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22 Dec 12 As iPhone Reigns In The U.S., Android Gains Everywhere Else


English: Apple iPhone (left) vs HTC Hero (right)

The iPhone and Android-enabled smartphones. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apple might have taken a beating on the stock market recently, but new figures should give investors peace of mind — at least temporarily. In the last three months of 2012, Apple achieved its highest ever share of smartphone sales in the United States, with the iPhone taking 53.3%, a 17.5% gain from one year ago, according to Kantar Worldwide ComTech.

The research firm credits the latest iPhone 5 for the sales boost, and notes that Android’s share of U.S. sales slipped by almost 11%. The iPhone essentially took its place in first position.

Great news for Apple, but there’s a caveat: Android’s comparatively cheaper phones are growing everywhere else.

In Europe’s five biggest countries (Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain), sales of devices running Google’s mobile operating system stood at 61% in the last three months, up from 51.8% a year ago. Meanwhile the reign in Spain goes to Google, not Apple: Apple’s share is almost non-existent in the Mediterranean country, where its share of smartphone sales is a paltry 4.4%, and Android dominates with 84.1%.

In Australia, Android has raced ahead to claim 58% of smartphone sales, while the iPhone’s share has declined to around 36%. The gap is even wider in Brazil, where Android has leapt to grab 60.7% of sales, while the iPhone has fallen to just 1.6%. Kantar didn’t have growth data for sales in what it called “urban China,” but you can surmise a similar story: Android has 72.2% of the Chinese market, Apple 19.2%. Separate research from IDC also shows the iPhone’s ranking in China falling because of competition from cheaper, local handsets.

One of the big drivers of this international paradox for Apple is Samsung, which replaced Nokia earlier this year as the world’s biggest handset manufacturer. Kantar notes that in the last 12 weeks it had the biggest share of handset sales overall in Europe at 44.3%, while Apple trailed with 25.3%. Rival handset makers HTC, Sony and Nokia are still battling it out for third place.

Nokia may stand the better chance in Europe, depending on how consumers react to its latest Windows Phone 8 models in 2013 and better pricing plans from carriers. Windows Phone, which is primarily available on HTC and Nokia handsets, also benefits from strong resources that Microsoft can plug into marketing and distribution. And Nokia’s Lumia 920 is one of the few smartphones available on the Everything Everywhere (EE) 4G network in Britain.

One upside for Apple is that America isn’t completely saturated with iPhones; Kantar’s Dominic Sunnebo predicts that Apple may have more room to grow Stateside, and that the iPhone would  “make further gains” in December 2012. How long those gains will last is an open question, and comes amid pressure on Apple to release a cheaper version of the iPhone in emerging markets and other parts of the world where the company lags. The iPhone is crucial to the company’s fortunes, accounting for more than 60% of Apple’s group revenues

And there are yet tougher questions: will Apple get by on the resulting slimmer margins, and will Android’s lead overseas be so big that it becomes increasingly difficult to turn around the iPhone’s narrowing market share? We should know by this time next year.

Have a look at Kantar’s figures below – click on the image to enlarge:

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2012/12/21/as-iphone-reigns-in-the-u-s-android-gains-everywhere-else/

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16 Dec 12 Galaxy trades Buddle to Rapids


COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) – The LA Galaxy traded forward Edson Buddle to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a first-round supplemental draft pick in 2013 and allocation money.

Buddle is a World Cup veteran with 93 career goals in Major League Soccer. He appeared in two matches for the U.S. at the FIFA World Cup in 2010, when he was the runner-up for the MLS Golden Boot

Buddle started his MLS career in 2001 in Columbus, where he played for five seasons. He also played for the New York Red Bulls in 2006, Toronto FC in 2007 and with the Galaxy from 2007-10 and in 2012. In 2011, he played for FC Ingolstadt of the German second division.

More newsImage: Liverpool v Aston Villa - Premier LeagueGetty Images

EPL wears armbands for victims

PST: It’s a very classy and poignant touch from the world’s most watched soccer league.


