Tech Roundup: IBM Chip Exec Heads to Apple, Foundries Lower Capex, More

Last Updated Nov 2, 2008 8:49 AM EST

Top IBM chip exec splits for Apple -- In case you thought that Apple was kidding about wanting to create its own ARM chip for the iPhone, note that Mark Papermaster, who was IBM's vice-president of microprocessor technology development, who is also an expert in blade servers, planned to hit the road for Cupertino. But Mr. Papermaster apparently didn't get his official discharge papers, and IBM has decided to sue to keep any potential trade secrets secure and away from warmer climes. One reason they are moving fast is because non-competes don't play well in California, and the state's supreme court made this so clear that going to federal court for a different interpretation is unlikely to work. Unless IBM can make the action stick in New York state court, it could find itself with a whole lot of trouble enforcing that paper. [Source: CNet, BNET Industry Technology Blog]

Semiconductor plants reduce 2009 capex -- Semiconductor foundries have already been anticipating red ink, or reduced sales at the least, next year. Now three of the biggies -- TSMC, UMC, and SMIC -- are planning to cut 2009 capital expenses. The cuts seem to be in the 20 to 25 percent range. This might seem like a trivial fallout of the economic climate, but when chip plants cut capital expenses, it affects the entire industry. New equipment and systems have meant the ability to move to more efficient manufacturing, increasing the yield percentage of working chips and decreasing costs, to say nothing of making smaller chip geometries available. Now some of that will have to wait. Hope someone set the clock signal for a scale of months and not years. [Source: BNET Industry Technology Blog, DigiTimes]

London rolls out bomb-resistant trash cans -- Even since the heyday of the IRA bombing actions in London, finding a public trash receptacle has been about as easy as hardcore engineering classes in the Parsons School of Design. But that may change, as the city is testing a new garbage can that supposedly can contain a bomb blast. Each weighs a ton and can supposedly absorb the shrapnel and heat. Can you imagine trying to empty one? They also have LCD panels to stream news, including financial. Great, repress the physical explosion and outwardly project a financial one. [Source: Engadget]

User age and software maturity affect adoption -- In a quasi-Newtonian moment of being hit by the 18th apple and expressing surprise that it still happened, ABI Research found that the older you are, the more resistant you are to technology, at least when it comes to video. Of course, part of that in video downloading may be due to the industry's immaturity, because of 'inconsistencies in the process." Does that mean that someone will set the date on our VCR? [Source: Ars Technica]

  • Erik Sherman On Twitter» On Facebook»

    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.