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The US is hungry for blood over the MegaUpload debacle, and now US prosecutors have filed papers that seek the extradition of Kim Dotcom, founder of MegaUpload, along with three colleagues, who are charged in the US with allegedly running a criminal enterprise responsible for online piracy of copyrighted goods.
The extradition papers jumped over the pond on Friday and found themselves on the desk of the North Shore District Court in Auckland, New Zealand, confirmed by the country's Ministry of Justice's spokeswoman said on Monday, according to PCWorld. It was decided on Wednesday by the High Court of New Zealand, Auckland Registry that Dotcom could stay free on bail, after government prosecutors acting on behalf of US authorities appealed a February 22 decision of the District Court to grant Dotcom bail.
The judge has said that he understands the extradition hearing won't take place until August, and also observed that for Dotcom "to be incarcerated for another six months awaiting the extradition hearing, the risk of flight has to be a real one". Dotcom has an electronic monitoring device monitoring his every move, which was one of his bail conditions, which has reduced the risk of flight, he said. He added:
Just three years after spinning its semiconductor manufacturing arm into a separate entity called GlobalFoundries (or, GloFo), AMD is now giving up the remaining shares they hold of the company to Abu Dhabi-based Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC).
The deal was announced late-Sunday, which includes a $425 million payment by AMD to GloFo over two years, as well as a renegotiated wafer pricing deal. This year, both firms have agreed on a fixed water pricing under a "take or pay" arrangements. On top of this, they've also established a framework for wafter pricing in 2013, as well as agreeing that AMD's additional 2012 quarterly payment obligations specified in the 2011 amendment, totalling $430 million, will be waived.
Still, AMD continues to be one of GlobalFoundries' key customers, with the breakup giving AMD more flexibility in sourcing its chips. It also gives GloFo a better position to diversify its customer base. One of the first things to come from this newly-formed deal, is that AMD are now no longer bound by an exclusive arrangement to manufacture their 28nm-based APUs at GlobalFoundries, something that has been rumored since November due to a slow, low-yield production ramp.
Kodak have just recently entered into an agreement with Shutterfly, where they'll sell their online photo sharing service to them for $23.8 million. The deal includes Kodak transferring more than 75 million Gallery customer accounts and associated images in the US and Canada, on top of Kodak overseeing the deal to ensure a smooth transition.
Kodak Gallery is similar to Shutterfly, where it manages online photo galleries and allows customers to print photo books and stationary. When the sale is fully complete, Kodak customers that do not wish to have their photos and personal data handed over to Shutterfly do have options. They can opt to download all of their saved content, or have Kodak make their data available for purchase via DVD.
The deal is not 100-percent yet, as Shutterfly have entered into a stalking horse bid with Kodak for the online gallery. A stalking horse agreement, has the debtor (Kodak) essentially testing the market in advance of an auction to maximize the value of an asset. This allows other companies to submit competing bids for Kodak Gallery before the company seeks Bankruptcy Court approval for sale and auction by late-March.
Ever wanted to buy a car with an 'Intel Inside' sticker on it? Well, soon you'll be able to. Intel is creating a new venture fund to invest in companies that develop technologies used in cars and other powered vehicles.
Intel is planning on putting $100 million into the fund over the next four-to-five years, promising research for automotive hardware, software, and services. The investments could be for a range of things, from navigation to in-car entertainment systems.
Intel is wanting to bust out of the bubble they've created for themselves with a market of processors for laptops and PCs. We can see this as they want to get into the smartphone and tablet market, but now cars? Sales of computing products is expected to decline over time as domestic and global markets become saturated. This should be translated to "because people don't need faster upon faster desktop processors as their dual- or quad-core smartphones and tablets are more than powerful enough'.
Blizzard have reportedly axed 600 positions from their global workforce, they announced earlier today. The layoffs reportedly come as a result of reviews of the company's organizational structure, with the press release stating:
Approximately 90% of the affected employees will come from departments not related to game development. The World of Warcraft development team will not be impacted.
An ex-Blizzard employee who is familiar with the organizational issues explained to Vox Games that the layoffs are predominately from customer service. This is because over the years Blizzard have automated some of these positions, such as the reclaiming of compromised accounts, has now led to increased efficiency of each customer service representative.
Western Digital has just announced they've reached an agreement with Toshiba Corporation to divest certain hard drive manufacturing assets in order to meet the requirements of regulatory agencies reviewing the company's close-but-not-quite-there acquisition of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST).
