Tag: China

Tim Cook to tell Chinese to stop mucking Apple about

Kenneth-WilliamFruity cargo cult leader Tim Cook has had enough of the Chinese government mucking his company about and is going over there himself to tell them how they are supposed to behave.

The Chinese have been downright rude to Apple lately and forbidden them to run their Apple music and other entertainment packages. Cook wants to tell them that being a government they have to do what Apple tells them – just like the American government does.

Cook is going to Beijing later this month to meet high-level government officials. He often goes to China but things are starting to look a little dire for Apple behind the Bamboo curtain so these talks are a little more important.

The Chinese are no longer buying as many iPhones, and the outfit can’t even win a court case over the trademark for the Apple name. But the biggest deal is the suspension of some of its online entertainment services.

All this is making people think that Apple has run out of ideas and will no longer continue to make funny money by charging more for less.  Last week, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn flogged his entire stake in Apple, citing China’s economic slowdown and worries about whether the government could make it very difficult for Apple to conduct business.

Cook plans to meet senior government and Communist Party leaders, including officials in charge of propaganda. It is not clear what he will tell them.

Under President Xi Jinping, China is also trying to shift away from its dependence on foreign technology, especially in critical sectors like banking and insurance. Foreign businesses have staunchly opposed new regulations that they say threaten to cut them out of such industries.

Apple’s refusal provide source code to help them crack open the iPhone that was linked to a mass shooting in San Bernardino has made the Chinese think the company might try the same antics with them.  In China, Apple claims it has been asked by authorities in the last two years to hand over its source code but the company refused.  If this is true then it is hard to see why Apple is still operating in China at all.

 

Apple loses iPhone exclusivity in China

apple-dalek-2Fruity cargo cult, Apple must share the name “iPhone” trademark with a Beijing-based leather products maker Xintong Tiandi Technology (XTT).

The Beijing Municipal High People’s Court rejected an Apple appeal of an earlier ruling, according to Quartz. Xintong Tiandi is already selling a number of “IPHONE” products, including purses, passport cases, and most notably phone cases.

XTT registered its trademark in China in 2007, the same year as the Apple iPhone launched in the United States. But Apple did not register the name in China until five years later. At the time Apple had not seen China as the great white hope for its bottom line.

In 2013 the government ruled that because Apple couldn’t prove the name “IPHONE” was well-known prior to Xintong Tiandi’s registration, the public wouldn’t link its use in a way that would harm Apple interests. In rejecting Apple’s appeal, the High People’s Court further pointed out that Jobs’ Mob didn’t sell the iPhone in mainland China until 2009.

Apple has not been doing well in China. In 2012, for instance, it was ordered to pay $60 million in a trademark dispute over the term “iPad.” In April, two of Apple’s online storefronts — iTunes Movies and the iBooks Store — were shut down by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Chinese are starting to ignore the fruity cargo cult and are starting to buy other cheaper phones instead.

Apple suffers worst week since 2013

main-qimg-b12ab19784276d700467d8bdf085500eApple’s poor business model, which is focused mostly on selling one product which has lower tech than others on the market for more money, is finally being bitten by karma.

Friday ended its worst week on the stock market since 2013 as worries festered about a slowdown in iPhone sales and after influential shareholder Carl Icahn revealed he sold his entire stake.

Shares of Apple have dropped 11 percent in the past five sessions. What is worrying Wall Street is that all those funds which have shedloads of Apple shares because they believed they were always going to rise are suffering.

Confidence in the Cupertino, California company has been shaken since posting its first-ever quarterly decline in iPhone sales and first revenue drop in 13 years. Of course that confidence has been misplaced for the last year, it is not as if they did not have any warning.

The Tame Apple press is claiming that the stock’s relatively low valuation as a key reason to hold onto the stock. Icahn however thinks that Apple has a lot lower to fall mostly because the outfit is going to get a kicking from Chinese authorities.  Apple has been increasingly dependent on China lately because the smartphone industry is fairly saturated in the US.

Revenues from China slumped 26 percent during the March quarter and its iBooks Stores and iTunes Movie service in China were shut down last week after the introduction of new regulations on online publishing.

Over the weekend the Tame Apple Press has been trying to say that shares will pick up when Apple releases a new iPhone 7.  While it might sell, word on the street is that it will not have any new technology onboard and will be pretty much an iPhone 6. Apple seems to think it is a good idea to release a phone with all the new technology next year.

With shareholders jumpy it puts a lot of pressure on the iPhone 7, which even Apple sees as a holding product.

Nvidia teaches a car called Dave to drive itself

Confessions_of_a_Driving_Instructor_FilmPosterAn Nvidia engineering team has built a self-driving car with one camera, one Drive-PX embedded computer and only 72 hours of training data.

