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Chinese firm offers sub-$100 Android 4.0 tablet
A Chinese consumer electronics firm is offering for sale a media tablet based on Android 4.0 for less than $100, MIPS Technologies Inc.
said Monday (Dec. 5).
The tablet, which is available in China and online through Ainol Electronics Co. Ltd., features a 7-inch capacitive multi-touch screen
and is powered by a MIPS-based processor from China's Ingenic Semiconductor Co. Ltd. The tablet supports WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, USB 2.0,
HDMI 1.3 and microSD, as well as 3-D graphics with the Vivante GC860 GPU, 1080p video decoding and dual front/rear cameras.
The tablet, NOVO7, is the first tablet based on Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. It will be available in the U.S. and
other geographies within the next several months under brands from companies including Leader International Inc. and OMG Electronics
Ltd. It will also eventually be available in 8- and 9-inch form factors, according to MIPS.
According to Robert Bismuth, vice president of business development at MIPS, the functionality of the NOVO7 is roughly equivalent to
Amazon's Kindle Fire, which is sold directly through Amazon for $199.
Bismuth said the company is working with other customers that will be bringing to market MIPS-based applications processors for tablets
based on Android 4.0. Bismuth said the sub-$100 price point of the tablets is likely to be a sign of things to come. "The price
advantage that the MIPS architecture brings to licenses helps to drive down the cost of all devices we are in," Bismuth added.
Bismuth pointed to an interesting proof point from recent history that underscores consumer interest in lower cost media tablets. When
Hewlett-Packard Co. announced in August that it would discontinue its TouchPad tablets after just weeks on the market, it lowered the
price point on the devices it still had in stock to $99 and $129. Consumers snapped them up within 48 hours.
"There was no future for [TouchPad]—no future support or future apps," Bismuth said. "But it did the four or five things that people
The Ingenic processor that powers the tablet is Ingenic's JZ4770 mobile applications processor, which leverages a MIPS-based XBurst CPU
running at 1 GHz, MIPS said. The company said the XBurst processor's power-efficient architecture provides extended battery life and the
tablet draws less than 400mA of power during active web browsing.
The JZ4770 is among the first MIPS-based SoCs targeted for mobile devices that delivers more than 1-GHz frequency, increasingly a
requirement for tablets and other devices that incorporate rich multimedia and high-performance applications and functionality,
according to MIPS.
"I'm thrilled to see the entrance of MIPS-based Android 4.0 tablets into the market," said to Andy Rubin, senior vice president of
mobile at Google Inc., in a statement. "Low cost, high performance tablets are a big win for mobile consumers and a strong illustration
of how Android's openness drives innovation and competition for the benefit of consumers around the world."
MIPS has posted a corporate video touting the tablet and its role in its creation on YouTube.
SAP to Buy SuccessFactors for $3.4 Billion to Match Oracle
SAP AG, the largest maker of business-management software, agreed to buy SuccessFactors Inc. for $3.4 billion in cash to keep pace with
archrival Oracle Corp. in the cloud-computing market.
SAP will purchase San Mateo, California-based SuccessFactors, which makes software used to manage employee performance, for $40 per
share, 52 percent more than the closing price in New York trading on Dec. 2, Walldorf, Germany-based SAP said in an e-mailed statement
SAP is promoting cloud computing, which lets clients rent software delivered over the Web rather than install it on their own machines,
as a safe way to outsource data centers and reduce the need for hardware. The deal comes six weeks after Oracle agreed to buy RightNow
Technologies Inc. for $1.5 billion.
“This is a much-needed move by SAP,” Ray Wang, head of San Francisco-based Constellation Research, said in a phone interview. “What
SAP had in human resources -- basic transactional software such as payroll -- was good enough for the old era. In the new era,
performance reviews and talent management will be important.”
SuccessFactors was founded in 2001 and has more than 3,500 customers with more than 15 million subscribers in 168 countries, according
to its website. The U.S. company is predicted to have $502 million in revenue in 2013, up from $332 million this year, according to
analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
“We saw Oracle buy RightNow Technologies just a couple of weeks ago at 5.5 times that company’s next year revenue and SAP is going to
pay almost 8 times 2012 revenue, said Brendan Barnicle,” an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Oregon. “But these guys
are growing much faster than other people in software on demand, this is a marvelous addition for SAP.”
SAP co-Chief Executive Officer Bill McDermott said on a conference call today that the SuccessFactors deal will help SAP achieve its
goal of exceeding 20 billion euros in sales in 2015. SuccessFactors founder Lars Dalgaard will join SAP’s board and head the company’s
The deal will “slightly” dilute earnings per share in 2012 before adding to profit in subsequent years, the company said. SAP will
still be able to reach a 35 percent profit margin by 2015, even as Chief Financial Officer Werner Brandt said that companies that sell
software that is accessed over the Internet have a lower margin than other software.
McDermott said the “scale” SuccessFactors brings to SAP’s cloud offering will help it maintain the 2015 margin target. The German
company expects to complete the transaction in the first quarter of next year.
The SuccessFactors deal shows that SAP co-CEOs McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe, who took the helm in February last year, don’t have
the same reluctance as the German company’s last two CEOs, Leo Apotheker and Henning Kagermann, to expand through acquisitions.
While Oracle Corp. has spent more than $42 billion on takeovers since the beginning of 2005, SAP had only made only two large
acquisitions in its 39-year history before SuccessFactors: Sybase, a maker of mobile-device applications, for $5.8 billion in May last
year and business-intelligence company Business Objects for 4.8 billion euros in 2007.
SAP paid a premium of 56 percent for Sybase and 20 percent for Business Objects, based on a 20-day average share price of the target
before the purchase was announced, Bloomberg data show. Over the past five years, the average premium paid for 56 North American
software targets valued at more than $500 million was 24 percent, the data show.
“The price is high,” said Frank Niemann, a consultant at Pierre Audoin Consultants in Munich. “On the other hand, SAP would not be
able to build such a solution with such a success in a reasonable period of time.”
The global market for cloud services may surge to $148.8 billion in 2014 from $68.3 billion in 2010, according to researcher Gartner
SAP shares have gained 17 percent this year in Frankfurt trading, valuing the company at 54.9 billion euros. SuccessFactors has lost 9.4
percent, giving the company a market capitalization of $2.2 billion.
SAP has added three categories since May 2010: mobile- computing software; Hana real-time analytics technology; and Business ByDesign,
software that can be accessed over the Internet. The three made up 10 percent of third-quarter sales, Snabe said on Nov. 17, adding that
SAP aims to add product categories to accelerate sales growth.
“We need to make sure we are the leaders in the categories in which we play, and we need to, once every one and a half years or so, add
a new category,” Snabe said at the time. “We bet a lot of SAP on one category for many years.”
The purchase of SuccessFactors will be funded from SAP’s existing cash and a 1 billion-euro loan facility, the company said, adding
that the SuccessFactors board of directors has unanimously approved the transaction. SAP said it expects the transaction to be completed
in the first quarter of 2012.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is advising SAP and Morgan Stanley is advising SuccessFactors.
Other big makers of cloud software include Salesforce.com Inc. and companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Dell Inc. operate servers on
which the on-demand software runs.
“This is a direct message to Oracle and Salesforce, that SAP is clearly not going to be left behind in the cloud,” Gartner Inc.
analyst Donald Feinberg said by telephone. “Organic growth is becoming increasingly difficult for companies like SAP, Oracle, IBM and
this is definitely a major push in that direction.”
The above information is edited by 10GTEK.
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