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A few days ago, Microsoft signed a major licensing agreement with Samsung over the use of some its patents on Android-based smartphones and tablets. The deal is similar to what other manufacturers have agreed to, which avoid a court battle. But, there's a requirement of a fixed fee to be paid to Microsoft for every Android device sold. Goldman Sach's tech analyst team think that this number is around $444 million per year.
Goldman estimates that Microsoft receives roughly $3 - $6 per Android device, and calculated the multi-million dollar figure based on the number of Android devices expected to be sold by Microsoft's licensees between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. The companies that Microsoft receive the (virtually free) dollars from are HTC, Acer, U.S. defense contractor General Dynamics Itronix, Onkyo, Velocity Micro, ViewSonic and Wistron, and Samsung, which yesterday became the latest licensee.
Microsoft claims that certain Android features contain technologies over which it owns patents. Considering that two of the largest Android device makers have agreed to pay royalties which puts some concrete into this claim. The only one in the US without a license from Microsoft is Motorola Mobility, in which the two are in court battling it out.
Intel and IBM have announced a $4.4 billion investment which is being put into a manufacturing plant to create the next-generation of cutting-edge computer chip technology. It's all being done in New York, with a five-year investment expected to generated and retain 6,900 jobs paying an average of $100,000. Gov. Cuomo who was previously suing Intel, where he filed an anti-trust lawsuit against them, has done a 180-degree turn and has now called this new move "a really, really big deal" and part of his effort to "create a more confident environment for doing business in New York".
The aforementioned lawsuit included Cuomo - as attorney general - trying to sue Intel for trying to monopolize the computer chip industry. He charged Intel with violated state and federal anti-trust laws by trying to keep a monopoly over the market for microprocessors, which as most people know are the heart of computers and servers alike. The suit charged Intel with paying computer makers billions of dollars in exchange for using the company's microprocessors instead of competing products from AMD.
The suit is currently pending with Intel back in May filing three motions seeking to have the suit dismissed.
AMD, the second largest PC chip manufacturer, has lowered their third quarter revenue projections citing issues with the 32nm chip production at its German Foundry. AMD now expects its revenue to increase by 4 - 6% on top of their second quarter earnings, down from the 10% that they originally forecasted earlier in the year. In response to this news, AMD shares fell by 7.8% to $5.88 during extended trading yesterday.
AMD have not only been having issues with their 32nm chips, but they have also commented that its 45nm chip supply was also experiencing issues as the two processes share some common toold in manufacturing. The Dresden-based manufacturing firm, GlobalFoundries, which AMD have an 11% stake in, is uses for their manufacturing operations. Poor yields of chips due to production problems seem to be AMD's biggest issue right now.
In a survey taken last month, 43% of all smartphone owners have an Android-based device. But over the last three months, more than half (56%) chose an Android-powered smartphone. The preferences of these so-called "recent acquirers" are important as they are often a leading indicator of where the market is headed. Of course, Apple's iOS remains popular sitting firmly in second place with 28% of all smartphone users and the same percentage among those who recently acquired a new device.
Apple is about to launch their iPhone 5, so things could change. But over in the Android-laden camp, things are also changing. Google are about to launch Ice Cream Sandwich, their next-gen Android OS which is meant to blend their smartphone and tablets OS into a single, dominating OS. Things could swing either way, but right now it seems as though Google are Apple's only competition right now. And while it's "competition", it seems Apple are the ones chasing the tail of Google and they're further down the path than they let you believe.
Were HP lurking eBay looking for a new CEO? It could be a possibility. Former eBay CEO, Meg Whitman, is now the CEO and President of Hewlett-Packard. Current non-executive, Ray Lane, will become executive chairman. Whitman is a well-known executive, will replace HP's current Leo Apotheker, who was prodded out of the company just recently. Whitman is an experienced digital executive, has a large task ahead of her.
HP wants to re-direct itself after numerous strategic gaffes, disappointing financial results and probably the biggest issue, stock that has dropped 47-percent in 11 months since Apotheker was head of the ship. The board of HP is hoping Whitman can turn this all around, with ever-increasing pressure from the competition.
Check out the official press release from HP.
It was the HP CEO yesterday, now Rick Bergman, head of AMD's Products Group has left the company. CEO Rory Read will take over in the meantime. Bergman joined AMD from ATI after the 2006 merger, where he went from Senior VP of AMD's Graphics Product Group to head of the Products Group for AMD when they combined their graphics and microprocessor businesses in May 2009.
Bergman is leaving to "pursue a new opportunity", which shows this is an actual resignation rather than "here's the door". AMD has also announced that Paul Struhsaker, who was Comcast's former Senior VP of Engineering has joined AMD's freshly formed Commercial Business Division. Struhsaker has the task to "oversee product management and roadmap planning for AMD's server, high performance computing and embedded products".
Looks like it's VIA's turn to take a stab at the big Apple with Bloomberg reporting VIA's manoeuvre to have filed a patent lawsuit against them over the processors used in Apple's mobile devices.
More specifically, the patent lawsuit targets Apple's custom ARM-based A4 and A5 processors used in recent iOS devices. Namely, these are the iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4, iPhone 4 CDMA, iPod touch 4th generation and Apple TV 2nd generation.
Somehow I don't see the outcome being that Apple will be forced to have all iOS devices in the U.S. pulled. I'm sure many competitors are desperate enough that they would have found a way to make that happen long by now if a clear and strong enough basis for it existed.
In any case, this should prove to be an interesting outcome nonetheless.
In a not so surprising move, Sony have released a mandatory update for the PlayStation 3 which includes changes to the terms of service for the PlayStation Network. The changes make it so users who accept it give up the rights to take part in a class-action lawsuit against them.
The new clauses, termed "Binding Individual Arbitration", mandate that any Dispute Resolution Proceedings, whether in arbitration or court, will be conducted on an individual basis only.
Of course, any outstanding class-action lawsuits filed against Sony still stand, inclusive of the class-action suit filed in April over the PSN security breach. But with this new move, it seems Sony is going further to protect themselves from further litigation should they be hacked in the future. According to some analysts, they are within their legal right to pull this move.
AMD has finally done it! They've found a CEO. AMD today named Rory P. Read as their President and CEO. His previous gigs include previously being President and COO for Lenovo and also 23 years with various roles at IBM. He replaces AMD CFO Thomas Seifert, who will return to his previous role) who had been sitting in the throne after the departure of Dirk Meyer. Read says that he's:
Very pleased to be joining AMD at this important time in its history. AMD is a true innovator and is uniquely positioned to lead the industry forward, delivering the next big thing both within the PC ecosystem and beyond.
Acer has posted their first loss in the history of the company, and has also said it will be impossible to break even for the full year. Acer has been a force to be reckoned with in the low-cost notebook market, but the iPad has cut into PC sales more than expected and has hurt their profits, bad. Acer has since refocused on mobile devices to drive growth a first half that saw the departure of its chief executive following a row over the company's strategy and a series of cuts to its shipment forecasts.
Acer shares were down 2.92-percent on Wednesday, ahead of the earnings announcement. Chairman J. T. Wang told an investor conference that the second-quarter was a "correction period" and the losses were more than expected as Acer cleared up excessive inventory and made severance payments for senior management resignations. Wang said "Today I have to say, trying to break even this year becomes impossible."