Author: Nick Farrell

Chinese worked out Siri first

ipad3Apple’s attempts to get the rights for its Siri voice activated search technology recognised behind the bamboo curtain have failed.

A Beijing court has ruled that a Chinese company invented the technology and this was copied by Apple.

This clears the way for the Chinese company to continue its own case against Apple for infringing intellectual property rights.

Zhizhen sued the US firm in 2012 for intellectual property rights infringement, saying Apple’s Siri used on devices including the iPhone violated Zhizhen’s own voice system patents.

Apple had sued Zhizhen Internet Technology and China’s State Intellectual Property Office to court to seek a ruling that Zhizhen’s patent rights to a speech recognition technology were invalid.
According to the People’s Daily state newspaper the Beijing First Intermediate Court ruled in Zhizhen’s favour.

Apple said it intended to take the case to the Beijing Higher People’s Court.
In a statement, Apple said it did not know about Zhizhen’s patent before it introduced Siri and it did not believe it was using it anyway.

Qualcomm snubs TSMC

nand-chipsThe dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn which claims that Qualcomm has placed its first batch of FinFET chip orders with Samsung.

The industry had expected the order to go to TSMC even though it was using a 16nm node process.

Samsung will built the FinFET technology using a 14nm process.

The move is a boot in the nadgers for TSMC which was confident that could ramp up output optimising its high yield rates on chip production, and therefore helping clients to reduce production costs.

Digitimes said that chip vendor Altera had previously chosen Intel to develop its 14nm FinFET products, but was forced to switch to TSMC due to lower yield rates at Intel.

MediaTek, a major rival of Qualcomm, has been working with TSMC in 28nm and 20nm processes and will continue to develop chips using TSMC’s 16nm FinFET Plus process.

However others see Qualcomm’s rumoured move as logical. The outfit hates putting all its eggs in one basket and works with multiple foundry houses on 28nm or more mature processes, including TSMC, Samsung, Globalfoundries, UMC and SMIC.

US arrests Russian hacker

skullkThe US has arrested a Russian national and charged him with hacking.

The Department of Homeland Security said Roman Valerevich Seleznev hacked into American retailers’ computer systems to steal credit card data from 2009 to 2011.

It has taken the Secret Service a while to find Seleznev, who was indicted in Washington state in March 2011 on charges including bank fraud, causing damage to a protected computer, obtaining information from a protected computer and aggravated identity theft.

At that time it was suggested that Seleznev hacked into websites ranging from those run by the Phoenix Zoo, a branch of Schlotzsky’s Deli and many other small restaurants and entertainment venues.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson implied that the hacks were the work of organised crime and that Seleznev was probably working for the Russian mafia.

“This important arrest sends a clear message: despite the increasingly borderless nature of transitional organized crime, the long arm of justice – and this Department – will continue to disrupt and dismantle sophisticated criminal organizations,” Johnson said.




Public cloud services grow like topsy

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeBeancounters at IDC say that public cloud services reached US$45.7 billion last year and will experience a 23 percent compound annual growth rate through 2018.

More than  86 percent of the 2013 total came from cloud software, which encompasses both SaaS (software as a service) applications and PaaS (platform as a service) offerings, with the remaining 14 percent generated by cloud infrastructure.

ERM (enterprise resource management) application software made up $10.8 billion in public cloud revenue last year, followed by CRM (customer relationship management) products with $8.1 billion

Meanwhile Server made $4 billion and collaboration software $3.4 billion, with the remainder of the total spread over security and other markets, IDC said.

The top SaaS vendors are and ADP followed by Intuit, Oracle and Microsoft.

This means that Oracle’s recent claim to have become the industry’s second-largest SaaS company are probably sales puff.

ADP is an established seller of hosted services for payroll and other human resources functions. It generated more than $11 billion in revenue during its last fiscal year, and in 2011 made a big push into human capital management with Vantage, a cloud-based suite. first in the PaaS market, with and Microsoft tied for second place, followed by GXS and Google.

Amazon was also the top of the infrastructure category, followed by Rackspace, IBM, CenturyLink and Microsoft.

