Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Western Digital Regains HDD Market Lead in Q2

Following Seagate, Western Digital has apparently recovered from the impact of the Thailand flood as well. As of Q2, the company has become the leading hard drive maker again.

According to IHS, the company built about 71.0 million HDDs during the quarter, ahead of Seagate, which manufactured 65.9 million devices. WD's revenue was $4.8 billion, while Seagate posted $4.5 billion of sales.

“Western Digital lost its No. 1 unit shipment ranking to Seagate in the fourth quarter of 2012 after flooding in Thailand damaged its HDD manufacturing facility,” said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS. “The company now has fully recovered from the disaster, allowing it to sharply increase shipments of HDDs for notebook PCs, up 28 percent from the first quarter. Western Digital is on track to retain the top spot in shipments and revenue for the third quarter.”...

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Microsoft to Grant Windows 8 System Builder License to Home-Built PCs

Microsoft is slightly, but very distinctively changing the license agreements for Windows.

With Windows 8, Microsoft acknowledges for the first time installations on home-built computers.

ZDNet got a hold of the new license agreements that affect the upgrade sold via retail, the OEM license agreement as well as system builder license relating to personal use systems. If you are building your own PC, you can, effectively take advantage of OEM versions instead of having to purchase a full and more expensive retail license.

ZDNet quotes the personal use license for system builders and Windows 8 Pro as follows:

We do not sell our software or your copy of it – we only license it. Under our license, we grant you the right to install and run that one copy on one computer (the licensed computer) as the operating system on a computer that you build for your personal use, or as an additional operating system running on a local virtual machine or a separate partition, subject to the restrictions outlined under “Are there things I’m not allowed to do with the software?”...

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Intel leads tech industry in crusade to eliminate conflict minerals

Sometimes high-tech companies do what they say they are going to do. Intel, which has pledged to eliminate all minerals potentially sourced from "conflict" zones in the Congo from its microprocessors by the end of 2013, leads the list of technology companies that have made progress on this goal, reports the Enough Project.

Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola Solutions and Apple have all established policies that focus on removing so-called conflict minerals including tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, according to the organization's report, "Taking Conflict Out of Consumer Gadgets: Company Rankings on Conflict Minerals 2012."

Six other companies have taken steps toward establishing broader policies: SanDisk, Philips, Sony, Panasonic, RIM and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

But game technology company Nintendo gets called out for the opposite reason: it hasn't done anything about this yet, at least not publicly.

"HP and Intel have gone above and beyond the call of duty on conflict minerals," says Sash Lezhnev, an Enough Project analyst who co-authored the report. "It is now time to level the playing field for all companies, and the Securities and Exchange Commission has a key role to play in its upcoming vote on the rules for the conflict minerals law on August 22."...

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Microsoft: Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung on board for Windows RT

Computerworld - Microsoft today said that Windows RT, the spin-off of Windows 8, has been completed and will power ARM processor-equipped tablets and PCs from Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung.

The Redmond, Wash. company had earlier announced that its own Surface RT tablet, based on Windows RT, will ship Oct. 26, the day Windows 8 is set to go on sale.

Some of the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) listed by Microsoft as Windows RT partners had earlier publicly revealed designs or said they would deliver hardware based on the new operating system. Others not named by Microsoft, including Toshiba and Acer, had also announced plans previously.

In a post on the "Building Windows 8" blog Monday, Mike Angiulo, the vice president of Microsoft's ecosystem and planning team, declined to go into specifics of each OEM's planned products -- he left that for the vendors to do themselves closer to the October launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT -- but he did spell out some specification ranges for the new hardware...

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Acer Sternly Warns Microsoft Over Surface Tablet

PC vendors are not especially excited that Microsoft will be building its own tablet. We have known that for some time, but the tone that is used to criticize Microsoft is getting more serious and may be surprising.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Acer's CEO JT Wang gave us a taste what is going on behind the scenes between PC makers and the Windows company, something we usually can only speculate about:

"We have said [to Microsoft] think it over. Think twice. It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice."

There are several subtle messages that are buried in this statement. The translation: "Surface is killing our business. You have had your fun, but it's time to tell everyone that it was just an idea that will never see the light of the day."...

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Microsoft confirms dumping 'Metro' brand from Windows 8

Computerworld - Microsoft will walk away from the "Metro" tag it's been using for over a year to describe the new environment and apps in both Windows 8 and Windows RT, the company confirmed Friday.

"We have used Metro style as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines," a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. "As we get closer to launch and transition from industry dialog to a broad consumer dialog we will use our commercial names."

Late Thursday, The Verge reported it had seen an Microsoft internal memo that explained to employees the change was a result of "discussions with an important European partner" that forced Microsoft to "discontinue the use" of the Metro brand...

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