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Does HTC Plan To Spin-Off Its VR Division?

January 21, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Rumors circulated this week that HTC is planning to set up a new company focusing entirely on virtual reality (VR), but the firm denied the reports on Tuesday.

The Chinese-language Commercial Times cited “unnamed industry sources” in stating that HTC chairwoman Cher Wang was planning to spin off the firm’s VR operations into an independent entity, but the company issued a statement on Tuesday saying that this is not true.

HTC said that it will chart a direction for the development of its VR operations with the goal of creating the best value for its shareholders, according to a report in Focus Taiwan.

Nevertheless, HTC stock rose 5.23 percent on Monday to NT$76.5 (£1.59) and remained unchanged on Tuesday.

The rumour came just a week after HTC confirmed that its Vive VR headset will be available to pre-order from 29 February and should still see an April shipping date as previously reported.

HTC unveiled the Vive Pre at CES 2016, a new and improved version of the headset that will soon go out as a development kit. The company promises to create “fully immersive experiences that change how we communicate, how we are entertained, and how we learn and train”.

The Vive Pre features components that have been redesigned from the ground up to provide better comfort, ergonomics and performance. There are also improvements in visuals and versatility, said HTC, to “create a world without limits”.

Wang explained in an interview with The Telegraph that the company had chosen to refocus on VR and away from smartphones, as it is now “more realistic”.

“Yes, smartphones are important, but to create a natural extension to other connected devices like wearables VR is more important,” she said.

The pre-order announcement comes a few days after VR rival the Oculus Rift finally went on sale to the general public. However, since the device’s official price of $599 was unveiled, the makers behind the headset have been criticized for underestimating its price in the past, and potential buyers have said that it is far more expensive than they were led to believe.


Does AMD Have A Bright Future Ahead?

January 11, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Most of the investment has been speculative and short term as traders are hoping for AMD to move above $3.50 before July but this is a little odd. AMD hasn’t traded above $3.50 since September 2014 and it is $2.94 now.

Last year was up-and-down year for AMD. The shares struggled during the summer months, but have rallied over 70 per cent during the fourth quarter. But until Zen arrives we can’t see much on the horizon for investors to get excited about.

But in share prices it is all about timing and if AMD’s cunning plan pays off there are going to be some seriously wealthy people out there. AMD has slowly entered the data centre market with a longer roadmap and enhanced architecture. “Zen” targeted at high growth markets such as data centres and HPC (high performance computers). Currently this is controlled by Intel which will once again find itself facing a better and cheaper rival. If it works then Zen’s stock would jump into the growth trajectory. The advantage is that if the shares are this low then the gains are going to be huge.

AMD is revamping its GPU product line to make it competitive with Nvidia. AMD has also secured three design wins for its semi-custom SoCs. These wins will start earning revenue beginning in the second half of 2016 with the first two wins expected to generate a combined revenue of $1 billion over a period of three years. The third design win is rumoured to be with Nintendo for its NX game console.

PricewaterCoopers expects worldwide console game sales to reach $28 billion by the end of 2016. However, it expects PC games, where Nvidia is King, to overtake console games. However that is assuming that AMD does not pull a rabbit out of its hat over discrete GPUs too and manages to claw back some sales fast.

Of course it could all go tits up. Zen might not work, or not produce what it is claimed. In which case there will be a lot of investor who lose money. But with AMD’s share prices this low, they are not going to lose that much.



Can HP Out Design Apple?

January 7, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The maker of expensive printer ink, HP has out designed Apple and created a much thinner notebook that Sir Jonny Ive could.

For years Apple has been “king of the thin” producing ever more anorexic designs, for ever more dollars. But now it appears that task was not as difficult as the Tame Apple Press claimed, and even HP can do it.

HP’s EliteBook Folio will be in the shops for $999 in March and will be $300 less than Apple’s status symbol and will co-operate better with business networks because it runs Windows.

