Category: Business

Woz predicts dystopian future with Apple still there

The founder of Apple is predicting a dystopian future where Jobs’ Mob, Google and Facebook rule a world which lives in deserts.

The theme of next weekend’s Silicon Valley Comic Con (SVCC), “The Future of Humanity: Where Will We Be in 2075?” Woz, who predicted the rise of portable laptops said that in 58 years, Apple will be still around.

“Apple will be around a long time, like IBM (which was founded in 1911). Look at Apple’s cash ($246.1 billion, as of the end of its last fiscal quarter). It can invest in anything. It would be ridiculous to not expect them to be around (in 2075). The same goes for Google and Facebook.”

Other areas will not be great either. There will be new cities in deserts which could be ideal locations for cities of the future, designed and built from scratch. People will shuttle among domed structures. Special wearable suits will allow people to venture outside, he said.

AI will be ubiquitous, Wozniak says. Like a scene straight from the movie Minority Report, consumers will interact with smart walls and other surfaces to shop, communicate and be entertained. Medical devices will enable self-diagnosis and doctor-free prescriptions, he says. “The question will be ethical, on whether we can eliminate the need for physicians,” he says.

Woz is convinced a colony will exist on the Red Planet. Echoing the sentiments of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose Blue Origin start-up has designs on traveling to Mars, Wozniak envisions Earth zoned for residential use and Mars for heavy industry.

Wozniak says there is a “random chance” that Earthlings will communicate with another race. “It’s worth trying,” he says, “but I don’t have high hopes”.

Oracle forced to pay back taxes

Multinational tech giant Oracle has been charged $293 million for corporate tax evasion in South Korea.

The $293 million charge is made up of back taxes, as well as a punitive charge from the government tax agency.

Oracle was told of the tax debt in January last year, when the National Tax Service charged Oracle with evasion of corporate tax payments from 2008-2014.

The outfit was accused of funnelling revenues to Ireland to avoid paying taxes in South Korea. In an audit of the company’s books, the tax authority found that Oracle had channelled profits generated in South Korea to an Irish subsidiary.

It was found that those funds profited the company’s headquarters in the United States.

Because of this, the NTS figured out that Oracle should have paid taxes on profits generated in South Korea to the South Korean government.

 

EFF sues Aussie patent troll

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has sued an Australian patent troll which it previously awarded the  “Stupid Patent of the Month: Storage Cabinets on a Computer.”

Last year Global Equity Management (SA) Pty. Ltd. (GEMSA), managed to get an Australian court to order EFF to remove the post, but the EFF told the court to sod off.

In January 2017, Pasha Mehr, an attorney representing GEMSA, further demanded that the article be removed and that EFF pay $750,000. EFF still did not comply.

Instead it filed in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday, and asks that the American court declare the Australian ruling unenforceable in the US, because the Australian ruling runs afoul of free speech protections granted under the United States Constitution.

GEMSA attorneys have threatened to take this Australian court order to American search engine companies to deindex the blog post, making the post harder to find online.

The EFF’s Stupid Patent of the Month campaign began back in August of 2014.  GEMSA won the title with US Patent No. 6,690,400 (the ’400 patent), claims the idea of using “virtual cabinets” to graphically represent data storage and organisation.

GEMSA is incorporated in Australia and appears to have no business other than patent litigation. The patent began its life with a company called Flash VOS. This company once offered a product that allowed users to run multiple operating systems on personal computers with x86-compatible processors.

In the past year, GEMSA has sued dozens of companies, ranging from Airbnb to Zillow. In each case, it makes the assertion that the defendant’s website infringes the ’400 patent. For example, it simply states that “AIRBNB maintains, controls and/or operates a website with a graphical user interface (“GUI”) at www.airbnb.com that infringes one or more claims of the ‘400 patent”.

In his initial letter to EFF dated August 26, 2016, Mehr dubbed the blog post as “defamatory, false, and malicious slander”.

By October 2016, GEMSA’s director, Schumann Rafizadeh said that if the article was not immediately removed from EFF.ORG, and the defendant otherwise publishes or broadcasts the statements, GEMSA will sustain irreparable damage to its reputation and credibility.

