HUA HIN, Thailand - Google co-founder Larry Page made his first earnings
announcement this week, days after taking the chief executive helm from Eric
Schmidt, and left investors uncomfortably spooked.
First-quarter profit rose 18% to US$2.3 billion as revenue gained 27%, amid
higher operating costs. The company hired more workers in the period, devoted
more resources to research and development and increased marketing spending.
Page's announcement that he would add 6,200 employees this year after signing
up 2,000 in January left investors concerned as to the direction the new CEO is
taking the world's most profitable
technology company. At the end of March Google had 26,316 workers.
Media-shy Page said little during his short conference call aside from
expressing his optimism about the company's future, leaving a trail of
questions by analysts and investors to be handled by other Google executives.
Expenses are likely to be driven up further as Google competes with rivals such
as Facebook and Apple. Salary increases of 10% for existing staff, aimed at
helping to ensure their loyalty, will add further to operating costs, which
including payroll jumped 55% in the quarter from a year earlier to $2.84
Narrowing margins helped to encourage a sell-off in Google shares, which fell
5.4% to a six-month low of $547 following the announcement.
had its own issues to deal with this week when New York businessman Paul Ceglia
filed new court documents that included e-mails purportedly from company
co-founder Mark Zuckerberg bolstering Ceglia's claim to 50% of the company.
Ceglia said in his original lawsuit filed last year that he had entered into a
contract in 2003 to design and develop Facebook, which is now worth an
estimated $50 billion. Recent e-mails indicate that he invested $1,000 in the
project, which gave him a 50% stake. The dialogue between the two discusses
business plans, revenue ideas and domain names for the fledgling social
network. Zuckerberg claims Ceglia's e-mails are fraudulent.
Zuckerberg has been in and out of court several times over the past six years
to battle a number of contenders staking claims in the company, including
Harvard contemporaries Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. The twins claimed the idea
for a social network was stolen from them by Zuckerberg, who in 2008 settled
with them and a number of claimants.
Microsoft's "patch Tuesday" - the second Tuesday of the month - has come round
again and the world's largest software company seems to be trying to better
itself by issuing even more than previously. Microsoft's bug-fix cycle rolled
out 17 security updates to fix a staggering 64 vulnerabilities within its code,
making this patch Tuesday the largest yet.
The most important fixes targeted a flaw in Internet Explorer that was
exploited in a hacking contest last month. IE 8 and earlier versions of the
world's most popular web browser were affected. If exploited, remote code
execution and malware installation by hackers would be possible on an unpatched
Of the 17 patches, nine were rated as critical and eight important; all
supported versions of Windows were affected along with the Office productivity
suite. It is a small wonder that so many people still use IE considering its
constant need for patching and vulnerability on the web. There are plenty of
safer alternatives out there.
Chip giant Intel has launched a new range of smaller, low-power processors
designed specifically for tablet devices. The Oak Trail is the latest version
of its predecessor chip, the Atom. It boasts significant performance boosts,
increased battery saving capabilities, and advances in technology for viewing
high-definition video on mobile devices.
The market is dominated by Cambridge, United Kingdom-based ARM Holdings, whose
processors are commonplace in smart phones and tablets. One drawback with some
of the ARM designs, such as the Nvidia Tegra, is the inability to run Windows.
Intel's 45 nanometer Oak Trail will support Windows 7, Google's new Chrome OS
and Android, among others.
Microsoft has stated that it will be introducing ARM support for the next
release of Windows, slated for 2012.
Intel are entering a new market and the road ahead will be a tough one,
although the company has shown previously that it has the right stuff and is
not the world's largest chip maker for nothing.
The company has also teamed up with memory manufacturer Micron to introduce 20
nanometer versions of NAND flash memory, which is commonly used in mobile
devices and solid state drives. The smaller manufacturing process means that
the physical space occupied by the chips can be reduced by 30-40%.
An 8-gigabyte memory cell has already been produced and is being tested with a
view to being launched later this year. Larger-capacity chips will follow.
Martin J Young is an Asia Times Online correspondent based in Thailand.