Facebook’s total first-quarter revenue was US$3.54 billion, up more than 40 percent from a year earlier, the company reported Wednesday. That was a bit less than the consensus analyst estimate of $3.56 billion, as polled by Thomson Reuters.
With a bounty of personal data on its billion-plus members — many of whom now log in from their smartphones — Facebook’s mobile ad business has become a juggernaut.
During the quarter, which ended March 31, Facebook grew its mobile ad sales by 59 percent to $2.59 billion. After going public in mid-2012, Facebook faced questions from investors over its ability to grow its business on mobile, but the company eventually dispelled those doubts.
Net income came in at $512 million, down 20 percent, while earnings per share dropped 28 percent to $0.18.
On a pro forma basis, which excludes certain costs, such as share-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses, Facebook had earnings per share of $0.42, up from $0.35 last year, and beating the analyst consensus estimate of $0.40.
“This was a strong start to the year,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.
The company’s costs and expenses rose by more than 80 percent from a year earlier, to $2.61 billion.
The number of people who log in monthly to Facebook grew by 13 percent, to 1.44 billion. And the number of those people who log in from a mobile device grew faster, by 24 percent to 1.25 billion.
In addition to its primary mobile app, Facebook now operates a suite of apps including Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. But its flagship app generates by far the most mobile ad sales.
Facebook began placing ads in Instagram in 2013, but by its own admission has done so slowly and gradually. Neither Messenger nor WhatsApp carry ads yet.
IBM IS bringing its QRadar Security Intelligence technology to the cloud in a bid to help companies prioritize major security threats more quickly and free up critical resources to fight cyber attacks.
The offering is available through a cloud-based software-as-a-service model, and comes with an IBM Security Managed Services option for security experts with more advanced skills.
QRadar Security Intelligence comes in the form of two services. The first is IBM Security Intelligence on Cloud, which the firm said will help organisations determine whether security-related events are simple anomalies or actual threats.
“Built as a cloud service using IBM QRadar, enterprises can quickly correlate security event data with threat information from over 500 supported data sources for devices, systems and applications,” IBM explained.
“This is complemented by more than 1,500 pre-defined reports for use cases such as compliance, vulnerability management and security incident response.”
The second service is Intelligent Log Management on Cloud designed to simplify security and compliance data collection.
This is also powered by IBM QRadar technology, and uses analytics and a hosted, multi-tenant technology to integrate with existing infrastructure, working with real-time correlation and anomaly detection capabilities.
“Through support for more than 400 platforms, security managers can also capture logs from nearly any device in their security operation,” the firm added.
IBM said that the announcement is a reaction to the findings in the 2014 IBM Cyber Index, which revealed that organisations across the world deal with an average of 91 million potential security events every year, a problem that creates huge amounts of data that needs to be stored and analysed.
The cloud software announcement arrives just after IBM posted its Q1 2015 financial results, demonstrating strong growth in the cloud.
The results showed cloud revenues up 75 percent to $3.8bn from $2.3bn in the first quarter of 2014.
However, IBM posted an overall quarterly revenue decline of 12 percent owing to the effects of the strong dollar.
Revenues were $19.6bn for Q1, a figure that would have been equal to the $22.5bn that IBM made last year were it not for the effects of the dollar and moves to divest unprofitable parts of the business.
Overall the revenue drove IBM to profits of $2.4bn for the quarter. The company said that this was down five percent on the same period last year, although at that time IBM also reported profits of $2.4bn, suggesting that the original figure was raised at some point.
As part of the announcement, Citrix said that products including NetScaler and XenServer will be coming to OpenStack.
Citrix has been a contributor to OpenStack for some time, but this sponsorship announcement sees the company ramping up its involvement and integrating its core product lines.
Klaus Oestermann, senior vice president and general manager of delivery networks at Citrix, said: “We’re pleased to formally sponsor the OpenStack Foundation to help drive cloud interoperability standards.
“Citrix products like NetScaler, through the recently announced NetScaler Control Centre, and XenServer are already integrated with OpenStack.
“Our move to support the OpenStack community reflects the great customer and partner demand for Citrix to bring the value of our cloud and networking infrastructure products to customers running OpenStack.”
