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Foxconn to Buy Sharp?

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Foxconn to Buy Sharp?

According to both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Foxconn is bidding around $5.3 billion for struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp, with a decision to take place by end January 2016.

Such an acquisition would be the biggest for the Taiwanese contract manufacturer since the 2009 $5.3 billion takeover of Innolux, the Chi Mei Optoelectronics display-making unit. Foxconn already offered to invest in Sharp back in 2012, but the two companies failed to agree on management control, leading Sharp to turn to government-backed Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ) for funding.

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AMD Revenues Continue to Slide in Q4 2015

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AMD Revenues Continue to Slide in Q4 2015

AMD revenues drop by -23% Y-o-Y to $958 million in Q4 2015, even as the company manage to narrow net losses from $330m in Q4 2014 to $102m, the result of seasonally lower semi-custom SoC sales.

Also to blame is (perhaps obviously) client processor sale decline-- the ailing PC industry brought about a -29% decline in AMD computing business revenues reaching $470m with $99m operating loss. Further hitting the company are declining game console royalties and lower server and embedded revenues.

The quarter did see AMD gross margin increase to 30%, a figure affected by a 2015 inventory write-down worth $65m (the result of selling older-gen APUs at a loss).

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Datacentre, IoT Drive Intel Q4 2015

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Datacentre, IoT Drive Intel Q4 2015

Intel beats Wall Street estimates in Q4 2015, with revenues reaching $14.9 billion (slightly higher than forecasts of $14.8bn) while full-year 2015 revenues total $55.4bn.

Net income for Q4 2015 totals $3.6bn, a -1% Y-o-Y decrease.

“Our results for the fourth quarter marked a strong finish to the year and were consistent with expectations,” CEO Brian Krzanich says. “Our 2015 results demonstrate that Intel is evolving and our strategy is working. This year, we’ll continue to drive growth by powering the infrastructure for an increasingly smart and connected world.”

As one might expect from Intel talk of a "Post-PC" identity, the company is busy trying to transition away from PCs-- an industry still in decline, as Client Computing Group (covers PC and mobile efforts) revenues drop by -1% Y-o-Y to $8.8bn. The company adits 2015 was a year lacking in desktop enterprise upgrades, and as such hopes 2016 will be the year of commercial transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

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The CIT Top 10 for 2015

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The CIT Top 10 for 2015

As 2015 heads to a close, it is customary to reflect on the year it has been. So join us as we check what we think are the top CIT stories of the past 365-or-so days...

2015, Year of the Smartwatch: It has been some time coming, but 2015 is the year where the smartwatch became less of a curio and more of an actual device desired by regular consumers. The Apple Watch was, of course, the market's main drivers, but other vendors were quick to follow with similar wrist-worn devices.

Virtual Reality Edges Towards the Mainstream: 2015 did not actually see the release of any big name virtual reality headsets, but news involving the revamped product category came thick and fast. The Facebook-owned Oculus revealed the final version of the Rift, as did Samsung with the smartphone-powered Gear VR. Meanwhile Google presented an update on the View-Master, and even Valve announced a collaboration with HTC in VR headsets.

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Toshiba, Fujitsu, Vaio Consider PC Merger?

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Toshiba, Fujitsu, Vaio Consider PC Merger?

In Japan, Nikkei reports on a deal that could re-shape the face of PC distribution, Toshiba, Fujitsu and Vaio might merge their PC operations creating a "top player" holding around 30% share of the Japanese market and 6% of global market (just under Apple's current global ranking.)

Negotiations on the deal should take place sometime in December, with expectations of a combined company launch in April 2016.

Nikkei adds the companies would unite under the Vaio brand name, with the combined entity integrating domestic and overseas operations, from R&D to production and sales.

Toshiba and Fujitsu already have an interest in Vaio-- the companies fund Japan Industrial Partners, the top Vaio shareholder.

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Samsung Replaces Mobile Head

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Samsung Replaces Mobile Head

Samsung announces on of the biggest leadership changes since de facto leader Jay Y Lee took over, Reuters reports-- Dongjin Koh replaces JK Shin as president of the Samsung mobile communication business.

JK Shin has served as mobile communication head since 2009. He remains head of the Samsung overall mobile division, if with a "focus on long-term strategy and developming new growth business" rather than day-to-day operations, a move some analysts describe as retirement in all but name. JK Shin was the man behind the rise of the Galaxy smartphone line... and its eventual (relative) decline.

"While it's true that Shin delivered remarkable performance in the past, it's indisputable that the Galaxy S6's results fell short of expectations so a new leader was needed," Hansung University economics Professor Kim Sang-jo tells Reuters. "Today's appointments appear to acknowledge the need to develop a management system that can more proactively respond to challenges from Xiaomi and other Chinese companies."

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Apple Buys Facial Motion Capture Maker

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Apple Buys Facial Motion Capture Maker

Apple buys Faceshift, a Zurich-based developer of technology allowing users to create animated avatars able to capture facial expressions in real time.

The acquisition was rumoured back in September 2015, but confirmation comes via TechCrunch and a typically terse company statement reading “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Launched in 2011 out of the Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, FaceShift technology is impressive enough to merit use in the latest Star Wars movie. The technology can be applied to either games (with characters changing expressions to mimic the player) and movie special effects (it makes the animation of faces easier). It can also find enterprise use in the field of facial recognition-based technology.

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Apple Closes Beats Music

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Apple Closes Beats Music

Apple shuts down Beats Music on 30 November 2015, and the streaming services urges customers to move over to Apple Music instead.

"All the pros that curated music for you are still crafting more amazing experiences," a support note on the Beats Music website reads. "Plus, on Apple Music, you’ll get even better recommendations based on music you already listen to and love, 24/7 global radio with Beats 1, exciting material from your favorite artist, and more."

Sonos is also letting customers know Beats Music is ending by the end of the month, since the audio maker's products are still to get Apple Music support.

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Apple, GT Advanced Settle Debts

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Apple, GT Advanced Settle Debts

The Wall Street Journal reports Apple settles debts with failed sapphire supplier GT Advanced in a deal absolving GT Advanced of the $439 million it owes to Apple.

The settlement involves a November 2015 auction of GT Advanced sapphire-making equipment, with proceeds split between the two companies and unsold equipment going to Apple. One would think this would provide a cheap means of adding sapphire displays to future iDevices, but actually this is not the case.

"While GT intends to hang on to some of the equipment-- as many as 600 sapphire-making furnaces-- it is prepared to auction what it can and abandon what it can't cart off," the WSJ says. "Anything not sold will be handed over to Apple, which has agreed to scrap the equipment and extinguish the loan it made to transform GT from an equipment manufacturer into a supplier of smartphone-screen material."

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