The article’s continued publication and circulation through various common web search engines and other such websites is continuing to damage the reputation and credibility of GEMSA, which it critically relies upon for its negotiations and ongoing discussions for the licensing arrangements and our Intellectual Property (IP), including the referenced patent.

In other words ,if EFF says it is just a patent troll it might make it harder to squeeze money from other companies. Indeed, in a second affidavit, Rafizadeh admitted that its business and legal tactics were meeting some resistance for the first time. US Defendants have joined and instated two lnterparte Proceedings against GEMSA in the United States.

As EFF has made no appearance before an Australian court, GEMSA was likely able to be granted the default judgement against the organization—the removal of the purportedly offending blog post. Six months later, the EFF post remains.

Investors fear Samsung might be over stretching itself

While Samsung is set to deliver huge profits this year, some investors are already starting to fret the tech giant will soon become a victim of its own success.

The outfit has a market capitalisation of $293 billion and is Asia’s most valuable company. Its shares have jumped 60 percent since end-2015, hitting a record high in late March.

Wall Street analysts are predicting that high chip prices continuing at least through to the end of this year, and the launch of a new flagship smartphone this month reviving its mobile business after last year’s Galaxy Note 7 fires.

But shareholders are less excited than they should be. The Stock is only up three percent since April and some investors are questioning the company’s long-term growth potential and whether it can maintain the double-digit profit growth expected this year.

Samsung’s operating profit is expected to grow just 5.5 percent next year compared to 61 percent in 2017, according to the average forecast from a Thomson Reuters survey of 16 analysts.

This is because most of Samsung’s growth has been the booming memory chip market, with prices for both DRAM and NAND chips soaring. Researcher IHS expects 2017 memory industry revenues to leap 32 percent to a record $104 billion this year.

But this growth will not be repeated, analysts say, with more production capacity coming online to alleviate the bottleneck. IHS projects 2018 memory industry revenue to grow by just 3 percent to $107 billion.

Brexit Blighty bets on batteries

The UK government has awarded millions of pounds to help boost manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries, including a project to build the country’s second purpose-built electric battery plant and another to make the tech more powerful.

Williams Advanced Engineering has received funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) and will make batteries for the likes of luxury car-maker Aston Martin.

APC’s Director of Technology and Projects Jon Beasley said the project will further develop and make available battery systems in order to overcome significant supply chain gaps in the UK.

Carmakers want to build greener cars and improve charge times in a bid to meet rising customer demand and fulfill air quality targets, but since the UK’s manufacturing was destroyed in the 1980s, Britain lacks sufficient manufacturing capacity.

Now the government wants to build that up again. Nissan builds batteries and its electric Leaf model at its north of England plant in Sunderland but others have opted to build their low-emissions models elsewhere, including Britain’s biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover.

In a separate project, the motorsports division of Germany’s BMW will partner with the University of Warwick and another firm to design, develop and produce power dense batteries in Britain, the APC said.

BMW’s Mini brand is due to decide this year whether to build its first electric model at its southern English plant in Oxford.

Britain’s business ministry said it had allocated over £100 million ($124 million) in investment in multiple projects including with U.S. carmaker Ford and in the development of lightweight technologies at Jaguar Land Rover.

LeEco calls off Vizio sale

China’s conglomerate LeEco has abandoned its plans to buy US telly maker Vizio for $2 billion.

The move was announced last year and would have given LeEco a foothold in the Land of the Fee. The company wants to expand its business beyond Chinese market.

Now it seems that the deal has folded due to “regulatory headwinds.”
In a statement, the companies said:”We continue to believe that there is great synergy between the two companies, and are pleased to announce that LeEco and Vizio have reached an agreement that is a win for both companies … LeEco and Vizio will continue to explore opportunities to incorporate the Le app and content within the Vizio connected CE platform, and engage in a collaborative partnership to leverage LeEco’s ecosystem user interface platform, along with the brand’s exclusive content and distribution channels, to bring Vizio products to the China market.”

However there could be other reasons both companies have been getting bad news lately. LeEco is struggling financially and earlier this month it was reported that the company had delayed payroll for its US employees. Vizio was fined the company $2.2 million by the FTC to settle a case involving the TVs’ data collection techniques.

Qualcomm swings handbag at Apple

Chipmaker Qualcomm has replied to the fruity, tax-dodging cargo-cult Apple’s allegation that it has been playing monopoly by swinging a handbag of its own.

