December 9, 2013
The Guardian reported that the US Supreme Court is looking into whether mathematical formulae should be protected by patent law, and if so, to what extent; determining what kinds of software should be eligible for patent protection.
The case could help to decide under what circumstances companies can be sued for using certain types of software in their products and has the potential to affect how many technology companies value their intellectual property; with HP being among several companies that have “signalled their interest” in the case.
The article states that patents are awarded only if they include an “inventive step” and are “non-obvious”; with US patent specialist lawyers Kelley Drye & Warren explaining: “The issue with computer-implemented inventions typically is whether the patent is simply claiming some broad mathematical concept, thought process or other basic tool of innovation.
“The concern is that giving someone exclusive rights to basic tools of innovation (mathematical equations) would keep others from using those tools, thus stifling innovation: how much progress would be made if only one person was allowed to use addition, subtraction or multiplication[?]”
Should the US Supreme Court rule that certain software cannot be patented, for example those that carry out mathematical calculations, “substantial amounts” could be eliminated from the intellectual property of a number of companies, with many smartphones using such calculations to connect to wireless and mobile networks.
According to the article, legal experts have over recent years claimed that courts are upholding patents “on ideas that are too vague to deserve protection” as the amount of computer-based products increases, leading to large technology companies spending money otherwise invested in research and development to defend lawsuits. However, so far the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has so far failed to adopt a test that can be used by judges to review software patent claims, resulting in inconsistencies.
The US Patent Act states that patents can be awarded to anyone who “invents or discovers a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter”, or who can improve an existing one; with an invention related to an abstract idea able to be patented if it includes “a way of applying the idea”. The article adds that in essence, the question is down to “how innovative an invention should be to receive legal protection”.
Dennis Crouch, a professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, commented: “My hope is that this case will be a vehicle for the Supreme Court to clarify the law so that we can get back to business rather than playing language games at the patent office.”
Categories : Rank 2
December 6, 2013
On the back of promising data from fellow analysts IDC on shipments growth globally, in Western Europe and the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, Context has reported that unit shipments in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region went up by six percent in the third quarter of 2013.
In terms of country-specific results, Context noted that Germany, Spain and the UK “all registered double-digit growth” in the quarter, with overall shipments for Western Europe up by seven percent, whilst the Middle East and Africa region grew eight percent, with the United Arab Emirates increasing its shipments by 26 percent, a “strong performance” from the “largest market of the region”, and thus the “principal driver of this result, with Israel seeing a 27 percent increase and Algeria a 37 percent increase.
Strong performers in Western Europe other than those already mentioned included Austria with a 17 percent increase, though many of the European nations in that area saw declines, with the Netherlands declining by 13 percent, Sweden by 16 percent, and Norway by nine percent. In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) unit shipments remained flat, though Context noted that this is “an improvement on the previous quarter’s decline”, and added that this was also “principally” a result of the growth in Russia for the quarter of eight percent alone.
Hungary also performed strongly in the CEE region with a 24 percent increase in shipments, though the Czech Republic saw a decline of 30 percent in the quarter. Overall, the results showed big gains for a number of nations in comparison to a small decline across the large majority in the EMEA market.
Zivile Brazdziunaite, Imaging Analyst at Context, noted: “Year on year unit shipments across EMEA register[ed] a positive growth in the third quarter of this year mainly due to HP, which increased sell?in levels into EMEA by 17 percent. HP holds over 40 percent share in total shipments for this period, and saw positive growth through all imaging categories year on year.”
Categories : Rank 2
December 5, 2013
BBC News reported on HP’s decision to cut 1,124 jobs in the UK from next year as part of its global downsizing, which will eventually see the OEM cut 27,000 jobs globally by the end of 2014, equating to approximately eight percent of its workforce.
The UK cuts are reportedly a result of falling demand for HP’s desktop computers, along with the company struggling to cater for people’s preference for laptops and tablets.
According to the Unite union, 600 jobs are to be cut HP’s Bracknell site, while its Sheffield site will see 23 job cuts and nearly 500 workers will be laid-off in Warrington. However, HP has said that some of the affected workers would be offered new roles within the company, stating that “HP remains committed to supporting the employability of its employees through a number of internal initiatives, including re-skilling, redeployment and support to obtain alternative employment as appropriate”.
