Market Overview

Weekly Highlights: Apple's Retail Problem, WWE Network's New Free Trial And More

Weekly Highlights: Apple's Retail Problem, WWE Network's New Free Trial And More

Product announcements were nowhere to be found this week, but there were some notable developments in the tech space.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), for example, could be facing a customer problem at retail. There appear to be more employees than customers at many of the company's stores.

Samsung (OTC: SSNLF), Apple's chief adversary, had its own problems when developers complained about the Gear Live's charging mechanism.

Cloudian raised $24 million from numerous industry stalwarts.

Activision spent a fortune promoting Call of Duty -- and could spend even more promoting Destiny.

Supercell surpassed the competition in an unusual way.

WWE Network (NYSE: WWE) offered another free trial after its rank declined among all live streaming sites.

Finally, DRAM and NAND flash chip supplies may not meet demand this year, which could lead to higher prices.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this slideshow.

Posted-In: Activision Apple Call of Duty CloudianNews Rumors Success Stories Tech Best of Benzinga

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    Apple's Retail Popularity Could Be In Danger

    Apple's Retail Popularity Could Be In Danger

    Apple is one of the world's most successful tech companies, but its retail outlets could be in danger.

    Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry recently visited several Apple Store locations and discovered a troubling trend: there were more employees than customers in each store.

    "We have not experienced such a phenomenon [for] probably five or six years," Chowdhry told Benzinga. "It could be an aberration only for the last two weeks. [But] it's not very encouraging."

    Consumers have reported similar experiences.

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    Flash Chip Supplies Might Not Meet Demand

    Flash Chip Supplies Might Not Meet Demand

    DRAM and NAND flash chip supplies may not meet demand in the second half of the year.

    This is critical for two reasons. It will likely mean higher prices (which could be passed on to the consumer), but it may also prevent manufacturers from delivering enough products to retailers.

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    Samsung's Gear Live May Not Be Alive For Long

    Samsung's Gear Live May Not Be Alive For Long

    Samsung promoted its newest smartwatch by giving it away to select Google IO attendees.

    This gave developers the chance to begin working with the watch before it was released this month.

    Unfortunately, some of those developers encountered one massive flaw: the USB charging mechanism is easy to break.

    Not every user has reported an issue, but the problem has gained some traction in the press and could deter some consumers from buying the device before these issues are ironed out.

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    Cloudian Raised $24 Million From Several Industry Stalwarts

    Cloudian Raised $24 Million From Several Industry Stalwarts

    Cloudian, an Intel and Goldman Sachs-backed startup, made a big announcement this week.

    The company revealed that it has raised an additional $24 million from INCJ and Fidelity Growth Partners and its existing pool of investors.

    "If you look at storage, it's been kind of boring for the last 10 years," Michael Tso, co-founder and CEO of Cloudian, told Benzinga. "It's starting to get really exciting again."

    All told, Cloudian has raised $44 million from investors.

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    Smart Toys Could Be Big Business For Video Game Developers

    Smart Toys Could Be Big Business For Video Game Developers

    Activision (NASDAQ: ATVI) has made millions from the Skylanders franchise. Disney (NYSE: DIS) made millions from Disney Infinity.

    Both properties feature smart toys that interact with their respective games.

    In theory, this idea makes perfect sense: kids love toys and video games, so developers might as well put them together.

    A new study shows that 72 million children are interested in playing with smart toys.

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    Supercell's Brand Power Reigns Supreme

    Supercell's Brand Power Reigns Supreme

    Supercell may not be a household name like Sony, but its brand is getting stronger.

    According to iSpot (a real-time TV advertising intelligence platform), Supercell surpassed Sony and became the number-one video game brand.

    This is based on the level of engagement from users after an ad has aired on TV, so this doesn't mean that Supercell is actually performing better than Sony.

    But from a mainstream ad perspective, Supercell has grown a lot over the past six months.

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    Activision's 'Destiny' Budget Likely To Include Millions In TV Ads

    Activision's 'Destiny' Budget Likely To Include Millions In TV Ads

    Activision spared no expense in promoting the last Call of Duty game.

    The company spent $58 million on domestic TV ads over the last 12 months alone. Most of those funds were used last fall to promote Call of Duty: Ghosts.

    This fall, Activision will have another new franchise to promote: Destiny. If the company spend an equal amount on Destiny and Call of Duty, its TV ad expenditures will easily surpass the $100 million mark.

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    WWE Network Hopes Free Trial Will Lure More Subscribers

    WWE Network Hopes Free Trial Will Lure More Subscribers

    WWE Network was, for a brief time, the second most popular live streaming site in America.

    The service now ranks fourth behind Justin.TV (third), ESPN (second), and Twitch (first).

    To combat this decline -- and lure fans to the service before its next major event -- WWE is offering a one-week free trial. New customers can sign up without a credit card.

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