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Twitter Tamps Down Rumors Of Being Acquired

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

 Twitter Inc Chief Executive Jack Dorsey stated that he sees value in the social media network remaining an independent company, tamping down recent speculation by analysts that it could be an acquisition target.

“I’ve always thought that there’s a lot of strength to our independence. We can work on every device. We can work through any medium,” Dorsey said in a response to a question at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.

Some investment analysts reignited talk of a potential Twitter deal last week when Twitter reported a surprising rise in revenue and its first quarterly profit.

 The Walt Disney Co. expressed interest in 2016, though at the time Twitter shares were trading at about half the current price, meaning an acquisition by anyone would be much more expensive than two years ago.

Shares in Twitter closed at $33.44 on Tuesday, up 8 percent against a 0.3 percent rise in the S&P 500 Index. Dorsey’s comments came after the closing bell, and shares were unchanged afterward.

Snap Chat User Base Grows, Shares Soar

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Snap Inc surprised investors with a rebound in user growth for its Snapchat messaging app, showing resilience amid competition with Facebook Inc’s Instagram and sending shares up nearly 30 percent.

Paired with higher-than-expected revenue and improved margins, the user growth signaled loss-making Snap could be turning a corner as it grapples with other social media companies adding Snapchat-like features, analysts said.

Snapchat’s daily active users rose to 187 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31 from 178 million in the third quarter, beating analysts’ average expectation of 184.2 million users, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

Daily active users rose 18 percent from a year earlier, reversing a trend of slowing growth. The figure is closely watched by investors who hope user growth can be translated into advertising revenue.

Chief Executive Evan Spiegel credited improvements to the version of Snapchat that runs on Android phones, saying the retention rate of new Android users rose by nearly 20 percent compared to a year earlier

“Our business really came together towards the end of last year,” Spiegel said in remarks prepared for a conference call with analysts.

Shares traded at $17.73 after the bell, up 26 percent after trading even higher earlier. They had not traded above Snap’s initial public offering price of $17 since July 10.

“This was a monster quarter relative to bearish expectations,” analyst Daniel Ives of GBH Insights said, cautioning however that “competitive headwinds abound with Instagram front and center.”

Nearly a year after Snap’s March IPO, analysts and investors have been watching to see if Snap can boost user growth amid competition from larger rival Instagram, which has added photo filters and other Snapchat-mimicking features.

To make its app more friendly to users and advertisers, Snap launched a redesigned app in November, splitting “friends” from content feeds.

The Venice, California-based company posted a net loss of $350 million, or 28 cents per share, compared to a loss of $170 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier. It was Snap’s fourth quarterly earnings as a public company.

 

Sprint Showing Signs Of Improvement, Beats Earnings Estimate

February 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Sprint Corp reported quarterly revenue on Friday that beat analyst projections, as the No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier raised its free cash flow outlook for the 2017 fiscal year.

Shares rose 3.7 percent to $5.29 in early trading, a day after sliding 5.7 percent to their lowest in a year and a half.

The company has sought to strengthen its balance sheet by cutting costs and mortgaging a portion of its airwaves and equipment, but industry analysts have raised concerns about how it can adequately fund network improvements after merger talks with rival T-Mobile US Inc ended last year.

Sprint now expects $2.5 billion to $2.7 billion in operating income, up from its previous estimate of $2.1 billion to $2.5 billion. It expects adjusted free cash flow of $500 million to $700 million, compared to previous estimates of breaking even.

“We think recent weakness in shares is reflective of lowered investor expectations, while in-line to slightly better financial results could provide some near-term relief,” said Matthew Niknam, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, in a research note.

On the post-earnings conference call, Sprint Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure said Sprint would launch a mobile 5G network in the United States by the first half of 2019.

The company is also looking for ways to reduce the number of executives at the top, he said. Sprint cut costs by about $260 million in the quarter, excluding $100 million of hurricane-related charges.

Claure said “becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of (SoftBank Group Corp) could be a possibility” but that the decision would be up to SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son. Japan’s SoftBank owns a majority of Sprint and has been increasing its stake.

For the quarter, Sprint reported net additions of 184,000 phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill, compared to additions of 368,000 a year earlier.

