Business Insider Research Morning Call 10/31/2011

HP now says it’s not going to shut down WebOS. There had been a report to the contrary in The Guardian. We’ll see. Our take: HP should sell WebOS to Amazon, because Amazon needs its own mobile platform and it would be cheap.

VC fundraising is up 84% in China and down 12% in Europe for Q3. A tale of macroeconomics and demographics as much as one of finance and technology.

Apple buys a 3D mapping company with very impressive technology. If we had to guess, we’d say that Apple is working on replacing Google Maps on iOS with its own application. Apple doesn’t want to be dependent on any other company (particularly Google…) for crucial apps on its platform, and the better Google Maps implementation on Android has been a selling point for that platform, so it would make sense that they’re trying to build their own technology. It will be a massive undertaking, but Apple certainly has the resources to do it. After all, with Siri, they’re also building their own search engine (though vigorously denying it).

A substantial number of users is having serious battery problems with the iPhone 4S, according to a poll of almost 14,000 users by Gizmodo, and numerous reports. If the issue is real and/or elevates to the level of the “antennagate” controversy around the iPhone 4, it could put a damper on Apple’s expectations of a record-breaking Q4. “Antennagate” didn’t really matter over the long run: Apple managed to take back control of the narrative, and the iPhone 4 ended up being the world’s best-selling smartphone for over a year. But right now Apple is clearly betting on record iPhone 4S holiday sales and a controversy over iPhone 4S battery life could put a lid on that. Which, in turn, could mean Apple might miss expectations two quarters in a row, for the first quarters under its new CEO. That would be a dramatic turn of events.

A $1,200 Apple TV set could generate revenue of $6 billion in 2013, according to Jefferies analyst Peter Misek.

Amazon adds content from Disney-ABC to its Prime Instant video streaming service. Amazon’s video streaming service is not yet a Netflix competitor and more of a nice-to-have for Amazon Prime subscribers, but Amazon plays a long game and its service gets better every day. Amazon is building an ecosystem around its Kindle tablets and media properties that over the long run should be very valuable.

Google spends $100 million in advances to get premium content “channels” on YouTube. Between that and Google TV, there is no doubt Google wants to disrupt the TV industry, as SAI editor Matt Rosoff explains.

Cable TV subscribers still aren’t “cutting the cord.” For all the (justifiable) talk about Google, Apple, Netflix and others disrupting the TV industry, the numbers don’t bear that out yet. Over the (very) long run the internet subsuming TV is a reasonable bet, and a revolutionary Apple TV might accelerate that. But right now, consumers want TV to be TV and the internet to be the internet.

South Korea now has almost 40% smartphone penetration. South Korea is often a harbinger of global technology trends, particularly in mobile, but also broadband and gaming. We rightly obsess about whether Android or iOS is winning in smartphones, but an even bigger story is that smartphones are eating the phone market. Sooner than most people expect, over a billion people will be carrying an always-internet-connected computer in their pocket 16 hours a day. It seems impossible to overstate the magnitude of that opportunity. And South Korea is leading the way.

JP Morgan expects a strong quarter from LinkedIn, largely driven by the recruiting and advertising businesses.┬áLinkedIn reports on November 3. We agree LinkedIn has a lot of “low-hanging fruit” in terms of revenue. Our analysis of LinkedIn’s business model will be forthcoming.

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