The Tech Rich List 2012

TECH RICH LIST 2013 (Link) 

The Sunday Times Rich List  publication over the weekend got us thinking about the Technology side of wealth  particularly as Peter Cashmore  of Mashable  received an honourable mention in the Scottish section  where he is in 84th place!.

Update 8pm BST

We thought we should emulate many others by publishing our List:

Technology Rich List (UK)
Tech All Name Worth £ Source
1 8 David & Simon Reuben 7,083 Property, internet
2 16 Sir Richard Branson 3,410 Internet, transport, finance
3 42= John Caudwell 1,500 Mobile phones
4 69 Sir Terry Matthews 1,090 Computers
5 70 Michael Moritz 1,082 Internet
6 86 Charles Dunstone 860 Mobile phones
7 92= Lord Sugar 800 Electrical goods
8 112 Ruth Parasol & Russ DeLeon 700 Gambling
9 139= Niklas Zenstromm 600 Internet, software
10 153= David Ross 540 Mobile phones, property
11 155 Simon Nixon 536 Internet
12 158= Mo Ibrahim & family 520 Mobile phones
13= 164= Andrey Andreev 500 Internet
13= 164= Kevin Cash 500 Internet, property
15= 184= Mike Lynch 480 Software
15= 184= Sir Peter Rigby 480 Computers, hotels, aviation
17 201= Jan Mol 445 Computers, investment
18 212= Dou Steyn & family 420 Insurance
19 218 Peter Jones 402 Mobile phones
20 232 Peter Wilkinson 302 Internet


Selective links are mainly to Wikipedia.

Here’s our worldwide top 10 from the Forbes lists of Billionaires and America’s top 400 richest.  Really only one unknown to us from India Azim Premji.

Forbes Lists – World Billionaires Bn (March 2012) & Americas 400 (Sept 2011)
Tech Bn 400 Name Worth $ Source
1 2 1 Bill Gates 61,000 Software
2 6 3 Larry Ellison 36,000 Software
3= 24 15= Larry Page 18,700 Internet
3= 24 15= Sergey Brin 18,700 Internet
5 26 13 Jeff Bezos 18,400 Internet
6 35 14 Mark Zuckerberg 17,500 Internet
7= 41= 18 Michael Dell 15,900 Computers
7= 41= - Azim Premji 15,900 Software
9 44 19 Steve Ballmer 15,700 Software
10 48 23 Paul Allen 14,200 Software


The links are to the Forbes bios.

They even have a sort of real time update on the wealth of the billionaires based on todays market prices!

The top of the UK Rich List Lakshmi Mittall  comes in at # 21 on the overall billionaires list and we couldn’t help but noticing Rupert Murdoch at # 34 of the 400 list and 106 on the billionaires list. Incidentally this is just a few places behind Laurene Powell Jobs and family with their inherited Apple and Disney (from Pixar) investments.

We’ve had a look behind the Sunday Times paywall and without giving the whole game away there seem to be, in our top twenty tech list, 5 billionaires or 6 if you count the 2 Reubin brothers! There are three Knights & a Lord. If you count mobile phone retailers as part of the technology sector, they have 5 representatives. The gambling insurance and finance sectors figure strongly..

We calculate the total tech list as having a value of £22.25 billion which we think isn’t too shoddy although some (with a remarkably similar list) disagree.

Keep an “I” on our week (April 28)

The top three articles this week were

  1. It’s a recession but no double dip
  2. Amazing amazon and admirable Apple
  3. Exceptional dot-com registrations reflect strong economy

We would also like to announce the first nominee for our 2012 “I” awards  The dig-it-all revolution 

Amazing amazon and admirable Apple! (Previously Smart Kindle & FirePhones!)

Amazing amazon announced its Quarter 1 results yesterday which seemed to please the market with its shares up by 10% after hours (and today seems to be settling  up about 15%). Their earnings per share in particular were well ahead of market estimates.

As is their practice no product unit sales information for Kindle, Fires or e-readers was provided. The only comment  was  “Kindle Fire remains the #1 bestselling, most gifted, and most wished for product across the millions of items available on since launch.” A commentator saw some hints within their statements but we were not convinced!

We’ve tried a little experiment based on their financials but to be honest are not sure it moves us forward!