Net operating revenue in the third quarter ended Dec. 31 was $8.24 billion, down from $8.55 billion a year earlier.

 

Is A Dell, VMWare Merger In The Works?

February 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Computer maker Dell Technologies Inc has confirmed that it was contemplating a public offering of common stock or a combination with business software maker VMware Inc, its publicly held subsidiary.

Dell, the world’s largest privately held technology company, is under pressure to boost profitability after its debt-laden acquisition of data storage provider EMC Corp for $67 billion in 2016 failed to meet financial targets, hurt by intensifying price competition.

Combining with VMware would provide access to VMWare’s $11.6 billion in cash, helping Dell trim its $52.5 billion debt pile. Last month’s U.S. tax reform made servicing that debt more expensive due to caps on deducting interest expense.

The combination would also make Dell a publicly listed company, offering a path for private equity firm Silver Lake to begin selling down its 18 percent stake if it chooses to. Silver Lake helped bankroll Dell CEO Michael Dell in taking the company private in 2013 in a $24.9 billion leveraged buyout.

A lockup provision prevents Dell from buying out the stake in VMware it does not already own until September. Any merger agreed before then would have to be structured as an acquisition of Dell by VMware: a so-called reverse merger.

“We view a reverse merger of Dell by its majority-owned subsidiary, VMware, as potentially the most beneficial alternative for Dell and Silver Lake,” Wells Fargo Securities LLC analysts wrote in a research note.

A combination of Dell and VMware would place them under the same management and help them co-ordinate strategy. Dell’s hardware and VMWare’s software offerings could potentially be marketed in one suite of products.

“As part of our ongoing multi-year strategic planning, Dell Technologies is evaluating a number of potential business opportunities,” founder Michael Dell said in a blog post. “We do this from a position of strength, with a desire to grow Dell Technologies and its businesses even faster and thrive in the very dynamic IT marketplace.”

Reuters reported on Thursday that Dell planned to announce a review of a possible reverse merger with VMware, as well as other options, including an IPO or asset sales. Sources told Reuters VMware was likely to form a special committee to consider a combination with Dell.

Dell added on Friday that nothing had been decided and the company might end up continuing to operate under its current structure.

“The board of directors follows sound corporate governance practices, and will continue to do so in connection with any potential transaction involving our controlling stockholders,” VMware’s lead director Paul Sagan said in a company statement.

Amazon Has Largest Profit Ever

February 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon.com Inc reported a profit near $2 billion, the largest in its history, as the online retailer attracted millions of new customers to its Prime fast-shipping club for the holiday season and as changes to U.S. tax law added to its bottom line.

Shares rose more than 6.4 percent in extended trading, after previously closing down 4 percent on the Nasdaq.

Seattle-based Amazon is using fast shipping, television shows exclusive to its website and forays into new technology, such as its voice-controlled Alexa devices, to win and keep high-spending Prime members. Its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market last year is helping it capture shoppers’ grocery sales, too.

The world’s largest online retailer said net income more than doubled to $1.86 billion, or $3.75 per share in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. Its profit received a provisional $789 million boost from the U.S. Republican tax bill passed in December. Analysts on average were expecting just $1.85 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“This was another blow-out quarter for Amazon,” said GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives. “The retail strength was eye-popping as the company had a banner holiday season and looked to capture roughly 50 percent of all e-commerce holiday season sales.”

As expected, the period running from before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday through New Years was Amazon’s biggest-ever by revenue. Sales rose 38 percent to $60.5 billion in the quarter, beating expectations.

The company’s fast delivery, like its two-hour Prime Now service, has helped win over holiday shoppers eager to avoid the crowds of big box retailers. Prime saw more than 4 million sign-ups in one week alone last quarter, and revenue from subscription fees grew 49 percent to $3.2 billion, Amazon said.

That figure is expected to rise this quarter in part because the company recently raised the fee for month-to-month Prime plans, affecting some 30 percent of subscribers, according to analysts at Cowen & Co. Some 60 million, or close to half of all U.S. households, are estimated to have Prime subscriptions.

Advertising and other revenue rose 62 percent to $1.74 billion.

