Computers

Sarah Mishkin

Google will double its investment in a new data centre it is building in Taiwan as internet use in Asia rockets beyond what the US internet group predicted a few years ago when it first planned the site, one of its first two data centres in Asia.

The search company already invested $300m in the massive centre on a flat plain outside a city in central Taiwan, and says it will double that in the next stages of the data centre’s development. Read more

As Japan strives to remain at the technological forefront, why is it that its companies are so averse to the idea of merging? Too many make the same thing yet do not get around to pooling their resources. The FT’s Special Report on Japan’s technology and innovation investigates this phenomenon, while looking at some of the latest in Japanese design, writes Peter ChapmanRead more

Who says the PC is dead? Lenovo’s notebook sales rose 8 per cent year-on-year in the three months to September, a period when global industry shipments fell by 12 per cent.

Fiscal second quarter results on Thursday showed clearly that the Chinese company is not just the world’s biggest PC maker, it is also the only one that has its act together: Acer this week lost its second chief executive in three years, HP still has at least three years to go in its turnaround plan, and Dell has retreated from the public markets to nurse its wounds. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Acer, the Taiwanese computer company, has struggled for a while to sell enough computers to stay profitable, but investors still found room for disappointment in its most recent results.

Shares were down nearly 4 per cent in Taipei today after management spoke with analysts and the media to explain its second quarter operating loss of NT$613m and its 19 per cent year on year fall in revenue to NT$89.4bn. Read more

A South Korean website has unearthed trademark and patent filings by Samsung regarding a possible smartwatch. That’s a reminder that – while Samsung and Apple squabble over old intellectual property – they will soon have a whole new set of designs to fight over.

In the drawings, Samsung’s device looks like a smartphone bent round a wrist. Unlike similar products from Sony, LG and Pebble, it has a flexible screen rather than the familiar usual strap. Read more

Michael Dell and US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners have once again increased their offer for Dell Inc, to $13.75 a share. Shareholder voting for the deal now postponed a week until August 2.

The long drawn-out process has resembled a high-stakes poker game, with shareholders so far succeeding to extract higher offers from Mr Dell and Silver Lake. They, however, call this latest offer their “best and final proposal”.

Need a recap of the bidding war so far? Here’s a summary: Read more

Who’s buying?

PC companies just can’t get a break.

Shipments from the Taiwanese manufactures that make most of the world’s desktop and laptop computers hit a three-year low last quarter as consumers waited for fixes to Windows and decided to buy tablets and smartphones in the meantime. For those Taiwanese companies, those disappointing stats are one more reminder of the need to diversify away from their core PC business.

 Read more

http://www.jamesmartin.com/

One of the world’s greatest computer scientists and prolific authors, Dr James Martin, has died. His body was found in waters off Bermuda on Monday, although the news did not immediately become public. Police say there were no suspicious circumstances.

As well as writing 104 textbooks, Dr Martin stood out for his gifts totaling $150m to the University of Oxford for the study of future challenges. That highlighted his belief that people could anticipate the effect of technology if they put their minds to it in the right way. Read more

It may seem hard to understand how one could go bankrupt selling iPads and MacBooks in one of Europe’s richest countries, but that is what happened Tuesday to iCentre, the largest Apple reseller in the Netherlands, writes Matt Steinglass in Amsterdam.

A judge in the Dutch town of Haarlem proclaimed the 34-store chain bankrupt on Tuesday, after a week of negotiations between the company, its creditors and potential buyers failed to produce a rescue plan. And on closer inspection, iCentre’s fate is not so hard to explain. Like other Apple resellers, iCentre was coping with a long-term shift from notebook and desktop computer sales towards smartphones and tablets, which have lower profit margins. Read more

The Google Glass isn’t even on sale yet but it may already have a Chinese competitor, writes Henry Mance.

Baidu, the company that now dominates Chinese internet search after Google’s partial retreat in 2010, has said it is developing its own “ocular wearable interface”, provisionally called the Baidu Eye, which will allow wearers to take pictures, and search using voice and images. Read more