Its becoming more obvious lately that Intel and Microsoft are no longer joined at the hip. Intel is trying desperately to make a dent in the tablet market, and with Windows struggling on those devices, Android is where it’s at.
Intel hopes to see its processors used in 40 million tablets this year, and 80% to 90% of those will be running Google’s Android OS, CEO Brian Krzanich said on Tuesday.
“Our mix of OSes reflects pretty much what you see in the marketplace,” Krzanich said during Intel’s quarterly earnings call.
Most Intel-powered tablets running Android today use the older Medfield and Clover Trail+ chips. More Android tablets running the latest Atom processor, called Bay Trail, will ship later this quarter.
That’s not to say Intel is abandoning Windows — far from it. It’s just going where the market is today. Krzanich said he expects Windows to “grow and gain traction,” and more Intel-based tablets running both Android and Windows will be shown in June at the massive Computex trade show in Taipei.
The first Android-based Bay Trail tablet, the DreamTab, was announced in January, but it hasn’t shipped yet.
Intel is chasing ARM, the U.K. company whose processor designs are used in most tablets today, including those running both Android and Apple’s iOS.
The 40 million Intel tablets that will ship this year will give the company 15% to 20% of the tablet market, Intel CFO Stacy Smith said on the earnings call.
Intel is providing discounts and development funds to tablet makers to reduce the cost of using its chips. It’s looking for growth with the white-box Chinese tablet makers, which are expected to ship up to 130 million tablets this year.
Intel chips are available in some tablets now priced under $99, but most will be priced between $125 and $250, Krzanich said.
Microsoft hasn’t made much of a dent yet in Google’s and Apple’s share of the market, but IDC estimated last month that Windows would have 10.2% of the tablet market by 2017. Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard have launched Windows 8 tablets with Bay Trail, and Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 2 uses an Intel Core processor, but the tablets haven’t sold well.
“All spots in the Explorer Program have been claimed for now, but if you missed it this time, don’t worry,” the Google Glass team wrote on its blog on Wednesday.
“We’ll be trying new ways to expand the Explorer program in the future.”
Google did not respond to a request for more information, but an earlier post about the one-day sale spoke of brisk sales of the $1,500 Internet-enabled headset.
“We’ve sold out of Cotton (white), so things are moving really fast,” the team wrote.
Aside from the white version, Glass was being offered in shades marketed as Charcoal, Tangerine, Shale (grey) and Sky (blue). Buyers had the choice of their favorite shade or frame. Google announced the one-day sale available to all U.S. residents over 18 last week, adding it wasn’t ready to bring the gizmo to other countries. Shoppers who missed it have to sign up for updates at the Glass website.
Only a few thousand early adopters and developers had Glass before the one-day sale, which coincided with a major software update for the heads-up display that put video calling on hold.
An official launch of Google Glass may happen later this year.
BlackBerry Ltd would think about abandoning its handset business if it remains unprofitable, its chief executive officer said on Wednesday, as the technology company looks to expand its corporate reach with investments, acquisitions and partnerships.
“If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business,” John Chen said in an interview, adding that the time frame for such a decision was short. He would not be more specific, but said it should be possible to make money off shipments of as few as 10 million a year.
At its peak, BlackBerry shipped 52.3 million devices in fiscal 2011, while it recorded revenue on less than 2 million last quarter.
Chen, who took the helm of the struggling company in November, said BlackBerry was also looking to invest in or team up with other companies in regulated industries such as healthcare, and financial and legal services, all of which require highly secure communications.
The chief executive said small acquisitions to strengthen BlackBerry’s network security offerings were also possible.
“We are building an engineering team on the service side that is focused on security. We are building an engineering team on the device side that is focused on security. We will do some partnerships and we will probably, potentially do an M&A on security.”
He said security had become more important to businesses and government since the revelations about U.S. surveillance made by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
In a wide-ranging interview in New York, Chen acknowledged past management mistakes and said he had a long-term strategy to complement the short-term goals of staying afloat and stemming customer defections.
“You have to live short term. Maybe the prior management had the luxury to bet the world would come to it. I don’t have the luxury at all. I’m losing money and burning cash.”
In March, the embattled smartphone maker reported a quarterly net loss of $423 million and a 64 percent drop in its revenues, underscoring the magnitude of the challenge Chen faces in turning around the company.
