Xbox 360 Lawsuit Judge Owned Stock in Microsoft

A class action lawsuit launched by Xbox 360 owners who suffered ruined discs due to a fault within the console is moving to the US Supreme Court, which prompted the presiding Chief Justice John Roberts to sell between $250,000 and $500,000 in Microsoft stock, rather than excuse himself from the case over a conflict of interest, the Associated Press reports.

Since it is a violation of Federal law for a judge to preside over a case involving a company he or she own shares in – and, so, is given the option to sell their shares or excuse themselves from the case – the matter has encouraged debate over whether judges should be allowed to own shares in major companies to start with, or be allowed to sell their shares in order to remain a case.

“We’re not talking about grandpa’s stock in the family business where a justice might have some sentimental reason for holding onto the shares. These are major corporations who regularly come before the court,” Arthur Hellman, a specialist in judicial ethics at the University of Pittsburgh, told the AP.

Last October, Chief Justice Roberts presided over an appeal against Texas Instruments, which was being asked to contribute funds to clean up hazardous waste it was accused of being responsible for. Roberts, who denied the appeal, was involved despite owning between $100,001 and $250,000 shares in Texas Instruments. Kathy Arberg, a court spokesperson, admitted that Roberts’ involvement was a mistake.

AMD Unveils New Wraith Stock CPU Cooler @ CES 2016

Over the years, many designs for stock coolers have come and gone, with some good and others bad. Since the launch of AMD’s Bulldozer chips back in 2011, AMD has stuck to pretty much the same stock cooler design. While it’s not terrible, it hasn’t been that great, with high temperatures and noisy operation. To remedy this, AMD is launching an all new cooler, dubbed the Wraith.

With the Wraith, AMD is keeping the basic design, probably for compatibility reasons. Basic operation pretty much is unchanged, with what appears to be copper heat pipes leading away from a copper baseplate. The heat pipes curl around to an aluminium fin array that is cooled by a fan. Much has also changed as well, with the Wraith noticeably taller and beefier than it’s predecessor with a larger fin array. The fan is also improved with better sound characteristics and a black shroud with a lighted AMD logo.

AMD brings themselves one step closer towards parity with Intel who has been steadily improving their own coolers as well. The release of the new stock cooler comes perfectly in time for AMD’s new Zen architecture on 14nm FinFET. Ironically, Zen and the new 14nm FinFET process will likely reduce the heat load put out.

Apple’s Stock Drops by Over $160 Billion

The smartphone market is expected to stagnate as sales grow at a slower pace in major western territories. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule such as India where the introduction of affordable handsets increases the ownership rate by a significant margin. However, it can be argued that smartphone users are less likely to upgrade considering the capabilities of their current handsets. According to data acquired by USA Today, Apple’s stock value dropped by over $160 billion and showcases the challenges in the smartphone market. Here we can see the effects of this downturn and some critics have argued this trend will continue in the near future:

Apple could become a victim of its own success, as it’s extraordinarily difficult to keep increasing sales figures while being at the top. It’s plausible for a downturn to occur as consumers become content with the current offerings or simply look for alternatives. In an era where there’s powerful yet affordable smartphones out there, it’s possible that the iPhone’s price might alienate a section of the market. On the other hand, Apple’s recent iPhone launch set new sales records and did remarkably well. Currently, the smartphone decline appears to be a result of the Chinese market not posting the kind of sales figures many companies hoped for.

Scan Now Stocking Hard To Find Swiftech AIO Liquid Coolers

The Corsair Hydro series popularized closed-looped liquid cooling solutions among hardware enthusiasts and offered cool, visual appealing units without the hassle of a complicated install procedure. Given the popularity of these Corsair products, other manufacturers have entered the all-one-one liquid cooling space including Cooler Master, NZXT, SilverStone and more!

One of the most intriguing alternatives came from Swiftech with the original H220 and H320 expandable liquid coolers. Sadly, availability in the UK was very scarce and a patent dispute resulted in both products being removed from sale. The revised versions came in 240mm and 280mm configurations and opted for an extremely stylish aesthetic design. Additionally, the copper radiator and powerful pump greatly exceeds the capabilities of the competition.

Sadly, the 220-X and 240-X encountered problems with distribution and could only be purchased via US import or an online chain in the Netherlands. As you might expect, import duty from the USA is ridiculously high, and it’s always a risk buying from retailers in foreign countries. Both the 220-X and 240-X have been on the market for some time with no UK retail samples in stock from any retailer. Thankfully, Scan has secured a supply of the 220-X and 240-X and in stock right now for purchase with next day delivery.