Nvidia published an academic preprint of the results of the DAVE2 project entitled End to End Learning for Self-Driving Cars.

DAVE2 is named after a 10-year-old Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project known as DARPA Autonomous Vehicle (DAVE). Coincidently it is also the name of the astronaut in 2001,  a Space Oddessy. The phrase “I can’t do that Dave” is now the blue screen of death”  of robotic history.

The Nvidia team trained a convolutional neural network (CNN) to map raw pixels from a single front-facing camera directly to steering commands. Nvidia’s breakthrough is the autonomous vehicle automatically taught itself by watching how a human drove, the internal representations of the processing steps of seeing the road ahead and steering the autonomous vehicle without explicitly training it to detect features such as roads and lanes.

Although in operation the system uses one camera and one Drive-PX embedded computer, the training system used three cameras and two computers to acquire three-dimensional video images and steering angels from the vehicle driven by a human that were used to train the system to see and drive.

Apple fanboy sells his shares in China Crisis

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn has sold his entire stake in Apple because he thinks the outfit will get bogged down in China.

Icahn was a huge cheerleader of Apple, acquiring a stake in the company almost three years ago, repeatedly calling the investment a “no brainer.”

He owned 45.8 million Apple shares at the end of last year, but thinks that China’s economic slowdown and worries about how China could become more prohibitive in doing business triggered his decision to exit his position entirely.

“We no longer have a position in Apple. Tim Cook did a great job. I called him this morning to tell him that and he was a little sorry, obviously. But I told him it’s a great company,” Icahn said.

He thinks the Chinese government could “come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there … You can do pretty much what you want there,” Icahn said.

Earlier this month, China shut down Apple’s iTunes movies and iBooks stores within the country, following Beijing’s introduction of regulations in March imposing strict curbs on online publishing, particularly for foreign firms.

Icahn made roughly $2 billion off the Apple trade so he is laughing all the way to the bank anway.

Apple on Tuesday posted its first decline in iPhone sales as well as its first revenue drop in 13 years. The company’s sales fell by more than a quarter in China, its most important market after the United States, and it forecast another disappointing quarter for global revenues.

Apple shares have now declined more than 10 percent this week.

Smartphone sales are flat

2008-08-19_Flat_tireBeancounters at IDC have been adding up the numbers and dividing them by their shoe size and reached the conclusion that smartphone sales are flatter than the Netherlands.

According to IDC, vendors shipped a total of 334.9 million smartphones worldwide last quarter. This figure is up just 0.2 percent from the 334.3 million units in Q1 2015, marking the smallest year-over-year growth on record.

Samsung is the smartphone king. In Q1 2016, the South Korean company once again shipped more smartphones than any other vendor. In fact, Samsung out-shipped the next two smartphone maker, Apple and Huawei, combined.

Samsung’s market share actually decreased by 0.1 percentage points (from 24.6 percent to 24.5 percent), and it shipped fewer smartphones (81.9 million). IDC said that the new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge “sold vigorously” in March, helped by numerous carrier promotions that pushed volume. In emerging markets, Samsung performed well with its more affordable J Series.

Apple fell 3.0 points to 15.3 percent. It was the first year on year decline for the company in Q1. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus failed to deliver. The cheaper smaller iPhone SE is doing better than expected but is unlikely to pull Apple’s nadgers out of the fire.

Huawei, meanwhile, grabbed 3.0 points (to 8.2 percent), Oppo jumped 3.3 points (to 5.5 percent), and Vivo gained 2.4 points (to 4.3 percent).

Oppo and Vivo pushed out previous fourth and fifth place players Lenovo and Xiaomi. This indicates that  China’s smartphone market is maturing and competition is fierce.

Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s mobile phone team, said that outside of China, many of these brands are virtually unknown and the ability of these rapidly growing Chinese vendors to gain entry into mature markets such as the United States and Western Europe will be essential if they have aspirations of catching Apple or Samsung at the top.

“While Huawei is furthest along in terms of international recognition, selling equally impressive volumes outside of China remains a challenge for many of these brands, whether it is Xiaomi, Lenovo, OPPO, or vivo. Their ability to drive local growth no longer applies when it comes to international expansion, where premium branding quickly turns to price competition.”

China bans Apple mobile entertainment

Mao Tse Tung - Wikimedia CommonsAlready facing slumping iPhone Sales, the fruity cargo cult Apple will have to explain to Wall Street how it miffed the Chinese government so much that it was banned from running its mobile entertainment empire behind the Great Firewall of China.

