Category: Computers

Apple passes Microsoft as world’s biggest tech co.

SEATTLE – Apple has surpassed Microsoft as the largest technology company in the world by market capitalization

Apple’s move comes as the company’s iPhone, and now its iPad tablet computer, have taken on more of the personal computing tasks once handled by computers running Microsoft’s Windows operating system and other programs.

Market cap is the dollar value of a company’s outstanding shares. On Wednesday, Apple Inc.’s shares slipped $1.11 to close at $244.11, making its market cap about $222 billion.

But Microsoft Corp.’s stock fell $1.06, or 4.1 percent, to close at $25.01, for market cap of about $219 billion.

The only U.S. business with a higher market value is Exxon Mobil Corp. The oil company’s market cap is about $279 billion, based on Wednesday’s closing price of $59.31.

Source: Yahoo

Google savages Apple for lack of openness

Google spent much of this morning’s I/O keynote slamming Apple for not being open, having major hardware and software limitations and for seeking to monopolise the mobile market.

Time and again Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering laid into Apple, in particularly over the lack of openness in the platform and for it’s lack of support of other features from within the browser. For example, the new Android 2.2 operating system supported Adobe’s Flash and Air with no problems he said.

“We are not only committed to the fastest mobile browser, but most comprehensive.

“It turns out that on the internet people use Flash. Part of being open means you are not exclusive with information, you are open to all.”

Apple’s operating system also come in for mockery for being limited when it came to use of the internet while he was demonstrating the Android Intent feature, which allows web pages and application functions to be sent directly to the mobile phone.

“We’re doing proper cloud to device messaging, not just a basic push notification designed to cover up basic inability to handle multitasking,” he said, to strong audience applause.

In some demonstrations he attacked Apple on the performance and limitations of the iPad, using a computing speed test between the iPad and Android handsets as well as demoing the ability to turn mobile phones into Wi-Fi access points, when an iPad was used to pick up the signal.

This openness of Android was also reflected in the advertising model for operating system he said. Any advertiser could use the platform, and none-Google code could be built onto web pages, putting publishers and developers in charge.

The attacks continued as Google moved onto the launch of GoogleTV, with constant references to the platform’s openness and support for Flash.

While never actually mentioning Steve Jobs by name Gundotra did say one of the motivating factors in developing Android was that otherwise “one man” would control the mobile ecosystem.

At the post keynote press conference asked Gundotra what he would tell Steve Jobs if he had the chance. He said that many of the remarks made weren’t just at Apple, but at a range of companies.

“What we said was not necessary said to Apple only. As for where we stand Google stands for opennees and choice, that’s where we stand.”

Source: V3

Dell: IT upgrades fuel first quarter

Riding a cycle of corporate PC and server upgrades, Dell reported stronger-than-expected first-quarter results.

The company reported net income of $441 million, or 22 cents a share, on revenue of $14.87 billion, up 21 percent from a year ago (statement). Given HP’s strong results, Dell’s earnings weren’t that much of a surprise. Dell’s non-GAAP earnings were 30 cents a share. Wall Street was expecting Dell to report earnings of 26 cents a share on revenue of $14.27 billion.

As for the outlook, Dell said that the second quarter is likely to resume normal seasonal patterns. That means sequential growth in the low single digits in the second quarter. The company also said that supplies remain tight.

Source: CNET

Facebook’s Sexy Virus

There is a new virus all over facebook that you want to watch out for and not get on your computer. Thousands of users have already been affected by this virus on their computer. It will come up on the news feed of your facebook. It has a video and the image shown is a woman who has on a short skirt. She appears to be riding a bicycle from what you can tell. If you happen to click on it, you will be taken to another site to download the correct software to watch this video.

The virus is then going to try and get you to download something.

Anytime you get taken to another site beware. If you do not know the site, it is probably not safe and you shouldn’t download anything for sure. If you download this, it will also automatically post it on your facebook which causes a chance for your friends to download it too.

If you have already been affected by this virus, you will want to use an anti-virus to scan your computer. Don’t take any chances with this one. It can get you before you know it.

Source: eCanadaNOW

IBM supercomputer mixes Intel, Nvidia chips

IBM announced on Tuesday a hybrid high-performance computer that combines Intel and Nvidia processors–a first for IBM.

The IBM iDataPlex Dx360 M3 is powered by both Intel Xeon central processing units (CPUs) and Nvidia Tesla graphics processing units (GPUs) and is designed to be clustered with other Dx360 M3 modular servers to form a supercomputer.

This is the first time a major computer company has adopted Nvidia GPUs for a supercomputer that can be marketed worldwide.

“Now customers will have access to everything IBM brings to the table in high-performance computing,” Sumit Gupta, senior manager of Nvidia’s Tesla, said in a phone interview Monday.

