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*SPECIAL INORBITS FEATURE "Mercer's 2014 Quality of Living" Ratings For Cities of The World. Vienna Overall Winner" (June 2014)

Top 5 Cities – North America        

Regional Rank 2014

Overall Rank 2014

City

Country

1

5

VANCOUVER

CANADA

2

14

OTTAWA

CANADA

3

15

TORONTO

CANADA

4

23

MONTREAL

CANADA

5

27

SAN FRANCISCO

UNITED STATES

Top 5 Cities – Central and South America     

Regional Rank 2014

Overall Rank 2014

City

Country

1

69

POINTE-À-PITRE

GUADELOUPE

2

72

SAN JUAN

PUERTO RICO

3

77

MONTEVIDEO

URUGUAY

4

81

BUENOS AIRES

ARGENTINA

5

93

SANTIAGO

CHILE

Top 5 Cities – Europe    

Regional Rank 2014

Overall Rank 2014

City

Country

1

1

VIENNA

AUSTRIA

2

2

ZURICH

SWITZERLAND

3

4

MUNICH

GERMANY

4

6

DÜSSELDORF

GERMANY

5

7

FRANKFURT

GERMANY

Top 5 Cities – Asia (excluding Australia and New Zealand)       

Regional Rank 2014

Overall Rank 2014

City

Country

1

25

SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE

2

43

TOKYO

JAPAN

3

47

KOBE

JAPAN

4

49

YOKOHAMA

JAPAN

5

57

OSAKA

JAPAN

Top 3 Cities - Australasia

Regional Rank 2014

Overall Rank 2014

City

Country

1

3

AUCKLAND

NEW ZEALAND

2

10

SYDNEY

AUSTRALIA

3

12

WELLINGTON

NEW ZEALAND

Top 5 Cities – Middle East and Africa

Regional Rank 2014

Overall Rank 2014

City

Country

1

73

DUBAI

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

2

78

ABU DHABI

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

3

82

PORT LOUIS

MAURITIUS

4

85

DURBAN

SOUTH AFRICA

5

90

CAPE TOWN

SOUTH AFRICA

    


** SPECIAL INORBITS FEATURE "Some of  The Best "Leadership Training Companies 2014" (May 2014)

** INORBITS SPECIAL FEATURE -  "10 Companies and Technologies to Watch in 2014"(April 2014)

Actian: Actian grew its portfolio of products significantly last year, completing its acquisition of Pervasive Software, and in doing so, adding a whole suite of integration software along with another database, PSQL, and the very impressive DataRush parallel analytics platform (now called ParAccel Dataflow). Later in the year it acquired ParAccel, adding a scale out Big Data analytical database to its it portfolio of databases, which already included Vectorwise, now called ParAccel SMP. This has become a very capable and interesting software portfolio.

Ayasdi: You could describe Ayasdi as “extreme machine learning.” At least that’s the way I prefer to think of it. Ayasdi takes a big collection of data (Big Data if you like) and applies a variety of machine learning algorithms to the collection. This yields a geometric/topological picture of the data, which Ayasdi claims can reveal all the important characteristics of the data collection. The insights about all the data groups and sub-groups are, in theory at least, baked in. Topological data analysis is, in our view, a revolutionary method for analyzing and discovering important relationships within data sets.

Alpine Data Labs: One of the rapidly emerging dynamics in the analytics market is the rush to create and end-to-end analytics capability which can be suited to business analyst level staff rather than requiring “data scientists.” This is the capability that Alpine Data Labs seeks to deliver via a cloud capability. End-to-end analytics is not so difficult to deliver since it spans everything from data access through data cleansing and transformation to the application of data algorithms and, in Alpine Data Labs’ case, machine learning algorithms – all the way to implementing results. We see this as a very competitive section of the market and Alpine Data Labs as an interesting player.

Calpont/InfiniDB: You could claim that 2103 was the year of the Big Data database. I think we were briefed on more “new” or revamped databases last year than on any other kind of product. The opportunity is clear in that the old tired relational database is slowly becoming obsolete and there is, as yet, no clear indication as to whether it will be superseded by any particular database model. Among the products we’ve been briefed on, one of my favorites is Calpont’s InfiniDB. I like its scale-out column store architecture, and I particularly like the way that it can be implemented over Hadoop. It’s a competitive market, but I believe InfiniDB will do well in it.

Cirro: There’s something neat and innovative in what Cirro does. You could call it a data federation product if you wanted, but I prefer to think of it as a data optimization product, similar to data virtualization products but working in quite a different way. Cirro can spread a query across multiple data sources and use the local processing capability located where each of the sources resides to help resolve the query. This is distributed optimization, and in our view, it’s an idea whose time has come. Conceptually, in many circumstances it really does make more sense to take the processing to the data, rather than take the data to the processing, especially when the data is Big.

Hadoop – YARN: YARN stands for Yet Another Resource Negotiator. It doesn’t sound so revolutionary, does it? And yet it is. YARN changes Hadoop for the better and forever. We have reached the stage where people are beginning to ask sensible questions about Hadoop rather than just get irrationally excited about it. Hadoop is indeed useful and it does indeed have a role to play, and its role is not going to be large unless its resources can be managed by something that looks more like an operating system than a job scheduling capability. This, we believe, is what YARN will become. It has cut the link between the HDFS and MapReduce, a link that desperately needed cutting, and it has made Hadoop far more versatile than it was.

NuoDB: Among the recent crop of new and relatively new database products is one which is distinctly different in quite a few ways. First of all it targets OLTP usage. “Big Data” is 90 percent about analytics. Nevertheless there are Big OLTP problems that many companies would like to address and NuoDB targets those problems precisely. We do not have sufficient space here to provide much detail except to say that it is built to be fully distributed (on a global basis) and to be very fast indeed. Its architecture is worth attention and, some time in 2014, we believe there will be a new release of the product that will also target Big Data query workloads. That could be interesting.

SISenseIBM (BLU Acceleration): In mentioning SiSense here we must also mention IBM for the same reason. Both IBM and SISense have built software products to exploit in-chip capabilities. With SISense it’s their BI product. With IBM it’s DB2. The point is that nowadays those x86 chips have quite a lot of data space available in L1, L2 and L3 cache and it’s just a lot faster to process the data there if you can. You can also use the vector instructions that the x86 chips have available to process more than one item of data in a single instruction (which Actian’s ParAccel SMP database does). This is a trend that we expect to blossom going forward. There’s a particular advantage with data compression in keeping the data compressed until it is on the chip and then decompressing and processing it. This can be very fast.

VelociData: When I think about processing speed nowadays I often think about VelociData. Its technology is both a hardware innovation and a software innovation. VelociData builds appliances from “commodity chips” – not just CPUs, but GPUs and FPGAs. If you leverage the power of all three species of silicon you can deliver enormous amounts of parallel processing power. That’s what VelociData’s appliances deliver. They target ETL workloads and they can reduce their execution time by true “orders of magnitude,” not just 10x but anywhere between 100x and 1000x. This is dramatic and disruptive to the point where most large businesses should at least be aware of the product.

VisionWaves: VisionWaves is a product which, in my opinion, should have existed a long time ago – in the sense that somebody should have taken this approach long ago. VisionWaves can be described as a model-driven environment for building Enterprise level capability. Nothing special in that per se; pretty much all BPM can claim to answer to that description. What makes VisionWaves unique is that it is built to satisfy real corporate goals determined by long recognized management best practices. The software is additive to existing capability and built to allow the organization to gradually implement known effective business management and business process practices.


** INORBITS SPECIAL FEATURE "$500 MILLION PAY DEALS PER YEAR HAPPEN!"

 

For private equity executives, 2013 was a very, very good year. No one did it better than Leon Black, who took home a $546 million paycheck for his labours.

Mr. Black, the chief executive of Apollo Global Management, pocketed $369 million in dividends plus another $177 million based on his share of the profits generated by his firm's investment funds. The numbers were included in Apollo's annual report.

Even by private equity standards, Mr. Black's haul stands out. For instance, as per Crain's, Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman took home $375 million last year. (The Wall Street Journal counts Mr. Schwarzman's pay at $465 million.) KKR & Co.'s Henry Kravis made $161 million, enough to rank him only as the fifth best-paid in his field.

Mr. Black's pay, which was in cash, was about 25 times higher than the amount awarded to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein or JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, who are paid mostly with stock. It is more than double the New York Yankees' payroll and, for those keeping score at home, 10,702 times more than median household income in the U.S.

Lavish as Mr. Black's compensation clearly is, a few hedge fund managers made even more. George Soros made $4 billion last year, according to Forbes, and SAC Capital's Steve Cohen made $2.3 billion. (Mr. Cohen is in the process of converting his firm into a family office after his firm and several employees in it were convicted of insider trading. Mr. Cohen hasn't been charged.)

Mr. Black's pay reflects the outsized profits generated by Apollo last year, which took advantage of recovering markets to sell many companies it had bought years ago for hefty sums. For instance, Apollo completed the single-most lucrative deal ever generated by a private equity firm when it reaped nearly a $10 billion profit last year from selling its position LyondellBasel Industries, a New Jersey-based chemical company. Apollo bought $2 billion worth of LyondellBasel's debt in 2008, which was converted to stock after the company filed for bankruptcy.

Apollo has made its reputation over the past 20 years for its willingness to make bold bets on out-of-favor companies and turn them around.

"We like complexity," explained Mr. Black last week at a conference sponsored by Columbia Business School. "We like aggravation if it will get us a lower price."

Apollo returned a record $22.6 billion in profits last year to investors including the New York State Common Retirement Fund, which has contributed $1.1 billion to four Apollo funds over the years. Those four funds have generated $2 billion for the pension plan, according to state documents.

** INORBITS SPECIAL FEATURE "Tax Rates Around the World 2014" (For guidance purposes, contact Inorbits for individual cases)

Country Income Tax Social Security VAT
Corporate Individual Employer Employee

Argentina

35% 9-35% 27% 17% 21%
Australia 30% 17-45% 10%
Austria 25% 21%-50% 21.83% 18.2% 20%
Barbados 25% 20/35% 17.50%
Belarus 18% 12% 34% 1% 20%
Belgium 33.99% 25-50% 40.58% 13.07% 21%
Brazil 34% 7.5-27.5% 37.3% 11% 17-25%
Bulgaria 10% 10% 18.5% 12.9% 20%
BVI
Canada 15%(federal) 15-29%(Federal) 5%
China 25% 3-45% 30% 11% 17%
Croatia 20% 12-40% 15.20% 20% 25%
Cyprus 10% 0-35% 8.5% 6.8% 19%
Czech Rep. 19% 22% 34% 11% 21%
Denmark 24.5% 38-65% 0 DKK 900 25%
Egypt 25% 10-25% 10%
Estonia 21% 21% 33% 2% 20%
Finland 20% 6.5-31.75% 19.47% 9.14% 24%
France 33.33% 5.5-41% 50% 20% 20%
Georgia 15% 20% 18%
Germany 30-33%(effective) 14-45% 19.7% 20.6% 19%
Gibraltar 10% 0-40% Gip 32.97/week Gip 25.16/Week
Greece 26% 0-42% 28% 16.5% 23%
Hong Kong 16.50% 2-17% 5% 5%
Hungary 10/19% 16% 28.5% 18.5% 27%
India 30-40% 10-30% 12% 12% 12.50%
Indonesia 25% 5-30% 3.7% 2% 10%
Ireland 12.50% 20-41% 10.75% 4% 23%
Israel 26.5% 10-50% 6.75% 12% 18%
Italy 27.50% 23%-43% 30% 10% 21%
Japan 25.50% 5-50% 15.448% 14.643% 5%
Latvia 15% 24% 24.09% 11% 21%
Libya 20% 15% 11.25% 3.75%
Lithuania 15% 15%/20% 32.6% 9% 21%
Luxemburg 21% 0-40% 14.69% 13.45% 15%
Malta 35% 15-35% 10% 10% 18%
Mexico 30% 0-30% 7% 2% 16%
Moldova 12% 7%/18% 26.5% 9.5% 20%
Monaco 30% 0% 19.60%
Morocco 30% 0-41.5% 20%
Montenegro 9% 9%/15% 9.8% 24% 19%
Netherlands 20-25% 5.85%-52% 21%
New Zealand 28% 0-39% 15%gst
Norway 27% 28-49% 14.1% 7.8% 25%
Pakistan 35% 0-25% 17%
Panama 25% 15-25% 12% 9% 7%
Philippines 30% 5-32% PHP 1,090 PHP 500 12%
Poland 19% 18%/32% 22.14% 13.7% 23%
Portugal 25% 14.5-48% 23.75% 11% 23%
Romania 16% 16% 28.45% 16.5% 24%
Russia 20% 13% 30% 0 18%
Saudi Arabia 20% 20% --
Serbia 15% 10-20% 16.9% 16.9% 20%
Singapore 17% 3.5%-20% 16% 20% 7%
Slovakia 22% 19%/25% 34.8% 13.4% 20%
Slovenia 17% 16%-50% 16.1% 22.1% 22%
South Africa 28% 0-40% 14%
Spain 30% 24.75-52% 29.9% 6.35% 21%
Sweden 22% 0-57% 25%
Switzerland 12.5-24% 0-11.5% (federal) 25.08% 20.73% 8%
Thailand 20% 5-37% 5% 5% 7%
Tunisia 30% 15-35% 16.57 9.18 18%
Turkey 20% 15-35% 27% 15% 18%
U.K. 23% 0-45% 13.8% 12% 20%
Ukraine 18% 15/17% 49.7% 3.6% 17%
U.S.A. 15-35% 0-39.6% 7.65% 5.65%
Vietnam 22% 5-35% 21% 9% 10%
Zambia 35% 0-35% 16%

