Wednesday, October 7, 2015



Link to TechEye

Follow our Canalys coverage

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 03:03 AM PDT

Meg WhitmanThe Canalys Channel Forum is being held in Barcelona today and tomorrow – and readers of TechEye might well find the coverage of our sister title ChannelEye of interest.

Up so far there’s coverage of a discussion with HP’s Meg Whitman and the future of HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and  quite a bit more.

Nokia gets key internet link

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 02:13 AM PDT

wellington-bootAlcatel-Lucent is refusing to sell  its undersea cables unit, which means that the former rubber boot maker Nokia will get its paws on the operation after completing its acquisition of the Franco-American group.

Nokia is spending $17 billion on Alcatel-Lucent as it wants to better compete with market leader Ericsson and low-cost Chinese powerhouse Huawei.

Alcatel had previously planned to sell a majority stake in Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) or list the business separately. However it now opted to keep the unit instead.

The division, which has facilities in Calais, France and Greenwich, Britain, on the site where the world’s first transatlantic cable was manufactured in 1858, will become part of Nokia.

Ministers had thought of asking the French sovereign fund to take a stake in ASN, to ensure it keeps activities that are strategic to France’s surveillance apparatus on French soil.

But Alcatel-Lucent said France had surrendered on the idea of fighting against the submarine cable unit being bought by Nokia.

“We constantly exchange with the government, they are aware of our decision,” the spokesman said. “This will be part of discussions, but there was no objection,” a spokesman said. .

ASN has more than 575,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cable systems deployed worldwide, along with the maintenance of 330,000 kilometers of undersea systems.

Microsoft blamed for falling RAM prices

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 01:41 AM PDT

Samsung DRAMSoftware giant Microsoft giving Windows 10 away for free is being blamed for the slump in RAM prices.

You can pick up a DDR3 module for an average $18.50 per 4GB and prices appear to be headed downwards.

Many DRAM makers are blaming Microsoft. Normally when a new operating system is released, it normally drives a big upsurge in new system buys and upgrades. But Windows 10, like every operating system release since Windows 7 has not needed new hardware. Vole released it for free so people just installed it on their existing machines.

DRAMexchange's Avril Wu said that notebook shipments in the third quarter fell short of what is expected for a traditional peak season mainly because Windows 10 with its free upgrade plan negatively impacted replaced sales of notebooks to some extent rather than driving the demand for these products.

That would be fine if was just Windows-based systems that haven't been selling as well. Smartphones and server shipments are predicted to tumble over the next year too.

This will mean more price cuts which will make it difficult for anyone to make much cash from making RAM.

SK Hynix, Micron and Samsung are hoping that the move to 18nm standards sooner will give them some margins to play with.

Apple fingered as the worst tax avoider in the US 

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 01:29 AM PDT

tim-cook-apple-ceoFruity cargo cult Apple is one of the worst US tax avoiders, according to new statistics compiled by the Citizens for Tax Justice and the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

The study found that nearly three-quarters of the firms on the Fortune 500 list of biggest American companies by gross revenue operate tax haven subsidiaries in countries like Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Jobs' Mob holds $181.1 billion offshore, more than any other US company, and would owe an estimated $59.2 billion in US taxes if it tried to bring the money back to the United States from its three overseas tax havens, the study said.

The 500 largest American companies hold more than $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid paying US taxes.

If they all paid up, the country would give $620 billion to the US economy.

Citizens for Tax Justice and the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund used the companies’ own financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission to reach their conclusions.

“At least 358 companies, nearly 72 percent of the Fortune 500, operate subsidiaries in tax haven jurisdictions as of the end of 2014,” the study said. “All told these 358 companies maintain at least 7,622 tax haven subsidiaries.”

Fortune 500 companies hold more than $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid taxes, with just 30 of the firms accounting for $1.4 trillion of that amount, or 65 percent, the study found.

