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Shenanigans

The Cult

It always seemed that working for one of Silicon Valley’s new, global, multi-billion dollar algorithm companies would be good fun – bring your pet to work, free connoisseur meals, lots of sexy chicks, recreational facilities in the office etc. But apparently it’s not quite like that. A sacked Facebook advertising manager called Antonio Garcia Martinez has written a book called ...

Vodafone Goes Europhile

Odd that Vodafone should take Brexit as a trigger for suggesting it may relocate its HQ outside the UK. For years while good Euro-democrats like Neelie Kroes pushed for better deals for mobile network consumers – e.g. for cutting roaming and data charges – Vodafone has been the chief lobbyist behind whichever wretched UK politician had to go to Brussels ...

Intel Said To Be Selling McAfee

Intel, having failed to sell its VC arm, is now putting McAfee on the block, reports the FT. No one could ever explain why it bought McAfee in 2010 in for $7.7 billion. Especially when the EC then extracted an undertaking that any special protection developed for x86 processors would also be offered to AMD. Well, six years later, it ...

China To Feel Qualcomm’s Legal Lash

The Chinese are about to feel the lash of Qualcomm’s fearsome legal department. At the height of Qualcomm’s litigious spree towards the end of the last decade the company was spending $200 million a year on legal fees trying to assert its rights to exploit CDMA technology which it was obliged to license under FRAND terms. Nokia was the main ...

The Will Of The People

Crikey. No one expected that. Cameron’s gamble of offering a Referendum to keep his party together before the 2014 election has come massively unstuck. One suspects that the Cameron/Osborne/Johnson tendency to see politics as a game without consequences, has led England into a potentially dangerous situation. The EU is also to blame. At heart it is a decent, liberal-minded, well-meaning ...

Alms For Oblivion

Silicon Valley-ites giving to the poor? It’s like a cat swimming. But an organisation called Y Combinator is giving 100 families in Oakland $1000-2000 a month each. Oakland is that place you end up in if you take take the wrong turn off the Embarcadero and end up going over the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Poor, scary, run-down. But actually ...

The Big Play

As Peter Thiel’s book Zero to One points out there’s no point starting a business where there’s loads of competition. You can’t make money. Taxi-hailing apps are a business which has attracted a large number of competitors, yet Uber has raised $15 billion in backing. Don’t Uber’s backers realise that any cab company can run a hailing app? My local ...

An Old Wheeze?

Problems at fabs making commodity chips have always attracted a question mark. Some years ago Samsung saw its share price go up and the DRAM price rise when it said it had suffered a power outage at a Korean DRAM fab. Later on, Korea’s electricity suppliers said there had been no power outages. So, in a cynical old world, you ...

A Tin Crown

A lot of people see this as a bit of a facer for the Yanks – China has built the world’s fastest computer using China-designed microprocessors. Its processor is a 260-core chip developed by the Jiangnan Computing Lab called the ShenWei SW26010 running army 1.45GHz delivering 3 Teraflops. The ShenWei processors were said to have been based on the DEC ...

What’s Happened To All The M&A?

Have you noticed how the semiconductor M&A thing has gone away? Last year there were around $120 billion worth of M&A deals done. This year, apart from a few failed Chinese bids and a NXP shedding a division or two, there hasn’t been much. “It’s not the same gold rush,” says Reinhard Ploss. Why is this? The industry is stagnant ...