** INORBITS SPECIAL ARTICLE - "UK’s Most Admired Companies For 2013, The Top Ten" As per BSI

1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
10

** SPECIAL INORBITS ARTICLE  "The 20 Top Accounting Firms In The World 2013"

1. Deloitte

It comes as no surprise that Deloitte holds the number one global position. It’s hold on the top spot seems secure for the time being.

Deloitte is located in more than 150 countries, and has over 600 offices in the world. The firm is headquartered in New York City, New York. They have most recently reached the 100-partner milestone when they merged with Curtis Mclean.

Deloitte specializes in audit & assurance, tax, advisory, and risk. They offer a wide range of services that include strategy, financial and technical, and human capital.

2. PwC

Deloitte’s closest competition over the last few years has and continues to be PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers). PwC comes in as the second largest accounting firm in the world.

PwC has locations in more than 150 countries and more than 750 offices worldwide. Unlike Deloitte, they are headquartered in London.

The firm has most recently merged with Booz & Co, a medium sized consulting firm. The merger was approved on December 23rd, 2013. They offer a wide range of services but they specialize in audit & assurance, tax, and consulting.

3. Ernst & Young

Ernst & young earns the number three position in global accounting firms. This firm operates in more than 150 countries, utilizing more than 700 offices worldwide.

They are globally headquartered in London. In recent history the firm has acquired Greenwich Consulting, adding 7 more offices to its roster, and more experience in strategy consulting.

4. KPMG

Holding firm at number four, KPMG comes in as the last of the big 4, but still far ahead of the number five firm on our list.

The firm operates in over 650 offices located in over 150 countries around the world. They are headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

In recent news, the company has recently merged its Denmark operations with those of Ernst & Young. The merger will allow the company to offer more services to its clients while providing more support for that particular region.

5. Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton UK is number five in the top 20 firms and is an arm of Grant Thornton International. The firm has 26 offices spread across the UK and specializes in audit, tax and advisory services.

Most recently they merged with PFK to bring more services and locations to its clients in the UK. The firm is headquartered in London.

6. BDO

BDO ranks number six and is headquartered in Makati City, Philippines. The firm has more than 1,200 offices in 138 countries. They recently added to their capabilities and offices through the acquisition of Alpern Rosenthal.

The merger will allow BDO to expand its operations in both Pittsburgh and Florida. The firm specializes in audit, tax, and advisory services but has much more to offer its clients.

7. RSM Tenon (Acquired by Baker TIlly in August 2013)

RSM Tenon Group comes in at number seven out of the top 20 firms in the world.

They are headquartered in London, and currently operate out of more than 700 offices located in more than 100 countries. The firm recently announced the merger of its China firm with that of Crowe Horwath’s Chinese firm to create a new firm called Ruihua China CPA’s.

The new firm has requested to be a member of both Crowe Horwath China and RSM China.

8. Smith & Williamson

Smith & Williamson holds the number eight position in the world. They are headquartered in London, and hold more than 550 offices in over 100 countries.

The company hasn’t merged with any other firms in recent history but is a part of M&A International and Nexia International.

9. Baker Tilly

Baker Tilly is number nine on the top 20 list in the largest firms in the world. They are headquartered in Chicago, hold more than 580 offices in more than 110 countries.

In June 2013 the firm merged with Holtz Rubenstein Reminick LLP. The merger will add 25 firms to Baker Tilly’s already larger list.

10. Moore Stephens

Moore Stephens UK holds the tenth spot on the top 20 list of firms and is headquartered in London.

They are a part of Moore Stephens International which has more than 620 offices in more than 100 countries. The UK division recently merged with Winx, corporate finance, and X-Stra, business consulting.

The merger will allow the firm to expand their corporate finance sector.

11. Mazars

Mazars, headquartered in London, holds the number eleven position. The firm has more than 13,000 employees in more than 70 countries.

They recently merged with Chadwick at their Liverpool and Manchester branches. The merger will allow the company to expand in the area where they did not have a great presence before.

12. Haines Watts

Haines Watts holds the number twelve position on the top 20 firms in the world. They are currently headquartered in London, have more than 60 offices in the region.

The firm is part of Geneva Group international. The company recently merged with Ocean Consultancy Limited.

13. Crowe Clark Whitehill

Crowe Clark Whitehill is headquartered in London, and has more than 160 firms operating in more than 105 countries. They specialize in audit, tax, and advisory services. The firm has not completed any mergers recently, however they did win the Accountancy Firm of the Year award in 2012.

14. Saffery Champness

Saffery Champness is headquartered in London and currently operates out of 12 offices. They are part of Nexia international which has a very large network of firms throughout the world. Saffery Champness specializes in audit, tax, and advisory services. The firm recently acquired 4 other firms in 2012, boosting their performance and rankings.

15. Begbies Traynor

Begbies Traynor is currently ranked as the number fifteen firm out of the top twenty. They are headquartered in Manchester England.

The firm currently operates out of 30 offices across the UK. They specialize in insolvency and global risk partners. They recently sold their tax division to Smith & Williamson

16. UHY Hacker Young

UHY Hacker Young is headquartered in London, and currently operates out of 260 offices across the UK. They are ranked at sixteen out of the top 20 firms in the world.

The firm specializes in tax planning and business growth. Although the firm has grown over the years they haven’t acquiesced or merged with any other firms in recent history.

17. Kingston Smith

Kingston Smith is number seventeen on the list of top twenty accountancy firms. They are currently headquartered in London and has 7 offices across London and the Southeastern portion of England. In December 2013 the firm merged with PFK.

18. Zolfo Cooper

Zolfo Cooper specializes in advisory and restructuring services. They are headquartered in London and have a plethora of offices around the globe including the UK, US, and other countries. They recently merged with Kroll Inc.

19. MHA MacIntyre Hudson

MHA MacIntyre Hudson is located in Buckinghamshire, UK. They currently operate out of 40 offices across the UK.

They specialize in audit, tax, and governance. The firm most recently merged with Kent firm Larkings which has added six new partners and 2 offices.

20. Johnston Carmichael

Johnston Carmichael is number twenty out of the top 20 accountancy firms in the world. They are headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland and have 11 offices across the region. The company merged with PFK in September 2013. The firm specializes in audit, tax, and advisory services.

** SPECIAL INORBITS ARTICLE ON WORLD'S TWENTY BIGGEST LAW FIRMS AS AT JANUARY 2014 BY SALES

                    Firm                                                              Sales                    

1 Increase Baker & McKenzie

$2,419.0m

United States USA
2 Increase Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom $2,320.0m United States USA
3 Increase Linklaters $1,940.0m United Kingdom UK
4 Steady Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer $1,930.0m United Kingdom UK
4 Increase Allen & Overy $1,930.0m United Kingdom UK
6 Decrease Clifford Chance $1,874.5m United Kingdom UK
7 Decrease Latham & Watkins $1,821.0m United States USA
8 Steady Jones Day $1,520.0m United States USA
9 Increase Kirkland & Ellis $1,428.0m United States USA
10 Decrease Sidley Austin $1,357.0m United States USA
11 Decrease White & Case $1,307.0m United States USA
12 Increase Weil, Gotshal & Manges $1,233.0m United States USA
13 Increase Greenberg Traurig $1,173.0m United States USA
14 Decrease Mayer Brown $1,118.0m United States USA
15 Increase Morgan, Lewis & Bockius $1,068.5m United States USA
16 Increase K&L Gates $1,034.5m United States USA
17 Decrease DLA Piper USA $1,014.5m United States USA
18 Increase Gibson Dunn $995.0m United States USA
18 Increase Sullivan & Cromwell $995.0m United States USA
20 Increase Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton $965.0m United States USA

** INORBITS SPECIAL ARTICLE ON NEW EMERGING OCCUPATIONS 2013

Precision Agriculture Technician

Using GPS and GIS technology, these agricultural specialists help farmers determine how much water or pesticide to use or which crops are appropriate for the soil in various locations. The projected job growth for 2010-2020 is between 10 percent and 19 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median annual salary is about $43,000. Similar job titles are crop specialist, nutrient management specialist, precision agronomist and precision farming coordinator.

Mechatronics Engineer


Using a variety of engineering disciplines, mechatronics engineers design systems to automate industrial tasks. Most jobs can be found in manufacturing and government. Pay is good -- the median annual mechatronics engineer salary in 2011 was $90,580.

Energy Broker

Energy brokers facilitate the sale of energy commodities between their clients and other companies. This job is different from an energy trader, who buys commodities on spec and hopes to sell them at a favorable price. Brokers are usually employed by financial services companies, banks and trading houses. The BLS expects job growth of up to 19 percent through 2020. The median energy broker salary in 2011 was $50,630. Another job title for energy broker is energies commodities broker.

Logistics Analyst

A logistics analyst uses advanced RFID tagging technology to analyze product delivery or supply-chain processes. Based on their analysis, these experts may manage or recommend changes in route activity to maintain or improve efficiency. Similar job titles include global logistics analyst and supply-chain analyst. The BLS projects fast growth -- up to 28 percent -- through 2020. Median annual salary is just shy of $72,000.

Biostatistician

Biostatisticians look for patterns of disease emergence and persistence. In addition, they are increasingly studying how various healthcare policies and procedures can be made more efficient and affordable. “The Affordable Care Act of 2010 should boost this career because it includes provisions to study the efficacy of various healthcare procedures,” Shatkin says. The BLS projects job growth between 10 percent and 19 percent from 2010 to 2020. The median biostatistician salary in 2011 was about $74,000.

Cytogenetic Technologist

These technologists look for indicators of genetic abnormalities in fetuses and are increasingly studying genetic signatures of various cancers and indicators of genetic diseases. The BLS projects job growth of 10 percent to 19 percent from 2010 to 2020. The median annual salary in 2011 was $57,000.