Wambach scores twice, US women beat China 4-1

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) – Abby Wambach scored twice to help the United States close out the season with a 4-1 exhibition victory over China on Saturday night.

Article source: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/50204400/ns/sports-soccer/

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19 Jun 12 SA ‘needs chrome exchange market’


SOUTH Africa should set up a chrome exchange market to manage the supply of chrome to the global market and prices, Iraj Abedian, CEO of investment company Pan-African Capital, said on Tuesday.

This would be a model similar to Canada’s potash exchange, Mr Abedian said at a Mining for Change seminar in Johannesburg.

The world’s largest chrome deposits are found in South Africa. It is a leading supplier of ferrochrome, a key ingredient in the manufacturing of stainless steel, but its position is under threat from China, which imports about half its chrome ore from South Africa and which grew its market share to 35% last year from below 10% in 2001.

A tariff of $100 a ton of chrome ore leaving South Africa, as proposed by the ferrochrome industry, was a knee-jerk reaction and could only be a short-term measure, Mr Abedian said on Tuesday.

A vital revenue stream for platinum miners may be choked off by an export tariff of $100 a ton. Platinum mines in South Africa are already shutting down and projects are being mothballed because of high input costs and stagnant prices in an oversupplied market.

There is money to be made, however, from the chrome found in platinum miners’ discarded waste after the platinum group metals have been extracted.

Ferrochrome producers, who have invested R3,5bn a year in their businesses since 2006, argue that the Chinese growth is at their expense, as China uses South African chromite ore — a practice they want stopped.

seccombea@bdfm.co.za

Article source: http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=174496

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15 Jun 12 Chrome firms want protection


A vital revenue stream for platinum miners – chrome ore – may be choked off if ferrochrome producers are successful in lobbying for a protectionist export tariff of $100/ton in their desperate attempt to protect their own businesses from China’s burgeoning chrome refiners.

Platinum mines in SA are shutting down and projects are being mothballed because of high input costs and stagnant prices in an oversupplied market.

But there is money to be made from the chrome found in platinum miners’ discarded waste after the platinum group metals have been extracted.




A reef stretching across North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, contains the world’s richest source of UG2 (upper group 2) platinum and chrome deposits. The raw product is smelted in an electricity-intensive process and converted to ferrochrome, an alloy used to make stainless steel.

SA is a leading ferrochrome producer through local refineries, but China is catching up, growing its market share to 35% last year from below 10% in 2001.

Ferrochrome producers, who have invested R3,5-billion a year in their businesses since 2006, argue that the Chinese growth is at their expense, as China uses South African chromite ore – a practice they want to be stopped.

Revenues generated from chrome are by-product credits, bringing down the cost of platinum production in an extremely difficult market.

Platinum miners are increasingly putting chrome recovery plants on the back ends of concentrators. Chrome accounts for about 200kg/ton in their tailings.

Not only is this a handy revenue stream – especially in tough times – but it also reduces the amount of material going onto tailings dumps.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said recently its chrome strategy was to “create maximum value to the platinum group metals business by using the revenue generated by UG2 chromite to offset the platinum group metals mining costs in order to be the lowest cost platinum producer”.

Amplats, which has 640-million tons of UG2 chromite-rich reserves, is reviewing its business to restore profit margins. It is widely expected that the review will result in shaft closures, mothballed joint ventures or possible asset sales.

It forecasts it could grow UG2 chrome ore volumes to 2-million tons next year from 340 000 tons in 2010.

Amplats argued that as long as China could not buy “competitively priced” ferrochrome, it would continue importing chromite ore to make its own.

SA has lost its cost advantage on ferrochrome output because of electricity prices doubling and above-inflation wage demands.

What the ferrochrome business needed was sufficient, fairly priced electricity and an agreement with UG2 producers to sell their chromite ore at a reasonable price, Reenen Pretorius, commercial manager at Chromtech Holdings, said yesterday. The company, 50% owned by JSE-listed Grindrod, exports 600 000 tons of chromite a year.