Within the deal itself, Toshiba will acquire manufacturing and released IP from WD for 3.5-inch hard drives, as well as the firm's near-line storage unit for server application use. WD has also announced they've agreed, subject to completion of the divestiture transaction, to purchase Toshiba Storage Device Thailand (TSDT), a hard drive manufacturing facility that has not resumed operations since the 2011 Thailand floods.
WD plan to slide TSDT facilities and employees into existing operations in Thailand. Financially, nothing is known from these agreements, yet.
AMD is entering what they're calling a 'disruptive server strategy', where they've just acquired an Intel micro-server partner, SeaMicro. Until now, SeaMicro had been building micro-servers using Intel's Sandy Bridge, or Atom-based processors.
AMD have reportedly paid $344 million for SeaMicro, and is set to use them to push itself into the server market as a component, and also, hardware supplier. This is a setback for Intel, as SeaMicro's server designs were flexible enough to accommodate up to 786 Atom processors in one server.
SeaMicro won't even need to have any special configurations to support AMD's x86-based chips and are flexible enough to accept ARM-based chips as well as MIPS-based processors. SeaMicro and Intel were quite close, where SeaMicro had been Intel's main partner in the burgeoning micro-server market, which has been forecasted to take 10-percent of the total server market by 2015.
AMD CEO Rory Read has said:
We are accelerating AMD's transformation into an agile, disruptive innovator capable of staking a data center leadership position. The unmatched combination of AMD's processing capabilities, SeaMicro's system and fabric technology, and our ambidextrous technology approach uniquely positions AMD with a compelling, differentiated position to attack the fastest growing segment of the server market.
HP have just bought down the layoff hammer to approximately 275 of the 500 webOS employees, most of them from engineering (those that make webOS work with actual physical hardware). HP have nearly 350,000 employees, so most of these men and women from the webOS department should find jobs within HP easily.
This is, of course, if HP decide to keep these people within the company. This decision to get rid of 275 webOS-based employees leaves webOS with roughly 225 employees. The decision follows HP's plan to move the webOS group out of the old 1000-employee Palm campus and over to the smaller Cupertino-based campus that HP acquired when they purchased ArcSight in 2010.
HP's official statement on the matter:
As webOS continues the transition from making mobile devices to open source software, it no longer needs many of the engineering and other related positions that it required before. This creates a smaller and more nimble team that is well-equipped to deliver an open source webOS and sustain HP's commitment to the software over the long term.
HP is working to redeploy employees affected by these changes to other roles at the company.
Just over a month ago now, PayPal announced a small five-store pilot with The Home Depot in order to test out PayPal's in-store payment system. PayPal are now proud to announce that The Home Depot are now starting a national roll-out that will let customers pay for goods with PayPal in all of its nearly 2,000 locations nationwide.
Within the fortnight, every The Home Depot store in the U.S. will allow payments from customers using a PayPal card, or mobile phone number and PIN combination. Here's some details on the rollout, and cities:
Starting on February 27th
South - Austin, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, New Orleans, Oklahoma, Tampa/St. Petersburg
North Plains - Minneapolis, Omaha, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota
Starting on March 2nd
West - Bay Area, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle
NY Metro - New York City, Long Island
North - Boston, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia
Starting on March 7th
Mid-West - Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Ohio Valley, Pittsburgh
Mid-Atlantic - Washington D.C., Baltimore
South Atlantic - Louisville, Charlotte, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Nashville
Starting on March 8th
Central - Chicago, St. Louis
Did you feel that? Yeah, that. You know, that breath of fresh air? Oh, it was just Samsung's Product Strategy Executive, Hankil Yoon, talking the truth and not marketing spin or lies. Yoon revealed some interesting facts about Samsung's experience so far, in the tablet market by saying "honestly, we're not doing very well in the tablet market" according to a report from CNET.
They are some strong, harsh, yet refreshingly honest words coming from an executive of a company who seems to be the David in this David vs. Goliath battle with Apple in the tablet market. Speaking at the Mobile World Congress, Yoon added that "the best thing to survive in the market is to kill your products, we want to stay competitive in the market". This is why we're seeing Samsung pushing their Galaxy Note, which sports a Stylus pen.
Samsung struggling in the traditional tablet market is making them think outside of the square, with Yoon stating that he no longer carries around physical notepads or pens, and does all of his jotting down onto his 5-inch Galaxy Note. He adds "even if the design is smaller, how you use the (Note) is totally different". Yoon also dismissed early criticism of the Galaxy Note, saying it would take some education for consumers to begin to get comfortable with the larger screen.