HP EliteBook Folio Piano HingeMeasuring 11.5 x 8.2 x 0.47 inches for the non-touch model and 0.49 inches thick for the touch version and weighing less than 2.2 pounds.
It’s slim body is made from CNC-machined aluminium. Jobs mob’s MacBook weighs more and is fatter at its thickest point (0.14 to 0.52 inches).

Unlike the MacBook, the EliteBook Folio sports a 180-degree piano hinge, which could come in handy for giving presentations for collaborating. HP’s effort also has Bang & Olufsen speakers which give a better sound quality than the Apple equivalent.

The screen can be a UHD screen (3840 x 2160 pixels). The MacBook has a disappointing lower-res 2304 x 1440-pixel panel. The Folio can have a similar screen in touch or non-touch if you want a better battery life.

The EliteBook Folio has two USB-C ports and an audio jack. It is still better than the one more USB-C port of the MacBook. HP has an optional Thunderbolt 3 dock for when you need more connectivity options, as well as various USB-C adapters for Ethernet, VGA and HDMI.

HP is offering a wide range of configuration options, including your choice of 6th-generation Core m5 and Core m7 processors, 8GB of RAM and 128GB, 240GB or 256GB SSDs. The average battery life is 10 hours.

Still Steve Jobs must be spinning in his gave to be outclassed by someone as historically pedestrian and reliable as HP.



Microsoft’s IE Falls Below 50% Market Share

January 6, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft’s once dominant Internet Explorer browser lost its majority position last month, according to a Web metrics vendor, falling under the 50% bar for the first time since it thrashed Netscape Navigator and assumed control of the browser market.

By the estimates of Irvine, Calif.-based Net Applications, Internet Explorer (IE) ended 2015 with a user share — a measurement of unique visitors to the websites of the company’s clients, and one of the few proxies for real-world browser adoption — of 48.6%. That was a drop of 1.5 percentage points from November, the largest one-month contraction in IE’s share since October 2011.

At one point, IE held a user share as large as 89.4% in Net Applications’ tracking. That was in January 2005, when Computerworld began recording the firm’s metrics.

IE’s share had been even higher earlier in the decade, after it had forced Netscape out of the market in the early 2000s, and before Mozilla took up Netscape’s mantle with Firefox in 2004. Firefox was the first browser to challenge IE’s dominance of the browser space, and was widely adopted by those who viewed the then-IE6 as stuck in the past.

Microsoft responded to the threat from Firefox with a series of improved browsers — IE7 in 2006 for Windows Vista’s launch, IE8 in 2009 preceding the debut of Windows 7, and others — but its user share decline continued. IE flirted with falling below the 50% mark in late 2011; in October of that year, it posted a user share of 51.9%. But the browser recovered some of that lost share, scratching its way to 58.9% in November 2014.

Previously, IE’s position as the No. 1 browser seemed safe, in large part because it was the standard for businesses, particularly enterprises and other large organizations. But even that stronghold has been breached by Chrome, which will be the primary browser for two-thirds of enterprise users this year.



RedHat Goes OpenShift

December 21, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

RedHat has announced the launch of OpenShift Dedicated, a cloud-based service targeting enterprise IT and development teams.

OpenShift Dedicated includes the recently released OpenShift Enterprise 3.1 and builds on the success of OpenShift Online, the service that allows developers to build, launch and host applications in the public cloud. Support includes Kubernetes and Docker containerisation.

The base offering includes single tenant isolation and a resource pool of 100GB of SSD-based persistent storage, 48TB network IOPS and nine nodes in which to deploy container-based applications. Customers can gain secure access to security and access controls using VPN and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud.

Also available is access to Red Hat JBoss Middleware container optimized services, integration and business access capabilities from OpenShift developed and deployed applications.

There’s no need for separate administrative support because Red Hat acts as the service producer, and the firm offers customers exactly what they need when they need it.

Ashesh Badani, vice president of OpenShift at Red Hat, said: ”We are pleased to continue to expand OpenShift’s portfolio of offerings, extending new support to users running OpenShift in the public cloud and enabling the power of an open source application platform to extend into more layers of cloud computing.

“New users signing on to OpenShift Dedicated can experience the same powerful combination of Red Hat-backed support, middleware services and container functionality they have come to expect in OpenShift Enterprise, now optimised for the public cloud.”