Q1 2012 Q4 2011
$ Millions $ Millions
Net product sales (1) 11,249 15,309
Net services sales (2) 1,936 2,122
Net sales 13,185 17,431
Kindle Fire unit sales estimate mn 6.0 4.0
Product revenues @ $199 1,194 796
Content revenues @ $136 816 544
2,010 1,340
(1) Represents revenue from the sale of products and related shipping fees and digital content where we are the seller of record.
(2) Represents third-party seller fees earned (including commissions) and related shipping fees, digital content subscriptions, and non-retail activities.


In the context of  their  revenues for the last 2 quarters when Kindle Fires were on sale & using our estimates of 6 million unit sales in quarter 1 this year  and 4 million in quarter 4 (2011) we’ve calculated the possible revenues for product & content (which has been assessed as $136)

We know there are time lags & other factors but the $2bn possible revenues in the last quarter would represent almost 80% of the total increase in revenues of $2.551 billion from quarter 1 of 2011. Whilst there has been some cannibalisation re Kindle reader sales we think the 6 million is possibly at the top end of any range.

Some have estimated the sales to be as high as 10 million but we doubt this.

ComScore yesterday released a new survey of “Device Essentials” showing rapid market share growth by the Kindle Fire to over 50% of the US android market by February this year. We are pretty sure this data is derived from usage statistics. On the unit sales front we would certainly expect Kindle Fires to have > 50% of the android market world wide and be second behind the iPad this year.









So unit sales/shipments estimates are at best a bit of an art unless as with admirable Apple they actually publish the information!

Click to enlarge

To prove our point here are the latest two estimates of smartphone shipments for the last quarter from a couple of the leading companies. – enough said we think!

It’s mainly a matter of time

Click to enlarge

The IPA  have just released their latest TouchPoints4 survey which collects information on how the UK participants spend their time, their opinions, and the role of media in their lives.

We will concentrate on some of the internet/digital findings.

This is how on average they found time was spent:

Hours.minutes spent (per day)
2011 2010
Watching TV 3.30 3.41
Outdoors 2.24 2.17
Listening to the radio 1.54 1.53
Accessing the internet 1.33 1.22
9.21 9.13

So that’s by and large a move away from TV to the internet of 11 minutes or, a net increase, if you see what we mean, of 13.4%.

On the communication front our graphic reflects their findings of increased communication by phone, text and via social media.

The survey expands on this in terms of media weekly usage ascertaining that:

  • 44% used social media networks which is an increase of 7% on last year but they spent the same amount of time on it of just over 6.5 hrs
  • 47% used SMS an increase of 8% and the time increased by 25 minutes to  6.3 hours
  • Mobile phone usage is up by 3% to 60% but the time was down by 5 minutes at 4.4 hours.
  • Email usage stands at 67% up 5% but a reduction of 50 minutes to just over 5 hours occurred.

Media multitasking is widespread with 79% +3%  recorded  as using two or more media in the same half hour.

“Doublescreening” is definitely on the increase across multiple platforms:

  • Just under 50% monthly – Laptop & TV
  • A little over 25% monthly – Mobile & TV

Demographics come into play with the 15-24 year olds moving these figures up to nearly 75% and just over 50% respectively.

By and large the survey shows that the internet is being accessed increasingly by differing devices ie mobiles, tablets and game consoles with on a weekly basis 29% using two, 8% three and 2% 4 or more.

The main internet activities were:

Internet activity
Emailing 19%
General surfing 14%
Social media networking 12%
Working 12%
Watching media 7%

Media watching increased from 2% in 2010 mainly due to increased mainline television consumption.

It obviously is a very detailed survey which gives useful information/statistics, inter alia, on the way the UK digital world is moving.

One final result we can’t resist mentioning is that on a weekly basis the “Doing nothing in particular” activity has increased by 13 minutes this year to nearly one and a half hours!

The survey, conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, questioned 5,567adults aged 15+ through a substantial self-completion questionnaire and an e.diary that collected data every half hour for a week on how they were spending their time, their opinions, and the role of media in their lives.

It’s a recession but no double dip!

Click to enlarge

“Disappointing” GDP figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have just been released (pdf)  showing negative growth of 0.2% for the quarter.

