News Bits: Alienware Turns 10, AMD Fusion Announced, Acer Turns 30 and Predicts Major Growth

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Alienware celebrates 10th anniversary

October 24th – Alienware is celebrating its 10th anniversary – 10 years of building the most powerful PCs for the world’s most demanding PC users, and 10 years of showing that PCs do not have to be dull, generic boxes lacking personality or style. Alienware CEO Nelson Gonzalez said:

"When I think about what we’ve been able to do for our customers and the PC market over the last 10 years, I’m humbled – but not so humbled that I can’t look ahead and see that Alienware is going to keep on pushing the envelope. Since the inception of the company in 1996, delivering ultimate performance, unmatched style and uncompromising service have always been core to Alienware’s DNA, and we’ll continue moving forward and upward. We truly believe that the stars really are the limit. After all, we didn’t name the company ‘Alienware’ just because it sounds cool.”

Alienware has received numerous product and service awards; the company was among the first to release notebooks featuring Intel Core 2 Duo processors, and is currently the only company to offer a 17" Nvidia SLI-based notebook with 1GB of graphics RAM. Visit this page to view Alienware’s innovative time line over the past decade. Alienware is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with its two-week 10 killer promotions. The "Decade of Dominance" campaign starts on October 24, 2006.

President and co-founder of Alienware, Alex Aguila, stated:

"We’ve had a lot of industry firsts during our 10 years in business thus far — more than I could I have ever imagined back in 1996. And we remain completely committed to keeping the Alienware innovation engine running at warp speed by introducing better and more innovative products into the market. We know customers are going to continue to remain highly passionate about what we offer because, ultimately, we are the customers — we’re building these machines to beat our own demanding standards. It’s hard not to get excited about the next 10 years.”

AMD completes ATI acquisition

October 25th – AMD today announced it has finished its $5.4 billion acquisition of ATI Technologies Inc. The new company merges AMD’s leadership in microprocessor technologies and ATI’s leadership in graphics, chipsets, and consumer electronics. Hector Ruiz, AMD CEO and Chairmen, said in a statement:

“Today marks a historic day for our employees, our partners and our customers as we officially welcome ATI into the AMD family. On day one, we are delivering a winning set of complementary technologies, igniting a new level of innovation and continuing to champion choice for the industry. Thanks to the strength of our talented employees, the new AMD now has a full range of intellectual property (IP) in microprocessors, graphics, chipsets and consumer electronics to deliver open platforms and integrated solutions. In the near term, customers gain a new level of choice, and in the long term, we believe the possibilities for innovation are truly limitless.”

AMD acquired all outstanding common shares of ATI for $4.3 billion in cash and 58 million shares of AMD common stock under the terms of the transaction. AMD financed the cash portion of the transaction with a combination of new debt and cash.

In 2007, AMD plans to present a large range of integrated platforms to serve markets including commercial clients, mobile computing, and gaming and media computing. According to AMD, the integrated platforms will bring improved stability, better time-to-market, increased performance and energy efficiency.

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AMD announces "Fusion" CPU + GPU unit

AMD has announced it is working on a new CPU/GPU silicon that integrates the CPU and GPU into a single unit. Codenamed Fusion, it is expected to arrive in late 2008 – early 2009. Below is what AMD says Fusion will bring:

AMD intends to design Fusion processors to provide step-function increases in performance-per-watt relative to today’s CPU-only architectures, and to provide the best customer experience in a world increasingly reliant upon 3D graphics, digital media and high-performance computing. With Fusion processors, AMD will continue to promote an open platform and encourage companies throughout the ecosystem to create innovative new co-processing solutions aimed at further optimizing specific workloads. AMD-powered Fusion platforms will continue to fully support high-end discrete graphics, physics accelerators, and other PCI Express-based solutions to meet the ever-increasing needs of the most demanding enthusiast end-users.

AMD plans to integrate Fusion into all product categories. The integrated GPU will most likely be a value solution.

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Acer expects to take No. 3 spot in global PC market in 2007

At its 30th Anniversary party, Acer predicted it would take over the No. 3 spot in global PC market share in 2007, a year earlier than the their previous estimate. Acer plans to partner with more PC parts suppliers and distributors, who will help expand their market. They expect to topple Lenovo Holdings as the #3 PC maker by the end of next year.

President of Acer, Gianfranco Lanci, said "We can become No. 3 through organic growth, not through merger and acquisition." Lenovo is currently third place in global PC shipments. Acer is growing at a much faster rate than Lenovo, and they even outpaced first- and second-place PC makers. Acer had a 34.3 percent growth rate in Q3, compared to Lenovo’s 10, HP’s 15, and Dell’s 3.6 percent. Acer expects to maintain its growth by selling more notebooks and small form factor desktops. The company believes the key to winning is to offer products that generate stable demand, and sacrificing some profit margin so their channel partners can make reasonable profits as well.

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Sony will keep producing batteries despite recalls

Sony Corp. said on Tuesday that it has no plans to withdraw from the battery business despite the recent recalls by PC manufacturers concerning Sony-made batteries. Sony Executive Deputy President stated: "The battery operation is a very important business for us. We have no intention of quitting it or scaling it down."

In rare cases, the affected Sony-made batteries could overheat and catch fire. Nearly 9.6 million batteries manufactured between August 2006 and February 2006 have been recalled. Sony did not disclose the sizes of its battery business.

The notebook PC market is currently facing a battery shortage due to the recalls; Sony’s output capacity is not sufficient enough to replace the recalled batteries and to meet its own in-house demand. PC makers may have to take their business elsewhere and permanently reduce their reliance on Sony batteries. Sony was the second-largest Li-Ion battery manufacturer behind Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. in 2005.

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Laptops searched and confiscated at U.S. border without cause

An unnamed reader wrote:

"According to an article in the New York Times, the Association of Corporate Travel Executives is asking the U.S. government for more detailed guidelines on when and why a laptop gets confiscated at the U.S. border, which, anecdotally, is happening more often. The story includes a report from a business traveler who had her laptop confiscated over a year ago and has yet to have it returned."

According to the article (linked here), a lawyer stated:

"[Border guards] don’t need probable cause to perform… searches under the current law. They can do it without suspicion or without really revealing their motivations."

And an ACTE exec said :

"Potentially, this is going to have a real effect on how international business is conducted."

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