Weekend news roundup: Intel reveals low-power Silvermont chip design, US probes IBM over bribery claims

7 May 2013

In our round-up of some of the top tech stories from the weekend, Intel’s ‘Silvermont’ chip design focuses on mobile, the US Justice Department is investigating IBM over bribery allegations, and Zynga looks to Farmville 2 to turn its fortunes around.

Intel unveils low-power mobile chip design

Intel has revealed the latest in its arsenal to compete in the mobile space, a new low-power chip architecture, AllThingsD reported.

‘Silvermont’ focuses on devices like tablets and smartphones. Such mobile devices’ limitations on battery life require system-on-a-chip specifications made with energy efficiency in mind.

The design incorporates Intel’s ‘tri-gate’ 3-D transistor technology, which essentially lets the company create smaller, faster processors which can perform at a lower voltage with less power leakage.

Intel claims an improvement of about five times lower power consumption over its current Atom core mobile chips, with three times more peak performance.

U.S. Justice Department probes IBM over bribery allegations

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating IBM over corruption claims in several European and Asian countries, according to a government document, ZDNet reported.

In IBM’s latest 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), further bribery charges are being added to the ones it already faces from the SEC over its activities in China and South Korea.

The new investigation pertains to allegations of corruption in Argentina, Bangladesh, Poland, and Ukraine.

The April 30 filing reveals IBM is being investigated to see whether or not it violates the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which makes it illegal under U.S. law to bribe foreign government officials to win business, even if the acts are not committed on US soil.

IBM said it is co-operating with the justice department on the investigation.

Zynga’s gameplan relies on FarmVille 2, says CEO

Social-gaming company Zynga is turning to its game FarmVille 2 to revive its ailing operation, CNET reported.

Zynga’s revenue jumped to US$1.2bn in 2012, but losses continue to mount.

A key component to the turnaround plan is to give FarmVille players the same experience on mobile as on desktop.

“The ideal is to make that one seamless experience between web and mobile so you can take your farming experience from work to home,” Zynga CEO Mark Pincus told Reuters. “We’re having to retool and reinvent around our process and technology.”

Columnist turned investor MG Siegler leaves CrunchFund for Google Ventures

TechCrunch columnist MG Siegler has left his post at CrunchFund to join Google Ventures as a general partner focusing on seed and early stage investments, The Next Web reported.

Siegler stated in a blog post that he had been in talks with Google Ventures for “a few months”.

The appeal of Google Ventures isn’t hard to understand, according to The Next Web. The firm has US$300m to invest per year, of a total US$1.5bn fund. Joining Google Ventures puts Siegler among the stratosphere of venture capital.

CrunchFund remains an active player in the technology space, but on a smaller scale than Google Ventures.

41 of the Fortune 500 companies are tech companies

Fortune Magazine has released its list of Fortune 500 companies, ranking the top 500 companies by global income, Venture Beat reported.

Notable this year is Apple, with its US$156bn in 2012 sales, jumping into the top 10 for the first time ever.

And Google, with its US$50bn year, bulled its way up almost 20 spots to hit No 55.

Perhaps most impressive, however, is Facebook which, with the youngest CEO in the Fortune 500, made the list for the very first time, clocking in at 487.

Amazon launches Android app store in China

Amazon.com Inc has launched an Android app store that offers paid apps in China, beating Google Inc, as the e-commerce giant seeks to increase the amount of digital content it offers in the world’s largest mobile phone market, Reuters reported.

Amazon launched its Android app store over the weekend for China users to download both free and paid apps, said Amazon China spokesman Billy Huang.

Google’s official app store only offers free apps in China.

Amazon is the first Western technology company to offer a platform for paid Android apps in China and Huang said the company is working with software developers to increase the number of apps on offer.

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