The U.S. Department of Commerce has agreed to remove Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp from a trade blacklist after the company pleaded guilty to violating sanctions on Iran and agreed to pay nearly $900 million, the agency said in a notice.
Removal from the list marks the end of a tense period for ZTE, which faced trade restrictions that could have severed its ties to critical U.S. suppliers.
“By acknowledging the mistakes we made, taking responsibility for them … we are committed to a ZTE that is fully compliant, healthy and trustworthy,” said ZTE Chief Executive Zhao Xianming said in an emailed statement.
Last year, the U.S. Commerce Department placed export restrictions on ZTE as punishment for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. The restrictions would have prevented restricted suppliers from providing ZTE any U.S.-made equipment, potentially freezing the Chinese handset maker’s supply chain.
Over the past 12 months, as ZTE cooperated with U.S. authorities, the U.S. Commerce Department temporarily suspended the trade restrictions with a series of three-month reprieves, allowing the company to maintain ties to U.S. suppliers.
Earlier this month, ZTE agreed to pay a total of $892.4 million and pleaded guilty to violating U.S. sanctions by sending American-made technology to Iran and lying to investigators.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday it would impose severe restrictions on former ZTE CEO Shi Lirong, whom the agency accused of approving efforts to skirt sanctions and ship equipment to Iran.
The Commerce Department said Shi approved a systematic, written business plan to use shell companies to secretly export U.S. technology to Iran. Reuters could not immediately reach Shi for comment.
The U.S. investigation followed reports by Reuters in 2012 that ZTE had signed contracts with Iran to ship millions of dollars’ worth of hardware and software from some of America’s best-known technology companies.
U.S. authorities have said the size of the financial penalty against ZTE also reflects the fact that the company lied to investigators when executives were approached about the allegations.
As part of the deal, ZTE will be under probation for three years and agreed to cooperate in the continuing investigation.
A Chinese court has ruled in favor of Apple in design patent lawsuit between the Cupertino, California company and a domestic phone-maker, overturning a ban on selling iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones in China, Xinhua news agency reported.
Last May, a Beijing patent regulator ordered Apple’s Chinese subsidiary and a local retailer Zoomflight to stop selling the iPhones after Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services lodged a complaint, claiming that the patent for the design of its mobile phone 100c was being infringed by the iPhone sales.
Apple and Zoomflight took the Beijing Intellectual Property Office’s ban to court.
The Beijing Intellectual Property Court has revoked the ban, saying Apple and Zoomflight did not violate Shenzhen Baili’s design patent for 100c phones.
The court ruled that the regulator did not follow due procedures in ordering the ban while there was no sufficient proof to claim the designs constituted a violation of intellectual property rights.
Representatives of Beijing Intellectual Property Office and Shenzhen Baili said they would take time to decide whether to appeal the ruling, according to Xinhua.
In a related ruling, the same court denied a request by Apple to demand stripping Shenzhen Baili of its design patent for 100c phones.
Apple first filed the request to the Patent Reexamination Board of State Intellectual Property Office. The board rejected the request, but Apple lodged a lawsuit against the rejection.
The Beijing Intellectual Property Court on Friday ruled to maintain the board’s decision. It is unclear if Apple will appeal.
Emaar Malls’ bid has so far not been accepted by Souq.com shareholders, the Dubai-listed firm said in a stock exchange announcement on Monday.
Reuters reported last week that Amazon had agreed in principle to buy Souq.com, which was founded 12 years ago by Syrian-born entrepreneur Ronaldo Mouchawar.
Amazon declined to comment, and Souq.com did not respond to an emailed request for further comment.
However, Emaar Malls’ offer is higher than Amazon’s $580 million bid, a source familiar with the matter said. The Financial Times reported Amazon would pay between $650 and $750 million, quoting two sources familiar with the matter.
However, Souq.com will have to break an exclusivity agreement with Amazon if it is to accept the Emaar Malls offer at this stage, the source said.
The Emaar Malls bid includes a $500 million up-front payment and a guaranteed 15 per cent internal rate of return for Souq.com shareholders, the source said.
A successful bid would give Emaar “a firmer footing in retail and consumer behavior,” said Sanyalaksna Manibhandu, head of research at NBAD Securities.
The offer is not the first move online to be made by Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar, who made his name as chairman of Emaar Properties, the Dubai-government linked-developer of the world’s tallest building. Emaar Malls is the retail unit of Emaar Properties.
Last year Alabbar raised $1 billion from regional investors including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to set up his own Middle East e-commerce firm Noon.
Days before announcing Noon, Alabbar and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos met in Dubai, leading to speculation that they would forge some sort of partnership in the region.