Citrix already supports the Apache Software Foundation and the Linux Foundation, and has pledged to continue investing in Apache CloudStack and CloudPlatform in addition to its work with OpenStack.
Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, added: “Diversity and choice are two powerful drivers behind the success of OpenStack and the growing list of companies that have chosen OpenStack as their infrastructure platform.
“We’re glad to see Citrix become a corporate sponsor, and we look forward to the contributions they can bring to the community as it continues driving cloud infrastructure innovation and software maturity.”
Canonical announced on Tuesday that the 15.04 edition of Ubuntu OpenStack will be the first commercially available product to be based on OpenStack Kilo, which is due for release at the end of the month.
Early adopters will get the release candidate, and the full version will follow days after.
Citrix is joining the alliance at an interesting time. Earlier this year, it was revealed that HP has become the largest single contributor to the current OpenStack version, Juno, overtaking Red Hat.
A number of alliances are forming within the OpenStack community to try and gain the upper hand. HP has buddied up with telecoms companies including AT&T and BT, while Juniper and Mirantis have joined forces, though the latter has confirmed that this is not a snub to VMWare.
Citrix coming aboard with its existing ties to Apache and Linux seems to represent another example of the cross-pollination of the OpenStack movement across the industry, with companies clamoring to back it either as a first or second line of opportunity.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be the semiconductor industry’s next growth driver, according to TSMC president and co-CEO CC Wei.
Wei believes that the healthcare chip market will reach US$6.8 billion in production value in 2017, said Wei. Meanwhile a family home could feature more than 500 smart devices by 2020.
He said that mobile devices have already replaced PCs as the major growth driver of the semiconductor market and in 2014, about 1.88 billion mobile phones were shipped with 1.2 billion of them being smartphones.
Technology is also enabling devices to progress. Taking PC as an example, the penetration rate of the devices has been pushed up thanks to more advanced chip-making technologies, Wei said.
Worldwide semiconductor R&D expenditures were as high as US$56 billion in 2013, with the US semiconductor industry contributing the most at US$33 billion. Taiwan’s R&D expenditures for the year came to about an impressive US$5 billion, Wei noted.
Among the industry’s top-10 R&D spenders in 2014, two Taiwan-based companies were listed, Wei disclosed. TSMC’s R&D spending for the year came to US$1.87 billion allowing the company to climb to fifth place in the ranking, while MediaTek moved up to ninth with total R&D expenditures of US$1.43 billion.
Defense contractor Raytheon is acquiring Websense, which it will combine with its own security unit to create a new, separately operated business to battle criminal networks and state-funded espionage.
Today’s Internet attacks “are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and are being perpetuated by state sponsored groups, criminal organizations, hacktivists and insiders,” said David Wajsgras, president of Raytheon intelligence, information and services business, in a conference call Monday announcing the acquisition. “Our goal is to provide defense-grade solutions that allow our customers defend against [attacks], detect them early, decide how to counter and defeat such attacks in real-time.”
Raytheon plans to spend $1.9 billion in a deal to get 80 percent ownership of the new business based on Websense. It will then create the new company by combining Websense with its own cyberproducts business unit, valued at approximately $400 million. Vista Equity Partners, Websense’s current owner, will purchase a 20 percent stake in the new, combined company, for approximately $335 million.
The joint venture will be a separately operated Raytheon business segment. John McCormack, current CEO of Websense, will serve as chief executive of the new business. The name of the new company will be disclosed when the deal closes, by the end of the second quarter, the companies said.
Websense’s Triton line of secure Web gateway products guard internal networks against malware, data theft and Internet-based snooping. The new company will combine Triton with Raytheon’s own SureView portfolio of security products, which can watch for unusual user activity, protect against known vulnerability attacks, and detect hidden anomalies using machine-learning technologies.
The two companies also have a complementary customer base. Raytheon has focused largely on serving U.S. defense agencies — it generated sales of $23 billion in 2014, which was mostly from large-scale systems work. Websense has a strong presence in the commercial enterprise market. It serves 21,000 customers and has relationships with over 2,200 channel partners.
