Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sony cuts chairman's salary

Sony Corp, reeling from Japan's biggest earthquake and the second-largest online data breach in US history, cut its pay for Chairman Howard Stringer and his likely successor after posting a third straight annual loss.

Stringer's salary and bonuses fell 15 percent to 345 million yen ($4.3 million) for the 12 months ended March 31 from 408 million yen a year earlier, Tokyo-based Sony said in filings to the government. Sony also pared compensation for Stringer's top lieutenant and possible successor Executive Deputy President Kazuo Hirai to 101 million yen, excluding stock options, from 110 million yen in the prior period.

Stringer told shareholders today online services will continue to be a main source of growth for Sony even after hacker attacks crippled its PlayStation Network. The company, losing ground to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., last month reported its widest annual net loss in 16 years and forecast the March 11 earthquake and the online attacks will erode about $2 billion from operating profit this fiscal year.

Sony has had execution problems that it is still struggling to resolve, Yasuo Nakane, an analyst with Deutsche Bank in Toyko, said in a research note today.

The company's divisions are moving too slowly to address competition in tablet computers, televisions and networked products, including smartphones, said Nakane, who has a "buy" rating on the shares.

'Slower' than peers
"Inter-segment coordination has not translated into the speedy development of unique products, or greater earnings, as Sony has been slower than its peers to launch new products," Nakane wrote.

Stringer, a Welsh-born US citizen who joined Sony in 1997, was made chairman and chief executive officer in 2005 and oversaw the loss of more than 37 percent of Sony's market value over the six years ended March 31. The 69-year-old executive was also granted 500,000 shares as stock options last year, unchanged from the prior period, according to the documents.

Network security
Stringer said Sony will strengthen network security and seek to regain customer trust after hackers forced the company to shut down its online entertainment services in April.

Sony fully resumed the PlayStation Network service and its Qriocity entertainment network in the U.S. and Europe earlier this month, after suspending it for more than five weeks. As many as 90 percent of PlayStation Network users have come back since services were restored, Stringer said today.

The maker of the PlayStation 3 game consoles last month estimated the cyber attacks that may have resulted in the theft of data on more than 100 million accounts will cost about 14 billion yen this fiscal year.

Japan's biggest exporter of consumer electronics will probably return to net income of 80 billion yen in the year ending March 31, Sony forecast May 26. The net loss was 260 billion yen in the year ended March 31, the widest in 16 years.

Sony had earlier this month proposed an 11 percent cut in salary and bonuses for board members and corporate executive officers in the year ended in March, according to an invitation for the annual shareholders meeting posted on its website.

Pay cuts
The pay cuts might smooth investor and consumer concerns that executives didn't take the security breaches seriously, said Paul Hodgson, a spokesman for GovernanceMetrics International, a New York-based governance consultant and rating service.
"This might be a reflection of Sony's desire to say 'we're taking a hit for this ourselves, and feel the pain as well as our shareholders and customers," Hodgson said.

Sony and other Japanese companies for the first time last year were required to report executive compensation packages exceeding 100 million yen.

Stringer in March named the 50-year-old Hirai to oversee all of Sony's consumer electronics -- from PlayStation game consoles to Bravia televisions and Cyber-shot cameras -- as part of the company's plans to marry its content with hardware.

Apple, Samsung
The promotion will test the games chief's ability to carry out Stringer's vision to integrate Sony's TVs and computers with content from the entertainment businesses. After the Walkman's domination of portable players in the 1980s, Sony lost against Apple with the iPod, failed to fend off Samsung in TVs, while Nintendo Co. took the lead in video-game consoles.

Sony, which generates almost 70 percent of revenue outside Japan, is also struggling to contain the erosion of profitability by the yen's appreciation, which Vice Chairman Ryoji Chubachi has described as a "body blow." The Japanese currency has strengthened 10.6 percent against the dollar in the past 12 months hurting exporters' earnings from overseas sales.

Chubachi was paid 123 million yen excluding stock options in the last fiscal year, down from 148 million yen in the previous year, according to the filings.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

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The true story behind 'that' photo

The couple, identified as Australian Scott Jones, 29, and Canadian-born Alexandra Thomas, became an instant Web hit after Getty photographer Rich Lam snapped a photo of them caught up in a moment of passion as tensions flared between hockey fans.
However, the affectionate pair, who have been dating for six months, dismissed claims that the kissing in the photograph was staged as they broke their silence on the night’s dramatic events.

The couple had been drinking at a bar downtown when the atmosphere in the streets of Vancouver turned nasty.

Moments before the iconic snap was taken, Mr Jones was simply trying to calm down his injured girlfriend after they were hit by police as they tried to escape the violent clashes.
Speaking with NBC’s ‘Today’ show, bartender Mr Jones said: “I was just trying to calm her down. It was pretty scary for her, and it seemed like the best thing to do.”