In terms of pricing, the 220-X retails for £144.98 while the larger 280mm variant costs £154.99. This isn’t a bad price considering the build quality, LED block, copper radiator and expansion options.

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

Microsoft’s AMD Buyout Unlikely as Stock Drops 7%

Shares in chip maker AMD have dropped by 15 cents (7%) to $1.86, marking a huge decline following its 9% gain in the wake of rumours of a buyout by Microsoft. The sudden fall in stock prices in conjunction with the buyout rumours makes any potential purchase by Microsoft unlikely, with Citigroup analyst Chris Danely saying, “we seriously doubt it.”

On Friday, Fuad Abazovic of Fudzilla cited anonymous “industry sources” attesting that “Microsoft is seriously talking to AMD about buying the chipmaker,” apparently motivated by a desire to gain full control over the microprocessor that powers its Xbox One console.

Danely, however, points to a number of hurdles that make a Microsoft purchase of AMD unfeasible. “Microsoft collaborates heavily with Intel in OS development and PC platform standards (bios, firmware, drivers, etc.),” Danely said. “Also, AMD’s core microprocessor business (roughly 30% of sales) continues to lose share and money. We note any company that acquires AMD will need to renegotiate the x86 cross-licensing agreement with Intel – a cumbersome process, in our view.”

He caveats that, though, by saying that Microsoft could conceivably gain control over parts of AMD, such as the semi-custom business that builds the Xbox chips.  “We could envision a scenario in which Microsoft acquires AMD’s semi-custom processor businesses (roughly 37% of 2Q15 sales) although we believe it is unlikely AMD would sell its semi-custom business given it’s the only major business that is profitable for them.”

“Microsoft already utilizes AMD’s semi-custom processor in its XBOX One console, and the semi-custom business is AMD’s most profitable product line with mid-teens operating margins,” Donely added. “The biggest complication here would be a potential conflict of interest as AMD also provides semi-custom silicon into the competing Sony Playstation 4 console”

“Microsoft could also be interested in acquiring AMD’s graphics business (roughly 12% of 2Q15 sales). Although AMD’s GPU unit share has declined almost 50% over the last 5 years from 51.1% 2Q10 in to just 26.9% in 2Q15, we believe the former ATI graphics division still has valuable IP as it relates to Microsoft’s efforts in PC gaming and virtual reality. Microsoft recently announced its own virtual reality headset, HoloLens.”

Thank you Barron’s for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechWeek Europe.

Intel Faces Severe Supply Issues for Skylake Launch

Despite a much-anticipated launch for Skylake within the next two weeks, Intel looks to be in trouble on the supply side. According to multiple sources, supply for the i7 6700K and i5 6600K is severely limited and the initial stock is not expected to last long. Several unnamed Taiwanese firms also have had issues in supplying reviewers with Skylake chips to pair with their launch motherboard reviews.

Marketing director Anton Nilsson for Swedish retailer Webhallen had this to say on the supply situation:

We have a small number of processors and motherboards coming. They confirmed deliveries will not be enough for a whole week, rather a few days. Unfortunately, it also seems that those of our PC series most interesting motherboard is further delayed about a month.

So basically, even though Intel is only launching two chips at first, supply might as well be so limited, Intel may have well delayed the launch by a month. The fact that Intel is only launching two chips first also suggests that Intel knew this going in and was already trying to mitigate the issue. It’s important to note that while Intel may have low supply relative to demand, it doesn’t mean they aren’t producing a ton of chips, just that it’s not able to satisfy demand.

Of all the recent process nodes, 14nm has given Intel the most trouble, causing desktop Broadwell to be delayed by nearly a year and even then, the chips were vaporware for quite a while after launch. If Skylake continues this trend despite 14nm production already being ramped up for more than a year, yields must have been really bad when Intel first started it. With delays for 10nm also being built into Intel’s roadmap, we can only hope that Skylake will be worth the wait.

Thank you Sweclockers for providing us with this information 

Intel Skylake Will be Limited to just Three SKU Variants at Launch

With the launch of Intel’s next iteration of CPU’s just around the corner, rumours have been circulating media outlets for a short while. This can be in the form of pricing or unreleased specifications or even pictures of the naked PCB.

Information is now coming around that the release of the Skylake processors will be staggered, much like how AMD are currently doing with the R9 Fury range or NVIDIA has done with the GTX 900 series. What we have deduced is that in the first wave of releases, we will only be able to purchase the more desirable CPU’s, the i7-6700k, i5-6600k and a currently unknown, but what can be assumed as the i5-6500k; however, that is purely my assumption.

