Tuesday, November 10, 2015



Link to TechEye

EU to rule on Apple tax avoidance by Christmas

Posted: 10 Nov 2015 12:43 AM PST

apple-hanged-on-christmas-treeIreland is expecting European Union regulators to issue a decision on the country’s tax deal with Apple before the end of the year.

The Irish finance minister said the move could force the iPhone maker to pay substantial back taxes.

The European Commission has already ordered Dutch authorities to recover $32.23 million from US coffee chain Starbucks and Luxembourg to do the same with Fiat Chrysler for its tax deals.

Rulings on Apple and Amazon’s tax arrangement with Luxembourg authorities are still pending.

Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the Commission is likely to announce its decision by the end of the year.

“We are expecting an adjudication on Apple maybe in the next few weeks but certainly between now and Christmas. It remains to be seen whether that is adverse or negative but (we) will deal with that when the announcement comes.”

Apple said in April the EU investigation could have a material impact on its bottom line as it has been funnelling a large amount of its profits through the lower tax rated Irish government.

If it is forced to pay back all the tax it has avoided for the last few years a few peaks of its EU cash mountain will have to be paid back.

Yahoo gets help on re-organisation as managers flee

Posted: 10 Nov 2015 12:38 AM PST

rat treading waterIt seems that Yahoo is running out of ideas about how to turn itself around and has called in the bean-counters at management consulting firm McKinsey & Co to help.

McKinsey will help Yahoo decide which units to shut, sell or invest in. The search outfit is preparing to spin off its 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Yahoo has been struggling to boost revenue from ad sales in the face of stiff competition from Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

Under Chief Executive Marissa Mayer, Yahoo has been trying to revive its core media and online advertising business by spending more to get users on its websites. However not much appears to have happened.

After deducting fees paid to partner websites, Yahoo’s revenue fell to $1.0 billion in the third quarter from $1.09 billion last year, and the company forecast a drop to $920 million-$960 million in the current quarter.

Top executives at Yahoo have been asked by Mayer over the last month to make three to five-year commitments to the company.

Several top executives, including Media head Kathy Savitt and Chief Development Officer Jackie Reses, have exited in the last couple of months.

Rumours claim that at least two people reporting directly to Mayer will also to leave the company.

Facebook appeals Belgian privacy ruling

Posted: 10 Nov 2015 12:36 AM PST

FacebookSocial notworking site Facebook is to appeal a court ruling ordering it to stop tracking the online activities of non-Facebook users in Belgium who visit Facebook pages, or face a $269,000 daily fine.

Belgium’s data protection regulator took the outfit to court in June, accusing it of trampling on EU privacy law by tracking people without a Facebook account without their consent.

The case focused on the ‘datr’ cookie, which Facebook places on people’s browsers when they visit a Facebook.com site or click a Facebook ‘Like’ button on other websites, allowing it to track the online activities of that browser.

“We’ve used the ‘datr’ cookie for more than five years to keep Facebook secure for 1.5 billion people around the world. We will appeal this decision and are working to minimise any disruption to people’s access to Facebook in Belgium,” a spokesman said.

The Brussels court ordered Facebook to stop tracking non-Facebook users in Belgium within 48 hours or pay a daily fine of $269,000 to the Belgian privacy regulator.

Margot Neyskens, spokeswoman for Bart Tommelein, Belgian secretary of state for the protection of privacy said that Facebook can ot follow people on the internet who are not members of Facebook.

This is logical because they cannot have permission to follow them, she said.

Facebook says the cookie only identifies browsers, not people and helps it to distinguish legitimate visits from those by attackers.

The company has also argued that since it has its European headquarters in Ireland it should be regulated solely by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner.

The Belgian privacy regulator thought that argument was pants as the fact the Brussels court had ruled meant it had jurisdiction over the company.

TAG Heuer releases $1,500 smartwatch

Posted: 10 Nov 2015 12:34 AM PST

small_TAGHeuerConnected_bannerLuxury Swiss watch maker TAG Heuer is showing Apple how it is done by releasing a $1,500 smartwatch.

TAG Heuer's Connected Watch, which is its first to run Google's Android Wear operating system and it looks a lot like the outfit's Carrera analogue watch.