Mr Pretorius warned that the ferrochrome producers’ lobbying for the $100/ton export tariff “will kill off” a significant source of revenue for platinum mines at the worst possible time. “This is protectionism to fix an industry that is unhealthy,” he said yesterday.

The Treasury said in March no such tariff had been tabled in the 2012-13 budget, but it welcomed talks with the ferrochrome sector. It did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.

The tariff the sector is lobbying for would amount to a 300% tax on UG2 chrome producers and would effectively ban chrome ore exports from SA, David Ellwood, CEO of commodities trader Metmar , said yesterday. China can source chromite ore from elsewhere, potentially cutting SA out of the supply loop, he said.

China imported 4,7-million tons of chrome ore from SA last year, out of its total imports of 9,4-million tons. It takes about 2,5 tons of ore to make a ton of ferrochrome.

Ferrochrome producers are anxious that, if the $100 tariff is imposed, China may reciprocate with a tariff on ferrochrome imports from SA – making their own ferrochrome more expensive and by extension raising the price of stainless steel.

Chromtech has agreements with Eastern Platinum, Lonmin and Amplats to extract chromite ore from their tailings.

It plans to build a ferrochrome smelter near Brits, but electricity constraints have delayed the project, as the company is now forced to reduce its plans to a fraction of the size originally devised.

Eastern Platinum, which this month suspended a project worth 100 000oz a year and restructured its Crocodile River Mine, earned $4,3-m in chrome revenue in the final quarter of last year.

This made up more than a quarter of total revenue of $19-million. The chrome credit lowered operating cash costs to R8685/oz from R10 455.

Platinum miners on the western and eastern limbs of the Bushveld Igneous Complex – the richest, known platinum and chrome deposit in the world – generate about 4,5-million tons of chrome ore a year.

Xstrata has offtake agreements to acquire about 2-million tons of this and the rest is exported by other parties.

According to a study compiled last year by researcher McKinsey, China could produce ferrochrome at $1,19/lb compared to $1,30/lb in SA by 2015 as Eskom’s tariff hikes, more than double since 2007, a proposed carbon tax and rising labour costs make the domestic industry less competitive.

Last year, SA produced ferrochrome for $0,98/lb compared to China’s $1,03.

Ferrochrome producers in SA have idled their smelters because of tight electricity supply due to increased domestic winter demand for power.

Eskom paid them not to use electricity, a decision welcomed by the companies, because they earned more from Eskom than from the sales of their products.

Article source: http://business.iafrica.com/articles/800527.html

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15 Jun 12 Chrome firms want protection


A vital revenue stream for platinum miners – chrome ore – may be choked off if ferrochrome producers are successful in lobbying for a protectionist export tariff of $100/ton in their desperate attempt to protect their own businesses from China’s burgeoning chrome refiners.

Platinum mines in SA are shutting down and projects are being mothballed because of high input costs and stagnant prices in an oversupplied market.

But there is money to be made from the chrome found in platinum miners’ discarded waste after the platinum group metals have been extracted.




A reef stretching across North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, contains the world’s richest source of UG2 (upper group 2) platinum and chrome deposits. The raw product is smelted in an electricity-intensive process and converted to ferrochrome, an alloy used to make stainless steel.

SA is a leading ferrochrome producer through local refineries, but China is catching up, growing its market share to 35% last year from below 10% in 2001.

Ferrochrome producers, who have invested R3,5-billion a year in their businesses since 2006, argue that the Chinese growth is at their expense, as China uses South African chromite ore – a practice they want to be stopped.

Revenues generated from chrome are by-product credits, bringing down the cost of platinum production in an extremely difficult market.

Platinum miners are increasingly putting chrome recovery plants on the back ends of concentrators. Chrome accounts for about 200kg/ton in their tailings.

Not only is this a handy revenue stream – especially in tough times – but it also reduces the amount of material going onto tailings dumps.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said recently its chrome strategy was to “create maximum value to the platinum group metals business by using the revenue generated by UG2 chromite to offset the platinum group metals mining costs in order to be the lowest cost platinum producer”.

