Tag: Toshiba

Apple sticks spanner in Toshiba sale

apple-disney-dreams-snow-white-Favim.com-142405The fruity cargo cult Apple is holding up the sale of Toshiba’s memory chip business.

An agreement worth over $18 billion for Toshiba was announced last week, with the winning bidder a consortium led by Bain Capital and including Apple and Dell.

However Tosh has been telling its banks that Apple is stalling and apparently one of the failed bidders, KKR, is now trying to tempt Apple to switch sides.  Apple had previously opposed KKR’s bid because its consortium included Western Digital, which is a joint investor in TSMC’s flash memory facility.

Apple, which is the biggest consumer of the memory chips, feared that Western Digital’s involvement would consolidate the market too much and lead to less competitive pricing, Bloomberg said.

Western Digital has since pulled out of the consortium and is seeking to block Bain Capital’s bid.

If KKR is able to persuade Apple to switch sides at the last minute, it could upset a deal that had looked like it would end months of twists and turns in finding a buyer for Toshiba’s family jewels.

Tosh needs cash to shore up a balance sheet destroyed by a failed foray into the nuclear power equipment industry and is facing a deadline in March to complete a deal or be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Fujitsu splits PC and smartphone businesses

tumblr_static_tumblr_static_bipw3qkx87www8ogs08wggok0_640Fujitsu has decided on a divide and conquor strategy for its PC and smartphone business – although it has decided to divide itself, so we are not sure if it has got the hang of the concept.

Fujitsu is splitting its PC, both desktops and notebooks, business and its smartphonebusiness into companies of their own with their own long-winded name.

Those two companies will now be called Fujitsu Client Computing Limited and Fujitsu Connected Technologies Limited.  These names do not appear to have been made up by the marketing department but rather the legal department.

The outfit said that “it has become increasingly difficult to achieve differentiation, and competition with emerging global vendors has intensified.”

Companies and subsidiaries are spun out to give them more leeway in creativity, R&D, and design. In practice, that might not always happen.

There is an even bigger rumored that Japan’s three biggest, but now struggling, PC makers will be merged into one. Toshiba, Fujitsu, and VAIO are in the process of negotiating a merger of PC businesses. Fujitsu’s split might make it easier for its PC division to make that move and it also might explain why they could not come up with a sexier name for the new company.

 

Accounting scandal could be the last straw for Tosh PCs

toshiba-logoOne of the casualties of Toshiba’s accounting scandal could be the outfit’s mediocre PC business.

The company is desperate to cover a huge billion dollar accounting hole and it is thought that flogging its notebook division might help.

Tosh has said that it could be forced to divest non-core activities and “accelerate concentration and selection of business areas and promote restructuring to enhance efficiencies”.

Tim Coulling, senior analyst at Canalys, said the PC division was a key part of the probe and flogging it off made sense.

The question is, who would want it?

Toshiba shipped 2.5 million notebooks globally in Q1 2015 which is not bad but not great when you consider that figure is based on cooked books. However it does have a brand power in the West  which would make it an attractive target for a Chinese player looking to deepen its foothold in Europe or the US.

The downside is that Tosh’s PC business has not been performing well recently. Last year it said it wanted to get away from the consumer business and focus on B2B.

AMD relies on partners for R&D gap

mind the gapChipmaker AMD is relying more on its partners to come up with the latest R&D ideas, just like it did in the 1990s.

Decrypted tech claims that over the past few years AMD has been slowly cutting back on the money it puts towards R&D.

Instead it has tried to narrow the focus of the money they spend on new technology where it thinks it will get the most return.   So in the last quarter AMD spent less than $238 Million on R&D and his been building R&D partnerships to overcome budget challenges.

AMD started rebuilding its R&D partnerships in late 2010 and this allowed it to cut back on the amount they need to bring to the table to create new technologies. This is a repeat of what it did in the 1990s when the outfit used Samsung, IBM, Motorola, and Texas Instruments helping them to change the way they built CPUs.

This was how it could build the Athlon CPU with only a small R&D budget and engineering team.

This time AMD is betting big on HBM and also on integrating ARM processors inside their APU/CPUs and apparently it is letting its R&D partners do a lot of the heavy lifting money-wise while they provide many of the engineering minds.

