Intel Capital invests USD 23 million in Indian tech firms

Intel Capital, Intel Corporation’s global investment unit, on Thursday said it has invested USD 23 million in three Indian technology companies – July Systems, KLG Systel and MCX.

However, the firm did not reveal the amount the three companies have received individually.

Funding would come from the USD 250 million Intel Capital India Technology Fund, established in December 2005, Intel Capital said in a statement.

“This fund invests in Indian technology companies to stimulate local technology innovation and the continued growth of India’s information technology industry,” it said.

July Systems provides mobile internet solutions, which enables media brands to publish, distribute, monetise inventory and personalise services for consumers.

KLG Systel provides smart grid and energy management and efficiency solutions to power utilities and end-users.

MCX, a leading commodity futures electronic exchange in India, has permanent recognition from the Indian government for facilitating online trading, clearing and settlement operations for futures market across the country.

“Intel Capital’s investment in July Systems, KLG Systel and MCX reinforces our commitment towards fostering Indian innovation,” President of Intel Capital and Executive Vice- president of Intel Arvind Sodhani said.

Since 1998, Intel Capital has invested more than USD 200 million in Indian technology companies across 10 cities, the statement added.

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Google teams up with Intel, Sony

Tired of flipping through hundreds of cable channels to find something to watch? Google may be able to help you.

The web search giant has teamed up with Intel, Sony and Logitech to develop a new television platform that the company hopes will extend its dominance from computers and cellphones to televisions, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The reports said that the Google service will run on set-top boxes or built-in TV hardware that uses Intel’s energy-efficient Atom processors, Google’s Android operating system and remote controls developed by Logitech.

The open-source Google TV platform will be open to third-party developers to write their own plug-ins, as they have for the Android platform, the paper reported. Sony is hoping build the new service into its TV sets in a move that could help it gain against increasingly fierce competition from Samsung and others, the reports said.

Nokia, Intel team up in phone software race

Nokia, the world’s biggest maker of mobile handsets, said on Monday it would merge its Linux Maemo software platform, used in its flagship N900 phone, with Intel’s Moblin, which is also based on Linux open-sourced software, to create a new platform, MeeGo.

“They have understood the only way to beat Microsoft, Google and Apple is to do it through scale — get the platform to more devices,” said John Strand, owner and head of Strand Consult after the announcements at the Mobile World Congress fair.

“However, they have not realized it’s not about getting to many platforms, it’s about making something the consumer likes. The bees don’t go for the biggest garden, they go for the most beautiful flowers,” Strand said.

The cellphone industry is increasingly focusing on smartphones, devices with computer-like capabilities that have fatter margins than ordinary phones, whose sales may overtake those of other phones as early as this year.

LUCKY SEVEN ?

Microsoft’s long-awaited revamp of its mobile software follows a lukewarm reception for Windows Mobile 6.5 in October, which most analysts viewed as a poor competitor.

It has been losing the battle for advanced phone users over the past few years, taking just 8.8 percent of the global smartphone systems market last year, according to technology analysis firm Canalys, down from 13.9 percent the year before.

“We hope seven’s our lucky number,” Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told a news conference.

In the launch of Windows Phone 7 Microsoft has put an emphasis on appealing to everyday users as well as its core business market.

Phone 7 handsets to be made by companies including HTC, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, will feature touch screens with quick access to social networking functions from Facebook, music and video through Microsoft’s Zune software and games linked to its Xbox system.

Microsoft said its main network carrier partners are AT&T and France Telecom’s Orange and the new phones will be in stores by the holiday season at the end of the year.

“We’re really trying to go after the life market. People work, they live, and I think on their phone they don’t make a big distinction, so we need to support all aspects of somebody’s life,” Ballmer told Reuters Television in an interview.

However handset makers such as HTC, Samsung and Motorola are also turning to Google’s Android operating software, which is not only free but attracting a fast-growing developer community and already has 4.7 percent of the market.

Microsoft is the only major phone software maker to charge a license fee to handset makers.

Ballmer told Reuters Television he had no plans to change the company’s charging policy.

“Windows Phone 7 is a massive bet by Microsoft to try and get themselves back in the game. They’re going to throw a lot of money at it to reassert themselves in the sector,” said Ben Wood, director of UK-based telecoms research firm CCS Insight.

NOKIA, INTEL

Meanwhile the news from Intel and Nokia came as more of a surprise to the industry.

Nokia only rolled out its first Maemo phone — the result of a five-year development project — three months ago, with analysts seeing Maemo boosting the firm’s chances of succeeding in the higher end of the market.