The Internet company has hired advisers to help it evaluate options for the stake, Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer told investors on a conference call on Tuesday. It will not be included in the planned spin-off of its stake in China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, she said.
Investors have been urging Mayer to monetize the Yahoo Japan stake separately, after she announced plans to spin off the Alibaba stake in January, which could be worth $40 billion.
The advisers will help Yahoo “determine the most promising opportunities to maximize value” for the Yahoo Japan stake, said Mayer.
But Wall Street remained broadly cautious about the plan.
“They are taking the slow train, stressing the process,” said Colin Gillis, an analyst BGC Partners, who warned that a deal, if any, could be a long way down the line. “Engaging advisers doesn’t mean spinning it out.”
Yahoo owns about 35 percent of Yahoo Japan Corp, which has a market value of almost $25 billion on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Japanese internet company SoftBank Corp is the biggest shareholder, with about 36 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Last month Yahoo shareholder Starboard Value LP said the Alibaba spin-off was a “good first step” but urged Yahoo to also spin off its Yahoo Japan stake in a tax-efficient manner. Starboard did not reply to a request for comment.
Chip designer ARM reported a 36 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit amid strong demand for its technology.
The British company said that expects 2015 revenue to meet the expectations of the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street.
ARM recorded net profit of $126.7 million for the three months to March 31 and revenue rose 22 percent.
Shares in ARM, which makes money by licensing its designs to chip makers, then collecting royalty revenue when the chips ship, were up by more than 5 per cent on the back of the news.
Processor-royalty revenue in dollar terms, a much-watched figure, rose 31 per cent on the year, the company said, adding that it has signed 30 processor licenses for a broad range of applications.
ARM CEO Simon Segars said: As the world becomes more digital and more connected, we continue to see an increase in the demand for ARM’s smart and energy-efficient technology, which is driving both our licensing and royalty revenues.@
Processor-licensing revenue was down 2 per cent in the quarter, which was in line with expectations following strong growth previously. Chief Financial Officer Tim Score told journalists he expects it to grow in future quarters.
Aside from smartphones and tablets, ARM said it is also seeing demand for its processors to be used for servers and networking and for the “Internet of Things”, a term used for the growing tendency for more items to be wirelessly connected.
ARM expects to benefit from the growth of the Internet of Things in areas such as health and in cars, Score said.
We recently showed you a new 16 Zen core next generation processor with Greenland integrated graphics and DDR4 support.
This part definitely sounds interesting but we got an update on the 2016 Opteron server market parts. The next generation Opteron won’t have an integrated graphics part but it will have up to 32 Zen x86 cores with 64-thread support. Unlike the highest end compute HSA part that comes with Greenland HBM graphics, the next generation Opteron doesn’t have any integrated graphics. The Opteron needs all the silicon space for the L2, L3 cache as well as its Zen x86 cores.
Just like the 16 Zen core high performance market APU, each core has 512KB of L2 cache and four processors share 8MB L3 cache. The highest end part will come with eight clusters of 4 cores and if you do the math this server oriented CPU will come with 64GB of L2 cache and 16MB of L2 cache for its CPU cores.
A few other notable features for the next generation server parts include a new platform security processor that enables secure boot and crypto coprocessor. The next generation Opteron has eight DDR4 memory channels capable of handling 256GB per channel. The chipset supports PCIe Gen 3 SATA, 4x10GbE Gig Ethernet and Sever controller HUB. Of course, there will be a SMP, dual socket version.
The next generation Opteron will have 32 CPU cores in its highest end iteration, and we expect some Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) with fewer cores than that for inexpensive solutions.
In case AMD comes to market with this part on schedule, and if the Zen core ends up performing as expected, Intel might finally get some competition. Let’s just hope for AMD’s sake that this server CPU is coming in 2016, sooner rather than later.
We can only on possible Zen-based FX parts for high-end desktops, or the manufacturing process for Zen chips, but at this point we cannot confirm FX parts are coming, and whether or not they will be manufactured in 14nm.
As the senior mobile marketing manager, the candidate will “lead marketing for Firefox on both Android and iOS,” the listing stated, adding that “a new Firefox for iOS application [will be] arriving soon.”