If it pays off, AMD gets its technology on the cheap.  However in the worst case it could hack off some big names in the in the industry like Hynix, Samsung, Toshiba etc. and walk away with new technology to sell to others.

The plan is high risk as it could leave AMD with nothing it can sell, while its partners have some natty tech that AMD helped them build.

 

 

US spooks hide in hard drives

spyIf you own hard-drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, and Toshiba all your data could have been seen by US spooks.

According to Kaspersky Lab, the US National Security Agency figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, IBM, Micron and Samsung.

Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said.

The Russian outfit did not name the US as the country behind the software, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, which was a NSA-led effort.

A former NSA employee told Reuters that Kaspersky’s analysis was correct, and that people still in the spy agency valued these espionage programmes as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives.

Kaspersky published the technical details of its research on Monday, a move that could help infected institutions detect the spying programs, some of which trace back as far as 2001

The announcement could lead to a backlash against Western technology, in countries such as China, which is already drafting regulations that would require most technology suppliers to provide copies of their software code for inspection.

Kaspersky said the spies made a technological breakthrough by figuring out how to lodge malicious software in the obscure code called firmware that launches every time a computer is turned on.

Disk drive firmware is viewed by spies and cybersecurity experts as the second-most valuable real estate on a PC for a hacker, second only to the BIOS code invoked automatically as a computer boots up.

The information was news to Western Digital, Seagate and Micron who said it was the first they had heard of it. Toshiba and Samsung declined to comment and IBM just ignored hacks requests.

Samsung hangs on to LCD TV lead

LCDscreenGiant South Korean chaebol Samsung had 22.8 percent of the LCD TV market last year, outstripping the second Korean player, LG Electronics.
A report from Trendforce said Sony came third in place with a market share of only 6.8 percent, compared to LG Electronics’ 14.9 percent.
In all, 215 million LCD TVs shipped in 2014, more than the market expected.  Factors that helped the 5.4 percent growth included the US economic recovery and strong promotion of larger size TVs.
But the top three vendors need to keep their eyes on the ball.  Trend force said that Chinese brands occupied positions from the fourth to the seventh.
They are making progress globally because the home Chinese market is saturated and they are pricing their brands aggressively.
Well known brands such as Philips and Toshiba have vanished out of the top ten vendor list.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 15.08.21

 

Samsung, Apple, take top semi spots

Samsung HQ Silicon Valley - MM picApple and Samsung were the biggest buyers of semiconductors in 2014.
Together, they bought $57.9 billion worth of chips last year, up by $3.9 billion in 2013, according to Gartner.
In terms of the total market for semiconductor, both companies’ accounted for 17 percent of the total market.
Gartner said the two firms have been top of the semiconductor consumption market for four years in a row.
That, said analyst Masatsune Yamajo, means decisions they make “have considerable technology and pricing implications for the whole semiconductor industry”.
Samsung was still top buyer but its decision to withdraw from some parts of the PC market as well as losing market share to other vendors meant its growth rate wasn’t as great as in the past.
Gartner estimates that the top 10 companies bought $125.6 billion of semiconductors, accounting for 36.4 percent of the whole market in 2014.
After Samsung and Apple, the remaining eight top ten buyers were HP, Lenovo, Dell, Sony, Huawei, Cisco, LG Electronics and Toshiba.
The entire semiconductor market worldwide amounted to $339.9 billions last year.

 

Toshiba enters the cloud management fray

Toshiba Research EuropeGiant Japanese firm Toshiba said it has made available its Cloud Client Manager.

Toshiba said the cloud service is aimed at companies of every size and shape to manage so called endpoint devices – that is to say mobile phones and tablets, notebooks and the like.

The software currently gives patch management, asset inventory, power management and distribution of software device drivers. But in early 2015 the company will add mobile device management and cloud back up.

Here’s how it works.

Adminstrators use a standard web browser to control IT devices online without the need to invest in servers or dedicated management software.

The asset management feature shows all the managed machines in an enterprise and lets them see which software is installed on which machine.

Toshiba said the additional functionality in early 2015 will let administrators create user profile permissions and implement password strength, encryption, device lock and data wiping.

Personal storage devices rose in Europe

seagate-hddMarket analysis firm IDC said that 6.3 million personal and entry level storage devices shipped in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) during the second quarter of this year.