Perhaps the surprise star of the past quarter was Amazon’s voice aide Alexa, embedded in the company’s Echo speakers and Fire TV players, as well as some cars and house gadgets. Millions of Amazon customers ordered goods by voice with Alexa in the past year, said Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, on a call with reporters.

“Our 2017 projections for Alexa were very optimistic, and we far exceeded them,” added Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, in a statement. “We don’t see positive surprises of this magnitude very often — expect us to double down.”

Is An IPO In Dell’s Future?

January 29, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

U.S. computer maker Dell Technologies Inc is investigating a range of options that could see the world’s largest privately held technology company grow further through acquisitions or go public, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Dell’s board of directors will meet later this month to consider the biggest shakeup in the company’s history since it acquired data storage provider EMC Corp for $67 billion in 2016, the sources said.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company, headed by its founder Michael Dell, is under pressure to boost its profitability after the EMC deal failed to deliver the cost savings and performance it projected, while higher component costs and a challenging data storage market have eroded its margins.

Dell is reviewing a list of several possible acquisition targets that would boost its cash flow and expand its offerings, the sources said.

Dell’s review is at its very early stages and no deal is certain, according to the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss the deliberations. The company did not respond to a request for comment outside of regular U.S. business hours. The news of Dell’s review was first reported by Bloomberg.

Dell is also considering a sale or initial public offering (IPO) of its one of its fast-growing divisions, Pivotal Software Inc, the sources said. It may also consider a transaction with its majority-owned VMware Inc, a virtualization software maker. VMware shares, which have gained more than 62 percent in the past 12 months, touched an all-time high on Thursday.

Dell, whose technology portfolio spans servers, displays, workstations and gaming PCs, also has a security unit, RSA, and a cloud platform called Boomi.

The company has struggled with fierce competition in the storage market, as cloud-based rivals such as Amazon.com Inc’s AWS and Microsoft Corp’s Azure put pressure on prices. Dell’s infrastructure chief, former EMC executive David Goulden, departed last fall, and the firm has since been working to reorganize its storage operations.

The PC market, which Michael Dell helped shape by founding Dell in 1984 as a University pre-med freshman with $1,000 in savings, has remained stagnant due to the popularity of smart phones and tablets, shrinking by 0.2 percent in 2017, according to International Data Corporation.

A bright spot in Dell’s business has been its servers, helping its total net revenue grow to $56.7 billion in the nine months to Nov. 3, from $41.6 billion a year earlier. However, the company’s operating expenses soared from $10 billion to $17.3 billion, leading to an operating loss of $3 billion, up from a $1.6 billion operating loss a year ago.

 

Is IBM Making A Comeback

January 29, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

IBM’s revenue rose for the first time in 23 quarters, beating Wall Street’ estimates and indicating that the company is back, thanks mostly to its cloud ambitions.

The company forecast stable margins and revenue for 2018, buoyed by growth in its newer businesses such as cloud computing and security services.

IBM forecast an operating profit of at least $13.80 per share for 2018, compared with $13.80 in 2017 and market expectations of $13.92.  Wall Street would like to see something more positive from IBM given the figure improvements.

Some of this is due to taxes. IBM forecast a 2018 operating tax rate of 16 percent, plus or minus two percentage points, compared with a rate of 12 percent in 2017.

IBM’s Chief Financial Officer James Kavanaugh said on a conference call that tax would be a headwind in 2018. Kavanaugh said IBM would continue to “maintain a high level of investment” in 2018 as it boosts its capabilities on its high-margin “strategic imperatives” such as cloud, mobile, cybersecurity and data analytics.

That focus, started by Chief Executive Ginni Rometty, has helped IBM counter its faltering legacy hardware and software businesses and slow its revenue declines in recent quarters.

The company’s revenue finally rose in the latest fourth quarter, the first year-over-year increase since the first quarter of 2012, just after Rometty became CEO.

Revenue from IBM’s cloud business jumped 30 percent in the latest quarter. Revenue from all “strategic imperatives” rose 17 percent.

Total revenue increased 3.6 percent to $22.54 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $22.06 billion.

IBM swung to a loss of $1.05 billion from a year-ago profit of $4.50 billion, due to a $5.5 billion tax reform-related charge. Its adjusted profit of $5.18 per share beat estimates by a penny.