Originally set to open for business with 20 million products, Noon quietly missed its January launch date. The company has yet to comment on the delay.
Emaar Malls bid is independent of Noon, the source said, aimed at complementing the retail unit’s brick-and-mortar sales by introducing services such as “click and collect”. Shoppers in the Arab world prefer to make purchases in-store despite a young and tech-savvy population.
Emaar Malls is the operator of the Dubai Mall, which accounts for around 50 percent of the emirate’s luxury goods spending and is one of the Middle East’s largest shopping centers.
“Emaar’s retail division will strengthen the case for online retail for traditional brick and mortar retailers, by providing an avenue of online retail,” Euromonitor research analyst Rabia Yasmeen said in an email.
A spokesman for Apple confirmed that the company acquired DeskConnect, the developer of the app, and the Workflow app, but did not provide further details.
Workflow, developed for the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, allows users to drag and drop combinations of actions to create workflows that interact with the apps and content on the device. It won an Apple design award in 2015 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.
Some of the examples of tasks for which Workflow can be used are making animated GIFs, adding a home screen icon to call a loved one and tweeting a song the user has been listening to, according to a description of the app.
Apple is keeping the app alive on its App Store and it has been made free, according to TechCrunch, which first reported the acquisition.
The company, which typically comments on its acquisitions with the standard line that “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” went on to comment about the benefits of the app.
The app was selected for the Apple design award “because of its outstanding use of iOS accessibility features, in particular an outstanding implementation for VoiceOver with clearly labeled items, thoughtful hints, and drag/drop announcements, making the app usable and quickly accessible to those who are blind or low-vision,” Apple told TechCrunch.
It isn’t clear at this point how the app will be integrated with Apple’s offerings. Besides offering a standalone Workflow app, Apple may possibly look at integrating the technology into iOS with Siri being the key interface for many users, particularly for disabled people.
China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has completed the purchase of online ticketing platform Damai.cn, the e-commerce giant announced on, marking a further push into entertainment by the firm as it expands beyond its core online retail business.
“Ali announces its acquisition of Damai, part of our big entertainment strategy,” the firm said on its Sina Weibo platform. Alibaba first invested in Damai in 2014. “This continues an earnest three-year romance.”
In a separate post Damai said it was happy to join the “Alibaba family”. It also reposted a statement from a senior Alibaba executive saying this meant Alibaba now owned 100 percent of the firm.
Alibaba said in a statement to Reuters that the full acquisition of Damai “fits nicely into our ‘health and happiness’ strategy and forms a strategic part of the value chain in our media and entertainment business.”
“Damai.cn will be a powerful platform to distribute our media content as well as expand our user reach and engagement,” Alibaba said, adding there would be synergies with its own entertainment units Alibaba Music, Alibaba Pictures and Youku.
On the eve of San Jose, California-based Adobe’s annual user conference, the company said that it will work with Microsoft to create a shared data format between Adobe’s marketing software suite, which the company is re-naming its Experience Cloud, and Microsoft’s sales software, called Dynamics, allowing the software systems to work together seamlessly.
“It’s going to enable to customers to go beyond the current (software) silos they have to navigate today,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise division at Microsoft.
For Adobe, best known among consumers for its Photoshop digital imaging and Acrobat PDF software, the partnership builds on a deal it struck with Microsoft last fall to use its Azure cloud computing services.
Adobe has been pushing into business-to-business marketing software since it purchased Omniture Inc, a firm that helps website owners track their traffic, for $1.8 billion in 2009. Software that companies use to run digital marketing and advertising campaigns represented about $1.2 billion of Adobe’s $4.6 billion in revenue last year.
For its part, Microsoft has been trying to expand Dynamics, its software system for sales people. Teaming with Adobe helps it compete more strongly against Salesforce and Oracle, which both offer a combination of sales and marketing software.
Melissa Webster, an analyst with IDC, said that sharing data between systems to ensure customers get a smooth experience will be “an important battleground” in business-to-business software.
If customers have spent a lot of money with a business, they expect the business to remember who they are and don’t like it when they have to constantly re-enter their name and information, she said.
“Every time a company says with its body language ‘Who are you, again?’ it eats into their brand equity a little bit,” she said.
According to senior executives familiar with Seagate’s research and development plans, the company plans to fine-tune the next three years of its HDD developments using shingled magnetic recording (SMR), two-dimensional magnetic recording (TDMR), and heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR).
