipped 72.4 million smartphones from April through June, outselling its biggest rival Apple more than 2 to 1.

However, like Apple, Samsung is starting to feel the effects of increasing saturation in the high-end smartphone market, in which the lion’s share of profits is generated. In the lower end of the market, where much of the future growth is expected to happen, Samsung faces increasingly stiff competition from Chinese manufacturers. Hence, the company warned investors that its growth might slow down in the current quarter.

Amazon Remains Focused on Long-Term Growth


Amazon reported a $7 million loss for the second quarter of 2013, as the company continues to sacrifice short-terms profits in favor of long-term growth.

In the past three months, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant invested heavily into warehouses, digital content and its Kindle business and subsequently reported a minor loss despite healthy revenue growth. The company posted net revenue of $15.7 billion, a 22 percent increase over last year’s second quarter.

The results were just below what analysts had expected, but the stock price gave in only slightly following the release.

Amazon’s shareholders remain remarkably trustful of CEO Jeff Bezos’ long-term vision. Despite the lack of profits, the company is currently traded at a valuation of almost $140 billion, putting Amazon’s price-to-earnings ratio at outer worldly levels. 

Our chart illustrates how Amazon’s revenue continues to soar, while the company fluctuates between miniscule losses and small profits.