As you might have expected; Intel has just released their comments on the suit filed against them by the FTC. Intel claims that this suit will cost the tax-payers money and that the FTC failed to work with Intel towards a settlement.
"Intel has competed fairly and lawfully. Its actions have benefitted consumers. The highly competitive microprocessor industry, of which Intel is a key part, has kept innovation robust and prices declining at a faster rate than any other industry. The FTC's case is misguided. It is based largely on claims that the FTC added at the last minute and has not investigated. In addition, it is explicitly not based on existing law but is instead intended to make new rules for regulating business conduct. These new rules would harm consumers by reducing innovation and raising prices."
Intel senior vice president and general counsel Doug Melamed added, "This case could have, and should have, been settled. Settlement talks had progressed very far but stalled when the FTC insisted on unprecedented remedies - including the restrictions on lawful price competition and enforcement of intellectual property rights set forth in the complaint -- that would make it impossible for Intel to conduct business."
"The FTC's rush to file this case will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars to litigate issues that the FTC has not fully investigated. It is the normal practice of antitrust enforcement agencies to investigate the facts before filing suit. The Commission did not do that in this case," said Melamed.
The suit also comes on the heels of Intel's announcement to invest $7 billion dollars in their US manufacturing operations earlier this year.
So it finally happened. The US Federal Trade Commission is suing Intel for anti-competitive practices.
What is surprising is that they are not just saying that Intel abused its market dominance to injure AMD, but also to injure NVIDIA. This last one comes as an interesting surprise to me. Although I will not say that Intel has been nice to NVIDIA. The claim that they are being anti-competitive there is something of a stretch. After all I believe that NVIDIA opened the war by refusing to sign a new licensing agreement with Intel for their CPUs with integrated memory controllers, then went on a rant about how the CPU was dead amongst other things.
But hey, I suppose all of that will come out in the trial. One thing the FTC was careful about was to make sure no one will try to piggyback on their suit by making it only an accusation of violating monopoly and competition laws. If the suit is successful the FTC wants to prevent Intel from unfair bundling, offering incentives, and exclusory licensing. The last one is a tad ridiculous to me as it is like telling someone they have to share all their hard work for free or at least very little.
The suit comes at an interesting time and with an odd angle to me. If it was a real anti-trust complaint then why lock private companies (like AMD and NVIDIA) out of it? On the surface this looks like an attempt to replace some government money at the expense of Intel. After all Intel just enriched the EU for $1.45 Billion and also dropped $1.25 Billion into AMD's bank account. I suppose the bean counters in Washington DC are thinking they need a cut too.
Despite the fact that open source software is free, the software does have limitations on how it can be used. Best Buy, Samsung, and Westinghouse along with 11 other companies have been named as defendants in a copyright infringement suit.
The suit was filed in New York City by the Software Freedom Law Center. The SFLC is a pro-bono firm that offers legal assistance to developers of free and open source software. The firm alleges that it has tried to contact the firms named in the suit several times and has been unsuccessful.
The suit alleges that the companies are violating the copyright on the Linux BusyBox software. Best Buy uses the software on its Insignia Blu-ray player, Samsung uses it on HDTVs, and Westinghouse uses the software on one of its TVs. Exactly what the plaintiff is after in the suit is unknown.
If you are looking forward to those new Intel Arrandale Core i5 and i7 mobile CPUs with the integrated graphics and are a Mac fan, we may have some bad news for you. A new rumor is floating around that claims the processor will not make it into Mac notebooks.
According to the rumor, Apple has passed on the Arrandale processors because they feature an integrated GPU. The rumor claims that Apple is asking for a version of the processors that has no integrated graphics.
Presumably, this request is to make things easier on its discrete GPUs like the NVIDIA 9400. Apple has used custom Intel CPUs in the past the MacBook Air used one.
NAND chips find their way into all sorts of computer accessories and storage devices. The NAND memory is often used in flash drives and memory cards. Samsung has announced that it is first to go into production with a new class of NAND chips.
