In the 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week, Microsoft said that its Phone Hardware division, which is based largely on the Nokia assets acquired last year for approximately $7.9 billion, lost money in the March quarter.
With revenue at $1.4 billion for the period, Microsoft said, cost of revenue exceeded sales by $4 million, meaning the company lost about 12 cents — even before marketing, R&D and other expenses were factored in — on each phone sold.
More importantly, Microsoft also warned investors that it may need to write off some of the Nokia acquisition.
“Given its recent performance, the Phone Hardware reporting unit is at an elevated risk of impairment,” Microsoft said, using a term to describe the situation when the market value of a business is less than what’s carried on the books. In such scenarios, corporations are required to balance accounts by taking a charge against earnings to the tune of the difference.
“Declines in expected future cash flows, reduction in future unit volume growth rates, or an increase in the risk-adjusted discount rate used to estimate the fair value of the Phone Hardware reporting unit may result in a determination that an impairment adjustment is required, resulting in a potentially material charge to earnings [emphasis added],” the company continued.
Ben Thompson, an independent analyst who reported on Microsoft’s 10-K statement on Friday, translated the accounting-speak. “A very, very big write-off -— and associated quarterly loss -— is coming soon. What a disaster!” wrote Thompson on his Stratechery.com.
Microsoft currently carries $5.46 billion in “goodwill” from the Nokia acquisition on its books, as well as another $4.51 billion in intangible assets. The Redmond, Wash. company had attributed the Nokia goodwill to “increased synergies that are expected to be achieved from the integration of NDS [Nokia Corp.'s Devices and Services business].”
That value may now be greatly overstated, Microsoft acknowledged.
“Nokia notes recent news reports claiming the company communicated an intention to manufacture consumer handsets out of a R&D facility in China. These reports are false,”Nokia said in a statement posted on its website.
“Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.”
However, Nokia has said it is looking into returning to the smartphones business by brand-licensing.
Nokia sold its phone business to Microsoft last year, but just months after that it launched a new brand-licensed tablet computer, produced under license by Taiwan’s Foxconn, with an intention to follow up with more devices.
Nokia has agreed with Microsoft that it will not enter the mobile phone business before 2016.
“It would be crazy not to look at that opportunity. Of course we will look at it,” Sebastian Nystrom, the head of products at Nokia’s Technologies unit, told Reuters in November.
Nokia this month announced a takeover of France’s Alcatel-Lucent, a bid to boost its mainstay network equipment business, and also said it could hive off its map business, which has reportedly drawn interest from carmakers as well as Facebook and online taxi service Uber.
Discount and deal site Groupon has a novel way of dealing with bounty hunters who point out security flaws in its systems. It lets them discover the flaws and refuses to pay up.
Brute Logic says that the security issue is all the more serious because Groupon stores credit card details, and it would be incredibly easy to craft a spoof Groupon-related URL to trick victims into visiting a fake site.
On April 17 he contacted Groupon security team then got back saying that it had isolated the issue and would be back in touch once a patch has been produced.
As a contributor to XSSposed.org Brute Logic spoke with people at the site and made a reference to one of the security issues ended up being published. This only appeared online for a few moments, and was removed after it was realized it had been published in error. But Groupon is using this as a reason for refusing to pay out.
Groupon’s Bug Bounty Program terms say:
“We encourage you to report it to us in a private and responsible way. In order to encourage this, we have established a reward program which will pay a bounty for verifiable security issues reported to us through the proper channel.”
Brute Logic argues that an additional 30 problems still existed and very scant details of the security flaw were published for only a very short time. In a further email, Groupon said:
“Unfortunately we won’t be able to offer you a bounty for this submission. In the future we ask that you respect our responsible disclosure policy and not publicly disclose the vulnerability without properly notification. We noticed that you submitted the vulnerability to xssposed.org.”
Understandably Brute Logic is not happy, seeing the company trying to get out of a bounty on the basis of a technicality.
Opteron processors based on the Zen architecture are coming in 2016 (hopefully) and we expect to see them using 14nm GlobalFoundries’ manufacturing process.
What we can confirm is that the 32-core processor actually uses 8 cores per die on four die ona MCM (Multi Chip Module) socketed LGA design.
Each MCM module with 8 cores has two memory channels with up to 2 DIMMs per channel. The maximum TDP for the Opteron Zen 2016 series is set at the standard 140W and there will be a 120W TDP SKU, as well as lower TDP parts.
AMD also has something called Combo Links that combines 8-16 bit links (2 per die) and this link can take the form of xGMI, PCIe, SATA, SATA Express, 10Gbase-KR or SGMII. There will be boards with 1P socket configurations and 2P socket configurations for more than one LGA socketed processor.
Dual socket 2P motherboards support four AMD External Global Memory interconnect xGMI links, or one per die. The standard 2P board comes with maximum of 64 PCIe lanes per socket, 16 SATA laners, four 10GigE and four 1GigE per socket.