The company’s adjusted gross margins of 49.5 percent fell short of market expectations of 50.8 percent.

IBM shares were down 3.4 percent at $163.40 in extended trading.

Courtesy-Fud

Twitter Loses A Key Executive To Startup

January 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter’s chief operating officer, Anthony Noto,  has decided to leave to become the CEO of financial startup SoFi.

Noto, one of Twitter’s most vocal executives, joined the social network in 2014.

“Anthony has been an incredible advocate for Twitter and a trusted partner to me and our leadership team,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a statement Tuesday.

Noto was instrumental in Twitter’s big push for live video on the platform, including a deal to stream NFL Thursday Night Football games in 2016. His departure, which comes a little more than two weeks before Twitter announces its earnings on Feb. 8, is yet another shake-up in the company’s executive ranks. Noto replaced former chief operating officer Adam Bain, who left in late 2016 after six years with the company.

Noto came to Twitter from Goldman Sachs as the social network was preparing to go public in 2014.

Twitter is also facing many other challenges, not just on its executive front. The company faces increasing scrutiny from Congress over the way the social network was used by Russian propagandists during the divisive 2016 US presidential election. Twitter said last week that Russian meddling was more widespread than it initially estimated and that it plans to notify more than 600,000 of its users in the US who liked or retweeted messages from Russian-linked accounts.

Noto is slated to become SoFi CEO on March 1, when interim CEO Tom Hutton will become a non-executive chairman of the board.

It will be hard for the company to replace Noto, who basically ran Twitter’s day-to-day operations, said Gartner analyst Brian Blau. The company still has to overcome stagnant user growth —  it’s been hovering around 330 million users — as other social networks, like Facebook with its 2 billion users, continue to flourish.

“You have a public company that has a known, popular brand in the mainstream that’s used heavily by a certain president and monitored by the media, but they still haven’t been able to truly capitalize on it,” Blau said. “It’s going to be interesting to see who wants to take [Noto’s] position.”

Twitter said Noto’s responsibilities within its business and revenue operations will be assumed by other members of the leadership team.

Shares of Twitter were down as much 3 percent Tuesday in early market trading.

Noto said in a statement he appreciated his time at Twitter.

Netflix Subscriber Base Surges, Beats Expectations

January 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Shares in Netflix Inc rose to a record high in after the video streaming service beat Wall Street targets for new subscribers in the fourth quarter.

At least eight brokerages raised their price targets for the company’s shares by as much as $50. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets and KeyBanc were most bullish, setting targets of $300 compared to the $248 it traded at on Tuesday.

In a statement after markets closed on Monday, Netflix said it added 6.36 million subscribers in international markets in the fourth quarter, beating analysts’ expectations of 5.1 million, according to FactSet.

It now has 117.58 million streaming subscribers globally.

“Overall, this was a ‘home run quarter’ for Netflix and should put any lingering worries to rest around sub(scriber) growth, international ramp, and the ‘negative’ possible effects from the (subscription) price increase,” GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives said.

The company, which showcased popular returning series “Stranger Things”, “The Crown” and “Black Mirror” in the quarter, in October hiked its monthly fees for U.S. customers for the first time in two years.

“The subscriber growth validates management’s ongoing content investment, and should contribute to comfort with 2018’s increased $7.5-8.0B content spend and associated marketing to support the content slate and ever-growing library,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Graham said.

Netflix and its peers Hulu and Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video are steadily increasing budgets for producing original shows as they gain market share from traditional cable TV providers.

Netflix spent $90 million on Will Smith action movie “Bright” last year, its largest investment in an original film to date, and is already planning a sequel and additional investment in original films.

“Netflix continues to prove out the thesis that Internet TV is replacing linear TV on a global basis,” Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Jayant said.

Out of the 44 analysts that cover Netflix’s stock, 28 now rate it at “buy” or higher, 14 at “hold” and two at “sell” or lower. The median price target for the stock was $250, only marginally above its trading price after Tuesday’s gains.

Hulu ended 2017 with 17 million subscribers while analysts estimate Amazon’s Prime service, which includes a free video subscription, has around 90 million customers.

Does Qualcomm Have a Bright Future

January 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

The financial future for Qualcomm in FY2019 is bright, according to a statement the company released today.

