And so begins the problems for Nikon, again. After having issues at the beginning of the year with the Japanese tsunami, Nikon have been hit again with the Thailand floods. Nikon (Thailand) Co., Ltd., have released a new statement regarding their manufacturing plant in Ayutthaya Province located in Central Thailand.
Nikon state that damages to the first floor of all buildings continues to be submerged. Operations at the factory have been suspended since October 6th with no human "damage" reported. Water levels have reportedly lowered by roughly 40 centimeters from the highest period at measuring points in the Park.
Business-wise, Nikon expect it to hit them quite hard with their estimates of financial damage sitting at 65 billion yen ($830 million) in sales, and 25 billion yen ($320 million) in income. Nikon also deeply apologize for any inconveniences caused by the disaster, and short supply of their products.
Well, this is beginning to get interesting. Apple are positioning themselves nicely right now, trying to secure HDD stock and supply. The story unfolds as an explanation of how business works, which helps explain Apple's position. Explaining it as a purchasing system, which creates huge advantages for the biggest, cashed-up companies, such as Apple.
Each buyer has a certain amount of money (and power) and can place big orders that the supplier could not ignore. So if the buy says "Forget everyone else you are dealing with, I want to order 1.2 million units in 2011 and I'd like them dropped off with me at the rate of 100,000 a month, but I won't be buying them until I sell them...Oh, yes, and I won't pay for them until 3 months after I sell them", then the supplier has no choice buy to drop their pants and bend over. (KitGuru's words, but they were so good I had to use them).
Dell have been doing this for years and countless other companies, too. Both sides are aware of the practice, and are compliant with it. But, throw in a massive reduction on supply and the rules are changed, completely. The supplier now has the power and with demand so high everywhere else, it [the supplier] has the power to 'give a story' to its regular customers, while they shop around for massive profits.
Sony have just posted their financial results for Q2 of the current fiscal year, where they've noted significant losses in profit for its Consumer Products & Services, which is where the PlayStation products live and breathe. Sony explained that the loss was due to a number of factors, including the deterioration in the cost of sales ratio as a result of the price reduction on the PlayStation 3 earlier this year.
Other factors that led to losses, were the decline in sales of the video game business, LCD televisions and foreign exchange rates. But, during the quarter, Sony sold a total of 3.7 million PlayStation 3 units compared to 3.5 million in the same quarter of the last fiscal year. The PSP also saw a spike in sales, up to 1.7 million units compared to 1.5 million year-on-year. PlayStation 2 sales dropped from 1.5 million to 1.2 million.
The flooding in Thailand is set to cause an even more drastic shortage of hard drives according to researchers at iSuppli. Roughly 660,000 Thailand residents are out of work after the country shut down 14,000 factories, including those that Western Digital and Seagate use. Shipments of hard drives are set to decline 27.7-percent from 173 million units in Q3, down to 125 million in Q4.
Both WD and Seagate have adjusted their shipment estimates, as well as raising prices to meet revenue forecasts. Average hard drive prices will increase by 10-percent according to iSuppli (not here in Australia where we're seeing a near 100-percent increase), but certain models have increased by as much as 20 to 40-percent. WD has been more directly impacted by the flooding, with analysts reporting that they will lose market share to Seagate, who has roughly double the shipment forecast for the current quarter.
Of course, there are stock reservers by most vendors to avoid disruption in desktop and notebook shipments for months, but ASUS aren't so fortunate. ASUS expects to ship 4.1 million notebooks, 600,000 Eee Pads and 1.2 million Eee PCs in Q4 2011, down from 4.3 million, 800,000 and 1.3 million in Q3. Part of that forecasted decline can be blamed on the production halt in Thailand.
AMD have just announced a new restructuring plan that is set to cut 10-percent of their workforce over the next few months. The new plan [of sacking employees] and implementation of operational efficiency initiatives designed to strengthen AMD's competitive positioning. By cutting their work force by 10-percent, AMD can save approximately $10 million in operating expenses during Q4 2011.
That sum will expand out to $118 million for 2012, the workforce layoffs will be global and not centred on just one or two sections of AMD's global footprint. It's expected to be completed by Q1 of 2012, with other restructuring plans to continue into 2012. AMD are also saying they plan to save another $90 million off its expenses in 2012, by undertaking various operating efficiencies, but they did not elaborate on that.
