Daily Archives: July 21, 2009

Blogs are going mainstream, writes Lex. The days are long gone when they could be dismissed as the preserve of pyjama-clad commentators with something to get off their chest. Some, such as the Huffington Post, have become fully fledged news organisations. Now, similar sites are attracting cash-rich backers.

Continue reading “Investing in Blogs”

Shoemaker Steve Madden has picked a fight with Ebay, suing the e-commerce site for allowing the sale of counterfeit watches. This is becoming a well-trodden path for retailers feeling burned by illicit activity on Ebay — Tiffany, LVMH and L’Oreal have all filed similar suits.

But if history is a guide, Steve Madden will have a hard time recouping any alleged losses. Courts have tended to rule in Ebay’s favour, arguing that the e-commerce site is not responsible for ensuring the authenticity of goods sold by outside sellers. Only LVMH won compensation, to the tune of $63m. Read more

Advanced Micro Devices,  Intel’s smaller microprocessor rival, is backing up chip industry earnings reports of a recovery in the second quarter and a seasonally stronger second half to come.

Like Intel, AMD saw strong sales of its mobile chips and growth in Asia.  But it reported sales were flat in the US and gross margins suffered as it tried to clear out older 65-nanometre chips and its factories remained underutilised.  It is still short of its break-even target and the Q2 loss of $330m sent shares down 13 per cent in extended trading.

Moore’s Law has been proven for more than 40 years as the chip industry has gone on making smaller chips at lower costs. Their improved performance has driven consumer demand, which has funded the big investments needed in new equipment for volume production.

Our Silicon Showdown series today looks at the current debate about the economic rather than scientific limits of Moore’s Law. But there is an addendum about the economics if the industry actually moves up a size. Read more

To cheer themselves up in these dark times, Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists have taken to drawing comparisons with tech’s pre-bubble days. If investment activity has returned to levels seen in the mid-1990s, the argument goes, this at least represents a healthy baseline: it is the “new normal” from which things start to pick up again.

So they should get a kick out of the latest figures from the National Venture Capital Association. Based on the $3.7bn put to work in the second quarter (up a little from the first quarter, but down by more than 50 per cent from a year ago), the total invested this year is projected to reach 1996-1997 levels. Of course, back then the VC industry provided a living for far fewer people. The shake-out has barely started.

  • Barnes & Noble unveiled its challenge to Amazon’s Kindle e-book service with an expanded online store selling more than 200,000 e-book titles for both laptop computers and mobile devices. The chain also said it would provide the e-book store for a wireless portable e-reader being developed by Plastic Logic that is scheduled for launch next year.
  • Texas Instruments, the second largest US chipmaker, reported a surge in demand for its products in the second quarter as it beat revenue and profit expectations. Following Intel’s positive outlook last week, TI gave another boost to the tech sector, forecasting solid growth in the current quarter.

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