It estimates that its share profit will fall between $6.75 and $7.50 in fiscal 2019 Non-GAAP earnings per share on revenues of $35 billion to $37 billion.

The forecast sent its share price up as the company believes that Qualcomm is currently dramatically undervalued. This is what Fudzilla was talking about a while ago, as it took a hostile attempt for a takeover for investors to realize that Qualcomm is actually worth more than the Street thought.  

Qualcomm, as Fudzilla has reported before, is rejecting a hostile takeover bid from Broadcom and seems, so far to have fended off the unwanted advances.

Even if the takeover did happen, it could take up to 18 months for regulatory approvals, setting the roadmaps and plans significantly back. The takeover would not benefit Qualcomm shareholders, it is designed to benefit Broadcom shareholders. More importantly, Qualcomm doesn’t need any help to execute the 5G roadmap that is going to create significant revenues for the company in the mobile, PC, IoT and automotive industries. 

The action plan includes plans to continue to grow the Qualcomm core business, a new $1 billion cost reduction program and extend attention to NXP acquisition and peace with Apple. 

The last two are very interesting as Qualcomm told shareholders that even if it doesn’t manage to acquire NXP, it would use the money for a large share repurchase. The shareholders would have a clear win. Having Cristiano as a president brings a confidence that the Apple and any other legal battlers might settle in financial 2019 (September 30 2018). 

Overall, Qualcomm has good chances to grow even further in its core business including mobile phones. It has scored some of the rebellious customers from China including Meizu as a licensee and it is on the verge of entering a connected PC market. This can be a potentially important catalyst as Qualcomm could have much better battery life compared to its Intel competition. Let’s not forget  that Qualcomm SoC have integrated 4G LTE X16 modem with Gigabit LTE support and the upcoming Snapdragon 845 has 1.2 Gbit modem and significantly faster CPU and GPU. 

The company has already announced a phone form factor for 5G designs that will help customers ship 5G enabled phones in 2019. The automotive business unit also managed to win Volkswagen for infotainment in early 2017 and has just announced Jaguar and Land Rover design wins, as well as Honda Accord 2018. It also pulled off a design in China with BYD. 

Qualcomm Low Power Bluetooth SoC QCC5100 will enable earbuds with TrueWireless Stereo, Qualcomm aptX HD audio, Integrated Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and third-party voice assistant services. All that will fit in your ear and play for several hours. Qualcomm scored almost a 100 percent design wins with its Mesh – Self Organizing network technology that you see with many customers as router packs. This magical technology works great with Google routers, Orbi and a few other big names and currently doesn’t have any competition. 

Overall 2018 looks to be a good year for Qualcomm and there is no way how Broadcom can benefit, and therefore the Qualcomm board urges its customers to stay away from Broadcom’s offer.

Courtesy-Fud

South Korea To Ban Crytocurrency Trading

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

South Korea’s government has announced it will ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil as the nation’s police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion.

The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymakers around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value has skyrocketed over the last year.

Justice minister Park Sang-ki said the government was preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges.

“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges,” Park told a news conference, according to the ministry’s press office.

After the market’s sharp reaction to the announcement, the nation’s Presidential office hours later said a ban on the country’s virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalized while it was one of the measures being considered.

A press official at the justice ministry said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was announced after “enough discussion” with other government agencies, including the nation’s finance ministry and financial regulators.

Once a bill is drafted, legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months or even years.

The government’s tough stance triggered a selloff of the cryptocurrency on both local and offshore exchanges.

The local price of bitcoin plunged as much as 21 percent in midday trade to 18.3 million won (12,730.35 pounds) after the minister’s comments. It still trades at around a 30 percent premium compared to other countries.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP was down more than 10 percent on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp at $13,199, after earlier dropping as low as $13,120, its weakest since Jan. 2.

 South Korea’s cryptocurrency-related shares were also hammered. Vidente and Omnitel, which are stakeholders of Bithumb, skidded by the daily trading limit of 30 percent each.

Once enforced, South Korea’s ban “will make trading difficult here, but not impossible,” said Mun Chong-hyun, chief analyst at EST Security.