“I would call myself a tourist. It was Game 7, Stanley Cup finals, so something was going to happen whether we won or lost — something big. I just wanted to bear witness to what was going on. I never felt in danger while we were down there until the riot police came along.”

Environmental engineering graduate Alex added: “It happened so fast. I never expected it to turn into that situation so quickly.”

Friday, June 17, 2011

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011


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Sony Ericsson unveils phones on Facebook

It seems the social networking site Facebook is picking up as a new launchpad. Cellphone giant Sony Ericsson took it to Facebook to unveil two new phones -- the Text Pro and Mix Walkman.

Geared towards music lovers and social networking fans, both the handsets run Sony Ericsson operating system and reportedly have a user interface similar to the Xperia range.

Sporting a 3-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 240 x 400 pixels, Mix Walkman comes with Zappin feature which will let users preview songs before listening.

Featuring a 3.15 megapixel camera, the phone supports GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and Stereo FM radio with RDS. The phone's memory can be expanded up to 32GB.

Sony Ericsson Text Pro features a slide-out QWERTY keypad and comes preloaded with Friends application that lets users scan through the Facebook and Twitter updates.

Like Mix Walkman, Text Pro too comes with 3.2 megapixel camera and sports a 3-inch touchscreen display.

Both the phones are expected to be available from the third quarter of this year.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

LG launches 'slimmest' LED, 3D cinema monitors

LG Electronics India has broadened its monitor portfolio with the launch of 3D cinema monitor, world's slimmest LED monitors and IPS monitor.

Built with FPR technology, the LG 3D cinema monitor offers a brighter display and clearer images. LG E60 and E90 is built with LG's Image Booster software that enhances the quality of steaming content from various video sites. With the launch of an all new range of monitors, LG expects 8%-10% of additional revenue in IT divison with a marketing investment of Rs 6.5 Cr.

Speaking at launch, Sanjoy Bhattacharya said, "The launch of new range of monitor series has set a benchmark and we expect good response within next quarter. Presently we have 33.7% (Standalone Monitor market share and we target to achieve 42% by end of 2011."

LG 3D cinema monitor
The LG cinema 3D monitor is free from flicker and crosstalk which means viewers can watch 3D content for longer. Cinema 3D has a Light Boost feature, a thin film covering the screen that delivers twice as bright as the conventional 3D. LG cinema 3D monitors also offer flexible viewing positions.

LG E 90 monitor
At just 7.2mm-thick, E90 monitor is claimed to the world slimmest LED monitor. The monitor boasts of a slim design and comes with energy saving features.

LG E 60 monitor
LG E 60 comes with LED backlighting, mega contrast ratio, easy-to-use EZ Control OSD, photo effects and a 5 millisecond response time. In line with LG's eco-friendly policy, E60 monitor series offers a set of eco-conscious features including reduced energy consumption -- as much as 45 per cent less than conventional LCD monitors -- and reduced use of hazardous materials such as halogen or mercury.

LG E81 monitor
LG E81 monitor offers a slim profile and is claimed to be more energy efficient compared to conventional monitors. The monitor supports Super-Resolution technology which decreases image blur and image degradation.

IPS monitor
IPS technology offers almost 180 degrees viewing angle. In addition to larger viewing picture, it offers a faster response time, thereby eliminating shadow effect images of the pictures. The 6 axis color control ensures that the color of the images stay true. The panel also offers lesser energy consumption.

The monitors are priced between Rs 6,500 to Rs 16,000

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Meet LG's all-in-one touchscreen PC

Korean giant LG Electronics has unveiled an all-in-one touchscreen PC developed in partnership with Intel at the ongoing Computex technology exhibition in Taipei.

Called LG V300, the PC will feature Film-type Patterned Retarder (FPR) display which is presently used in LG's Cinema 3D TVs.

According to LG, the TV will include second-generation Intel Core processors, 3D FPR display, a triple camera system for multi-touch capability and In Plane Switch (IPS) screen technology that creates a 178-degree viewing angle.

Featuring a 23-inch full HD LED LCD display, the all-in-one LG V300 packs two sets of light weight polarised glasses for the 3D experience. At mere 44.65mm thickness, the PC's connectivity options include 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and choice of either DVD drive or a Blu-ray drive.

As for the OS, the PC will come with Windows 7 Home Basic or Windows Home Premium. The users will have an option to choose from Intel's Core i3, i5 or i7 processors. For memory, the PC packs 8GB RAM and up to 750GB hard drive.

The PC will also include full support for Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) to enable data sharing between devices. It will also support Intel's Wireless Display (Wi-Di) to wirelessly stream content to TV.

LG V300 is expected to launch in Korea in July followed by markets in Europe, Middle East and Asia.

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