Company CEO Jean-Claude Biver said that his watch was the result of a marriage between of Watch Valley and Silicon Valley. It's a marriage between America and Switzerland.

"The Swiss watch industry has entered today, thanks to Intel and Google, the Swiss Watch industry is connected to the future. That is the importance of the event today. That is why I'm excited. That is why I am proud to be here."

What is surprising though is that the watch is surprising low spec. The smartwatch uses an Intel Atom Z34XX processor, Bluetooth LE, Wi-Fi, 4GB of internal storage and gyroscopic sensors.

It does not have GPS, a heart rate sensor or even a speaker on the smartwatch (all notifications announce themselves via vibrations). On the plus side you will get 30 hours of battery life before you need a recharge.

What you're paying for is the grade 2 titanium casing and the TAG Heuer name. After the two year warranty is up, owners will have the opportunity to trade it in, pay an additional $1,500 and receive a "real" mechanical TAG Heuer watch.


ARM introduces more internet of things tech

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 08:16 AM PST

ARM logoBritish semiconductor company ARM said it has introduced a suite of products aimed at letting businesses scale up internet of things (IoT) technology.

The fresh releases include mbed Device Connecter, a service at no charge letting businesses connect and securely manage IoT devices.

Last year ARM introduced its mbed IoT device platform and it has improved its mbed operating system and introduced mbed reference designs.

Kriztian Flautner, general manager of IoT business at ARM said that his company has produced tools from a single cloud connected sensor to a set of more intricate devices for enterprise grade deployments of IoT.

The device connector, he said, lets developers connect devices in prototypes, build secure web applications and improve managing services.

The reference designs include a wrist based connected device with a battery life of eight weeks, and a smart city reference design with mesh network protocols.

DRAM revenues dropped in the third quarter

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 07:56 AM PST

Samsung DRAMOver production of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) fell in the third quarter by 1.2 percent – bucking the trend usually followed in the quarter.

Manufacturers are moving production from PCs to server and mobile memory because of stable prices and higher margins, according to analysts at DRAM Exchange.

The share of mobile DRAM, used in smartphones, rose from 33.7 percent in the second calendar quarter of this year to 40 percent in the third quarter.

However, according to Avril Wu, an assistant vice president at DRAM Exchange, said that oversupply will continue for quite some time and DRAM prices are expected to fall in the immediate future.

The two Korean giants – Samsung and Hynix – continued to have similar operating margins in the third quarter compared to the second quarter – that is to say 47 percent and 28 percent respectively.

However, Micron, the only USA DRAM manufacturer, saw its profits margin drop to 15 percent during the third quarter.

Big data market to be worth $48.6 billion in 2019

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 07:49 AM PST

IBM client centre, Montpelier, FranceThe move by many companies to capitalise on the data they "harvest" means that big data technology and services will be worth as much as $48.6 billion in 2019.

That's according to figures from IDC, which said that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the sector between 2014 and 2019 is 34.1 percent.

All three sectors of the big data market – infrastructure, software and services – will grow over the next five years. Software – that includes information management, discovery, analytics and applications will show a CAGR of 22.7 percent.

All industry sectors are interested in big data but the largest sector is discrete manufacturing, banking and process manufacturing. However, companies with the fastest growth rates include securities and investment services and media.

Companies believe that developing big data and analytics gives them a competitive advantage whichever sector they're in, according to Jessica Goepfert, a programme director at IDC.

Photovoltaic module production to go through the roof

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 07:42 AM PST

Solar farm in Arizona - Wikimedia CommonsProduction of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules will soar during the first half of 2016.

That, said IHS Technology, is because of installation deadlines, the end of solar tax credits and demand from the two biggest markets for PV, the USA and China.

IHS said that PV installs will increase by 33 percent this year, reaching 58.7 gigawatts (GW).

Growth will slow to 12 percent in 2016.

But there's no good news on pricing in the US market. Trade disputes mean that prices won't fall there in the first half of the year.

The demand from China and the USA means there will be shortages in the first quarter of 2016.

Average selling prices will fall in the second half of next year, IHS predicts.

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