In a supercomputer, the CPU and GPU work together in a way that is analogous to a PC, according to Gupta. In the case of a PC, the CPU handles, for example, the launching of applications and getting files from the disk, while the GPU handles highly specialized computational tasks. Likewise, when a supercomputer does certain computation-intensive tasks, like calculating the behavior of many water molecules, a GPU can be more suitable than a CPU, Gupta said.

“While the CPU orchestrates the system activities…the GPU is an idiot savant: it computes the mathematical kinds of things,” David Turek, vice president of deep computing at IBM, said in an interview.

And though this is the first time IBM has offered a high-performance computer with an Nvidia GPU, it is not the first hybrid design at IBM. Big Blue’s Roadrunner supercomputer was a hybrid, according to Turek.

“This is not the first hybrid GPU system in the world–they’ve been deployed for some time by other companies,” he said. “But the difference is twofold. One is the passage of time, which has allowed the marketplace to mature in its perspective of GPUs–where the GPU is advantageous, where it’s limited. And (two) the fact that it comes from IBM means that you have a company with some mass behind it to back up customer initiatives,” Turek said.

And though neither IBM nor Nvidia will cite customers at the moment, they are big names, according to Turek. “We do have customers, and they are significant. Wall Street, oil and gas exploration, universities, and government labs,” he said.

Pricing was not disclosed.

Source: CNET

Apple releases updated $999 MacBook with GeForce 320M graphics

Apple on Tuesday quietly updated its low-end MacBook, giving the entry-level hardware a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics, and a reported 10 hours of battery life.

The new hardware packs many of the same features as the MacBook redesign released in 2009, including an LED-backlit display, polycarbonate unibody enclosure, and a built-in battery. The hardware also comes standard with 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 RAM, a 250GB 5400 RPM hard drive, 1280×800 pixel widescreen display, and an 8x double-layer SuperDrive.

The new MacBook, with its updated processor and mobile graphics, is said to achieve up to 10 hours of uptime with its built-in battery. It also gets the improved, streamlined MagSafe connector found in the latest MacBook Pro models, which points the adapter cord backward rather than perpendicular from the body. The $999 hardware is available immediately.

The new MacBook was leaked over the weekend by a Vietnamese website that got their hands on the final model, including packaging. It was obtained by the same site that also received a prototype of Apple’s next-generation iPhone.

Apple last updated its entry level MacBook line in October of 2009, giving the $999 machine a polycarbonate unibody design, LED-backlit display, multi-touch trackpad, and built-in battery with 7 hours of run time.

Source: AppleInsider

HP bought Palm after a five-company bidding war

Palm and HP seem like the happiest of corporate couples right now, but theirs was a heated courtship: according to Palm’s latest statement to shareholders, a total of 16 companies were contacted about a deal, and HP was the winner of a month-long bidding war that involved serious offers from five companies — a bidding war that involved Jon Rubinstein personally warning HP that it had to “significantly and immediately” increase its offer to remain in the game. What’s more, HP’s winning bid came in at just 20 cents a share more than its primary rival. Yeah, it’s juicy — read on for the full blow-by-blow.

  • Palm recognized that it was in trouble in early February, a few weeks before it posted its disappointing quarterly results, and on February 17 the company organized a committee headed by CEO Jon Rubinstein to investigate its options — everything from licensing webOS to selling the company was on the table.
  • From February 25 to April 1, Palm’s management and consultants talked to a total of 16 companies about doing a deal. Five companies including HP ultimately got to the point of making offers, but only HP is publicly named in the filing — the other suitors are referred to as Companies A, B, C, and D. Palm was most interested in HP and Companies A and B, while C and D initially only wanted to acquire Palm’s patents. It’s not clear when D dropped out.
  • Palm’s board of directors decided that selling the company was the best option in early March. The board thought about selling patents and / or licensing webOS, but decided against it because licensing would dilute the value of Palm’s IP and fail to address long-term problems like scale and resources, and management was told to tell potential buyers that they should focus on an “outright acquisition.” If you’re keeping track, that’s the exact opposite of what Jon Rubinstein was saying on April 22.
  • HP made its first offer on April 13, for $4.75 per share or about a billion dollars, and requested a 30-day period of exclusive negotations. Company A followed up on April 15 with an offer of $600 million in cash, and Company B proposed a stock-for-stock deal that would take longer than the other deals.
  • After receiving the offers from A and B, Palm told HP that it wouldn’t give it an exclusivity period unless it improved its offer, and HP declined. At the same time, Palm decided that neither A nor B’s proposal were of any value to its shareholders, and told both companies that they weren’t competitive. A and B then dropped out of the game.
  • On April 18 Company C offered between $6 and $7 per share with a proposed transaction to take place within 14 days, and on April 19 Palm sent both HP and Company C draft merger agreements.
  • Palm and HP senior management held meetings on April 20 and 21, resulting in HP upping its offer to $5 per share on April 22. Later that day, Company C dropped its offer to $5.50 and sent Palm a revised merger agreement that contained several worrisome provisions, including a longer, riskier transaction timeline and a $60 million penalty if the deal didn’t go through. Palm and Company C engaged in “extensive negotiations” from the 23rd to the 25th, but never managed to work out a compromise.
  • While that was going on, on April 24th Jon Rubinstein and his advisors directly told HP that its offer wasn’t competitive and that it had to “significantly and immediately” improve its offer in order to remain in the game. HP responded by raising its offer to $5.70 per share (the winning bid) later that day, and Jon Rubinstein told Company C that he had a better offer on April 25th.
  • Company C told Palm it wasn’t raising its acquisition offer, but offered to buy patents and take a nonexclusive license to webOS for $800 million. The board considered that proposal on the same day and declined.
  • From that point on it was all HP — the two companies negotiated from April 24 to April 28, when the merger was approved by Palm’s outside accountants at Goldman Sachs and announced to the world.