Ergonomist

Ergonomists create products and procedures designed to lessen physical strain and injury. “The field is strong due to the aging of the population, which creates demand for products and workplaces that are less physically demanding, and from businesses’ demand for greater efficiency that can be built into work procedures,” Shatkin tells Monster.com. The median annual ergonomist salary was just over $77,000 in 2011, according to the BLS. These specialists are also called human factors engineers.

Environmental Economist

These professionals help protect the environment by determining the economic impact of policy decisions relating to air, water, land and renewable-energy resources. More than 90 percent of these experts have either a master’s degree or doctorate. Salaries are high: The 2011 median environmental economist salary was $90,550. Jobs can be found in the government and professional, scientific and technical services sectors.

Sugary Sweet ABF** UK's surgent clothing retailing star Primark's "remarkable" performance has helped owner Associated British Foods to report a big rise in profits. Total sales at Primark rose by 22% in the year to 14 September, while like-for-like sales - which strip out new store openings - were 5% higher. Primark's performance helped AB Foods to report a 13% rise in full year pre-tax profit to £1.1bn - "AB Foods is a £13.3billion a year sales company;Primark accounts for £4.3 billion of that £13.3 billion sales. Primark is a strong component of AB Foods in this respect. Inorbits goes a little further....Inditex, the world's biggest clothing retailer and worldwide and with sales in the £12 billion to £15 billion range means AB Foods somehow has mastered the understanding that Primark is playing in an arena with much to offer and much to aspire for. Sweet words? Inorbits supposes so, especially as sugar is in the AB Foods portfolio and so is very appropriate in this instance! Well done indeed AB Foods." (Nov.2013)

 ** US' superb computing giant Microsoft has announced third quarter results showing $18.53 billion of revenue compared to $16.01 billion in the quarter a year ago, and a net profit of $5.24 billion, up from $4.47 billion in the quarter a year ago.- "Microsoft has re-organised and has two reporting streams now;"Commercial" revenue and "Devices and Consumer" revenue.Commercial revenue grew 10% to $11.20 billion, with SQL Server, Lync, SharePoint, and Exchange, growing collectively in double-digits. Commercial cloud revenue was up 103%. Microsoft has absorbed the Window revenue downslide well and has aspired to grow into even tablet sales with its Surface. It's stayed right there....in the top league. Well done from Inorbits." (Oct.2013)

Samsung logo** South Korea's brilliant Samsung was predicting record revenue for the third fiscal quarter of 2013 and it hasn't disappointed. The company has announced 59.08 trillion won (approximately $55.59 billion) in revenue, along with consolidated operating profit of 10.16 trillion won (roughly $9.56 billion). That's actually more than Samsung's guidance, with both figures representing new highs for the company.-"Samsung's continued investment is staying ahead pays and pays. Even Samsung's semiconductor business saw the biggest growth during the quarter, with sales of memory for mobile devices and gaming consoles driving revenue up 12 percent from the previous quarter.World class! Well done from Inorbits." (Oct.2013)

** Sweden's global furniture giant Ikea has reported a rise in full-year sales and says it managed to gain market share in almost all its markets.Global sales jumped 3.1% to 27.9bn euros ($37.8bn; £23.6bn) in the 12 months to the end of August, Ikea said like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of new stores, rose 1.8% in the same period.The chain, which is the world's largest furniture retailer, has said it wants to double sales to 50bn euros by 2020. - "Inorbits rates this performance like that of Apple or Samsung...in the top tier league. That says it! Superb brand identity getting stronger.Well done IKEA from Inorbits." (Oct.2013)

** European EADS' aircraft manufacturing subsidiary Airbus has announced its first deal with Japanese carrier Japan Airlines (JAL).It has won an order from JAL for 31 of its A350 planes, in a deal worth nearly $9.5bn (£5.9bn) at list prices.Airbus, which says the A350 will use about 25% less fuel than previous generation wide-bodied aircraft, has had 725 orders for the plane prior to securing the JAL deal; including deals with two new Chinese airlines awaiting Chinese government approvals.- "Inorbits has always supported the view that there is room for another giant in this market; there is a waiting time for most orders - that's how good this business can be for the right players. Well done Airbus and EADS from Inorbits."(Oct.2013)

** INORBITS SPECIAL ON "A RISING STAR (no longer a start up)" - WANT TO GET IN EARLY? INORBITS RATES THIS ONE A HUGE WINNER - READ "VISTAJET" (SEPTEMBER 2013)

 
When Thomas Flohr founded VistaJet in 2004 he was determined to redefine private aviation. He wanted to start a revolution in the skies that would offer clients unrivalled choice, luxury, a simple business model and, of course, safety.

He succeeded. They are now the world’s fastest growing private aviation company. Their fleet of Bombardier aircraft are based across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and West Africa, ready to take you wherever you choose. Their multilingual staff are based in offices across the globe, ready to arrange every aspect of your flight. They can fly you to incredible destinations with high quality planes and without the worry of the Fractional Ownership element that many companies and individuals are bound by. It is a high risk play that has paid off so far. So much so that it has ordered a massive $7.8 billion worth of new planes from Bombardier towards the end of last year.

Thomas and his team are always looking at innovative new ways to develop VistaJet and give you the very best in private aviation.

 
** INORBITS SPECIAL ON "RISING START-UP STARS" - WANT TO GET IN EARLY? INORBITS RATES THIS ONE A HUGE WINNER - READ CHINA'S "6WAVES" (SEPTEMBER 2013)
 
6waves is now a leading publisher of independent games on social networks and mobile platforms, partnering with developers all over the world to bring the best games to millions of users on gaming networks. From its original roots in Facebook, it has now expanded into Yahoo! Mobage, Mixi and Hangame in Japan, Tencent in China, iOS and Android. With presence in Hong Kong, United States, Russia, China and Japan, the 6waves team has a unique international perspective and has forged successful partnerships with developers from across the globe. Its investors include Insight Venture Partners and Nexon Co. Ltd.
** INORBITS SPECIAL ON "RISING START-UP STARS" - WANT TO GET IN EARLY? INORBITS RATES THIS ONE A HUGE WINNER - READ "GRISHIN ROBOTICS" (SEPTEMBER 2013)
 
Grishin Robotics is a global investment company that is dedicated to supporting personal robotics around the world.

With an initial $25 million to invest in various projects and initiatives, Grishin Robotics is focused on raising the profile of the robotics industry and helping robotics entrepreneurs advance their products and ideas.

Grishin Robotics was founded by Dmitry Grishin, the co-founder and chairman of the Mail.Ru Group, which is the largest Internet company in the Russian-speaking world and one of the biggest in Europe.

Dmitry is the sole investor in Grishin Robotics and personally considers each prospective opportunity, supported by a team of professionals.

Inorbits share Grishin Robotics' view that "Robotics" has a big role to play in responding to those changes and positively influencing the lives of everyday people all around the globe.

 
 ** INORBITS SPECIAL ON "RISING START-UP STARS" - WANT TO GET IN EARLY? INORBITS RATES THIS ONE A HUGE WINNER - READ "LIQUEPEL" (AUGUST 2013)
 
Ever wonder if there was some way to protect your smartphone or tablet from water and other liquids; only to find out that nearly every option requires you to slap a gigantic case on your sleek and stylish device, leaving it overweight and impossible to get in and out of your pocket? Yes we have thought about that too, but now there is option other than a big and bulky waterproof phone case, and it's called, Liquipel!

Liquipel is a nano coating that surrounds all the tiny little electrical parts in and around your device. It’s completely invisible to the human eye and will not void your warranty. While they can’t say your device is waterproof, they can proudly stand by their hydrophobic technology and say it’s great for accidental occurences. Anyone looking to make their phone waterproof isn’t looking to go swimming with their phone; they just want to have peace of mind knowing that if their iPhone or shiny new Galaxy S4 were to come in contact with water it would be protected.

From Inorbits point of view, it's the wider market impact this product can have....even the medical profession.

 ** INORBITS SPECIAL ON "RISING START-UP STARS" - WANT TO GET IN EARLY? INORBITS RATES THIS ONE A HUGE WINNER - READ "SQUARE " (AUGUST 2013)
 
When it debuted, Square’s sleek plastic credit card swiper drew jealous looks to any iPhone it was attached to. Now Jack Dorsey (the Twitter star creator) has bet again that style wins mobile payments customers. In October 2012 the company followed a $200 million venture round by acquiring New York design firm 80/20, which specializes in slick user interfaces. Earlier, it partnered with coffee chain Starbucks, further upping the brand’s profile.
 
The small, square-shaped device attaches to iPhone, iPad or Android devices via the headphone jack, and as a mini card reader allows a person to swipe her or his card, choose an amount to give to the recipient and then sign his or her name for confirmation. Square is also a system for sending paperless receipts via text message or email, and is available as a free app for iOS and Android OS.
 
The company grew from 10 employees in December 2009 to over a hundred employees by June 2011. Square's office is located on Mission Street in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood.
 
In September 2012, Business Insider magazine valued Square Inc. at $3.2 billion.
** INORBITS SPECIAL ON "RISING START-UP STARS" - WANT TO GET IN EARLY? INORBITS RATES THIS ONE A WINNER - READ "ABLE PLANET" (AUGUST 2013)
 
Able Planet is an audio tech company perhaps best known for its noise cancellation headphones. Able Planet designs and manufactures innovative audio and communication devices for individuals with All Levels of Hearing. The company’s products include Award Winning headsets, assistive listening devices and headphones like the new True Fidelity Foldable Gaming Headphones. All products feature Able Planet’s patented LINX AUDIO technology. The company has won over 30 awards in the past five years, including 25 International Consumer Electronics Show awards for innovation and design. The company’s products are marketed through Able Planet, resellers, audiology networks, non-profit foundations and strategic partners. Able Planet is headquartered in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
 
Able Planet’s “i am able" campaign aims to drive people to live more active lifestyles and break barriers that may be challenging them. In an effort to accomplish this mission, Able Planet sponsors athletes, teams and events that encourage and inspire people to get moving.
 
** INORBITS SPECIAL ON "RISING START-UP STARS" - WANT TO GET IN EARLY? INORBITS RATES
THIS ONE A WINNER - READ "HAILO" (JULY 2013)
 
"Taxis in New York spend 40 percent of their time--in other cities, 60 percent of their time--cruising for fares, while people find it difficult to get a taxi," explains Bregman, Hailo's CEO. "And there was nobody to put them together."

Hailo's unique solution: approaching the industry from the driver's perspective. "What we discovered was that in order to create the best passenger experience, we needed to focus on creating first the best driver experience," Bregman says.

Hailo's free driver app includes a location-based social network for taxi drivers, digital logbook and enterprise resource planning statistics. But the most important feature is a news feed where drivers can update their status, providing other cabbies with important information such as where more taxis are needed and which streets to avoid due to traffic. "We can get tens of thousands of drivers using this system before they ever accept a single customer"

Hailo's aim is for passengers to be able to get a cab in two minutes, with two taps--a goal it has already achieved in London, where the service launched in November 2011. It is now the world's widest-reaching taxi app, operating in eight cities--including New York, Boston, Chicago, Toronto and Madrid--with Tokyo on deck for later this year. Hailo has received more than $50 million in funding and has facilitated rides for 3 million passengers from 30,000 registered cab drivers.
 
 ** INORBITS SPECIAL ON "RISING START-UP STARS" - WANT TO GET IN EARLY? INORBITS RATES THIS ONE A WINNER - READ "SOUNDHOUND" (JULY 2013)

Keyvan Mohajer, founder and CEO of San Jose, California based SoundHound, is capitalizing on that frustrating feeling and on the red-hot strength of the music and art tech scene. His app allows even the utterly tone deaf to search for tunes simply by humming or singing into a smartphone.

"We put magic in the palms of people's hands," Mohajer says. "Our users experience music on a whole new level."

SoundHound is revolutionizing the way people interact with mobile devices by delivering innovative technologies and compelling user experiences in sound recognition.