AMD relies on coherent interconnect for 2-socket configurations that should enable faster inter-socket communication between two CPUs. The specification looks promising, but it remains to be seen if the instruction per clock rate will improve significantly, and how well can these eight dies interconnected in one MCM package perform against the competition. Servers are a huge growth and return to profitability opportunity for AMD, but Intel won’t give this highly profitable market without a serious fight.
The main question is if AMD can make it on time with Zen, if it can deliver these Opterons in volume before Intel moves to newer architectures and nodes.
Google, known for its dominant search engine and Android operating system, has been stretching boundaries with newer projects like autonomous cars and robotics. Now it’s competing with the likes of wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T in the data and cellular market.
While the latest Google move may look confusing, Project Fi is feeding Google’s long-term strategy — getting more data about its users that it can turn into ad sales and greater revenue.
“I’m not sure they’re trying to become a big-time wireless player,” said Brian Haven, an analyst with IDC. “But by becoming a wireless service, it allows Google to gain a lot more data from new end points with users. Data is what drives them. Regardless of whether or not they can generate a nice revenue stream, the data will still feed into the other things they do.”
Google just last week announced that it’s working with Sprint and T-Mobile to come out with its own wireless network, dubbed Project Fi.
The company is asking would-be customers to sign up online for an invite to what it calls an Early Access Program for the service; Fi will only be available to Nexus 6 smartphone users at the start.
The company, which makes most of its money on search and related advertising, is known for trying out various ideas and technologies. Not all of them work out, but Google doesn’t seem afraid to try.
“Google’s strategic imperative is always to drive usage of Google services and applications,” said Bill Menezes, an analyst with Gartner. “Their core business is never going to be cellular service provider. Their core mission is to get more people to click on Google ads, to use Google Docs, to watch YouTube videos. This new service plays in perfectly with that.”
Menezes agrees with Haven that Project FI will enable Google to gain insights into consumer behaviors — and amass more user data.
The disclosure is a further indication that Google Glass, which is still being sold to business, will be revived at some point as a product for consumers.
Luxottica is working with Google on a second version of Glass, and the online giant is also rethinking how a future model might look, Massimo Vian, one of Luxottica’s two CEOs, told shareholders in Milan.
“In Google, there are some second thoughts on how to interpret version 3 [of the eyewear]. What you saw was version 1. We’re now working on version 2, which is in preparation,” Vian said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
He didn’t give details about the product or say when it might be introduced.
Launched in 2013, Glass became popular among technology enthusiasts, but its $1,500 price tag held back wider adoption. Many also felt awkward about wearing a computer on their face in public, and the device’s ability to record video surreptitiously sparked privacy questions.
Google, though, believes the headset has potential for consumers but that it needs to be reworked. In the meantime, it’s still selling the device to businesses, which have found uses for it in the workplace.
In 2014, Google enlisted Luxottica to help make Glass more stylish.
Vian traveled to California recently to meet with the new Glass team, the Journal said. The group working on Glass was revamped after Google ended consumer sales of the device in January. The personnel changes included giving Tony Fadell, head of Google’s Nest connected home division, oversight of Glass’ development. His role would be to get Glass “ready for users,” Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said in March.
Luxottica, which is one of the world’s largest eyewear manufacturers, is also working with Intel on a device that will come out next February or March, the Journal said.
Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and state-owned ChinaTelecom Corp Ltd have developed a partnership to offer low-cost smartphones aimed at boosting mobile commerce in smaller cities and rural areas.
The phones, dubbed “Tianyi Taobao Shopping Handsets”, will come installed with either an app for easy access to Alibaba’s flagship Taobao online shopping platform or its home-grown YunOS mobile operating system, it said in a statement late on Friday. Buyers will be eligible for four months of free 2G data service.
The partnership is a bid to deepen Alibaba’s e-commerce base in less developed parts of the country and promote its mobile operating system in a shrinking, cut-throat handset market.
Six models produced by Coolpad, Hisense and TCL would come with the Mobile Taobao app pre-installed. Mobile Taobao is China’s most popular mobile shopping app with more than 200 million monthly active users, it said.
Another eight models, made by lesser-known brands including Uniscope, Ctyon and Kingsun, will run YunOS, providing buyers with an Alibaba account for shopping and cloud-based storage, and other preloaded services, it said.
Some 557 million people in China access the internet via mobile devices, according to government data. But shipments in China were 389 million phones in 2014, down from 423 million the previous year, according to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Still, mobile shopping is on the rise.
In January, Alibaba said the number of mobile monthly active users nearly doubled in the third quarter from the same period the previous year to 265 million. The proportion of gross merchandise volume derived from mobile also grew.
Alibaba says it has an 86 percent share of China mobile commerce market.
In February, Alibaba announced that it was taking a $590 million stake in Meizu, a relatively obscure domestic smartphone maker as it tests ways to expand its mobile operating system.
The South Korean tech giant’s official blog post showed images of smartwatch with a round face – which would be a first for Samsung – and naming several partners, including Baidu Inc, Yelp Inc and CNN.
Samsung also said it would release a wearable software development kit for third-party developers ahead of the launch.
The blog post came as the Apple Watch went on sale without the fanfare typical of the U.S. firm’s major product rollouts.
