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Broadcom Buys Brocade

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Broadcom Buys Brocade

Broadcom sets to expand its chip making business with the $5.9 billion all-cash acquisition of Brocade Communications Systems, consolidating its position within the networking industry.

Formerly known as Avago Technologies, Singapore-based Broadcom is known for connectivity chips used in devices ranging from smartphones to servers. Meanwhile Broadcom makes networking switches, software and storage products. As such, the acquisition can be seen as a move by Broadcom to shift from reliance on smartphone market, especially following the declining sales faced by its biggest customer, Apple.

However Broadcom will not retain the entirety of Brocade-- Broadcom plans to sell the Brocade networking hardware business in order to avoid competition with its top customers, such as Cisco.

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The Next VR Contender: Microsoft

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The Next VR Contender: Microsoft

Microsoft quietly announced virtual reality plans at the tail end of its recent Surface event, as a number of partners will be selling headsets taking advantage of the VR and holographic capabilities of Windows 10.

The partners in question include HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Acer. Very little is known about the actual headsets, but Microsoft says the devices  feature "inside-out" tracking sensors able to handle 6 degrees of movement freedom, eliminating the need for the external cameras or laser systems used by the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive.

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Apple Sees First Decline After 15 Years

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Apple Sees First Decline After 15 Years

Falling iPhone sales continue to hurt Apple's bottom line as the company sees a first decline in annual sales and profit in 15 years-- fiscal 2016 hardware sales are down by -8% to $215.6 billion, leading to profits falling by -14% to $45.7bn.

Sales are also down by -9% Y-o-Y to reach $46.85bn for the quarter ending 24 September 2016, while fiscal Q4 profits total $9bn, a -19% Y-o-Y drop. According to analyst this is the result of "peak Apple," or a world where nearly everyone with an interest in iDevices already owns an iPhone or an iPad (if not both), and proof can be seen in the -5% drop in Q4 iPhone sales reaching 45.5 million units.

Then again, one has to keep in mind the iPhone 7 has been on the market for just a few weeks into fiscal Q4, meaning it probably didn't affect iPhone sales too much during the period. The true proof of the iPhone 7's worth has to be seen during the holiday period, where Apple can take proper advantage of Samsung's recent Galaxy Note 7 misfortunes.

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Intel Rises in Q3 But Expects Q4 Decline

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Intel Rises in Q3 But Expects Q4 Decline

Intel reports record revenues of $15.8 billion for fiscal Q3 2016-- a 9% Y-o-Y increase-- while profits are up by 6% Y-o-Y to $4.5bn, but despite such results Chipzilla expects declines for the coming quarter.

"It was an outstanding quarter, and we set a number of new records across the business," CEO Brian Krzanich says. "In addition to strong financials, we delivered exciting new technologies while continuing to align our people and products to our strategy. We're executing well, and these results show Intel’s continuing transformation to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected devices."

The Intel Client Computing Group still accounts for the lion's share (over 50%) of revenues to make $8.9bn, a 4.5% Y-o-Y increase driven by growing shipment volumes and incrasing notebook chip ASPs. Meanwhile the datacentre group sees revenues increase by 10% Y-o-Y to $4.6bn thanks to higher spending by cloud computing services.

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Razer Buys THX

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Razer Buys THX

Gaming accessory maker Razer makes a surprise acquisition with THX, the venerable audio certification unit founded by George Lucas 33 years ago. Financial details of the deal are not available.

According to the new buyer THX should retain both its management and employees, and will continue operating as an "independent startup" under the Razer banner. The company will continue working on audio standards for both cinema and the home, but will also branch out into "new categories in order to address evolving consumer needs."

"Our focus has always been on ensuring that anyone can experience high quality entertainment, regardless of their medium of choice. With Razer, we can now continue to strengthen our core lines of business while delivering excellence for our customers’ ever-changing needs," THX says. "As a standalone company, THX will work with Razer but will primarily continue to service our partners in the industry in order to deliver great products to consumers."

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Microsoft Opens European HoloLens Preorders

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Microsoft Opens European HoloLens Preorders

Customers in France, Germany, Ireland and the UK interested in the HoloLens can now preorder the mixed reality computing headset, following an initial US launch.

The device has been available in N. America since August 2016, and previous to that (specifically in March) Microsoft started shipping a number of HoloLens kits to a select list of organisations. Technically, in its current state the headset is aimed at virtual and augmented reality specialists, but in actual case all one needs to buy the device is a Microsoft account and €3299.

"When we set out to pioneer mixed reality we knew that many of the best innovations would be discovered only when developers and organisations started developing with HoloLens," the company says. "It has been nothing short of inspiring to see what our partners have built and what individual developers have created."

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Lenovo to Buy Fujitsu PC Business?

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Lenovo to Buy Fujitsu PC Business?

Fujitsu plans to hand over the its PC business to Lenovo as part of refocus on higher-priority efforts, the Nikkei Asian Review reports-- and the companies hope to reach a deal some time on October 2016.

The company did release a statement on the matter, but it appears to neither confirm nor deny the story. Instead it simply says Fujitsu is "currently considering various possibilities, including what is being reported, but a decision has not yet been made."

In turn, Nikkei claims the two companies have two proposals for the Fujitsu PC business-- either the transfer of Fujitsu PC design, development and manufacturing operations to a Lenovo-led joint venture, or Lenovo taking a majority stake in the Fujitsu PC subsidiary. Either decision moves 2000 employees from Fujitsu to Lenovo.

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Samsung Buys Viv AI Assistant

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Samsung Buys Viv AI Assistant

In a clear effort to not remain behind Apple and Google in voice-controlled assistant race Samsung buys Viv, the next AI project from the creators of Siri, for an unspecified sum.

Viv was co-founded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham, who left Siri after it was acquired by Apple in order to start Viv in 2012. Post-acquisition Viv will continue running as an independent company, if one providing services to Samsung and related platform.

“Unlike other existing AI-based services, Viv has a sophisticated natural language understanding, machine learning capabilities and strategic partnerships that will enrich a broader service ecosystem,” Samsung says. “Viv was built with both consumers and developers in mind. This dual focus is also what attracted us to Viv as an ideal candidate to integrate with Samsung home appliances, wearables and more, as the paradigm of how we interact with technology shifts to intelligent interfaces and voice control.”

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Google Brings Nexus to an End With Pixel Phones

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Google Brings Nexus to an End With Pixel Phones

The Made by Google event involves a bevy of hardware announcements, including search giant's next smartphone line-- dubbed Pixel, not Nexus-- the Daydream View VR headset, the Home smart speaker, the simply named Wi-Fi router and the 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra.

Clearly underlining the end of an era, the Pixel-branded smartphones are described as wholly designed by Google, with HTC simply taking care of manufacturing duties. The phones come in two sizes (the 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL) and carry AMOLED displays, quad-core Snapdragon 821 CPUs, 4GB RAM and 12.3MP cameras inside aluminium and glass bodies.

However what Google really pushes with the smartphones-- and the rest of its hardware announcements-- is the software. The Pixel phones run on the latest version of Android and come with Assistant (the Google take on the Siri-style voice assistant) built-in. A long press on the Home button summons the Assistant, allowing one to access a variety of Google services and connected apps through voice alone.

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