Mozilla, which had previously staunchly declined to create a version of its iconic browser for iOS, changed its tune last December, when a company manager said that the open-source developer would “get Firefox on iOS.”
Although Mozilla confirmed that it was working on Firefox for iOS, at the time it gave no hint of a timeline. “We are in the early stages of experimenting with something that allows iOS users to be able to choose a Firefox-like experience,” Mozilla said in a Dec. 2 blog.
Mozilla’s Github repository for iOS Firefox confirmed that.
The reasons for Mozilla’s renewed interest in iOS likely stemmed from Firefox’s decline in browser user share. Over the last 12 months, Firefox has shed 31% of its desktop user share by metrics vendors’ Net Applications count, and now has less than half the share of Google’s Chrome.
Mozilla has put its shoulder behind other mobile initiatives. But Firefox OS, an open-source mobile operating system based on the browser, has not yet gained significant traction and its Firefox browser for Android hasn’t moved the needle. According to Net Applications, Firefox’s usage share on mobile was just 0.7% last month, or about one sixty-sixth that of Safari.
Russian hackers have been taking advantage of vulnerabilities in popular Adobe and Microsoft software to gather government information, US security firm FireEye has claimed.
The company’s latest report said that it detected a limited advanced persistent threat campaign targeting zero-day vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and Microsoft Windows which started on 13 April.
FireEye said that the group’s goal is to find information about government, military and security organizations which is “likely to benefit the Russian government”.
Researchers using the security firm’s Dynamic Threat Intelligence Cloud software detected the pattern of attacks through a “correlation of technical indicators and command and control infrastructure”, and believes that APT28 is “probably responsible” for this activity.
Adobe has since patched the CVE-2015-3043 vulnerability in APSB15-06.
Microsoft is aware of the outstanding local privilege escalation vulnerability in Windows, named CVE-2015-1701, but has not yet issued a patch.
FireEye said that updating Adobe Flash to the latest version will render the exploit harmless because it has seen CVE-2015-1701 in use only in conjunction with the Adobe Flash exploit for CVE-2015-3043.
The Flash exploit is served from unobfuscated HTML/JS. The launcher page picks one of two Flash files to deliver depending on the target’s platform, for example Windows 32-bit or 64-bit.
“The payload exploits a local privilege escalation vulnerability in the Windows kernel if it detects that it is running with limited privileges,” explained FireEye.
“It uses the vulnerability to run code from userspace in the context of the kernel, which modifies the attacker’s process token to have the same privileges as that of the system process.”
The APT28 attackers relied heavily on the CVE-2014-0515 metasploit module to conduct these new exploits, FireEye said.
CVE-2014-0515 exploits a vulnerability in Flash’s Shader processing, whereas CVE-2015-3043 exploits a vulnerability in Flash’s FLV processing.
Users are advised to patch their Flash software as soon as possible to protect against the vulnerability.
FireEye said last week that a Chinese hacking group called APT 30 spied on Asian governments for over a decade.
The group was discovered and detailed by FireEye in a report which claimed that it has been spying on Asia Pacific countries’ governments from as far back as 2004.
The security firm said that APT 30 takes a special interest in political developments in Southeast Asia and India, and is particularly active during Association of Southeast Asian Nations summits.
It also focuses on regional issues and territorial disputes between China, India and Southeast Asian countries.
ARM has announced the acquisition of two Bluetooth companies in a bid to expand its presence in the Internet of Things (IoT) arena, and has created a new portfolio dubbed ARM Cordio in the process.
The UK semiconductor designer has picked up Wicentric, a Bluetooth smart stack and profile provider, and Sunrise Micro Devices (SMD), a provider of sub-one volt Bluetooth radio intellectual property (IP).
Wicentric is a privately held company that focuses on the development of low-power wireless products. These include Bluetooth protocol stack and profiles for creating interoperable smart products, and the link layer for silicon integration.
SMD is also privately held and provides radio IP solutions including a pre-qualified, self-contained radio block and related firmware to simplify radio deployment.
