Nokia May Cut up to 14% of Workforce

After a slew of bad years, Nokia still hasn’t found their footing yet. Once one of the dominant handset and wireless hardware firms, the Finnish firm has struggled in the changing landscape. 2 years after dumping their Lumia and handset business on Microsoft, the company looks to be cutting more of its staff. The cuts come as part of the massive $16.6 billion Alcatel-Lucent acquisition, with up to 14% of staff from both firms being cut.

According to the source, Nokia is set to cut 10,000 to 15,000 jobs in total out of their global workforce of 104,000. The cuts come as part of the $1 billion in cuts due to the overlap between Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent. These cuts will occur in over 30 countries but will heavily impact Germany and France but Finland will be the hardest hit. This comes as the multinational refocuses their attention away from the mobile device and infrastructure market and more into their telecommunications side of their business.

In order to find more growth, Nokia is turning to software and service contracts as they are generally more lucrative. What this all means for future Nokia handsets, their supposed mobile comeback and other hardware ventures like the OZO Camera remains to be seen. I for one hope the company re-enters the smartphone market.

VAIO Wants Merger With Toshiba and Fujitec PC Divisions

After being spun off from Sony two years ago, it looks like VAIO is planning to expand its PC operations. Despite the doom and gloom in the PC market, VAIO is reportedly planning a merger with the PC divisions of Toshiba and Fujitec, two other major Japanese PC OEMs. In fact, Japan Industrial Partners Inc, the owners of VAIO, are expected to hold the largest stake in the new firm and expects the consolidation will streamline the operation. The new company would rival NEC Lenovo in the Japanese market with a third of marketshare.

For Toshiba and Fujitec, this presents a good opportunity for them to get out of a market which has not much for them in the last while. Toshiba, in particular, is already trying to get rid of their less profitable divisions already and focus on NAND. By merging, the new as yet to be named firm has a will be able to leverage it’s now stronger domestic presence and make a bid for the international market as a whole, something VAIO has been trying to do.

In the current race to the bottom, there are only a few major players left like ASUS, HP, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung and Acer have any significant presence and some of them aren’t doing quite well right now. Windows 10 has largely failed to help spur new growth and there seems to be little relief in sight. If the continued survival of a Japanese PC maker means a merger, it will happen sooner or later.

AMD Loses Corporate Fellow Phil Rogers to Nvidia

AMD has been making the corporate news lately and much of it has not been great to say the least. Today, AMD lost a member of their corporate team, Phil Rogers. Rogers has spent 21 years working with AMD/ATi so his departure is quite surprising. What must be more galling to AMD and their fans is that he left to join Nvidia to be their Chief Software Architect – Compute Server.

Rogers was one of the main driving forces behind AMD’s compute efforts. This was quite evident as he was in charge of System Architecture and Performance at AMD and managing the HSA initiative. He also was part of the HSA Foundation as a vice-president, an area which AMD has been pushing hard on with their APUs. With his departure to Nvidia, it looks like the green team may be looking for his compute experience in general than HSA as Nvidia doesn’t have a CPU heavy focus.

AMD has been bleeding quite a lot of staff lately with some other notable departures, among them Jim Keller. In line with the 5% cut in staff, AMD may have simply cut salaries too deep and Nvidia may have offered more. With Zen and Greenland largely complete, AMD will need to execute their upcoming products in order to survive. Only then will the firm likely have the resources to bring back the talent they have lost.

Thank you ComputerBase for providing us with this information 

Dell to Acquire EMC for $50 Billion

In what is expected to be one of the largest tech takeovers ever, Dell is set to wholly acquire enterprise giant EMC on Monday. This follows up a string of other storage-related acquisitions and purchases as well as others relating to computing as a whole. Dell itself was also taken over not too long ago by founder Michael Dell who took the company private with help from Silver Lake.

