Tag Archives: Demand

Google workers demand end to censored Chinese search project
November 28, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – More than 200 engineers, designers and managers at Alphabet Inc’s Google demanded in an open letter on Tuesday that the company end development of a censored search engine for Chinese users, escalating earlier protests against the secretive project.

FILE PHOTO: Google’s booth is pictured at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) 2017 in Beijing, China April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

Google has described the search app, known as Project Dragonfly, as an experiment not close to launching. But as details of it have leaked since August, current and former employees, human rights activists and U.S. lawmakers have criticized Google for not taking a harder line against the Chinese government’s policy that politically sensitive results be blocked.

Human rights group Amnesty International also launched a public petition on Tuesday calling on Google to cancel Dragonfly. The organization said it would encourage Google workers to sign the petition by targeting them on LinkedIn and protesting outside Google offices.

Google declined to comment on the employees’ letter on Tuesday as Alphabet shares fell 0.35 percent to $ 1,052.28.

Google has long sought to have a bigger presence in China, the world’s largest internet market. It needs government approval to compete with the country’s dominant homegrown internet services.

An official at China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, who was unauthorized to speak publicly, told Reuters on Tuesday there was “no indication” from Google that it had adjusted earlier plans to eventually launch the search app. However, the official described a 2019 release as “unrealistic” without elaborating.

About 1,400 of Google’s tens of thousands of workers urged the company in August to improve oversight of ethically questionable ventures, including Dragonfly.

The nine employees who first signed their names on Tuesday’s letter said they had seen little progress.

The letter expresses concern about the Chinese government tracking dissidents through search data and suppressing truth through content restrictions.

“We object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be,” the employees said in the letter published on the blogging service Medium.

The employees said they no longer believed Google was “a company willing to place its values over profits,” and cited a string of “disappointments” this year, including acknowledgement of a big payout to an executive who had been accused of sexual harassment.

That incident sparked global protests at Google, which like other big technology companies has seen an uptick in employee activism during the last two years as their services become an integral part of civic infrastructure.

Reporting by Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Cate Cadell in Beijing; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown

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Apple supplier AMS cuts forecast, indicating poor iPhone demand
November 15, 2018 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s AMS (AMS.S), which makes facial recognition technology, became the latest Apple supplier to cut its revenue forecast, adding to growing evidence that the latest iPhones are not selling well.

The logo of the multinational semiconductor manufacturer AMS (Austria Mikro Systeme) is seen during a annual news conference, in Zurich, Switzerland February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Moritz Hager

The Swiss-listed group cut its fourth-quarter revenue outlook by 15 percent and pushed back its medium-term targets, blaming “recent demand changes from a major customer”.

AMS, which specializes in sensors, did not name Apple as the customer, but analysts estimate that the U.S. giant accounts for 40 percent of the Austrian group’s sales.

Apple (AAPL.O) shocked investors two weeks ago with a lower than expected sales forecast for the Christmas quarter, prompting suppliers including U.S. firm Lumentum (LITE.O), British chipmaker IQE (IQE.L) and screen maker Japan Display (6740.T) to issue warnings that pointed to weakness in new iPhone sales.

Like Lumentum, AMS supplies Apple with software components needed for its FaceID technology.

Anglo-German chip designer Dialog Semiconductor (DLGS.DE), which struck a $ 600 million deal with the U.S. tech giant last month bucked the negative trend when it said late on Wednesday it does not see a drop in demand from Apple.

Dialog justified this by pointing out that it supplies many more products than the latest iPhones.

For the past year, investors had largely been willing to overlook stagnating unit sales of the iPhone because average selling prices kept rising. But Apple now faces fierce competition from mid-priced phones from makers such as Xiaomi Corp (1810.HK).

The California-based firm started selling its latest phone generation, the iPhone XS and XS Max in September and the XR model last month.

The new AMS guidance suggested between 11 and 18 million fewer iPhones would be produced in the fourth quarter than an initially estimated 77-82 million, Credit Suisse analysts said in a note to customers.

“This is largely in-line to read from recent Lumentum warning,” they said, adding the Lumentum guidance would have implied an impact of 15-20 million iPhones.

VOLATILE SHARES

AMS shares gained as much as 6.4 percent to 29.65 Swiss francs after a steep drop in early trade.

They have lost nearly 30 percent since Apple’s latest earnings release and are down 70 percent since the beginning of the year and some investors see a buying opportunity, said traders.

AMS expects revenue to come in between $ 480 million and $ 520 million in the three months to Dec. 31, compared with the $ 570-$ 610 million it forecast last month.

The adjusted operating margin for the quarter is expected to reach the low to mid-teen percentage range after previous guidance for the margin to rise to 16-20 percent.

AMS also abandoned its 2019 revenue target of more than $ 2.7 billion, saying it now expects annual double-digit revenue growth for the coming years.