OpenShift Dedicated launches today in all regions where AWS supports third-party public clouds. Support for other providers will follow.

The launch follows a host of recent announcements from Red Hat. Last week the company announced CloudForms 4, the latest “manager of managers” package for distributed workloads. This came after the recent deal between Red Hat and Microsoft to partner on bringing Linux to the previously proprietary world of the Azure Cloud.



Is Microsoft Pressuring Users To Migrate To Windows 10?

December 18, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

I am getting slightly annoyed. Why am I the only person in the world who is not being nagged my Microsoft to upgrade to Windows 10.

There are stories appearing about how Microsoft has increased pressure on users to upgrade to Windows 10. NeoWin says that Redmond has given it two choices, upgrade now or upgrade tonight.

Microsoft’s ‘Get Windows 10′ feature on its older operating systems – which is intended to make it easy for users to take advantage of its free upgrade offer – was recently updated with revisions that, at first glance, appear to give users very little choice over whether to upgrade or not.

Of course when the window appears you just close it but it is rather annoying: but not to me because I have never seen it.

Yet it seems that Microsoft does not want my custom, at least on my Lenovo NUC and Asus Note book. To be fair I already tried to upgrade the NUC when Windows 10 came out and it didn’t work so I have not tried it since the updates. But the Asus should be constantly nagging me and it isn’t.

Unlike the Neowin I have no problems with Windows 10. It works rather well on my main machine particularly after I put it onto an SSD. I am in no hurry to upgrade it onto the other machines; I am just disappointed that Microsoft does not consider me worthy of hassling.



Will AMD Bring Two New GPUs To Market In 2016?

November 18, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMDs’ head graphics guy, Raja Koduri promised that AMD will have two new GPUs out next year.

Koduri was talking to Forbes about how AMD needed to get some new architectural designs and create brand new GPUs into the shops.

He added that this is something that AMD has been pretty pants about lately.

He promised two brand new GPUs in 2016, which are hopefully going to both be 14nm/16nm FinFET from GlobalFoundries or TSMC and will help make Advanced Micro Devices more power and die size competitive.

AMD’s GPU architectures have gotten rather elderly, he said.

AMD also wants to increase its share in professional graphics. Apparently this is so low that any competition it brings Nvidia could significantly help their market share in this high margin business. The company has hired

Sean Burke to help drive this forward. Sean was a president at Flex and Nortek and a senior executive at Hewlett-Packard, Compaq and Dell. For those who came in late he was the father of Dell’s Dimension and Compaq’s Prolinea.

Koduri’s cunning plan is to capture consumer and professional graphics will be by providing fully immersive experiences that range from education and medicine to gaming and virtual reality with plenty of overlap in between.

He is also interested in expanding into “instinctive computing” applications which involve medicine, factory automation, automotive and security. These are computing applications that are more natural to the environment and less obvious to the user and should come as natural user experiences.

Koduri has three make attack plans. The first is to gain discrete GPU market share in 2016 and 2017 as well as win the next generation of consoles, which will be 4K. Ironically the AMD chips in the consoles on the market at the moment can handle 4K but they don’t.

Koduri wants console makers will continue to stick with Radeon IP for their next generation consoles and give Advanced Micro Devices an even bigger advantage in the gaming space.

DirectX 12 in the latest shipping version of Windows does seem to give Radeon GPUs a significant performance uplift against Nvidia, he said.



Will AMD Go Back To Black In 2016

November 12, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD’s EMEA component sales manager Neil Spicer is “confident” his outfit can return to profitability in 2016.

Talking to CRN Spicer said he is sure that profitability will return as long as the company sticks to its principles.

“From a personal stance, I am confident [AMD can be profitable]. I believe we are working with exactly the right customers, and over the last few years we have become much simpler to execute and do business with.”

He said that in order to achieve profit, the company must ensure it is investing in the right areas.

“Moving forwards to 2016, we have to have profitable share growth,” he said. “So it’s choosing the right business to go after, both with the company itself and the ecosystem of partners. There is no point in us as a vendor chasing unprofitable partners.