“Central to all SMD radios is native sub-one volt operation,” explained ARM in justifying its acquirement. “Operating below one volt enables the radio to run much longer on batteries or harvested energy.”
Terms of the agreements have not been disclosed, but ARM said that both companies’ IP will be combined to form the ARM Cordio portfolio.
This will integrate with the firm’s existing processor and physical IP targeting markets that require low-power wireless communications in the IoT space. The portfolio is available now for immediate licensing.
ARM is pushing its stance in the IoT market in a bid to monopolise on what is essentially the next big thing in tech before it becomes ubiquitous.
For instance, ARM joined forces with IBM in February to launch its mbed Device Platform as a starter kit with cloud support, offering developer tools with cloud-based analytics.
The mbed tool was announced last year and is primarily an operating system built around open standards to “bring internet protocols, security and standards-based manageability into one integrated tool” and make IoT deployment faster and easier and thus speed up the creation of IoT-powered devices.
Launching the mbed IoT Starter Kit Ethernet Edition with IBM means that the company can channel data from internet-connected devices directly into IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform.
The IoT Starter Kit consists of an ARM mbed-enabled development board from Freescale, powered by an ARM Cortex-M4-based processor, together with a sensor IO application shield.
Sony Corp on Monday announced a new high-end Xperia smartphone featuring an aluminium frame and a 5.2-inch screen, showing it is still in the phone race even as it scales down its struggling mobile operations.
The launch of the new flagship model comes amid a painful restructuring at the Japanese consumer electronics giant which has thrown the future of its smartphone division into doubt, with top executives saying an exit cannot be ruled out.
But as the company focuses on cutting costs rather than growing its mobile market, the division still needs investment in new products and marketing to maintain Sony’s brand and hold off a more rapid deterioration.
Sony said the Xperia Z4 would be available in Japan around the middle of the year, though it did not provide a launch date, details on carrier partners or price. The handset would be available in four colours and was slightly thinner than the previous Z3.
Hiroki Totoki, who was appointed last year to turn around the mobile unit, said Sony was targeting the upper end of the market where rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc dominate.
“There’s a broad variety in the prices of smartphones, from around $100 to $1,400 at the upper end,” he told a news conference. “We want to focus in the upper half of that.”
Sony’s mobile division has fallen far behind high-end rivals such as Samsung and Apple, while at the low end it is battling pricing pressure from Asian manufacturers such as China’s Xiaomi Inc.
The company whose Walkman and Trinitron TV once played a critical role in the global entertainment industry has struggled in recent years to come up with trend-setting gadgets.
Sony announced in February that it would scale down its weaker operations such as TVs and mobile phones to focus instead on more successful products such as video games and camera sensors.
The company has become the first to offer ratepayers a discount when they use Fitbit wristbands that enable exercise tracking.
For years now, consumers have been able to plug a dongle into their car’s onboard diagnostics port and send driving data to Progressive, State Farm, or other auto insurance firms who offer reduced rates for good driving.
Now, John Hancock policyholders who wear Internet-connected Fitbit can get discounts of up to 15% on their life insurance policy. The fitness-tracking service is part of Hancock’s partnership with Vitality, a service provider that integrates wellness benefits with life insurance.
“We are reinventing the consumer life insurance experience and changing the way people think about this critical component of their overall financial health,” John Hancock Financial Services President Craig Bromley said in a statement. “We believe this offering will make life insurance relevant for new generations of consumers and reinvigorate the entire category.”
Once signed up for the program, policyholders earn points for physical activity or other healthy living activities, and then apply those points for rate discounts or other rewards.
Each year, policyholders can earn Vitality Points for activities such as exercising, getting annual health screenings and not smoking.
Other than up to 15% rate discounts, policyholders can use points for gift cards, discounted hotel stays and airline travel.
Hancock’sVitality program also makes recommendations on how policy holders can increase their rewards points by exercising more, getting more frequent blood work for cholesterol and other indicators and by eating more fruits and vegetables.
“Most Americans know they need more life insurance, and our research shows that nearly all consumers feel they could be living a healthier life. Our new products enable them to achieve both of those goals with one simple, engaging solution,” Doughty said.