Despite this, Unite said that may of HP’s workforce have “lost faith” in the company, with Ian Tonks, National Office at Unite, commenting: “For the last five years, HP has been addicted to a culture of job cuts in the UK to such an extent that its highly skilled workforce has little faith in the way the company is being managed and will be, going forward.
“Unite will be doing everything possible to mitigate these job losses, which are a hammer blow to the UK’s IT sector and very distressing for employees in the run-up to Christmas.”
HP recently released its fourth quarter results, which indicated that the company had “appeared to take a step forward” as well as still facing ongoing challenges; with an increase in sales of corporate computers but decline in revenue in all other units.
Categories : Rank 2
December 4, 2013
A summary of the 3Q2013 results, reported by IDC, shows that the HCP market saw 28.1 million units shipped – a year-on-year growth of 2.6 percent. The quarter marks the first time since 1Q2011 that both the inkjet and laser segments achieved year-over-year unit shipment growth, with inkjet shipments increasing 0.4 percent and laser shipments undergoing a 5.9 percent increase.
All major markets saw positive year-over-year results, led by the Asia/Pacific market which grew 5.2 percent. This was followed by Western Europe and the US, which both grew 3.5 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.
16.8 million units were shipped worldwide in the inkjet segment – the biggest hardcopy technology market, with the growth in shipments attributed to the four percent year-on-year increase of inkjet MFPs. Furthermore, six out of eight regional markets experienced growth in this segment for the first time since 1Q2011.
In terms of the laser market, monochrome laser devices grew 5.5 percent to 8.3 million units, taking a 39 percent share in the overall HCP market, with five out of eight regional markets seeing growth in this segment, particularly Latin America which grew 16.4 percent.
Colour laser shipments meanwhile grew 7.8 percent during the quarter with 1.8 million units shipped, retaining a seven percent share of the overall HCP market. All regions saw growth in this segment, with the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region experiencing the biggest growth at 28.2 percent; followed by Central and Eastern Europe (CET) with 16.1 percent and Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) with 14.3 percent.
HP was the quarter’s leading vendor, taking a 40.7 percent share of the market and growing 12.2 percent to ship more than 11.4 million units. The OEM also achieved positive year-on-year growth in all eight regional markets, with Western Europe producing the strongest results at 20.5 percent growth.
With a 20.4 percent market share, Canon was the number two ranked vendor, with results remaining “essentially unchanged” from a year ago. Two of Canon’s three largest regional markets saw positive year-on-year growth, namely Western Europe which grew 12.6 percent and the US which grew 2.2 percent.
Epson, Brother and Samsung all made it into the top five, with Epson seeing a year-on-year decline in unit shipments of 4.5 percent but growth in the APeJ market; Brother experiencing a growth of 5.7 percent at two million units shipped; and Samsung’s 4.6 percent market share remaining more-or-less unchanged from a year ago but the OEM seeing a 5.1 percent decline in shipments.
Commenting on the HCP market results, Phuong Hang, Program Manager, Worldwide Hardcopy Peripheral Tracker at IDC, said: “HP and Brother were the biggest contributors to the year-over-year increase in the worldwide hardcopy peripherals market. HP’s growth in laser technology was driven by its on-going trade-in promotion and its efforts to increase the storefront visibility of the LaserJet Pro P1102/P1102w, HP’s top-selling model. IDC expects the overall market to continue growing in the single digits over the next four quarters.”
Categories : Rank 2
December 3, 2013
IDC reported the return “to a state of positive growth” for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) markets in the third quarter of 2013, with shipments up 6.6 percent over last year to 1,472,000 units, though revenues saw a “modest decline” of one percent in the same period.
The analysts reported that shipment growth was seen “across most countries in the region”, with emerging markets in north Africa as well as Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa “the main drivers of this performance”, with more developed markets only seeing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey experience growth – Saudi Arabia’s shipments “remained flat” and South Africa’s declined.
Inkjet shipments grew 0.6 percent to 625,000 units, though revenues declined by 6.5 percent, with devices priced below $100 (€73) seeing a growth of nine percent, a “primary contributor to the decline of overall inkjet revenues” as shipments contributed almost 70 percent of the units shipped. Just under 85 percent of all inkjets shipped were MFPs, and the shipments of these increased by 2.1 percent, whilst single-function inkjets shrank by 9.2 percent in terms of units.