“Keen traders, especially hackers, will find it tough to cash out their gains from virtual coin investments in Korea but they can go overseas, for example Japan,” Mun said.

Park Nok-sun, a cryptocurrency analyst at NH Investment & Securities, said the herd behaviour in South Korea’s virtual coin market has raised concerns.

Indeed, bitcoin’s BTC=BTSP 1,500 percent surge last year has stoked huge demand for cryptocurency in South Korea, drawing college students to housewives and sparking worries of a gambling addiction.

“Some officials are pushing for stronger and stronger regulations because they only see more (investors) jumping in, not out,” Park said.

By Thursday afternoon, the Justice Ministry’s announcement had prompted more than 55,000 South Koreans to join a petition asking the presidential Blue House to halt the crackdown on the virtual currency, making the Blue House website intermittently unavailable due to heavy traffic, the website showed.

Will The Broadcom Hostile Takeover Succeed

December 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Over the last few weeks we’ve met with a few dozen Qualcomm and industry C level executives and of course discussed the potential Broadcom takeover of Qualcomm. The general conclusion is that this won’t happen as Broadcom might profit from it at the big expense of Qualcomm.

Qualcomm has quite a good roadmap with Snapdragon 845 and a few successors lined up for the years to come. A very important 5G NR chip should be ready for 2019. This will, without a doubt, be one of the most important technology transitions at the end of the decade.

Most analysts we talked about this matter including Patrick Moorhead and Anshel Sag of Moor Insights and Strategy, Jim McGregor from Tirias research and Bob O’Donnell from TECHnalysis Research think that Broadcom’s acquisition of Qualcomm is a bad idea. Here at Fudzilla we’ve had a lot of discussion about the acquisition and we cannot see how can this possibly be good for the industry or for Qualcomm.

As we said earlier, Broadcom, a company with a very unsexy roadmap, would benefit a lot. It would be able to show to its investors that it acquired the world leader in 5G, Android SoC, many wireless related technologies, and a great automotive and IoT portfolio. The list goes on.

Fudzilla got quite bullied by Broadcom’s  PR agency about the last article where our colleagues from the New York Post expected that Broadcom would slash one third of Qualcomm employees.

After many talks with senior stuff at Qualcomm, we haven’t heard a single head talking positive about it. Some of these off the record conversations resulted in comments including: “they (Broadcom) would fire us all.” Of course, Us in this semantic would be Qualcomm management.

Acquisitions are a long and painful process. One side must always suffer. A few weeks back, we talked about ex ATI employees who were in AMD’s graphics division. Despite the fact that AMD acquired ATI technologies in 2006, in some ways graphics people still felt that the acquisition didn’t finalize, 11 years later.

Of course, this sounds crazy but to some extent there is always “us and them” in this equation. As Fudzilla predicted, Broadcom’s putative acquisition of Qualcomm would slow down innovation and skew the roadmap with some significant delays.

Qualcomm senior management is very clear, they don’t want the company to be acquired. We doubt that a hostile takeover with the help of board members would work out either, this is never a good idea.

Tom Horton, Qualcomm’s Presiding Director also said: “No company in the industry is better positioned than Qualcomm in mobile, IoT, automotive, edge computing and networking and to lead the transition to 5G. Qualcomm stockholders expect a Board that will support this innovation while evaluating objectively the full range of opportunities available to maximize value for all Qualcomm stockholders.”

 Fudzilla has implied that the accusation might be to give Broadcom more business and enter into an eternal peace with Apple.

Courtesy-Fud

Sony Focuing On Its Sensor Business For Growth

December 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Sony Corp is on track to report its highest-ever profit this year on strong sales of image sensors after years of losing ground in consumer electronics and hopes to develop the technology for use in robotics and self-driving cars as competition heats up.

The results will mark a significant turnaround for the conglomerate, once famed for leading the world in consumer gadgets such as its Walkman music player, but now finding a new focus on image sensors and gaming.

Sony  forecasts that operating profit in the year through March will more than double to 630 billion yen ($5.6 billion) compared with the year earlier and expects the chips division, most of which is made up of the image sensors business, to be the conglomerate’s biggest growth driver.

