Full-time Stringer, San Francisco Bureau -- covering semiconductors
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Oct 1, 2009

Nvidia pushes further into mainstream computing

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Nvidia Corp <NVDA.O>
said it will ship its new chip architecture in the next few
months, strengthening its position in computer processing while
promising improved graphics performance across its chip
offerings.

The company, which made its name selling specialty computer
graphics chips designed for gaming, on Wednesday demonstrated a
new chip architecture code-named “Fermi,” which Nvidia’s Chief
Executive Jen-Hsun Huang said will roll out in the next few
months across the company’s GeForce, Quadro and Tesla graphics
processors.

Sep 30, 2009

Micron Q4 beats Street, investors take profits

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 29 (Reuters) – U.S. chipmaker Micron
Technology Inc <MU.N> posted a narrower-than-expected quarterly
loss as improving demand boosted sales and prices, but its
shares gave up initial gains as investors locked in profits.

Some analysts said investors were also disappointed that
the company did not give any indication that it expected chip
prices to continue to recover.

Sep 29, 2009

ACS founder Deason finally accepts a buyout suitor

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Darwin Deason, the
hard-charging son of an Arkansas chicken farmer, is set to rake
in hundreds of millions of dollars from Xerox Corp’s <XRX.N>
planned deal to take over Affiliated Computer Services <ACS.N>
– the company he founded just two decades ago.

It’s third-time lucky for the 69-year-old, who founded the
company in 1988 and turned it into a multibillion-dollar
provider of office outsourcing services before flirting briefly
– but fruitlessly — with would-be private equity buyers Texas
Pacific Group and Cerberus.

Aug 27, 2009
via Shop Talk

Recession ushers in era of the savvy shopper, but will it last?

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The indicators are there: people are saving more and they’re spending less.  The era of the savvy(er) shopper has officially arrived. But how long will it last?Family financial guru Ellie Kay has been talking about smart shopping for years, publishing numerous books and maintaining a blog about how to shop smart. With the back-to-school shopping season running up against the recession, she’s been hearing a lot from her readers about how they’ve changed their buying habits.”It’s not enough to run a sale, there has to be something extra that retailers are putting out there for the consumer to want to spend back-to-school dollars in their store,” she said. “That includes sales plus store coupons, or free gifts, or if they’re shopping online, they want free online shipping.”Kay said it’s also not enough for retailers to have a value message anymore. With consumers surfing coupon websites like fatwallet.com and doubling up on store coupons, she said retailers have to work extra hard to get consumer’s attention.”I do see the trend shifting to implement the use of social media sites–the use of tweeting and Facebook and soforth,” she said, pointing to consumer’s reactions to viral media campaigns such as Starbuck’s free pastry and free ice cream giveaways through Facebook. “When there’s a really good deal out there that’s working that people are going to want to take advantage of, they’re going to start chatting about it.”Indeed, the co-founder of RetailMeNot.com told Reuters that online coupons are taking on a life of their own as they get re-posted on blogs or on Facebook, while the CEO of Savings.com said retailers are already looking for ways to offer creative online deals for the upcoming Christmas shopping season.Kay said the recession is leaving a lasting impression on consumers.”I think a lot of them are going to smarten up, and be mindful that when they saw their college funds go away, they’re going to be very careful the next time around,” she said. “I think there will be good things that come out of this, especially to those who are hit hard by it.”That goes for future generations of shoppers as well.”It’s an incredible teaching opportunity for children to help them realize that what’s really important in life is not how many toys they have,” she said. “That’s a way to teach a generation that’s always had what they want how to live on a budget.”(Additional reporting by Nicole Maestri)(Photo: Reuters)

Aug 4, 2009
via Shop Talk

Social Media for Business

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A new report by Inside Facebook discusses some best practices for retailers hoping to set up shop on the popular social networking site.Some of the recommendations include letting users shop from within Facebook, including even the ability to share product information with friends.  Another suggestion is to have contests, giveaways and sweepstakes.But what’s most interesting is the last suggestion: keep it simple with status updates.

Life is Good does. With simple status updates (much like the name of the brand itself), Life is Good elicits more pondering from its fan community. Their most recent update: “Whatever you are, be a good one.”

Expanding that to “conversation in general,” it seems that specific approach is the key between a social networking presence and a successful social networking presence.One example from outside the industry is NASA, whose Twitter feed for the Mars Phoenix lander was a huge success.Part of what helped NASA’s Twitter experiment rocket to such success was how personal it felt to the viewers. Throughout the mission, NASA actually took the time to respond to people’s questions and share in discoveries.These ideas do translate to retail, of course. JetBlue is very conversational on its Twitter feed, offering travel tips and discounts. Dell became e-famous for offering exclusive discounts both through Twitter and Facebook. And Whole Foods suggests recipes, all through social networking.What’s challenging, however, is that there is not one simple answer for any of these companies. Each seems to have taken some of these basic principles and applied them to their own brand to create interestingly different outcomes.But each of the successful ones has the same strategy in the end: conversation. Most of the top brands on Facebook all create original content, post comments, or respond to customers through social networking to increase the conversation about their company and products.

Jun 15, 2009
via Shop Talk

Security cameras can “see” a lot more these days…

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Sweethearting (v.) the act of a store employee giving a friend or family member free merchandise by pretending to scan items at the register or by ignoring items in shopping carts.It is one of the oldest tricks in the book and a big problem for retailers. So big, in fact, that some estimates suggest that “sweethearting” and other types of employee theft account for almost half of all annual retail theft, or $19.5 billion out of $41.6 billion overall.Massachusetts-based StopLift Inc. says the answer is just waiting to be liberated from all of the security camera tape that retailers typically don’t monitor until something goes really, really wrong.We’ve all seen the video of outrageous things that can happen in grocery stores, convenience shops, and retail outlets, but the reality is that watching the security feeds from cameras mounted above every register is time-consuming — so most of that video information goes unused.StopLift’s computer software analyzes camera feeds by reading certain body motions and other signs that tip off sweethearting. From there, it’s up to managers to decide whether training or  termination is the right response.You can see actual “sweethearting” caught by the software on StopLift’s homepage, here.StopLift said its clients include Big Y and Safeway grocery stores.(Picture and video: StopLift.com)

Jun 4, 2009
via Shop Talk

Check Out Line: The hurt is spreading

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Check out the latest sales reports, which show that consumers are still cutting back on discretionary spending as they shift to discounters for the basics.  Granted, that’s not exactly news anymore, but some of this morning’s sales tell us that even the discounters are starting to feel the heat.

“Sales for the month of May were somewhat below our expectations,” chief executive officer of Target, Greg Steinhafel, said in a statement.

Jun 2, 2009
via Shop Talk

Dad’s gonna feel the recession this year

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A new survey by the National Retail Federation found that consumers are planning to spend significantly less on Father’s Day than they did last year.

Although retailers have already begun to aggressively advertise deals on grills, televisions and other toys many dads dream about, the National Retail Federation‘s annual survey — conducted by BIGresearch — says they’re out of luck.  Consumers are expected to spend $9.4 billion on gifts for dad, or an average of $90.89 per person, down slightly from $94.54 last year.

    • About Ian

      "A San Francisco native, I've always had an interest in computers and electronics. I guess it makes sense that I'd eventually find myself covering semiconductors as a full-time stringer for Reuters. It's always been my dream to work for a wire service, and I'm excited to be a part of this fantastic company."
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