In terms of laser, monochrome shipments grew “substantially” by 12.8 percent to 648,000 units, though again revenues declined by 3.8 percent, whilst MFP shipments grew by 26.1 percent, with “demand from captive markets” helped increase single-function machines by 3.5 percent. Colour laser meanwhile saw 130,000 units shipped, an increase of 28.2 percent in units and 13.5 percent in revenue, with MFPs making up 63 percent of the volume, and shipments up by 33.1 percent of these.
HP remains in first place with 52.9 percent share of the market, with a nine percent increase in shipments, while Canon is second with a 20.6 percent share and Samsung is third with 17.2 percent. Brother and Epson hold fourth and fifth positions with 4.9 and 4.4 percent respectively, with Epson seeing a drastic 31.1 percent decline in shipments “due to its withdrawal from the entry-level inkjet segment”.
Ashwin Venkatchari, Senior Programme Manager for imaging, printing, and document solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, stated: “Notwithstanding the political strife in Syria, Egypt, and parts of North Africa, the MEA region has once again proved to offer one of the most sustainable growth opportunities in the world for print vendors.
“We believe that this encouraging development is organic in nature given the balance between increased tender activity among public sector entities and large enterprises and the increased SMB opportunities presented by improvements in the region’s macroeconomic environment.”
Venkatchari added: “Technologies such as multifunction printers (MFP) and digital copiers have shown sustainable growth across most of the region’s markets. At the same time, an increasing number of vendors are showing a keen interest in introducing managed print services (MPS) and document solutions to their portfolios as they look to move away from their traditional business models.”
Categories : Rank 2
December 2, 2013
Cartridge Link revealed the “novel” new way for consumers to pay for cartridge purchases on its website, noting that it had “bitten the bullet [...] to accept payment by Bitcoin” on its website www.cartridgelink.co.uk. Ink Factory in turn noted that it was the “first UK ink cartridge shop to start accepting Bitcoin in payment for printer cartridges” in early November.
Bitcoin is a virtual, internet-based currency that is both decentralised, or “free from government control”, and independent from “financial systems that have devastated economies”, and “offers a hi-tech alternative to traditional currencies” since its conception in 2008.
The currency is fee-free due to not being operated by banks, and the first Bitcoin ATM was opened in October this year in Canada, with more and more stores online accepting them. They work by secure payment and purchasing through wiring money to Bitcoin exchanges online, and the Bitcoincs are held securely in a “digital wallet” before being traded through websites that accept them, with payments able to be made through smartphone apps or on a computer, with no PIN number or card required.
Ink Factory meanwhile noted that Bitcoin transactions “cannot be reversed by the customer (unlike a credit card), but of course this is of no concern to customers shopping with reputable retailers with a clear commitment to customer satisfaction”. Cartridge Link added that amongst the advantages of using the currency are making payments anonymously, “no taxes […] and no transaction fees”, and access only gained via “physical access to [a] computer”, with the retailer benefiting by “process[ing] orders and services quickly and easily” as well as transaction being able to be “carried out directly”, increasing speed and saving costs. The company noted that it is offering the opportunity to use Bitcoins so that customers can utilise a “truly 21st-century payment method” and have “more choice and [enjoy] quicker transactions” when buying cartridges.
Categories : Rank 2
November 29, 2013
CRR reported on the webinar, which was hosted by 2degrees on 19 November with the aim of providing an introduction to remanufacturing and the potential economic benefits it could bring to businesses in the UK.
The 45-minute webinar, titled “Remanufacturing: A low risk source of additional profits”, included contributions from Dr Greg Lavery, CEO of Lavery Pennell – a company that acts as an advisor for businesses looking to become “more profitable and more sustainable” and author of the “Next Manufacturing Revolution” report; as well as Matt Bulley, Managing Director at Caterpillar Reman, a remanufacturer in the auto, industrial and electronics markets.
While Lavery provides an introduction to remanufacturing and outlines the economic benefits it could have in the UK, arguing that it allows manufacturers to increase profits whilst reducing supply risks of raw materials; Bulley explains Caterpillar’s business model for its remanufacturing business, providing a number of examples of products the company remanufactures, which spans 700 products across various sectors.