The market includes storage hardware products made for end users, small offices and small businesses.

Companies selling these products include Toshiba, Western Digital, Seagate, Buffalo, D-Link, Netgear and Lenovo/EMC.

The market for sales in western Europe grew 3.5 percent in the quarter compared to the same quarter last year.  Western Europe also represented the largest market for units shipped, amounting to 4.7 million units.  Those revenues largely came for personal level storage.

The central eastern Europe and Middle East and Africa (CEMA) showed a drop of 13 percent year on year.  The drop was because of sanctions against Russia and the Ukrainian crisis, as well as less bandwidth capabilities and the fact not many people work remotely in the region.

The Middle East and Africa showed a drop of 17 percent year on year, caused by political turmoil and civil unrest.

Toshiba releases 20 megapixel sensor

Toshiba imageThe chip division of Japanese giant Toshiba said it has started making fast 20 megapixel CMOS image sensors aimed at the high end smartphone market. Samples went out last month and full production will start in February next year.

That type of censor will give a smartphone the kind of capabilities more associated with high end and expensive digital cameras.

The sensor, bilt on a 1.12 micron CMOS process has an optical size of ½.4 inch and lets camera modules on smartphones be built to a-height of 6mm or less.  The chip has a pixel count of 5384×3752 with digital zoom capabilities, and includes 16Kbit memory.

The sensor – dubbed the T4KA7 – ddelivers a frame rate of 22 frames per second at full resolution image capture.  That’s an improvement of 83 percent compared to Toshiba’s previous 20MP sensor.

A Toshiba representative said that the sensor will let manufacturers to design next generation ultrathin, power aware high end mobile products.

The sensor will cost around $20 when bought in volumes.

Toshiba said that the CMOS image sensor market will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 percent between 2013 and 2018, with revenues reaching $13 billion.

Viglen wins Toshiba gong

ViglenBritish outfit Viglen said Toshiba likes it so much it has given it Platinum Partner of the year and Education Partner of the year status.

Qualification for these accolades is based on successful reselling of Toshiba products and adding value to the mix.

Viglen said it is now one of the biggest Toshiba resellers in the UK, meaning it can offer better support, reduce costs, and simplify IT procurement.

Viglen CEO Bordan Tkachuk said his company offered a set of value added services, including besoke service.

It considers itself to be a leading IT supplier in the UK education and public sectors.

Pictured here from left to right are Toshiba’s Mark Byrne, Nick Offin, head of channels, Viglen’s CEO Tkachuk and Neil Bramley, sales director Europe, Toshiba.

PC market falls again

IBMoldThe news for resellers specialising in the PC business in western Europe continues to be gloomy, apart from those specialising in the enterprise sector.

Gartner issued a report that said the market fell in western Europe by four percent in the last quarter of 2013.

And it’s all PC segments.  Mobile and desktop PC shipments fell by 6.5 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.  Sales to enterprises fell by 1.7 percent while sales of PCs to individual people fell by seven percent.

However, it’s not all bad news. Gartner said that large corporations are switching away from Windows XP – support from Microsoft ceases in April.

HP is the number one player, followed by Lenovo, Acer, Asus, and Apple. The total number of PCs shipped in Q4 2013 amounted to 14,671,825.

PC shipments in the UK amounted to 2.9 million units in the quarter, down 6.7 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012.

Mobile shipments fell 10 percent.

HP, Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba and Apple were the top five vendors in the UK for the quarter.

Tosh makes big channel push

windowscomputexToshiba introduced a campaign aimed at supporting channel players specialising in the SMB sector.

Called “”Get Modern with Toshiba”, the scheme ties in with Microsoft’s Get2Modern – an attempt by the software giant to wrest us away from Windows XP and Office 2003.

Toshiba said its channel partners will be given competitive prices on machines including the Portege Z30, Tecra Z40 and Tecra Z50. A trade in scheme lets SMBs claim up to £100 on new products, while Toshiba said its reliability guarantee lets its partners offer free repair and full refunds if on old model is traded in before March 31st 2014.

Toshiba said many SMBs are still using Windows XP and as we all know Microsoft will can support for Office 2003 and Windows XP on April 8th next.

Toshiba’s marketing director, Matt McDwall, claims “there’s a strong financial argument” to move from XP to Windows 8.1 – basing that claim on IDC figures that show running Windows XP is five times more expensive than Windows 7.