AMD's total operating expenses are estimated at $610 million for Q4 2011, with the savings factored in. AMD also wants to improve productivity, reduce the time it takes to release products to the market and better align themselves with key industry trends.
Apple is set to change everything up with their new iOS app and retail plans have finally been confirmed thanks to a source of BGR's. On Thursday, Apple's new retail store app for iOS will launch, bringing with it two major new features. Firstly, it will enable online ordering with retail store pickup, which has already begun rolling out in Apple Stores in New York City and California, with more stores going live on Thursday.
As for what will now happen, just check out the insane list below:
If a customer orders an in-stock product, pick up will be available approximately 12 minutes after completing the order. Why 12 minutes? Well, the order goes through the system to the designated Apple Store in about 3 minutes. Apple's back-of-house employees have 2 minutes to set all of the products aside on a shelf from the minute it was ordered. There is then a 7-minute grace period for employees to get everything else in order. Around 12 minutes after purchasing, customers will be able to walk into the Apple Store, skip lines, skip registers, get their products, sign for them and leave. We're told Apple is really excited about this, and it's something customers have been seeking for a while.
Jon Peddie Research (JPR) have released their third quarte report for the graphics market. The news brings announcement that there was a 16.7-percent sequential increase in shipments, raising them to 138.5 million. That is above the 10-year average of 13.9-percent, but in line with seasonal expectations as vendors stock up for the holiday season.
Intel saw a 28.5-percent growth in shipments on-quarter and 36.5-percent on-year, which is made up nearly entirely of embedded graphics chips inside their latest-generation desktop and mobile processors. Intel have maintained a huge lead on their competition, gobbling up 60.4-percent of the GPU market share, up 10.1-percent from Q2 2011 and up 9.5-percent when compared to Q3, 2010.
AMD have seen a steady 9.9-percent increase in shipments, this is thanks to their Fusion APU, but they lost market share. Market share for AMD is down to 23-percent, down 5.9-percent on-quarter, and flat year-over-year. Shipments of AMD's desktop and notebook Fusion chips have increased 58.4-percent from last quarter. Now for some big numbers, almost 92 million PCs shipped worldwide this quarter alone, up 8.8-percent sequentially. There were roughly 1.6 GPUs per computer in 2011, up from 1.16 GPUs per system ten years ago.
The shocking flooding in Thailand has not only affected families and citizens of Thailand, but some giant IT companies have factories there such as Western Digital. We've all heard, seen or read about the recent hard disk drive pricing hikes the world over, with prices ballooning to sometimes over 50-percent (or more) and stock levels should be getting quite thin over the following weeks toward the holiday season.
Thanks to Bright Side of News, we have some pictures that show the epic flooding that has hit Thailand. The waters near the WD factory were between 1 and 1.4m deep (4-5 feet) and were an average of about 1m (4 feet) through most of the factory and its surroundings. As you can see in the above shot, the water isn't just in some parts, it's everywhere.
First, HP were killing off their PC unit, then they said they were keeping it, now the group's chief technology officer announced that he is leaving in a statement on his personal blog. December 31st will be his last day and his statement is below in its entirety.
Earlier today, I announced that I will be retiring from HP.
This is not the traditional retirement. I'm not planning on spending my days playing golf or sitting around the house driving my wife crazy. I have far too much passion, energy and ideas to sit on the sidelines.
Facebook sometimes gets the cold shoulder when it comes to privacy and their mobile apps, but todays news is a little different. Facebook are set to build a massive server farm 62 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Luleå, northern Sweden. The facility will include three 300,000 square feet server halls and it will be the first time that Facebook has built a data center outside of the US.
This is becoming a trend for American companies, with Microsoft looking to build a server farm in Siberia, but the deal never gelled together. Google on the other hand is currently building a similar data center in Hamima in southern Finland. Facebook chose Luleå because of its cold climate, with server farms requiring massive amounts of cold air to keep the operating temperatures down. The average temperate in the area is around 2C (35.6F) and the temperature has not been above 30C (86F) for more than 24 hours since 1961.
After a bit of shaky ground and a not-so-great Bulldozer launch, AMD have posted their revenue results for the third quarter of 2011 of $1.69 billion. From that, AMD had a net income of $97 million, or $0.13 per share, and an operating income of $138 million. AMD reported non-GAAP net income of $110 million, or $0.15 per share, and non-GAAP operating income of $146 million.