SoundHound's breakthrough Sound2Sound technology searches sound against sound, bypassing traditional sound to text conversion techniques even when searching text databases. Sound2Sound has resulted in numerous breakthroughs including the world's fastest music recognition, the world's only viable singing and humming search, and instant-response large scale speech recognition systems.

SoundHound has produced multiple award-winning applications in music and voice search on platforms including iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian devices. SoundHound also has numerous partnerships with global companies, including leading device manufacturers and operators.

Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, SoundHound is backed by leading Silicon Valley investors, including Global Catalyst Partners, TransLink Capital and Walden Venture Capital.

 
 ** INORBITS SPECIAL ON "RISING START-UP STARS" - WANT TO GET IN EARLY? INORBITS RATES THIS ONE A WINNER - READ "THE MELT"(JULY 2013)
 
How popular sandwich chain The Melt is using smartphones, QR codes and kiosks to build a brand.

After Jonathan Kaplan sold his Flip HD video camera business to Cisco Systems in 2009 for a reported $590 million, he became obsessed with something quite different: the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

Specifically, he was interested in turning out an impeccable sandwich every time, using premium ingredients such as sharp cheddar, brie or Gruyère, and fresh-baked sourdough, garlic or artisanal wheat bread. At The Melt, his popular chain of soup-and-sandwich shops in San Francisco, Kaplan has not only achieved that goal but revolutionized the fast-casual dining scene through technology.

Customers of The Melt who opt to prepay online or via smartphone receive a QR code. When they walk into any location, they can skip the line and scan their order at a kiosk near the cash register. As soon as the scan is processed, cooks get to work using a proprietary, panini-style press from Electrolux that grills the sandwich using radiant infrared heat. According to CMO Paul Coletta, The Melt's presses "balance two specialized tasks: toasting the crust and melting the cheese." And they do this perfectly, time after time, in less than 60 seconds.

 ** SPECIAL INORBITS ARTICLE ON HOW SOMEBODY'S LIFE STARTED TO CHANGE WITH LANGUAGE LEARNING - INORBITS BELIEVE LANGUAGES CAN DEVELOP YOU - IT'S NOT JUST THE LANGUAGE YOU LEARN, YOUR MINDSET THRIVES! (JULY 2013)
 
I’d never been interested in other languages. My grandfather spoke a Sicilian dialect that was equal parts scary and impossible to understand. It was his only language, and so many people in my family spoke it with him, but not me. I was the youngest and the least interested. When my grandfather died, I was separated from any other second language until high school, where I was required to take Spanish. I was a rotten Spanish student, showing no interest in or inclination towards the textbook pedagogy. My accent was awful, and my ability to retain vocabulary was downright embarrassing. I kept up my incompetence with Spanish right through college, where, upon graduation, I bid farewell to my time with another tongue.
 
Then something happened. As an adult, I became quite interested in European culture—mostly food and wine, and mostly Italian. After a trip through Italy with my wife, I came up with the crazy idea of living in Italy for a while. And a few years later, in conjunction with my plans to pursue a new career as a writer and teacher, my wife and I (with our 18-month-old daughter in tow) were off to live in Tuscany for a year. The onus was on me to manage the adventure—it was my idea, after all. I so wished I’d paid closer attention to my grandfather’s Italian…

Still, I began to regularly study Italian through a variety of language programs—books, and books on tape, and audio conversations where I eavesdropped on language classes conducted by a master. All in all, I learned some Italian by working very hard. I had my family to consider, and there’s no motivation better than that, so I endured through the struggle, and I arrived in Italy with enough knowledge to ensure we could not get lost, and that we could order well in restaurants. By the end of the year, I had—obviously—improved, but it was a struggle throughout, one that could have been alleviated by a better learning model.

Even with the imperfect method that I used to learn my Italian, it occurred to me that there were benefits to a second language beyond not getting lost and ordering well in restaurants. I could sense an improvement in my cognitive skills. My facility with English improved (which helped my writing career), and I am certain that a small speech impediment that plagued me since childhood had been cured (which helped my work in the classroom). Overall, I just felt improved on an intellectual level—more confident in a myriad of ways. I had to attribute it to the learning of a second language.

A few years after we returned to the States, my daughter’s grammar school began a dual language immersion program in French. We, of course, requested a place in the class and were thrilled when she was accepted in the program’s second year. She began first grade immersed in French for half of her academic day. She will finish the 5th grade this spring and move on into middle school academically fluent in French. I am certain that her learning of a second language helped her academically.

My son is in his second year in the program now. I want to be there for him, so I am going to take another shot at learning French.

 
 ** INORBITS SPECIAL "BIG GETS BIGGER" - These specials celebrate huge and new building,engineering achievements. Today we feature Denmark's Maersk's new record breaking container supership. The first supership is ready to launch this week, with 19 more on the way for Maersk. Well done Maersk from Inorbits.
 
The Maersk Triple E class is a planned family of large, fuel-efficient container ships, designed as a successor to the Mærsk E-class. In February and June 2011, Maersk awarded Daewoo Shipbuilding two US$1.9 billion contracts ($3.8bn total) to build twenty of the ships.

The name "Triple E" is derived from the class's three design principles: "Economy of scale, Energy efficient and Environmentally improved". These ships are expected to be not only the world's largest ships in service, but also the most efficient containerships per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) of cargo.

The ships will be 400 metres (1,312 ft) long and 59 metres (194 ft) wide. While only 3 metres (9.8 ft) longer and 4 metres (13 ft) wider than E-class ships, the Triple E ships will be able to carry 2,500 more containers. With a draft of 14.5 metres (48 ft), they will be too deep to use any port in the Americas or cross the Panama Canal, but will be able to transit the Suez Canal when sailing between Europe and Asia. At 400m, the vessels are only 2m short of a quarter-mile in length.

One of the class's main design features are the dual 32 megawatts (43,000 hp) ultra-long stroke two-stroke diesel engines, driving two propellers at a design speed of 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph). Slower than its predecessors, this class uses a strategy known as slow steaming, which is expected to lower fuel consumption by 37% and carbon dioxide emissions per container by 50%. The Triple E design helped Maersk win a "Sustainable Ship Operator of the Year" award in July 2011.

Maersk plans to use the ships to service routes between Europe and Asia, projecting that Chinese exports will continue to grow. The Europe-Asia trade represents the company's largest market; it already has 100 ships serving this route. Maersk hopes to consolidate its share of the Europe-Asia trade with the addition of the Triple-E class ships.

Business Travel Essentials** SPECIAL INORBITS FEATURE - The UK expat boom turns into a boomerang – as 33pc end up coming back. (Call Inorbits and we'll also show you why some US stars actually resign their Citizenships. Expatriates are a very special breed of people and it needs exceptional planning and care. Contact Inorbits.) (June 2013)
 
Visa applications are up as more Britons choose to flee the cold weather - but many find their move turns out to be a poisoned chalice. The news was revealed by a company that specialises in immigration and relocation. Global Visas said applications to emigrate from the UK in the first four months of this year were up 15 per cent on the same period last year. The company handled 257,389 requests for help from people wanting to leave the UK this year, compared with 223,042 the year before. One of the main reasons cited by clients was the weather, after Britain suffered a bitterly cold spring.
 
Gary Smith, global sales and marketing director, said: “The bad weather combined with a lack of jobs has prompted an increase in the number of requests for visa applications to our UK office. People are currently looking to move overseas for brighter career prospects, better living conditions and quality of life”.

Despite not being known for its warm temperatures, Canada was the most popular country to move to, with 27 per cent of customers heading that way. Australia was a close second, at 22 per cent.

However, further research by the company suggested that life does not necessarily work out as planned for those who decide to leave Britain.

A third of expats ended up coming home earlier than intended, with the majority citing financial difficulties as the main reason. That statistic came from a poll of 1,246 British expats who returned in the past year.

The top five explanations given by those polled - who were allowed to choose multiple reasons - were financial difficulties (62 per cent) homesickness (47 per cent), cultural differences (44 per cent), visa expiration (39 per cent) and lack of social interaction (27 per cent). The eurozone crisis may have been a factor, as 56 per cent of those who returned to Britain due to financial difficulties came from within the EU.

The top five countries experiencing an expat exodus, according to Global Visas, were Spain (21 percent), Greece (11 percent), Turkey (eight percent), Australia (seven percent) and France (six percent.)

Mr Smith noted: “Leaving home to live or work abroad is a huge step and one that not everybody manages to cope with, especially in the volatile financial markets that we’re currently experiencing.

“Money is obviously going to be a big factor. Many people who had believed themselves to be set up for life have been met with a sharp shock to find that their savings have become devalued.”

 
** SPECIAL INORBITS FEATURE - The Forbes Midas list is the annual ranking by Forbes Magazine of the best dealmakers in high-tech and life science venture capital. It uses parameters including the first-day market capitalization of IPOs, and the opinions of a panel of experts. Here are the Top 20 for 2012 and 2013.
 
** SPECIAL REPORT ON WORLD'S TOP AIRLINES BY PASSENGER NUMBERS (in millions) (June 2013)
 
Rank Airline 2012 2011 2010 2009
1 United States Delta Air Lines 164.6 161.4 162.6 161.0
2 United States United Airlines 140.4 96.4 - -
3 United States Southwest Airlines 134.0 128.6 130.9 101.3
4 United States American Airlines 107.9 86.0 - -
5 China China Southern Airlines 86.5 80.7 76.5 66.3
6 Republic of Ireland Ryanair 79.6 76.4 80.6 66.5
7 FranceNetherlands Air France-KLM 77.1 75.8 70.8 71.4
8 Germany Lufthansa 74.7 N/A N/A N/A
9 China China Eastern Airlines - 68.7 64.9 44.0
10 United States US Airways 62.5 60.9 59.9 58.9
 
** SPECIAL REPORT ON WORLD'S TOP AIRLINES BY DESTINATIONS FLOWN (June 2013)
 
Rank Airline Destinations
1 United StatesUnited Airlines 374
2 United StatesDelta Air Lines 343
3 United StatesAmerican Airlines 260
4 TurkeyTurkish Airlines 233
5 GermanyLufthansa 218
6 United StatesUS Airways 206
7 FranceAir France 198
8 CanadaAir Canada 183
9 United KingdomBritish Airways 172
10 Republic of IrelandRyanair 168
 
** SPECIAL REPORT ON THE WORLD OF THE CREDIT AGENCIES (June 2013)
 
Credit-rating agencies exist to assess the creditworthiness of bond issuers - companies or, as in this case, countries who borrow money by issuing IOUs known as bonds.

Who are they? Do we need them and how do they work out whether to give the top-of-the-class AAA or a lower grade, such as CCC, which - sticking with the schools analogy - means the issuer is suspected of planning the financial equivalent of bunking off?

Poor and Moody

Standard & Poor's (S&P), as the oldest, comes first. It was begun in 1860 by Henry Poor, who wrote a history of the finances of railroads and canals in the United States as a guide for investors.The "Standard" part came into being in 1906, when the Standard Statistics Bureau was set up to examine finances of non-railroad companies. The two businesses joined forces in the 1940s.

Moody's was started in 1909 by John Moody, who published an analysis of the tangled and uncertain world of railway finances, grading the value of its stocks and bonds.These are now mighty concerns - Moody's operating income was $688m in 2010 and Standard & Poor's made $762m.They each have 40% apiece of the business of rating major companies and countries.

Fitch, with another eponymous founder, John Fitch, was set up in 1913 and is a smaller version of the other two.

There are hosts of other ratings agencies, whose names rarely appear even within the darker corners of the financial pages - so why are these three businesses the ones everyone watches?

Track record

Part of the answer lies with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US financial watchdog.

In 1975, it acknowledged these three as Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations (NRSRO).

An endorsement from an NRSRO makes life quicker and easier for countries and financial institutions wishing to issue bonds. It basically tells investors a firm has a track record and indicates how likely it is to be able to pay back the money.

