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.
It looks like Intel's Atom platform and the whole netbook craze can only do so much to stave off slumping sales. According to market analysts Gartner Group, worldwide spending on IT is expected to drop 6 percent from 2008 to $3.2 trillion in 2009. While $3.2 trillion might not sound like much to sneeze at, the 6 percent slide is almost twice as much as Gartner predicted during the first quarter.
The biggest casualty in IT spending comes to computing hardware, which is expected to drop by 16 percent. IT services and telecom spending are on track for 5.6 percent and 4.6 percent drops, while Gartner predicts software spending growth to slow by 1.6 percent.
According to Gartner, lingering global IT budget cuts and the rising U.S. dollar are both to blame.
We all know what really goes down over at The Pirate Bay, and apparently so does the Swedish District court, which found TPB's defiantly outspoken founders guilty of assisting copyright infringement and ordered them to serve a year in prison and pay a combined $3.6 million in fines. And if the latest rumor turns out to be true, they'll be the ones laughing all the way to bank, even if ultimately paying the fine, which would leave them with $4.2 million.
That's the amount that would be left over after Global Gaming Factory X, a gaming company, acquires the torrent sharing site for $7.8 million. GGF says it plans to complete the acquisition by August and then launch new business models that would pay copyright owners.
"We would like to introduce models which entail that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site," said Hans Pandeya, CEO of GGF. "The Pirate Bay is a site that is among the top 100 most visited Internet sites in the world."
Of course, illegal access to copyrighted content might play a small huge role in why TPB is so popular, but GGF believes it can build on the torrent site's success while going completely legit.
Just a few days ago, iSuppli said worldwide PC shipments had declined in Q1 by the "largest historic rate" since the firm has been tracking the market. But after a rocky start, the PC market could be headed for a rebound by the end of the year, says market research analyst firm Gartner.
According to Gartner, the market is on pace to ship 274 million PCs worldwide by the end of 2009. That's still a 6 percent drop compared to last year's shipments of 292 million, but better than Gartner expected, who previously predicted a 9.2 percent decline.
Going forward, Gartner says shipments will pull an about-face in 2010 and predicts a 10.3 percent growth rate. However, the firm also warned that Windows 7, available today in pre-order form at a reduced rate, isn't likely to prove a game changer for PC sales.
"Unless Microsoft mounts a major marketing campaign in support of Windows 7, we think consumers will simply adopt the new operating system as they would normally buy new PCs and/or replace old ones," Gartner Research Director George Shiffler said in a statement.
In an effort to help save R&D costs for its own-brand motherboards, Intel will release ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) orders to Taiwan-based motherboard makers, with the first orders belonging exclusively to Foxconn, DigiTimes reports.
As it currently stands, Intel ships between 4-5 million units annually, but although the chip maker is reportedly looking to cut back, the company did say it will continue to design and develop motherboards, as well as closely cooperate with industry players in the motherboard market.
If it turns out to be true, the big loser in the new deal is Pegatron Technology, an Intel OEM partner which will stand on the sidelines for these new orders. Adding salt to the wound, Asus, Pegatron's biggest client, is looking to increase its outsourcing to other companies as well.
While netbooks continue to put on a strong showing, worldwide PC shipments fell by the "largest historic rate" since iSuppli has been tracking the market. Shipments only totaled 66.5 million in the first quarter of 2009, an 8.1 percent backslide from the 72.3 million shipped one year ago, and 14.4 percent less than the 77.6 million shipped in Q4 2008.
"The worldwide recession sparked by the credit crisis slammed PC shipments for the second quarter in succession during the first three months of 2009," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at iSuppli. "The first quarter performance of the worldwide PC market was worse than iSuppli had expected in its prior forecast, which called for a 4 percent decline in shipments compared to the same period in 2008."
Disappointing desktop sales were largely responsible for decline, which saw a drop in shipments by 23 percent. Meanwhile, notebooks actually grew 10 percent compared to the same period one year ago.
Yahoo’s financial woes have not been hidden from anybody. The blighted internet giant is ready to do anything to raise funds. It does not even mind small amounts of cash dribbling into its famishing coffers. It has now stooped to abject levels associated with cybersquatters.
It isn’t a princely sum by any drug-induced stretch of imagination. A premium domain like that should have fetched in the millions of dollars. That actually explains Yahoo’s dismal state. Yahoo should trade premium domains for some business acumen and not greenbacks in the future. Wonder what Yahoo.com will fetch?
Intel this week announced plans to invest $43 million in Japan-based UQ Communications, a provider of WiMAX mobile services. The infusion of cash will go towards funding the nationwide expansion of UQ WiMAX service in Japan with hopes of reaching 90 percent coverage of the country in the next three years.
"Intel's Capital's investment in UQ Communications is one of our most significant commitments in developing the WiMAX ecosystem around the globe," said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel executive vice president. "UQ's WiMAX deployment in Japan is a spectacular exampe of technology innovation being put to work."
More than just a monetary investment, Intel is also working closely with computer vendors and network operators to introduce more PCs and devices capable of taking advantage of WiMAX service, DailyTech reports.
The investment also underscores Intel's stance that it continue to spend its way out of a recession rather than save its way out. Earlier this month, the chip maker entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of Wind River Systems, a deal worth $884 million.
Things are all going to plan, said Intel, who is scheduled to begin operations at its 300mm fab in Dalian, China, in 2010. Manning the fabrication plant will be the first batch of graduates from the Semiconductor Technology Institute.
According to Intel, manufacturing with 300mm wafers has a dramatic effect on the company's ability to produce semiconductors at a lower cost. In addition, 300mm manufacturing consumes 40 percent less energy and water per chip than a 200mm wafer factory, the company said.
The site in question was first announced in 2007 as a $2.5 billion project in what would ultimately become the company's first wafer fab in Asia. It was the first time since 1992 with the construction of Fab 10 in Ireland that Intel had built a fab from the ground up.