Vega GPU Announced by Vivante

VivanteRight up front Vivante states that it designed its GPU architecture to scale to compete with Nvidia and ATI. It plans to vie with Nvidia in the next generation of ultra-mobile GPU in GTX/Maxwell, John Oram writes from San Francisco.

A fledgling start up once assisted by semiconductor angel investors and corporate investment from Fujitsu, Vivante was profitable five years after opening its doors. It is now headquartered in Sunnyvale, California with offices in Shanghai and Chengdu China. Over its nine year history, Vivante Corporation has infiltrated many markets.

The company flaunts its “firsts” – first to ship OpenGLES 3.0 silicon and first to ship embedded OpenCL 1.1 silicon. It has shipped over 120 million units. Currently, Vivante is inside the majority of the top players in the fields of SoC vendors, mobile OEMs, TV OEMs, and automotive OEMs.

At IDF, Vivante was heralding its  advantage over its competitors referring to benchmark ratings in its slides. For example see the GC1000 – Mali 400-MP2 comparison where it also pictorially point out the difference in size between the Mali and smaller Vivante product.

Smart TVs, such as Vizio, LG U+, Lenevo, TCL, Hisense, and Changhong, rely on Vivante. Chromecast Internet to TV streaming experiences Acceleration by Vivante in 3D gaming, composition, and user interface. Set top boxes from Toshiba out of Japan, and three companies out of Shenzhen, China, Huawei, Himedia,and GIEC, all use Vivante’s GPU Acceleration.

Tomorrow’s cars will never be the same. Vivante is everywhere. Drivers will check out their positioning with ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) displays, reverse guidance, pedestrian detection, and object distance indicators. In fact, Vivante was awarded the 2013 Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Award  for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.

Vivante used IDF to announce Vega. Vega is the culmination of seven years of architecture refinements and the experience of more than 100 SoC integrations. It is optimized to balance the big three: performance, power, and area. GPU delivers highest in class performance at greater than 1 GHz GPU clock speeds. It even touts patented logarithmic space full precision math units. Vega is optimized and configured from production GPU cores GC2000, GC4000, and GC5000. Vega GPUs have been delivered to lead customers for tapeout.

Vivante’s SDK is ready for GUI, gaming, and navigation applications. Vivante provides full API support across the GPU product line, OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenCL 1.2, and DirectX 11 9_3. The company prides itself on its Scalable Ultra-threaded Unified Shader which offers up to 32x SIMD Vec-4 shaders and up to 256 independent threads per shader operate on discrete data in parallel. Shaders facilitate creation of an endless range of effects by tweaking hue, brightness, contrast and saturation of the pixels, vertices and textures to create an image. Shaders provide a programmable alternative to the hard-coded approach known as Fixed Function Pipeline.

Vivante isn’t shy about pointing out its edge over the competition. As far as performance / area advantages, they are taking on Tegra, Adreno, Mali, and IMG.

In conclusion, Vivante indicated that it isn’t overlooking the mass market either with their Vega Lite version which still promises the smallest silicon area matched with extremely low power.

Hard drive sales slow down

hdd-hugeShipments of mechanical hard drives are steadily declining, confirming what everyone in the industry knew already – the PC market is losing steam.

Seagate saw its Q2 shipments drop 3.2 percent over Q1, to 53.9 million drives. Toshiba lost some market share and shipped 19.6 million units. Western Digital shipped 59.9 million drives, 0.4 percent less than in Q1.

Shipments of mobile drives were also down 0.4 percent and the average drive size remained at 610GB. Hybrid drives are not taking off as expected by some punters.

Desktops fared even worse, with an 8.3 percent decline from the first quarter. The slump may cause some inventory concerns in Q3 and beyond. The average capacity of desktop drives shipped last quarter was 1TB, no changes there.

There is some good news to report as well. The enterprise hard drive market is recovering. It was up 12 percent last quarter. Shipments of hard drives for consumer electronics were also up, 0.8 percent according to IT Wire

Although there’s plenty of room for improvement, the hard drive market won’t recover anytime soon.

Cheaper SSDs and hybrid drives are also starting to make a mark, but HDDs are still the cheapest option and the darling of OEMs and consumers alike.