Amplats, which has 640-million tons of UG2 chromite-rich reserves, is reviewing its business to restore profit margins. It is widely expected that the review will result in shaft closures, mothballed joint ventures or possible asset sales.

It forecasts it could grow UG2 chrome ore volumes to 2-million tons next year from 340 000 tons in 2010.

Amplats argued that as long as China could not buy “competitively priced” ferrochrome, it would continue importing chromite ore to make its own.

SA has lost its cost advantage on ferrochrome output because of electricity prices doubling and above-inflation wage demands.

What the ferrochrome business needed was sufficient, fairly priced electricity and an agreement with UG2 producers to sell their chromite ore at a reasonable price, Reenen Pretorius, commercial manager at Chromtech Holdings, said yesterday. The company, 50% owned by JSE-listed Grindrod, exports 600 000 tons of chromite a year.

Mr Pretorius warned that the ferrochrome producers’ lobbying for the $100/ton export tariff “will kill off” a significant source of revenue for platinum mines at the worst possible time. “This is protectionism to fix an industry that is unhealthy,” he said yesterday.

The Treasury said in March no such tariff had been tabled in the 2012-13 budget, but it welcomed talks with the ferrochrome sector. It did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.

The tariff the sector is lobbying for would amount to a 300% tax on UG2 chrome producers and would effectively ban chrome ore exports from SA, David Ellwood, CEO of commodities trader Metmar , said yesterday. China can source chromite ore from elsewhere, potentially cutting SA out of the supply loop, he said.

China imported 4,7-million tons of chrome ore from SA last year, out of its total imports of 9,4-million tons. It takes about 2,5 tons of ore to make a ton of ferrochrome.

Ferrochrome producers are anxious that, if the $100 tariff is imposed, China may reciprocate with a tariff on ferrochrome imports from SA – making their own ferrochrome more expensive and by extension raising the price of stainless steel.

Chromtech has agreements with Eastern Platinum, Lonmin and Amplats to extract chromite ore from their tailings.

It plans to build a ferrochrome smelter near Brits, but electricity constraints have delayed the project, as the company is now forced to reduce its plans to a fraction of the size originally devised.

Eastern Platinum, which this month suspended a project worth 100 000oz a year and restructured its Crocodile River Mine, earned $4,3-m in chrome revenue in the final quarter of last year.

This made up more than a quarter of total revenue of $19-million. The chrome credit lowered operating cash costs to R8685/oz from R10 455.

Platinum miners on the western and eastern limbs of the Bushveld Igneous Complex – the richest, known platinum and chrome deposit in the world – generate about 4,5-million tons of chrome ore a year.

Xstrata has offtake agreements to acquire about 2-million tons of this and the rest is exported by other parties.

According to a study compiled last year by researcher McKinsey, China could produce ferrochrome at $1,19/lb compared to $1,30/lb in SA by 2015 as Eskom’s tariff hikes, more than double since 2007, a proposed carbon tax and rising labour costs make the domestic industry less competitive.

Last year, SA produced ferrochrome for $0,98/lb compared to China’s $1,03.

Ferrochrome producers in SA have idled their smelters because of tight electricity supply due to increased domestic winter demand for power.

Eskom paid them not to use electricity, a decision welcomed by the companies, because they earned more from Eskom than from the sales of their products.

Article source: http://business.iafrica.com/news/800527.html

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31 May 12 Chrome to take world’s top browser spot for May


Computerworld -

Google’s Chrome is about to grab the top browser spot for a full month for the first time from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, data from a Web analytics company showed.

For the month through Monday, Chrome had an average usage share of 32.5%, slightly higher than Internet Explorer’s (IE) 32.1%, according to Irish company StatCounter.

If the remaining three days of May play out as did the previous 28, Chrome will take the browser crown from IE for a full month for the first time since Chrome’s September 2008 launch.