It still aims for a 30 percent adjusted operating margin but no longer gives a specific time frame. It had already postponed the target to 2020 from 2019 in July, at the time due to order delays from a major customer.

“These guys have no visibility any more,” said Mark Taylor, senior sales trader at Mirabaud Securities’ Global Thematic Group.

AMS, which has invested heavily in research and development and in production expansion, is now seeking to address underutilized facilities, increasing competition and its reliance on Apple.

Although a number of analysts have cut their recommendations recently, many target price recommendations are still above 40 Swiss francs. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see (the stock) rally,” said Taylor.

additional reporting by Helen Reid in London; Editing by David Goodman and Keith Weir

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Cisco beats as network gear demand rises, new bets pay off
November 15, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Cisco Systems Inc beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue and profit on Wednesday, as the network gear maker benefited from demand for its routers and switches and growth in its newer focus areas such as software.

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Cisco is seen during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

Shares of the company, which also forecast second-quarter revenue largely above expectations, rose 4 percent in extended trading, putting them on track to add to the nearly 16 percent gain for the year.

Cisco pivoted to software and cyber security to cushion the impact from slowing demand for its routers and switches from companies increasingly shifting to cloud services offered by Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc instead of building their own networks.

Revenue in its application software businesses rose 18 percent to $ 1.42 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $ 1.37 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Sales in its security business, which offers firewall protection and breach detection systems, rose 11 percent to $ 651 million. That fell short of IBES estimate of $ 656.4 million, but beat research firm FactSet’s estimate of $ 648.1 million.

Deals such as the $ 2.35 billion purchase of cyber security provider Duo Security in August have played an important part in driving growth in Cisco’s newer business.

Acquisitions provided an 80 basis point boost to the company’s first-quarter results year-over-year, Chief Financial Officer Kelly Kramer said on a post-earnings call with analysts.

Revenue in its infrastructure platform unit, which houses the switches and routers business, rose about 9 percent to $ 7.64 billion, topping expectation of $ 7.39 billion.

Subscriptions, which provide a more steady revenue flow, accounted for 57 percent of total software revenue in the first quarter, the company said. The share was 56 percent in the preceding quarter.

“Cisco is executing on its plan to move its business model to software and subscriptions while benefiting from a strong IT spending environment,” said Mark Cash, an analyst with Morningstar.

Cisco said tariffs were immaterial for the reported quarter, but added that the impending 25 percent duties could weigh on third-quarter results.

The company said it expects second-quarter revenue growth of between 5 percent and 7 percent from a year earlier. This implies a range of between $ 12.48 billion and $ 12.72 billion, while analysts were expecting $ 12.53 billion.

For its first quarter ended Oct. 27, the company reported an adjusted profit of 75 cents per share, above the average estimate of 72 cents.

Total revenue rose 7.7 percent to $ 13.07 billion, topping estimate of $ 12.87 billion. However, the company said deferred revenue fell 9.4 percent to $ 16.81 billion.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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Broadcom sees fourth-quarter boost from data center demand, iPhone launch
September 7, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Broadcom Inc (AVGO.O) on Thursday forecast current-quarter revenue largely above estimates on higher demand for components that power data centers, while the launch of Apple Inc’s new iPhones is expected to bolster its wireless business.

A sign to the campus offices of chip maker Broadcom Ltd is shown in Irvine, California, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Shares of Broadcom rose 4 percent to $ 224.90 in extended trading after the chipmaker also reported third-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates.

Revenue from enterprise storage business jumped 70 percent in the reported quarter as the acquisition of Brocade helped drive sales gains at the unit.

Its wireless business, which makes chips for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS connectivity, reported flat revenue, while its wired infrastructure unit, which makes components used in telecommunication networks, posted a 4 percent rise from a year earlier.

“More than half our consolidated revenue … is benefiting from strong cloud and enterprise data center spending,” Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan said on a post-earnings call with analysts.

“This, coupled with a seasonal uptick in wireless, will drive our forecast revenue in the fourth quarter.”

The company expects a ramp at its North American customer – which analysts identified as Apple – to drive a 25 percent rise in wireless revenue from the previous quarter, although it may be down in single-digit percentage compared with a year earlier.

Apple (AAPL.O) is set to unveil its new iPhones next week.

Tan, who has transformed Broadcom into a $ 100 billion behemoth through a series of acquisitions, surprised Wall Street in July with his move to acquire software maker CA Technologies for $ 19 billion.

Explaining his rationale behind the CA acquisition, Tan said he planned to target the company’s enterprise customers with Broadcom’s offerings including server and storage connectivity products.

The CA deal comes after U.S. President Donald Trump blocked Broadcom’s $ 117 billion offer to buy Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) on national security grounds.

