Anyone with half a brain should know that in the post 9/11 world you don't joke on a commercial flight that you have a bomb in your jacket. If you do, you should expect one or all of these three things to happen. You should get beat up by the person in the seat next to you, the flight crew will call the cops, and you will be arrested.
Allegations have surfaced that a marketing employee for NVIDIA named Yushing Lui told a flight attendant on a commercial flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong that he had a bomb in his jacket. The flight was aboard a Cathay Pacific plane.
According to reports the attendant was about to hang his jacket up when he made the comment. Lui now denies that he said there was a bomb in his jacket. The man was removed from the plane and arrested and is now out on $10,000 bond and set to appear in court later.
A few years ago at a CES party I met a trio of MPAA lawyers hanging out with us tech media folk. Who would have ever thought I would get a chance to chat these guys and gals up when they were off guard and drinking up others party favors? I have to admit that they didn't appear to be the sleaze balls I pictured, they were young and had the kind of charm that you would find when taking a trip to Kansas. Seeing my opportunity I had to ask about their own music / movie downloading habits. To my surprise all three admitted to downloading both music and moves from the internet but wouldn't suggest others do it because "now days people are watching."
One group that is currently under the microscope is Newzbin Ltd. What makes Newzbin different than the Torrent trackers is that it catalogs some of the internet's oldest files that sit on Usenet. Newzbin does not have their own Usenet servers but simply catalogs and organizes. The MPAA feeling like they own the Internet has chose Newzbin as their latest victim of legal harassment and court proceedings are already underway.
Newzbin has taken to updating the court proceedings on their home page that serves as a news page. It seems that things are not looking too good for the company at this point but Lady Justice has yet to sing. You can read about the updates by clicking on the News Source link below.
Australia's Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is all about censoring as much material as possible on the internet. He loved every bit of Google's compliance with China's and Thailand's request to have a search filter implemented that restricts people in the country as to what is available for viewing, this including YouTube videos that are in any way relative to euthanisia, safer drug use, violence and crime comitting (incl. painting graffiti etc.)
In his censor mad efforts to restrict more of whats available down under on the world wide web, Conroy has requested Google voluntarily provide the same filtering service as it does elsewhere. However, Google has replied promptly with a NO, explaining that all of the aforementioned topics are not illegal and YouTube already has its own filtering service that prevents more explicit (RC) rated content from being available.
Google has also indicated its desire to soon pull out of the China due to continuous requests to censor more and more material.
The following news story was submitted by Jim Handy of Objective Analysis.
Late Tuesday Micron announced that the company had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Numonyx in an all-stock transaction. Micron will issue 140 million shares of the company's common stock, worth approximately $1.27 billion, to Numonyx shareholders Intel, STMicroelectronics, and Francisco Partners.
Micron Re-Enters NOR
The NOR flash market has been a difficult one for nearly all participants. Leaders Numonyx and Spansion have suffered losses for several years, with Spansion recently turning a profit through a strategy largely focused upon markets for low-density parts used by markets outside of cell handsets, the largest consumer of NOR flash. Micron itself participated in NOR starting in the late 1990s, but abandoned this effort in 2006.
By acquiring Numonyx, Micron is buying the current leader in the market, a position Numonyx is believed to have held for the past two quarters. Numonyx should add roughly $1.5 billion to Micron's revenue stream at today's run rate, increasing the company's share of the semiconductor memory market. Objective Analysis projects for the memory market to explode in 2010, and this is likely to amplify the impact of this acquisition.
What Does Micron Get?
Numonyx is first and foremost a manufacturer of high-density NOR flash. NOR flash has been a large market, but not a profitable one. High-density NOR competes against NAND for camera phone designs, and NAND prices have been depressed for the last three years, dragging NOR prices down with them.
The company has strong technology, a good IP portfolio (which may have strings tied back to parents Intel and ST), one production 200mm fab, and a shell built for a 300mm fab in Sicily.
One key difference between Numonyx and both Spansion and Samsung, the other two competitors in the high-density NOR market, is that Numonyx has been ardently pursuing the phase-change memory (PCM) market, which is expected to take off once NOR flash hits its scaling limit. Interestingly, Numonyx' PCM is licensed from Ovonyx, a company founded by former Micron executive Tyler Lowrey. With the acquisition Micron will gain significant experience in this technology, for which Numonyx had first revenue shipments in late 2008.
