Archive for January, 2010

Intel this week said it plans to build on its existing portfolio of renewable energy site installations by putting into place new contracts in eight U.S. locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Oregon. All told, the venture will incorporate 2.5 megawatts worth of solar power.

"Intel is committed to renewable energy to reduce our own carbon footprint as well as to spur the market and make renewables more economically feasible for individuals and businesses to deploy," said Brian Krzanich, vice president and general manager of Manufacturing and Supply Chain for Intel. "These announcements represent our broader commitment which includes diversifying our energy portfolio through solar and other clean energy investments, and this will continue to be a priority for us around the globe."

It will take 7 months to complete the new solar installations, and when finished, each project would rank as one of the 10 largest solar installations in its respective region, Intel said.

Image Credit: Intel

The latest numbers from market research firm Futuresource Consulting demonstrate just how important mobile app stores are to driving the mobile content market. In 2009, smartphone owners downloaded some 3.6 billion apps from app stores, and that’s expected to nearly double this year to 6.6 billion. But by 2013, app stores will be pushing out 16.2 billion mobile programs worth $15 billion.

"More than 85 percent of app store downloads are currently free to users, and we expect this percentage to remain stable for the next few years," says Patrik Pfander, senior market analyst at Futuresource. "Despite this glut of free content, the market will still experience vigorous consumer spending, and the paid-for market has already developed beyond the established gaming segment. Our forecasts are showing global revenues of $4.6 billion this year, rising to nearly $15 billion in 2013, which includes payments for direct pay-per-download and indirect value-add services like in-app payments and subscriptions."

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Once you factor in content revenue from outside of app stores, like direct downloads from gaming companies, ringtones, music, and other goodies, Futuresource says it will all add up to a $38 billion in 2013.

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You might scoff at the notion of whipping out your credit card to buy more Reward Points in Mafia Wars, but there are plenty of others who are, and there are now more apps than ever to spend your real-life dough on virtual goods. When all the numbers are tallied, sales of virtual goods in the U.S. is expected to jump over the $1 billion mark in 2009.

And that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to other parts of the world. In South Korea, online gamers spent about $3.5 billion on virtual loot, while China managed to fork over $4 billion. By 2012, both markets are expected to spend $5.5 billion each, while the U.S. will part with $1.6 billion in exchange for armor upgrades and other in-game items next year alone, according to a new report by Inside Network.

Those are big numbers, but not yet at the point where mainstream media needs to hit the panic button. The movie Avatar, for example, pulled in $500 million in the U.S. in just a little over a month.

Do you spend part of your paycheck on in-game items? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Surprise, surprise, outsourced IT jobs continue to thrive in India, while it’s slim pickings for IT admins looking for employment in the U.S..

Wipro, Infosys Technologies, and Tata Consultancy, which are three of India’s largest IT services firms, took on a combined 16,700 new workers in the last quarter alone, bringing the total workforce for all three companies to 359,000 strong.

Growth in the U.S. hasn’t been quite as robust. According to the TechServe Alliance, an industry group which tracks U.S. monthly labor IT-related occupational data, the U.S. IT workforce dropped from 4 million in November 2008 to 3.81 million in September 2009, with about 11,000 jobs added between then and the end of last month.

From a dollars standpoint, the total market value of outsourcing contracts reached $24.7 billion for the most recent quarter, the best it’s been in six quarters, and representing a sequential increase of 47 percent.

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Here’s one we didn’t see coming. Cisco Capital SM on Monday announced a three-year, zero-percent financing offer for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the U.S.

Cisco said the financing offer applies to all Cisco products and services from $1,000 up to $250,000 as a way to "help businesses adopt state-of-the-art Cisco solutions quickly and easily."

"At a time when capital budgets are limited, our ability to provide a variety of financing options can help our customers acquire the technology they need to boost productivity and distance themselves from their competition, especially as the economy recovers," said Kris Snow, president, Cisco Capital.

In addition to the already favorable terms, Cisco said that customers who purchase at least one Small Business Architecture (SBA) may also be eligible for a three-month payment deferral.

More info here.

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