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Boring Christmas

Happy Holidays! Misco axes ONE IN FIVE UK sales peeps: sources

Shape shifting Misco spread the cheer among its workforce in the run-up to Christmas by distributing P45s, with sources estimating that up to 20 per cent of UK sales heads rolled. The parent of the web tech bazaar, Systemax, which is trying to deal more with mid-market corporate enterprises and sell services, is cutting costs …
Paul Kunert, 9 Jan 2015
chart

Peak Samsung: Bottom line walloped in Chinese mobe, slab war

Cheap slabs and smartphones from Chinese brands are taking a toll on the once seemingly unstoppable tech sales machine Samsung Electronics as it forecast a year-on-year crash in Q4 profit. The chaebol warned in a preliminary earnings guidance message that operating profit will be more than 37 per cent lighter on the same period …
Paul Kunert, 8 Jan 2015

Lube company merger receiving second 'in-depth' probe

Frustrated after its initial probe into a merger between two lube companies, the UK's Competition Markets Authority wants to push deeper into the decision of the makers of Durex and K-Y to jump into bed together. The two companies agreed to make the corporate entity with one back on 10 March 2014 after Durex maker Reckitt …
Kat Hall, 8 Jan 2015

Tesco preps for Big Data Engine dump: Laters, Clubcard dev

Retail titan Tesco is investigating the sale of Dunnhumby, the big data and data science wrangler it took over in 2004, which had helped propel the supermarket to national dominance. Tesco, Britain’s largest food retailer, has confirmed it has appointed a team of strategic advisors to explore “strategic options” for Dunnhumby. …
Gavin Clarke, 8 Jan 2015
big droplets falling from rain cloud

Channel: IBM stamps us into the dirt in race for cloudy glory

IBM is trampling over some smaller software boutiques in the rush to pump up its cloud sales volumes, we are told. Selling tech as-a-service is one of the five strategic pillars on which Big Blue has staked its future – alongside mobile, social, big data and analytics. But, at least according to some IBM Business Partners, it …
Paul Kunert, 8 Jan 2015

Tesco tosses loss-making Blinkbox into TalkTalk's basket

Scandal-smacked Tesco has offloaded loss-making video-on-demand service blinkbox movies along with its fixed line voice and broadband biz to TalkTalk for an undisclosed cash fee. Negotiations between the pair came to light at the end of last year, and this morning TalkTalk said the buy would speed up “key initiatives” it was …
Paul Kunert, 8 Jan 2015
Electronic waste dump in China

Meru Networks ready to DECIMATE its workforce

Meru Networks has retained financial advisor Deutsche Bank to review future options for the business, as it confirmed its intention to erase “more than” 10 per cent of the global workforce amid falling sales and profits. The NASDAQ-listed WLAN maker revealed last night that according to preliminary estimates for Q4, revenues …
Paul Kunert, 7 Jan 2015
Total Recall outside on Mars scene

UK data cops warn Optical Express to stop spamming 1000s of customers

High Street optician Optical Express has been admonished by Britain's data watchdog after thousands of customers complained that the company was sending them nuisance text messages. The Information Commissioner's Office warned Optical Express to halt its actions, or else face further action. An enforcement notice (PDF) was …
Kelly Fiveash, 7 Jan 2015

Sardine fishing in Kerala: Who benefits from mobile phones?

Worstall on Wednesday We're now 30 years into the mobile phone era here in Good Old Blighty, with that first call having been made back on New Year's Day. And it's worth asking who has really benefited from this technology: something which, when considered, will lead us to being able to tell big government fan Professor Mariana Mazzucato to take a …
Tim Worstall, 7 Jan 2015

Lenovo: We now OWN IBM's shrinking Euro server biz. It's OURS!