We already know the pricing of the i7-6700k to be somewhere in the region of $400 and the i5-6600k around $280, so the possibility of a higher range i5 or lower range i7 could be quite high to fill in the $300 region.

What we have also seen through these sources is that even though these are the HOT chips, stock will be extremely limited. Could this be due to poor manufacturing processes of the new 14nm silicon or maybe prices could be raised due to high demand; who knows.

What are your thoughts on this? Will you be jumping on the LGA 1151 bandwagon at launch? I know I will be; if I can get a chip that is.

Intel Agrees $16.7 Billion Purchase of Altera Corp

Chip giant Intel has agreed a deal to buy PLD (programmable logic device) manufacturer Altera for $16.7 billion, consolidating the company’s presence in data centres. Intel will pay $54 a share, all-cash, for Altera at a premium of 11% over its closing share price on Friday.

The Intel/Altera merger comes in the wake of rising manufacturing costs, with Intel intent on making its profitable semiconductor business – worth $300 billion globally – yield even greater returns. The purchase follows last week’s record-breaking deal that saw Avago Technologies buy Broadcom Corp. for $37 billion. The two deals now make 2015 a phenomenal year for the semiconductor market.

“Management teams are looking at their business and predicting little growth going forward,” Gus Richard, an analyst at Northland Securities Inc., said. “The M&A wave is a function of them trying to drive earning growth. Intel’s purchase of Altera is one of the few strategic moves that is being made currently.”

“The acquisition will couple Intel’s leading-edge products and manufacturing process with Altera’s leading field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology,” an Intel statement reads. “The combination is expected to enable new classes of products that meet customer needs in the data center and Internet of Things market segments.”

Following the announcement, stock in Altera rose by 6.2% to $51.86 a share, while Intel fell by 1.3% to $34.

Thank you Bloomberg for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of 3DPrint.

Microsoft Stop Talks to buy Salesforce

Anyone keeping an eagle eye on the stock exchange in recent weeks would have noticed a spike in the share prices of Salesforce.com. This stemmed from reports from Bloomberg that an unspecified company was in talks to buy the company. Earlier this month a similar event happened, but this was caused by the interest shown from global giant Microsoft.

Earlier this month a similar event happened, but this was caused by the interest shown from global giant Microsoft. It has been confirmed that talks have taken place; taken place and ended with no further confirmation of a purchase going ahead.

According to multiple people familiar with the situation, Microsoft was prepared to offer around $55 billion (~£35.5 billion) for the cloud company. The Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff aimed to push the asking price higher; as high as $70 billion. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was hesitant to seal the deal with such a high asking price that will affect Microsoft in such a massive way.

$55 billion is a huge amount if this went through; it would have been the largest acquisition the company has ever made by a large margin. Largest purchase to date was Skype in 2011 for $8.5 billion, Nokia second at $7.2 billion and third would be Quantive for $6.3 billion back in 2007.

What do you think would have happened to Microsoft if the deal did take place? For better or for worse? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information.

Apple Becomes First Company to be Worth $700 Billion

Late yesterday, during Tim Cook’s talk at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, the CEO was informed that Apple had just become the most valuable company in history, reaching a $700 billion market cap for the first time.

This news follows Apple’s announcement that it had the most profitable quarter of any company in history. The company sold 74.5 million iPhones in the last quarter – 30,000 per hour, producing an overall $18 billion profit for the company.

It’s pretty incredible to think that, in 1997, 18 years ago, Apple was 90 days away from bankruptcy with its then terrible CEO Gill Amelio. “Bozo” Amelio, as Jobs called him, was soon to be ousted after exactly 500 days at the company, when Steve Jobs returned upon the purchase of his company, NeXT, in the last few days of 1996. At that point Apple was losing billions, but it didn’t take all too long for Jobs to bring the company back into the black, thanks to the iMac and the iPod.

What a different story it is today.

Source: MacRumors

Apple Set to Break Market Cap Record

Apple is set to break their all-time record for market capitalisation.

Apple’s stock hit the $111.25 mark at the closing bell on Wednesday, with total market cap at $652 billion, edging closely to its September 2012 record of $658 billion. Apple’s crazy stock price went on a seemingly unstoppable climb in the years preceding the tragic death of it’s co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs in October 2011.