“We want to focus [in the areas] we are good at – that’s where we are going to invest heavily. That’s things like winning the graphics battle with gaming and so forth, and we want to be part of this Windows 10 upgrade cycle.”

Spicer so far has been a little optimistic this year. He thought that Windows 10 would drive an upgrade refresh, particularly as AMD works so well with the new OS.

He also thinks that the combination of Windows 10, the advent of e-sports – competitive online gaming – and new technology and products AMD is launching, means “PC is an exciting market”.

Of course Spicer was extremely enthusiastic about Zen which he thinks will help its play in the high-end desktop space, and the server area. More cynical observers think that Zen will be AMD’s last roll of the dice.



Kaspersky Stops CoinVault

November 6, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Kaspersky has found that attacks by gits on gewgaws have increased and that mobile malware is popular in the mean streets of Malicious Town.

Russian security firm Kaspersky is behind the revelation, and the firm’s IT Threat Evolution Q3 2015 report showed significant increases across the board. All this keeps the firm on its toes and very busy.

It’s not all bad news, and Kaspersky has claimed scalps on the infamous CoinVault and Bitcryptor ransomware systems. The firm said that things have been shut down and people pinched for their roles. Kaspersky has also released the relevant keys so that locked out users can reunite themselves with their kidnapped content.

“The CoinVault story is ending: the remaining victims can retrieve their files and the cyber criminals have been caught, thanks to collaboration between the Dutch police, Kaspersky Lab and Panda Security,” said Jornt van der Wiel, a security researcher at Kaspersky’s Global Research & Analysis Team.

“The CoinVault investigation has been unique in that we have been able to retrieve all the keys. Through sheer hard work we were able to disrupt the entire business model of the cyber criminal group.”

Kaspersky’s three-month information harvest showed that the firm repelled 235,415,870 malicious attacks from online resources all over the world, and saw 38,233,047 unique malicious scripts, exploits, executable files and viruses.

A huge 323,374 new malicious mobile programs were found, a threefold increase over the previous quarter, along with 1,583,094 malicious installation packages.

“The developments in Q3 demonstrate that the global threat landscape is continuing to evolve at a fast pace. Malicious mobile programs are on the rise and in countries where online banking is popular, people are at considerable risk from trojans looking to target them,” said David Emm, principal security researcher for Kaspersky’s Global Research & Analysis Team.

“With 5.6 million cases of attempted theft from online bank accounts, and cyber criminals continually developing sophisticated attacks, the use of high-quality cyber security products has never been more important. It’s vital that all those using the internet – individuals and organisations – protect themselves from these growing threats.”

So there are new problems and old threats, some of which, like the Turla method for hacking downstream satellite connections, continue to flourish.

Turla not does make its way in the direction of the UK or US, but Kaspersky said that it could lead to problems if other hacker groups adopt the technique.

“If this method becomes widespread among APT groups or cyber criminals it will pose a serious problem for the IT security industry and law enforcement agencies,” the firm said.


Windows 10 Growth Stalls Again

November 3, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Three months after its official launch, Windows 10 now runs an estimated 132 million PCs, according to data published by an analytics vendor.

Numbers just released by U.S. metrics company Net Applications showed that Windows 10′s user share — a proxy for the portion of all systems worldwide that ran the OS — grew 1.3 percentage points in October to 7.9%.

Microsoft launched Windows 10 on July 29, making October the third full month that the free upgrade for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 devices was available to download and install or was pre-loaded on new devices.

October’s user share increase was slightly smaller than September’s gain of 1.4 percentage points, and far below August’s record 4.8 points, when massive numbers of users took advantage of the free upgrade.

Windows 10 accounted for 8.8% of all Windows devices in October, a higher number than its raw user share number because Windows powered 90.4%, not 100%, of all systems tallied by Net Applications. During October, Windows 10′s share of all Windows devices climbed by 1.5 percentage points.

Net Applications’ user share represented nearly 132 million Windows 10 PCs, assuming a total of 1.5 billion Windows devices globally, a figure that Microsoft regularly cites.

