Hewlett-Packard completed on Tuesday its mega-acquisition of computer services giant EDS.
The deal, worth about $13.9 billion when it was first announced in May , is among the largest in the technology industry. It's also the second largest one for HP since its acquisition of Compaq was completed in 2002.
HP executives have said they are buying EDS to expand HP's business beyond traditional computing and printers. HP has been trying to develop its software and services business over the last few years. EDS adds a service component that will help the company compete head-to-head with IBM.
Annual revenue for HP and EDS, combined, in fiscal 2007 was more than $38 billion with 210,000 employees between them operating in more than 80 countries.
But bigger doesn't always mean better. Merging the companies' businesses and cultures won't be easy . And once the combined company manages to get through the integration, some experts say it still has a long, tough road ahead of it as it tries to compete with IBM.
Under the deal, EDS will operate a new business unit, which will be called EDS. It will continue to be led by EDS' current CEO, Ronald Rittenmeyer.
The deal has had the support of HP shareholders from the beginning. It won approval from U.S. antitrust authorities on June 30 and passed muster with European regulators on July 26.
Updated at 3:20 p.m. PST throughout with clarification of Yukon and Congo technologies
An AMD-based Netbook? Maybe, maybe not.
On Thursday at an analyst meeting, AMD disclosed "Yukon" and "Congo"--the names that AMD is giving to its silicon technology, due in 2009, that will target the "ultraportable" market.AMD is targeting Yukon at ultraportable designs like the Voodoo Envy 133 notebook
The company is being very careful to parse this as a more full-featured ultraportable PC play not a strict Netbook play.
The ideal ultraportable form factor is a MacBook Air-style design: very thin with a 13-inch screen, according to AMD spokesman John Taylor.
In short, AMD is not offering an enthusiastic endorsement of the Netbook market. "The target is the slim form factor with a larger screen. Not a 10- or 11- or 12-inch screen," Taylor said. He quickly added that smaller Netbook-style designs may appear but repeated that this is not the emphasis.
Why? AMD's approach is to deliver "a full PC experience," Taylor said. "That's not what you can say about some of the Netbook-type products on the market today," he said. AMD will do this by tapping into the graphics chip technology from its ATI unit, according to Taylor.
"Customers are not satisfied with the experience on mini-notebooks," said Bahr Mahony, director, notebook product marketing at AMD, speaking during the analyst meeting on Thursday. AMD refers to Netbooks as mini-notebooks. Bahr said data shows that there are high return rates in Europe where many consumers have been snapping up Netbooks.
AMD's goal, therefore, is to offer a "more satisfying" experience on higher-performance laptop designs like the MacBook Air, Mahony said.
The tech specs that AMD is currently disclosing for Yukon/Congo are a sub 25-watt platform with single and dual-core options. Currently, its mainstream Turion processors operate at over 30 watts.
AMD also showed a Congo platformAMD roadmap shows future Conesus and Geneva ultraportable chips AMD Congo and Yukon ultraportable platforms
AMD showed an ultraportable dual-core 65-nanometer chip dubbed "Conesus" on its road map. This will fall under the Congo platform umbrella. Huron will have one core and fall under the Yukon platform. After this, a 45-nanometer Geneva chip will debut in 2010.
Taylor also offered this thinking: Intel's Netbook strategy is somewhat restrictive in that designs are small, at least under 12 inches and--to date--usually under 10 inches. Without mentioning Intel by name, he said this restriction is to "protect segmentation of your business." In other words, if Intel delivers a chip that addresses larger designs it would cannibalize Intel's more profitable mainstream mobile processor lines.
Maybe it's a throwback to my childhood recollections of "duck and cover" school drills, but this nuclear winter Andreessen thing is still rattling around in my head.
First, the gloomy view: The economy is slowing down and so what's up with the increasingly pointless me-too social-networking apps getting link love these days on Techmeme? They're cute, but outside of the echo chamber regulars, who really cares? Let's be frank: The world does not need another social news aggregator or online scheduling assistant.
Now, the slightly more optimistic view: This isn't the first time that caution is the byword, and it won't be the last. Silicon Valley survived the Internet bubble, so why should anyone believe that it won't get through another recession?
What's more, the tech business is doing well. And the recent run of earnings announcements from the likes of Intel, Apple, IBM, Google--and even Yahoo--suggests that while folks may not be buying lots of houses, they continue to buy lots of computers.
Still, there's no getting around the fact that advertising will be hit hard in any recession, and that would be bad news for the prototypical Web 2.0 start-up. Here's where it starts to get really interesting. The definition of your prototypical Web 2.0 company is undergoing a change from what it connoted in 2005. Browse through the roster of companies exhibiting at this week's Web 2.0 conference and you'll find enterprise-heavy names like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Cisco-WebEx, among others.
We've seen this movie before. The history of the computer industry is chockablock with examples of smaller, innovative entrepreneurs shaking up the status quo to the point where the mainstream companies either figure out how to coexist in the new world order or pass the baton.
I don't know where we are in the transition, but there's no getting around the fact that the constellation of forces in software is shifting. Companies like Twitter still draw more comment in the blogosphere, but look what's happening with Web 2.0. We're now in a phase where bigger hardware and software companies with deep pockets are starting to predominate. Lots of reasons behind the enterprise companies' interest but maybe it boils down to something as simple as companies just trying to stay relevant. Fact is that as more young people graduate into the work place, the new generations will import online habits they learned growing up into their work routines.