As with many other commentators we got it wrong as from our tea leaves detailed trend analysis of dot-uk new domain registrations we were forecasting a positive growth scenario for the last quarter.  Our only hope of recovering some of our credibility, at the expense of the ONS’s,  is a subsequent revision to the figures showing a complete turnaround which to be honest is, not unprecedented, but unlikely!  The construction sector seems to be dragging us all down but even the ONS reckon a revision to “…. March would need to be exceptionally strong (40 per cent higher than February)  to produce growth for the quarter”.

We’ve experimented by offsetting the trends on our graph but can’t identify a credible predictive scenario for the last quarter.

So lets move on and see what the future might hold.

From a chartist view the last time there was such a dramatic improvement (some 40.8%) in the registrations in consecutive quarters (ie from Q4 2011 to Q1 2012) was Q4 2008 to Q1 2009 when a 40.7% increase occurred. Following that increase GDP recovered by some 5.6% in the following quarter (or by 88% of its negativity). If this recurred then Q2’s GDP could improve and be between 0.0% and 1.2%.

On a fundamentalist view registrations have been very weak for the last 2 quarters and a further improvement seems a distinct possibility assisted by sporting and other events eg Olympics, Euro 2012 and the Queen’s diamond Jubilee – certainly the admen are looking forward to a healthy summer.  In three of the last instances when registrations have increased for 2 consecutive quarters GDP has been in positive territory thereafter!

Now on to this double dip malarkey!

The previous recession ended in Q3 of 2009 that’s two and a half  years ago. Now until we achieve utopia, and eliminate recessions altogether then, as night follows day, another one is inevitable, be it in 2.5, 5, 10, or however many, years time.

A couple of Americans (Ken Fisher & Lara Hoffmans) in their book Markets Never Forget discuss double dips & sort of conclude that “ … twelve months or less seems fair  ” otherwise longer/indeterminate intervals lead to “ ….2007 to 2009 could be the fourteenth dip of the 1930’s Great Depression, a decaquadruple dip!”

We go with 12 months or more appropriately 4 quarters – so no double dip please!


Apple results – 2nd Quarter 2012 (to March 31)

Clicking on this graphic will give you the complete picture!


Updates (April 24):

  1. 9pm BST 4pm EDT 1pm PDT – Apple shares close at $560.28 down $11.42 on the day
  2. 9.30pm BST Headline results Revenues $39.19 billion Earnings per share – Fully diluted $12.30  After hour share price + $24.59 (was already +$1.50 ish pre results)
  3. 10pm BST Updated graphic. Impressive results High iPhone volumes so increased margins. Share price now over $600 in after hours $601.64 + $42 from close.
  4. 10.30pm BST Press release SEC filing Conference call highlights from MacRumours + their take on the results. We’ll link to the Conference call replay and any transcript tomorrow. We rather liked “The new iPad is on fire” comment- How about the new Kindle Fire! After hour share price just under $600 at $597.50.
  5. 11pm BST Conference call ended promptly followed by  “Its so nice to be happy” tune! Shares back above $600 again. Guidance for Quarter 3 is Revenues $38bn & Earnings per share of $8.68.

Click to enlarge

Apple is due to announce its 2nd  Quarter 2012 results today after Nasdaq/Wall Street closes. They are usually released some 20-30 minutes after the close.

Their guidance for Q2 was included in their Q1 earnings release  and there have been no updates

Our graphic tries to summarise the conflicting analysis that surrounds these results and adds to it by including our, todays estimate!

We will update the graphic after the results & link to Apples earnings release.

Apple’s shares today were weak and are down $12.70 at $559 at 4.40 pm BST.


Click to enlarge

In the meantime here again is Philip Elmer-Dewitt‘s (of Apple 2.0) excellent summary of the numerous analysts views including “the best”. We personally rate Peter Misek of Jefferies so he could be worth watching. Update – he just cut his iPhone forecast to 29 million ish for the quarter! P E-D also points out the disparity between the analysts and guidance this go-round.

Our overall view is that Apple may have much more to come this year in product updates / announcements so this quarter may not be as much of a blockbuster as the last one.

The recent comparative weakness of their shares after an amazing run causes some confusion amongst the commentariat  as well although per the WSJ they still have a heavy buy weighting.

If you want to catch Apple’s conference call commenting on the results the webcast is here. and takes place at 10pm BST 5pm EDT and 2pm PDT.

The Dig-it-all Revolution

Deserved publicity for an outstanding project (B4RN) undertaken by a community of switched on individuals “up North”!