Chen said BlackBerry remained on track to be cash-flow positive by the end of the current fiscal year, which runs to the end of February 2015, and to return to profit some time in the fiscal year after that.
Chen said his long-term plans for BlackBerry included competing in the burgeoning business of connecting all manner of devices, from kitchen appliances to automotive consoles to smartphones.
Chen said he was not sure how long it would take for the “machine-to-machine” or “M2M” world to become a mainstream business, but he said he was sure that was coming.
“We are not only interested in managing BlackBerry devices. We are interested in managing all devices that you would like to speak to each other,” he said. “To achieve our dream of being a major player in M2M requires more partnerships with others,” including telecom companies eager to participate.
In response to an all-time low in user growth figures during the recent quarter, Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo informed worried Wall Street analysts that the company would make a number of changes to freshen up the service.
The redesign, while mostly cosmetic, hinted at what Costolo described in February as a willingness to experiment with new ways to organize content. Users can now “pin” a tweet to stay at the top of their feed, a rare instance of Twitter departing from the continuously rolling format that has defined the service.
Tweets that have received more re-tweets or replies will also appear slightly larger to spur more user engagement.
The new layout, which will be available to a small group of users initially, will be widely deployed to Twitter’s 241 million users in the coming weeks, the company said.
Twitter reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue on February 6, but investors focused on user growth of just 3.8 percent, the lowest rate of quarter-on-quarter growth since Twitter began disclosing user figures. The San Francisco-based company went public in November.
In recent weeks, Twitter has also reportedly been testing a number of new advertising units, such as ads that include download links for mobile apps.
As part of Tuesday’s refresh, Twitter said users will also be allowed to select a large banner picture to display across the top of their profile page, as well as a much larger profile picture, two features that resemble another social network familiar to most of the world’s Internet users: Facebook.
The closure of the site, which is a significant contributor to Costa Rica’s exports, falls within a larger plan announced by the chipmaker earlier this year to cut spending as it attempts to grow beyond PCs into the mobile market.
“It’s being closed and consolidated into our other operations throughout the world,” spokesman Chuck Mulloy said of the assembly and test operations in Costa Rica.
During the next two quarters, Intel will move assembly and testing from its site in Heredia, where it has been present since 1997, to existing sites in China, Malaysia and Vietnam, Mulloy said.
Costa Rica President Elect Luis Guillermo Solis met with Intel executives on Tuesday morning and they assured him the decision had nothing to do with the election of his new government on Sunday, according to a statement from Guillermo’s office.
“The decision bears no relation to the election of the new Costa Rica government or the market conditions for…potential foreign investment,” the statement said.
Intel will continue to have over 1,000 engineers, finance and human resources employees in Costa Rica and do some research and development there. The chipmaker expects to add another 200 “high-value positions” in Costa Rica later this year, Mulloy said.
Intel dominates the PC chip industry, but it has been slow to adapt its processors for smartphones and tablets, markets now dominated by rivals such as Qualcomm Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.
The cuts in Costa Rica are consistent with Intel’s announcement in January that it would reduce its global workforce of 107,000 employees by about 5 percent this year, Mulloy said.
Also in January, Intel said a newly built factory in Chandler, Arizona, originally slated as a $5 billion project that in late 2013 would start producing Intel’s most advanced chips, would remain closed for the foreseeable future while other factories at the same site are upgraded.
Bloomberg reported that IBM supplies server equipment to the Pentagon and that national security concerns have been raised.
The inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) is set to investigate whether Chinese technology company Lenovo is a safe buyer for a company that builds products to process so much potentially sensitive data.
Application for the $2.3bn purchase, which was announced on 23 January, has been made to the CFIUS, however investigations might take up to 75 days.
Concerns might be alleviated by the decision to keep the IBM server business as a separate subsidiary for five years, with a possible extension. In the past, this was not the case as IBM’s personal computer division was rebranded by Lenovo soon after its acquisition in 2005.
US officials will also have to consider the future safety of US utilities, weapons systems and other critical infrastructure to ensure that there is no potential risk of malware or hijacking.
This is not the first time that CFIUS has intervened in Chinese acquisitions in the computing sector, with Huawei and ZTE both having been subjected to mutterings about “deep concerns” when they began accelerated trading in the US in 2012.
The IBM deal is just one part of Lenovo’s recent spending spree after it bought Motorola from Google at a cost of $3bn to gain a stronger foothold in western markets.
