Economic Times Network,
Dated: 26/11/2006

The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart is believed to be close to striking a deal with the Sunil Mittal led-Bharti Industries, after UK retail Tesco dropped plans to ally with the New Delhi-based group for its India foray. Tesco called off talks with Bharti putting an end to the much awaited partnership in the retail sector.

According to sources, talks between the two soured in the last minute on several issues but the important ones were royalty and branding. Tesco was not too keen on merely being a back-end partner in India the way Tatas chose to with Woolworth in the durable business.

Bharti is also understood to have been Wal-Mart’s fourth choice as its partner after the global retailer had held several months of intense negotiations with other Indian business houses like the Birlas, M&M and Rahejas, informed sources said.

Wal-Mart is also believed to have committed ‘serious money’ in the Indian market that would enable the JV to take on the muscle of a strong competitor such as Reliance Retail. Initially, Wal-Mart would provide the back-end supply chain and cutting-edge processes while Bharti would operate the front end.

Also, the royalty and investments in the joint venture offered by Wal-Mart was far higher than that offered by Tesco and it could provide the joint venture the scale and pricing that other retailers would not.

With this, the Bentonville Arkansas-based giant has succumbed to what it always called `the unbelievable potential’ of India’s booming economy and consumerism. Earlier on Saturday, a Reuters copy quoted a Tesco spokesman as having ended negotiations to form a widely-expected joint venture with Bharti, but said the company still planned to enter India’s retail sector.

Wal-Mart scored over Tesco in its swiftness in executing the deal. John Menzer, president and chief executive of the retailer’s international arm was instrumental in sealing the deal, it is learnt. While Tesco was bullish on the India plans, they probably took a little longer in sealing the deal.

Various industry sources ET spoke to attribute several reasons to the turn of events. They said that Tesco didn’t take kindly to the way Wal-Mart joined the fray with a counter offer of sorts. It took also took serious objections to media reports about both Tesco and Wal-Mart were in talks with the Bharti group for a possible partnership.

Microtune has announced a new tuner chip that brings quality digital TV to PC notebooks, portable TVs, tuner sticks, portable DVD players and other small devices that demand both high performance and lower power.

Called the MicroTuner MT2130, the new tuner, when integrated into portable consumer products, allows users to watch analog and digital TV across cable or off-air broadcasts, to time-shift programs and to capture video for multimedia applications.

“The worldwide transition to digital television is increasingly spanning a widening range of consumer electronics and peripherals,” said James A. Fontaine, Microtune’s President and CEO. “Our new MT2130 leverages the superior engineering, excellent performance and reliability that have come to characterize Microtune tuners, and it adapts our market-proven RF technology for new classes of power-sensitive digital TV devices. By deploying the MT2130 chip, our customers can differentiate their portable products by offering superior TV reception across the analog and digital broadcasts that exist today.”

Microtune’s new MT2130 is based on the architecture of the company’s three-in-one tuner — the MT2131 analog/digital/cable tuner. The MT2130 is engineered to receive weak signals and to compensate for the small, built-in antennas typical of portable products. It deploys Microtune’s ClearTune filtering technology to improve channel reception and is engineered to minimize noise and distortion for consistent, stable picture quality.

The chip supports multiple TV transmission standards (ATSC, QAM, DVB-T, ISDB-T, DMB-T, NTSC, PAL and SECAM). As a result, it permits manufacturers to deploy the same tuner on multiple platforms, gaining economies of scale, while providing a single solution that cost-effectively bridges the multiple analog and digital TV standards that co-exist today.

At ¼-inch in size, the MT2130 chip fits into very small designs, such as dongle or flash-stick packages, and can be easily configured in multi-tuner architectures. Multi-tuner architectures enable diversity applications and permits users to enable ‘watch and record’ two or more channels simultaneously.

The MT2130 tuner is sampling now to select customers and is priced at less than $3.00 in volume quantities.

Source :
Dated : 07/11/2006

In a strategic acquisition graphics chip maker Nvidia has decided to acquire PortalPlayer, a firm that made its name selling mp3 decoding chips, which were used by Apple in its iPod Nano range.

PortalPlayer was established in 1999 and counts among its customers companies like SanDisk, Philips and Samsung.Recently Apple announced it would no longer be using chips from PortalPlayer, preferring to go over to Samsung instead. This was a major loss for PortalPlayer, as Apple was its primary customer. This loss caused PortalPlayer’s stock market value to crash and left it as easy pickings for others.

Nvidia, who is rapidly looking to expand into the handheld PMP market, saw this as a great opportunity and decided to acquire PortalPlayer for $357 million.

Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia had this to say, “With this acquisition, we are combining the two essential technologies of next-generation PMPs, PDAs, portable game players, and phones: PortalPlayer’s innovative Application Processor technology and NVIDIA’s industry-leading GPU technology. With the products created through this combination, we intend to drive the next digital revolution, where the mobile device becomes our most personal computers.”

Source :
Dated : 16/11/2006

The elusive iRiver Clix, renewed with 4 GB storage memory, has officially been priced at US$199.99 (around Rs 9,200). The portable media player plays MP3s, WMAs, OGGs, FM radio, MPEG-4 video as well as photos, on a 2.2-inch QVGA display.

The player is also PlaysForSure compatible, letting you purchase and download music from online subscription sites such as Microsoft’s recently released Zune media player is not PlaysForSure compatible, instead being locked to only the proprietory Zune Marketplace for purchasing music.

Source : The Economic Times Network,
Dated : 16/11/2006

Indian immigrants to the US account for 28% of all foreign-founded private start-up companies in a climate dominated by immigrant entrepreneurs, according to a new study on the hot-button issue.

The study found that over the last 15 years, immigrants have started one in four (25%) US public companies that were venture-backed, representing a market capitalisation of more than $500 billion.

Topping that, a survey of private, venture-backed start-up companies in the US estimated that a staggering 47% have immigrant founders.

In that group, “India was the most prevalent country of origin with 28%, followed by the United Kingdom (11%), China (5%), Iran (4%.) and France (4%.),’’ the study says. No numbers were given for public venture-backed firms, but even in that category, “the most common countries of origin are India, Israel and Taiwan’’.

The findings back the long-held view, based on more limited surveys in Silicon Valley, that Indian immigrants are a significant force in Americans’ start-up culture. Indians have been founding companies in the US outside the Bay area for decades, going back to Amar Bose’s Bose Corp in Massachusetts and the Suhas Patil-founded Cirrus Logic in Utah.

The study also found that immigrant founders are responsible for building a high percentage of the most innovative American companies, with 87% operating in sectors such as high-tech manufacturing, infotech and life sciences.

Global Indian Takeover :

• In the last 15 years, one in four US public cos, with a market cap of $500 bn, has been started by immigrants, led by Indians, Israelis and Taiwanese.
• Study found 47% of venture-backed start-up firms had immigrant founders. India (28%) was followed by UK (11%), China (5%), Iran (4%) and France (4%).
• Nearly half of the immigrant entrepreneurs arrived in the US as students and more than half of them started their businesses within 12 years.
• 87% of immigrant founders operate in high-tech manufacturing, IT and life sciences.
• They hold an average of 14.5 patents. 69% of these individuals have become American citizens.