Further impetus for NRSROs comes from the fact that certain regulated investment funds are required by the SEC to hold only those bonds that have a very high rating from accredited agencies.

An insurance company's strength is also judged by the ratings applied to the investment reserves it holds.

A downgrade of an issuers' rating typically pushes down the value of a bond and raises its interest rate. It can mean regulated funds must now sell these bonds.This can cause a vicious circle.

If lots of funds are forced to sell, the price of the bond reduces further. That means a higher interest rate must be paid, which puts an even bigger strain on the borrower.

Methods

The SEC actually has 10 NRSROs on its approved list, including a Canadian agency and two Japanese ones. The big three - Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch - remain the industry standard-bearers.

This is partly because they make their ratings available freely to investors - making their money from charging the organisations who want their bonds rated - something some believe can create a conflict of interest.

As a statement from the European Commission put it: "As a rating agency has a financial interest in generating business from the issuer that seeks the rating, this could lead to assigning a higher rating than warranted in order to encourage the issuer to contract them again in the future."

The products to be rated vary hugely in design.

Investment banks issuing complex products - like those that included sub-prime debt - often structure the products to make them appear as safe as possible in an attempt to attract a top rating.

This does not apply to government bonds, which are straightforward IOUs.

So how do the agencies form their judgments?

Standard & Poor's says a committee of between five and eight people decides the actual rating.

They base their assessment on a range of financial and business attributes that might influence the repayment, some of which may depend on the issuer of the bond (i.e. the borrower).

When asked why it changes ratings, S&P responded: "The reasons for ratings adjustments vary, and may be broadly related to overall shifts in the economy or business environment - or more narrowly focused on circumstances affecting a specific industry, entity, or individual debt issue."

S&P gave a long list of indicators it might use, including "economic, regulatory and geopolitical influences, management and corporate governance attributes, and competitive position".

That seems to cover everything.

** SPECIAL INORBITS REPORT "Worldwide Antivirus Vendor Market Share 2012" (The 2013 report will appear for comparison purposes) (June 2013) 

Avast continues to dominate the worldwide antivirus market, as it has for the last few years. Now at 17.4%, the vendor has slightly increased its share compared to the previous 6-month period. However, its top two competitors, Microsoft and ESET, increased their shares at faster paces of 1.8% and 2.0%, respectively. Over this period, Microsoft climbed from 3rd to 2nd on the list, and ESET from 6th to 3rd. These top three companies’ increase in market share led to a general decline in share for the challengers. The biggest loss came from AVG, who fell from 2nd to 5th place. Overall, the top ten vendors included in this report are increasing their hold on the market, with a 1.2% gain for a total market share of about 89%.

AV Vendor Market Share Gain / Loss
Avast 17.4% 0.4%
Microsoft 13.2% 1.8%
ESET 11.1% 2.1%
Symantec 10.3% -0.3%
AVG 10.1% -1.8%
Avira 9.6% -0.9%
Kaspersky 6.7% 0.0%
McAfee 4.9% -0.4%
Panda 2.9% 0.0%
Trend Micro 2.8% 0.4%
other 11.1% -1.2%
 
** SPECIAL ARTICLE FROM INORBITS ON WORLD'S TOP THINKERS 2011 FROM "THINKERS50". CONGRATULATIONS TO CLAYTON CHRISTENSEN FOR HIS FIRST PLACE. THIS IS A 2 YEAR EXERCISE. NEXT ONE IS DUE END OF 2013.
 
 
** SPECIAL INORBITS FEATURE ON THE LATEST 2012/2013 TOP GROWTH COUNTRIES
 

** SPECIAL ARTICLE FROM INORBITS - TOP TEN EMPLOYERS BY NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES THAT INCLUDES GOVERNMENT  (Note the role companies like Walmart,China National Petroleum and McDonalds play alongside the Government star contributions. Outstanding!) (May 2013)

The world's largest employers, 2012

Employer Employees Headquarters
United States Department of Defense 3.2 million United States
People's Liberation Army 2.3 million People's Republic of China
Walmart 2.1 million United States
McDonald's 1.9 million (including franchises) United States
National Health Service 1.7 million United Kingdom
China National Petroleum Corporation 1.6 million People's Republic of China
State Grid Corporation of China 1.5 million People's Republic of China
Indian Railways 1.4 million India
Indian Armed Forces 1.3 million India
Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn) 1.2 million

** US' superb world leading retail star Walmart's profits rose 1% to $3.78bn (£2.48bn) for the first quarter. Sales and profits at its surging and brilliant UK subsidiary Asda, the UK's second-biggest supermarket, rose by a healthier 1.3% thanks to a range of price promotions.-"As the US continues to grow after the recession,Walmart does its share of helping in the retail world. For example it helps shoppers "by placing lockers in stores for customers to pick up items they ordered from the company online offerings" or  "going with smaller packaging and less expensive products". Internationally, it continues to make sound decisions. For example its exit in South Korea in 2006 took away any North Korean equations that are currently an impact point. Walmart shines! Keep going! We rate it at the high top tier in our rankings. Well done from Inorbits." (May 2013)

 ** Japan's resurgent car star Toyota's profit more than doubled in the three months to March as a weakening yen and improved sales boosted the carmaker's comeback.Net income rose to 313.9bn yen ($3.2bn; £2bn) up from 121bn yen for the same period the previous year."Japan's Abenomics should help the resilient and noteworthy recovery from a TQM star that has so much care and quality and achievement and over decades. Keep going! Well done from Inorbits." (May 2013)

 ** US' superb entertainment star Walt Disney's net income rose 32% from a year earlier to $1.5bn for the three months to the end of March.Overall sales for the group was up by 10%, helped by a 13% increase in revenue from its movie studios and a 6% rise at ESPN.-"Continues to shine. Expect Stars Wars to feature heavily in its earnings soon after its recent £4 billion investment. New Star Wars films are in the pipeline and EA are in a joint venture to market the Stars Wars games. Excellent first quarter. Well done from Inorbits." (May 2013)

 ** Germany's excellent sports star Adidas, the world's second-biggest sportswear firm, has posted higher profits despite seeing sales fall in the first three months of 2013.The German company said more people were buying its higher-priced items, helping net profits rise 6.5% to 308m euros (£260m).Its gross profit margin on sales was 50.1%, only the second time it has ever reported a figure above 50%.-"This is a well respected global brand capable of matching the exceptional Nike in many battles in the sportswear industry. They have the speed and agility in outpacing the competition. Many will like this " Every Adidas employee is responsible for driving innovation". We like that. It's so good to have Adidas. This company is generating a very sharp 4.25 Euros to 4.5o Euros per share in earnings. That is not an easy task. We recommend them for top stars....worldwide! Well done from Inorbits." (May.2013)

** France's regarded oil giant Total's net profit for the first quarter was €1.54 billion down from €3.67 billion a year earlier. Sales fell 6% in the period to €48.13 billion.-"Total is moving fast towards more aggressive exploration, notably in more risky "frontier basins" such as the rough waters west of the Shetland Islands in the U.K. and in the Barents Sea. It also has a stake in the massive Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan. That one is in production debates over the lifetime operating lease payback agreements.Venturers like Total want better paybacks on their investments on maturity dates of their hard worked project investments and paybacks are expected on that giant soon. Keep going Total! Well done from Inorbits." (May.2013)

  ** US' regarded oil giant ConocoPhillips has reported first-quarter 2013 earnings of $2.1 billion, or $1.73 per share, compared with first-quarter 2012 earnings of $2.9 billion, or $2.27 per share.-"ConocoPhillips has discovered the huge Coronado and Shenandoah fields in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.It also plans to drill two wells in the Arctic in 2014....and there is more. Magnificent exploration. Well done from Inorbits." (May.2013)

** US' regarded oil refiner Phillips 66, the largest U.S. independent refiner by sales, said first-quarter profit more than doubled as the margin between oil costs and fuel prices widened and its chemical business improved. Net income rose to $1.41 billion, or $2.23 a share, from $636 million, or $1, a year earlier.-"Phillips 66, which has the capacity to refine 2.2 million barrels of oil a day, was spun off from ConocoPhillips last year as that company sought to become a pure exploration and production business. Early days results are looking "hot"! Well done from Inorbits." (May.2013)

 ** US' regarded oil giant Chevron's first-quarter net income fell 4.5 percent to $6.18 billion, or $3.18 per share, from $6.47 billion, or $3.27 per share, a year earlier.Fourth-quarter production was 2.65 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from 2.63m a year earlier.-"Chevron is working hard to ensure its reserves are in good shape.  The Cooper Basin region in Australia’s outback is one example of this. This is where it’s searching for natural gas and this will be a major onshore petroleum province for Australia. This region alone is expected to yield $60 billion investment in project spends....the cash generation is many times that figure. Well done from Inorbits." (May.2013) 

 ** US' regarded oil giant ExxonMobil's first quarter 2013 earnings were $9.5 billion, up 1% from the first quarter of 2012. Dividends per share of $0.57 increased 21% compared to the first quarter of 2012.-"Continues to shine.As an example let's look at the Arctic progress. Rosneft and ExxonMobil have agreed to expand their 2011 Strategic Cooperation Agreement to include approximately 600,000 square kilometres (150 million acres) of additional exploration acreage in the Russian Arctic and potential participation by Rosneft in the Point Thomson project in Alaska. They have also agreed to conduct a joint study on a potential LNG project in the Russian Far East. In Malaysia,production started from the Telok natural gas field...and there is more. Another good day's work! Well done from Inorbits." (May.2013)

 ** UK's regarded oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has reported profits of $7.95bn (£5.1bn) for the first quarter of 2013, up 3.5% from a year earlier. Sales were $112.8bn in the first quarter from $119.92bn last year.-"The £10bn deal to develop the Bab gas field with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has just been signed and what a victory for Royal Dutch Shell. The Arctic story with its stunningly updated Kulluk and Noble rigs with all its dangers and setbacks, still remains a potential $100 billion plus play for its balance sheet but in hostile scenarios....and there is more. The Royal Dutch Shell adventure worldwide continues. Well done from Inorbits." (May.2013)

 ** UK's outstanding and resurgent oil giant BP's underlying replacement cost profit for the first quarter, which strips out the effect of oil price movements, was $4.2bn (£2.6bn) - down from $4.7bn for the same period a year ago.-"A good start to 2013.Net debt at the end of the first quarter fell to $17.7 billion, equivalent to a gearing level of 11.9%, in the lower half of BP’s 10-20% target range. This means that BP can now borrow if it wants to. It has paid for the Gulf issue and has an affordable gearing. Borrowing is not what BP is about. It's generating good cash. This is a star article of top management at their very best after a disaster of huge consequence. Keep going! World class! Well done from Inorbits." (Apr.2013)

 ** South Korea's superb electronics star Samsung's net profit for the three months ended March 31 rose to a record 7.15 trillion won ($6.4 billion) from 5.05 trillion won a year earlier. Sales rose 16.8% to 52.9 trillion won from 45.3 trillion won, in line with the company's guidance of 51 trillion won to 53 trillion won.-"This is South Korea's biggest company by market capitalization and a company with a world  brand value that gets stronger by the minute. In 2012 this much liked Inorbits South Korean star spent 11 billion dollars (12.9 trillion won), that’s billion with a “B”, on marketing of their devices alone. The amount spent is 6.5 percent of their 200 trillion won profits from the last year. Samsung also spent 10.6 billion dollars (1.15 trillion won) on research and development. That's where the secret and banked opportunity is for this giant. They never stop moving forwards. The "sung" bit in Samsung is very much a sing song to number one! World class. Much liked. Well done from Inorbits." (Apr.2013)

