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St. Louis Fed VP says bitcoin 'will find a niche market' in the future

Consumers and retailers are interested in testing bitcoins as a payment option, but that doesn't mean everyone else is onboard with the idea. However, bitcoins are still not a major concern for Fed researchers and lawmakers, but the New York Fed - and a growing number of researchers in the Fed system - are discussing bitcoins on a more consistent basis.

 

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"My best guess is that bitcoin will find a niche market," said Dr. David Andolfatto, VP of St. Louis Federal Reserve, in a recent interview with Bitcoin Magazine. "It's cool to use bitcoin to pay for your Starbucks latte on university campuses. It may very well find a place on the high street, at least among some shops catering to the 'cool' crowd. But for advanced economies, at least, it is hard to see how consumers will benefit directly by using bitcoins instead of dollars or pounds."

 

Recently, the value of individual bitcoins dropped to just $290, with investors frustrated with its volatility - and that is going to be an uphill battle.

TSMC delays the mass production of 16nm FinFET chips by up to 6 months

TSMC was meant to be ramping up its 16nm FinFET production any time before the end of the month, but the manufacturing company has provided an update for this, saying it is happy with the yield, but is pushing back mass production of 16nm to early 2015.

 

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The company said this would happen in early 2015, but finished by saying it could even fall into Q3 2015. Once TSMC has reached mass production of its 16nm FinFET process, it will provide added performance and power savings when compared to current technologies. TSMC has said that it is happy with the first yields of 16nm FinFET, but will not start mass producing it until around the second half of next year. The company said: "On the yield learning side, the progress [of 16nm] is much better than our original plan".

 

TSMC continued "This is because the 16nm uses similar [BEOL] process to 20SOC, except for the transistor. Because of the excellent progress in yield learning and readiness in manufacturing maturity and also to meet customers' demand, we plan to pull in 16-nanometer volume production through the end of Q2 next year or early Q3 year 2015". The full reason behind the delay isn't known right now, but the demand of 20nm is growing quick with the launch of the new iPhone, with Apple tapping TSMC for the production of its A8 and A8X chips.

Continue reading 'TSMC delays the mass production of 16nm FinFET chips by up to 6 months' (full post)

Code Red: AMD to lay off 710 employees after a harsh quarter

Weeks after NVIDIA's launch of its second-gen Maxwell GPUs, its competitor AMD has experienced "challenging market conditions" for its last quarter, just as its new CEO, Lisa Su gets used to her new position of power.

 

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For AMD's third quarter, the company saw revenues of $1.43 billion, with an operating income of $63 million, and net income of $17 million. When things get split into individual units, we see things getting messy. AMD's Computer and Graphics division, the side of AMD that takes care of its successful Radeon business, and is considered as the "bread and butter" of Team Red, posted revenues of $781 million. This is a 16% year-on-year drop, with the division posting an operating loss of $17 million, compared to its $6 million loss in the same quarter of 2013.

 

AMD's Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom Division, posted higher revenues of $648 million, which is up 21% from the same quarter of 2013. This division posting earnings of $108 million, up from the $92 million of Q3 2013. The problem is, AMD says that there are harsher times to come, warning that it expects revenues to drop another 10% to 16% in its next quarter, sequentially. The company also had to slash jobs as part of its restructuring plan, culling some 710 employees from its global workforce, a number that makes up 7% of its total staff.

 

The freshly minted CEO, Lisa Su, said: "While decisions that impact the size of our global team are never entered into lightly, this is the right step to ensure we prioritize our resources and engineering investments in our highest-priority opportunities that can drive improved profitability and long-term growth".

Intel reports record-breaking Q2 revenue, ships over 100 million CPUs

According to the company's quarterly report, Intel has enjoyed a massive revenue boost, with it being the first time Intel was able to ship so many processors in a quarter. As the chipmaking giant shipped over 100 million processors in the last three months, the company generated a revenue of $14.6 billion during this time.

 

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Intel is very confident that the fourth quarter will generate consistency, with analysts predicting a $14.7 billion in revenue. As a result, the company generated $3.3 billion in net profits. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said, "We are pleased by the progress the company is making, ". He continued, "We achieved our best-ever revenue and strong profits in the third quarter. There is more to do, but our results give us confidence that we're successfully executing to our strategy of extending our products across a broad range of exciting new markets."

 

The PC Client group generated a revenue of $9.2 billion, which is a 6% growth compared to Q3 2013 and a 9% boost year-over-year. Other business groups such as Data Center Group generated a total revenue of $3.7 billion during the previous quarter, which amounts to 16% growth year-over-year. But other groups such as Internet of Things group generated about $500 million in revenue which reflects a 2% down slide compared to the same three-month period of 2013. The Mobile and Communications groups generated a revenue of $1 million, but according to the company, it's consistent with its expectations. Meanwhile, the software and services group generated $558 million.