Yeah, it’s a crazy story, and it gets even wilder: Palm says Company C never signed an NDA, so it’s more than likely we’ll eventually find out who it was. Your guess is as good as ours — Lenovo? ZTE? Dell? Either way, it looks like HP pulled this off in the nick of time.

Source: Engadget

Bill Gates Suggests Microsoft Tablet Projects in Works

Bill Gates, Microsoft’s former CEO, suggested during an interview with Fox Business Network that Microsoft was at work on a number of different tablet projects, at least some of which will focus on stylus-based input.
The Gates comments come days after Microsoft acknowledged the death of its long-rumored Courier project, which focused on developing a device with two touch-screens, and as rumors abounded that Hewlett-Packard had eliminated its plans for a Windows 7-powered tablet PC.
Microsoft, Google and other companies face some fierce competition in the space with Apple’s iPad, which sold one million units during its first 28 days of release.

Full Story: Here

Car Hackers Can Kill Brakes, Engine, and More

University researchers have taken a close look at the computer systems used to run today’s cars and discovered new ways to hack into them, sometimes with frightening results.

In a paper set to be presented at a security conference in Oakland, California, next week, the security researchers say that by connecting to a standard diagnostic computer port included in late-model cars, they were able to do some nasty things, such as turning off the brakes, changing the speedometer reading, blasting hot air or music on the radio, and locking passengers in the car. (See a slide show of the researchers’ methods and results.)

In a late 2009 demonstration at a decommissioned airfield in Blaine Washington, they hacked into a test car’s electronic braking system and prevented a test driver from braking a moving car — no matter how hard he pressed on the brakes. In other tests, they were able to kill the engine, falsify the speedometer reading, and automatically lock the car’s brakes unevenly, a maneuver that could destabilize the car traveling high speeds. They ran their test by plugging a laptop into the car’s diagnostic system and then controlling that computer wirelessly, from a laptop in a vehicle riding next to the car.

BT to launch tablet computer to rival iPad

BT has unveiled plans to launch its own touch-screen, tablet style computer, which will go head-to-head with Apple’s iPad.

The as yet unnamed device was demoed at BT’s annual strategy day in London. BT did not reveal details about the specifications of the tablet, but it is believed to have a screen that is larger than the 3.5in display found on the iPhone, but smaller than the 9.7in screen on the iPad. It will be used to make and receive phone calls through a Bluetooth headset or through an integrated speaker, and it features email, web browsing and text messaging capabilities.

BT said it was like a cross between “a mini PC” and “the telephone of the future”. Ian Livingston, chief executive of BT, said the company’s tablet device was designed for use around the home, and was not meant as a mobile computer, like the iPad.

“Some people have called it an ‘iPad killer’, but not us,” he said. “We see it as is a new device that would be in the kitchen or the lounge, so that you have all your communications in one place – your email, your voicemail, your text messages.

“You can even have little applications that will tell you the weather, or have a rolling stream of news. It’s for when you don’t want to have to turn on the computer to look something up. We’ve talked to a lot of customers about it – it’s not just something we’ve dreamed up. We’ve designed something around what the customers have said rather than around what technologists have said.”

BT also announced plans for an on-demand gaming service that would allow people to play the latest titles without the need for a games console. Games will be streamed over the internet via the customer’s broadband collection, allowing them to play online.

The Incumbent’s Curse: HP

Last week’s acquisition of Palm by HP makes a clear statement: HP recognizes we are at the beginning of the end of the classical PC era — and we’re witnessing the birth of a new generation, really personal computers, currently called smartphones (and tablets).
HP doesn’t want to be left behind, as it has been with its iPaq line of Windows Mobile devices, nor does it want to join the race to the bottom, again, to make profit-challenged Windows Phone 7 or Android clones.
This brings to mind an almost forgotten episode in HP’s past, one exemplary turn of events to keep in mind when looking at companies who dominate a market — for a while.

Full Story: Here