Citing the Commercial Times, Dow Jones reports Taiwan-based chip maker VIA Technologies will likely sell a stake to US-based graphics chip maker Nvidia through a private placement. Subject to shareholder approval, up to 300 million shares are up for grabs at between NT$9 and NT$12 ($0.27 to $0.35 USD).
Without an official comment from Nvidia, we can only speculate on what the GPU maker's motives might be, but there are two interesting things to note. First is the recent rift between Nvidia and Intel that has the two taking shots at each other. For Intel's part, the CPU maker has taken its disdain for Nvidia's Ion platform public. By cozying up to VIA, Nvidia could perhaps be looking to distance itself from Intel's Atom processor and declare all-out netbook warfare by implementing VIA's Nano processor into its Ion platform.
Secondly, Nvidia has indicated interest in building an x86 CPU. According to Michael Hara, Nvidia's senior VP of investor relations and communications, it's a matter of 'when' and not 'if.'
If you thought things were already ugly for the PC market, brace yourself for it to get even worse in the coming months, says Gartner. According to the analyst firm, the PC supply chain will have "bottomed out" this quarter and then remain at a low level for several more quarters. Gartner says a sustainable recovery isn't expected until Q3 2010, but warns against getting too excited.
"We caution against interpreting such surges as signs of recovery, as full recovery is unlikely until demand in mature markets picks up," Gartner said in a note.
By the end of the year, the firm predicts PC sales will have fallen 11.9 percent to 257 million computers, marking the biggest fall ever. Desktop sales are expected to drop a whopping 32 percent from last year, with laptops on the rise by 9 percent.
Gartner also said that although PC vendors will see a boost in the third quarter as they prepare for back-to-school and holiday seasons, they could still be in for a "disastrous fourth quarter' if they over estimate the demand in mature markets.
Anyone else feel as though someone must have taken a tinkle in Gartner's Wheaties?
With IBM having moved away from hardware in the past few years in lieu of focusing more on services business, it might seem odd that Big Blue would be interested in acquiring Sun Microsystems. But analysts say it's Sun's software that IBM really has its eye on.
"The technologies of greatest interest to IBM are Java and Solaris, and those are notably not hardware technologies," said David M. Smith, an analyst at Gartner.
According to The New York Times, the dollar amount being discussed comes close to $7 billion. That breaks down to about $10 per share, or twice Sun's closing price a day before news of the negotiations broke out. Immediately following, shares of Sun shot up just shy of 79 percent on Wednesday to close at $8.89.
Should the merger take place, IBM and Sun would account for about 65 percent of the market for server computers running Unix and 42 percent of the total server market. Citing "a person involved in the discussions," NYT reports an antitrust review would be forthcoming, with the issue being how regulators define the server market. When viewed by numbers of server computers sold, the playing field looks a lot more even, as IBM and Sun would only account for 18 percent of the market.
Japan-based electronics firm Hitachi Displays Ltd. has plead guilty to price fixing charges on the sale of LCD panels and has agreed to pay $31 million as part of its deal with the U.S. Justice Department.
"The case should send a strong message to multinational companies operating in the United States that when it comes to enforcing the U.S. antitrust laws we mean business," Acting Assistant Attorney General Scot Hammond said in a statement.
Hitachi, who admitted to fixing prices on screens sold to Dell for use in desktop monitors and notebook displays from 2001 to 2004, isn't the only display maker to be accused of price fixing. LG, Sharp, and Chungwha Picture Tubes all struck similar plea agreements last year, with LG having agreed to pay a $400 million fine for panels sold between 2001 and 2006. All tallied, the U.S. government will have garnered over $600 million in criminal fines from LCD price fixing.
Turn out the lights, the party is officially over. Circuit City's chain-wide liquidation sale came to end yesterday, marking the final day of operation for any of the former electronics chain's stores that had remained open in an attempt to clear out inventory.
Circuit City, who fell on rough times last year, did everything it could to try stay in business, including closing down over 150 stores and cutting 20 percent of its workforce, securing a massive loan to pay off debt, and trying to find a buyer interested in keeping the store afloat. But on January 16th of this year, Circuit City announced it would close all of its remaining 567 U.S. stores.
The liquidation sale that followed was met with a bit of controversy when reporter Nydia Han for ABC Action News sent a camera crew into a local Circuit City and found that several of the liquidation prices were higher than Best Buy's regular pricing.
Reaction to Circuit City's departure? Hit the jump and offer up an obituary.
Call it the dawn of a new era or the beginning of the end, but however it turns out, AMD has officially closed the deal to finalize its processor manufacturing spinoff. Previously coined The Foundry, the new company will now be called Globalfoundries and led by former AMD executives.