Fifty-seven of the companies disclosed that they would expect to pay a combined $184.4 billion in additional US taxes if their profits were not held offshore. Their filings indicated they were paying about 6 percent in taxes overseas, compared to a 35 percent U.S. corporate tax rate, the study calims.

“Congress can and should take strong action to prevent corporations from using offshore tax havens, which in turn would restore basic fairness to the tax system, reduce the deficit and improve the functioning of markets,” the study said.

Microsoft releases shed-loads of Windows 10 stuff

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 01:09 AM PDT

SurfaceSoftware King of the World Microsoft has shown off a  laptop, a line of Lumia smartphones, a new Surface Pro tablet Microsoft Band, all running on Windows 10.

Microsoft needs Windows 10, launched in July, to help it win a bigger share of the market for tablets and smartphones.

The Surface Book, will start at $1,499 and is twice as fast as Apple’s MacBook Pro. It will be available from October 26, with preorders starting on Wednesday.

The laptop has a 13.5-inch display with 267 pixels per inch and features a track-pad made of gorilla glass.

The company unveiled three phones at an event in New York. The Lumia 950 with a starting price of $549 and the 950XL which will sell for  $649  when they hit the shops in November,. The Lumia 550 will cost $139 when it becomes available in December.

The Lumia 950 includes a 5.2-inch display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with hexacore CPUs. The Lumia 950 XL has a 5.7-inch display and a Snapdragon 810 processor with octa-core CPUs. The 550 has a 4.7-inch HD display and runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 210 processor.

The new Surface Pro 4 tablet – a larger but thinner and lighter version of the Surface Pro 3 – is priced at $899 and will be available from Oct. 26 with pre-orders starting on Wednesday.

Launched nearly a year and a half after its predecessor, the Surface Pro 4 features a 12.3-inch screen with 267 pixels per inch. It runs on 6th-generation Intel Core processor and has 16GB of RAM and 1TB storage.

Surface Pro 4 is 50 percent faster than Apple’s MacBook Air, Panos Panay, the corporate vice president for Surface Computing at Microsoft, said at the event.

Top Vole Satya Nadella said:  “We’re moving people from needing to choosing to loving Windows, and these devices promise to fuel even more enthusiasm and opportunity for the entire Windows ecosystem.”

Microsoft suffered its biggest-ever quarterly net loss in the three months ended June 30 after taking a $7.6 billion writedown on its Nokia handset business.

The company had said savings from the restructuring of the business would be pumped into its new flagship operating system, its fast-growing cloud business and its hardware division, which includes Xbox gaming consoles.

Microsoft also said its new tablet and smartphones will come with Windows Hello, an automatic biometric sign-in option introduced earlier this year.

The feature allows users to scan their face, iris or fingerprints to verify their identity and give them access to Windows phones, laptops and personal computers.

Microsoft introduced a Surface Pen, which has year-long battery life, 1,024 pressure points and comes in five colors with inter-changeable pen tips.

The 950 and 950XL handsets feature a 20-megapixel rear camera, have up to 32GB of storage, 4K video and use liquid cooling technology. Microsoft said storage on the phones could be extended to up to 2 terabytes using a memory card.

The Microsoft Band 2, which allows users to monitor their fitness and exercise regime, will be priced at $249 when it becomes available on October 30.

Unlike its predecessor, Microsoft’s entry product in the wearable technology market a year ago, the new Band has a curved display, which uses the Corning Gorilla glass 3, and has a barometer sensor to track elevation.

Microsoft said it was taking applications for a development kit for HoloLens, the holographic lens device that allows users to see 3D renderings of computer-generated images. The kit will be available in the first quarter of 2016 for $3,000.

HoloLens gives Microsoft a stake in the emerging market for virtual and augmented reality, which is also being targeted by Facebook’s Oculus.


Adobe revenue falls

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 12:40 AM PDT

adobeAdobe lowered its profit forecast for 2016 below analyst estimates partly due to a strong dollar, sending its shares down as much as 13 percent in extended trading.

The Photoshop maker said it expects full-year revenue of about $5.7 billion. The cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street were expecting revenue of $5.93 billion.