The market for software platforms on cellphones is led by Nokia’s Symbian, but it has lost much ground lately to Apple, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion and to Google.

Nokia said it was still committed to using Symbian in most of its smartphones, but would use the new MeeGo in the most advanced models.

The software deal announced on Monday is also set to boost Intel’s chances of getting its chips into the cellphones of the Finnish company, which controls around 40 percent of the global phone market.

“We believe the partnership … will result in significant sales volumes for Intel,” said CCS Insight analyst John Jackson.

Nokia’s shares closed up 0.3 percent at 9.49 euros. The DJ Stoxx European technology sector index fell 0.3 pct.

LINUX

Google said it was relaxed about the development.

“Google benefits when anyone produces a great phone that enables the Web experience,” Vic Gundotra, who leads Google’s mobile engineering, told reporters. “If Intel and Nokia can deliver innovation we think that’s very exciting.”

Network operators have wanted a smaller number of operating systems, as supporting them is timely and costly, but the number has in recent years only increased.

Samsung, the world’s second-biggest handset maker, joined the party on Sunday by unveiling its first phone to use its own new operating system, called ‘bada’.

But now the open-source computer operating system Linux is starting to win traction, with Google using Linux for its Android platform, and Nokia rolling out its top-of-the-range model N900 using Linux Maemo.

“There has been a step change for Linux in mobile,” Morgan Gillis, head of the wireless Linux system user foundation LiMo, said in an interview. “No other operating system now matches the vendor coverage of Linux.

Intel refuses Saturday work ban

INTEL

An ultra-orthodox Jew at the Intel plant in Jerusalem on Sunday

It’s Sabbath, says ultra-orthodox Jews
The world’s largest computer chip making firm Intel is at loggerheads in Jerusalem with ultra-orthodox Jews after it refused to stop work on Saturdays in line with the latter’s religious observances.
More than a thousand ultra-orthodox Jews, donning traditional black hats and long coats, marched to protest against Intel’s rejection of their demand to stop work in deference to Sabbath — the Saturday religious holiday when Jews are not supposed to work. “Shabbes! Shabbes!” they said, chanting the Yiddish word for Sabbath. Some protesters were injured when security personnel subjected them with pepper spray.
Prepared for the demonstration, Intel ringed its compound in the Jerusalem industrial estate with barbed wire. The protests followed lengthy, but fruitless negotiations between the organisers and Intel, which declined to employ only non-Jewish workers on Saturdays.
In its riposte, the company threatened to stop production in Israel if protests did not abate. “If there are continued protests or delays in manufacturing at the Jerusalem plant, the company will be forced to close it and may also decide to leave Israel in the end,” Maxine Fassberg, general manager of Intel Israel, was quoted as saying.
The Israeli ultra-orthodox have in recent months escalated efforts to enforce the Saturday work ban. They have been battling police in recent weeks to stop parking lots from functioning on the weekly holiday.

Intel to pay AMD $1.25B in legal settlement

intel

An Intel sign is shown in front of Intel Corp. headquarters in Santa Clara, California

 Intel Corp. is paying $1.25 billion to Advanced Micro Devices Inc., its largest rival in the market for computer processors, to settle all antitrust and patent suits, the companies said on Thursday.

Intel said it has agreed to abide by a set of “business practice provisions.” In return, AMD is dropping suits in the U.S. and Japan, and withdrawing complaints to antitrust regulators worldwide.

AMD has been complaining to regulators for five years that Intel has broken antitrust laws to limit AMD’s market share.

In May, the European Union fined Intel a record $1.45 billion, and last year, Korea’s Fair Trade Commission fined Intel $18.6 million. Intel is appealing both rulings.

EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said the European Commission “takes note” of Intel’s settlement with AMD but that it does not change Intel’s duty to comply with European antitrust law.

In 2005, Japan’s Fair Trade Commission found that Intel violated antitrust rules there. Intel accepted that ruling without admitting wrongdoing.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission also is investigating.

Intel has previously defended its sales practices — which include rebates to big Intel customers — as legitimate and good for customers because it can lead to lower prices.

Intel said that the $1.25 billion settlement means its spending in the current quarter will now be $4.2 billion rather than the $2.9 billion it had previously forecast. It also expects its tax rate to be 20 percent rather than 26 percent. All other expectations are unchanged, Intel said.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, owns about 80 percent of the worldwide microprocessor market, while AMD, based in Sunnyvale, owns most of the remaining.