Intel, which has been engaged in a battle royal with Advanced Micro Devices over whose chips go in high-end servers, is beginning to encounter a similar level of competition from a smaller rival at the other end of the scale.
VIA, based in Taiwan, is often forgotten as a player in the dominant "x86" market for PC microprocessors. It has never had more than 5 per cent market-share and is normally in the 1 to 2 per cent range, with Intel taking around 80 per cent and AMD the rest.
SeeqPod, the music search engine that we wrote about in September, has finally incurred the wrath of the record companies.
The Bay Area start-up is considering its legal position after Warner Music Group filed a suit in a Los Angeles court alleging copyright infringement.
One of the most striking things to emerge from Apple’s quarterly results on Tuesday was the fact that the iPod and iPhone maker is sitting on an $18bn cash hoard. Even more interesting is what Apple suggested it might do with it. Fortune picked up these comments by Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, during the company’s earnings call:
Our preference continues to be to maintain a strong balance sheet in order to preserve our flexibility to make strategic investments [and/or] acquisitions.
The entertainment industry thinks it has found a new opening in its fight against online piracy and is working hard to make it count.
The biggest film studios have access to libraries of tens of thousands of films and TV titles, but most of them never see the light of day. That is because only a handful of those titles account for the vast bulk of DVD sales. Retailers have little incentive to stock the thousands of less popular titles that make up the rest of studios’ libraries, since it would force them to carry costly and slow-moving inventory.
HP estimates that there may be $1.5bn-$2bn of untapped opportunity lurking in this long tail of library content. But that could change under a new partnership between HP and Sony, set to be announced on Thursday. Under the partnership, HP will offer content from Sony, manufactured on demand for DVD retailers and wholesalers. The idea is to use HP’s digital technologies to change the economics of DVD distribution.
So it’s official, Meg Whitman is to leave after 10 remarkable years (sullied by some mishaps of late.) As Youssef Squali, an analyst at Jefferies, puts it: "She will be remembered as one of the best CEOs of the dotcom [period], who made it successfully through the bubble and the nuclear winter."
This also means a broader reshuffle. Rajiv Dutta may have been passed over for the top job (see note below) but he’s clearly been made John Donahoe’s number two with the new title of executive vice president and Donahoe’s old job of running the marketplace division. One-time contender Bill Cobb is out, and will retire from the company at the end of the year.
If Meg Whitman does indeed decide to hang up her gavel (reported here in the Wall Street Journal, but yet to be confirmed), who will be left running a company that accounts for some 15 per cent of all global ecommerce?
The eBay chief has had various stabs at nurturing home-grown talent and has reached outside at various times to bring in extra firepower. As succession planning goes, it hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride. This is how it has played out:
The growing interest of traditional video game publishers in casual games looks like creating new hybrid formats and experimental business models.
Electronic Arts has announced its first completely free title, Battlefield Heroes, available for download this summer.
For evidence of how seriously Microsoft is starting to take the market for virtualisation software, take a look at its acquisition today of Calista Technologies. This is a company that was launched as recently as 2006. It has raised only one round of venture capital (around $7m) and it has yet to ship any products.
Yet Calista got prominent billing today as Microsoft put some of the pieces in place for its attack on a market that represents both huge potential and a sizeable threat for its server and desktop businesses. No price for Calista was disclosed but when we spoke to Barry Eggers of Lightspeed Ventures, one of the company’s backers, he left no doubt that Microsoft is paying up in its efforts to catch up with VMWare (latest profile here):
You could forgive Kevin Harvey of Benchmark Capital if he sounded a little smug when I spoke to him earlier today about the eye-catching $1bn sale of MySQL. A longtime venture investor in open source companies, Harvey has had to put up with a few knocks along the way. As he put it:
When we first invested in Red Hat it was thought to be totally insane. When we funded MySQL it was only partly insane.