The NAND chips are built on a 30nm process and use 3-bit per cell MLC technology. The 3-bit design offers up to 50% more efficient data storage compared to the 2-bit NAND chips commonly used today.
Samsung reports that the new NAND chips will be first used in USB drives and in microSD cards for data storage. There is no word on when we can expect to see products using the new NAND on the market.
Both Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) have come out for the better after Cyber Monday with both companies share pricing heading north thanks to word that online retail sales were on the rise when compared to the same day last year. There's also no doubt that word on the Kindle and its success for Amazon helped a lot when it came to the bump in share price.
Cyber Monday has been around since 2005 when used by Shop.org, who are part of the National Retail Federation. It's the following Monday after Black Friday, which is one of the most important shopping days for American retailers and marks the launch of the holiday shopping season.
Not all online retailers felt the increase in share prices though with overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) and Blue Nile (NASDAQ: NILE), another two large online retailers, not getting any movement with both prices falling slightly.
My fascination with computers and hardware came out of a fascination with video games. I started on consoles and migrated to gaming PCs as time went by. Eventually the PC and its related hardware were as interesting to me as video games, such is the evolution of many a gamer and hardware enthusiast.
Of all the video games I have played over the years, some of my most favorite have been in the Call of Duty franchise. The latest game in the franchise, Modern Warfare 2 launched this month and racked up over $500 million in sales during its first five days of availability.
Activision has now announced that the entire Call of Duty franchise has surpassed $3 billion in sales around the world. That is a lot of video games sold and makes the franchise one of the most successful ever. It should also guarantee that fans have new CoD games to play for the foreseeable future.
This might come as a bit of a shock to die hard torrent lovers; turns out Mininova, one of the most popular torrent trackers on the net, has officially just gone legit and thus limits its activities to a content distribution service.
Mininova first launched their content distribution service in 2007 which allows producers and artists to easily distribute their content for free through Mininova.
The launch of Content Distribution has proven to be a success. Countless content owners have used Content Distribution to distribute their content (e.g. albums and documentaries) for free to millions of users. For example, the Dutch band Silence is Sexy released their complete album on Mininova and received the Interactive Award 2009 for doing so. The Dutch television broadcaster VPRO decided to start using Content Distribution in 2009 in order to distribute documentaries.
But I'm sure there's many sad faces out there after reading this. No more downloads of your favourite TV shows etc. - With that said, though, there's a large amount of others out there to use ;)
Shuttle is well known for making its line of XPS computers that include some AIO machines and several cool SFF PCs aimed at gamers and other computer users. With Black Friday this week and Cyber Monday coming next week the deals are rolling in.
Shuttle has announced that it will be offering up to 50% off some of its XPS computers at select retailers. Exactly what retailers will be giving the deals are unknown, Shuttle won't say just yet. I bet its Newegg or TigerDirect.
"We cannot release yet which stores will have these deals, but expect it to be at one of the major retailers or online retailers," said Nicolas Villalobos, Manager at Shuttle Computer Group in Los Angeles, "If anything, one of the popular deal sites who are aggressively tracking Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals should have this information once it's available. Just know that it will be 'Pink'."
If you are a Mac owner who smokes cigarettes and you need warranty work you may be out of luck. According to reports form Bit-tech some Mac owners have been refused warranty work when the PC was found to have been used in a home or office where there was smoking.
The official response from Jobs himself, states, "due to nicotine being present on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's list of substances hazardous to health, Apple workers would not be expected to work with machines which were contaminated with cigarette smoke hazard."
As you might have expected there has been some financial fallout from the surprise settlement between Intel and AMD. Presently AMD stock is up $1.09 to $6.41 (20.49%), while on the other side, Intel saw a very small gain of +$.03 (.15%). But this is not the only fallout.
Intel has just updated its Q4 financial expectations as they intend to take the hit from the $1.25 billion USD check to AMD all in Q4. They have changed their earlier statement to reflect a total R&D spending plus MG&A (Mergers and Acquisitions) to $4.2 billion (up from 2.9 billion). Tax rate is expected to drop by 20%, which is down from 26%. Everything else is unchanged.