Back in July, the company announced a new line of Barracuda Guardian Series drives with up to 10TB of capacity for desktops, network-attached storage and surveillance systems. The drives offer sustained data rates up to 210MB/s. These drives are filled with helium to reduce platter thickness, motor power and flutter, and also use colossal magnetoresistive (CMR) heads versus shingled magnetic recording (SMR).
The need for higher capacity drives, especially for lots of unstructured data in server environments, have produced a need to develop more efficient drive recording technologies. Perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) was introduced in 2005 and brought needed areal density decreases. Then in 2013, Seagate began shipping the first shingled magnetic recording (SMR) drives that increased overall disk capacity by about 25 percent over non-shingled storage. The company is now confirming plans to release nearline HDDs with 12TB capacity within the coming weeks or months. Market watchers expect that once SMR-based technology begins to mature, the drives will be able to replace PMR-based drives most frequently and at capacities of almost double what PMR has been able to provide. According to company executives, 18TB SMR drives are currently in development and are expected to make an arrival in 2018.
Another technology currently under development, two-dimensional magnetic recording (TDMR), will also help the company increase areal density by around 5 to 10 percent. As tracks get narrower, an effect called magnetic inter-track interference (ITI) makes it increasingly hard for heads to perform read operations. TDMR uses two or more heads to read data from several earby tracks at the same time, improving the overall signal-to-noise ratio delivered to the controller. By using an array of readers per head, there should also be a noticeable performance improvement for HDDs, even if not quite on the same level as SSDs. With TDMR, however, the array of heads increases bandwidth requirements for the controller along with the amount of information it needs to process, so these platforms may initially come at a slight cost premium. Seagate plans to have some of the first drives introduced next quarter.
Now that PMR technology has gone through several generations, there is only so much room left in bits per square inch before a new read-write head technology must be developed to accommodate smaller surface areas. Seagate describes SMR as a stop gap recording technology, where reads can be made smaller, but write heads cannot. The downside is that if data has to be rewritten, then track blocks have to be reconstructed, which takes time and lengthens disk write performance.
This is where heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) comes into play, as it allows the drive heads to be made smaller to match the read tracks. A new and more stable recording medium is used that allows for writing on materials with higher coercivity and smaller grain size.
While PMR drives have an areal density of a few hundred gigabits per square inch, HAMR drives will be capable of delivering 5TB per square inch. As of 2016, no hard drives on the market were using HAMR, but Seagate expects the first 16TB HAMR HDDs to make an arrival in 2018 at the earliest.
Alibaba Cloud (Aliyun), has announced a pilot program with Chipzilla for a cloud-based FPGA (field programmable gate array) acceleration service with the goal of enabling customers to have virtual access to powerful compute resources in the cloud to help them manage business, scientific and enterprise data application workloads more effectively.
By using Intel Arria 10 FPGAs, Intel Xeon processor-based servers and software development tools for application acceleration as a ready-to-go preconfigured infrastructure, Alibaba Cloud offers systems designers cloud-based workload acceleration as an alternative to investing in on-premises FPGA infrastructure.
The service delivers on-demand scalability of workload acceleration with FPGAs while reducing upfront investment risks and accelerating delivery of new infrastructure services.
Senior director, Alibaba Cloud the appropriately named Jin Li said that Alibaba Cloud offers customers access to a number of services in the cloud, and adding an FPGA-based acceleration offering means they can access it without the cost or requirement of building out their own infrastructure.
“This service greatly adds to our value as a leading provider of highly scalable cloud computing and data management services that provide businesses with flexible, reliable connectivity,” Jin said.
One of the key benefits of FPGAs is that they are programmable and can be customized to accelerate and scale for varying workloads, such as machine learning, data encryption and media transcode.
Dan McNamara, corporate vice president and general manager, Intel Programmable Solutions Group said that Intel FPGAs were enabling new business models such as Alibaba’s approach of using FPGAs to accelerate diverse workloads via cloud services.
“In addition, Intel offers customers scalable solutions for accelerated computing with its data center leadership in Intel Xeon processors, FPGAs, optimized tools and software, and a global partner ecosystem across the spectrum of deployment models.”
Growing demand for ride-hailing and car-sharing will make the part-time use of vehicles, including Porsches, as convenient as ownership in seven to 10 years and that could dent new car sales, Porsche CFO Lutz Meschke said.
“To compensate for this decline, we have no choice but to develop new business models in the digital world to be able to keep growing,” Meschke said at a news conference to present Porsche results.
Porsche said on Friday it planned to spend 200 million to 300 million euros per year developing its digital businesses, services such as software designed to route drivers to free parking spaces.
Last year, Porsche set up a related division near Stuttgart with dozens of staff that will eventually employ about 500 workers globally by adding outlets in overseas markets.