Click to enlarge

The plan is to bring superfast broadband (speeds of up to1gigabit per second) to initially 1,452 individuals and businesses on a FTTH (fibreoptics to the home) basis in a rural area a bit to the right of Lancaster! which currently suffers from speeds of  less than 2 megabits a second. It involves in Phase 1 the digging of 75km of trench for the cable.






Click to enlarge

Headlines have ranged from “The Dig Society” & “Net Gain” in the Daily Mail to “Lancashire Volunteers Dig For 1Gbps Broadband Victory” in Tech Week Europe  and yesterday there was the ultimate accolade of a fairly lengthy and positive interview on BBC 5 live by Peter Allen (about 26 minutes in) with the Chief Executive Barry Forde







The project is set up on a commercial basis using a not-for-profit company (Broadband for the Rural North Ltd.) registered with the Financial Services Authority under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 using the community benefit option. Wiki has an explanation of an “IPS”

The overall funding of circa £1.8 million is largely to be raised by means of a share issue and you don’t even need to be from “up North” to participate!

It strikes us that this is an excellent blueprint for other community projects to follow especially their business plan (pdf) .

They are on Twitter  with their very own hashtag #B4RN and of course Facebook . Here’s a Flickr stream of photos of the inaugural dig by one of the management team Martyn Dews who we noticed seems to have kept  the  copyright on the photos used by the Daily Mail – well done!

Anyway have a look and maybe even consider getting involved!

Exceptional dot-com registrations reflect strong economy

Click to enlarge

The difference between the dot-com new registrations and the comparatively weak dot-uk’s  over the last 6 months is quite remarkable.

New registrations 6 months ended 31 March 2012
Dot-com Dot-uk
Total (thousands) 17,758.3 1.024.9
Increase: Year on year 26.4% -4.9%
Previous 6 months 24.4% -0.1%


Click to enlarge

The dot-com March registrations were the highest monthly total since May 2008 whilst the dot-uk figure was the lowest March number (typically a strong month) since 2009.




Whilst any direct linkage with GDP figures is debateable, at a macro economic level, we think, it is not improbable that  a growing economy is likely to have higher new domain registration activity than a comparatively stagnant one.

Click to enlarge

We previously predicted that no UK double dip recession was likely based on the first couple of months dot-uk registrations and whilst March new registrations were exceptionally disappointing we think this is still the case although the likely growth rate has decreased somewhat and could well be below the CBI’s (annualised) Q1 forecast of 0.8%. We have updated the GDP figures for the latest ONS revisions.

Click to enlarge

Turning to the US situation our graph indicates the possibility of a quarter 1 annualised growth rate of greater than analysts expectations which seem to be around the 2.0%-2.5% level.




Both the UK and US GDP preliminary figures will be announced over the coming days and we will be interested to see both the absolute and comparative outcomes.



Dot-com registrations  Hosterstats

Dot-uk registrations Nominet

UK GDP – The Office for National Statistics

USA GDP Bureau of Economic Analysis

Keep an “I” on our week (April 21)

The top three articles this week were

  1. Revamped March Internet Sales up by 15%
  2. Search on “blekko”
  3. US Internet adspend may reach $50 billion by 2016

amazon UK had a press release yesterday   announcing that “ it is now shipping Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G to customers across the UK, seven days earlier than the previously announced April 27 availability date.” It also said customer orders had “ …exceeded our expectations” and that you can buy them from here via “ and and from UK retailers including John Lewis, Dixons, Argos, Carphone Warehouse, Currys, PC World, Staples and Tesco. “

In their US press release they “….  announced it started shipping Kindle Touch 3G to customers in over 175 countries and territories around the world, seven days earlier than the previously announced April 27” and that customer orders “have exceeded our expectations” .

Still no Kindle Fire dates yet though.

Revamped March Internet Sales up by 15%

Click to enlarge

It’s the third Thursday Friday (because we had some holidays early in April!)  of the month so the Office for National Statistics (ONS)  have just published the monthly retail sales figures for March (pdf).

Overall the figures are quite a bit higher than expected with the good weather and some panic fuel buying getting most of the credit!

