Posted Jan. 6, 2017 at 6:10 a.m.

Tech headlines: Online sales soar 11%; T-Mobile goes unlimited; Samsung profits soar; Wal-Mart buys ShoeBuy

Published: 2017-01-06 06:10:27
Updated: 2017-01-06 06:10:27

Bulldog Bulldog

In today's Bulldog wrapup of technology news:

  • Online holiday sales rise 11 percent to $91.7 billion
  • T-Mobile says unlimited plans will be only option
  • Samsung's profit jumps 50 percent despite Galaxy fiasco
  • Wal-Mart expands online reach with ShoeBuy acquisition

The details:

  • Online holiday sales rise 11 percent to $91.7 billion

Online sales during the recently concluded holiday season rose to $91.7 billion, topping 2015's tally by 11 percent.

That's according to Adobe, which says over $1 billion in sales were generated on 57 of the 61 days between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31.

Mobile sales — those made on smartphones and tablets — rose 23 percent to $28.43 billion.

Adobe says it measures 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. retailers.

Separately, ComScore says its data shows a 12 percent increase in desktop online holiday sales, to $63.1 billion. Cyber Monday — the Monday after Thanksgiving — ranked as the year's heaviest spending day, with desktop buying exceeding $2 billion for the third straight year.

  • T-Mobile says unlimited plans will be only option

T-Mobile said unlimited plans will be the only option for new customers even though they are more expensive than some of its old, limited plans.

The company had said in August that it was phasing out its otherplans in favor of unlimited. On Thursday, T-Mobile said those limited plans, which executives called a "relic," won't be sold anymore starting Jan. 22. Existing customers can keep their current plans.

While some existing customers could switch to the $70-a-month unlimited plan and save money, others would pay more, according to prices on T-Mobile's website.

Most customers who just pay for one or two lines or who have a lower-data plan — two gigabytes per line — would save money by sticking to what they have. For example, a family of four getting two gigabytes per line was paying $100 a month; with the unlimited plan, that costs $160.

T-Mobile is still trying to lure users who don't use much data by offering them a $10 credit if they use two gigabytes or less per line. A smaller rival, Google's "Project Fi," already credits customers for data they don't use.

And T-Mobile's unlimited plan isn't exactly unlimited. If the network is busy, T-Mobile may slow speeds on customers that used more than 28 gigabytes. And video gets degraded to DVD-level quality unless customers pay an extra $15 a month for high-definition video and some other upgrades.

The company will still offer cheaper prepaid plans as well, where you pay upfront.

  • Samsung's profit jumps 50 percent despite Galaxy fiasco

Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday that its profits in the last quarter of 2016 surged 50 percent to the highest level in more than three years, despite the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.

Analysts had expected Samsung's profits to surge thanks to its mainstay semiconductor business, but the result surpassed even the most optimistic forecasts. The semiconductor division cashed in on strong demand and a tight supply for microchips during the September-December period, likely contributing to more than half of its quarterly earnings.

In its earnings preview, Samsung said it posted 9.2 trillion won ($7.8 billion) in operating profit, up from 6.1 trillion won a year earlier. It was the biggest quarterly income since the third quarter of 2013.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a figure of 8 trillion won.

Sales fell 1 percent to 53 trillion won ($44.9 billion). The company did not give net profit or breakdown figures for its businesses, which are due later this month.

For the full year, the South Korean tech giant saw a 10 percent gain in its annual income, its best result in three years.

  • Wal-Mart expands online reach with ShoeBuy acquisition

Jet.com, the online retailer now owned by Wal-Mart, has acquired the footwear-shopping website ShoeBuy for about $70 million.

The deal, announced Thursday, closed Dec. 30.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says ShoeBuy will continue to operate as a stand-alone website, and ShoeBuy's current executives and employees will still be based in Boston.

The move is Wal-Mart's latest push to expand its reach online following last year's acquisition of Jet.com, which it bought for $3 billion plus $300 million in stock.

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