Tag: Fujitsu

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.

Toshiba, Vaio Fujitsu mull three-way PC merger

24400The dark satanic rumour mill has suggested that Toshiba, Vaio and Fujitsu are thinking about tying the knot and will merge their PC businesses.

The outfits are desperate to get rid of struggling units to overhaul their operations and the pair are looking at some form of collaboration.

Any deal is mostly rumour and if true in the early stages. Tosh needs to raise capital after a $1.3 billion accounting scandal which has meant that the banks are not returning its calls.  It  has already agreed to sell its image sensor business and said it is considering splitting off part of its chip business.

Fujitsu, which announced in October that it intends to split off its PC division, said it is considering various options for the business.

The Nikkei Business Daily reported earlier that Toshiba, Fujitsu and Vaio  which was spun off from Sony were considering a three way merger of their PC businesses.

The merged company would have just over 30 percent of the Japanese market, overtaking the current top-ranked NEC Lenovo Japan , which controls 26.3 percent, the Nikkei said without citing any source for its information.

A Vaio spokeswoman dismissed the Nikkei report as speculation, adding that the company was not in talks with anyone about its PC operations.

 

Linux golden age threatened by bug army

bugA top Linux geek has warned that its golden age is about to be bought to a close by security problems.

Golden ages are normally brought to an end by a rebellion of giants, titans or plagues. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation said that Linux will be killed off by giant, titanic plagues of security bugs.

Several high profile zero-day vulnerabilities in popular open source technologies last year served not only to show the importance of open source to the internet and IT world, but how how badly it projects were under-resourced.

Heartbleed which impacted OpenSSL, Poodle, a vulnerability in SSL, and the Shellshock vulnerability in Bash damaged the reputation of open sauce badly and resulted in the creation of the Core infrastructure Initiative (CII), a Linux-Foundation led initiative to improve open source security.

CII’s financial backers include Adobe, Bloomberg, HP, VMware, Rackspace, NetApp, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Google, Fujitsu, Facebook, Dell, Amazon and Cisco.

Zemlin said that this support was proof we’re living in a “golden age” of open source.

“Almost the entirety of the internet is entirely reliant on open source software. We’ve reached a golden age of open source. Virtually every technology and product and service is created using open source,” he said.

Open source was not immune to the security threat faced by the entire computing industry and said Heartbleed, and others, served as a wakeup call for the IT industry. It is believed 200,000 devices are still vulnerable.

“Heartbleed literally broke the security of the internet,” he explained. “Over a long period of time, whether we knew it or not, became dependent on open source for the security and Integrity of the internet.”

Zemlin said many people had asked him why had the peer review process not highlighted these vulnerabilities, but the answer was blindingly obvious.

Many of these projects were being worked by one part-time volunteer. Before Heartbleed, OpenSSL received less than $2,000 a year in donations, while OpenSSH and Bash had similarly meagre support.

“It’s completely out of proportion to the attention these projects play in society and the Internet,” said Zemlin. “OpenSSL for a long period of time was essentially maintained by two guys named Steve. Think about that.”

Workstations go through the doldrums

Dell logoThe second quarter of 2015 showed poor sales for desktop workstations, falling by 3.7 percent compared to the second quarter of 2014.

IDC said total shipments of desktop workstations amounted to 641,580 units.

Ebenezer Obeng-Nyarkoh, a senior research analyst at the company said: “Despite the disappointing second quarter results, the market is expected to continue growing as high end PC users and Apple Mac Pro users migrate to workstations.” He added: “As IT professionals continue to increase demand for high performance computing, graphic capabilities and greater reliability, ISV certified workstations are expected to move into the computing mainstream.

The leader of the pack continues to be HP, which has 43.1 percent market share but its shipments declined by 9.3 percent, year on year.

Dell in the number two position gained back some share despite losing share in the first calendar quarter, and holds 37.9 percent of the market.

Lenovo showed positive growth in the quarter with 13.2 percent market share.

Other vendors including Fujitsu and NEC showed declines in the quarter.

Battle starts for stylus dominance

Intel's Gordon Moore and Robert NoyceYou might think that using a stylus with a tablet was something which went out with the ark, when companies like Fujitsu and Micosoft pioneered their use in the 1990s.

But if a report from Taiwanese wire Digitimes is true, the so-called stylus wars are set to start all over again.

Digitimes said that sources think Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro will come with a stylus designed for the machine.

Meanwhile, Microsoft bought an Israeli company N-trig recently. N-trig specialises in both touchscreen and stylus tech and are already implemented in the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet.

But Intel is not going to take a back set if any kind of war is going on. Digitimes reports that the chip giant has launched a so-called Universal Style Initiative and is gathering up manufacturers to work on a standard stylus that will be used on a number of machines.

However, although Intel would just love to set the agenda on reference designs and the like for its IT egosystem, the success of Apple’s iPad and iPhone has proved that where the market goes, Intel will follow rather than lead.

Bitcoin network faster than 500 supercomputers

The Bitcoin hash network is eight times faster than the world’s top 500 supercomputers combined.

According to The Genesis Block, the network recently passed 1 exaFLOPS (1,000 petaFLOPS), making it a force to be reckoned with.However, some experts might be crying foul, as FLOPS aren’t exactly the right metric to gauge Bitcoin performance.

Bitcoin relies on integer calculation rather than floating-point operations, which also explains why some GPUs and custom designed ASICs are pretty good at it. In any case FLOPS can still be used to see how other supercomputers measure up to the rebellious Bitcoin crowd. 