Apple online book and film services were switched off over the weekend, which was a bit of a downer given that Jobs’ Mob hoped to spin the service as a way of making pots of cash while people were not buying their iPhones.

Apple’s favourite newspaper the New York Times reported that a state regulator demanded Apple halt the service. The move came after Beijing introduced regulations in March imposing strict curbs on online publishing, particularly for foreign firms.

Apple said in a statement on Thursday that it hopes to make the services available to customers in China as soon as possible and the New York Times said that Jobs Mob had a lot of contacts in the Chinese government who would help out.

However the Chinese government might be a little miffed with Apple. Jobs’ Mob  bragged before a senate committee that it had the power to tell the Chinese government that they were not allowed to lift data from iPhones.

Frank Gillett of research firm Forrester said that this might be the beginning of more pressure on Apple by the Chinese government.

The company released its book and movie services in China only late last year, leaving Chinese consumers little time to form a habit.

Chinese consumers’ appetite for the iphones is critical to quarterly earnings. Apple is expected to post its first-ever quarterly drop in iPhone sales, to about 50 million units, reflecting a saturated global market.

Wall Street expects adjusted earnings per share to drop 14 percent to $2.00 and revenue to drop 10 percent to $52.0 billion.

 

US christens first robot warship

The US military christened an experimental self-driving warship designed to hunt for enemy submarines to counter Chinese and Russian moves in the Pacific.

The 132-foot-long unarmed prototype, christened the Sea Hunter, is like a self-driving car, only it does not have to do a parallel park.  It is designed to cruise on the ocean’s surface for two or three months at a time – without a crew or anyone controlling it remotely.

It makes it a highly efficient submarine stalker which is cheaper to run than manned vessels.

Deputy US  Defense Secretary Robert Work said in an interview he hoped such ships might find a place in the western Pacific in as few as five years.

“This is the first time we’ve ever had a totally robotic, trans-oceanic-capable ship.”

The Pentagon planners are building a cunning plan to incorporate unmanned drones – with increasing autonomy – into the conventional military in the air, on land and at sea.

China’s expanding submarine fleet is causing some concern that its carrier battle groups in the Western pacific are a bit vulnerable.

Like the Google car, once the ship is found to work and not hit any pedestrians, it could head to the U.S. Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet to continue testing.

His goal is to have ships like the Sea Hunter operating on a range of missions, possibly even including counter-mine warfare operations, all with limited human supervision.

The ship’s projected $20 million price tag and its $15,000 to $20,000 daily operating cost make it relatively inexpensive for the US military.

TSMC sets up advanced wafer plant in Nanjing

IBM engineers in a fabrication plant (fab)TSMC has signed an agreement with the Nanjing City Government to invest $3 billion building an advanced wafer manufacturing facility in China.

TSMC said in December it planned to set up its first wholly owned advanced fabrication plant in China with a $3 billion investment, highlighting the growing importance of the Chinese market for semiconductor giants.

Now TSMC Chairman Morris Chang has given out some details on the project saying that a 12-inch fab and our design service centre will be established in Nanjing.

“We aim to provide closer support to customers as well as expand our business opportunities in China in step with the rapid growth of the Chinese semiconductor market over the last several years,” said

The new plant will make 20,000 12-inch wafers per month.  Production will begin in the second half of 2018.

It was not that easy to get the deal past the Taiwan government. Taiwan has restricted manufacturing activities of its prized semiconductor sector in China, amid political tension between the neighbours. However, competition from China’s fast-growing, though fledgling chip industry has put pressure on Taiwanese companies to widen their mainland footprint.

TSMC had urged authorities to allow 12-inch facilities, which use more advanced technology processes than 8-inch plants, to be wholly owned out of concern for intellectual property protection. TSMC already has a wholly owned 8-inch chip making plant near Shanghai.

Microsoft makes a Chinese Windows 10

cimg3254Microsoft has made the Chinese government its own version of Windows 10.

Dubbed Windows 10 Zhuangongban, or “Windows 10 Specially-provided Edition” – Vole has already completed the first version of the specialised Windows 10.

Microsoft announced the deal and its intention to develop the China-specific software in December and Vole is not the only government focused OS on the Chinese market.

The Zhuangongban features fewer of Microsoft’s consumer-targeted apps and services, while including more management and security controls. So in other words it does not phone home to Microsoft as much as the western version does either.

Microsft said the Chinese version has the ability to run any Windows-compatible programs, but is not saying if there are any other differences.

China’s government has itself been developing NeoKylin, a partially Chinese developed Linux fork, but this new move might indicate that China needs a broaders support of software – particularly in its state-owned enterprises, which need to be able to use industry standard software tools.