Last week was not too good for big tech, but most did better
than the market nonetheless. A quick look at some of the top
The Bug in the First Android Watches
Right after the first Android smartwatches started shipping from
) Play Store, Android Police identified a bug that was preventing
the installation of paid apps on the devices. Google was able to
work on a quick fix before the devices reached most customers, so
there likely won't be too much of a backlash.
Samsung and LG made the first Android watches. Samsung's Gear
Live at $199 is slightly cheaper than LG's G Watch, which costs
$229. Both are powered by
), run on Android Wear (the new OS for wearables) and are operated
by a smartphone running on Android 4.3 or higher. The Samsung
device has apparently got a better display and more sensors, while
the LG device has longer battery life.
Semi Foundries Have a Story to Tell
All the pureplay foundry stocks declined this past week, but
there's more to the story.
The Chinese foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International
started the week on a positive note following the announcement of
collaboration with Qualcomm
. The two have agreed to work together on 28nm process technology
so Qualcomm, which is fabless, can get some of its Snapdragon
processors manufactured in China. SMI benefits because the
agreement will help develop its 28nm process and because Snapdragon
is a market-leading device.
United Microelectronics and Taiwan Semiconductor reported
monthly sales numbers
. Both saw sales up in the mid-teens percentage range, but this
didn't have much of a positive impact on share prices. UMC is yet
to get 28nm to scale, which means persistent pressure on margins.
TSM is much better off, with stronger utilization, 20 nm ramp up
and the positive impact of
But TSM's partiality to Apple is not having a very good effect
on its other partners. Qualcomm is already getting closer to
Samsung and last week,
Panasonic took some business to Intel (
. As a result, Intel will make SoCs for the Japanese company's
audio visual equipment using its 14nm process. This is a very big
deal for Intel, which only recently decided to share its process
lead with competitors. But the services will not be opened to all
and sundry: CEO Krzanich has promised only "strategic"
Additionally, In Semi Equipment World…
) shares jumped 4.01% after its analyst event at SEMICON. The
company narrowed its CY14 WFE expectations to $32 billion, +/- $1
billion (previous +/- $2 billion). It now expects WFE spending of
$35-40 billion by 2016/2017 (previous 2015/2016). The increased
adoption of multi-patterning processes in logic and DRAM segments
is expected to drive additional opportunities for Lam.
Management expects this to result in a market expansion
opportunity of $2 billion by 2016/2017. This is expected to yield
revenue, gross margin and operating margin of $5.6 billion, 46-47%
and 21-23%, respectively, which are above previous
The merger of
) and Tokyo Electron is drawing near and the two have now decided
to call the combined entity
, or the "eternal evolution of society."
KLA Tencor has decided to
return more cash
Last 6 Months
GOOG = Class C shares (new, non-voting)
GOOGL = Class A shares (old, 1 vote per share)
Other stories you may have missed
China Labor Watch Slams Samsung
: Samsung decided to stop business at a Chinese supplier when the
U.S.-based labor watchdog China Labor Watch said that it found
child labor at the facility. It also declared that Samsung's
monitoring process was ineffective. Chinese law considers the
employment of persons below 16 years to be child labor.
Microsoft Could Be Planning Job Cuts
: CEO Satya Nadella has issued a memo that describes
) as "the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first
cloud-first world". While he didn't mention any job cuts, the
notable deviation from Ballmer's "devices and services" strategy
and the prospective integration of Nokia's devices business is
leading to a lot of speculation.
Zynga Regains Compliance with Nasdaq
Apple Loses lawsuit in China
China Doesn't Like Apple's Location Tracking
: China Central Television (CCTV) has quoted a local security
expert as saying that Apple's location-tracking feature made it
possible for the company to track people's movement and could lead
to the leaking of state secrets. Apple has defended itself by
saying that it wasn't a default feature and could be turned
The government has not said anything regarding the issue, but it
could play a part in the ongoing negotiations between the Chinese
and U.S. governments. Unnamed sources also said that China recently
told state-owned wireless carriers to cut marketing expenses
because they overspent on subsidies and promotions of some
Apple and Google Asked to Change Refund Policies
: South Korea's Fair Trade Commission has asked Apple and Google to
change their policies with respect to free apps. Many free apps are
automatically charged to the customer after the expiry of the free
trial period before the customer is able to remove the app. The
companies currently do not refund anything that was charged before
cancelling the app.
Facebook's Mobile Video Player For iOS
: Facebook is getting more active on the video front. Right on the
heels of the LiveRail acquisition, the company is now testing a
video feature for iOS devices that appears similar to Youtube's
"Related Videos." When users click on a video in the news feed,
they get other video suggestions that might prompt them to watch a
few more. The system has every chance of working and could lead to
a nice new way to earn some video ad dollars.
Intel's All-New IoT Standard
Rumor: Microsoft Surface Mini Coming This Summer
: The Surface Mini could hit stores this summer. Microsoft
apparently delayed the smaller version because its checks suggested
weaker demand for the device. It's not clear what's changed in the
past few months (could be the supply chain), but rumors suggest
that the device is back in production.
Microsoft Plans to Stop Windows 7 Support
: Microsoft's Windows 8 is not doing well, at least so say media
reports quoting various parties. In fact XP upgraders are going for
Win 7 instead of the newer Win 8. This could be partly the reason
it is thinking of withdrawing paid support to Win 7. But it won't
happen suddenly. The company is giving us until Jan 13, 2015 after
which we need to pay for the service. But security updates will
continue to Jan 14, 2020.
Facebook's Oculus Buys RakNet
Microsoft Picks up InMage for Azure
: In attempt to accelerate Azure adoption at enterprises, Microsoft
has acquired business continuity solutions provider InMage. These
solutions will now become a part of Azure and facilitate disaster
recovery on Windows, Linux, physical, virtualized on Hyper-V,
VMware or others. InMage's Scout facilitates data migration,
so it can be used to steal customers from other providers such as
Garmin Plunges on Analyst Downgrade
Microsoft's Office 365 Gets Tweak
: In an attempt to retain and grow its SMB customers, Microsoft is
lowering the price Office 365 premium prices from $15 per seat per
month to $12.50. It is also raising the employee cap in some cases
to 300 from 25. It also has a $5 per seat per month Office 365
option that includes its cloud products, but not desktop versions
of Office proper.
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