Google still learning about mobile ads, as clicks increase, not money

Google is still trying to sort itself out in the mobile advertising market, with cost per click advertising rates dropping 2 percent year-over-year, according to Google's financial results. Despite an increase in mobile advertising clicks, the average cost-per-click has declined, and it appears the Silicon Valley company is unsure what to do moving forward.

 

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As more users head to smartphones and tablets, Google wants to try to win over advertisers about the future of mobile advertising - but marketers aren't willing to spend the same amount for both desktop ads and mobile ads - and this problem won't suddenly go away.

 

Google currently holds 83 percent mobile search market share, according to StatCounter, but must continue to develop new strategies.

New York state won't require bitcoin developers to have license

The State of New York recently said bitcoin software developers aren't required to hold a "BitLicense" to work inside of the state. The BitLicense plan was introduced in New York in July, with a revised proposal expected before the end of the month - with bitcoin-related companies able to offer input and comments on the regulations.

 

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"We are regulating financial intermediaries," said Benjamin Lawsky, New York state superintendent of financial services. "We are not regulating software development. To clarify, we do not intend to regulate software as software or software development. For example, a software developer who creates and provides wallet software to customers for their own use will not need a license."

 

Thousands of retailers currently accept bitcoin - with additional businesses expected to jump on the bandwagon in 2015 - but the cryptocurrency's volatility remains a significant concern. Governments and major banks have been hesitant to try to embrace bitcoin, and that likely won't change any time soon.

Consumers, businesses testing out bitcoins, regulators not as happy

Thousands of businesses and e-tailers might have jumped on the bitcoin bandwagon, but that doesn't mean regulators are as enthusiastic. Without legal guidelines to help draw a clear road map, there is a risk that bitcoin innovation will be limited - even with more consumers interested in making purchases from retailers using the cryptocurrency.

 

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"We have sought to strike an appropriate balance that helps protect consumers and root out illegal activity - without stifling beneficial innovation," said Benjamin Lawsky, New York Superintendent Financial Services. "Setting up common sense rules of the road is vital to the long-term future of the virtual currency industry, as well as the safety and soundness of customer assets."

 

Bitcoins aren't insured or backed by banks, and that could make it difficult for regular users that want to keep the cryptocurrencies as an investment - and with some countries, such as Ecuador banning bitcoins - these type of problems will remain a significant problem moving forward.

Google expanding U.S. shopping delivery service, competing with Amazon

Google is planning to expand its same-day delivery service for U.S. consumers, in an effort to compete with Amazon and other companies interested in jumping into the online shopping market. Google Express will expand to Boston, Chicago and Washington D.C., in addition to current markets in parts of California and New York City.

 

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The service costs $10 per month - or $95 per year - slightly cheaper than the $99 per year cost of Amazon Prime. When consumers shop online, Amazon is one of their first stops while browsing, which is why Google hopes to shake up the industry a bit further.

 

Google is including additional retailers for its service, such as PetSmart and Vitamin Shoppe, with more retailers expected to jump on the bandwagon next year.

Twitter partners with French Bank to test out money transfers

Social media site Twitter has partnered with Groupe BPCE to test transferring money using tweets, as Twitter continues to show interest in online payments. Meanwhile, Groupe BPCE is the second largest bank in France based on total number of customers, with the money transfers available to customers of any bank.

 

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The bank's S-Money service will be responsible for managing Twitter-based payments, and already supports text message money transfers.

 

"(S-Money) offers Twitter users in France a new way to send each other money, irrespective of their bank and without having to enter the beneficiary's bank details, with a simple tweet," said S-Money chief executive, in a press statement.

Google could beat Apple to be the world's first $1 trillion company

It was only April of 2014 where most, ourselves included, thought Apple were well on its way to be valued at over $1 trillion. But, it looks like Google will beat Apple to this milestone, but it would have to more than double Apple's stock performance before 2020.

 

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While Apple makes consumer electronics and online services, like the iPhone, iTunes, and more, Google steps right out of those boundaries. It has a massively used search engine, mobile OS and hardware, partnerships with virtually every player in the technology and manufacturing industry, artificial intelligence, robotics, health technology, the list truly goes on.

 

Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Capital, wrote in a research note to clients on Friday: "If you look at the range of [projects] Google is attacking, it represents opportunities on a much more massive scale than Apple is addressing". He added: "What are we going to get from Apple - a thinner iPad?". Right now, Apple is the most valuable US company, with a market capitalization of $599 billion, compared to Google's $372 billion.

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