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It looks like nVidia's latest round of rebranding might come back to hurt them. In a move that many are saying is very misleading nV is rebranding the G92b (same chip that is going into the GTS240/250) as the GTX260 and GTX280 mobile.
Now it is nothing new for companies to rebrand, ATi, nVidia, Via just about everyone does it to some degree. Where the problem starts is that nVidia is labeling the G92b with the same naming convention as a much more advanced part. (GT200). This means that people searching for reviews or information on the GTX280M will also get reviews of the desktop part which is miles above the 55nm chip that will be used in the mobile part.
As of this writing there are rumblings of class actions suits and even legal action from states over this.
Read more here at Theo Valich's Blog.
If Nvidia labeled their mobile parts as GTS240/250, nobody would notice - because it would be a case of rebranding (in all honesty, ATI isn't a saint there either, branding some Mobility Radeon 2000 parts as 3000 series and then rebranding some 3000 chips into 4000). But in this case, the company is deliberately naming GTS240/260 as already shipping desktop parts - GTX260 and 280, both based on GT200 chip.
The list of differences doesn't stop there - we have a GTX280 consisting out of 128 shader processors (GTX280M), or 240 (the original GTX280), different memory controllers (256-bit vs. 512-bit) and the list goes on.
The potential legal part lies in the fact that if consumer types something like "GeForce GTX 280 notebook" in "accepted way of finding information relevant to consumer" such as search engines - consumer will find information and glowing reviews about desktop parts and potentially form a wrong opinion/expectation about the product itself. This is a slippery slope that none of IT companies slipped on, but as computers became a commodity, you can expect more and more watchdogs looking into the land of (rebranded) silicon.
Toshiba announced plans to acquire Fujitsu's hard drive business. The aquisition would make Toshiba the fourth largest global HDD manufacturer, behind Hitachi, Western Digital, and Seagate. Toshiba would still have to increase worldwide sales after the merger by at least 3% to topple Hitachi as the third largets HDD manufacturer.
Toshiba said it plans to purchase about 80% of Fujitsu's storage division in the first part of its 2009 fiscal year and that Fujitsu will continue to hold less than a 20% stake for "a certain period of time."
This should give Toshiba a huge leg up in the 2.5" and 1.8" hdd markets, both with conventional hard drives and SSD's. The purchase price has not been disclosed but it has been estimated the purchase will set Toshiba back at lease $1 billion.
Transmeta is once and for all a thing of the past as they were finally purchased by a Novafora.
This Israeli based Novafora has been around since 2004 and, according to their website, is devoted to delivering highest quality video on any display device, at anytime and anywhere. To do this they plan to build a family of video processors that are optimized for video and networks.
Having acquired Transmeta, the failed brain child of Linus Torvalds, they have some unique IP at their disposal. Looks like the system-on-chip market got some new competition.
Yesterday we published an article titled "BFG, A sinking ship?" and today spent a great deal of time following up with industry sources to uncover a tail spun out of deception and unethical business practices. For many months now a steady yet quiet flow of information has passed through the insider world of the industry, all leaving a negative impression of BFG and where the company is headed. At this point it is too early to draw a definitive line back to the sources of misinformation because it looks more like a draw by numbers picture than a clear snap shot.
Today we touched base with John Malley, Sr. Director of Marketing at BFG Technology Inc. John was very open to discussing both public and private information about the company and many of the sources he believes started this flow of negative information.
"We have caught a few of our competitors trying to compete on unethical grounds in the past and even confronted one individual." More disturbing is that the current bad press appears to come from BFG's own back yard. "Two former BFG employees left on terms left than ideal and have taken it upon themselves to contribute additional misinformation."
This explains the many months of behind the scenes chit chat that has been passing around the industry. To be fair BFG is not the only company that has been the target of the rumor mill in recent months and with the economy is a state of disarray they will not be the last.
When asked about the Best Buy Galaxy press release that was published yesterday John informed us that Galaxy will only carry a couple of low priced SKUs in the retail giant. He went on to say that since BFG focuses on the high end the Galaxy / Best Buy deal should not affect BFG and that Best Buy has been very satisfied with the company. This was later verified at Bestbuy.com and we only see GeForce 8400 GS and 7200 GS cards listed as of today. This is a far cry from the Galaxy invasion we heard about yesterday from sources close to Best Buy.
John went into further details about BFG's 2008 profits, "2008 brought the highest profits to date for BFG and we are not going away anytime soon."
We are certainly glad to hear it and wish BFG the best of luck in 2009.
Despite statements to the contrary earlier in the quarter AMD has now issued a warning that its revenue will be lower than expected.
The warning states a possible 25% drop in revenue due to the slow market. This includes a comment that AMD is missing out on the netbook market due to a lack of participation in that segment.
Read the more here.