Lenovo has finally got its hands on IBM’s volume server business in Europe months after the transaction closed in the rest of the world, and the comparatively hard work now begins in earnest. The transfer of the System X division to the new Chinese owners happened for most last October but was delayed in the fragmented European …
Paul Kunert, 6 Jan 2015

Sales flat for takeover-tastic Brit IT bods Daisy Group

Comms and tech supplier Daisy Group, which is to be de-listed from the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) this month, has posted an operating loss of £8.1m for the first six months to September 2014. According to its audited half-year financials posted on 31 December, revenue dropped just 0.3 per cent from £173.9m to £169.6m. …
Kat Hall, 5 Jan 2015
Smartphones

Secretive Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi gets TALKY over HUGE sales

Chinese tech giant Xiaomi racked up 74.3bn yuan ($11.97bn) in pre-tax revenue last year, the company's president Bin Lin said today. The vendor apparently had a mega 135 per cent growth spurt in 2014, after it sold more than 61 million smartphones during the 12-month period. Xiaomi's co-founder didn't offer any details on …
Team Register, 4 Jan 2015

Healthcare: Look anywhere you like for answers, just not the US

Worstall @ the Weekend A few weeks back I pointed out that the US has the second largest social welfare system in the world. This produced a certain amount of pushback (journalistic speak for me whining to El Ed that you commentards are shouting at me) over the fact that a good part of that is the woeful healthcare system in said US. So, as the New …
Tim Worstall, 4 Jan 2015
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, aged 81, of the United Kingdom. Photo taken during a visit in NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Greenbelt, Maryland, USA

No wind-up: Second New Year's honour for Baylis music box

Former co-founder of Lastminute.com Brent Hoberman and inventor of the wind-up radio Trevor Baylis were two names in just a handful of science and tech folk to be handed gongs in the 2015 New Year's honours list. Both were awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the second shiny medal for Baylis after receiving an …
Kat Hall, 31 Dec 2014

Really, govt tech profit cash grab is a PRIZE-WINNING idea?

Worstall on Wednesday So, that favourite of mine and of Andrew Orlowski, Mariana Mazzucato, has been awarded a prize by the New Statesman in the field of political economy. Given that her message is that government should be getting more of the pie, that's the sort of political economy you would expect the magazine to like. However, I find there's a …
Tim Worstall, 31 Dec 2014
Apple phone payement.

UK banks prepare for Apple Pay 'invasion', look to slap on bonking protection

Analysis Apple's attempt to launch its NFC payment solution in the UK could be thwarted by some financial institutions' concerns over privacy and security issues surrounding Cupertino's "invasion" of the banking industry. The system, which has been developed with the credit card companies, has been tried by two million iPhone 6 users in …
Simon Rockman, 30 Dec 2014
SEC

US tech titan CSC slapped with $190m penalty

IT giant CSC has been slapped with a $190m (£122m) penalty by US regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission following a probe into the firm's accounting practices. The investigation was opened in 2011, mainly into the firm's European outsourcing unit - including revenue from its troubled NHS contract negotiations between …
Kat Hall, 30 Dec 2014
xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi router

'Apple of China' Xiaomi: Yep, we HAVE just bagged $1.1 BEELLION

Top Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Xiaomi has confirmed reports that it has raised $1.1bn to fund its plans for world domination. In a Facebook Post, president and co-founder Bin Lin said: We just completed the latest round of funding last week, raising US$1.1 billion at valuation of US$45 billion. Investors include All- …
Simon Rockman, 29 Dec 2014
President Putin doing judo

Why has the Russian economy plunged SO SUDDENLY into the toilet?

Worstall @Xmas The best economic fun of the past few weeks has been watching the meltdown of the rouble and the associated problems in the Russian economy. OK, “fun” might not be quite the right word: schadenfreude, perhaps? Real people are undoubtedly, through no fault of their own, being made worse off by what is happening - so fun is almost …
Tim Worstall, 28 Dec 2014
BlackBerry

BlackBerry CEO Chen says to expect profits ... in 2016

In a conference call with financial analysts on Friday, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the firm kept costs under control and even eked out a meager profit in the third quarter of its fiscal 2015, but he couldn't hide that the ailing mobe-maker's revenues continued their steady decline. BlackBerry brought in revenues of $793m for …
Neil McAllister, 19 Dec 2014
Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat CFO reaches for eject cord after Street-beating performance

Red Hat chief financial officer Charlie Peters announced on Wednesday that he's stepping down from the company, even as it reported another quarter of strong earnings that beat even its own guidance. The Linux kingpin reported $455.9m in total revenues for the third quarter of its fiscal 2015, which outperformed Wall Street's …
Neil McAllister, 19 Dec 2014
Mark Hurd and Safra Catz

