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Sony has just announced it is spinning off one of the best parts of its business, with Sony's image sensor business now falling under a new entity; Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporations. Under this new company, two subsidiaries will join it - Sony Semiconductor Corporation, and Sony LSI Design.
Last year alone, Sony was estimated to have supplied around 40% of all new image sensors for smartphones. The Japanese giant had two image sensors in each new iPhone, which was making Sony around $20 per iPhone sold according to analysts. Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones during last year's holiday quarter, so Sony is sitting pretty with its image sensor business.
Sony is shifting the image sensor business into its own entity because of profits, as it wants to make underperforming divisions of the company more accountable for their performance. This will stop those divisions from riding on the success of the image sensor and PlayStation divisions, which continue to make money for the company.
The standalone image sensor business will start off on April 1, 2016.
Valve is getting close to the big launch of its Steam Machines, Steam Controllers and many more devices, with the company announcing it has partnered up with GameStop, EB Games and Game UK who will all serve as "exclusive non-digital retailer[s]".
These companies will be selling Valve's upcoming Steam Machines, Steam Controller and Steam Link streaming device. In the US and UK, there will be dedicated "Steam Sections" where gamers can get their hands on PC gaming hardware, like the Steam Controller and Steam Machines, as well as some pre-paid Steam cards.
Valve co-founder, Gabe Newell explains: "Creating a 'store within a store' across North America and the UK is a significant win for getting the first generation of Steam Hardware products into gamers' hands".
Cupertino tech titan Apple has yet to be dethroned as the world's most profitable brand and continues its global dominance for the third year in a row.
According to new 2014 rankings published by Interbrand, Apple's total value has shot up by 43% for an estimated brand value of $170,276 million. The second place competitor, Google, sits just $50 million shy from breaking Apple's three-year streak at an estimated value of $120 billion. Microsoft is in fourth place with a brand value of $67 billion increase of 11%. Despite being a world leader in tech, Samsung sits at a cool seventh place with 0% gains and a brand value of $45 billion.
With its new line of iDevices including the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and even a smartring prototype, Apple is poised to continue its reign for 2015. Google has taken aim at the throne with its new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P handsets that feature Project Fi network support.
In a move that surprised absolutely no one, Twitter's board of directors has officially named Jack Dorsey as acting Chief Executive Officer of the social media giant.
As one of the original founders of Twitter, Dorsey was called back to action after ex-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo stepped down back in June. Within five months after being appointed to interim CEO, Dorsey reprised his role as acting CEO of the company--a position he previously held from 2007-2008. Interestingly enough, Dorsey will actually simultaneously stand as CEO of both Twitter and Square and also maintain his position in Disney's board of directors.
The official SEC filing notes that Dorsey won't be compensated for running the company, and Twitter has no future plans to pay him. This is largely due to the fact that as a co-founder, Dorsey owns a huge portion of company shares. "There are currently no plans to provide Mr. Dorsey with direct compensation for his role as Chief Executive Officer," reads the release.
When you think about profits in the music industry, you'd think that by now the likes of Spotify and Pandora would be making hundreds of millions of dollars - but in reality, they don't.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), music streaming revenue has increased by 27% year-on-year, while vinyl sales have jumped 52% in the same period of time. In the first half of 2015, vinyl sales made $222 million while streaming revenue hit $163 million. Apple Music isn't included in these results, so the streaming side of things will see an uptick when Apple gets onboard.
According to data analyst Joshua Friedlander: "Overall, the music industry has become the most-digital in terms of all traditional media outlets - magazines, newspapers - in terms of transition. There is more optimism out there than there was. Two-thirds of the market is still physical [CDs]. It used to be monolithic. Now it's a mix of things, a revenue diversification that makes a more stable source to grow off of. [Streaming] services have mostly grown through word of mouth. There hasn't been a big Spotify advertising push. When you get a player like Apple involved, that really generates a whole new level of awareness".
Reload Studios has just secured $4 million in its first round of funding, with Reload Studios' CEO James Chung saying: "Now the foundation is set. Gaining partners who believed in the future of VR is like gaining a huge army for the battle. We are ready to take on the whole world of VR".
The investors included Rothenberg Ventures, World Innovation Lab, Barunson E&A, YK CRCM RS LLC as well as a few undisclosed private backers. Reload Studios has only just announced its first VR title 'World War Toons' as well as the creation of its own VR Lab. The studio has partnered up with WoofbertVR, an arts education VR company.
General Partner at YK CRCM RS LLC, Chun Ding, said: "Today's digital consumers will best experience and embrace virtual reality through its most exciting and breath-taking content. We applaud the talented team at Reload Studios for what they have accomplished and are thrilled to partner with them to bring the best of these contents to the consumers".
Hours after we broke news that AMD might not have the HBM2 game wrapped up, news has broken that AMD will be culling 5% of its global workforce. Around 500 jobs will be lost due to a restructuring process, which is said to streamline AMD's business and reduce costs as the company continues to struggle against Intel, reports Bloomberg.
AMD will record charges of around $42 million due to the restructuring plan, which will outsource some of its IT services and application development. The company will save around $2 million and $7 million in the last two quarters of the year, and a total savings of $58 million in 2016.
While Bloomberg might say this is down to Intel beating the company, AMD is taking an even worse battering from NVIDIA. In the discrete GPU market, NVIDIA controls 82% of the dGPU market share with its GeForce products, leaving AMD with scraps. The new Fiji-based cards powered by the next-generation High Bandwidth Memory seem to be few and far between, with stock not filling shelves, or gamers' PCs.
Amazon continues to evolve, with the launch of its latest service that pays part-time drivers to deliver packages for Amazon. Amazon Flex is an Uber-like delivery service that pays drivers between $18 and $25 per hour to deliver packages using Amazon Prime Now, within the promised one-hour delivery window.
Interested drivers need to be at least 21 years old, have their own vehicle, an Android-powered smartphone, and have to pass a background check. We don't know how many drivers Amazon is after, the delivery distance and package size they'd be handling and other factors that would determine how much a driver is paid per hour.
Part-time drivers can work two-, four-, or eight-hour shifts to supplement their income - or with the eight-hour shifts, it could very well be a full-time job. It's not as flexible as being an Uber driver, but the benefits are there. Amazon Flex drivers can work as much as they want, as Amazon needs delivery drivers seven days a week.
Volkswagen continues to dig a bigger grave for itself, but the company is getting its hands dirty trying to crawl out of it. The company's fresh CEO, Matthias Mueller, has told his employees that the company will be contacting customers in the coming days to fixing their diesel-powered cars.
We don't know how the company will do that, whether it's going to be something mechanical or whether it will be a software-based patch. Regulators are going to be busy with Volkswagen when it happens, to make sure that the solution is absolutely 100%. Volkswagen is ready to spend $7.3 billion cleaning up the massive problem, but things are just continuing to get worse, with the likes of BMW and Mercedes now caught up in it.
Earlier this month we reported that AMD had split its GPU division off into Radeon Technolgoies Group, while the larger chunk of the company was hoping to sell a 20% stake in itself to investment firm Silver Lake.
Well, that deal has fallen through according to Bloomberg, which reports: "Advanced Micro Devices Inc., a struggling competitor to Intel Corp., was in talks to sell about a 25 percent stake to private-equity firm Silver Lake Management before the negotiations stalled, people with knowledge of the matter said".
Bloomberg added: "The two sides, which met over the summer, have put the discussions on hold after failing to agree on a price and strategy, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. AMD is also considering other strategic options, another person said".