What About Hynix?
It is unclear what this means to the Hynix/Numonyx relationship. Numonyx was using Hynix as a NAND and DRAM foundry under a deal in which Numonyx provided flash technology to Hynix. Numonyx also has a 21% stake in a Hynix wafer fab in Wuxi, China. We will be watching this to see what develops.
Executing a Typical Strategy
Micron has a penchant for acquiring companies at a low point in the market using depressed Micron stock to fund the transaction. Perhaps the most notable example is the company's acquisition of Texas Instruments' DRAM business in 1998. Although Intel, STmicroelectronics, and Francisco Partners today will receive $1.27 billion worth of Micron stock at today's prices, this stock is quite likely to increase in value by the end of next year, leading to gains for the parent companies, while allowing Micron to perform the purchase at a relative bargain. This projection is based on Objective Analysis' projection that DRAM prices will behave in their typical manner, remaining roughly level through the end of 2011, when the next overcapacity should begin.
All in all Objective Analysis anticipates that this will be a good deal for both buyer and sellers. This is the kind of deal we expected to see more of during the current downturn, a kind of hallmark for Micron.
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The Amazon Kindle can be credited for a large part of making the eReader market what it is today. After the Kindle became so popular, new readers started popping up in droves. Amazon recently unveiled its financial info for Q4 2009.
The company still won't say exactly how many of the Kindle readers it sold. As close as we get to know how well the Kindle is selling is a vague statement from Jeff Bezos stating, "Millions of people now own Kindles."
I don't get why Amazon won't say how many it sells. It's not like not saying anything will keep other products from coming to the market. I also expect the iPad to give the Kindle a serious challenge and the numbers may change.
IDC has learned through some market research that AMD's fourth quarter financial success isn't only due to Intel's payout settlement of $1.25 Billion, but also thanks to an increase in microprocessor shipments for both the mobile and desktop markets, while Intel saw a drop in both.
Where the same time in 2008 AMD had control of 26% of the desktop microprocessor market, a rise at the end of 2009 saw an almost 3% growth to 28.6%.
While the figures aren't as impressive in the mobile market, AMD's share here went from 10.2% in Q4 2008 to 12.7% at the end of 09; a jump nonetheless. No doubt their quite capable little Athlon Neo has given them a helping hand here with it being found in a mass of ultraportables recently.
Apple is one of the companies that technology fans either love or hate. There is no denying that Apple makes some of the most compelling products in the tech world from notebooks to desktops and the iPhone its products are very popular.
Apple has released its Q1 earnings report with revenue of $15.68 billion for the quarter. Gross margin for the company was 40.9%. Over the quarter, Apple sold 3.36 million Mac computers, up 33% from the same quarter of the previous year. iPhone sales increased by 100% for the quarter.
In all 8.7 million iPhones were sold. Apple reports that it sold 21 million iPods. Despite the huge number of iPods sold, that number is down 8% from the same quarter of the previous year. Steve Jobs says Apple is now a $50 billion company.
After experiencing several years of financial losses, things are looking up for AMD once again with reported revenues of $1.65 Billion in Q4'2009 and net income of $1.18 Billion.
Had it not been for a $1.25 Billion settlement payment received due to an antitrust dispute with direct competitor Intel, we would have witnessed yet another reported loss. AMD's CEO Dirk Meyer is all smiles for 2010; "We enter 2010 having completed the transition to a fabless business model, reached a historic antitrust settlement, and made significant progress strengthening our balance sheet."
However, even with Intel's $1.25 Billion payment to AMD, it too reported revenues up by 28% for Q4'2009, reaching 10.6 Billion and a net profit of $2.3 Billion.
After a long drawn out litigation process concerning royalty payments, Samsung and Rambus have finally reached settlement this week in which Samsung has agreed to pay Rambus $900 Million. The $900M financial settlement is based on the following conditions :-
A one-time payment to Rambus of $200 million
Future payments of about $25 million per quarter for the next five years
Samsung's purchase of $200 million worth of Rambus stock
Under the agreement there will also be new technology collaboration between the two companies. Samsung has said that the settlement doesn't put a huge dint in its earnings as it had already set aside provisions and its shares were up 1.1% in midday trading in Seoul on Wednesday.