Microsoft has not publicized its own Windows 10 number since Oct. 6, when a top hardware executive said that 110 million devices were running the OS worldwide.

Net Applications’ Windows 10 user share data showed the same broad trend as another analytics developer, Ireland’s StatCounter, which has also depicted the OS’s growth as slowing for the second month running. By StatCounter’s measurements, Windows 10 gained 1.4 percentage points of usage share — an activity indicator, as it counts web page views — in October. However, StatCounter’s numbers indicated that Windows 10′s usage share growth had decelerated more sharply than did Net Application’s, as the former pegged September’s gain at 2.4 percentage points, a full point larger than October’s.




Oracle Goes Elastic To Take On Amazon’s AWS

November 3, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Oracle has launched a direct rival to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud with its own Elastic Compute Cloud.

The product was revealed amid a flurry of cloud-related product announcements, including five in the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) space, at the OpenWorld show in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Oracle Elastic Compute Cloud adds to the Dedicated Compute service the firm launched last year. The latest service lets customers make use of elastic compute capabilities to run any workload in a shared cloud compute zone, a basic public cloud offering.

“Last year we had dedicated compute. You get a rack, it’s elastic but it’s dedicated to your needs,” said Thomas Kurian, president of Oracle Product Development (pictured below).

“We’ve now added in Elastic Compute, so you can just buy a certain number of cores and it runs four different operating systems: Oracle Linux, Red Hat, Ubuntu or Windows, and elastically scale that up and down.”

Oracle has yet to release pricing details for the Elastic Compute Cloud service, but chairman and CTO Larry Ellison said on Sunday that it will be charged at the equivalent or lower than AWS pricing. For the dedicated model, Ellison revealed on Tuesday at OpenWorld that firms will pay half the cost for Oracle Dedicated Compute of the equivalent AWS shared compute option.

It is not surprising that Oracle would like the opportunity to have a piece of the public cloud pie. AWS earned its owner $2.08bn in revenue in the quarter ending 30 September.

Kurian shared current use details for the Oracle Cloud as evidence of the success it has seen so far. The firm manages 1,000PB of cloud storage, and in September alone processed 34 billion transactions on its cloud. This was a result of the 35,000 companies signed up to the Oracle Cloud, which between them account for 30 million users logging in actively each day.

However, Oracle’s chances of knocking Amazon off its cloud-leader perch, or even making a slight dent in its share, seem low. The AWS revenue was only made possible by the fact that Amazon owns 30 percent of the cloud infrastructure service market, with second and third-ranked Microsoft and IBM lagging behind at 10 and seven percent respectively.

Google and Salesforce have managed to capture less than five percent each. Indeed, realising how competitive the market is and Amazon’s dominant position, HP has just left the public cloud market.

Despite Oracle going head to head with AWS in the public cloud space, Amazon has been attempting to attract Oracle customers to its own platform.

“AWS and Oracle are working together to offer enterprises a number of solutions for migrating and deploying their enterprise applications on the AWS cloud. Customers can launch entire enterprise software stacks from Oracle on the AWS cloud, and they can build enterprise-grade Oracle applications using database and middleware software from Oracle,” the web giant notes on its site.

Amazon describes EC2 as letting users “increase or decrease capacity within minutes, not hours or days. You can commission one, hundreds or even thousands of server instances simultaneously”, making Oracle Elastic Compute Cloud a direct competitor.

Oracle has also added a hierarchical storage option for its archive storage cloud service, aimed at automatically moving data that requires long-term retention such as corporate records, scientific archives and cultural preservation content.

Ellison noted that this archiving service is priced at a 10th of the cost of Amazon’s S3 offering.

Kurian explained of the archive system: “I’ve got data I need to put into the cloud but I don’t need a recovery time objective. So you get it very, very cheap”, adding that it costs $1/TB per month.