Which brings us to the real cost of this. $1.25 billion is a large amount of money; make no mistake - this is not a small settlement. But in terms of total cost to Intel it is. By AMD agreeing to drop all of its complaints (although the New York case is still on according to AMD), Intel will actually save money as there has been a growing momentum against Intel. This means they would have more than likely lost their case In Japan and other countries that AMD was pursuing them in. The potential loss could have been significantly higher than what Intel is paying out right now.
Still Intel has been having a very good year and is capable of recovering from this event in any case. AMD on the other hand just got a nice check that represents a little less than half of their outstanding debt. We do have to wonder, now that Intel has agreed to abide by a set of acceptable business practices, if the suit in New York will also be dropped or settled quickly?
As we said before, the thing to keep your eye on now is the dispute between Intel and NVIDIA. The reason this is so big is that with the new agreement you no longer have to own a FAB to make an x86 CPU. This could open the doors for NVIDIA and give them the "in" they so often claim they are not even interested in.
If you have money, they say the time to buy is when the economy is down. The time to buy a new car was certainly when the cash for clunkers program was running thanks to the poor economy. HP is taking advantage of the economy and has announced that it will be buying 3Com.
The deal values 3Com at $7.90 per share for a total value of $2.7 billion. HP says that the purchase will give it a much better presence in China and that it will allow the company to expand its switching offerings.
The merger will also allow HP to add routing solutions to its line. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and has been approved by the boards of both 3Com and HP. Shareholders still need to approve the deal as well as regulators. The merger is expected to complete in the first half of 2010.
It looks like AMD and Intel's long running fight over anti-trust and competition has finally come to an end.
Today we have received news that AMD and Intel have reached a settlement. But the settlement does not just cover the matter of Intel's alleged anti-competitive behavior, but also the x86 cross licensing agreement that has been at issue ever since the Global Foundries spin off.
The terms of the agreement are listed below (taken straight from the press release)
Under terms of the agreement, AMD and Intel obtain patent rights from a new 5-year cross license agreement, Intel and AMD will give up any claims of breach from the previous license agreement, and Intel will pay AMD $1.25 billion. Intel has also agreed to abide by a set of business practice provisions. As a result, AMD will drop all pending litigation including the case in U.S. District Court in Delaware and two cases pending in Japan. AMD will also withdraw all of its regulatory complaints worldwide. The agreement will be made public in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The settlement is great news on a few levels. First it brings the long running squabble between AMD and Intel to a close (globally). It gives AMD a much needed cash injection ($1.25 billion will go a long way) and allows for the sharing of technology between the two companies. These all add up to an excellent future for the consumer as AMD can stop bleeding out money on lawsuits and complaints around the world and get back the business of competing with Intel in a very serious manner.
Maybe the extra money can go towards helping AMD to finalize Bulldozer and get it to the public quicker than their current plans; if so this would be very good news indeed as Bulldozer is the first CPU from AMD that shows true promise in a very long time.
Of course, now all eyes are turning towards the NVIDIA versus Intel squabble. After all, if Intel settled with AMD, maybe a settlement with NVIDIA is in the near future (and perhaps an x86 CPU with it)
One would have presumed that come launch of Microsoft's online store, it would soley be flooded with nothing more than MS owned products, both hardware and software. But if you head on over and check it out as of now you will see that they're going well beyond with third party hardware and software including Sony netbooks, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing software etc.
AMD/ATI partner VisionTek is making efforts to branch out into market segments other than just VGA and it begins by partnering with Bigfoot Networks, the company behind the Killer NIC for gamers, said to provide much better performance (lower pings and CPU usage) than traditional NICs.
VisionTek call it the Killer Xeno Pro and we learn that this variant uses a PCI-e x1 interface and comes with a much better software package.
Pricing and availability is yet to be disclosed.
There is a new list of the top 10 technologies that will be strategic for companies in 2010.
The list was compiled by the Gartner who defines a strategic technology as one that can have a significant impact on the enterprise within two years.
So what is on the list? What new technologies should you be concerned with for 2010? After each we will give you a little of our take.