AMD president and CEO, Rory Read says:
Strong adoption of AMD APUs drove a 35 percent sequential revenue increase in our mobile business. Despite supply constraints, we saw double digit revenue and unit shipment growth in emerging markets like China and India as well as overall notebook share gains in retail at mainstream price points. Through disciplined execution and continued innovation we will look to accelerate our growth and refine our focus on lower power, emerging markets, and the cloud.
Sony have just announced that Sony Ericsson will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony and Sony is said to integrate Sony Ericsson into their broad platform of network-connected consumer electronics devices. The transaction also provides Sony with a broad IP cross-licensing agreement and ownership of five essential patent families. Payment wise, Ericsson will receive EUR $1.05 billion as a cash payment.
The transaction gives Sony a new opportunity for their products, where tehy will rapidly integrate smartphones into its broad array of network-connected consumer electronics devices, including tablets, televisions and PCs - for the benefit of customers and the growth of its business.
Apple today filed its Form 10-K with the SEC that discloses information to stockholders and the commission. It also allows sites like TweakTown to perve at some of the wallet-busting numbers included. Apple currently have $81,570,000,000 in cash, marketable securities and cash equivalents. What this means is Apple raked in $37.5 billion in cash profits in fiscal 2011. This is all in a time where they "missed" industry estimates.
That is after Apple spent $2.4 billion on research and development in 2011, up from $1.8 billion for last year and $1.3 billion in 2009. Apple also forked out $4.3 billion for equipment, most likely for factory investments and the North Carolina-based data center. Apple also had purchases of $3.2 billion in 'intangible assets", which is most likely the $2.6 billion share of the Nortel patent purchase that it went in on with other companies, including Microsoft.
Jon Peddie Research says that the PC gaming hardware market will continue to grow at a rate of 11-percent from now until at least 2014. These figures are based on the fact that over 250 million game-capable PCs will ship in 2011 alone, compared to only 230 million PS3, Wii and Xbox 360 consoles (combined) have shipped since 2005.
The PC gaming market will generate $19 billion in sales in 2011, with estimates that half a billion people regularly play PC games. New markets such as social networking and mobile gaming on tablets and smartphones are continuing the threaten the PC's gaming reputation, a phenomenon that senior gaming analyst Ted Pollack noted in his research.
We are starting to see mobile computers dig into the sales of low end PCs a bit. Consequently this has actually increased the average gaming purchase motivation for mainstream desktops and notebooks because some people with very low computing requirements have been taken out of the denominator, and the potential customer base for desktops and notebooks is more concentrated due to their superior performance in graphically intense applications.
For those of you in the know, you'd know that Mainstream Media is a mostly controlled medium. If they were to tell the real news, then most politicians, presidents, members of Congress and more, would all be thrown in jail. But, instead, the money from powerful people is used to gain control and influence within the power of politics. The same goes for news. This is where Anonymous steps in with something they're calling "Operation Fox Hunt".
Anonymous promise an all-out attack on the Fox News website as retaliation for the network's unjust attack on protesters with the Occupy Wall Street movement. In the YouTube clip, the digitized voice says:
Since they will not stop ridiculing the occupiers, we will simply shut them down. Fox News, your time has come . . . Operation Fox Hunt. November 5th. May the hunt begin.
November 5 is already a day chosen by members of the Occupy Wall Street movement as a practical holiday, with "Operation Cashback" expected to occur on Nov. 5 across the world. Under Operation Cashback, demonstrators are asked to close bank across across the world, and move money out of large banks and into smaller, local credit unions. This has already happened in the US, with an attempt at closing accounts at a Lower Manhattan-based Citibank earlier this month which resulted in an arrest of several occupies.
Project Dolphin Solar Farm - the name Apple have given for its solar farm that will power its massive data center in Maiden, North Carolina. It will reportedly be built on 171 acres of land across the street from Apple's planned $1 billion data center, which has the code name Project Dolphin, but is now called iDataCenter. iDataCenter is said to server Apple's cloud-based service, iCloud.
This is the first time Apple has opted for clean power and greener data centers, as Greenpeace estimated that Apple source only 6-percent of the power for its data centers from clean power (which is the worst on Greenpeace's list) and gave Apple a big, fat "F" for its decisions to build its data centers in areas with little clean power. Funnily enough, North Carolina has one of the dirtiest electrical grids in America, with 61-percent of the power coming from coal, and 31-percent from nuclear.