Dell managed to regain control of his namesake company back in 2013 with a $25 billion investment. At double that amount, EMC may prove a tough pill to swallow. No one knows the pains of acquiring a company valued over twice of their own than AMD, who suffered massive issues in the wake of their relatively miniscule $5.6 billion takeover of ATI. At double its value, the EMC purchase will rely heavily on bonds, something that may be risky given the current financial situation.

The move to acquire Dell does make a whole lot of sense as firm pivots away from a consumer focus and towards the more lucrative enterprise market. EMC either owns or holds a stake in a wide range of enterprise business with names like VMware, RSA Security, Iomega and Syncplicity. It will be interesting to see how these two tech giants merge and manage their huge portfolio.

Thank you re/code for providing us with this information 

Tsinghua Group Look to Acquire SanDisk and Toshiba

China is looking to expand heavily into the storage industry with the latest acquisition rumour. According to the report, Tsinghua Group, a Chinese government-controlled investment group is looking into acquiring either SanDisk or Toshiba to get access to their NAND technology. Both Toshiba and SanDisk currently work together in a joint venture to research, develop and produce NAND memory. Other notable NAND firms are Intel and Micron (IMFT), Samsung and SK Hynix.

Tsinghua Group had earlier been looking to buy up Micron Technologies, another major NAND player. Those talks over a $23 billion deal fell apart after the US government stepped in over national security concerns. This time around, the United States won’t be able to intervene as neither firms are American. SanDisk a South Korean firm while Toshiba is Japanese. Still both of those countries may still have some issues about national security.

Of the two, it is most likely for a South Korean SanDisk deal to go through. Those two nations are on friendlier terms relatively speaking and South Korea still has Samsung and SK Hynix to rely on for national security procurement. Whether or not South Korea will want to see on their tech firms go foreign is an entirely different matter.

Thank you DigiTimes for providing us with this information 

Chinese Firm takes up 15% Stake in Western Digital

In a move that is sure to surprise some, Unisplendour Corporation Limited (Unis), a Chinese firm, is taking up a 15% stake in Western Digital. With an investment of $3.775 billion, Unis will be the largest single shareholder, though the shares come with a 30% premium and do not give it any control over the second largest HDD manufacturer.

In exchange for their 15% stake, Unis does get to appoint a member to the board of directors for WD. Given that Unis is controlled by the Chinese government and WD does have sensitive matter it has to deal with at times, the Unis board member will not participate in those discussions. Unis will also not get access to any WD IP. Interestingly, Unis is closely tied to Tsinghua Holdings, an investment firm that has made some moves to acquire the NAND and memory manufacturer Micron.

Given the close ties Unis has with the Chinese government, the HGST-WD merger which has been held up by Chinese regulator MOFCOM should now get approval. Western Digital has been attempting to diversify their business away from pure HDDs with inroads made in hybrid disks and enterprise SSDs. With $3.775 billion extra, WD can go around acquiring all the technology and IP they need to remain relevant in the post-HDD world.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information

AMD Investment Talks Break Down

Remember that rumour about AMD getting a major investment from Silver Lake? It turns out now that talks between the two parties have broken down and are going nowhere right now. According to the source, the talks broke down after disagreements on price and strategy could not be resolved. AMD is still looking at other options though in order to bring in some much-needed cash flow tide them over 2016; Silver Lake was rumoured to take over 20% of the firm.

AMD has had somewhat of a bad month so far. Rumoured reports about a Microsoft acquisition did not pan out, driving share prices back down. Some notable members have also left, with CPU wiz Jim Keller as well as other executives taking their leave. Combined with breaking off the graphics lineup into a separate division; AMD is either cutting costs heavily or undergoing a major restructuring.

Given the breakdown in talks, it looks like either Silver Lake wanted too much control in return for their cash or the current leadership was unwilling to give up any power. Despite the launch of the new Fury and Nano GPUs, AMD is set for record low revenues and the firm is in serious need of cash. Hopefully, AMD will be able to find an investor till the next generation of GPUs and CPUs kick in.

Thank you Bloomberg for providing us with this information