Saturday, May 30, 2009

Taiwan Memory's waiting game

There is now a lot of speculation that Taiwan Memory is simply going to wait out the Taiwanese DRAM companies and buy up some of their assets on the cheap when they fold. If Taiwan Memory actually follows through this strategy, it could turn out to be a smart business move as well as a face-saving gesture for a company (to use that term loosely for this state-organized entity) so rudely rebuffed by Taiwan's DRAM makers when it offered to save them through M&A. Promos and Powerchip are particularly ripe for picking. Still, TM would have to gather most of Taiwan's DRAM capacity to really make a go of it, and Nanya is likely to continue to hold out with the help of the surprisingly resilient Micron, which has surpassed Elpida for third spot in the global DRAM rankings as of Q1 of this year.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lenovo's continued slide

Lenovo's most recent annual financial results are not pretty. The firm lost $268 million over its financial year that ended March 31. With Liu Chuanzhi back in charge, one might think the firm will turn around. That's highly unlikely. Lenovo's reliance on the Chinese market and Chinese government procurement has made it perfectly unsuitable to compete against the big boys outside of its home turf (it even racked up losses in the Asia-Pacific region ex. China). The current strategy seems to be a further retreat from the global marketplace. This move may curb losses in the short term, but will do little to push Lenovo to upgrade its capabilities.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Intel vs. EU

In addition to Intel executives, some outsiders are crying foul over the EU's fine for Intel's anti-competitive practices (link). Peter Gumbel in Forbes believes that the EU picks on American firms for alleged anti-competitive practices because many European firms with monopolistic tendencies are owned by various EU member states so the EU is politically unable to go after them. Others, such this unsigned EE times editorial, see the Intel ruling as just another confirmation of Intel's anti-competitive after similar rulings against Intel in recent years in Korea and Japan (link). Looking at the ten biggest antitrust fines imposed on companies by the European Commission, four of the companies are in fact American. This could be construed as evidence of an anti-American bent to the EU's regulations, but three of the four fines were imposed on the recalcitrant Microsoft, which kept dragging its feet to comply with the initial European Commission ruling. Moreover, five of the other ten largest fines have gone against firms from EU member states with all five hailing from the three of the four largest EU economies, France, Germany and the UK (the eighth largest fine went against a South African firm). Given what we know about Wintel's market power, it looks like the EU's moves against Intel were probably as well justified as the EU's moves against market-bending Microsoft were.