But, it's one of the cheapest when it comes to the price of power, something Apple may have liked when deciding to build its data center there.
Apple's patent trolling has gone on for a while now, stopping Samsung from selling their products in multiple countries, but they've gone too far now. Apple has received a confirmed patent for the "slide to unlock" control in use on every Android phone and tablet that exists.
Every Android device has a slide to unlock feature, where the device is unusable until a slider (or something similar) is slid to a boundary, unlocking the gadget. That simple procedure has now been patented by Apple, removing it from the available design pool to anyone else. This new patent they've successfully achieved, will allow Apple to target any Android device maker it wants and most likely, succeed in court.
Even the Windows Phone devices, sliding the lock screen up to access the phone functions, would probably infringe on Apple's patent. This could even extend out to Windows 8 as the preview builds used the same control to unlock the devices. Apple did file for the slide to unlock patent before the original iPhone was released and just received confirmation of the patent. This now puts every Android device ever made into the targets of Apple's crosshair.
Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Steve Jobs is set to hit next week, and within, we find out more details of how Steve Jobs was absolutely furious about Android "ripping off" the iPhone. Of course, multiple smartphone makers and OS builders have "copied" the iPhone, but its not to say that Apple did it first.
Apple bought something to the market that had been attempted before, but just did it better. Google were hot on the heels and have innovated multiple times within their Android OS, where Apple's iOS has not really grown outside of its initial iPhone launch. Yes it has been upgraded with more features, etc, but an actual change in the way it works, no. It still features the same tile-based icon layout, and has only seen "Notifications" in the last iOS 5 upgrade - something from Android.
But Steve Jobs hated, hated, hated Android. With a passion. To the point where he wanted a "thermonuclear war" with the company because they "ripped the iPhone off". Isaacson has written that Jobs was livid in January 2010 when HTC introduced an Android phone that boasted many of the popular features found on the iPhone. Apple sued, and Jobs told Isaacson in an expletive-filled rant that Google's actions amounted to "grand theft".
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google Inc. has talked to at least two private-equity firms about potentially helping them finance a deal to buy Yahoo Inc.'s core business. This would be a very strategic move for Google, which would push them right against Microsoft in its bid for the company. The move is of course still in "early-stage discussions" with no formal bid put together. The Journal has a few words as to why the move could be a huge win for Google:
Google is interested in selling some advertising across Yahoo's websites-something Yahoo largely does on its own today-according to people familiar with the matter.
Any deal involving Google could also bring other opportunities, such as bring Google's social-networking service Google+ to Yahoo's audience of nearly 700 million unique visitors a month, these people said.
Yahoo also has relationships with many so-called premium content publishers such as ABC News, which provides video and other content for Yahoo sites and for which Yahoo currently sells ads. Google is interested in having deeper business relationships with such publishers, one of these people said.
Netflix have had a very bad time lately, with them admitting on Monday that they lost more customers than expected in the third quarter, which stems from an issue to divorce rentals of DVDs from streaming video services, and they've also predicted that subscriptions for DVD delivery will sharply decline in the current period.
Netflix have also projected that they'll begin to lose money for a few quarters starting in the next period, because of costs associated with their expansions in both the UK and Ireland, also announced on Monday. Investors... not so happy. It was a near-instant reaction with share prices dropping once again. They had already fallen 61-percent from their all-time high in mid-July, falling 26-percent more in after-hours trading Monday, following the quarterly report.
Netflix's market value was $16 billion and has now plummeted to just $4.6 billion, all in the space of three months. Netflix have also stated they've lost roughly 800,000 subscribers in the third quarter, which ended with 23.8 million U.S. customers, this is after years of a steadily increasing subscriber base.
Microsoft's YouTube channel was hacked over the weekend, the results of which, all of their videos were removed. The unknown attacker changed the background on the channel to one that included the titles "Predator Cinema" and also a message saying "I DID NOTHING WRONG I SIMPLY SIGNED INTO MY ACCOUNT THAT I MADE IN 2006 :/".
The entire archive of videos on Microsoft's YouTube channel were replaced by short clips titled "We are sponsoring!" and "Make us a background to get a Subbox!!!". There was another video that also showed a scene from the video game LA Noire, with one character shooting another in the head.
Microsoft of course confirmed the attack yesterday afternoon saying:
We have regained control of the Microsoft channel on YouTube, and we are working to restore all of the original content. We will continue to work with YouTube to ensure safeguards are in place for the future.