The firm also launched what Kurian dubbed as its “lorry service” for bulk data transfer. This will see Oracle ship a storage appliance to a customer’s site, where they can then do a huge data transfer directly onto that machine at a much quicker rate than streaming it to the cloud. The appliance is then sent back to Oracle via DHL or FedEx, Kurian explained, for Oracle to then do the transfer on-site to the cloud for storage.

“This is much faster if you’re moving a huge amount of data. One company is moving 250PB of data. To stream that amount of data to the cloud would take a very long time,” he said.

Bulk data transfer will be available from November, while the archive service is available now.

“You can go up to as a customer, enter a credit card and you can buy the service, all the PaaS services and the storage service. We’re adding compute over the next couple of weeks,” Kurian explained.

“You pay for it by credit card or an invoice if you’re a corporate customer and pay for it by hour or month, by processor or by per gigabyte per hour or month for storage.”

Oracle Container Cloud, meanwhile, lets firms run apps in Docker containers and deploy them in the Oracle Compute Cloud, supporting better automation of app implementations using technologies like Kubernetes.

Oracle also launched additional applications that sit in its cloud, including the Data Visualisation Cloud Service. This makes visual analytics accessible to general business users who do not have access to Hadoop systems or the data warehouse.

“All you need is a spreadsheet to load your data and a browser to do the analysis,” Kurian explained.

Several new big data cloud services are also aimed at letting users more easily prepare and analyse data using Hadoop as the data store, for example Big Data Preparation and Big Data Discovery.

“With Big Data Preparation you can move data into your data lake, you can enrich the data, prepare it, do data wrangling, cleanse it and store it in the data lake. Big Data Discovery lets a business user sit in front of Hadoop, and through a browser-based dashboarding environment search the environment, discover patterns in the data, do analysis and curate subsets of the data for other teams to look at. It’s an analytic environment and complete Hadoop stack,” Kurian said.



Microsoft To Make It Easier For Counterfeiters To Get Genuine Windows

November 2, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft will make it somewhat easier for machines running counterfeit copies of Windows to get legal as they upgrade to the newest edition, Windows 10, the company’s top OS executive said.

“We’ll offer a one-click opportunity to get Genuine via the Windows Store or by entering an activation code purchased elsewhere,” said Terry Myerson, who heads Microsoft’s Windows and devices teams, which were recently reorganized under the “More Personal Computing” umbrella.

“Genuine” is Microsoft’s nomenclature for a legal license to its software.

Myerson said that the move, which he called experimental, would debut “soon” in the U.S. and would be expanded to other markets if it works here. “We’d like to welcome as many of these customers as possible to the legitimate Windows ecosystem,” he added in a post to a Microsoft blog.

The company will not give away Windows 10 to those whose PCs are powered by a pirated version, sticking with the decision it made earlier this year after some considerable back and forth.

In March, Myerson was quoted by Reuters as saying that pirated copies of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 could be upgraded to Windows 10 under a just-announced free upgrade program that Microsoft later kicked off in July. At the time, Microsoft confirmed that Myerson’s comments to the wire service were accurate, leading to conclusions that the company was offering an unprecedented amnesty.

But within hours, the Redmond, Wash.-based company took back that confirmation, saying that although pirates could upgrade to Windows 10, the operating system would still be stamped as counterfeit.

Microsoft is able to streamline a get-legal move by pirates because of a recent change to the way Windows 10 activates, a process that pairs a device with a legitimate copy of the operating system.

The same mechanism will be used to activate a non-Genuine copy of an older version upgraded to Windows 10. Users will purchase a license, and thus a product key code, from Microsoft or third-party retailers like Amazon and, then enter it into Windows 10 to make their software legit.




AMD’s Bet On ARM Does Not Appear To Be Helping

October 20, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Buried in the AMD results was a note which seemed to hint that AMD’s plan to flog ARM based server chips was not going very well.

Chief executive Lisa Su admitted that ARM-based server chips have experienced slower-than-expected reception from the owners of data centres and server farms.

AMD delayed its own ARM-based Opteron microprocessor, code-named Seattle, until the fourth quarter of this year. ARM was having a harder time proving itself to the multibillion-dollar market for high-end server chips.

