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At Telematics crossroads, TomTom CEO plots next move
November 2, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Digital mapmaking company TomTom (TOM2.AS) will consider whether to go it alone or pursue partnerships if it sells a fleet management business which may account for more than half its current value, its chief executive told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: TomTom navigation are seen in front of TomTom displayed logo in this illustration taken July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Dutch-based TomTom, which has a market capitalization of 1.75 billion euros ($ 2 billion), with no debt and 179 million euros in cash, hired Barclays in September to conduct a review of its “Telematics” division with an eye to possible sale.

Working out a fair price for the division, which helps businesses to save money by using software to monitor and improve the performance of their car and truck fleets, might not be straightforward, Chief Executive Harold Goddijn said.

Telematics, which had 43 million euros in sales in the third quarter, up 6 percent from a year ago, is “a bit of a mystery” for analysts, added Goddijn, one of the company founders.

The division has grown quietly but quickly in the shadow of a company better known to consumers for making satnav devices — a business in decline — and to analysts for serving up the digital maps built into iPhone’s Apple Maps app.

With Telematics expected to post core earnings of 60-70 million euros this year, valuations of the business range hugely, from 700 million euros to 1.4 billion euros. Sell-side analysts disagree about what multiple of earnings the business, which seems likely to extend its steady but not spectacular growth, will fetch.

Getting a good deal for Telematics would help to underpin the TomTom share price after recent volatility.

“If you look at the sum of the parts and the valuation and market cap, there is something not quite right and that needs to be better explained,” Goddijn said in an interview this week in San Francisco.

TomTom, set up in 1991, helped to pioneer navigation devices mounted on dashboards but now competes with German-owned HERE and with Google to sell digital maps integrated into the cars’ own software and control panels.

FILE PHOTO: Harold Goddijn, Chief Executive Officer of navigation systems maker TomTom, addresses the TMT 2006 Global Tech Media and Telecom Summit in Paris February 28, 2006. REUTERS/Mal Langsdon/File Photo

NEXT TURN?

Goddijn declined to say what TomTom will do with proceeds if Telematics is sold, despite the dramatic change a disposal would have on the company’s profile.

TomTom shares are down 7 percent year to date after Google Maps entered its key market, supplying navigation and traffic software to carmakers. Google has so far poached several TomTom clients including Renault and Volvo.

That’s part of a broader pattern of carmakers and tech firms teaming up as they prepare for a long, expensive transition toward self-driving vehicles.

This week alone it emerged that Ford and Volkswagen, and Volvo and Baidu (BIDU.O) are in talks on partnerships to develop and commercialize self-driving car technology, in which maps will play an important role.

“It’s not clear what the right economic model is going to be going forward for delivering the next generation of mapping content to the vehicle: is it best to be independent? Is it best to team up? It will take time to figure that out,” Goddijn said.

He said he was confident TomTom’s automotive software sales will continue to grow in the coming three years, but did not rule out a takeover or far-reaching partnership with a carmaker or larger technology firm.

Goddijn and TomTom’s three other founders hold a 44 percent stake in the Dutch company, which some investors fear means the company would never enter a deal that meant surrendering effective control.

“There’s always a big thing about founders and emotional attachments and what have you. I want to set the record straight,” Goddijn said.

“We will do whatever is right for the business and the people and the stakeholders and the customers like any other business, and we’ll look at how it will evolve. We’ll see.”

($ 1 = 0.8780 euros)

Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Writing by Toby Sterling in Amsterdam; Editing by Keith Weir

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Toshiba Memory to go public as soon as next autumn: Kyodo
October 24, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toshiba Memory Corp, the world’s No. 2 producer of NAND flash memory chips, will go public as soon as the autumn of next year, Kyodo News reported on Wednesday.

Toshiba Corp sold Toshiba Memory in June to a consortium led by Bain Capital LP, which also included Apple Inc, South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix, Dell Technologies and Seagate Technology.