"With the close of this historic transaction, AMD and its committed partners have conceived two strong industry-leading companies capable of charting future courses that will dramatically improve the technology industry,” said Dirk Meyer, president and chief executive officer of AMD. "Our ‘Asset Smart’ strategy is about more than providing AMD with long term access to world-class, leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing that is foundational to our growth strategy. It is about transforming the industry."
The finalized deal improves AMD's cash position by about $825 million, and as previously reported, the spinoff will be responsible for AMD's manufacturing needs. Globalfoundries also said it will offer an expanded roadmap of technologies to third-party customers, giving them early access to volume chip production when traditionally new technologies would be limited only to high-end microprocessor makers.
A new $4.2 billion manufacturing facility at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County, NY is also being planned. The facility will focus on 32nm and smaller technologies, and according to Globalfoundries, it will be the only independently-managed, advanced semiconductor manufacturing foundry in the U.S.
Bad news for the computer industry. According to market research company Gartner, PC shipments will plummet nearly 12 percent in 2009, recording the worst decline the industry has ever seen. This even after contracting sales in emerging markets for the first time.
"The PC industry is facing extraordinary conditions as the global economy continues to weaken, users stretch PC lifetimes, and PC suppliers grow increasingly cautious," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.
The 12 percent free fall translates into 257 million computers expected to be sold, but its even worse for desktops, whch are expected to slide a staggering 32 percent from last year. Laptops, meanwhile, are expected to go up by 9 percent, no doubt the result of strong netbook sales, a sector that had been keeping the worldwide PC market growing up to this point.
Here's a protip for all you working teens out there: You're probably going to go through more than one job that you don't enjoy doing before settling on a career that, hopefully, will be one you like. Nearly everyone follows this path, so posting on Facebook that your job is boring is the equivalent of letting the world know you brushed your teeth this morning. Except the former can apparently get you fired, as 16-year-old Kimberly Swann found out.
"Following your comments made on Facebook about your job and the company we feel it is better that, as you are not happy and do not enjoy your work we end your employment with Ivell Marketing & Logistics with immediate effect," Swann was informed.
According to Swan, she "did not even put the company's name" in her Facebook entry, only saying that her job was boring. But according to Stephen Ivell, the company's owner, it didn't come to the decision lightly. "It is just a shame that it did not work out because she is a lovely girl. For a small company, when a decision is made, one thinks long and hard about it."
Do you agree with Ivell's decision? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Slumping demand continues to take its toll on the memory chip industry. Micron, the largest U.S. maker of memory chips, said earlier this week that it has been particularly affected by decreased demand for specialty DRAM products, and as a result it plans to phase out 200mm wafer manufacturing operations in its Boise, Idaho facility.
"This action will reduce employment at Micron's Idaho sites by approximately 500 employees in the near term and as many as 2,000 positions by the end of the company's fiscal year," Micron said in a statement. "The company has sufficient manufacturing capacity remaining and does not expect any disruption in product supply required for customer needs."
Micron went on to say that these latest job cuts were not anticipated and not part of the 15 percent global workforce reduction it announced last October.
The chip maker said it will continue to operate its 300mm research and development fabrication facility at the Boise site. Financially, Micron expects cash restructuring charges to be in the vicinity of $50 million, which Micron says will generate a gross annualized operating cash benefit of $150 million.
Microsoft made headlines yesterday when it was discovered the company had been asking some of the 1,400 employees it laid off last month to pay back money it had overpaid as part of their severance. The letter blamed the mistake on an "inadvertent administrative error," which had our readers divided on whether or not Microsoft was justified in asking for the money back. Reader 'Phated1' pointed out how even a small overpayment could add up if multiplied by a large number of employees, but the best reader comment came from 'punditguy':
"Now I'll have to redo my Silicon Valley edition of Monopoly: 'Microsoft Error in Your Favor. Pay $200.'"
While a Microsoft spokesperson at first refused to offer any details saying it was a "private matter between the company and the affected people," the software maker is now saying it will not pursue trying to get its money back, perhaps figuring out the alternative is not worth the bad publicity.
"Last week, 25 former Microsoft employees were informed that they were overpaid as a part of their severance payments from the company," Microsoft wrote in a statement. "This was a mistake on our part. We should have handled this situation in a more thoughtful manner. We are reaching out to those impacted to relay that we will not seek any payment from those individuals."
According to Microsoft human resources chief Lisa Brummel, the 25 former Microsoft employees received, on average, about $4,000 or $5,000 in extra pay. An additional 20 former employees were underpaid, and Microsoft said it will immediately reimburse them.