The Amazon Kindle is one of the most popular eReaders on the market and sold like crazy over the holiday season. Right now, the only type of content available on the device are books and magazines. Amazon is looking to add active content through.
Amazon has unveiled a new Kindle Development Kit (KDK) that will launch in limited beta next month. A limited number of developers will be allowed into the beta program to start with. They will be allowed to download the KDK to work on active apps for the reader.
The KDK includes code snippets, documents, and a simulator that can simulate both the Kindle and Kindle DX on Mac or PC platforms. Active content is expected later this year and will include games and other content types.
Word has come about that ATIC (Advanced Technology Investment Company) based in Abu Dhabi is looking to take full ownership of GlobalFoundries, whereby currently it is shared by both ATIC and AMD with AMD owning 34.2% of the company.
AMD are said to be very content with this as they are looking to leave the manufacturing business and stick to being a fab-less design company. Selling off part or perhaps all of its stake in GlobalFoundries will allow AMD to financially blossom by paying off remaining debts and invest more in R&D.
While no official announcement about the news has surfaced yet, we expect we'll be hearing more about this in the coming months.
Toshiba doesn't care that CES is only a week or so behind us, the company is unveiling some new computers that it is aiming at the business user. However, one of them sounds suspiciously like a gaming notebook having a mid-life crisis and looking for a new gig.
The first of the new notebooks is the Tecra A11. The machine has a 15.6-inch screen and uses a variety of new Intel processors for 2010. The machine can also be optioned with NVIDIA discrete graphics with pricing starting at $879. The Qosmio X500 is at its core a gaming notebook aimed at the user looking for a mobile workstation.
The machine has a Core i7-720QM processor, NVIDIA GTS 360M graphics, 8GB of RAM, and an 18.4-inch LCD. The beast even has Blu-ray with prices starting at $1549. The final two machines are the Satellite Pro L450 and L500 notebooks. The machines can be had with Intel Core 2 Duo processors and sport 15.6-inch LCDs. Windows XP or Windows 7 are the OS choices with pricing starting at $529 to $649.
Major semiconductor foundry TSMC is glad to report today that all prior issues regarding chips built on a 40nm process have now been resolved and yield rates are far improved. Mark Liu who is the senior VP of Operations has stated that the quality of its 40 nm node production is now almost as fine as its 65 nm one.
As TSMC is the supplier for both NVIDIA and AMD's graphics cards, this is certainly good news with AMD having been using 40 nm GPUs since its pre-gen HD 4770 and NVIDIA set to release its first billion transistor 40nm GPU in the GF100 towards the end of this quarter.
Further to the above good news, TSMC has also just finished construction of another new factory situated at the Hsinchu Science Park (HSP) in Taiwan; this a part of the company's Fab 12. The new factory is for the purposes of 28 nm volume production by as early as Q3 of this year.
The global economy is down, but it is starting to pick back up. Computer sales increased this holiday season and spending is expected to pick up significantly in 2010 for the computer market and technology in general.
Intel has announced its Q4 2009 quarterly net revenue and the company did very well. Intel posted Q4 revenue of $10.6 billion with an operating income of $2.5 billion and a net income of $2.3 billion. Earnings per share were 40 cents.
For all of 2009, Intel posted revenue of $35.1 billion and a full year operating income of $5.7 billion with net income of $4.4 billion. Intel made a large portion of its yearly income in the last quarter of the year.
The rumors of that Apple tablet continue to make their rounds. The latest rumor has the tablet set to hit the market in the March or April time frame.
According the latest scuttlebutt, the need to make the 10.1-inch screen of the tablet stronger is what forced the tablet to be delayed to a Q1 launch. DigiTimes reports that Innolux will be the screen supplier for the tablet, at least for the initial shipments.
Later devices will reportedly have screens made by Wintek. Foxconn subsidiary G-Tech Optoelectronics is providing a glass strengthening process for the device and Foxconn will provide assembly of the tablet.
This past week rumors have been circulating around the good ole Internet that DFI is quitting the enthuaist and retail motherboard business.
We have heard plenty of rumors on the story that both claim that DFI is quitting and ones saying that DFI isn't quitting the business. I'll put it out in the open that we had it from a reliable source last night over an IM chat that DFI is indeed quitting from January 2010, but is trying to kills the rumors as it still wants to sell the rest of its stock and use the parts its ordered from the likes of Intel and Foxconn.