By comparison, IBM’s Sequoia churns out 16.3 petaFLOPS, which makes it look like a featherweight compared to the Bitcoin network. Fujitsu’s K computer is capable of 10.5 petaFLOPS. 

Although Bitcoin is still more or less an oddity, the sheer size and performance of its network should raise a few eyebrows in the tech community. While this doesn’t exactly mean the days of costly and exotic supercomputers are numbered, it does demonstrate it’s possible to get exceptional performance from a large network of dedicated machines, rather than confined to a single facility.

Fujitsu to dump microcontroller chips

Japan’s Fujitsu is close to flogging its mirocontroller chip business to Spansion.

According to Reuters, the deal will broaden the US semiconductor company’s product line-up so it can better cater to automotive clients.

The car industry is being seen as the saviour of many chip industry companies as cars become more intelligent and computers less so.

Reuters did not get details of the deal, which apparently will include Fujitsu’s microcontroller design and development business as well as a Japanese plant.

It is also a coming of age for Spansion which was set up as a joint venture between Fujitsu and Advanced Micro Devices in 2003. The outfit specialises in flash memory and has been trying to diversify its product range.

Semiconductors were once a key business for Fujitsu, but the company could not keep up with rivals like Samsung. Fujitsu also plans to merge its LSI chip business with that of Panasonic this fiscal year, Reuters claims.

Microcontrollers are an important part of Fujitsu’s device solutions business, which also includes LSI chips. The division made $6 billion in sales in the year ended March 2012, accounting for 12 percent of Fujitsu’s total cash take.

Fujitsu insisted that nothing had been decided with regards to its microcontroller chip business, but the news was reported by Japanese media, including the Nikkei business daily. 

Fujitsu moans that Windows 8 is killing PC sales

Fujitsu said the company will miss its annual shipment target for personal computers and it is blaming the fact that Windows 8 is not selling.

Fujitsu President Masami Yamamoto, 58, told reporters in Tokyo that interest in the software was weak.

He said that sales of devices running Windows fell 21 per cent from a year earlier in the four weeks after Microsoft released Windows 8 on October 26. The decrease has been fuelled by a 24 per cent drop in sales of notebook computers.

“Fujitsu doesn’t plan to join its competitors that are discounting” to sustain sales, Yamamoto said. The company needs to strengthen its services in overseas markets, shifting from a product-focused approach.

But the announcement means that hopes that the release of Windows 8 helping PC sales to grow have proven groundless. Traditionally the release of new version of Windows has resulted in a boom in hardware. This is because the new software would require better hardware to run.

However with the last two versions of Windows that has not been the case. The software runs on more or less the same spec as the old hardware.

This means that people do not need a better computer to run Windows 8. In fact many of them can run it nicely on their old machines and squeeze out another few years of life.

To make matters worse for hardware makers, Windows 8 is more efficient at using hardware than Windows 7. It actually improves the older machine. If you bought a Windows 7 machine, all you need to do to make it better is move to Windows 8.

Does this mean that Windows 8 is a success? No, it most certainly doesn’t. But it does mean that we should be looking a little askance at those claiming that sluggish hardware sales are as a result of a Windows 8 failure. This time really is different for Microsoft: you don’t have to buy new kit in order to be able to run the software. Thus the success or not of Windows 8 just isn’t going to be reflected in hardware sales in the same way as previous releases of the OS. 

Fujitsu, NEC, Docomo, square up to Qualcomm

Fujitsu, Docomo, and NEC Corp have formed a smartphone chip company – Access Network Technology Ltd – which aims to cut reliance on foreign companies and promises to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Qualcomm.

Fujitsu will own the majority shares, at 52.8 percent. Originally it planned to go ahead with the venture on its own, but NTT Docomo and NEC will have 19.9 percent and 17.8 percent of the company, respectively. Fujitsu Semiconductor will account for 9.5 percent. The company will launch with approximately 85 employees. 

Access Network Technology hopes to gain as much as seven percent in share for global smartphone  chips by 2014, a lofty goal considering the competitive marketplace. The company will focus on chips for wireless communications and signals, as well as investing in research for future LTE products and future generations of networking technology.

The companies have said that chip production will be outsourced, but not where. However, Fujitsu promises that the companies will collaborate to develop “industry leading communications platform products,” and will “provide customers with highly competitive products”.  We have approached Qualcomm for comment. 

Sections of the Japanese electronics industry have been having a hard time of it lately – the yen is too strong for many to remain competitive, and native chipmaker Renesas has just been saved by fellow countrymen at Mitsubishi. Elpida had to file for bankruptcy, and Toshiba had to slash its own chip production.

Fujitsu invests in research into web-based data

Japanese combine Fujitsu is splashing its cash in Ireland.

The technology company is investing in a new research programme at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway, which is said to focus on looking into new models and money making opportunities for web-based data.

Supported by the Irish government through IDA Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland, the research will be led by Professor Stefan Decker, director of the institute and one of the leading scientists in the Semantic Web field.

The Professor along with his team of boffins will be looking into how different models and approaches can integrate available data on the net and how these new ideas can be used in a range of different industries.

Professor Decker told the Irish Times that this programme could eventually lead to high-end jobs in Ireland.

Established in 2003 with financial backing from Science Foundation Ireland, the
Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) – which has Tim Berners-Lee on its advisory board, aims to help people, organisations and systems to collaborate on a global scale using semantic web technologies.

Minister for Job, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said the latest research would lead to more commercial opportunities and jobs for Ireland.