Tag: newstrack

Doom over for PC industry says Intel

Chipzilla is telling the world+dog that the worst is over for the personal computer industry.

Intel forecast third-quarter revenue above Wall Street’s expectations.

Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith told Reuters that PC sales had stabilised and he expects shrinking demand from consumers in China and other developing countries to rebound, just as it recently has in the United States.

Of course the tame Apple Press claims that it is all to do with how Apple created a mobile revolution with the launch of its keyboardless netbook in 2010. There was talk of a “mobile revolution” which tied with the downturn of the worst PC sales in years.

While many believed that the fall in PCs was because of the increase in mobiles, some of us thought that the two were a parallel development. PC sales fell because of company retrenchment during an economic downturn, while consumer sales went up as punters searched for the latest shiny thing. PC sales have risen as companies are forced to upgrade their dying machines. PCs are cheaper and attempts to bring in BYOD policies for mobile gadgets proved pretty useless.

Intel now expects the market’s recovery to help it grow its full-year revenue about 5 percent, slightly higher than prior expectations.

Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich told analysts on a conference call that improved demand from companies replacing old PCs would last at least through the end of 2014.

Intel increased its share buyback program by $20 billion. It wants to buy $4 billion of stock in the current quarter, thinking tht there will be more interest in “two in one” devices with detachable keyboards and screens.

Intel said in a statement it expects third-quarter revenue of $14.4 billion, plus or minus $500 million. Analysts had expected $14 billion on average.

Revenue from Intel’s PC group rose 6 percent in the quarter while its data centre group, a big contributor to gross margins, had revenue jump 19 percent.

Chipzilla’s profits have been made without much interesting in its mobile offerings. Intel said its mobile and communications group’s revenue fell 83 percent to $51 million and had an operating loss of $1.12 billion.

Intel’s second-quarter revenue was $13.8 billion, compared with $12.8 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Chipzilla posted second-quarter net income of $2.8 billion, compared with $2.0 billion at the same time last year. 

Microsoft’s job cuts are going to be nasty

It is starting to look like the expected job cuts in Redmond are going to be severe and a lot worse than those announced by Steve Ballmer in 2009.

Ballmer made the controversial decision to release 5,800 voles back into the wild with many saying that slimming down was not needed.

Now it looks like Chief Executive Officer Satya Nade’s cuts are going to be much worse. Part of his cuts will be as a result of integrating Nokia Oyj’s handset unit. More than a thousand Nokia workers are expected to be given their P45s and pink slips.

Rumours are that the reductions will probably be in engineering, marketing and areas of overlap with Nokia.

Nadella, who took over from Steve Ballmer in February, flagged the cuts last week and said that Vole would have to become more focused and efficient.

His first company mission statement called for greater emphasis on mobile devices, cloud computing and productivity software as consumers and businesses buy fewer personal computers to check e-mail, browse the Web and access data and software.

“Nothing is off the table in how we think about shifting our culture,” Nadella said.

Some of the job cuts will be in marketing departments for businesses such as the global Xbox team, said the people. The European Xbox team is based in Reading, UK.

The company had 127,104 employees as of June 5, after adding about 30,000 in its acquisition of Nokia’s handset unit. 

Intel’s eight core plans revealed

While Intel is about to release some of the first processors based on its Haswell-E specifications, it is starting to look like they will not be the eight core fiestas expected.

Of the three Haswell-E Core i7 CPUs expected, only one of them, the Core i7-5960X, will actually come with 8 cores, and that is the one which will cost an arm and a leg to buy.

The Core i7-5960X and the other two, the i7-5930K and i7-5820K, will contain only six cores.

Dubbed the Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition, the flagship CPU of the first Haswell-E lineup and will have two more cores and four more threads than the company’s current Ivy Bridge-E based Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition processor.

Built around the 22nm Haswell architecture, this new 8-core CPU will head to the deep-pocketed gaming community.

The Core i7-5960X will be clocked at a 3.0GHz base, with a 3.3GHz boost frequency. It will also include support for the latest DDR4 2133MHz memory, and 20MB of L3 cache as well. In addition, its power rating will be 140 watts TDP, or only 10 more watts than the 6-core i7-4960X.

The new DDR4 memory controller resides on the processor and the RAM is directly connected to the CPU. The DDR4 modules themselves use only 1.2 volts of power, compared to DDR3’s 1.65/1.5 volts.

