Author: Mike Magee

HTC sells factory and land

HTC CEO Cher WangHTC will sell a building and land to Inventec for $174 million.

The troubled Taiwanese smartphone company told the Taipei Times the move was part of its plans to cut costs.

The factory and the land will be bought by Inventec but HTC insisted that the sale won’t affect the company’s ability to produce or to ship products.

People that worked at the factory, which is in Taoyuan, will keep their jobs but move to three other HTC facilities on the island.

The sale is expected to be complete in spring of 2016.

HTC had a troubled 2015, with consecutive losses in its first three financial quarters.

Apple coughs up Italian money

Apple blossom, Mike MageeCupertino  company Apple will  pay the Italian authorities $348 million in back tax.

That’s according to a report from Reuters, which quoted a source close to the matter.

Apple will not only pay $348 million to thee tax office but will be forced to sign a deal which commits it to pay tax from 2015.

While the tax office has confirmed a deal is in the offing, it didn’t say how much Apple would have to pay out.

Apple has a complicated way of accounting that means revenues are booked by an Irish subsidiary.

Other companies, including Amazon and Google, are under investigation for not paying enough taxes in European countries.

Intel speeds up SSD market

Intel bus - Wikimedia CommonsA report said that chip giant Intel will release a new SSD technology in the third quarter of this year which will speed access by seven times.

According to market research company Trendforce, Intel dubs the technology Optane and is a non volatile memory technology.

Trendforce believes the introduction will rattle its competitors including Samsung. Intel will release Optane, which uses a technology called 3D Xpoint, coincidentally with its next generation CPU, Kaby Lake.

Optane SSDs are seven times faster in input and output, and eight times faster for read latency. The products will be released to both high end servers and for PPCs.

The CPU, Kaby Lake, will support the new memory technology.

But the SSDs aren’t going to cheap as chips, at least at first.

Kim Dotcom to face US court

Kim Dotcom, Wikimedia CommonsInternet presence Kim Dotcom will be extradited from New Zealand to the USA to face charges there, a court has ruled.

Dotcom, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand, has vowed to fight the decision to extradite him to the USA.

If he loses, he faces a number of charges including money laundering, copyright breaches and racketeering.

These charges carry hefty penalties in the USA.

Big Content alleges that Dotcom has cost them as much as $500 million.

Three years ago, US enforcers shut down his megaupload.com web site and laid charges against Mr Dotcom, who changed his surname from Schmitz to reflect the zeitgeist.

Notebook vendors face fresh challenges

_asustek_and_amd_new_partnership_to_boost_upcoming_desktop_apuA report said that Chinese entrants into the notebook market in Western Europe and the USA will pose new challenges to existing vendors.

Digitimes said that Xiaomi and Huawei will launch products in the more “mature” markets next year, giving HP, Dell, Lenovo and the other traditional players a run for their money.

The same report suggested that Samsung is preparing a fresh foray into the notebook market soon after it withdrew from the fray last year.

And it suggests there is pressure on Taiwanese giants Acer and Asustek to merge in face of declining sales in the notebook sector. Acer is firmly against such a move.

Lenovo is in the doldrums, while Digitimes said in its report that Toshiba and Fujitsu are likely to consign their notebook lines to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP).

JIP had previously taken over Sony’s notebook business, once one of the corporation’s jewels in its crown.

The Beatles forgive Apple, at last

The Beatles in 1964 - Wikimedia CommonsPopular pop combo the Beatles wants to hold hands with Apple at last. It will offer its songs on Apple Music as well as Spotify.

According to Bloomberg, the agency representing the Beatles will make available streaming music including Help!, Revolver and others of its top hits on Apple, Deezer, Spotify and Google Play.

Although Apple Corp settled its differences with Apple Inc many years ago, the agency representing the Beatles had held out against streaming music because there’s less profits from the online playing of music.

But the agency representing the Fab Four has finally realised that it can’t hold out against the tide of online music and people increasingly don’t bother with buying CDs.

Strangely, hipsters are interested in buying vinyl music, although they don’t play the music using old-fangled needles, preferring to use “screaming” services.

Thin clients shipments get slimmer

HP logoIDC reported that the thin and terminal client market fell in the third quarter of 2015 by 6.7 percent.

Budget contraints and a move to use repurposed PCs and Chromebooks affected sales in the third quarter.

IDC said its overall forecast for the year will fall by over six percent compared to 2014.

But the market research company believes that shipments will grow between next year and 2019.

HP kept its lead in the market, with 26.9 percent. But hot on its heels was Dell with a 26 percent share. Ncomputing, Centerm, Igel and others made up the total figure.

HP’s share fell by 8.2 percent in the quarter, while Dell fell by 10.6 percent.

LED industry targets car market

accidentcarinwashingtondcStiff competition in the LED business means the industry wants to sell more of their products into the automotive market.

Market research firm Trendforce estimates the the automotive LED market could be worth as much as $2.29 billion in 2020.

LEDs used in vehicles will include headlights, directional signals, fog lights and position lights, and Trendforce believes volumes and prices in the automotive market promise stability for manufacturers.

Trendforce said that the total LED volume for vehicles used externally amounted to 2.79 billion nits this year. These devices are high/low beam LEDs, as opposed to standard LEDs.

High/low beam LEDs will show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11 percent during 2015 to 2020.

Standard power LEDs are in a decline, even in the automotive market. But one exception is so-called automotive instrument clusters – that is to say non mechanical dashboard displays.

Samsung to make chips for AMD

AMD logoA South Korean newspaper reported that Samsung’s semiconductor division will manufacture processors for AMD in 2016 using 14 nanometre technology.

AMD’s own semiconductor manufacturing was sold several years ago and is now called GlobalFoundries (GloFo).

GloFo as well as Taiwanese company TSMC currently make CPUs and GPUs for AMD.

But, according to the Korean newspaper, Electronic Times, GloFo won’t be ruled out of the equation and will work together with Samsung to produce the semiconductors.

Samsung already manufactures chips for other firms including Nvidia and Apple.

Government proposes filters for school kids

IBM PCUK education secretary Nicky Morgan has proposed plans meaning that schools will have to install online filters in a bid to stop kids from accessing terrorist sites.

The proposed what schools and colleges do and and rules they must comply with to keep kids safe.

Morgan’s document suggests that every school and college should appoint a watchdog to make sure the rules are complied with.

The UK government fears children may be radicalised online and that’s why it is setting out the proposed changes to the rule.

The document said that because colleges and schools do more work online, “it is essential that they be safeguarded from potentially harmful and inappropriate online material”.

It said kids should not be able to access this information from schools’ IT systems. Schools should also have a clear policy about mobile technology.