The HTC One spent its year at the top of the product line receiving rave reviews but was undermined by advertising widely criticized as confusing, sending the company’s market share into freefall.
HTC was once a firm third to Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, selling 10 percent of smartphones globally two years ago, but it ended 2013 with a market share of just 2 percent, showed data from researcher Strategy Analytics.
The company started 2014 by booking a net loss of T$1.88 billion ($62.06 million) for January-March. That compared with a mean loss of T$1.59 billion estimated by 18 analysts polled by Reuters, and profit of T$85 million logged a year earlier.
Revenue fell 22.6 percent to T$33.12 billion, the company said in a statement on Monday.
HTC, however, broke 28 months of on-year revenue declines with a rise of 2.16 percent in March, and said it expected to return to profit in the second quarter thanks in part to the late-March release of its upgraded flagship, the HTC One M8.
Shares of HTC have fallen 38 percent over the past year, compared with a 12 percent rise in the Taiwan Stock Exchange Weighted Index. Ahead of the release, they closed up 3.6 percent versus the benchmark’s 0.1 percent loss.
The former contract manufacturer released a series of mid-range smartphones in recent weeks, predicting cheaper phones in emerging markets will help it return to profit this year.
It has also launched a partnership with search engine giant Google Inc to manufacture smart watches.
But it is the new flagship HTC One M8 that the company hopes will help it reestablish itself as a challenger to market leaders Apple and Samsung.
“The M8 is good, but it’s not as revolutionary as the previous flagship,” said Yuanta Securities analyst Dennis Chan. “Everyone is watching the second quarter to see how it sells.”
Tech website CNET.com awarded the phone four and a half stars out of five, calling it “a stunning sequel” to last year’s HTC One – a phone whose equally strong reviews were not matched by marketing and so did not translate into strong sales.
The new flagship could be in for a similarly rough sales ride as smartphone growth globally is likely to slow this year to 19 percent from 39 percent in 2013, and taper off over the next few years, showed data from researcher IDC.
As smartphones mature and technological upgrades become more incremental, analysts say even more importance will be placed on marketing and brand image – an area Chairwoman Cher Wang admitted HTC “didn’t do well” last year.
To distinguish itself to trend-conscious consumers, HTC must learn from Apple, whose innovative brand image and marketing strategy has won plaudits, said Taipei-based brand consultant Mark Stocker.
“Mimic them, but figure out what your brand stands for,” said Stocker. “If Apple is Mercedes Benz, try to make yourself BMW.”
Juniper Networks plans to reduce its global workforce by six percent and focus on its high-growth businesses. Juniper said most of the cuts would impact middle management positions and that it expected to incur cash charges of about $35 million in the first quarter, related to severance and other expenses. The company had 9,483 full-time employees as of December 31.
Juniper also said it would stop development of the application delivery controller technology, which helps remove excess load from servers, resulting in a non-cash intangible asset impairment charge of about $85 million. The company said it plans to consolidate its facilities, flog off of about 300,000 square feet of leased facilities.
Juniper added that it expected to record other non-cash asset write-downs of about $10 million in the first quarter and that it expects to carry out more restructuring in the second quarter.
Hedge fund Elliott recently claimed that Juniper shares were “undervalued” and could be worth $35-$40 if Juniper focused on revamping its core business of making routers and switches for mobile carriers such as Verizon and AT&T. Shares of Juniper are currently worth at $26.35.
Oracle has announced the availability of the latest edition of its NoSQL datatabase.
NoSQL is Oracle’s distributed key-value database. Now in it’s third version, the enhancements this time are heavily centred around security and business continuity.
Oracle NoSQL 3.0 features improvements in security with cluster-wide password based user authentication and integration with Oracle Wallet. Session level Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption and network port restriction are also included.
For disaster recovery and prevention, there’s automatic fail-over to metro-area secondary data centres, while secondary server zones can be used to offload read-only workloads to take the pressure off primary servers under stress.
For developers, there is added support for tabular data models that Oracle claims will simplify application design and improve integration with SQL based applications, while secondary indexing improves query performance.
“Oracle NoSQL 3.0 helps organisations fill the gap in skills, security and performance by delivering [...] enterprise-class NoSQL database that empowers database developers and DBAs to easily, intuitively and securely build and deploy next generation applications,” said Oracle’s EVP of Database Server Technologies, Andrew Mendelsohn.