The webinar also highlights that currently just one percent of the UK manufacturing sector’s turnover is generated from remanufacturing, despite the “Next Manufacturing Revolution” report suggesting that remanufacturing has the potential to create an annual value of £5.6 billion ($9.1 billion/€6.7 billion) for manufacturers in the UK, as well as the ability to support 310,000 manufacturing jobs and to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Categories : Rank 2
November 27, 2013
The Wall Street Journal gave an overview of the results from HP, noting that it both “appeared to take a step forward” and faced “ongoing challenges”, with “increased sales of corporate computers” tempered by a decline in revenues “in each of its other units”.
Overall revenue declined by 2.8 percent to $29.1 billion (€21.4 billion), with a 13 percent decline in adjusted earnings per share, but Wall Street analysts’ lower expectations were beaten, meaning that the company’s share prices rose by about seven percent as a result. Profit increased to $1.4 billion (€1.02 billion), with a loss of $6.9 billion (€5.07 billion) attributed to the issues surrounding the Autonomy debacle, which The Recycler previously reported on.
The OEM’s enterprise group, responsible for computer servers and hardware, saw a two percent increase in sales thanks to “growth in storage and servers”, with HP attributing this to “a more aggressive sales and marketing effort”.
However, every unit outside this saw revenue fall, with the Personal Systems Unit (including PCs) dropping two percent, with notebook unit sales increasing by three percent, whilst printing fell one percent despite printer sales increasing by six percent. More negative declines were seen in its enterprise and software areas, where revenue fell by nine percent in each.
CEO Meg Whitman stated in a conference call that she was “pleased with the company’s progress, but we still have a lot of work to do”, with the Wall Street Journal adding that Whitman hopes for HP to make its products “more competitive [and] boost investment in research and development and improve its execution”.
The news outlet noted in turn that older tech companies like HP and IBM “are struggling to adapt to shifts in business technology”, such as customers renting “more of their technology over the internet” as opposed to buying it. It added that Whitman “has attempted to steady HP through a combination of improved efficiency, tighter focus and investment in new technologies”, and despite being unable to boost revenues and profits, she has “paid down a large amount of its debt, increased its cash flow and invested in some new product lines”.
Categories : Rank 2
November 25, 2013
The Star reported that Pelikan International Corporation Bhd has posted a profit for the third quarter of RM4.3 million ($1.3 million/€990,000), with the company’s restructuring creating a lower cost base that has allowed profits to climb from a net loos of RM9.4 million ($2.9 million/€2.1 million) a year ago.
Revenue however fell 5.1 percent to RM405.96 million ($126.1 million/€93.4 million) from RM427.82 million ($133 million/€98.4 million) last year due to “sales of the filing plants and private label filing business in 2012 of which approximately RM30 million ($9.3 million/€6.9 million) sales were no longer consolidated”. Earnings per share for 3Q13 meanwhile were reported at 0.85 sen compared to a loss per share of 1.84 sen a year ago.
Pelikan said that the improved results were down to its restructuring during 2012 as well as there being less restructuring expenses incurred in 3Q13 compared to a year before. It added that the stationery and printer consumable market remains “challenging” as key countries are only just starting to recover from negative GDP growth, noting that “the continued performance of the group is dependant on the sales development of the group for the remaining quarter, in particular the Germany and European markets”.
The Recycler reported in October that Pelikan achieved an operating profit of SFr6.7 million ($7.4 million/€5.5 million) and net profit of SFr4.1 million ($4.5 million/€3.3 million) in the first half of 2013; as well as reporting its plans to consolidate its German operations – Pelikan Holding AG Group and Herlitz Group, in order to reduce losses made by Herlitz.
Categories : Rank 2
November 19, 2013
The scholarship has been going for four years, with The Recycler reporting on the 2013 and 2011 campaigns, and offers US high-school students the opportunity to win a $1,000 (€740) scholarship for college, with the fourth iteration of the scholarship opened to “students of all levels of academic achievement, increasing access to the scholarship opportunity”.
The company offers the chance to win the scholarship to students if they participate in an accredited college programme in 2014, and either “build something out of used ink cartridges” or use social media to present “something inspirational about recycling and how they reduce, reuse, and recycle”, with the main thrust of the presentation to “driv[e] awareness of recycling”.
Castle Ink added that it “has the ability to reach a large amount of students and parents”, and that the scholarship “remind[s] students, in a creative way, to be aware of their impact on the environment”. Lauren Elward, Castle Ink’s CEO, stated: “Supporting a student’s ambition to achieve a college degree is of utmost importance. I am so pleased that we’re finally able to take steps to support education.”
Categories : Rank 2