It claimed that the iPhone maker breached agreements with the firm and encouraged regulatory attacks on its business in various jurisdictions around the world by making false statements.

Apple had filed the lawsuit accusing Qualcomm of overcharging for chips and refusing to pay some $1 billion in promised rebates. The lawsuit came days after the US government accused the chipmaker of resorting to anticompetitive tactics to maintain a monopoly over key semiconductors in mobile phones.

In a statement, Qualcomm said that Apple has launched a global attack on Qualcomm and is attempting to use its enormous market power to coerce unfair and unreasonable licence terms from Qualcomm.

Qualcomm filed counterclaims to Apple’s lawsuit with the US District Court for the Southern District of California.

The chipmaker said in the statement that Apple interfered in its agreements with licensees that manufacture iPhones and iPads.

Qualcomm also said Apple threatened it in an attempt to prevent it from making any public comparisons about the superior performance of the Qualcomm-powered iPhones, and misrepresented performance differences between iPhones using Qualcomm modems and those using competitor-supplied modems.

Apple has filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm in Beijing, alleging the chip supplier abused its clout in the chip industry and seeking $145.32 million in damages.

Microsoft boosts Windows 10 upgrade savings claims

Microsoft has boosted its claim of how much enterprises can save by deploying Windows 10 by 28 percent.

The revised estimate came from a Microsoft-commissioned analysis first done in mid-2016 by Forrester Research.

Forrester said the per-worker savings over a three-year stretch would be $404. To reach that number, the research firm interviewed four Microsoft customers that had begun moving to Windows 10, then modelled a hypothetical organization with 24,000 Windows devices, and a large number of mobile workers among the 20,000 employees.  It then divided that number by its shoe size and multiplied it by the cheque that Microsoft had given it.

Using that pretend company, Forrester forecast the difference between running Windows 10 and retaining Windows 7.

Late last year, Forrester interviewed another quartet of Windows early 10 adopters, then added that data to what it had originally.

The new per-employee savings: $515 over three years, a jump of almost a third. Forrester’s increase in the number of mobile workers — the total climbed by 460 employees — was the biggest factor in the changed estimate.

Forrester and Microsoft said that the migration to Windows 10 would pay for itself in 14 months.

The report says IT administrators “estimate a 20per cent improvement in management time, as Windows 10 requires less IT time to install, manage, and support with in-place deployment and more self-service functions”, while because of the OSs security software, security events requiring IT remediation are reduced or avoided by 33 percent.

Slice of Tosh tellies might go to Turkey

Turkey’s Vestel is in talks to buy the television unit of Japan’s troubled Toshiba.

An unnamed official for the Turkish maker of electronics and home appliances has confirmed that his company has put in a bid for cash strapped Tosh’s telly business.

Tosh needs the cash. Toshiba, a televisions-to-construction conglomerate expects to book a net loss of about $9 billion for the year that ended in March, due to a writedown related to cost overruns at its US nuclear unit Westinghouse that recently went bankrupt.

It has already said that it will flog off its profit making chip business, but no one really expected its tellies to go Turkish, or that it could find a buyer for its TV business.

Vestel last year signed a five-year agreement with Toshiba, giving it the right to produce and sell televisions under the Toshiba brand in Europe. It is not clear if the Toshiba brand in Europe will get the works, if the deal goes ahead that will be no-body’s business but the Turks.

 

LG does better than expected


LG
has estimated that its first-quarter operating profit rose 82 percent to its highest in nearly eight years.

The news surprised the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street who had expected things to be better for the troubled manufacturer but not that good.

LG said its January-March operating profit was $812.62 million and the highest since the second quarter of 2009.

Revenue for the quarter likely rose 9.7 percent, the firm said.

Earlier in the day, Samsung estimated the January-March period will produce its best quarterly profit in more than three years, beating expectations and putting it on track for record annual earnings on the back of a memory chip super-cycle.

Though LG did not elaborate on its forecasts, analysts say LG’s mobile business likely turned an operating loss for the eighth straight quarter. Sales of its new G6 flagship smartphone began in March and will not provide meaningful contributions until the second quarter.

Still, some analysts said losses likely were smaller in January-March as LG’s new lower-tier products fared better and the company reduced marketing spending.