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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.
Semiconductor maker, Elpida Memory Inc. have filed for bankruptcy protection according to the Japan Times. After receiving some Government-backed funding, with efforts of a rebuild failing, they've given up. Japan's sole manufacturer of DRAM had liabilities of $5.5 billion.
President of the company, Yukio Sakamoto is said to resign because of this, as they file for protection with the Tokyo District Court. Elpida was founded in 1999 as NEC Hitachi Memory Inc. and have since produced DRAM products since 2000. The company also founded three wholly-owned subsidiaries, Tera Probe, which conducted wafter probe testing, Akita Elpida Memory Inc. which handled the back-end processes of DRAM production and finally, Rexchip Electronics Corp, which handled the front-end.
A fall in prices and the global recession of 2006 is said to have pushed them up against the wall, where they required a Government-backed loan of around $372 million. This injection of cash was used for investment and research and development, but with the strong Yen and the Thailand flooding last year, they were forced to come clean about their finances, and now the dirty laundry has aired.
I can't quite wrap my head around these numbers... Google announced today that they are seeing an astounding 850,000 activations every single day, and have now passed the 300,000,000 mark. 300 million Android-based devices in the wild, that is some impressive work. 850,000 activations every day though, that's insane.
At last year's Mobile World Congress, Google were chuffed to have more than 150,000 apps on their Android Market. Those numbers today? They've eclipsed 450,000, and have experienced over one billion app downloads per month for a while now. To celebrate these numbers, Google have installed "app pods" into their Android stands at MWC.
Most of the featured apps demonstrate the latest Android innovations, such as Android Beam, which lets you share content like web pages, videos, directions and apps - by just tapping two Android-based phones back-to-back. Google are proud to boast there are over 100-plus Android devices on show at MWC on the conveyer belt bar, which is just a small part of the 800-plus Android devices that Google have launched to-date.
This is a subject quite close to my chest, our current financial system. Without getting into a personal post, I'll keep this as professional as I can and leave my opinion out of this and just post it as a pure news post to try to get this as viral as possible. I've noticed this post on Reddit about a $15,000,000,000,000 ($15 trillion) fraud case that was bought up to the UK House of Lords by Lord James of Blackheath.
He has noticed three separate transactions of $5 trillion each, starting with a $5 trillion transfer to HSBC in the UK, seven days later followed another $5 trillion to the HSBC, and three weeks later another $5 trillion. This is a total of $15 trillion, which has entered into the hands of the HSBC, and onward transit to the Royal Bank of Scotland. This is a serious, serious amount of money, and this story should be on every TV, Radio, Cable, Internet channel and everything in between.
Where did $15 trillion come from? Who has that sort of disposable money, without having to loan it? And if you did loan it, what kind of bank loans out $15 trillion? You have to have some very valuable assets in order to just borrow, or lend out, $15 trillion. Let's delve into this more. Lord James of Blackheath has done his research and claims that the money is the property of what some people have called "the richest man in the world", Yohannes Riyadi.
Owners of Samsung TVs filed a class-action lawsuit, which has finally reached settlement. Within the settlement, Samsung have promised to pay for the bills of owners repairs, reimburse for already-paid-for repairs, or hand out up to $300 to customers who no longer own their once-faulty TV, once they prove ownership.
The fault only affects the model numbers in the above picture, where it's possible that up to 7 million TVs were affected. The problem is related to an errant capacitor in the power circuit that stops the TV turning on, makes it slow to turn on, produces a "clicking sound" or makes it cycle on and off.
A Samsung spokesperson has said:
Approximately 1 percent of Samsung televisions sold in the U.S. from 2006 to 2008 have experienced some performance issues caused by a component called a capacitor. Since originally confirming this issue in early 2010, Samsung has voluntarily provided free repairs for U.S. customers with affected televisions. Recently, a nationwide class settlement covering all affected televisions in the U.S. was reached in Russell, et al. v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc., a lawsuit filed in the District Court of Oklahoma County in the U.S.