Tuesday, October 4, 2011

HP Board Discusses Ousting CEO

Story first appeared on Reuters.

A change could be underway at the top at Hewlett-Packard. The company’s board convened on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of ousting CEO Leo Apotheker after less than a year on the job and may appoint former eBay chief Meg Whitman to fill in as interim CEO, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. HP’s board of directors has come under increasing pressure in recent months after a raft of controversial decisions has left investors uncertain of the company’s leadership.
Newly minted Apple CEO Tim Cook will try his hand as star presenter at an October 4 company event widely expected to include the launch of the latest version of the tech behemoth’s iPhone handset, according to a report on AllThingD. Sources told the website that the plan is to make the iPhone 5 available to consumers within weeks of the event. Apple has yet to officially announce or even acknowledge that the new device exists at all. For those tired of yet another story about a rumored release date, there was something akin to a confirmation on Wednesday from an unlikely source: former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Gore, an Apple board member, apparently told a tech conference that the next-generation phone will indeed be available next month. Oops?!
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt traveled to Washington on Wednesday to face critics who say his company has become a dominant and potentially anti-competitive force on the Internet. Schmidt told a Senate antitrust hearing that his company has not “cooked” its search results to favor its own products and listings, despite accusations to the contrary from senators and other Web companies. “Google is in a position to determine who will succeed and who will fail on the Internet,” said Republican Senator Mike Lee, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel. Google has been broadly accused of using its clout in the search market to stomp rivals as it moves into related businesses, like travel search.
Dust your library cards off, Kindle users. Amazon announced on Wednesday its Kindle ebooks will now be available for borrowing from more than 11,000 libraries across the U.S. Borrowing a book seems pretty simple: customers find the book they want on their local library’s website and choose the “Send to Kindle” option, which will then redirect them to Amazon.com where they must log in to complete the check out. Amazon then gives customers the option of delivering the book wirelessly to their device of choice – the books are compatible with all Kindle models and mobile apps – or transferring it manually using a USB drive.
Netflix and Discovery Communications reached an agreement to bring episodes of popular TV adventure shows including “Man vs. Wild” and “River Monsters” to the streaming service, the companies confirmed to Reuters correspondent Paul Thomasch on Wednesday. The two-year deal covers only material from prior seasons of the TV shows and is limited to Netflix subscribers in the United States. Discovery has an option for a third year.

New Memory Chip Line Hurts Competition

Story first appeared on Reuters.

Samsung Electronics, the world's No.1 memory chip maker, said on Thursday it had started operations at a new memory chip line, a move that may further exacerbate semiconductor oversupply and hit smaller rivals.
The South Korean firm said the new line was the industry's largest and most advanced memory fabrication facility, producing chips with 20-nanometre class processing technology, which improves manufacturing costs by some 50 percent.
Lower line-widths processing technology allows more circuits on a chip, making them smaller, cheaper, more powerful and more energy efficient.
The new line comes as computer memory prices have fallen more than 30 percent over the past three months to below production costs due to faltering demand from computer makers.
Global shipments of computers are projected to grow only a low-to-mid single digit percent this year as consumers switch to more popular tablets and smartphones.
Samsung competes with local rival Hynix Semiconductor Inc, Japan's Elpida Memory Inc and Taiwan's Powerchip.
Smaller rivals are struggling with worsening profitability and bracing for a tough outlook as weak demand and falling prices force them to delay capital-intensive facility upgrades.
Elpida said last week it was considering shifting some production to Taiwan to cope with a currency near record highs and to survive in a dwindling market.
Samsung invested 12 trillion won ($10.4 billion) in construction of the new facility in Hwaseong, south of Seoul, since it started construction in May last year.
Samsung said it would also boost production of NAND-type flash memory chips to meet market demand. They currently do not sell Used NetVanta Routers.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Another New CEO This Year HP

Story first appeared in USA TODAY.
Hewlett-Packard on Thursday named Meg Whitman CEO, ending the disastrous 10-month run of Leo Apotheker.
Whitman, the former eBay CEO for a decade, immediately takes over a tech giant that has seemingly lost its way. HP (HPQ) said Ray Lane, a former Oracle executive, will become executive chairman of the company's board of directors after previously serving as non-executive chairman.
The ouster of Apotheker, who also lasted less than a year as CEO of SAP, didn't happen overnight. It was an incremental decision brought on by the board's mounting frustration with missed sales forecasts and the poor handling of HP's announcement last month to spin off or sell its multibillion-dollar PC division.
But investors are just as frustrated with HP's board, which has burned through two CEOs — Apotheker and Mark Hurd— in rapid succession.
The crisis is deep. At a time when consumers increasingly are snapping up smartphones and tablets in lieu of lower-cost PCs, HP decided to switch course. Apotheker wanted to transform HP into a provider of more profitable software and services for businesses, like IBM and others. HP still may follow that course as that is the right long-term strategy.
Rumblings of Apotheker's ouster gained steam this week, prompting HP's board to powwow Thursday to hash out issues. One topic was canning Apotheker, who slashed sales forecasts, reneged on promises to integrate mobile software into devices and faced a slumping stock price. HP shares fell 5%, to $22.80, Thursday before the Whitman appointment.
Apotheker will get a handsome severance package, including $7.2 million in pay and bonuses and stock worth about $3.5 million, based on Thursday's closing price. He also gets to keep the $8.6 million bonus and relocation assistance he received in the 2011 employment contract he signed last November, according to company filings. Hurd received severance valued at about $37 million when he was ousted in August 2010.