Broadcom forecast current-quarter revenue of about $ 5.40 billion, plus or minus $ 75 million. Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $ 5.35 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income attributable to common stock rose to $ 1.2 billion, or $ 2.71 per share, in the quarter ended Aug. 5 from $ 481 million, or $ 1.14 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $ 4.98 per share.

Net revenue rose to $ 5.06 billion from $ 4.46 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $ 4.83 per share on revenue of $ 5.07 billion.

Reporting by Sonam Rai and Sayanti Chakraborty in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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Getting Ready To Watch On Demand Movies In On Demand Theater
May 29, 2018 6:08 pm|Comments (0)

This article first appeared in Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top tech news. To get it delivered daily to your in-box, sign up here.

Today brings news that ticks three of our favorite boxes at Data Sheet: Futurism (the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed), clicks to bricks (online retailers opening physical stores), and the growth of Chinese tech giants (via a unit of Baidu (bidu) in this case). Aaron in for Adam on this four-day U.S. work week, thinking about the future of movies.

The actual news event is of the starting small variety. Baidu’s iQIYI, a video streaming service sometimes dubbed the Netflix of China, opened a tiny movie theater in the city of Zhongshang in the southern province of Guangdong. Adding a few dozen seats to the theater capacity of the city of about 3 million people sounds like a drop in the bucket.

But the new theater, called Yuke, is actually a series of mini-theaters, each with two to 10 seats, that can be rented by the hour to show any content available from iQIYI’s library. With cushy chairs, Dolby audio, and a screen much larger than a home TV, the on demand Yuke theaters represent a new hybrid way to consume streaming video. iQIYI, which went public in the United States a few months ago, says it plans to bring the Yuke concept to all of China’s major cities.

There have been rumors that Netflix (nflx) was pondering a more traditional theater play, as well. The Los Angeles Times reported last month that Netflix considered buying the Landmark Theatres chain, but ultimately rejected the idea as too costly. With malls facing increasing vacancies, maybe something more like iQIYI’s on-demand mini-theaters would be a smarter move for Netflix.

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UK Regulators Demand Cambridge Analytica Hand Over User Data
May 5, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office issued an order Friday requiring SCL Elections, the British affiliate of the controversial data mining firm Cambridge Analytica, to turn over all of the data it collected about a United States-based academic named David Carroll. Carroll filed a request for this data in January of 2017 under British data protection law, and received a response in March of that year that the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham describes in the order as “wholly inadequate.” Now, Denham is requiring SCL to comply with the request, or face criminal charges.

The enforcement order comes just days after Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, announced that it would shut down and declare bankruptcy, along with its international affiliates, following revelations that the companies had harvested the data of up to 87 million Americans without their knowledge. The company’s former CEO Alexander Nix was also recorded this year on undercover video, appearing to brag about using tactics like bribery and entrapment on behalf of Cambridge Analytica’s clients.

Long before the name Cambridge Analytica became notorious in households across the country, though, Carroll, a professor of media design at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, became suspicious about the way the company built its so-called psychographic profiles of US voters. These profiles, the company claimed, contained information not only about people’s demographics, but their personalities as well. Given that Cambridge Analytica originally spun out of a British company called SCL Group, Carroll filed a request under the UK’s Data Protection Act seeking access to all of the information the company had collected on him.

When SCL sent Carroll back his file, he was utterly unsatisfied. It ranked his interest in topics like immigration and gun control on a numeric scale, but offered no insight into what data was being used to generate those scores, or who actually used them. In mid-March, the same day Facebook announced it was suspending Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group from its platform as punishment for their transgressions, Carroll filed a request for disclosure in the UK in an attempt to force SCL to hand over the underlying data and answer a litany of questions about how they were being used.

Though that case is still ongoing, the ICO’s order does accomplish some of that work for Carroll. In the order, Denham describes the months-long battle between her office and SCL’s office over Carroll’s data request. According to the order, SCL repeatedly argued that as an US citizen, Carroll had no right to request his data under British laws, going so far as to write in one response that Carroll had no more data access rights in the UK “than a member of the Taliban sitting in a cave in the remotest corner of Afghanistan.”

Denham disagreed with that assessment. In March, after the undercover videos of Nix went public, the ICO stormed the company’s offices and seized its servers. Now, the regulator is giving SCL 30 days to provide descriptions of Carroll’s personal data, the purpose that data served, a list of all the recipients of that data, copies of the data itself, and the sources of that data.

“It’s quite exciting,” Carroll says of the order. “At the minimum, it’s the beginning of a victory and pointing toward winning.”

Still, he says, “It didn’t have to come to this. We’ve been trying for more than a year to do this out of court…It just kept escalating.”

SCL now has the opportunity to appeal the ICO’s order. Representatives for SCL didn’t immediately respond to WIRED’s request for comment.