 
MSFT_logo_rgb_C-Gray_D  **US' computing star Microsoft has reported third quarter sales of $20.49 billion up 18% year-over-year and a profit of $6.06 billion, up 18.5% year-over-year.-"Microsoft makes money and the expectations of huge results just can't happen for some super giants all the time. However, even in re-inventing phases, Microsoft is delivering results. The bold bets made on cloud services are paying off as people increasingly choose Microsoft services including Office 365, Windows Azure, Xbox LIVE, and Skype. They know what they are doing. We expect lower quarters and unusual movements but we'll continue to rate Microsoft right up there in the top 1% of world companies...they are very,very good! Like it. Well done from Inorbits." (Apr.2013)

 ** US' superb internet giant Google has earned $3.3 billion, or $9.94 per share, during the opening three months of the year.That was a 16 percent increase from $2.9 billion, or $8.75 per share, last year..Sales climbed 31% from last year to $14 billion.After subtracting advertising commissions,Google's sales totalled $11 billion.-"Google is one of Inorbits top tier rated stars. However, we did not expect it to get close to Apple so soon...but it has! Cash rich Apple has cash reserves of over $100 billion and Google is capable of that type of strength. It continues to grow.One example Inorbits can show you of its magnificent growth is with the mobile advertising boom. US mobile "ad" spending is set to grow over 75% this year to over $7 billion....Google has a stunning 93% of that market! World class. Like it.Well done from Inorbits." (April 2013)

** SPECIAL ARTICLE FROM INORBITS ON INDUSTRIES THAT MAY HAVE A HUGE FUTURE IN THE MAKING - THE EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES MARKET- POTENTIAL WINNERS! (APR.2013)

1OnLine Electric Vehicles (OLEV)

Wireless technology can now deliver electric power to moving vehicles. In next-generation electric cars, pick-up coil sets under the vehicle floor receive power remotely via an electromagnetic field broadcast from cables installed under the road. The current also charges an onboard battery used to power the vehicle when it is out of range. As electricity is supplied externally, these vehicles need only a fifth of the battery capacity of a standard electric car, and can achieve transmission efficiencies of over 80%. Online electric vehicles are currently undergoing road tests in Seoul, South Korea.

23-D printing and remote manufacturing

Three-dimensional printing allows the creation of solid structures from a digital computer file, potentially revolutionizing the economics of manufacturing if objects can be printed remotely in the home or office. The process involves layers of material being deposited on top of each other in to create free-standing structures from the bottom up. Blueprints from computer-aided design are sliced into cross-section for print templates, allowing virtually created objects to be used as models for “hard copies” made from plastics, metal alloys or other materials.

3Self-healing materials

One of the defining characteristics of living organisms is their inherent ability to repair physical damage. A growing trend in biomimicry is the creation of non-living structural materials that also have the capacity to heal themselves when cut, torn or cracked. Self-healing materials which can repair damage without external human intervention could give manufactured goods longer lifetimes and reduce the demand for raw materials, as well as improving the inherent safety of materials used in construction or to form the bodies of aircraft.

4Energy-efficient water purification

Water scarcity is a worsening ecological problem in many parts of the world due to competing demands from agriculture, cities and other human uses. Where freshwater systems are over-used or exhausted, desalination from the sea offers near-unlimited water but a considerable use of energy – mostly from fossil fuels – to drive evaporation or reverse-osmosis systems. Emerging technologies offer the potential for significantly higher energy efficiency in desalination or purification of wastewater, potentially reducing energy consumption by 50% or more. Techniques such as forward-osmosis can additionally improve efficiency by utilizing low-grade heat from thermal power production or renewable heat produced by solar-thermal geothermal installations.

5Carbon dioxide (CO2) conversion and use

Long-promised technologies for the capture and underground sequestration of carbon dioxide have yet to be proven commercially viable, even at the scale of a single large power station. New technologies that convert the unwanted CO2 into saleable goods can potentially address both the economic and energetic shortcomings of conventional CCS strategies. One of the most promising approaches uses biologically engineered photosynthetic bacteria to turn waste CO2 into liquid fuels or chemicals, in low-cost, modular solar converter systems. Individual systems are expected to reach hundreds of acres within two years. Being 10 to 100 times as productive per unit of land area, these systems address one of the main environmental constraints on biofuels from agricultural or algal feedstock, and could supply lower carbon fuels for automobiles, aviation or other big liquid-fuel users.

6Enhanced nutrition to drive health at the molecular level

Even in developed countries millions of people suffer from malnutrition due to nutrient deficiencies in their diets. Now modern genomic techniques can determine at the gene sequence level the vast number of naturally consumed proteins which are important in the human diet. The proteins identified may have advantages over standard protein supplements in that they can supply a greater percentage of essential amino acids, and have improved solubility, taste, texture and nutritional characteristics. The large-scale production of pure human dietary proteins based on the application of biotechnology to molecular nutrition can deliver health benefits such as muscle development, managing diabetes or reducing obesity.

7Remote sensing

The increasingly widespread use of sensors that allow often passive responses to external stimulae will continue to change the way we respond to the environment, particularly in the area of health. Examples include sensors that continually monitor bodily function – such as heart rate, blood oxygen and blood sugar levels – and, if necessary, trigger a medical response such as insulin provision. Advances rely on wireless communication between devices, low power-sensing technologies and, sometimes, active energy harvesting. Other examples include vehicle-to-vehicle sensing for improved safety on the road.

8Precise drug delivery through nanoscale engineering

Pharmaceuticals that can be precisely delivered at the molecular level within or around a diseased cell offer unprecedented opportunities for more effective treatments while reducing unwanted side effects. Targeted nanoparticles that adhere to diseased tissue allow for the micro-scale delivery of potent therapeutic compounds while minimizing their impact on healthy tissue, and are now advancing in medical trials. After almost a decade of research, these new approaches are finally showing signs of clinical utility.

9Organic electronics and photovoltaics

Organic electronics – a type of printed electronics – is the use of organic materials such as polymers to create electronic circuits and devices. In contrast to traditional (silicon-based) semiconductors that are fabricated with expensive photolithographic techniques, organic electronics can be printed using low-cost, scalable processes such as ink jet printing, making them extremely cheap compared with traditional electronics devices, both in terms of the cost per device and the capital equipment required to produce them. While organic electronics are currently unlikely to compete with silicon in terms of speed and density, they have the potential to provide a significant edge in cost and versatility. The cost implications of printed mass-produced solar photovoltaic collectors, for example, could accelerate the transition to renewable energy.

10Fourth-generation reactors and nuclear-waste recycling

Current once-through nuclear power reactors use only 1% of the potential energy available in uranium, leaving the rest radioactively contaminated as nuclear “waste”. While the technical challenge of geological disposal is manageable, the political challenge of nuclear waste seriously limits the appeal of this zero-carbon and highly scalable energy technology. Spent-fuel recycling and breeding uranium-238 into new fissile material – known as Nuclear 2.0 – would extend already-mined uranium resources for centuries while dramatically reducing the volume and long-term toxicity of wastes, whose radioactivity will drop below the level of the original uranium ore on a timescale of centuries rather millennia. This makes geological disposal much less of a challenge (and arguably even unnecessary) and nuclear waste a minor environmental issue compared to hazardous wastes produced by other industries. Fourth-generation technologies, including liquid metal-cooled fast reactors, are now being deployed in several countries and are offered by established nuclear engineering companies.

** SPECIAL ARTICLE ON WORLD'S TOP HOTEL GROUPS FOR 2013. WELL DONE TO ALL THE TOP 10 FROM INORBITS. OUTSTANDING! (APR.2013)

The leading hotel groups worldwide and the top brands confirm global growth in branded supplies, although the economic context remains fragile. It confirms Anglo-Saxon supremacy, reinforced by the sale of Motel 6 to Blackstone by Accor, and China’s entry into the first circle of key actors in the global hotel sector.

While there is no change at the top of the podium, steady growth for two years in the supply of Hilton Worldwide allows it to confirm its position in second place acquired last year to the detriment of Wyndham Hotel Group. The American group is gaining on the undisputed leader, InterContinental Hotels Group, and lags behind it by fewer than 24,000 rooms. Solidly backed by the strong growth of its respected brand Holiday Inn Express, the British group is completing its restructuring of Holiday Inn. Still on the heels of Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International also confirms the advance it gained over Wyndham last year. The latter, still highly focused on its national territory, is trying to find the growth relays it needs outside the United States. It is nonetheless a member of the close circle of four groups that surpass 600,000 rooms.



Operating only through franchise, Choice Hotels regularly has to “clean up” its networks, as was the case for Comfort Inn in 2012. Nonetheless it falls into 5th place, ahead of Accor, which, despite record growth in 2012, must assume the loss of its Motel 6 network. And yet, through its subsidiaries, lease contracts and hotels under management, Accor remains the number-one hotel operator worldwide with 336,800 rooms directly managed by its teams.

The rest of the ranking does not show any major changes with natural growth for Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Best Western, which is growing its new label BW Plus; and the weaker growth of Carlson Hospitality, whose shrinking on the American continent is just compensated for by the dynamism of its subsidiary Rezidor on the EMEA zone. Having made a splash in the Top 10 last year, the Chinese Home Inns shows exponential growth that is promising in terms of climbing up in the ranking in the future.



The ranking of the first fifteen brands worldwide is more disrupted by restructuring within groups. By taking into consideration groups’ efforts to unite brands under umbrella brands, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express legitimately hold first position in this ranking. The remarkable foray of Holiday Inn Express in 2012 (+9,000 rooms) compensated for the shrinking of its “big sister” (-6,350) allowing it to – almost – keep pace.

With the same logic of merging different labels under the same brand, Best Western has long occupied this first position and shifts into second position without falling from grace nonetheless. The arrival of Best Western Plus boosted growth in the United States and new territories joined the network.

Three American brands show a drop in their national territories that is not compensated for by international growth. It is easier to understand their desire to attack emerging markets to reinforce the pipeline while mature markets are being restructured.

Consecrated in 2012, the merger of the brands Etap Hotel and All Seasons under the same Ibis banner speeds up the growing strength of Ibis Megabrand, which has risen by 7 positions from one year to the next. It passed the economy brand Home Inns and would almost hold the world record for growth in supply, if it weren’t for the unbridled growth of the Chinese economy brand on its market. For two years, growth has been exponential and does not appear to be slowing down.

The drop of Days Inn of America on the American domestic market made the brand drop a rung, while the rest of the classification does not undergo any other changes, although it is remarkable to observe Choice’s rise thanks to the strong growth of Quality Inn, which is now being developed through Suites and Resorts.'

Crowne Plaza is trying to gain a larger share of the MICE hotel market worldwide with hotels that have increasingly large capacities.