The two other Haswell-E Core i-7 chips are 6-core, 12-thread processors. Aside from clock speeds, their specifications are primarily the same. The i7-5930K runs at 3.5GHz, about a 3.9-4.0GHz boost, but it is nearly half the price. The i7-5820K, will run at a 3.3GHz base, with a 3.6-3.8GHz clock boost. It will list for around $300. Both will support a 15MB L3 Cache.

So the question is what is it about eight cores that make shelling out that sort of money cost effective? At that price Intel has priced the 8-core i7-5690X out of mainstream machines.

All three processors will be compatible with Intel’s upcoming x99 chipset and motherboards. We expect them out during the fourth quarter.

It is possible however that next year will be the year of the less-expensive, 6-core CPU. 

South Korea gives up on Microsoft

South Korea is using the fact that Windows XP is no longer supported as a reason to walk away from Microsoft completely.

According to a government statement, South Korea wants to break from its Microsoft dependency and move to open source software by 2020″

In a statement the government said that it will invigorate open source software in order to solve the problem of dependency on certain software. The government has invested in Windows 7 to replace XP, but it does not want to go through the same process in 2020 when the support of the Windows 7 service is terminated.

Korea has a long way to go. So far it has not even bought in the standard e-document format which is widely seen as stage one.

However it seems that the government hopes to lean on the creation of a “local open source alternative” which basically means designing its own Linux fork.

Under the plan support will be provided so that it will be possible to freely connect to the Internet with all operating systems and browsers by 2017.

Starting next year the pilot open sources OS project will be carried out for 10 public and private institutions, and the expenses related to employee education and systems will be supported.

By 2018, the government is planning to review whether the introduction of open source software for PCs reduced expenses and institutionalise the result so that the open OS-related private project can be further expanded. 

Schmidt hits Cuba

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt made a secret visit to Cuba as part of his campaign to get all sorts of black listed stamps into his passport.

Schmidt has been touring authoritarian governments with less-than-favourable internet access, in a bid to get them to join the internet revolution.

In doing so he has ignored US laws which have forbidden its citizens from traveling to Cuba or spending any money within the country. The US was always miffed that it lost a fortune when its corporate backed puppet government in Cuba was overthrown by a Communist revolution.

Even though the cold war is over, the ban remains in effect, mostly because of a politically powerful Cuban ex-pat community.

Schmidt has made controversial visits to North Korea and Myanmar to promote internet freedom, and has previously spoken out against online censorship happening in both China and India.

Schmidt was joined by a crew of former Google employees as well as author Jared Cohen. Schmidt and company were apparently there to get a tour of Cuba’s University of Information Sciences in Havana and discuss life within the country.

Less than three percent of Cuba’s population has access to the internet, which is expensive. Google has been looking at ways of increasing internet access in developing countries lately and it might have been that Schmidt was interested in talking to the Cubans about the project. 

California allows Bitcoin

A Californian law has removed a ban on using currencies other than the US dollar.

The new law will allow for the growing use of alternative payment methods such as bitcoin.

Signed by state Governor Jerry Brown, the new law will boost confidence around bitcoin, as regulators and tax authorities worldwide examine how to handle it.

For years Section 107 of California’s Corporations Code has prohibited companies or individuals from issuing money other than US dollars.

The bill was introduced by Assembly Member Roger Dickinson who said that digital currencies, community currencies and reward points were technically in violation of the law but not penalized.

Amazon’s Coins to Starbucks‘ Stars were cash alternatives and were illegal too.

In March, the US Internal Revenue Service said it will treat bitcoin as a form of property for tax purposes, rather than as currency, making it subject to similar rules as stocks and barter transactions.

Those receiving goods and services in bitcoin will have to add the value of the virtual currency at the time it was received into their gross income.

In the UK, HM Revenue & Custom said exchanging or mining bitcoins was exempt from value added tax (VAT) in the UK, but accepting the virtual currency for goods and services is subject to it.

HP forms Lynch mob

The maker of expensive printer ink, HP, is whipping together a mob to go for the former owner of British software company Autonomy.

The company has settled litigation over its troubled $11.1 billion acquisition of Autonomy and is now going to go after Michael Lynch, its former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain, and potentially others related to Autonomy.

Part of the agreement with the shareholders is that their lawyers will assist HP in pursuing claims against Automony.

It is not clear what HP sort of attack the combined armies of lawyers will be using. It will probably be something like Lynch failed to tell HP that his company was not making any serious money. HP said it has evidence showing how Autonomy “created the illusion” that it was a high growth company.