Hurd'n'Catz leading Oracle to the cloud, but core biz still lags

Oracle beat analysts' estimates for once for the second quarter of its fiscal 2015, with an earnings report that otherwise showed only modest results. The database giant's total revenues of $9.6bn for the three months that ended on November 30 were better than expected, but still only amounted to 3.5 per cent year-on-year growth …
Neil McAllister, 18 Dec 2014

HOW MUCH did WD pay for Skyera? Join the dots, work it out

Comment We at El Reg suggested yesterday, Monday, that WD paid up to $400m for the all-flash array upstart, but WD has since mailed us to say that's wrong. Jim Pascoe, WD's corporate marketing director, told us: "You estimated that Skyera had secured $90m-$100m of funding following on from seed finance. In fact, the total amount Skyera …
Chris Mellor, 17 Dec 2014
Monty Python Wafer Thin Mints

Secretive Chinese smartmobe colossus Xiaomi is on WAFER thin margins

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi is operating on the thinnest of margins to keep its handset prices low, according to a filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The Chinese phone-maker, that’s creeping up on Western manufacturers, made a profit of $56.2m on $4.3bn in revenue last year. That gives the firm operating margins of …

Deprivation Britain: 1930s all over again? Codswallop!

Worstall @ the Weekend When cruising The Guardian for a fix of poverty porn, as I tend to do from time to time, I'm frequently amused by what some people will believe about the subject. This time I have to admit to having been amazed. For we've the flat-out assertion that we're about to be back in the 1930s. In some ways this might even be true: there …
Tim Worstall, 14 Dec 2014
Uber - living the dream

How was your week? Was it as bad as Uber's? Here's what happened

You ever have one of those weeks where nothing seems to go right? Maybe the train runs late in the rain. Or the lace on your boot breaks as you're walking out the door. Or maybe four major cities across the planet line up to sue you. Yeah, Uber just had a week like that – just days after it was injected with $1.2bn of funding, …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Dec 2014

Cisco: Think we're a lawsuit-hurling villain? 'Complete garbage'

Anyone that paints Cisco as a sueball-slinging bully boy that flexes its legal eagles to stem rivals' innovation is talking “complete garbage”, or so says its president of development and sales. The denial comes after Cisco last week filed several lawsuits in the US to "stop" Arista's "repeated and pervasive copying of key …
Paul Kunert, 12 Dec 2014
Money image

NASA's British cloudy collab provider scores $51m from VCs

Cloudy storage and collaboration service provider Huddle has trousered millions more cash from vulture venture capitalists to spend on biz development on both sides of the Atlantic. The UK-based outfit, started by CEO Alastair Mitchell in 2007, last night took home a $51m Series D round of funding, valuing the business at …
Paul Kunert, 12 Dec 2014

Storage firm Box: We're BIG enough... to FLOAT

Market concerns over the delayed public offering of personal cloud content manager Box could be easing, after it filed updated IPO documents showing reduced losses during a nine-month period in its fiscal 2015 year. The offering, with the S1 document filed in March, was delayed initially as players saw the growing losses as …
Chris Mellor, 11 Dec 2014
HockeyApp + Microsoft logos

Microsoft shells out the pucks for analytics firm HockeyApp

Microsoft has acquired HockeyApp, a service for testing and analysing apps in development for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Mac OS, for an undisclosed amount. The Stuttgart-based team launched HockeyApp in 2011. Using the service, developers can deploy preview apps to testers, get feedback, analyse crash reports, and view …
Tim Anderson, 11 Dec 2014

Microsoft BEATS Apple, Google ... to accepting limited Bitcoin payments

Microsoft has quietly added Bitcoin as a payment method for digital content - games and music - thanks to a deal with Bitpay that allows customers to use the cryptocurrency to add money to their MS account. Trouble is, the synthetic dosh still can't be used to pay for physical goods directly, and initially at least, it's Bitcoin …
Lindsay Dodgson, 11 Dec 2014

