The tech business week: Intel to merge units, Microsoft now second-richest company


24 Nov 2014

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A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the news chip giant Intel is to merge its PC and mobile units into one Client Computing Group.

Intel to merge PC and mobile units into one Client Computing Group

In recognition of the blurring of the lines between tablet and laptop computers, chip giant Intel is merging its PC and mobile chip businesses into a new division called the Client Computing Group.

The new division, which launches at the start of next year, will include the teams that develop Core processors for desktops and laptops, including the MacBook Air, and teams that develop Atom chips for smartphone and tablet devices.

It is understood that the new unit will be led by Kirk Skaugen, who currently heads the PC chip group.

In a memo to employees CEO Brian Brian Krzanich told employees that the head of the tablet and phone chip division Hermann Eul will stay on to help the transition and a new role for him will be announced in the new year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft leapfrogs ExxonMobil to become second-richest company

Shaking off its reputation as a lumbering dinosaur, Microsoft has surpassed oil producer ExxonMobil to become the second-richest company in the world at US$410bn.

In recent months, Microsoft has undergone a massive overhaul in terms of its business development focus and its job numbers. Last July, the company announced it was going to cut as many as 18,000 jobs worldwide to facilitate this new focus.

This has seemingly struck a chord with investors. Microsoft has seen a significant growth in its stock value that saw it surpass ExxonMobil’s value of US$404bn, which has also been affected by the current drop in oil prices.

Despite its growth, Microsoft firmly remains in the shadow of the world’s most valuable company, Apple, which is currently worth US$668bn.

Volkswagen and Mercedes voice concerns over Google’s in-car systems

Automobile manufacturing giants Volkswagen and Mercedes have revealed they have concerns that internet services provider Google may be using its in-car systems to gather too much data about their customers.

The companies voiced their objections at a European car industry conference last month, revealing concerns that a potential conflict may arise around making the gathered data available.

Google currently provides in-car interfaces and mapping services to manufacturers. Data acquired by the systems could potentially be of use to firms for sales and marketing purposes.

“Google tries to accompany people throughout their day, to generate data and then use that data for economic gain. It’s at that point where a conflict with Google seems pre-programmed. That’s where we need to negotiate,” said Mercedes chief executive Dieter Zetsche, as reported by The Irish Times.

Apple adds UnionPay payment option to customers in China

UnionPay, China’s most popular payment card, has been added to consumer tech giant Apple’s App Store payment options in the Asian country.

This decision by Apple could prove to be a major money spinner due to the potential scale of the agreement, as UnionPay has issued 4.5bn cards around the world to date, including all cities and rural areas in China.

As a bank card network, UnionPay operates China’s national interbank clearing and settlement system, develops the worldwide UnionPay card acceptance network, promotes the issuance and usage of the UnionPay card, as well as other payment solutions, so as to provide quality, efficient and safe payment services to cardholders.

Salesforce.com beats analysts’ expectations by 1 cent

In its latest earnings call, Salesforce.com announced diluted non-GAAP earnings per share of US$0.14, surpassing analysts’ predictions by a single cent for the fourth quarter running.

Salesforce.com’s third-quarter results for the fiscal year 2015 revealed revenue of US$1.38bn for the customer relationship management company, marking an increase of 29pc year-on-year.

Subscription and support accounted for 93pc of this total revenue, rising 28pc year-on-year to US$1.29bn.

Amazon preparing to launch hotel booking website

Electronic commerce company Amazon looks set to enter the travel market with the launch of a new website that allows users to book hotel rooms.

Skift reports that the new site, Amazon Travel, will utilise the company’s familiar brand to create a marketplace for independent and boutique hotels in the US who struggle to compete with big hotel chains and internet travel agencies.

Although Amazon has yet to announce the new venture officially, Skift sources say the service could be rolled out as early as 1 January and will initially feature selected hotels near New York, Seattle and Los Angeles. Written content on attractions in each hotel’s area is to also be included on Amazon Travel.

According to two hotels already signed up to the website, Amazon Travel will allow each establishment to feature its room types, availability, pricing information and photos at a cost of 15pc commission for each pre-paid booking.

Intel image via Shutterstock

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