Today: Electronic Arts (ERTS) names its own young executive to helm the company, and Adobe's (ADBE) cloud conversion hits a new milestone. Also: Apple (AAPL) rebounds despite more iPhone doubts, Yahoo (YHOO) finds the $30 mark.
The Lead: Electronic Arts picks a new CEO, Adobe announces earnings
A relatively quiet day in Silicon Valley picked up after the markets closed Tuesday, when Electronic Arts announced that its new CEO will be a young executive from its own ranks and Adobe's earnings report included the news that subscriptions to the company's cloud-based service had topped 1 million.
EA promoted the head of its EA Sports division, Andrew Wilson, to lead the company. Wilson, 39, has been with the Redwood City video game company since 2000, when he was hired in his native Australia; since, he has overseen its Asian online publishing operations and served as executive producer of the popular FIFA soccer franchise before taking over the sports division, which includes FIFA and the popular Madden series of NFL games.
"Andrew's appointment is a clear demonstration of the deep bench of management talent at EA, and reflects our fundamental belief that EA is on track to become the global leader in interactive games and services," interim CEO and executive chairman Larry Probst wrote in his announcement of the move Tuesday. Probst also said he will remain in the chairman's role to "support Andrew in his transition to CEO."
Probst succeeded John Riccitiello, who stepped down in March after six tough years running EA, which has suffered as casual gamers have ditched consoles for less-expensive games on mobile devices. The company has shifted to adapt to the new gaming environment, and Wilson said in his introductory message that he believes EA is on the right track.
"EA's strategy is sound," he wrote. "Our focus on our talent, our brands and our platform together with our investment in next-generation consoles, mobile and PC free-to-play, as part of our ongoing transition to digital, is right. But we have plenty of work ahead to ensure our collective success."
"We are working to fail as fast as possible," Wilson expounded in an exclusive interview with The Wall Street Journal, explaining that "you have to figure out what works and what doesn't very quickly, to ensure the consumers get the best of everything you make."
EA is the eighth company in the SV150 index of the region's largest tech companies to make a change at the top in the current quarter, following Pandora's announcement of a new leader last week and a rash of earlier moves. After ending Tuesday's regular session with a 2.4 percent gain at $27.60, EA dropped about 0.5 percent in late trading.
Down the road in San Jose, Adobe continued to exhibit strong gains from its decision to move to the cloud for its software offerings. Adobe surpassed analysts' expectations for subscriber growth and announced that it had topped 1 million subscribers and experienced strong enterprise adoption of the company's cloud offering.
"The transition to Creative Cloud is happening sooner than expected," Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said in Tuesday's news release.
The company announced quarterly earnings of 16 cents a share on revenues of $995.1 million, coming in slightly short of analysts' average forecasts; and Adobe's projections for the current quarter were also a bit lighter than analysts expected. Subscription growth forecasts were higher than expected, however, matching the surprising subscriber growth in the past quarter, and Adobe also announced Tuesday that it would begin selling hardware that can be used in concert with its software offerings for creative professionals.
After hitting record highs Monday, Adobe traded flat Tuesday, closing at $48.14; however, shares made a move after hours to record territory, gaining more than 5 percent and topping $50.
SV150 market report: Apple and Facebook rebound, Yahoo closes at $30
Apple, which had declined more than 11 percent since its iPhone launch events last week, moved 1.2 percent higher to $455.32 in Tuesday trading. After not releasing preorder information Monday, Apple did send out a news release Tuesday morning -- but only to announce the times its new devices will go on direct sale to the general public in select countries, including the United States, on Friday. Despite no information from Apple, journalists still attempted to extrapolate preorder amounts from what little information was available, including preorders through a Chinese wireless carrier. Citi analyst Glen Yeung predicted that Apple sold a record number of iPhones in the first 24 hours of preorders, and said that he expects Apple to sell nearly 8 million iPhones this weekend.
Facebook also bounced back from its Monday descent, gaining 6 percent to a record closing high of $45.07, and other social-media companies followed suit: Zynga gained 5.8 percent to $3.27, Yelp moved 5 percent higher to $65.92 and LinkedIn increased 1.1 percent to $247.69. Yahoo -- which topped $30 for the first time in more than 5 years last week -- closed at exactly $30 Tuesday after gaining 1.3 percent, its highest closing price since 2007; the Sunnyvale Internet company also managed to poach a former colleague of CEO Marissa Mayer at Google (GOOG). Google dropped 0.2 percent to $886.11 as the Mountain View search giant built on its renewable-energy endeavors by buying the entire output of a Texas wind farm.
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 11, or 0.84 percent, to 1,318.26
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 27.85, or 0.75 percent, to 3,745.70
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 34.95, or 0.23 percent, to 15,529.73
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 7.16, or 0.42 percent, to 1,704.76
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/jowens510.