Gartner lists the following:
This is being shoveled to the IT world in great and greater volumes. The thing is for anyone that is in IT and understands security this is not a solution. It is a method for service providers (including software service providers) to save money at the expense of the customer. We know that security for these types of services are nowhere near what they need to be yet we now hear it is a leading strategic technology for 2010.
This is actually an old one that is just getting more prominence because it is now economically viable to run much of this from a computer. In the past it was decision flow charts and long documents covering "what if"
Again a regression back in time. Many Many years ago the concept of the client/server was nothing more than a server (mainframe) and a dumb terminal (client) all of the processing was done on the server and the client was used to display the results only. Yet here we are 20 years down the road and seeing a return to this model. I guess the more things change... It is also a way to push cloud computing on the market as the "client OS" can be pushed from a cloud based service.
IT for Green
This one is actually one that we agree with completely. IT and its services have to become more ecologically conscious. However, we must proceed with caution as the "green" initiative has been used as an excuse to push cloud computing
Reshaping the Data Center
This is another move that we can support. The shift from the traditional floor space eating Data Centers to a more modular "Pod" based setup. Take a look at the trailer based setup that Google and Microsoft have to get an idea.
This is the security experts nightmare, Social Computing. You see everyone wants to be connected to their personal lives even when at work. But should a company support that? Should a company really engage in using a Facebook, Twitter, or other social computing products? Personally I say no. It is enabling a decay in the way information is presented and consumed. The short attention span posts found on Twitter and places like Facebook should not be the way companies talk to the world.
Security - Advanced Monitoring
Ah, another move towards the cloud. This one is interesting in that it does provide a needed service but, can take the control away from many companies. The problem is not that many companies do not know how to deal with threats. It is in fact that too many companies do not even know there are threats. Since upper management lacks this knowledge they often will not spend the money on hiring the right people to perform this service in house. If someone offers them this for a reasonable cost they will jump at it.
It is sadly not the right way to go, but one that is inevitable.
We have been in contact with Seagate an others about this move and it seems that too many enterprise class companies are not going to consider this as viable until they see a clear standard. Right now everyone has their own way of making SSDs, USB keys, pretty much any type of Flash memory. There are also long term usage issues that must be resolved before considering this in a mission critical space.
Virtualization for Availability
Another one that has been long in coming. In fact many companies use this already. with Products like VMWare's ESX and VSphere using V-Motion it is easy to setup. With V-Motion live migration you store the VM (Virtual Machine) images on a central SAN (Storage Area Network) this is then connected to a bank of identical servers (at least two). If one server goes down or is overloaded V-Motion can automatically shift those VMs to another server to keep you up and running. The down side is that the initial cost is pretty hefty for the equipment you must have to use this. Because of this Virtualization for Availability will remain out of the reach for many companies.
Depending on how you read this it can mean applications for mobile devices like smart phones and smart books or it can again be a push towards cloud services. Either way you are looking at increased security risks. The loss of a corporate device is not something to be taken lightly, while storing all of your applications and data on a remote server leaves you open to a larger base of attack (the bigger the target the more attacks per minute).
It is an interesting list. Gartner does know what they are doing here. Indeed all of these should be carefully watched. Especially as they are not all they seem on the surface. Many of these are technologies that have been out for years, but now are being pushed as a method to reduce costs. The rub is that most of these will take a lot of money to get in place and working, this leave the small, medium and many larger businesses out as they just do not have the funds to invest in this type of project.
So, while it is nice to cover these and talk about them as strategic technologies that companies should plan for, it is not really going to make that large of an impact and certainly not in the 2-3 year time frame. Adoption of any high capital outlay technology is significantly slower than that especially in a slow economy.
In timely fashion with the launch of Windows 7 this coming Thursday, Microsoft plans to open its first "Microsoft Store" in Scottsdale. To help gather the masses MS has decided to give the first 1,000 visitors free gift bags as well as tickets to an Ashley Tisdale concert set to kick off come 5PM.