Our Internet sales headlines are:

  • Revamped figures no longer experimental – yipeee!
  • March increases: Year on year +15.2%. Quarter to March 2012/2011 + 13.5% Moving Annual total increases (1) on February 2012 annualised + 15.0% (2) on March 2011 +15.6%
  • The UK’s *largest online retailer included in a group (Non store retailing) showing 23% growth on 2011 and contributing 9.4% to the overall growth of 15.2%

There has been a complete revision to their Internet sales and the good news is that they are no longer “experimental”. More detail is included and there has been a complete restatement  of the historic figures. We have incorporated these revisions in our graphs/charts. (As an indication of the changes previously February’s weekly internet sales were stated to be £573.6 million – this is now £475 million! We are still getting to grips with the new basis and may expand on our eventual conclusions. At this stage we have a feeling they in general show the same trends but likely with a slow down in recent growth rates.)

The ONS say:  “Internet sales

The experimental label for Internet sales has now been removed and a new set of statistics has been made available. These include by sector:

  • non-seasonally adjusted value indices
  • year-on-year growth rates
  • average weekly Internet sales in pounds million
  • Internet sales as proportion of all retailing

All data for these statistics can be found in the RSI tables March 2012 and are labelled with the code ISCPNSA. To ensure that Internet sales are consistent with retail sales the estimation method used for Internet sales has been changed to ratio estimation instead of an expansion estimator (see A quick guide to retail sales). As a result, the back series for Internet sales as a proportion of all retailing has been revised.

Key points:

  •  Internet sales values (non-seasonally adjusted) in March 2012 increased by 15.2 per cent compared with March 2011.
  •  Internet sales are now estimated to account for 8.5 per cent of all retail sales values excluding automotive fuel.
  •  The non-store retailing sector has the largest proportion of Internet sales in March 2012 and now accounts for 59.9 per cent of all sales in this sector, up from 54.9 per cent in March 2011.
  • The food sector has the lowest proportion of Internet sales which now accounts for 3.1 per cent, up from 2.8 per cent.
  •  The average weekly value of Internet sales in March 2012 (non-seasonally adjusted) is estimated to be £484.0 million, up from £475.0million in February 2012.

Internet sales in detail

The Internet sales statistics measure how much has been spent online through retailers in Great Britain. Figures are non-seasonally adjusted and the reference year is 2008=100. The table below shows the year-on-year growth for total Internet sales, each sector and the contribution that each sector makes to total Internet sales.

Category Weight Year on year Contribution
(YOY) growth to YOY growth
All retailing 100.0 15.2%
(a) All food 17.3 15.3% 2.6%
(b) All non-food 41.4 7.6% 3.1%
 Department stores 7.0 14.8% 1.0%
 Textile clothing & footwear stores 11.7 27.0% 3.1%
 Household goods stores 8.2 16.4% 1.3%
 Other stores 14.5 -15.6% -2.3%
(c) Non store retailing 41.3 22.7% 9.4%

Update (We have added our annotations to the ONS table) – The bold categories/ figures in the table are the primary constituents of the total (ie (a) + (b) + (c) = All retailing). Dept. stores, Textile etc, Household etc and Other stores are simply an analysis of (b) All non-food.

* Whilst the ONS will not confirm the names of specific retailers within categories they did say that retailers selling wholly online with no physical outlets would be included in the Non store retailing category along with eg online  mail order retailers.

Click to enlarge

The moving annual total, which we now also report, moved up again (it has increased EVERY MONTH since October 2007) to an all time high of £25.8bn an increase in the month (adjusted re restatements and revisions) of 1.25% annualised 15%. This is below the long term compound average growth rate (from 2007) of 26%.



Our forecast for March was overtaken (undertaken!) by the restatements and we very provisionally hope for a weekly figure of over £500 million in April with the 12 month moving average increasing to possibly £26.2bn.

Click to enlarge

We have again included our experimental graph (e & o e!) showing the relative internet and non-internet, moving annual total, sales from late 2007 by month. As before it highlights that high street sales have been and continue to go nowhere! As, we have mentioned before, the Boston Consulting Group forecast  in their report (The $4.2 Trillion opportunity) that this trend is likely to continue with the high streets market share contracting at around 2.75% a year from 2010 through 2016.

Further details and explanations are either in the ONS release on the statistics or on their website. As previously mentioned a retail convention of a 4, 4, 5 week quarter is used by the ONS. To cater for the inconvenience of years not having 364 days every 6 years or so an extra week is included in the statistics. The ONS adds this in January and the last one was in 2008 which explains the exceptional figure of £1.1bn monthly Internet sales which would otherwise have been £0.9bn!