Meschke said new mobility services would contribute a significant double-digit percentage share of revenue in the coming years. In 2016, the German sports-car maker’s overall revenue rose 4 percent to 22.3 billion euros ($24 billion).
Stuttgart-based Porsche, Volkswagen’s (VW) second-biggest earnings contributor behind Audi, expects operating profit in 2017 to match last year’s record 3.9 billion euros, with sales and revenue both seen rising moderately.
Separately, Porsche said it was targeting 100 million euros of annual cost savings from 2018 by deepening cooperation with fellow VW luxury brands Bentley and Bugatti, including platform-sharing, the carmaker said.
Thank you very much for the Aintree Iron.
Card holders with Visa credit cards have been hacked today, although the extent of the hack is not yet known.
How does Fudzilla know? Well yours truly is the holder of a Barclaycard Visa card, and earlier on this afternoon received an automated call from Barclaycard, just verifiying that I could be compromised by a fraudulent attempt to use my card.
I persisted with the automatic call until I finally got through to a real person, who confirmed the reason my card had been stopped was because of a hack of the Visa database.
At press time, a Visa representative wasn’t there to provide further details of how and when the attack took place. How do I know this isn’t a scam itself? That’s easy – I bought a paltry item from Amazon for £1.89 and soon got an email telling me my card had been stopped.
It would have been a bit inconvenient if I only had one credit card and was working in overseas, wouldn’t it?
Both Apple and Samsung shipped 74.5 million smartphones during the period, each claiming close to 20 percent share of the market, research firm Strategy Analytics said Wednesday.
It’s a big change from a year ago, when Apple’s iPhone 5s only helped the company gain a 17.6 percent share of the market, as opposed to Samsung’s near 30 percent share.
The data from Strategy Analytics comes a few days after Apple reported huge profits of $18 billion made in last year’s fourth quarter, from record sales of its new smartphone.
“Demand for iPhone has been staggering, shattering our high expectation,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an earnings call.
He added that the smaller iPhone 6 was the better selling of the two models, but that some markets preferred the bigger iPhone 6 Plus. Although the U.S. still remains the company’s largest market, China was another major contributor to the phone’s sales in the quarter, with sales in the market up by over 100 percent year over year.
Samsung isn’t faring as well in the smartphone market. It is losing market share at the high-end to the iPhone 6, and at the mid-tier and low-end range to products from Chinese vendors Huawei and Xiaomi.
“Samsung may soon have to consider taking over rivals, such as Blackberry, in order to revitalize growth this year,” Strategy Analytics said in a statement. But for the whole year 2014, Samsung still remained the top smartphone vendor, with a 24.7 percent share, followed by Apple, which had a 15 percent share.
Trailing far behind the two players is third place Lenovo, which acquired Motorola Mobility from Google last year. By buying the U.S. handset maker, Lenovo’s market share in the fourth quarter reached 6.5 percent.
Huawei was in fourth place during the quarter, with a 6.3 percent share.
Overall, the world’s smartphone market grew 31 percent during the period, with shipments reaching a record 380.1 million units.
The $63.54 per share cash deal is the world’s biggest purchase of a company solely focused on the autonomous driving sector. Mobileye accounts for 70 percent of the global market for advanced driver-assistance and anti-collision systems.
Intel said it expected the transaction to close within the next nine months and to immediately boost its non-GAAP earnings per share as well as its free cash flow.
The two companies are already collaborating with German automaker BMW on a project to put a fleet of around 40 self-driving test vehicles on the road in the second half of this year.
For a decade, Mobileye has relied on Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics to produce chips which the Israeli company sells to many of the world’s top automakers for its current, third-generation of driver-assistance systems.
However, while it was working with BMW, Mobileye also teamed up with Intel for its fifth-generation of chips that aim to be used in fully autonomous vehicles and are scheduled to be delivered around 2021.
Founded in 1999, Mobileye made its mission to reduce vehicle injuries and fatalities. After receiving an investment of $130 million from Goldman Sachs in 2007, it listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014. It has a market value of $10.6 billion.
Last October, Qualcomm announced a $47 billion deal to acquire NXP, the largest automotive chip supplier, putting pressure on other chipmakers seeking to make inroads into the market for autonomous driving components, including Intel, Mobileye and rival NVIDIA.
The Qualcomm-NXP deal, which will create the industry’s largest portfolio of sensors, networking and other elements vital to autonomous driving, is expected to close later in 2017, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.
Mobileye, which employs around 600 people, had adjusted net income of $173.3 million in 2016.