Every PC buyer on launch day gets a free HP printer and a copy of Office 2007 Home & Student. The strategy partly mirrors Apple's tendency to offer concerts at flagship stores as well as its giveaways, though the Mac producer rarely offers special discounts.
Microsoft is known to be patterning its store design closely after Apple retail with answer bars and open spaces but with an emphasis on customization as well as all of Microsoft's main product lines, including Windows Mobile, Xbox 360 and Zune.
NVIDIA's Tegra is looking pretty good right now. First it manages to land in Microsoft's Zune HD player. This iPod Touch competitor has been doing great so far with many stores reporting that they are sold out of them and waiting for stock. This is good for both Microsoft and NVIDIA. For MS it shows that they can compete in the Apple centric PMP market. For NVIDIA it shows that Tegra is a viable product and one that is capable of doing the job in a small package.
Now we hear that Nintendo is planning to drop Tegra (either the current or next gen version) into their new DS portable game player. This is great news and one that is sure to push the Tegra towards the 50% company revenue goal that NVIDIA CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang talked about earlier this year.
The news comes from multiple sources and seems to be close to the mark. Of course neither NVIDIA nor Nintendo are commenting on this as of this writing but our sources also confirm this and say that we should see quite a few more items with Tegra under the hood, including SmartPhones, Netbooks, SmartBooks and more. Some of these devices have already reached internal testing by different providers. This means we could see even more Tegra based products alone with the Nintendo DS next year.
In the wake of the (somewhat inaccurate) news of the GT200 parts being discontinued we hear that many partners have ordered significant quantities of NVIDIA's new Fermi GPU. In some cases it was ordering Fermi that caused the shortage of GT200 GPUs in the first place. According to a few sources that we spoke with they anticipated delivery of Fermi GPUs earlier as such they were shifting from production of the GTX 260, 275 and 285s for the holiday season.
As such many manufacturers have had to shift allocation from their EMEA divisions to the US to meet demand there this has caused a false famine in parts at some companies.
Now while all of that is interesting, it does point out one thing. The GT300 appears to have been pushed back from the original production date. We have heard that originally GT300 was supposed to launch around the end of October. Now the time for the public launch is sometime in the middle of November. This could be the reason for the early demo of the Fermi Architecture instead of an actual launch.
All of that aside, OEMs are very eager to get their hands on Fermi. All of the ones we spoke to believe the GT300 will be quite the performer once they are able to get it out in the stores. The Fermi team has their work cut out for them as they still have yet to show Fermi Running DX11 or any type of real gaming performance. We hope they are up to it though, as it is sort of boring in a one sided GPU world.
I tell you it must be the time of year. It seems like most of the new traveling around is a lot of mudslinging. After the round of bad FUD over NVIDIA (stupidly) showing off a fake card (I still think it is not a big deal). We now hear that someone is throwing mud at Microsoft's Project Pink.
This brings many, many doubts to mind about the project and what is going on behind the scenes here. Why would someone leak information to an Apple oriented site about an MS project? Why would they then follow up there if they are trying to give context?
There is really one thing that jumps top mind. The Zune HD launch was successful, Microsoft out did themselves with it and now someone, is worried about the chances of a phone in this device, or about a phone with the same type of functions the Zune HD has. This type of mud slung in the right directions pulls the attention away from the success of the Zune HD. Most people remember bad news before they remember good news (and of course recent news better than older obviously). If you throw in a scandal, name names, and "leak it" from an inside source it is a readers' dream. Once the seeds are sown and the news makes its rounds, well the damage is done.
So in the next few months I would keep your heads down. Otherwise you might get hit by a flying mud.
The folks at Digitimes have some info to share about Apple's upcoming tablet PC. It's been discovered that this unit is actually being manufactured by Foxconn and is expected to commence shipping at the beginning of next year.
All we know about it at this stage is that it will use a 10.6" display and Foxconn could perhaps secure the panels from its subsidiary Innolux display. The main point of focus for this tablet PC will be more so towards e-book functionality as opposed to music, and in Apple likeliness it'll also boast long battery life, easy internet connectivity and a very simple user interface.