An engineering sample of AMD’s long awaited 8 core server SOC code named “Hierofalcon” has been spotted and tested and according to WCCTech it looked pretty good. Itis based around 8 ARM-64bit A57 cores running at 2.0Ghz. And although Hierofalcon maxes out at frugal TDP of 30W.

So even the promising reviews aren’t enough for AMD to be optimistic about the ARM based gear.

Su said in an analyst conference call that the company expects to see “modest production shipments” of Seattle in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, AMD’s Intel-compatible “x86″ server chips will be the company’s mainstay product offering for data centres.

She said that AMD was continuing its ARM efforts and is seeing them as a longer term bet.



AMD Giving More People The Boot

October 5, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

While we want AMD to do well to balance the Intel and Nvidia empires, it does seem that the outfit cannot get a break.  Today it announced that it is letting 500 staff go and will begin another wave of restructuring.

Of course, we predicted  this would happen. The company is betting the farm on its coming Zen chip, but this will not appear until next year.  Meanwhile it is facing shrinking sales and nearly impossible competition.

Under the restructuring AMD will outsource some IT and application development services.  It will give 500 people, or five percent of its staff, their pink slips and P45s. The company will take a charge of $42 million, with $41 million of that recorded in the just-ended third quarter. AMD said it expected savings of about $58 million in 2016 from the restructuring plan.

This is about the same time AMD hopes to clean up with its Zen chips.

AMD said it will cut white-collar jobs and is not shutting or idling any fabricating operations. The jobs will be lost across AMD’s global operations, including Austin, Texas, and company headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. AMD only has 9,700 employees at the end of last year, so 500 is rather a chunk.

AMD reported its second-quarter revenue fell 35 percent from the year-earlier period, claiming that no one wanted to buy PCs.

The company has been shifting to gaming consoles and low-power servers, but it really has not moved fast enough or come up with the sort of “wow” technology which is needed to see off Intel.



Windows 10 Breaks 100M Device Mark

October 5, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Windows 10′s user share growth slowed considerably in September, but by the month’s end approximately 110 million customers were running the new OS, data released today signaled.

According to U.S. analytics company Net Applications, Windows 10′s user share — a measure of the fraction of unique users who ran the OS when they went online — grew 1.4 percentage points in September to 6.6%.

Microsoft launched Windows 10 on July 29, making September the second full month that the upgrade for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 devices was available to download and install.

September’s user share increase was substantially smaller than August’s record setting 4.8 percentage points.

Windows 10 accounted for 7.3% of all Windows devices in September, a slightly higher number than its raw user share number because Windows powered “just” 90.5%, not 100%, of all systems tallied by Net Applications. During September, Windows 10′s share of all Windows devices climbed by 1.6 percentage points.

Net Applications’ data represented 110 million Windows 10 PCs, assuming a total of 1.5 billion Windows devices globally, the figure Microsoft typically trumpets.

Microsoft has not publicized a Windows 10 download or installed data point since late August, when it said that 75 million devices worldwide were running the OS.

Net Applications’ Windows 10 user share portrait backed up the findings of another analytics developer, Ireland’s StatCounter, which has also portrayed the OS’s growth as slowing after its first month of availability.

By StatCounter’s measurements, Windows 10 gained 5.9 percentage points ofusage share — more of an activity indicator, as it counts web page views by OS — in the first four weeks after its launch. During the most recent four weeks, or from Aug. 31 to Sept. 27, Windows 10 grew by a much smaller 1.4 points.

Net Applications’ numbers also validate the slowdown in a different way. During the final three weeks of August, an average of 1.8 million devices were added to Windows 10′s rolls daily. But in September, the average daily increase dropped to less than half of that, to about 794,000 devices.

Even so, Windows 10 continued to best Windows 7′s performance during a similar stretch. In 2009, the then-new OS had accumulated a 6.2% share of all Windows personal computers through its second full month, or more than a point under Windows 10 at the same post-launch moment.

With about 110 million devices now running Windows 10, Microsoft is at the 7% mark toward reaching its goal of putting the OS on 1.5 billion systems by mid-2018.