Executives say a technological breakthrough in image sensors and sea change in the company’s thinking are behind the success. The breakthrough, creating a sensor that captures more light to produce sharper images, coincided with soaring consumer demand for better smartphone cameras for sharing photos on social media.

The breakthrough, which involved reconfiguring the sensor layout and known as backside illumination, allowed Sony to grab nearly half of the market for image sensors.

“We knew we wouldn’t be able to win if we did what our rivals were doing,” said Teruo Hirayama, technology chief of Sony’s chip business, recalling initial skepticism around the technology that is now used widely.

Japanese names such as Hitachi Ltd,  NEC Corp and Fujitsu Ltd,  which dominated mainstream chips through the late 1980s, have lost business to Asian rivals such as Samsung Electronics.

 Sony’s success “is really a function of having decided a long time ago to focus on that niche within semiconductors,” says Andrew Daniels, a Tokyo-based managing director at Indus Capital, an investment management firm. He declined to say whether his fund owns Sony shares.

“The process technology is very much that kind of ‘takumi-no-waza’,” he said, using a Japanese phrase for the pursuit of manufacturing perfection.

Toshiba AND Western Digital Settle

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Toshiba and Western Digital have agreed in principle to settle a dispute over the Japanese firm’s plans to sell its $18 billion chip unit and aim to have a final agreement in place next week.

Word on the street is that the Toshiba board has approved a framework for a settlement.

Western Digital had been able to block a deal to selling the unit to a Bain Capital-led consortium.

The settlement under discussion calls for Western Digital to drop arbitration claims seeking to stop the sale in exchange for Toshiba allowing it to invest in a new production line for advanced flash memory chips that will start next year.

A Toshiba spokesman said that while the company was open to a settlement, it would not disclose discussion specifics or details of board of directors meetings. “It is not a fact that we have reached an agreement with Western Digital,” he said.

Western Digital is not saying anything.

Toshiba was forced to put the unit – the world’s no. 2 producer of NAND chips – on the block to cover billions of dollars in liabilities arising from its now bankrupt US nuclear power unit Westinghouse.

The deal with the Bain-led consortium will, however, see it reinvest in the unit and together with Hoya a maker of parts for chip devices, Japanese firms will hold more than 50 percent of the business – a keen wish of the Japanese government.

As part of the planned settlement, Toshiba and Western Digital would extend existing agreements for their chip joint ventures in Yokkaichi, central Japan, one of the sources said. The current agreements are set to start expiring from 2021.

Western Digital would also invest in a completely new chip plant that Toshiba will start building next year in northern Japan, the source said.

Western Digital, one of world’s leading makers of hard disk drives, paid some $16 billion last year to acquire SanDisk, Toshiba’s chip joint venture partner since 2000.

With data storage key to most next-generation technologies from artificial intelligence and autonomous driving to the Internet of Things, NAND chips have only grown in importance and Western Digital has been desperate to keep the business out of the hands of rival chipmakers.

The sale still needs to clear the snarling mauls of the regulatory watchdogs but they are not expected to rip the trousers of the deal.

Courtesy-Fud

Apple Exploring Acquisition of Shazam

December 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple Inc is holding negotiations to acquire Shazam Entertainment Ltd, whose software helps users identify songs by pointing their phone at an audio source, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Shazam’s smartphone app is already tightly integrated with Apple’s Siri digital assistant. Users of Apple’s iPhone with the Shazam app installed can say: “Hey Siri, what’s that song?” and the app will identify it. But Shazam has other features, such as the ability to identify television shows, that do not yet work with Siri.

Tech news website TechCrunch reported the talks earlier, writing that Apple could pay about $400 million for Shazam and that a deal could be signed as early as next week.

Shazam did not respond to a request for comment.

Privately-held, UK-based Shazam has raised $143 million from DN Capital Limited, Institutional Venture Partners, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, among others, over its 18-year history, according to PitchBook, a firm that tracks private venture investments.

The price TechCrunch reported would fall far below Shazam’s most recent $1 billion valuation reported by PitchBook.

An acquisition of Shazam could help bolster Apple’s music efforts by making it easier for users to find songs and add them to playlists in its Apple Music service. As of mid-2017, Apple Music had 27 million subscribers, behind rival music streaming service Spotify’s 60 million users.

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