Daisy Group asks exec newbie to deliver managed services glory

Beefing up the tech supply and ICT managed services side of the house will be the major tasks handed to Daisy Group’s incoming CEO Neil Muller. As exclusively revealed by The Channel, Muller is set to take the reins of mid-market telco-come-IT-supplier Daisy from next year when the business is taken private again, and once he …
Paul Kunert, 11 Dec 2014

Tech Data jumps into Dell's corporate hot tub

Dell is finally falling for the charms of the largest volume disties after signing up Tech Data in parts of mainland Europe ahead of extending the deal to Blighty from next month, or so say multiple sources. The one-time direct selling purist did the distie dance with Ingram across the region earlier this year, and got jiggy …
Paul Kunert, 10 Dec 2014
Downing Street road sign

Firms will have to report OWN diverted profits under 'Google Tax' law

Under the so-called "Google tax" regime due to come in next year, multi-nationals will have to "self-report" any diverted profits to HMRC and then defend their own activities, according to draft legislation on the Diverted Profits Tax published today. Last week chancellor George Osborne pledged to slap a 25 per cent tax on …
Kat Hall, 10 Dec 2014

Pricey buys pay off for shape-shifting Alternative Networks

Revving up the acquisition engine got previously misfiring B2B comms and tech outfit Alternative Networks' top line motoring again, but some resulting cost hikes dampened the bottom line. The AIM-listed firm reported a 20 per cent sales bounce to £137.8m for the year ended September, and it returned to organic growth, albeit at …
Paul Kunert, 10 Dec 2014

Uber? Worth $40 BEEELLION? Hey, actually, hold on ...

Worstall on Wednesday The latest fundraising for Uber seems to peg the value just north of $40 billion. Which is, when you think about it, quite a hefty sum for what is, after all, just a registry of hireable people with cars. Sure, we're talking 50 countries now, 250 cities, but it's still about taxi rides. And it's a competitive market. There're …
Tim Worstall, 10 Dec 2014
Reckless Getaway

Osborne ponders giving fleeing bank customers an API getaway car

Banks will have to use standardised application programming interfaces (APIs) to make it easier for customers to move their accounts to rival services, the British government has said. In his Autumn Statement last week, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the government would launch a "call for evidence" on "how to deliver …
OUT-LAW.COM, 8 Dec 2014
NFC tag with Bluetooth connectivity

18 million iPHONE USERS HAVE NEVER BONKED to ApplePay

+Comment Oh, what a surprise. NFC has failed to ignite the imagination of iPhone users, with 90 per cent of them shunning the payment method of the future. This is among the findings of stats-loving website InfoScout, which reports that of the approximately 20 million or so iPhone 6s which have been sold, 18 million have never been used …
Simon Rockman, 8 Dec 2014

Which country has 2nd largest social welfare system in the world?

Worstall @ the Weekend The general impression we've all got is that the US is a place where the poor are simply left to starve in the gutter, unlike in soft and cuddly Europe, where we do our best to help our fellow man. That the political mantras shouted at us to keep us coughing up to pay for these welfare states might not be wholly and entirely …
Tim Worstall, 7 Dec 2014

IBM's ownership of x86 biz comes to a bloody end

Lenovo execs must be counting down the days before they can grab the System x business from IBM across Europe as it continues to disproportionately bleed unit sales and revenues in a tough market. Gartner Q3 EMEA market stats show recovery in the prior three months was nothing but a flash in the pan: shipments fell four per cent …
Paul Kunert, 4 Dec 2014
Sonos Sub

Sonos rattles begging bowl, hopes for $130m cash stream

Sonos, the Wi-Fi speaker streaming firm, is looking to raise $130m from investors, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing doc doesn't say what the cash is for and Sonos isn't saying either. It's facing increased competition as Bose and other mainstream speaker suppliers jump on the Wi-Fi …
Chris Mellor, 4 Dec 2014

Oh dear, traders: Banker bosses are monitoring your smoke breaks

Banks must consider staff relations when turning to "big data" to identify potential misconduct, says an expert. There are legitimate reasons why banks would wish to monitor staff behaviour through the latest in 'big data' analytics, but they should consider employee relations issues before using that technology, an expert has …
OUT-LAW.COM, 4 Dec 2014