While it will be a few more days until we have official word from Radio Shack, it looks as though the popular brick and mortar electronics chain will attempt to change its image through a rebranding. Starting August 6th (this Thursday), the store name will be shortened to "The Shack."
Details are light at best, but according to Electronista, the name change will apply to the entire store network, which will be reflected in displays later this week and updated signs by the end of the year. Only the corporate infrastructure will retain the old naming scheme, Electronista reports.
It's hard to argue against the name change, as we can't remember the last time we shopped an actual radio. The name change will reflect this, as well as the chain's greater focus on the mobile market, which will kick into high gear later this week. A special website hinting at the name change has been put up to promo the store's upcoming 'netogether,' a "massive event" that "will connect New York and San Francisco via larger-than-life laptops."
Last month, Global Gaming Factory announced plans to purchase The Pirate Bay and steer the online ship towards legal waters. To that end, Wayne Rosso, former CEO of Grokster, was hired to help relaunch the site and close deals with record labels, but Rosso has instead decided to walk away from the project.
"We decided that we're not going to risk our reputation further," Rosso told TorrentFreak.com. "The more time we spent with Mr. Pandeya, the less confident we were. I don't think there's going to be any money raised with GGF's current (lack of) plans."
Rosso claims that he and his partners never received the payments promised to them by Hans Pandeya, CEO of GGF. Rosso also claims Pandeya broke several other promises made to him, but did not elaborate on what they were.
Still, The Pirate Bay's legitimate future might not be completely dead in the water, but it's definitely sinking. According to TorrentFreak.com, a Pirate Bay insider indicated the site has given GGF a week to get insurance from investors before pulling the deal off the table.
It's hard to imagine anyone being stoked about losing $611 million in a quarter, unless you're part of a group of DRAM makers who were expecting to lose much more.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Taiwan's major DRAM chip makers -- Inotera Memories, Nanya Technology, Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation (PSC), and ProMOS Technologies -- will post combined losses of more than NT$20 billion, or roughly $611 million USD, for the second quarter of 2009. As bad as that sounds, market watchers were anticipating losses adding up to NT$30.7 billion, or about $938 million USD.
And it hasn't been all losses for memory chip makers. Both A-Data Technology and Transcend Information continue to see profits for the second quarter, perhaps indicating that the worst might finally be over.
Verizon on Monday said it plans to cut more than 8,000 employee and contractor jobs before the end of the year in the wireline business, which it hopes will speed up efforts to keep costs in line, according to chief financial officer John Killian. But unlike in recent years, the company has no plans of offsetting the wireline layoffs with hiring in its wireless business.
"We probably will not have large-scale hiring until we're out of the recession," said Denny Strigl, Verizon's Chief Operating Officer.
The news comes after the nation's largest wireless carrier reported a 21 percent drop in second-quarter profit, although the company's earnings did creep slightly higher than Wall Street expectations. Verizon earned $1.48 billion, or 52 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30, down from $1.88 billion, or 66 cents per share, a year ago.
Revenue rose 11 percent to $26.86 billion from $24.1 billion a year ago, which is what Wall Street had expected. Much of that increase can be attributed to the purchase of Alltel in January, otherwise revenue would have only increased 1.9 percent.
Nobody knows what to expect from Microsoft's branded retail stores scheduled to roll out sometime this fall, but the company's been making some very interesting moves, the latest of which includes hiring George Blankenship to help with the launch. If that name sounds at all familiar, it's because Blankenship is a former Apple executive who also helped launch Apple's retail presence back in 2001.
Microsoft so far has declined to say what Blankenship's exact role will be, but given the success of Apple's store fronts, it's probably a safe bet he'll perform some of the same tasks as before, including helping to select the best locations.
"We're doing stuff and we're in the game and continuing to take some these hard market-share opportunities head on and compete because it's a test of will," said Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer.
During Turner's Worldwide Partner Conference keynote earlier this month, the CEO said the first Microsoft store will open right next to an Apple store.
If you've ever shopped for a videocard, you may have run across a company called GeCube. The company has been somewhat of a player in the graphics market, producing ATI videocards from the Radeon 7000 PCI series to the much more recent PCI-E Radeon HD 4890. That's as far as the company will go, says news and rumor site DigiTimes.
Citing a Chinese-language Apply Daily report, DigiTimes says Gigabyte has recently released its 61.5 percent stake in GeCube and relinquished its spot on the board of directors. As a result, GeCube decided to sell off its graphics card business, but the company isn't going away completely. Instead, GeCube has already attracted a new partner, and although GeCube isn't saying who the new partner is, going forward the two will apparently work together on a non-graphics card related business.
As of right now, GeCube's website still reflects its graphics business.
As the economy struggles to regain its footing, so too does the PC industry. The latest casualty to the bottom line hits the graphics market, which recorded anemic sales of graphics chips in 2009, the worst year ever, according to Jon Peddie Research.
Even scarier, Peddie says that graphics chip shipments are a leading market indicator since a big portion of chip sales goes to original design manufacturers (ODMs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
But it's not all gloom and doom. Peddie also said the worst is probably over, noting signs of a recovery in the third quarter are likely to appear. Moreover, Q3 will mark the beginning of major architectural changes and products from Intel, Nvidia, and AMD/ATI as each one continues to develop GPGPU products.
IBM this week announced its second-quarter 2009 results, noting diluted earnings of $2.32 per share compared with diluted earnings of $1.95 per share in the second quarter of 2008. That's a year-on-year increase of 18 percent, and according to IBM, the highest for any first, second, or third quarter in the company's history.
"As a result of our strategic transformation, we have a very strong business model that is delivering superior earnings, cash, and client value," said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.
Looking forward, IBM said it expects full-year 2009 earnings of at least $9.70 per share, up from its previous expectation of $9.20 per share. In addition, the company said it expects full-year 2009 pre-tax income for its Software segment to grow by double-digits and reach somewhere around $8 billion.
As promised earlier this year, Microsoft plans to roll out several Microsoft-branded retail store fronts, but up until now, Microsoft wasn't saying where or when. Keven Turner, Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer, answered both of those questions during his Worldwide Partner Conference keynote on July 15.
According to Turner, the first store will open this fall and take residence right next to an Apple store. How's that for a new neighbor?
"As we progress on our retail strategy there will be scenarios where we have stores in proximity to Apple," Microsoft said a statement to CNet. "We are on track to open stores in the Fall timeframe. Beyond that we have no additional details."
Location aside, Turner insists Microsoft wouldn't be imitating Apple, which goes in line with Microsoft previously saying the stores would focus more on building the company's consumer brand than with distribution.
If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em, and most would agree that Netflix has grown too large (and too strategic) to beat. So who wants to buy them? If you believe the latest rumor, Amazon wants to buy the online DVD rental service, news of which has sent Netflix stock soaring to the highest it's been in 11 weeks.
"There's heavy call buying and the stock is up on renewed takeover talk, with Amazon being mentioned specifically," said Fred Ruffy, the senior options strategist at WhatsTrading.com. "It's pretty typical of speculative buying."
While Netflix and Amazon both compete in the Internet video business, not everyone is convinced a takeover makes much sense. Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities, points out that Amazon has distribution centers all across the U.S., meaning the company would have to collect sales tax in those states. Should that happen, subscribers would likely end up footing the bill.
As expected, both Amazon and Netflix said they don't comment on rumors or speculation.