It’s already been a big week for the SQL community with NoSQL arriving on MariaDB for the first time, courtesy of a tie-up between SkySQL, Google and IBM on Tuesday, while yesterday Fusion-IO announced the use of Non-volatile memory (NVM) compression in MySQL to increase the capacity of SSD storage.
Both the community and enterprise versions of Oracle NoSQL Database 3.0 are available for download now from the Oracle Technology Network.
“Global trends around big data and analytics with business investment in database and cloud-based applications helped to drive Oracle’s top-line growth,” Gartner research vice president Chad Eschinger said in a statement.
Microsoft retained its first-place ranking, at $65.7 billion in software revenue, while IBM moved down to third place with $29.1 billion. SAP remained in fourth place, at $18.5 billion, Gartner said.
Symantec, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, VMware, CA Technologies and Salesforce.com rounded out the top 10 vendors. Others accounted for $234.6 billion of the $407.3 billion total.
Global spending on software increased 4.8 percent overall last year to $407.3 billion, with developed countries making up for “relative sluggishness” in emerging market areas, according to Gartner.
SaaS (software as a service) is having a major impact on both buying habits and spending totals, according to Gartner. For the first time, a pure SaaS vendor cracked the list of top 10 software companies by revenue, with the arrival of Salesforce.com in 10th place, with $3.8 billion in sales. In addition, Salesforce.com is now among the industry’s five largest application software vendors, Gartner said.
Subscription pricing offered by SaaS vendors is giving customers the ability to make investments “where it makes sense to grow and advance the business,” while spending money to support their existing systems, Gartner said.
BlackBerry had petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in late January to block sales of the Typo keyboard because it was an “obvious knock-off” of the keyboards on its phones.
In a ruling issued late Friday, Judge William Orrick said “BlackBerry has established a likelihood of proving that Typo infringes the patents at issue and Typo has not presented a substantial question of the validity of those patents.”
The court’s decision will be a blow to Typo, which had asserted that its keyboards were sufficiently different.
The Typo keyboard was first unveiled in January and is designed to slip onto an iPhone 5 or 5S like a protective case. It costs $99 and has received attention in part because Typo is backed by U.S. TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest.
BlackBerry quickly moved to sue Typo claiming its keyboard was a copy of those found on BlackBerry handsets.
The company currently sells several phones with a physical keyboard and plans to launch at least one more later this year.
Earlier Friday, CEO John Chen said BlackBerry would launch a new model called the Q20 “Classic” later this year that includes the trackpad and ‘Menu,’ ‘Back,’ ‘Send’ and ‘End’ buttons along the top of the keyboard that helped make the company famous.
As a next step in the California case, BlackBerry will have to post a bond with the court that would cover Typo’s losses should it eventually be decided that Typo’s keyboard does not infringe on BlackBerry’s patents.
Typo has a week to come up with a detailed accounting of how much money it could lose as a result of the injunction.
Typo could not immediately be reached for comment.
The case is 14-00023, BlackBerry vs Typo Products, at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.
China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has targeted 2018 revenue almost double the record made last year when the company amassed an impressive 34 percent profit growth and became the world’s third-biggest smartphone manufacturer.
Huawei has been flooding emerging markets with low-priced smartphones and tapping advanced economies with high-end offerings to make up for slowing growth in its primary business of building mobile telephone networks.
Smartphones last year contributed the most to revenue growth in yuan terms and are likely to feature prominently in reaching a revenue target which translates as roughly 10 percent annual growth.
To reach that target, the company will have to improve on 2013 when revenue hit a record yet grew at a pace slower than Huawei’s 10 percent goal primarily because overseas companies spent less on networks.
Huawei also missed its smartphone sales target as local peers Lenovo Group and ZTE Corp pursued similar strategies to close the gap with leaders Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co.
“In 2014, we are aiming our sales efforts at improving our branding image,” Eric Xu, Huawei’s rotating and current chief executive, said on Monday.
“At the same time, we are going to build our (smartphone) product portfolio in the mid-range and high level,” Xu said after the unlisted company released audited earnings results.
In 2013, revenue hit a record 239 billion yuan ($38.47 billion), helping operating profit land within Huawei’s guidance range, and pushing net profit up 34.4 percent to 21 billion yuan – its quickest profit growth in four years.
Revenue grew 18 percent in Huawei’s consumer division, which includes smartphone manufacturing, and the company expects a similar rate of growth this year.
In the enterprise division, which builds private networks for companies and organizations, revenue grew 32 percent thanks to companies investing heavily in cloud and mobile computing.