Uncertainty over Tim Cook’s leadership and Apple’s ability to produce new products lead to the fluctuation of the stock price in the years since, but the unparralled success of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in September, with sales reaching 39 million units, has evidently restored investors faith in the company. Chances are by the time you’re reading this, the record has already been broken.

Source: Appleinsider

Tips for Keeping Your Store’s Inventory in Check

Inventory isn’t something that most store owners get excited over, but it is something that has to be done. Naturally you should use a point of sale system that has inventory tracking built-in, but even with the best point of sale system, you still have work to do on your end to keep your inventory in check.

The Elements of a Good Inventory Procedure

  • Organized location names
  • Labels that are easy to read
  • Unique, short item identification numbers
  • Units of measure
  • A starting count
  • Good inventory keeping policies
  • Software that tracks your inventory
  • People who know how to use your inventory system

Reasons for Tracking Your Inventory

There are many different reasons why a business owner needs to track their inventory. But, it is important to know the common reasons and benefits to using an accurate inventory.

Asset Tracking

Most businesses have their assets as their main source of capital. Therefore, each year you need to track those assets, evaluate them and make sure your business is still running properly. Having a proper inventory can help with the asset tracking and valuation process – and your insurance company or financial institution might even require it.

Ensuring Stock Levels Remain Consistent

Your customers demand that they receive their products on time, but how can you assure them they will if you don’t know what you have in stock? Tracking inventory ensures that you will always have consistent stock levels.

Preparing for Seasonal or Sale-Related Demand

As a retailer, you are likely to have high demand seasons. By knowing your inventory and keeping track, you can anticipate those demands and make sure you have enough inventory in stock to accommodate them.

Preventing Theft, Loss or Inventory Shrinkage

When your employees know you don’t keep track, what is there to stop them from removing inventory from your store? It is imperative that you not only keep track of inventory for your customers, but also to prevent losses.

Insurance Purposes

You are likely to have an insurance policy on your business. If there is a natural disaster or damage to your inventory, your insurance will pick up the loss. But, if you don’t have an accurate inventory of what was lost or damaged, it will be difficult to file a claim.

Accountants May Require Inventory

Your accountant may require an end-of-year or end-of-quarter inventory summary from you. If you already have a solid inventory record, handing that over to your accountant will be nothing more than transferring a file or printing out a report.

Tips for Keeping Track of Your Inventory

There are numerous ways you can track your inventory, but the first and most important tool is a point of sale system. This system works on your computer, tablet and maybe even your phone. It helps you keep company records, check customers out, and integrate your inventory records. But, not just any point of sale will do. You need a comprehensive one that allows you to keep track of cash and sales, but also keep track of inventory.

A good system will have a barcode printer and scanner. A barcode printer allows you to input items into your inventory in the point of sale system, then it will print out barcode labels so that you can attach them to your products. With a compatible barcode scanner you can do inventory checks, scan products for a faster checkout, etc.

Look for a barcode printer that is compatible with your current point of sale system. Shopify, for example, has compatible point of sale systems and barcode printers. You will also want one that can print several labels per minute and preferably uses thermal printing technology. Thermal printing technology is faster, more accurate and more cost-efficient than traditional printing. You won’t have to deal with the ink and paper like you do on a traditional printer, but also if you receive a large shipment that needs to be added to your inventory, you won’t spend hours just printing out the labels. Also, look for a barcode printer that is also capable of printing shipping labels. That way if you sell products online, you can still ship your products and print shipping labels using the same printer.

Keeping track of inventory is important — regardless of the type of business you run. By keeping accurate count of your products on hand, you can deliver to customers on time, manage your assets better and prevent losses in the future.

TWTRQ Stock Shoots Up 1500% Because People Thought It Was Twitter (TWTR)

Twitter only filed to go public yesterday and doesn’t expect to start trading until near Thanksgiving later this year. Twitter has chosen the stock ticker name “TWTR” which is obviously a shortened version of “Twitter”, which has led to some confusion as a company called Tweeter Home Entertainment is currently using the similar name of “TWTRQ”.

So even though Twitter isn’t technically trading at this time, there has been a lot of interest in people who would like to buy into their stocks, unfortunately for these people they’ve actually been investing in Tweeter Home Entertainment, not Twitter as they might have hoped.

In one day TWTRQ stock shot up by as much as 1500% because of the mix up. The stock fluctuated throughout the day but still ended on an increase of 684%. To be honest, the only thing I can think of right now is “fail” to the people who got it wrong and “win” for everyone at Tweeter Home Entertainment.

The stock was halted for a while after several outlets reported the news.

Thank you Businessinsider for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of BusinessInsider.