HP took an $8.8 billion impairment charge in November 2012 for its purchase of Autonomy only just over a year earlier, with more than $5 billion of that linked to what HP said at the time were “serious accounting improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures”.

Sources close to an HP investigation into the matter say that the technology giant believes that Autonomy’s results and prospects were made to look much better than they were.

This is something Lynch has consistently denied. He said HP is blaming him for its own failure to manage Autonomy after the acquisition.

“This had the effect of misleading investors and HP”, it said in a statement.

Former HP chief executive Leo Apotheker, the architect of the Autonomy deal who was ousted in September 2011 just weeks after it was announced, said he believed the conclusions of a special committee of HP board members that has reviewed the shareholder lawsuit would be a “welcome measure of vindication”. 

Pirates may be jailed in Blighty

UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to turn the UK back to the time when he and his toffy chums ruled is gathering pace.

Now it seems that his advisors are not happy with forcing UK ISPs to send their customers warning letters when they pirate movies, music and TV shows.

The Prime Minister’s IP advisor, Mike Weatherley says it is time to realise that the scheme might fail and it is time to do something more enforceable, including disconnections, fines, jail sentences and transportation to the colonies. We made the last one up.

The Digital Economy Act 2010 has been running for four years on and is widely seen as pointless.

The idea behind the law was to educate the casual file-sharer about legal alternatives in the hope he or she would change her or his ways.

However it did not work because serious file sharers could ignore the rules by going through foreign proxy sites which were untraceable.Casual users were receiving four warnings and then nothing was happening.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s IP advisor believes that the carrot needs to be backed up by a stick. In a report published yesterday largely detailing the “Follow the Money” approach to dealing with pirate sites, Mike Weatherley the government needed to start thinking now what to do if these notices are ignored by infringers.

Weatherley says that while the IP enforcement “stick” is a “last resort option”, being able to show “teeth” is important.

“Warnings and fines are obvious first steps, with internet access blocking and custodial sentencing for persistent and damaging infringers not to be ruled out in my opinion,” he wrote.

He is not saying that jail will be immediately on the cards for pirates. Weatherley says that education has to come first, with an emphasis placed on informing consumers that “piracy and similar illegal activities are not in their best long-term interests and are not socially acceptable”. The second phase will see the onus placed on industry “to get their product right and attractive” to consumers.

However once the government had won the ‘hearts and minds’ of consumers and provided suitable content, keeps the option of enforcement of copyright law on the table when all else has been exhausted.

Prime Minister David Cameron says he will “closely consider” Weatherley’s report. Our deep throat tells us that he is currently looking at a bill which will force young unemployed youths to clean chimneys.  

Verizon loses German contracts to Deutsche-Telcom

US Telco Verizon, which has spent a fortune lobbying US politicians, must be thoroughly miffed that it has been let down by them.

The Germans have told Verizon to sling its hook and it will not get any more lucrative government contracts in that country because of its close connection to the US government.

Reports based on disclosures by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden alleged Washington had conducted mass surveillance in Germany and had even eavesdropped on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

Berlin insisted on a “no-spy” deal, but these collapsed after the United States said that since it ruled the world now everyone had to do what they say.

Germany launched an overhaul of its internal communications and secure government networks. Booting out US companies as a security risk seems to have been the result.

Germany’s Interior Ministry said the pressures on networks as well as the risks from highly developed viruses or Trojans are rising.

“Furthermore, the ties revealed between foreign intelligence agencies and firms in the wake of the US National Security Agency (NSA) affair show that the German government needs a very high level of security for its critical networks.”

Verizon has been providing network infrastructure for the German government’s Berlin-Bonn network, used for communication between ministries, since 2010, the statement said. The contract is set to expire in 2015.

Instead Deutsche Telekom would replace services provided by Verizon. Deutsche Telekom is already responsible for the most sensitive communications between ministries or between the government and German intelligence agencies.

Verizon is the second-biggest US telephone company, but the outfit moaned that Verizon Germany was a German company and we comply with German law.

It said that Verizon did not receive any demands from Washington in 2013 for data stored in other countries and the US government cannot compel us to produce our customers’ data stored in data centres outside the country. If it did, Verizon Germany would challenge that attempt in a court.

Earliers this month the Guardian revealed that the FBI and NSA are collecting all call information from Verizon users in the US. It was forcing Verizon to comply using the Patriot Act.