Revenue in the carrier network business – which accounts for about 70 percent of overall income – grew just 4 percent. Huawei aims to double that to 8 percent this year as carriers increase investment in 4G, particularly in China.
Overall, Huawei targets revenue of $70 billion by 2018, or annual growth of about 10 percent, executives said at the press conference.
Growth was 8.6 percent last year rather than the targeted 10 percent, and smartphone shipments reached 52 million handsets instead of the 60 million handset goal.
Huawei smartphone sales last year barely made a dent in the U.S., the second-biggest market, where lawmakers have flagged Chinese telecommunications equipment as potential security risks.
It looks like the security industry has seen money in propping up the elderly Window XP software. Malwarebytes has released Anti-Malware Premium, a new tool designed to protect home PCs against what it calls advanced criminal software which traditional anti-virus cannot detect.
However, what is interesting is that the outfit is claiming that it will support XP users for life. Apparently, they make up 20 per cent of Malwarebytes’ user-base and could be at greater risk when updates stop on April 8. So it could be marketing, but it could indicate that Redmond might have difficulty killing off the OS if it is being propped up by the security industry.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium apparently uses Anti-Rootkit technology, which rips out and fixes the damage done by malicious software hiding at an extremely deep-level in the operating system. Premium has added updated malicious URL blocking and enhanced protection from unwanted programs such as aggressive adware and toolbars. A new user interface and ultra-quick threat scan, ensure the product is easy to use.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium is available from the online store for an annual subscription of $24.95, and provides coverage for up to three PCs. Users with existing lifetime licenses for Malwarebytes Anti-Malware PRO will receive a free upgrade to the new product.
Cisco Systems Inc will offer cloud computing services, pledging to spend $1 billion over the next two years to make a foray into a market currently dominated by the world’s biggest online retailer Amazon.com Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Cisco said it will spend the amount to build data centers to help run the new service called Cisco Cloud Services, the Journal reported.
Cisco, which mainly deals in networking hardware, wants to take advantage of companies’ desire to rent computing services rather than buying and maintaining their own machines.
Enterprise hardware spending is dwindling across the globe as companies cope with shrinking budgets, slowing or uncertain economies and a fundamental migration to cloud computing, which reduces demand for equipment by outsourcing data management and computing needs.
“Everybody is realizing the cloud can be a vehicle for achieving better economics (and) lower cost,” the Journal quoted Rob Lloyd, Cisco’s president of development and sales as saying.
“It does not mean that we’re embarking on a strategy to go head-to-head with Amazon.”
Microsoft Corp last year said it was cutting prices for hosting and processing customers’ online data in an aggressive challenge to Amazon’s lead in the growing business of cloud computing.
Cisco could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S.business hours.
Hewlett-Packard Co will unveil plans to enter the commercial 3D-printing arena in June, saying it has resolved a number of technical issues that have hindered broader adoption of the high-tech manufacturing process.
Chief Executive Meg Whitman told shareholders the company will make a “big technology announcement” that month around how it will approach a market that has excited the imagination of investors and consumers.
Critics have accused the sci-fi-like technology of being over-hyped and still too immature for widespread consumer adoption.
Industry observers have long expected HP, the largest of several printer-making companies from Canon to Xerox, to eventually get into the business. Whitman said HP’s inhouse researchers have resolved limitations involved with the quality of substrates used in the process, which affects the durability of finished products.
“We actually think we’ve solved these problems,” Whitman told an annual shareholders meeting. “The bigger market is going to be in the enterprise space,” manufacturing parts and prototypes in ways that were not possible before.
“We’re on the case,” she said without elaborating.
HP executives have estimated that worldwide sales of 3D printers and related software and services will grow to almost $11 billion by 2021 from a mere $2.2 billion in 2012.
The nascent 3D-printing market is now dominated by a number of smaller players like MakerBot, a unit of Stratasys that is concentrating on selling more affordable devices to consumers.
Contract manufacturers like Flextronics however already use the technology to help craft prototype parts or devices for corporate clients.
“HP is currently exploring the many possibilities of 3D printing and the company will play an important role in its development,” CTO and HP Labs director Martin Fink said in a February blogpost on HP’s website.
“The fact is that 3D printing is really still an immature technology, but it has a magical aura. The sci-fi movie idea that you can magically create things on command makes the idea of 3D printing really compelling for people.”