The digital business week

17 Jan 2011

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

Chips are up as Intel reports US$11.5bn fourth quarter

In what has been the best year in chip manufacturer Intel’s history, 2010 revenues reached US$43.6bn, yielding the company a US$11.7bn profit for the past year. The company’s fourth quarter revenues were its highest yet at US$11.5bn.

“(The year) 2010 was the best year in Intel’s history. We believe that 2011 will be even better,” said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO.

For the fourth quarter, Intel posted revenue of US$11.5bn. The company reported fourth-quarter operating income of US$4.3bn, net income of US$3.4bn, and earnings per share of 59 cents. Fourth-quarter revenue, operating income, net income, and EPS were also all records in the company’s history.

The company reported full-year revenue of US$43.6bn, operating income of US$15.9bn, net income of US$11.7bn, and EPS of US$2.05 – all records. The company generated about US$16.7bn in cash from operations, paid cash dividends of US$3.5bn, and used US$1.5bn to repurchase 70m shares of common stock.

Intel and NVIDIA settle legal battle

Intel has entered a long-term patent cross-licence agreement with NVIDIA, resolving all legal disputes between the two companies.

Intel will pay NVIDIA $1.5bn over the next six years and Intel will have a licence to access NVIDIA’s patent subjects.

The deal excludes Intel x86 designs and areas such as Flash memory.

As a result of the agreement, NVIDIA will not be making an Intel-compatible chipset.

This deal ends the legal battle between the two companies. Intel originally sued NVIDIA in February 2009, preventing it from developing compatible chipsets for next-gen Intel processors.

NVIDIA countersued, saying this was an attempt to eliminate NVIDIA as a competitor.

The agreement will make a huge impact of the PC industry. The dispute had affected hardware companies, including Apple, which was forced to develop its own proprietary graphics solution to switch between the NVIDIA GPU and the older Intel processor on its computers.

Groupon plans US$15bn IPO this spring

After spurning a US$6bn offer from Google and taking on US$950m in venture capital, it has emerged that group buying site Groupon is planning a US$15bn initial public offer in the coming months.

In recent weeks, Groupon made history as the largest financing round for a start-up after it raised US$950m in investment from Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins, T. Rowe Price and Morgan Stanley.

According to the New York Times, Groupon has met with Wall Street banks about the IPO tipped for spring.

The IPO could be the most significant web flotation since Google went public in 2004.

Accenture acquires German CRM software company

Accenture has completed its acquisition of CAS Computer Anwendungs – und Systemberatung AG (CAS), based in Kaiserslautern, Germany, for an undisclosed amount.

CAS, which was set up in 1986, is an international provider of customer relationship management (CRM) and mobility software focused on retail execution and trade promotions for the consumer products industry. 

As a result of the acquisition, about 234 CAS employees based in Germany, the United Kingdom, United States and Australia will join Accenture. CAS will become a part of Accenture’s dedicated software business.

Accenture said it plans to increase the functionality of the software into areas such as digital merchandising, distributors’ management and analytics, and will focus on expanding in Latin America, China and India.

BAE offers to buy Norkom for €217m

Global defence and security firm BAE Systems has offered to buy Irish financial software company Norkom for €217m or €2.10 per share.

The boards of BAE Systems and Norkom said they have reached an agreement on the terms of a cash offer from BAE Systems Holdings.

Norkom provides many of the world’s leading banks with technology to counter financial crime.

The CEO of BAE Ian King said countering financial crime is a priority for governments and financial institutions.

PC shipments lower than expected due to iPad

Research from both Gartner and IDC found PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2010 were lower than expected, thanks to sales of the iPad and games consoles.

IDC found the global PC market only grew by 2.7pc in the fourth quarter, lower than its prediction of 5.5pc growth.

However, it found that shipments hit 92.1m, making them the largest ever.

Gartner saw similar results in its research, seeing a 3.1pc growth, lower than its predictions of 4.8pc, and shipments totalled to 93.5m.

This was attributed to sales of tablet computers and games consoles.