News Scan: Apple mulls mobile payments; Surface comes up for air; more

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>> Apple may be planning mobile payment service

Apple is planning to launch a mobile-payment service, leveraging the popularity of its mobile devices and the credit cards it has on file at its iTunes stores, reports The Wall Street Journal, citing industry sources. With a new mobile service, Apple would be taking on established players such as eBay's PayPal and Google Wallet, as well as start-ups Square and Stripe. Apple did not respond to the Journal's efforts at comment. Read more on the Journal's report.

[More on mobile payments: Mobile payments drive m-commerce | Leading UK banks sign on to Zapp mobile payment platform]

>> Is Microsoft's Surface coming up for air?

Based on Microsoft's financial results, it appears that its Surface tablet might be rebounding from its initial tepid market reception. Surface revenues reached $893 million in its most recent quarter, up from $400 million from the previous quarter, eWeek is reporting. Overall, revenues for Microsoft's devices and consumer segment increased 13 percent year-over-year to $11.9 billion. In addition, Redmond reported that its enterprise software offerings also had a strong quarter, according to eWeek. Read more on Microsoft's financial results.

[More on Surface: Surface retail partnerships | Surface Pro 2 gets battery boost]

>> CPG brands use mobile marketing to pinpoint consumer groups

Mobile devices are enabling consumer packaged goods brands to shift their marketing tactics from targeting mass markets to focusing on specific groups of consumers, according to Mobile Marketer. CPG brands have traditionally focused on mass marketing tactics with big budgets, but mobility enables them to pinpoint consumers at the point of sale. "Mobile is still the most personal advertising vehicle in the world, and sophisticated brands are really starting to understand that," says Tim Jenkins, CEO of San Mateo, Calif.-based 4Info. Read more on CPG brands' mobile marketing.

[More on mobile marketing: Corporate mobile messaging gets attention | Mobile ad spending up 100% in 2013, says eMarketer]

>> Wearables, IoT devices next growth areas for semiconductors

Wearables and the Internet of Things devices are the next growth drivers for semiconductor vendors, observes Masatsune Yamaji, principal research analyst at Gartner. Semiconductor vendors that can offer the "required energy saving technologies and energy harvesting technologies" for these devices, Yamaji notes. Vendors need to look for new markets because smartphones and tablets require less semiconductor content than PCs, which are losing favor with consumers. "To keep growing, semiconductor vendors need to gain opportunities by accelerating the device commoditisation with their intellectual properties and patent portfolio," he adds. Read more on Gartner's analysis.

[More on wearables: Mobile health hubs will boost telehealth market, says IHS | Wearables will wow them in Vegas]

>> Sprint plans more job cuts

Sprint is cutting more jobs at the wireless operator after cutting 800 customer service jobs last summer, according to a report by WirelessWeek. Sprint said in a regulatory filing that it began implementing the job cuts on Jan.16 and plans to finish the process by June 30. The wireless carrier, which was acquired by Japan's Softbank last July, did not specify how many positions were being cut. The company has around 39,000 employees. Read more on Sprint's job cuts.

[More about Sprint: Sprint not resurrecting Nextel | Sprint one step closer to buying T-Mobile]