Solar leases, which typically last up to 20 years and keep the ownership of solar rooftop panels in third-party supplier hands, peaked in 2014, with 74% of solar-panel home customers choosing that option. In the fourth quarter of 2016, however, the market that had been quickly moving away from leases jumped the shark, and only 47% of homeowners chose leasing, according to a report from GTM Research.
“All signs point to the continued rise of customer ownership. Leasing was a necessary temporary solution that sparked the original growth of residential solar, but the future is cash and loans,” GTM stated in its report.
here are a few reasons for the fourth-quarter flip from leasing to owning.
The first is because of Tesla’s SolarCity, which recently announced that 28% of fourth-quarter solar deployments were purchased by customers. That percentage is likely higher for residential installations, according to GTM. SolarCity is the nation’s largest residential provider, and despite its declining market share, the company still accounts for about one-quarter of all residential solar installed, GTM said.
“Any major changes to its strategy will have an impact on the market, and we’re already seeing that impact,” GTM stated in its report.
“Tesla said it will continue transitioning to direct sales in order to generate more cash upfront. Vivint Solar is also making this shift, albeit more slowly and still primarily in markets without legal third-party ownership,” GTM said.
Another reason for increased ownership is due to small local installers in states that are leading in solar energy deployments, and these installers prefer cash sales, GTM stated.
In California, which leads the nation in solar energy deployments, the state fell to 36% third-party ownership in the fourth quarter, down from almost half the market at the beginning of the year and as high as 75% in mid-2013.
“The biggest change happening in California, however, is that larger installers like SolarCity, Sunrun and Sungevity are moving to cash more quickly there than anywhere else,” GTM stated.
California is a shrinking market, but it’s still an extremely influential segment nationally. It could be a sign of what’s to come in other major solar states, especially as national installers introduce loans in new markets, GTM stated.
Overall, the national third-party ownership share declined to 53% in 2016. Third-party-owned capacity was roughly flat from 2015, while customer-owned solar grew almost 50%, according to the report.
A year ago, GTM Research released a report indicating the price of rooftop solar systems for residential and small business were dropping precipitously, and consumers were increasingly choosing to buy their systems rather than lease.
The venerable enterprise voice, collaboration and networking company filed for bankruptcy in January and said it would shift its focus from hardware to software and services.
Extreme, based in San Jose, makes wired and wireless enterprise network products, including an SDN (software-defined networking) controller based on the OpenDaylight platform. Last September, it acquired the Zebra Technologies wireless LAN business for $55 million to flesh out its own Wi-Fi division.
Avaya has been around since 2000, when it was spun off from Lucent Technologies as a supplier of enterprise phone gear, call-center systems and network equipment. It was taken private in 2007.
The rise of smartphones and cloud-based communication squeezed the collaboration business, and enterprise networking has become a tight market. When it sought bankruptcy protection, Avaya said it would hold on to its call-center business but sell off other, unnamed assets.
The deal with Extreme has to be approved by the court overseeing Avaya’s bankruptcy and go through other reviews. It’s expected to close in three to four months.
Those responsible for inflicting the iPad on the world are experiencing a rather large slice of karma, thanks mostly to their dependence on the fruity tax-dodging cargo cult.
According to Digitimes, the first-quarter 2017 results of iPad supply chain manufacturers are not that good. Touch panel makers TPK Holding and General Interface Solution (GIS), are hanging in the balance and they are really hoping that Apple is going release its new iPad Pro lineup soon.
It had been expected that Apple is planning three new tablets for 2017, an entry-level 9.7-inch iPad, a 10.5-inch iPad, and an upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
Vendors need at least one of the two large-size tablets, 10.5-inch iPad or the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, to be released in the first quarter of 2017 along with the entry-level 9.7-inch iPad, otherwise they might be facing a cash crisis.
However, Apple, with its usual caring and sharing attitude to suppliers and consumers alike, seems to be planning to release the two large-size models in May-June, which will mean that first quarter sales of supply chain makers are going to be pants.
TPK is expected to see its revenues drop within a range of 10 percent in the first quarter of 2017. But the company is still likely to post growth for the first half of the year thanks to follow-up orders for the new iPad Pro lineup, commented the sources.
GIS is expected to see its revenue decline over 35 percent in the first quarter from the $963.28 million of a quarter earlier.
The hope is that orders from Apple as well as non-Apple handset, tablet and notebook clients will help GIS boost sales for the second quarter and eventually for the first half of the year.
But there are indications that iPad sales will continue to fall. Optimistic analysts say that shipments of iPad devices are expected to reach 40 million units in 2017, down slightly from a year earlier. Even if these figures are correct, then a few suppliers will be regretting their dependence on Jobs’ Mob.