Apple’s offering is still expected to sell much better than any rival products to date. Researcher IHS expects shipments of more than 19 million Apple Watches this year, more than five times the number of all smartwatches shipped globally in 2014.
Samsung has launched six smartwatches since 2013 to build an early lead in the nascent market, but sales have been modest. IHS estimates that Samsung accounted for nearly 1 million of the 3.6 million smartwatches shipped globally last year.
The South Korean firm gave no other details on the new Gear smartwatch, such as when it may start selling, though the head of the firm’s mobile business said earlier in April that Samsung would launch products in the near future.
Dell’s security division has announced that it is working on a next-generation Firewall (NGFW) that it claims is the first to deliver deep packet inspection (DPI) speeds of up to 120Gbps.
The company will demonstrate these speeds at the RSA conference in San Francisco this week, and said that the NGFW cluster enables an “easy migration path” for the future growth of enterprise networks.
Dubbed a “firewall sandwich” of high DPI performance, better security efficiency and N+1 resiliency, the NGFW architecture is also said to lower the cost of demanding data centre operations.
“SSL decryption and inspection are critical NGFW capabilities required to effectively uncover malware deeply hidden inside encrypted web sessions and provide deeper perimeter network security,” said Dell.
“In this network design, the Dell SuperMassive NGFW with onboard SSL decryption can be incrementally deployed and horizontally scaled infinitely to address SSL performance loss and increase SSL decryption and inspection performance.”
The company will show off the technology at RSA in collaboration with Array Networks and Spirent Communication to give a demo of a highly-resilient, scalable, ‘Open Firewall Sandwich’ layer 3 architecture.
Dell will be joined by Ixia in demonstrating a network-based model for scaling the NGFW with DPI speeds of above 100Gbps.
Dell also unveiled several updates to the SecureWorks offering, which it claims will help firms increase network security and grow their business.
Updates include improved services in Dell Secure Mobile Access (SMA) solutions to increase mobile productivity for remote workers while protecting critical data from cyber threats.
The new SMA 11.2 release adds secure access to more resources using a standard HTML 5 browser, which Dell said allows easier access for most smartphone, tablet and laptop users while reducing reliance on Java and ActiveX components.
The new release adds HTML 5 browser access to Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp ICA support.
Dell said that new SMA 6200 and 7200 appliances also offer increased scalability. The SMA 6200 entry-level platform supports up to 2,000 concurrent users, while the SMA 7200 mid-range platform supports up to 10,000 concurrent users.
The SMA updates arrive six months after Dell revealed the SuperMassive 9800 firewall, which it claimed would protect against high-profile bugs such as Shellshock and Heartbleed.
Touted at the time as the most powerful in the SuperMassive 9000 line-up, the 9800 offered Dell’s Reassembly-Free DPI single-pass threat prevention engine, and advanced DPI with speeds up to 20Gbps. That’s a whopping 100Gbps less than the speed it is about to go for at RSA.
The company said a solution is already available, but didn’t disclose whether it is related to the device’s hardware or software or both.
In a statement issued by email to Computerworld, a Samsung spokeswoman said: “Samsung is aware of an issue affecting screen rotation on a very limited number of Galaxy S6 Edge devices and a solution is already available. Owners who believe their device may be affected should call 1-800-SAMSUNG for support.”
The problem cropped up on the first day that Edge sales began 12 days ago. Dozens of users reported last week and this week on various online forums that photos they had taken with the phone and many apps would not rotate into landscape (horizontal) mode and were stuck in portrait (vertical) mode.
Some users said they returned the faulty Edge devices to the wireless carrier retail stores to get another Edge device, then found the auto-rotate problem cropped up, again, on the new phone.
The issue has also been reported on Edge devices on carriers outside the U.S., including New Zealand and Hong Kong. One user, Leon Chan, claimed on Android Forums on April 17 to have exchanged his Edge device three times due to the auto-rotation issue, but planned to get the cousin device, the regular Galaxy S6, the fourth time around. “I called Hong Kong Samsung and they seem to be unaware,” he wrote several days before Samsung issued its statement acknowledging the problem.
AT&T and Sprint both referred Computerworld to Samsung for comment on the concern. T-Mobile said it hasn’t seen any auto-rotate problems with Edge devices. Verizon didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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.
When online pre-orders for Apple’s first smartwatch started on April 10, many customers were surprised to see delivery times as far out as June instead of on April 24, when the devices officially go on sale.
On Wednesday, Apple notified some buyers that they would not have to wait so long after all.
“Our team is working to fill orders as quickly as possible based on the available supply and the order in which they were received,” Apple said in a statement.
An Apple spokesman declined to say how soon the company would ship the watches or how many customers would be affected.
The Cupertino, California company previously predicted that demand would exceed supply at product launch. It has not said how many watches its customers have pre-ordered.
In a note to clients on Wednesday, FDR analyst Daniel Ives estimated Apple would take over 2 million pre-orders for the watch and ship 20 million of them in 2015.
“The longer-term consumer adoption curve for the Apple Watch remains a major ‘hot button’ question among tech investors as broad customer feedback is yet to be seen,” Ives wrote.
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.