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On Thursday last week, a US judge ruled that Twitter must release the details of Icelandic MP and former WikiLeaks volunteer Birgitta Jonsdottir's Twitter account and those of two other Twitter users linked to WikiLeaks.
Jonsdottir learned that in January of 2011, her Twitter account was being watched by the Justice Department because of her involvement last year with WikiLeaks' release of a view showing a US military helicopter shooting two Reuters reporters in Iraq. Jonsdottir believes the US authorities want to use her information to try and build a solid case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Foxconn have gone through their share of troubles over the years, with 17 employees having committed suicide over the past five years. Foxconn have recently announced they are building a $223 million "robot kingdom" in the Central Taiwan Science Park in the Taiwanese City of Taichung.
The research and development center and manufacturing hub is part of chairman Terry Gou's ambitious plan to build one million robots. Yes, build. One. Million. Robots. Last I heard Foxconn weren't called Skynet, so this is a pretty huge development. According to a September report by the International Federation of Robotics (FDR), the world is on track to reach 1.3 million operating industrial robots by 2014.
British research firm Ovum has forecasted that digital game revenues worldwide are sit to break $24 billion for 2011, an increase of 16-percent from 2010. Ovum predict that overall revenues will continue to climb, reaching $53 billion in 2016 as more casual, social and mobile games flood the market, as well as the increasing popularity of the free-to-play (F2P) business model.
Telecommunications companies are going to have to play catch-up with bandwidth demands set to skyrocket with the increasing use of constant connections and data streaming with services such as OnLive. Games will only get bigger as time goes on, which is another factor.
Ovum has noted certain trends that contribute to their forecast such as the "casualization" of hardcore games. Their example uses Kinect, which they feel helped make games such as Forza 4 more accessible to casual games and helped Xbox Live revenues grow 19-percent from last year. Ovum also credits casual games for fueling the growth of mobile games, and they expect mobile gaming revenues to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 26-percent between 2011 and 2016.
NVIDIA reported their quarterly earnings on Thursday which were ahead of what analysts were expecting. NVIDIA earned $178.3 million, or 29 cents per share, on revenue of $1.07 billion for the three months ending October 30.
NVIDIA were expected to post earnings of around 26 cents per share, with revenues of $1.06 billion, according to First Call. For the current quarter, green-team NVIDIA said it sees its revenue staying roughly flat from the current quarter, give or take a percentage or two. Gross margins are expected to be steady or up half a percent.
CEO and can-of-whoop-ass-tattoo-armed Jen-Hsun Huang said in a statement:
NVIDIA's strategy is coming into its own, as the world becomes increasingly visual and mobile. Our GPU business accelerated in the third quarter, driven by strong demand from gamers and the professional market. And our mobile business benefited from new devices coming onto the market.
Apple are now required to provide Samsung with contracts to Australian mobile phone carriers Telstra, Optus and Vodafone as ruled by Judge Annabel Bennet. The ruling is in relation to an assertion in Samsung's patent lawsuit against Apple carriers are obliged by the terms of the contract to subsidize iPhone sales.
Samsung are still waiting for the source code for the iPhone 4S firmware, which will support its case that Apple are infringing on their patents for wireless transmissions. Apple has handed in over 220 pages of documents in relation to the source code but Samsung have said that the source code disclosure wasn't enough because a single file was missing.
I wonder if you look under the latest Jet, Rocket Launcher or M16 if it would say "Made in China", because at the end of the day - a lot of the parts that go into the high-end military arms are built in China. A story has come about that the US Senate Armed Services Committee said its researchers had uncovered 1,800 cases in which the Pentagon had been sold electronics that may be counterfeit.
In total, the committee has said that they found more than a million fake parts that have made their way into warplanes such as the Boeing C-17 transport jet and the Lockheed Martin C-130J "Super Hercules." The problem with this is, it could be everywhere without the US military knowing, as they also found fake components in Boeing's CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter as well as the Theatre High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile defence system.
And so begins the problems for Nikon, again. After having issues at the beginning of the year with the Japanese tsunami, Nikon have been hit again with the Thailand floods. Nikon (Thailand) Co., Ltd., have released a new statement regarding their manufacturing plant in Ayutthaya Province located in Central Thailand.
Nikon state that damages to the first floor of all buildings continues to be submerged. Operations at the factory have been suspended since October 6th with no human "damage" reported. Water levels have reportedly lowered by roughly 40 centimeters from the highest period at measuring points in the Park.
Business-wise, Nikon expect it to hit them quite hard with their estimates of financial damage sitting at 65 billion yen ($830 million) in sales, and 25 billion yen ($320 million) in income. Nikon also deeply apologize for any inconveniences caused by the disaster, and short supply of their products.
Well, this is beginning to get interesting. Apple are positioning themselves nicely right now, trying to secure HDD stock and supply. The story unfolds as an explanation of how business works, which helps explain Apple's position. Explaining it as a purchasing system, which creates huge advantages for the biggest, cashed-up companies, such as Apple.
Each buyer has a certain amount of money (and power) and can place big orders that the supplier could not ignore. So if the buy says "Forget everyone else you are dealing with, I want to order 1.2 million units in 2011 and I'd like them dropped off with me at the rate of 100,000 a month, but I won't be buying them until I sell them...Oh, yes, and I won't pay for them until 3 months after I sell them", then the supplier has no choice buy to drop their pants and bend over. (KitGuru's words, but they were so good I had to use them).
Dell have been doing this for years and countless other companies, too. Both sides are aware of the practice, and are compliant with it. But, throw in a massive reduction on supply and the rules are changed, completely. The supplier now has the power and with demand so high everywhere else, it [the supplier] has the power to 'give a story' to its regular customers, while they shop around for massive profits.
Sony have just posted their financial results for Q2 of the current fiscal year, where they've noted significant losses in profit for its Consumer Products & Services, which is where the PlayStation products live and breathe. Sony explained that the loss was due to a number of factors, including the deterioration in the cost of sales ratio as a result of the price reduction on the PlayStation 3 earlier this year.
Other factors that led to losses, were the decline in sales of the video game business, LCD televisions and foreign exchange rates. But, during the quarter, Sony sold a total of 3.7 million PlayStation 3 units compared to 3.5 million in the same quarter of the last fiscal year. The PSP also saw a spike in sales, up to 1.7 million units compared to 1.5 million year-on-year. PlayStation 2 sales dropped from 1.5 million to 1.2 million.
The flooding in Thailand is set to cause an even more drastic shortage of hard drives according to researchers at iSuppli. Roughly 660,000 Thailand residents are out of work after the country shut down 14,000 factories, including those that Western Digital and Seagate use. Shipments of hard drives are set to decline 27.7-percent from 173 million units in Q3, down to 125 million in Q4.
Both WD and Seagate have adjusted their shipment estimates, as well as raising prices to meet revenue forecasts. Average hard drive prices will increase by 10-percent according to iSuppli (not here in Australia where we're seeing a near 100-percent increase), but certain models have increased by as much as 20 to 40-percent. WD has been more directly impacted by the flooding, with analysts reporting that they will lose market share to Seagate, who has roughly double the shipment forecast for the current quarter.
Of course, there are stock reservers by most vendors to avoid disruption in desktop and notebook shipments for months, but ASUS aren't so fortunate. ASUS expects to ship 4.1 million notebooks, 600,000 Eee Pads and 1.2 million Eee PCs in Q4 2011, down from 4.3 million, 800,000 and 1.3 million in Q3. Part of that forecasted decline can be blamed on the production halt in Thailand.