Monday, August 14, 2006

Forces of the sword

Is this just a trend or is something changing? Companies know the power of word-of-mouth network that is out there. If you have diligently clicked on some of the links I have posted, do you realize you have unconsciously added to the # of hits and amount of traffic to each website? Don’t worry. I am not paid by anyone to put them up on my blog. Welcome to the world of Web 2.0! Convergence, integration, platforms…words that are common in hardware, devices, design architecture etc. are now flooding the web arena. What’s hot - blogs, tags, RSS feeds etc. You could post a question on your own blog and if you have made it public, you will get comments and even answers. Go to any gadget forum, ask where to get your favorite tech toy and you get 1,000 responses from around the world. Corporate blogs - product or service reviews – advertising - marketing. The word-of-mouth network is so efficient now - the multiplier effect. Beware the double-edged sword.

And this next one on Workers, Place your Bets, comes close to me. Big corporations such as Yahoo, Google and Microsoft are going to rank and file level for prediction markets. Such a platform is helpful because it aggregates knowledge from a wide base. These are particularly useful in technology, where change is dynamic. Companies need to adapt, be versatile or just get left behind. Close to me, as I had similar experience (to bet on a particular technology at company-wide level). Justifications… justifications… justifications; bridge the gap; technology and market assessment; resources; value chain; strategy etc. Such a platform to share knowledge/brainstorm, creates an internal infrastructure where we get feedback, listen to potential issues and concerns, thus enable us to focus and better an executable strategy. However, such sessions and systems must be managed effectively and organized appropriately. Otherwise, it will be more time and more resources wasted, and leave employees more confused or simply more “lost” than ever before. Again, a double-edged sword.

Forces of the sword come all way, external and internal.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Patents = $$$

One is convicted of deceptive conduct; while the other is ruled for defective patent.

Rambus was found quietly building a portfolio of patents, and misleading JEDEC members to believe that it was not seeking patents. Rambus locked licensees into agreements on their terms by making their patents known through infringement lawsuits, and after the standards setting organization (SSO) processes were implemented. It was said that Rambus gained information about the pending standard, and then amended its patent applications to ensure that subsequently-issued patents would cover the ultimate standard. Possible remedies include stopping the company from licensing its patents, or placing a cap on royalties. In the first quarter of 2006, Rambus earned USD41.7 million from patent licensing. This could impact Rambus's business that mainly license patents to memory chip companies.

In another piece, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled a second patent to be invalid for Pfizer. This patent covering the calcium salt of atorvastatin - an active ingredient in Lipitor, would have lasted until June 2011. This could cost Pfizer more than USD10 billion in sales of Lipitor, if Ranbaxy will be able to market its generic equivalent 15 months earlier than expected in the US. The technical defect of this patent is related to claims. Pfizer plans to pursue the option for correcting this defect at the USPTO. I am no expert in patents but in my knowledge, claims, especially the first claim, are critical to determine if a patent is valid, and if valid, is it then a strong one. Hmmmm, hopefully this does not turn out to be a USD10 billion defect.


I do not know Korean, but anyone keen to test out may go to Cyworld, Korea, the largest social networking website in Korea and probably Asia.

With teenage girls as their primary target audience, will Cyworld, U.S. version, surpass MySpace ?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Old news

This is already old news. For those who have read my post "New owner...who?" ...the answer is out. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and Silver Lake Partners will acquire 80.1% stake in Philips' Semiconductors business, with Philips retaining a 19.9% stake. About 25,000 patents - 1/4 of Royal Philips' patent portfolio - will be transferred to Philips Semiconductors. The two companies will also enter a royalty free licensing agreement.

Philips Semiconductors will launch a new name for its company on 1 September 2006.

Motorola-->Freescale, Agilent-->Avago, Infineon-->Qimonda, Philips Semiconductor-->?

Start guessing again.

New owner...who?

Motorola-->Freescale, Agilent-->Avago, Infineon-->Qimonda, Philips Semiconductor-->?

I read an article today, 26 July 2006, that a trio of private equity firms are now jostling for position to be the new owner of Royal Philips Electronics' semiconductor division. As a separate entity, it was reported that the semiconductor unit would be the world's 11th largest chipmaker, and third in Europe behind Infineon Technologies AG and STMicroelectronics NV. Initial reports indicated the company had wanted to sell the unit outright, but apparently found no takers, or at least not at an agreed-upon price -- estimates showed that the unit would be worth about USD7.6 billion. "...the logical step was to find a partner and this appears to have failed..." quoted from various sources.

With some urge to speculate who will be THE new owner, I checked out the portfolios of the 3 groups of bidders.

Group A: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (New York, NY) with Silver Lake Partners (Menlo Park, CA).

-Combined portfolio include, but not limited, to Avago Technologies, Inc. and Flextronics.

Group B
: Permira Advisors (London), Texas Pacific Group (Fort Worth, TX),and Blackstone Group (New York, NY).

-Most of their technology investments associate with more unfamiliar names (at least to me) such as FyreStorm, Covi Technologies and Aristos Logic.

Group C
: Bain Capital Inc. (Boston),Apax Partners Worldwide LLC (London), and Francisco Partners Management LLC (Menlo Park, CA).

-Portfolio include ChipPAC, Wisair, CGS SOlar, AMI Semiconductor and MagnaChip Semiconductor.

Group A and C seem to have more investment experiences related to semiconductor manufacturing/fabrication technologies. Well, Avago is a semiconductor spin-off from Agilent, but I believe their specialization is more into LED chips. Group C's Wisair is a provider of Ultra WideBand(UWB) and Wirelss-UWB(W-UWB) chipset solutions; and CGS Solar, a manufacturer of solar modules. Not close enough to IC manufacturing and business. But they have ChipPAC, AMI Semiconductor and MagnaChip Semiconductor (formerly Hynix Semiconductor's System IC Busines). Group B's FyreStorm is a fabless semiconductor that develops power management technologies; Covi, a video surveillance company; and Aristos Logic that works on storage processor for network storage.

Well, not as hard as guessing who will reign supreme in "The Apprentice, Part X", "The Amazing Race, Part Y", "Treasure Hunters"...also not as tough to guess where are the big big bucks in "Deal or No Deal".

What is your bet on this ? You ask about mine ?
I to guess.