Most public cloud services are a in the US which makes up for 68 percent of the overall public cloud market. This figure will fall to 59 percent by 2018 as Western Europe’s take rises from 19 percent to 23 percent and growth picks up in emerging markets, IDC said.

While punters are falling over themselves for cloud software, IDC said that part of the growth is due to the fact that on-premises vendors such as Oracle and SAP have now managed to build out broad SaaS portfolios to offer their customers.

Cloud services account for relatively little of those companies’ overall revenue right now, but that is sure to change over time.

KitKat will always be in Jelly Bean shadow

android-china-communistHopes that the use of Android 4.4 KitKat would continue to grow dramatically appear to be unfounded.

In May there was a sudden rise in the use of Android 4.4 by five percent.  That led many to predict a meteoric rise in the use of the operating system.

However figures reported this month show a much more modest growth.

Google said that based on data collected in a 7-day period ending 7th July, which shows that Android 4.4 KitKat is sitting at a 17.9 per cent distribution. This is a slight increase from before but the increase of 4.3% is slightly less than the 5.1 percent from May.

Numbers for older builds of Android have started to decrease as well. Gingerbread has fallen from 14.9 per cent to 13.5 per cent which finally allowed KitKat to overtake it. Froyo has dropped as well from 0.8 per cent  to 0.7 per cent  Ice Cream Sandwich from 12.3 per cent to 11.4 per cent; and Jelly Bean from 58.4 per cent to 56.5 per cent which still puts it in the majority.

Various OEMs such as Motorola and OnePlus promise to update their products to Android L it seems unlikely that Android 4.4 KitKat will ever do as well as  Jelly Bean.

Samsung smartphone sales slump

smartphones-genericThere are signs that the rise of electronic’s giant Samsung is losing its impetus after it issued unexpectedly weak quarterly earnings guidance.

It is looking as like the outfit is headed for its worst results in two years and that its plans to deal with cheaper Chinese rivals are not working.

The South Korean company said it saw better business conditions in the third quarter,  butit faces slowing market growth, intensifying price competition from the cheap and cheerful market.

While smartphones drove Samsung to record profits last year, the market is maturing. Research firm IDC predicts global shipments growth will slow to 19.3 percent this year from 39.2 percent in 2013, while average sales prices will also drop.

Some analysts said Samsung may have no choice but to slash prices for mid-to-low tier devices, where growth is stronger, and target Huawei and Lenovo.

That will help defend market share it would also hurt margins, curbing its earnings recovery in the short term.

Samsung said that it cautiously expects a better third-quarter outlook with the release of a new smartphone lineup, lower marketing costs and a seasonal lift in demand for its memory business. Its flagship Galaxy Note 4 is expected to hit the market in September.

Samsung estimated on Tuesday that its April-June operating profit likely fell 24.5 percent from a year earlier to $7.12 billion, the sharpest percentage drop since the first quarter of 2011 and the weakest level since the second quarter of 2012.

In a separate statement, Samsung said second-quarter earnings would be hit by slower global smartphone market growth, competition in China, inventory buildup in Europe and the strength of the won.


Intel scores Panasonic fab contract

intel_log_reversedThe sales teams at Chipzilla have opened the champers after scoring a key contract with Panasonic.

Intel chips will now be under the bonnect of Panasonic’s upcoming TVs, stereos and other audiovisual gear.

Intel signed an agreement with Panasonic to make next-generation system-on-chips to process audio and video. The chips will be made using Intel’s 14-nanometer process.

Under the plan Chipzilla will work with Panasonic’s System LSI division, which makes video encoding/decoding and chips for TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes and other products.

It seems that Panasonic will design the chips, which will then be sent to Intel’s fabrication plants for manufacturing. The Panasonic SOCs will be based around 3D transistors.

Intel said that adding a high-profile customer like Panasonic will enhance the visibility of Intel’s fledgling chip manufacturing operations.

The company has been slowly expanding its custom-chip business, opening up its factories to external companies as a way of making back some of the costs of upgrading factories.