To be honest, I don't know what to believe. However, we just received an email from Alex Cheng at DFI reiterating that no such decision has been made for DFI to quit the business. Here is what we got from Alex:
We are surprised to hear the rumor, although it's not the first time to see the news. We never heard such decision and were told to do so. Besides, RD still keeps developing new products and releasing new BIOS. Our recent product plans are as follows:
1. Releasing BIOS for X58 to support Intel 6-core 32 nm processor, code-named Gulftown.
2. Promoting and developing Hybrid system and technology.
3. After launching MI P55-T36, we are planning and developing more MI products.
4. For high end market, our product design of AMD 890 was just rendered to AMD for review.
From these plans, it is clear to tell that DFI LANParty is still developing and preparing more innovative products in the market. Such rumors should be just ignored.
We will have to wait and see what happens. These rumors have floated around about DFI in the past and they didn't turn out true. I visited the DFI HQ here in Taipei only a little while ago to get an exclusive look at its Hybrid motherboard (P45 + ION - Two Systems, One Mobo) and things looked pretty active around the office to me, not like a business unit that was about to be shut down. Things change, though...
More to come as the story develops!
Even when the economy was at its worst, sales of some mobile devices were still very robust. Smartphones and netbooks continued to sell very well despite the economy. Research firm ABI Research has released a new report that claims mobile device shipments will almost double by 2015.
ABI reports that 1.2 billion mobile devices will ship this year in all categories of wireless devices from mobile phones to netbooks, and other consumer electronic devices. By 2014, the shipments of these devices will have almost doubled to 2.25 billion.
Cellular modems are expected to grow at a rate of 40% annually and ultra mobile devices will grow at 67%. "The next five years will see a shift in the breakdown between types of mobile devices shipped," comments industry analyst Michael Morgan. "Today, wireless handsets rule the roost, with other mobile devices accounting for only 40 million shipments and cellular modems only 60 million. While handset shipments did actually decrease between 2008 and 2009 due to the global recession, the other two segments in fact grew very aggressively.
If you have a gadget hound or avid reader on your Christmas list that you haven't bought for yet, it's not too late to get them something really cool. Amazon has announced that the Kindle is still available and now has free shipping.
The free shipping is two-day priority and will get the Kindle to your door in time for Christmas as long as you order by December 22. Amazon also says that the Kindle has broken another monthly sales record.
Personally, I wish Amazon would just keep that to themselves. If they won't say home many devices they are actually selling, telling us it broke a record is irrelevant. I just don't understand the secrecy and think if it were selling in huge volumes, they would want to brag.
The poor economy has put the computer industry in quite a bad place over the last year or so. Many of the quarters in 2009 had some of the lowest sales levels in years. Over the last few months, the industry has started to turn a corner.
IDC reports that the computer industry is set to return to growth and is predicting in 2010 that portable computers will grow 18.1%. In Q3 2009 the industry grew 2.3% after three quarters of decline. Portable systems grew the most with a 33.5% gain from the same quarter of 2008.
The netbook market grew the most increasing to 28% of the consumer portable market from 14% the previous year. Net growth for 2009 is predicted to be 1.3%.
So the winners of the Intel Custom Desktop Challenge have been announced. The competition was open to modders around the world from October 5th to December 14th. Each contestant was required to build either a Core i7 or Core i5 system. This idea behind this was to show the range of possibilities open with the new Intel CPUs.
The overall winner was one called "Duck" it looks like a Liquid Nitrogen cooled system with a rather overabundance of high gloss red paint. Still this was a very interesting entry. PCGames hardware has a nice gallery of some of the top builds. My favorites are; "The World's End" and "Project COOL"
eBook readers are huge right now with an unprecedented demand for them this holiday season meaning that many of the new devices are unavailable. As eBook adoption grows, the demand for more content is growing as well.
Borders has announced that it is investing in Kobo, an eBook store, and will be investing in a new eReader. The eBook service will be built into the Borders.com website starting in 2010.
So far, Kobo plans to offer about 1.8 million books from the Internet that are available free. It will also have 200,000 other books starting at $9.99 each. What the eReader itself will look like is unknown, but Borders said that it hopes to reach the reader who only buys a few books each year. The device would have to be cheap to do that.