 ** Inorbits Special Feature : The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012-2013 powered by Thomson Reuters are the only global university performance tables to judge world class universities across all of their core missions - teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The top universities rankings employ 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available, which are trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.- "Well done from Inorbits. Superb!" Best Wishes,Inorbits

World University Rankings 2012-2013

Rank Institution Country / Region Overall scorechange criteria
1 California Institute of Technology United States
95.5
2 University of Oxford United Kingdom
93.7
2 Stanford University United States
93.7
4 Harvard University United States
93.6
5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
93.1
6 Princeton University United States
92.7
7 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
92.6
8 Imperial College London United Kingdom
90.6
9 University of California, Berkeley United States
90.5
10 University of Chicago United States
90.4
11 Yale University United States
89.2
12 ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich Switzerland
87.8
13 University of California, Los Angeles United States
87.7
14 Columbia University United States
87.0
15 University of Pennsylvania United States
86.6
16 Johns Hopkins University United States
85.6
17 University College London United Kingdom
85.5
18 Cornell University United States
83.3
19 Northwestern University United States
83.1
20 University of Michigan United States
82.6
21 University of Toronto Canada
82.2
22 Carnegie Mellon University United States
81.5
23 Duke University United States
81.2
24 University of Washington United States
79.9
25 University of Texas at Austin United States
78.8
25 Georgia Institute of Technology United States
78.8
27 University of Tokyo Japan
78.3
28 University of Melbourne Australia
77.9
29 National University of Singapore Singapore
77.5
30 University of British Columbia Canada
77.3
31 University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
76.9
32 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
76.1
33 University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign United States
75.8
34 McGill University Canada
75.7
35 The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
75.6
35 University of California, Santa Barbara United States
75.6
37 Australian National University Australia
75.4
38 University of California, San Diego United States
75.2
39 London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom
73.1
40 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland
73.0
41 New York University United States
72.8
42 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
72.4
42 Karolinska Institute Sweden
72.4
44 Washington University in St Louis United States
71.8
44 University of California, Davis United States
71.8
46 Peking University China
70.7
47 University of Minnesota United States
70.5
48 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Germany
70.4
49 University of Manchester United Kingdom
70.1
50 Pohang University of Science and Technology Republic of Korea
69.4

** Here is a Special Inorbits feature of The 2013 Times Higher Education World "Reputation" Rankings for the world's top universities. They employ the world's largest invitation-only academic opinion survey to provide the definitive list of the top 100 most powerful global university brands. A spin-off of the annual World University Rankings, the reputation league table is based on nothing more than subjective judgement - but it is the considered expert judgement of senior, published academics - the people best placed to know the most about excellence in our universities

Rank Institution Country / Region Overall score
1 Harvard University United States
100.0
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
87.6
3 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
81.3
4 University of Oxford United Kingdom
73.0
5 University of California, Berkeley United States
72.4
6 Stanford University United States
70.6
7 Princeton University United States
36.2
8 University of California, Los Angeles United States
35.6
9 University of Tokyo Japan
32.9
10 Yale University United States
32.8
11 California Institute of Technology United States
27.8
12 University of Michigan United States
22.4
13 Columbia University United States
21.4
14 University of Chicago United States
21.3
14 Imperial College London United Kingdom
21.3
16 University of Toronto Canada
18.8
17 Cornell University United States
18.3
18 University of Pennsylvania United States
17.9
19 Johns Hopkins University United States
16.9
20 University College London United Kingdom
15.8
20 ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich Switzerland
15.8
22 National University of Singapore Singapore
15.5
23 Kyoto University Japan
15.0
24 University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign United States
14.3
25 London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom
12.1
26 Carnegie Mellon University United States
11.3
27 University of Texas at Austin United States
11.2
27 University of Washington United States
11.2
29 New York University United States
10.8
30 University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
10.7
31 University of British Columbia Canada
10.2
31 Duke University United States
10.2
31 McGill University Canada
10.2
34 University of California, San Diego United States
9.7
35 Tsinghua University China
9.6
36 The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
9.5
37 Northwestern University United States
9.4
38 Georgia Institute of Technology United States
9.2
39 University of Melbourne Australia
8.9
40 University of California, San Francisco United States
8.7
41 Seoul National University Republic of Korea
8.3
42 Australian National University Australia
8.2
42 University of Massachusetts United States
8.2
44 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Germany
8.0
45 Peking University China
7.8
46 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
7.7
47 University of Manchester United Kingdom
7.3
48 University of California, Davis United States
6.9
49 University of Sydney Australia
6.7
50 Lomonosov Moscow State University Russian Federation
6.5
50 Purdue University United States
6.5

 ** US' excellent sports goods star Nike has posted a third-quarter net income of $662m, against $569m for the three months last year. Sales increased 9% to $6.2bn (£4bn), with the US accounting for $2.55bn, up 18% on the previous quarter.-"Nike works hard in every part of its business. It will move into clothing basketball tops when it knows it has to...and it does this before it has to! It buys top superstars quickly for endorsements, securing their long term commitment and taking that gamble quickly. It grabs and grabs and grabs. Even its website has that engineered quality of "join"...you've got to join the Nike team. World class...Remains one of our Top Tier Inorbits stars. "Just Do It" has delivered again!Well done from Inorbits." (Mar.2013)

** China's superb telecoms giant China Telecom has reported a 2012 net profit fall to 14.93 billion yuan ($2.38 billion) from 16.50 billion yuan a year earlier. Sales rose 15.5% to 283.07 billion yuan from a restated 2011 figure of 245.07 billion yuan.-"The fall is due to this sentence only "Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 29.4% to 63.08 billion yuan, and other operating expenses rose 39.7% to 40.34 billion yuan"...that's nearly $14 billion! What we are seeing is a foundation building star that still remains in Inorbits top sets. This a leading brand of immense quality and strength. It is investing in growing its mobile business. They give cheaper Apple phones and it costs money! China's superb telecoms giants like China Telecom and China Mobile are upfront spenders with huge downstream paybacks. These results are the upfront phase bit of their evolution! Deserving its first 2013 Inorbits feature. Well done China Telecom from Inorbits." (Mar.2013)

 ** Germany's superb car giant BMW has reported a pre-tax profits rise of 5.9% to 7.82bn euros (£6.76bn). Sales increased 11.7% to a record of 76.8bn euros.-"Top Tier star BMW has done it again and earned its Inorbits feature for 2013! The total number of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles delivered to customers worldwide in 2012 rose by 10.6% to a new high of 1,845,186 units (in 2011 it was 1,668,982 units).The dividend for 2012 is a sparkling 2.50 Euros per share. Strong and stronger and with its 28 production and assembly facilities in 13 countries and its global sales network in more than 140 countries. Like it! BMW will say they are "built on long-term thinking and responsible action".....Inorbits say "we believe you!".Well done again to BMW."(Mar.2013)

** Spain's superb Inditex, the biggest fashion clothing retailer in the world, has reported another increase in profits.Profits rose by more than 22% to 2.3bn euros ($3bn; £2bn) in 2012.-"Makes the Inorbits pages again and very deservedly. You'll read sentences saying it will open 440 stores in 2013. Think that through...that's over 8 new stores every week. Fantastic! This is a giant. It's doing well in China, it's doing well in Eastern Europe and whilst Inditex may not be "brand known" as Inditex, its brand riches shine in the form of Massimo Dutti, Bershka,Zara and Pull and Bear.This is a class act thriving in a very hard market. Well done again from Inorbits." (Mar.2013)

** France's fighting retail star Carrefour has reported an annual net profit of €1.23 billion ($1.59 billion), a more-than-threefold increase from €371 million a year earlier.-"The big rise is due to asset sales as some overseas markets no longer boast Carrefour. Its trading profits are still being worked back up. Its trying to recover its trading strengths in Europe and has high aspirations in Latin America. This is no small time retailer and has much to offer. Whatever they do,Carrefour are respected retail giants. They are changing, some hypermarkets will sell some goods, others will never sell them! They know everything matters and they have to...to perform like the excellent Walmart, everything has to matter! Well done Carrefour from Inorbits." (Mar.2013)

 ** UK's much respected energy group Centrica, which owns British Gas, reported an adjusted operating profit of £2.7bn for 2012, up 14% from 2011. Profits from British Gas rose 11% from a year earlier to £606m.-"Centrica continues to play its "executive" role in British industry, supplying essentials so efficiently, so selflessly that sometimes they are not even noticed. We notice them! Whatever you read, Centrica is always faced with difficult decisions and difficult challenges. Most recently, you will have read it has withdrawn from the new UK nuclear investment opportunities. This is top drawer decision making at work. You have to make these decisions early. If you do not, the costs hit you hard as your investments go astray. Early withdrawal is also good business as they can focus on other opportunities.Well done from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

 ** Europe's Netherlands based and superlative aerospace and defence group EADS has reported a rise in profits and sales in 2012, boosted by a strong performance from its aircraft maker Airbus. Net profit for 2012 at EADS rose 19% to 1.23bn Euros ($1.61bn; £1.06bn). Sales rose 15% to 56.48bn Euros. Sales at Airbus rose 17% to 38.59bn Euros, mostly due to commercial sales.-"Developing sustainable aircraft, connecting people, observing and understanding Earth, and making the world a safer place; that's what EADS aims to achieve and it matters! EADS is important to Earth. Its order book stands at some 570 billion Euros, roughly 10 times current year sales; we call it healthy at Inorbits. With 133,000 employees, 170 sites worldwide, for career stars where there is no room for slowdowns, EADS ranks right up in the top sets of the world. Much liked. Well done from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

 **US' star retailing giant Walmart's fourth quarter sales rose 3.9% to $128bn. For the full fiscal year, sales rose 5% to $469bn from the previous year and net income rose 8.4% to $17.7bn. Overall, Walmart's sales grew 2.6% in the fourth quarter to $75bn, while its international sales grew 6.9% to $37.9bn. "Inorbits net sales comparison (we are comparing the net figures) for this much liked retailing star shows net sales at $374 billion in 2008 and progressing to its current $444 billion. That's a trading statistic of incredible strength! In that scenario it took a 1% year on year rise when the recession really hit hard. Therefore, what you really see in sales evaluations is nearly $70 billion increase in just 4 years. So easily overlooked? No! All top financial stars would never miss that.World class. Keep going Walmart.Top tier at Inorbits for sure! Well done from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

 ** SPECIAL ARTICLE ON GOOGLE AND ITS TOUCHSCREEN INNOVATION (EXPECT INNOVATION, NEW STYLE, NEW CONCEPT OFFICES STARTING TO HAPPEN....TOP MANAGEMENT MUST BUILD IN THIS THINKING! WELL DONE GOOGLE) (Feb.2013)

US' incredible Google has developed the first touchscreen laptops powered by its Chrome operating system planned to be sold later this year as the Internet giant tries to go toe-to-toe with Microsoft's Windows operating system.

Interestingly, the new Chrome devices also would compete with devices powered by Google's other operating system,Android, which took the smartphone and tablet market by storm in recent years, propelling Google as a force in mobile-device software.

Chrome's shift to touchscreen devices comes as the distinction between laptops and tablets continues to shrink, and sales of traditional laptops have been pressured by rising interest in touchscreen tablets.

Google will have to lure programmers to write compatible applications for touchscreen Chrome devices. The Chrome laptops are designed primarily to run Web-based applications, including word-processing and games that run on programming technology called HTML5, as Google hopes to shift software development to "cloud computing" (we have covered this at Inorbits) and away from applications anchored to PC operating systems such as Windows.

