Even though all the focus is on hard drives and the aftermath of the Thailand floods, DRAM manufacturers have fallen on hard times, too. DRAM has never been cheaper, and while that’s good for me and you, it’s hard to run a business if you’re basically giving away the product. Japanese DRAM maker Elpida Memory may be learning that lesson the hard way right now; rumors say that the Japanese government is pushing hard for Elpida to join forces with Toshiba to try and keep the business afloat.
Unnamed sources from Business Insider are determined to keep the Microsoft / Yahoo merger rumors alive, and according to contacts close to Microsoft’s MSN portal, consolidation is “definitely” in the air once again. When it comes to broad reaching content farms, MSN, Yahoo, and AOL pretty much have the market locked up at this point, and Yahoo’s recent troubles have almost certainly made them a more tempting target.
Microsoft’s $8.5 billion proposed acquisition of Skype is one step closer to being a done deal today, with regulators officially giving the Redmond based software giant the green light to proceed with its merger plans. The deal has been stuck in regulatory limbo since it was announced in May, however analysts almost universally agreed that it was unlikely to raise many red flags given how competitive the VOIP space is these days.
Competition in the hard drive sector has done wonders for consumer pricing, but it’s about to take a toll on another supplier. According to Reuters Samsung is looking to exit the spinning disk sector by selling off the losing division as soon as possible. Sources quoted by the newspaper claim they are hoping to rake in as much as $1.5 billion from the sale, but might be willing to entertain bids as low as $1 billion if necessary.
If we haven't already made it fairly clear, let's be straight up: We believe that AT&T's swallowing of T-Mobile USA is a bad thing for everybody except for AT&T and Deutsche Telekom. Let us count the ways.
If you thought the competitive landscape in the US wireless industry couldn’t get any worse, you’d be wrong. Today AT&T announced a landmark deal with Deusche Telekom AG to buy up T-Mobile USA for a whopping $39 billion dollars. The deal which works out to a mixture of cash and stock is being sold to the public as an attempt to improve the network quality for both carriers, while offering a “fast, efficient and certain solution to the impending exhaustion of wireless spectrum in certain markets”.
The Washington Post is reporting today that FCC Chairman Julius Genchowski has issued a statement indicating his willingness to allow the Comcast-NBC merger to proceed. Although, there is still a ray of hope for those opposed to the deal. Genchowski has outlined several conditions that Comcast would need to agree to in order to get what they want.
Comcast-NBC would need to make their content available over the Internet, but the amount of content, and the method are not specified. The new media conglomerate would also be required to share some content with competing cable and satellite firms. This is likely still not enough for many public interest groups to sign on. The fear is that Comcast's ownership of NBC would be a conflict of interest as they sell access to content from many competing sources. Network neutrality is also a concern; it is feared that Comcast would give priority to their own content.
The issue is far from settled. The US Justice Department is still reviewing the deal to ensure it passes anti-trust laws. The FCC and Justice Department have been working closely, though. So this move could indicate approval by both bodies soon.
When VeriSign's authentication business passed hands to Symantec last week, nobody blinked an eye. Two security companies moving assets back and forth isn't exactly the most riveting news. Normally we wouldn't have even bothered reporting on it except for one interesting fact that piqued our interest, VeriSign's value is tied up in a logo.
Coke proved decades ago that brands have value, but in today's digital economy it still shocks us to hear that something as simple as a circle with a pixilated check mark could be worth so much. The VeriSign Trust Seal pictured above is licensed out to websites for use in e-commerce systems to try and build trust with potential customers. It might sound fishy, but a marketing survey conducted by the company showed click-through rates increased by over 18.5% for sites displaying the logo, and experienced a sales uptick as high as 36%.
According to VeriSign "One of the most important issues to users about an online retailer is its procedure for safeguarding personal data such as credit card numbers that travel over the Internet when customers make purchases. With the rampant growth of phishing and identity theft, consumers are increasingly wary about providing this information, especially to companies they do not know. Therefore one of the pieces of information TheFind publishes about retailers is the protection they employ for transmitting private data. In many cases a generic 'SSL Encryption' logo appears. When the retailer uses VeriSign SSL Certificates, however, users see the VeriSign seal."
If the VeriSign seal of approval is as valuable as they claim, Symantec might stand to make a pretty penny on the deal as e-commerce starts to go mainstream. Was $1.28 billion a good deal?
It's finally over, at least as far as the European Union is concerned. The big news in the IT industry today is that Oracle has officially been given the green light by EU regulators to proceed with its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
"I am now satisfied that competition and innovation will be preserved on all the markets concerned," said EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes, in a statement. "Oracle's acquisition of Sun has the potential to revitalize important assets and create new and innovative products."
It wasn't that long ago that EU regulators were singing a different tune. The major stumbling block had been Oracle's impending control of the free MySQL, which drew concern over what Oracle would do with the database software in light of selling its own database product. But those concerns were put to rest when Oracle agreed to a series of concessions, some of which included promising to pay $72 million over the next three years in R&D to improve MySQL, and extending MySQL's existing commercial licenses for up to five years.
"The Commission's in-depth investigation showed that although MySQL and Oracle compete in certain parts of the database market, they are not close competitors in others, such as the high-end segment," the EU said in a statement.
There's still work to be done, and before Oracle can pop the cork on the champagne bottles, it will need to convince regulators in Russia and China to jump on board. Protesters from the MySQL community recently turned their attention to these very markets in hopes of blocking the deal, but Oracle still says it expects "unconditional approval" to come soon.
After next week, Oracle's $7.4 billion roller-coaster ride will finally come to an end, as there remains little doubt that the European Commission will approve the company's acquisition of Sun Microsystems. With that being the case, protesters from the MySQL community have all but given up the battle in Europe and are now turning their attention to regulators in Russia and China, ITNews.com reports.
"The European Commission showed courage and competence during most of the investigation but looked very weak in the end," said MySQL founder Michael 'Monty' Widenius in a statement on Monday, adding that China and Russia "are powerful, self-confident, and open-source friendly countries and they have every right to do a better job on this than the EU."
Both nations are still investigating the deal and have yet to give Oracle the green light. So far, Widenius' helpmysql.org campaign has managed to attract 600 supporters in China and over 800 in Russia. On a global scale, the campaign stands at 30,000 signatures strong since its launch on December 28.