Twitter.com has been redesigned to make content posted to the site more accessible to people who do not have accounts with the service. Those people can visit the site, and as of Wednesday they will find 18 tabs leading to streams of content on various topics, whether it be country singers, general news, or travel guides.
There’s also dozens of other curated streams of content accessible from links on the home page, with the content organized around more granular topics like U.S. federal agencies, art museums and wedding guides.
Previously, visitors to Twitter.com who did not have accounts were greeted with a sign-up page.
The changes come as Twitter faces continuing pressure to grow the number of people who use its site, and find new ways to make money off people who see its tweets and interact with them. Twitter ended the last quarter of 2014 with 288 million users who log in monthly — a 20 percent increase from the previous year, but the smallest annual growth rate Twitter ever reported.
One of Twitter’s biggest problems is that many people still don’t understand what it’s for.
With the redesigned home page, the company is trying to address this, by highlighting the site’s value as a source of real-time information and news. The tweets Twitter has selected for its new streams, the company says, come from some of the most popular accounts posting on those topics.
People without accounts still can’t do much to interact with the content. To reply to, re-tweet or “favorite” one of the tweets, the visitor is prompted to create an account. But with the redesign, Twitter hopes it might give the uninitiated enough bait to sign up.
And even without a flood of new sign-ups, Twitter’s new home page is likely to get more tweets in front of more people. That could give rise to new advertising methods around those tweets.
The new home page is available first in the U.S. on the desktop, Twitter said on Wednesday, though it will be arriving “to more places over time.”
Samsung Electronics has started mass production of what it claims is the industry’s first Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) PCIe solid state drive (SSD), which has an M.2 form factor for use in PCs and workstations.
Samsung said in an announcement that it is “the first in the industry” to bring NVMe SSDs to OEMs for the PC market.
The SM951-NVMe operates at low power in standby mode and is the most compact of any NVMe SSD out there, according to the firm.
“Our new NVMe SSD will allow for faster, ultra-slim notebook PCs with extended battery use, while accelerating the adoption of NVMe SSDs in the consumer marketplace,” said SVP of memory marketing Jeeho Baek.
“Samsung will continue to stay a critical step ahead of others in the industry in introducing a diversity of next-generation SSDs that contribute to an enhanced user experience through rapid popularisation of ultra-fast, highly energy-efficient, compact SSDs.”
Samsung has added an NVMe version of the SM951 SSD after making a AHCI-based PCIe 3.0 version available since early January. This, Samsung said, will form an even stronger SSD portfolio.
The new NVMe-based SM951 SSD boasts a sequential data read and write speed of up to 2,260MBps and 1,600MBps respectively, while taking advantage of the firm’s own controller technology.
“These performance figures are the industry’s most advanced, with speeds four and three times faster than those of a typical SATA-based M.2 SSD which usually moves data at up to 540MBps and 500MBps respectively,” Samsung added.
The drive achieves these high speeds by using four 8Gbps lanes of simultaneous data flow. This allows for a data transfer rate of 32Gbps and a maximum throughput of 4GBps, giving the new drive a huge advantage over SATA-based M.2 SSDs, which can only transfer data at up to 600MBps.
When it comes to random read operations, the SM951-NVMe can process 300,000 IOPS operations, which is more than twice as fast as the 130,000 rate of its AHCI-based predecessor, Samsung said, while being more than three times faster than the 97,000 IOPS of a SATA-based SSD.
“Meeting all M.2 form factor requirements, the drive’s thickness does not exceed 4mm. [It] also weighs less than 7g, which is lighter than two nickels and only a tenth the weight of a 2.5in SSD. Capacities are 512GB, 256GB and 128GB,” Samsung explained.
Samsung said that the company plans to incorporate 3D V-NAND technology into its NVMe SSD line-up, which could see even higher densities and performance.
Earlier this week HP unveiled the HP Z Turbo Drive G2, a storage solution featuring Samsung’s NVMe SSDs to process large datasets.
The HP Z Turbo Drive G2 PCIe SSD is said to deliver four times traditional SATA SSD performance at a similar cost to previous devices. This will allow workstation users to “super-charge” the productivity and creativity of workflows, according to HP.