** US' and Hong Kong's superb Hong Kong Disneyland posted its first annual profit since the theme park opened in 2005, boosted by record attendance.The park on Monday reported net profit of 109 million Hong Kong dollars (US$14.1 million) for the fiscal year ended 29th September 2012 reversing a net loss of HK$237 million a year earlier.-"Hong Kong government owns 52% and Walt Disney owns 48% of this excellent article for future financial students of any worth! Watch how losses since 2005  will escalate so sharply to profits at $250 million plus, year after year. This is a well chosen location that will attract Chinese, Indian,Japanese and many rising Asian star countries with repeat custom already a Walt Disney quality. World class management to see it through.Deserving its own independent feature at Inorbits. Well done from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

 ** France's luxury goods firm, PPR, has reported a better-than-expected jump in earnings with net income rising 6.3% to 1.4 bn euros and sales jumping 21% to 9.7bn euros. - "PPR is derived from "Pinault-Printemps-Redoute". PPR is a powerful global group boasting over 33,000 employees. As a family-controlled listed company, PPR is one of the world’s leading apparel and accessories groups that operates in the two fastest growing market segments; Luxury and Sport & Lifestyle. Its brand riches include Bottega Veneta, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Deserving its first Inorbits feature. Well done from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

 ** UK's superb aerospace company Rolls-Royce has reported a higher-than-expected rise in full-year profits.Underlying pre-tax profit rose 24% to £1.4bn ($2.18bn; 1.63bn euros), led by a strong performance in its civil aerospace division.The world's second largest aero engine maker saw sales grow 8% to £12.2bn."Rolls-Royce correctly has the perception of that beautiful, much sought after car.It's not, even though one can still buy the exceptional Rolls-Royce cars! Rolls-Royce is the world's leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, having established a strong position in global markets - civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy and nuclear. In 50 countries and employing over 40,000 employees, this is a world class brand getting its rightful 2013 feature with Inorbits. Well done indeed from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

 ** France's regarded luxury goods star Hermes' sales for the full-year rose 22.6% to EUR3.48 billion ($4.66 billion) from EUR2.84 billion a year earlier. Hermes easily met its expectation of organic sales growth exceeding 13%, as the company posted full-year revenue growth, excluding currency variations, of 16.4%. The famous silk scarf and leather bag maker said sales in the fourth quarter increased 18.5% on-year--stripping out exchange rate fluctuations-- to EUR1.04 billion, marking an acceleration from the previous quarter when growth reached 15.7%.-"18.5 and 15.7 plotted on a graph as growth markers in this industry with the likes of Inorbits' much liked LVMH,Richemont and Swatch to name three, is Utopia story time. This is no fiction nevertheless. Hermes has a brand that boasts rich brands like Birkin handbags that sell for over 5,000 Euros. In this market, consumers do not compare prices; they buy on what you sell them...the quality! In this market you more than compete. Much liked. Well done from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

** Switzerland's classy watchmaker Swatch has posted a profit of 1.61 billion Swiss francs ($1.77 billion) for 2012, compared with 1.28 billion francs for the previous year. The most recent results beat analyst forecasts of 1.49 billion francs. Annual sales increased 14% to 8.14 billion francs from 7.14 billion francs in 2011.-"Swatch is the world's largest watchmaker. This star group's brand riches include the Omega, Longines and Tissot brands. Competing with Inorbits much liked groups like Richemont, Swatch has shown it has more than competing power, it has that special "auto" presence. Like it. Well done from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

 ** UK's proven quality oil giant BP has posted solid full-year profits after setting aside money to cover liabilities for the Deepwater Horizon disaster.Replacement cost profit, which strips out the effect of oil price movements, was $17.6bn (£11.18bn) in 2012 - down from $21.7bn a year earlier.-"BP’s net debt is $27.5 billion — down from $31.5 billion at the end of the third quarter — representing a gearing level of 18.7%..this is outstanding for a company that has taken a hit of some $50 billion. Add a trading profit of $17.6 billion banked in the last year  and words like "Platform for growth" are very real and truthful. BP has shown outstanding management in the challenges it faced. The capital expenditure carries on, with some $25 billion being spent in 2013; BP is right there with all the oil majors and Arctic is still in their sights with Rosneft interest at some 20%. Superb well done BP from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

Article_med_chevron_new** US' superb oil giant Chevron's fourth-quarter earnings rose 41% to $7.25 billion mainly due to gains from an asset swap and strength in refining. Its full-year profit was $26.2 billion, off slightly from 2011's $26.9 billion.-"This is the second largest US oil star after Exxon Mobil. That in itself says a lot. There is $21.9 billion in available cash;Finance Directors like those type of numbers. Chevron added net reserves of 1 billion barrels in 2012, this is something it needed and wanted to do. In clinical recruitment evaluation, we give that a very big tick. Its objectives are being met. Chevron is a big tick at Inorbits anyway and stays in the top leagues of top companies. Well done from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

** US' superb oil giant Exxon Mobil's net profit for the 12 months to the end of December reached $44.88 billion, up from the $41.06 billion seen a year earlier. Sales were $482.3 billion.-"This Texas-based oil giant has managed to boost its capital and exploration expenditure to a record $39.8 billion. This expenditure is used in projects like the huge Kearl oil sands development in Canada, a billion barrel project that is complete and producing. This expenditure is being used for projects like  the huge Hebron prospect in Canada that has 700 million barrels of recoverable oil and more likely  nearer 1 billion barrels; at the higher end, on completion. Exxon Mobil is playing its leading role in oil contribution around the World. By the way, Kearl type projects also have side benefits where  Exxon Mobil deploy new proprietary technologies like the "paraffinic froth treatment" or "LASER". Well done Exxon Mobil from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

** UK's superb telecoms giant BT's revenues continued to decline in the last three months of 2012, but its profits held up, the telecom firm has reported. Total revenues fell 6% in the quarter from a year ago, to £4.5bn, with the decline hitting every division.Cost-cutting helped its profits grow 7% to £675m. Meanwhile its broadband customer base grew rapidly by 250,000 to 1.25 million.-"Some companies go through those curves of change where sales fall to a new low, a new dimension. However, the management is so strong with new frontiers, new territory, new challenges that the company is much sharper and stronger. We think BT is one of those top stars.Well done from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

** US' superb refiner Phillips 66 has reported fourth-quarter profit that beat estimates as the company benefited from an abundance of cheap domestic oil. Per-share profit excluding a refinery writedown was $2.06 a share, 37 cents more than the $1.69 average expected. Net income fell to $708 million, or $1.11 a share, from $2 billion, or $3.17, a year earlier the largest U.S. independent refiner by revenue since its spinoff from ConocoPhillips last year."Simply put "this is the largest US independent refiner by revenue since its spinoff from ConocoPhillips last year". Refiners make money by taking assignments from companies for their crude and refining it...simple.It means they help other oil companies besides ConocoPhillips meet their business objectives. Early days still but showing proven class.Well done from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

** US' oil giant ConocoPhillips reported a profit of $1.43 billion, or $1.16 a share, down from $3.39 billion, or $2.56 a share, a year earlier or the final quarter of 2012. Excluding disposition-related impairments, discontinued operations and other items, adjusted earnings fell to $1.43 a share from $1.55 a share.For the whole year, adjusted profits hit $6.734 billion from the $7.982 billion last year.-"Phillips66 is now trading in its own right as reported earlier by Inorbits.High aspirations continue in China, Qatar, Alaska,Malaysia, Canada and Australia with the heavy Browse and Canning outlooks. When you see pictures of Alaska, you see very harsh weather and yet a business,safely working. ConocoPhillips has huge reserves of 8.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Well done from Inorbits." (Feb.2013)

Shell logo ** UK's superb oil giant Royal Dutch Shell's annual profits have hit $27bn (£17bn), from $28.6bn in 2011. Profits for the last three months of the year rose to $7.3bn, against $6.5bn, but Shell was hit by generally weaker oil and gas prices during 2012.-"RDS' CEO Peter Voser has delivered heavily with $27 billion for the year of a short term 2012-2015 business plan. RDS is very much a 2012-2015 player and its bigger aim is to "to deliver $175-$200 billion of total cash flow from operations for 2012-2015 with a net capital spending programme of $120-$130 billion"....that's how top CEOs work. The recent trillion dollar shale oil discovery in Australia will have RDS featuring in the headlines; it's part of the big oil plays around the world. They've even won some very tough Court cases in Nigeria recently. Add the use of the word "headwinds" and you get the excellent use of quality English. Well done Peter Voser and Royal Dutch Shell from Inorbits." (Jan 2013)

Roche to Detail Key Part of Big Expansion** Switzerland's regarded pharmaceutical giant Roche has reported a surging U.S. and emerging market sales and a 2.1% rise in full-year net profit. The world's largest maker of cancer drugs said strong performances from its franchise of cancer treatments, which included three new drug launches, contributed to a 7% rise in annual sales to 45.5 billion Swiss francs ($49.39 billion), edging out expectations of 45.17 billion francs-"Roche is developing its products, Herceptin, its star leader in cancer treatment has a pipeline of follow ups with at least one awaiting approval and one already selling at some $50 million a year. Emerging markets are helping Roche offset European sales slowdown. Pharmaceuticals is a sector of change with generics pushing for new frontiers and advancement; but that does not mean 100 billion dollar sales stars cannot be made....they can and believe it! Well done from Inorbits." (Jan 2013)

** SPECIAL ARTICLE ON SHARE BUYBACKS FROM INORBITS

Share buybacks are the only real legal way to manipulate the share price.

Share buybacks are increasingly being used to boost executive pay, according to corporate governance consultant Pirc. So much so, that Pirc has felt it necessary to discuss the dangers of buybacks for the first time in its annual governance guidelines.

There is a simple logic behind share buybacks. If the directors of a company feel the stock is undervalued, then buying back shares helps return cash to shareholders and boosts the value of shares on the open market by reducing supply.

But within its UK Shareholder Voting Guidelines 2012, published in February 2012, Pirc said: “Buybacks may enhance short-term earnings per share-based measures for remuneration purposes, and then management themselves have a direct conflict of interest incentivising them to see things and conclude in a particular way.”

Companies ranging from chemical firm BASF to technology giant Siemens and insurance company Munich Re all have remuneration packages linked to earnings per share, or EPS.

And although it may be a simple coincidence, over the past 30 years the amount of share buybacks have increased, along with the size of executive remuneration. According to a report from McKinsey published 2011, until the early 1980s less than 10% of distribution of cash involved share repurchases. In 2011, that figure was over 50%.

Meanwhile, according to a report from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills published 2011, the median total pay of FTSE100 chief executives has risen from an average of £1m in 1998 to £4.2m in 2010.

Research from independent consultant Andrew Smithers, co-founder of Mercury Asset Management, suggests that the size of executive pay has influenced share buyback schemes.

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To navigate the conflict of interest, Pirc is offering the following solution: “Companies should provide assurance that EPS results will be, for the purpose of any incentive awards, adjusted to take account of the effect of any share buybacks enacted during the year.”

Conversely, share buyback schemes may be a consequence of remuneration schemes, as some firms offer so many shares to employees in the form of bonuses that share buyback schemes become a necessity in order to keep the number of shares on offer at a manageable level.

According to Goldman Sachs’s 2011 financial statement: “We use our share repurchase program to help maintain the appropriate level of common equity and to substantially offset increases in share count over time resulting from employee share-based compensation.”

The idea that remuneration is the overriding factor is supported by the fact that many firms are incapable of realising when their shares are undervalued. Executives, meanwhile, have been shown to instigate share buyback schemes precisely when shares are over-valued.

Banks increased their own share buyback programmes five-fold in the two years to March 2007, according to a survey by fund manager Bedlam Asset Management published last year. In most cases, their share prices were at record highs.

According to Pirc: “We see little evidence that directors are in fact able to accurately identify for themselves whether their shares are undervalued”, and they have “yet to meet a company which states that it believes that its shares are overvalued.”

** US' superb computing star Apple has reported flat profits for its fiscal quarter end to December 2012. Net profit came in at $13.1bn (£8.7bn), unchanged from a year earlier due in part to higher costs associated with new product launches.Sales were up 18% at $54.5bn, thanks to record sales of iPhones and iPads.-"The demanding market will make "missed targets" comments on this latest quarter....we say just look at the P/E ratio of 12ish, yield still at a stunning 2%ish and the Inorbits' term iPudding or what we call the iPud!!,that is the dessert servings, are still in the pipeline! World class! Well done from Inorbits." (Jan 2013)

** US' superb internet star Google's fourth quarter profit was up 6.7 percent from a year earlier at $2.89 billion, and for the full year Google's earnings grew 10 percent to $10.74 billion.Sales in the quarter that ended December 31 was up 36 percent from the same period a year earlier at $14.4 billion. For the year, sales grew to $50.2 billion.-"Google even entertain with their search finds, educating with milestones and using cartoons and animation. In business, it's movements like this that keeps its brand so energetic, so smart and so wealthy. It's moving forwards. Well done from Inorbits." (Jan.2013)

** US' superb computing giant IBM has earned $U16.6 billion, or $US14.37 a share, up five per cent from $15.86 billion, or $13.06 a share, in 2011.Adjusted earnings were $US15.25 a share last year, above analysts' estimates of $US15.14.Sales declined two percent to $104.5 billion from $106.9 billion.- "Growing software businesses such as internet-based computing and data analytics helped IBM boost earnings per share for the 40th consecutive quarter.IBM expects "software" to contribute 50% of its earnings by 2015. Well done from Inorbits." (Jan.2013)

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