The company is expecting a $200 million hit on revenue as a result of the stronger dollar, and a $100 million hit as Adobe’s “last material businesses are transitioning to ratable revenue.”

Adobe has been switching to web-based subscriptions from traditional licensed software to help attract more predictable recurring revenue. So far this has proved a little precarious but it is expected to pick up in time.

Acrobat, Elements and Lightroom are among the last of the products to transition to web-based subscription.

“It looks like the ramp of the business is going to be moving more slowly going forward,” FBR Capital Markets & Co analyst Samad Samana said.

Creative Cloud, which includes Photoshop, Illustrator and Indexing, is the biggest of the company’s cloud businesses. The other two are Marketing Cloud and Document Cloud.

The company, which is conservative with its forecast, expects 20 percent growth in revenue in its Digital Media business, which includes Creative Cloud, and the Marketing Cloud segment in 2016.
Adobe forecast fourth-quarter revenue and profit below estimates in September, despite adding more subscribers for its Creative Cloud software suite than analysts had expected.

EU court cans US data deal

Posted: 06 Oct 2015 07:24 AM PDT

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is pictured during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong KongThe Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has decided that an arrangement between thousands of companies to shift data to the USA is invalud.

Large companies including IBM, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others use the deal, set up between the USA and the European Commission 15 years ago.

The deal called, the Safe Harbour agreement is now invalid.

The ruling strikes at the heart of commerce between the USA and the EU, and follows revelations  by NSA contracted Edward Snowden (pictured) about the US Prism programme that allowed security authorities to snoop on individuals' private data.

While details are still sketchy, it appears that different data authorities in the different countries might have to make decisions about data transfers in their own territories.

The case started after a complaint by an Austrian law student that wanted a decision on whether Facebook transferring European users' data to servers based in the States was licit.

Sony spins off chips

Posted: 06 Oct 2015 07:09 AM PDT

sonyGiant Japanese corporation Sony is continuing its strategy of spinning off elements of its product portfolios into separate companies and now it's the turn of its semiconductor division.

Sony Semiconductors will start operating in April next year, and two other divisons related to storage and to energy will become separate businesses too.

President Kazuo Hirai is being aggressive in slimming down and rationalising the giant. Last year it got rid of its Sony Vaio PC division.

And it's also spun off its Walkman business,and already operates its music and movie businesses as well as its video business as separate units.

The device business accounts for around 10 percent of Sony's overall business, and is profitable because of the success of smartphones.

Notebook sales rising – report

Posted: 06 Oct 2015 07:02 AM PDT

Windows 10It's been bleak times for notebook vendors over the last couple of years.

But, if a report in Taiwanese wire Digitimes is correct, things are, at last, picking up.

The report said the brand vendors have placed more orders than for quite a while, and there are expected to be strong shipment this month and next.

Apparently, people have stopped being shy about Windows 10 and have started buying notebooks.

But there is still a problem with Windows 10 and its free upgrades, because some systems will run the new Microsoft OS with pretty little trouble.

The jury is still out on whether people will put their hands in their pockets to shell out for still rather expensive Windows 10 systems.

But it's clear that the much cheaper Chromebooks is leading traditional notebook PC vendors to pushing the alternative to Windows 10 as hard as they can.

IBM buys yet another firm

Posted: 06 Oct 2015 06:54 AM PDT

IBM logoWe've lost count of how many companies IBM has acquired in the last 18 months, but be that as it may, here we go again.

This time it said it will buy Cleversage with the aim of "propelling object storage into the hybrid cloud".

It's a privately held company so IBM doesn't need to say what it paid for it. But it develops object based storage software and appliances.

IBM said the acquisition will strengthen IBM's position in storage and hybrid cloud, and so the unit will be integrated into its IBM Cloud business unit.

Cleversafe was started in 2004 and has over 350 patents in object based storage letting customers scale to exabytes of storage.

Isn't this the second acquisition in seven days? Yes, it is.

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