When asked about the Kyodo News report, a spokesman from Toshiba Memory said there is no change to its plans to go public in the next two to three years and that it has not made a decision on when specifically it will launch its initial public offering.

The sale of the chip unit helped save Toshiba Corp from years of financial crisis brought about by accounting scandals and billions of dollars in cost-overruns at its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse.

Reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida, writing by Stanley White; Editing by Vyas Mohan

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Retirement: Should You Prepare For The Next Downturn Now?
July 7, 2018 6:37 pm|Comments (0)

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​Mark Shuttleworth dishes on where Canonical and Ubuntu Linux are going next
June 8, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

Mark Shuttleworth looked good at OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. Not only were his company Canonical and operating system Ubuntu Linux doing well, but thanks to his microfasting diet, he’s lost 40 pounds. Energized and feeling good, he’s looking forward to taking Canonical to its initial public offering (IPO) in 2019 and making the company more powerful than ever.

It’s taken him longer than expected to IPO Canonical. Shuttleworth explained, “We will do the right thing at the right time. That’s not this year, though. There’s a process that you have to go through and that takes time. We know what we need to hit in terms of revenue and growth and we’re on track.”

In the meantime, besides his own wealth — according to the BBC, his personal wealth jumped by £340 million last year — he’s turned to private equity to help fuel Canonical’s growth.

And, where is that growth coming from? Well, it’s not the desktop. Found as users — and Shuttleworth himself — of the Linux desktop, Canonical’s real money comes in from the cloud.

Ubuntu remains the dominant cloud operating system. According to the May 8, 2018 Cloud Market statistics, on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, Ubuntu dominates the cloud with 209,000 instances, well ahead of its competitors Amazon Linux AMI, 88,500; Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and CentOS‘s 31,400, and Windows Server‘s 29,200. As another data point, the executives at the OpenStack cloud company Rackspace told me that although their company had started with RHEL, today it’s 60/40 Ubuntu.

OpenStack has been very, very good for Canonical, which is more than you can say for many companies that tried to make it as OpenStack providers or distributors. “With OpenStack it’s important to deliver on the underlying promise of more cost-effective infrastructure,” Shuttleworth said. Sure, “You can love technology and you can have new projects and it can all be kumbaya and open source, but what really matters is computers, virtual machines, virtual disks, virtual networks. So we ruthlessly focus on delivering that and then also solving all the problems around that.”

So it is, Shuttleworth claims, that “Canonical can deliver an OpenStack platform to an enterprise in two weeks with everything in place.”

What’s driving Canonical growth on both the public and OpenStack-based cloud is “machine learning and container operations. The economics of automating the data center brings people to Ubuntu.”

That said, “The Internet of Things (IoT) is still an area of investment for us. We have the right set of primitives [Ubuntu Core, Ubuntu for IoT and Snap contanizeried applications] to bring IoT all over the planet.” But, it’s “not profitable yet”.

Shuttleworth thinks Ubuntu will end up leading IoT, as it has the cloud, “because a developer can transfer their programs from a workstation to the cloud to a gateway to the IoT. I want to make sure we build the right set of technologies so you can operate a billion things with Ubuntu on it.” To make this happen, Shuttleworth said Canonical currently has just short of 600 full-time developers.

As for the desktop, Shuttleworth finds it a “fascinating study of human nature that Unity [Ubuntu’s former desktop] became a complete exercise in torches and pitchforks. I’m now convinced a lot of the people who demanded its demise never used it.” That’s because, while “I think GNOME is a nicely done desktop,” many Ubuntu users are now objecting to GNOME. Shuttleworth also had kind words about the KDE Neon, MATE, and LXDE desktops. Still, “I do miss Unity, but I use GNOME.”

Shuttleworth would like to see the open-source community become “safer to put new ideas out into it.” Too often, “it’s obnoxious to someone else’s labor of love.”