Cambridge Analytica Exposed

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Tesla's electric motor shift to spur demand for rare earth neodymium
March 12, 2018 6:04 pm|Comments (0)

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesla’s shift to a magnetic motor using neodymium in its Model 3 Long Range car adds to pressure on already strained supplies of a rare earth metal that had for years been shunned because of an export ban by top producer China.

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla Model 3 is seen in a showroom in Los Angeles, California U.S. January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Efforts by governments around the world to cut noxious emissions produced by fossil fuel-powered cars is driving demand for electric vehicles and the metals used to make them, such as lithium and cobalt which are key ingredients for batteries.

Now the spotlight is on neodymium. Several auto makers already use permanent magnet motors that rely on the metal because they are generally lighter, stronger and more efficient than induction motors that are based on copper coils.

But it is the switch to neodymium by Tesla, an auto maker that has staked its future solely on the electric vehicle, that is showing the way the industry is moving and the direction of demand for the rare earth metal.

Research group imarc estimates the market for the neodymium-iron-boron magnet used in the motors is now worth more than $ 11.3 billion, with demand for the magnets rising at a compound annual growth rate of 8.5 percent between 2010 and 2017.(For a graphic of Neodymium market balance click reut.rs/2FD6bUb)

“Some electric car motors use the permanent magnet technology, probably the most famous is the Tesla Model 3 Long Range. All the other Tesla models — Model X and Model 3 standard — use induction motors,” said David Merriman, a senior analyst at metals consultancy Roskill.

Global demand of 31,700 tonnes for neodymium last year already outstripped supply by 3,300 tonnes, he said. Demand was expected to climb to 34,200 tonnes this year and 38,800 tonnes in 2018, leaving larger deficits.

“Tesla’s decision to switch to permanent magnets has completely changed the dynamics of the market,” said a source at a fund manager that specializes in metals.

The price of neodymium is now about $ 70 a kg, well below the $ 500 hit after China held back shipments to Japan in 2010 during a row over disputed islands but it is still 40 percent higher than at the start of 2017.

(For a graphic of neodymium prices click reut.rs/2DlOHtE)

China, which resumed neodymium exports in 2015, imposed strict export quotas across a range of rare earth metal in 2010, saying it wanted to curtail pollution and preserve resources.

COSTLY PROCESS

“People seem to have forgotten China’s export ban. It could happen again. China is really the main producer, no one else has invested as much in rare earths,” a rare earth trader said.

Despite their name, rare earths are found in many places around the world, but the process of extraction is difficult and expensive, as it requires separating multiple different metals from a single deposit. This is unlike the much simpler process, for example, of recovering copper from ore.(For a graphic of Rare Earth Producers click reut.rs/2Fu5HnE)

China has invested heavily in the rare earth metals process but its crackdown on mining, smelting and other polluting industries is forecast to slow supply. It already helped push the neodymium price to a two-year high of $ 96 in September.

“Rare earth production is as bad as you can get in terms of environmental damage,” the trader said. “China used its dominant position before, what’s to stop it doing so again?”

Such supply concerns are encouraging automakers to search for ways of cutting down neodymium use. Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said last month it had found a way to cut use of the metal in electric motors by about a fifth.

The Japanese firm said it had developed a magnet which replaced some of the neodymium with more abundant and cheaper rare earths — lanthanum and cerium. Toyota aims to use the magnets in electric vehicle motors within the next 10 years.

Other manufacturers of electric vehicles that use permanent magnets include BMW BMWG, Nissan (7201.T) and Geely (0175.HK).

Several companies produce rare earth metals outside China, including London-listed Rainbow Rare Earths (RBWR.L), Canada-listed Namibia Rare Earths (NRE.V) and Australia’s Spectrum Rare Earths (SPX.AX).

But, for now, auto makers making permanent magnet motors remain heavily reliant on China, which according to Roskill accounted for 85 percent of global output of rare earth oxide estimated at 161,700 tonnes in 2017.

Morgan Stanley analysts estimate electric vehicles will total 50,000 units in 2020 or 2.3 percent of the total, rising to 400,000 in 2025 or 17.4 percent, and 975,000 in 2030 or 40.9 percent.

Reporting by Pratima Desai; Editing by Veronica Brown and Edmund Blair

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Cloud Outages | Stoking Demand for BDR and Business Continuity
December 26, 2016 4:45 am|Comments (0)

As continuity consultants, MSPs advise customers on contingency plans for cases where the public-cloud computing and storage resources are …

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Cloud Outages | Stoking Demand for BDR and Business Continuity
December 25, 2016 3:43 am|Comments (0)

As continuity consultants, MSPs advise customers on contingency plans for cases where the public-cloud computing and storage resources are …


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Cloud Outages | Stoking Demand for BDR and Business Continuity
September 24, 2016 1:00 pm|Comments (0)

As continuity consultants, MSPs advise customers on contingency plans for cases where the public-cloud computing and storage resources are …

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