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07 Feb 06. IBM will unveil a new processor on Tuesday that will be twice as fast as those of competitors such as Sun, Intel and AMD when it appears in 2007, according to the group. IBM’s Power6 chip is a radical departure from the trend among microprocessor makers to produce more energy-efficient chips after their race to increase speeds created overheating problems. IBM said it had broken through energy and heat barriers with the Power6 to achieve speeds of between 4 and 5 gigahertz – more than double the performance of the next generation of Intel’s Itanium chip, planned at less than 2GHz. The processor will give IBM an edge in the high-end server market, operating faster in the same “power envelope” as its rivals. Bernie Myerson, chief technology officer of IBM’s Systems and Technology group, said existing chip technology reached its physical limits four years ago in terms of doubling the number of transistors on a chip while reducing the amount of power needed to run them. But techniques such as stretching and squeezing the silicon used, improving synchronisation at high speeds and taking a holistic approach to improving the chip architecture had enabled a breakthrough. (Source: FT.com)

02 Feb 06. SAP announced its long-awaited move into the on-demand software business on Thursday, which analysts and competitors said could raise questions about the software company’s business model. The German software group unveiled a limited version of its customer relationship management software that will be “hosted” on IBM computers and sold on a subscription basis. Under an on-demand contract, customers use applications that run on centrally managed servers, rather than installing and running them on their own machines. They pay a simple monthly subscription rather than up-front licence fees and regular annual maintenance contracts. SAP’s move echoes initiatives announced by Siebel Systems, which has been overtaken by SAP as the leading supplier of CRM software, and Microsoft. Oracle completed its purchase of Siebel this week, setting up a new area of conflict with arch-rival SAP. The push into selling an on-demand version of CRM reflects the fact that this has become the first corner of the business software market where the new approach has worked on a broad scale. According to AMR Research, the on-demand CRM market, though worth only $596m last year, is set to grow at a compound rate of 29 per cent between 2004-2009. Sales of traditional software licences, worth $4.2bn, are set to grow at only 6 per cent. SAP expects many of the customers for the new service to be large companies adopting CRM for the first time, but which eventually switch to running the software in-house instead. Persuading customers to make that transition could be important to SAP’s long-term revenues, said Rob Bois, an analyst at AMR. “Ultimately, SAP would prefer to move [on-demand] customers over to the licensed model.” Marc Benioff, chief executive of Salesforce.com, which has emerged as the leading stand-alone seller of on-demand software, said traditional software companies faced difficulties in changing their business approach. “SAP, like Oracle and Microsoft, now risks cannibalising its existing customer base,” he wrote in an e-mail to employees. (Source: FT.com)

09 Feb 06. Imagination Technologies Group, a developer of system-on-chip intellectual property, has reported that its strategic partner, ARM, has licensed the PowerVR MBX Lite 3D graphics intellectual property core to Centrality Communications for use in global positioning system products. Imagination has a long-term joint development agreement with ARM for the integration of its graphics alongside ARM’s microprocessor. Imagination receives licence fees and royalty revenues on system-on-chip products incorporating its intellectual property. Centrality is a fabless (designs but does not manufacture) semico

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