That said, in business competition, Shuttleworth said, after people criticized him for calling out Red Hat and VMware by name in his OpenStack keynote speech, “I don’t think it was offsides to talk about money and competition. OpenStack has to be in the room where public clouds are discussed and Ubuntu has to be in the conversation when it comes to cloud operating systems. No one has questioned the facts.”

In a way, though, having given up on innovating on the desktop and on the smartphone market has been a blessing. “I can work with more focus on cloud and the edge and IoT. We’re moving faster. Our security and performance story can be tighter because we can put more time on both them.”

One thing that Shuttleworth believes Canonical does better than his competition is delivering the best from upstream to its customers. “Take OpenStack, we didn’t invent a bunch of pieces. We take care of stuff people need by trusting the upstream community. People find this refreshing.”

Canonical also succeeds, he thinks, because they eat their own dog food. “We learn stuff by operating it ourselves and not just developing it. We experience what it’s like to operate many OpenStack and Kubernetes stacks. We then offer these complex solutions as a managed service, and that reduces the cost for users.”

The result is a company that Shuttleworth is sure will lead the way in the cloud and container-driven world of IT.

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Why Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) stock will rise 60% the next two years
July 27, 2017 2:55 pm|Comments (0)

As seen, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) has quickly grown its cloud computing paying customer base. When compared to the likes of …


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So George Romero’s Next Of the Dead Movie Is Basically About Zombie NASCAR 
June 17, 2017 8:40 am|Comments (0)

George A. Romero, director of the legendary Night of the Living Dead, the equally legendary Dawn of the Dead, the not legendary but still good Day of the Dead, and countless other zombie entertainment, is trying something different. Very different. So different it’s a movie where zombies race cars to entertain rich

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Will Reteam With James Cameron for the Next Terminator Movie
June 10, 2017 4:35 am|Comments (0)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has just announced he’ll be starring in the next Terminator movie, which is not at all a big deal. It’s definitely less exciting than the news from January that James Cameron would be regaining rights to the franchise he created, and was working on a new, possibly good Terminator film. But…

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Get Ready for the Next Big Privacy Backlash Against Facebook
June 4, 2017 4:15 pm|Comments (0)

Get Ready for the Next Big Privacy Backlash Against Facebook

Privacy watchdogs think a damning leaked document about Facebook targeting insecure teens could help usher in new era in privacy protections. The post Get Ready for the Next Big Privacy Backlash Against Facebook appeared first on WIRED.
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5 lessons from Amazon’s S3 cloud blunder – and how to prepare for the next one
March 20, 2017 12:30 am|Comments (0)

According to internet monitoring platform Catchpoint, Amazon Web Service’s Simple Storage Service (S3) experienced a three hour and 39 minute disruption on Tuesday that had cascading effects across other Amazon cloud services and many internet sites that rely on the popular cloud platform.

“S3 is like air in the cloud,” says Forrester analyst Dave Bartoletti; when it goes down many websites can’t breathe. But disruptions, errors and outages are a fact of life in the cloud. Bartoletti says there’s no reason to panic: “This is not a trend,” he notes. “S3 has been so reliable, so secure, it’s been the sort of crown jewel of Amazon’s cloud.“

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5 lessons from Amazon’s S3 cloud blunder – and how to prepare for the next one
March 11, 2017 5:55 pm|Comments (0)

According to internet monitoring platform Catchpoint, Amazon Web Service’s Simple Storage Service (S3) experienced a three hour and 39 minute disruption on Tuesday that had cascading effects across other Amazon cloud services and many internet sites that rely on the popular cloud platform.

“S3 is like air in the cloud,” says Forrester analyst Dave Bartoletti; when it goes down many websites can’t breathe. But disruptions, errors and outages are a fact of life in the cloud. Bartoletti says there’s no reason to panic: “This is not a trend,” he notes. “S3 has been so reliable, so secure, it’s been the sort of crown jewel of Amazon’s cloud.“

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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