In a recession, they'll fare better in any storm than companies which don't have an apparent exit strategy, according to Barry Schuler, a former CEO of America Online and now a private investor.
"With social media, no one's figured out how to monetize things yet," Schuler said. "In a certain sense, it looks a lot like 1997. The hiccup will be if there is a recession. The least proven stuff, the companies that haven't decoded a business model, will be the stuff that gets dropped. If there's one thing we learned through the Internet bubble, you can say this is a new economy, but in the end, P&L does matter."
We're fast approaching a point where it's time to find a more fitting sobriquet. Better yet, maybe we should just dump an awkward marketing umbrella term entirely. It just gets in the way of clear thinking.
No doubt, parenting has changed in the Internet Age, and a new study tries to reflect on how mom and dad are dealing with it.
Proving that parents are tackling new issues, a majority of those surveyed said that in the last year they've had an "Internet-related issue" with their child, according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive for the nonprofits Common Sense Media and Cable in the Classroom . At least half of the parents reported that their child was exposed to advertising or commercialism online; a third of parents said the Internet sucks too much of their child's time; and a quarter said that the Web prevented their child from exercising. The results of the study, which was conducted in August, were released Tuesday.
One in four parents said their child was exposed to either adult content, violent material or coarse language online. One in five parents said the Web takes away from homework.
That aside, adults who are active in their kids' online activities tend to look on the bright side of how the Internet helps instead of hurts. The majority of parents--85 percent--have talked to their kids about how to be safe online in the past year, and 93 percent have taken some action to ensure their protection or to approve visited sites. An overwhelming majority of parents said that the Web has helped their child learn new skills, discover different cultures, express themselves creatively, socialize better and get information that helps them succeed in school.
"The results suggest that most parents balance the Web's dangers and benefits--they talk to their kids about the issues they encounter and work to make the Web a helpful tool," Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer said in a statement.
Apple may be planning to add a little more information to the unlocked home screen of an iPhone.
AppleInsider found a patent application that indicates Apple is working on ways to add notification data--such as missed calls or recent e-mails--to an iPhone's display just after it is unlocked. That way, you wouldn't have to unlock the screen, pull up the home page, and see who sent you a text message.
The iPhone currently shows you that kind of information--such as a recent text or missed call--on the display while the iPhone is locked, but you have to unlock the screen, bring up the home page, and then open that particular application in order to retrieve the text message or listen to the voicemail.
Under this system, you could slide the bar to unlock the iPhone but keep the notification screen front and center, allowing you to pick the notification that demands the most attention right away with a direct link to the application. AppleInsider notes this will make a lot more sense after Apple lets developers start using its notification services , which is a backhanded way of allowing applications to run in the background and still maintain a network connection.
Search site Ask is launching a new tool that will let people search the Web anonymously, the first major search engine to offer that functionality.
By using the new AskEraser tool, users will be able to set their privacy preferences so the search engine doesn't retain their Web search history. Users will be able to see what the privacy setting is on the search results pages.
AskEraser is expected to be deployed on Ask.com in the U.S. and United Kingdom by the end of the year, and globally early next year.
For people who don't want to search anonymously, Ask will maintain the user search data for 18 months and then it will disassociate the search history from the IP address or cookie information. Cookies are small files stored on a computer so that the computer can be recognized when it revisits Web sites, enabling the site to remember the user's preferences for things like e-commerce and sites that require log-in.
"We'll have no way of figuring out how to associate the searches with a person," said Doug Leeds, head of development at Ask. "There will be no way for us to receive an IP address from a governmental agency and figure out what searches were done by that IP address."
The move by Ask, a wholly owned business of IAC, follows but exceeds steps taken by Google. Earlier this week, Google said it would set cookies on Web searches to expire after two years instead of in 2038 . In practice, however, only a minuscule number of people will be affected by the change because if you visit Google even once in the next two years, the cookie will be renewed for another two years.
In March , Google said it would start anonymizing the final eight bits of the IP address and the cookie data after somewhere between 18 months and 24 months, unless legally required to retain the data for longer. Doing so effectively would enable someone to narrow the IP address down to 256 possible computers or users. That would be similar to obscuring the last digit in someone's street address.
The risks associated with Web search data were highlighted last August when AOL inadvertently exposed on the Internet the search history of more than 650,000 of its users .
Microsoft and Yahoo are also expected to improve their Web search privacy practices , according to the Financial Times .
Tesla Motors will sell batteries to a Scandinavian company, Th!nk Global , which makes an economy car, executives said today at the Clean-Tech Investor Summit in Palm Desert, Calif.
Martin Eberhard, CEO of Tesla Motors, said that Tesla has formed a group called Tesla Energy Now to sell battery packs to other companies.
"A certain unnamed Scandinavian electric car company has become a customer," he said.
Sitting two seats down on the panel was Jan-Olaf Willums, president of Th!nk Global, which bought an experimental electric car called the Think from Ford in 2006. His company will start producing cars in the fall for Norway and England, and will later look at marketing in the U.S.
Willums said his company had improved the Th!nk: Ford's version had 60-mile range, and the version coming out later this year will have a 110-mile range.
Eberhard also said Tesla is in development on its second car. The new version will be a four-seat sedan and will be sold at a "significantly lower price point" than the $92,000 Tesla Roadster .