On Dec. 4 the chipmaker drastically cut its sales outlook, saying fourth-quarter revenue will drop about 25% from the third quarter's $1.59 billion.
AMD blamed a cratering in demand for chips used in personal computers and servers, the machines that run corporate networks. The company cited "weaker-than-expected demand across all geographies and businesses, particularly in the consumer market." The company is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Jan. 22. Its warning comes three weeks after a similarly dire outlook from rival Intel (INTC), which cut the low end of its revenue forecast by $1.4 billion on Nov. 12 (BusinessWeek.com, 11/12/08).
More iPhone legal woes are popping up. This time it is the browser that is being subjected to litigation.
EMG Technologies is seeking damages as well as future royalties from the fruity company. All this over the way Safari Browses around the internet.
As the title of the EMG Technologies' patent suggests "Apparatus and Method of Manipulating a Region on a Wireless Device Screen for Viewing, Zooming and Scrolling Internet Content" it seems they have a lot of ground covered.
Read more over at TG Daily here.
Since Apple uses technology outlined in EMG's patent and since Apple does not have a license to the technology, EMG claims that it has "has suffered damage in an amount to be proved at trial." EMG also said that "Apple threatens to continue to engage in the acts complained of herein and, unless restrained and enjoined, will continue to do so, all to Plaintiff's irreparable injury."
In the suit, EMG asks the court to confirm that its patent is valid and enforceable and that Apple has infringed on the patent; to prevent Apple from infringing on its patent; to order Apple to report how it will comply with the injunction within 30 days and to award damage, "including a reasonable
royalty and/or lost profits" as well as "pre-judgment and post-judgment interest."
Straight off of the rumor mill comes the rumblings of mergers out of Old Taipei.
According to Digitimes, due to the economic troubles of the past few months many manufactures are having overstock problems. This has caused many to restructure and introduce inventory control measures at the Tier One level. In some Tier Two cases the thoughts of mergers have arisen as a method for survival
The gloomy news can be found here
First-tier makers Asustek Computer, Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International (MSI) have already cut capacity and started inventory control measures.
Some second-tier makers are reportedly considering merging with other makers if performance in the next 3-6 months does not pick up. Some have also stopped production and are currently selling off inventory from the second and third quarters with no concrete schedule for restocking.
It's become apparent that Western Digital are looking to broaden their wings further and are currently in discussion with Fujitsu over the possible acquisition of their hard drive business, which would in turn give them a substantial boost in the mobile HDD market.
According to Japanese news-paper Nikkei, which is quoted by IDG News Service, Western Digital plans to acquire Fujitsu's HDD business unit along with plants in Japan, the Philippines and Thailand for ¥70 billion to ¥100 billion (US$661 million to US$944 million). At present the companies are still in talks, but if everything goes well, the agreement is expected to be reached by the end of 2008.
Western Digital commanded 22.5% of the HDD market in 2007, according to IDC, whereas market share of Fujitsu was 7.1%. Even though the combined company (with 29.6% of the market) would not be able to beat Seagate Technologies, which supplied about 35% last year, but Fujitsu has a lot of experience in making hard drives for mobile computers, which would automatically make WD much stronger overall.
You can read the full story at XBit Labs. Of course, both Western Digital and Fujitsu are yet to confirm its authenticity or likeliness of a deal being made.
Hot off the press, Digitimes is reporting that ABIT may begin phasing out its motherboard business after evaluating the success of its forthcoming Intel 4 series lineup of motherboard products. ABIT shipped three million motherboards in 2007 and while that may sound like a large number, it's a mere fraction of what the likes of ASUS and GIGABYTE ship. It had a goal of shipping six million motherboards this year but has since reduced its forecast.
While the report does mention that ABIT is maintaining it does not know anything about the speculation and will continue to develop motherboard products, it wouldn't be a surprise. ABIT's current batch of new motherboards haven't been that exciting and we even saw a motherboard released recently which didn't even include solid capacitors. ABIT used to be the one setting the trends in motherboard technology but now it is clear they are falling behind the eight ball.
We can partly confirm these claims as we have heard first hand that ABIT is already laying off staff and one long time and loyal staff member was not even phoned but sent a letter with the bad news.
Is this the beginning of the end for ABIT? We'll dig for more news during Computex next week.
Ryan Shrout over at PC Perspective is reporting live from an Nvidia press event in its San Jose HQ that Nvidia has acquired RayScale Software, a startup based out of the University of Utah that has built a hybrid renderer.
Ryan says that "... We are obviously very early into the news cycle and will be trying to get more information on what NVIDIA plans to do with this new acquisition. I can tell you that you won't see these techniques in games for some time - both the software and hardware need time to mature and be optimized; but it is coming.
The RayScale group purchase is brand new, and in fact the press release for this announcement won't hit until later today or tomorrow at the best."
This is a rather interesting turn of events especially with Nvidia and Intel currently at war over current and future CPU and GPU technologies.