Previously, Chrome had edged IE on weekends, and then earlier this month topped Microsoft’s combined browser usage share for the week ending May 20. That trend continued in the month’s fourth week as Chrome beat IE 32.9% to 31.4% for the seven days ending May 27.

The spread between the two browsers for the fourth week of the month was 67% larger than during the third week, hinting that Chrome continues to gain momentum in the share race.

Other browsers remained steady. Through May 28, Mozilla’s Firefox accounted for 25.5% of all browsers used worldwide, while Apple‘s Safari and Opera Software’s Opera logged in at 7.1% and 1.8%, respectively.

But StatCounter’s numbers are contentious in some quarters.

Rival metrics firm Net Applications, for example, cites data that shows Chrome far behind IE, with April’s numbers spotting Chrome at 18.9% and IE at 54.1%, or almost three times larger. Net Applications does not make its daily share data available to the public, so a direct comparison with StatCounter’s numbers through Monday was not possible.

Although both companies discard Chrome’s pre-rendered pages — those that the browser loads in the background in case the user decides to view them — their methodologies differ significantly. For one thing, StatCounter tallies page views while Net Applications counts unique visitors.

More importantly, Net Applications — but not StatCounter — weights its data by country to account for the lack of Western insight into browsing habits in places like China, where IE is the overwhelming favorite. The result is that Net Applications’ numbers for IE are always much larger, and Chrome’s much smaller, than StatCounter’s.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft has accepted Net Applications’ estimates and rejected StatCounter’s.

The two companies’ numbers for Firefox, Safari and Opera are typically in the same ballpark. In April, 4.7 percentage points separated the numbers for Firefox, 2.3 points for Safari and just one-tenth of a percentage point for Opera.

The differences between their shares for IE and Chrome, however, were much larger: 13.3 percentage points for Chrome and a whopping 20 points for IE.

Those variances have been obvious of late. In the early months of 2012, Net Applications revealed a rebound of IE and a halt to Chrome’s usual growth. By Net Applications’ calculations, the turnaround has been IE’s most significant and longest-sustained since the browser began shedding share last decade, first to Firefox, then to Chrome.

Meanwhile, StatCounter has spotted no sign of an IE recovery, and has said IE’s share fell and Chrome’s climbed in each of the first four months of the year.

covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at Twitter @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg’s RSS feed Keizer RSS. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

More: Browser Topic Center

Read more about Browsers in Computerworld’s Browsers Topic Center.

Article source: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9227536/Chrome_to_take_world_s_top_browser_spot_for_May?taxonomyId=71

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30 May 12 Chrome to Take World's Top Browser Spot for May


Google’s Chrome is about to grab the top browser spot for a full month for the first time from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, data from a Web analytics company showed.

For the month through Monday, Chrome had an average usage share of 32.5%, slightly higher than Internet Explorer’s (IE) 32.1%, according to Irish company StatCounter.

If the remaining three days of May play out as did the previous 28, Chrome will take the browser crown from IE for a full month for the first time since Chrome’s September 2008 launch.

Chrome — powered by upswings each weekend — is likely to take the browser crown from Microsoft’s IE this month for the first time. (Data: StatCounter.)

Previously, Chrome had edged IE on weekends, and then earlier this month topped Microsoft’s combined browser usage share for the week ending May 20. That trend continued in the month’s fourth week as Chrome beat IE 32.9% to 31.4% for the seven days ending May 27.

The spread between the two browsers for the fourth week of the month was 67% larger than during the third week, hinting that Chrome continues to gain momentum in the share race.

Other browsers remained steady. Through May 28, Mozilla’s Firefox accounted for 25.5% of all browsers used worldwide, while Apple‘s Safari and Opera Software’s Opera logged in at 7.1% and 1.8%, respectively.

But StatCounter’s numbers are contentious in some quarters.

Rival metrics firm Net Applications, for example, cites data that shows Chrome far behind IE, with April’s numbers spotting Chrome at 18.9% and IE at 54.1%, or almost three times larger. Net Applications does not make its daily share data available to the public, so a direct comparison with StatCounter’s numbers through Monday was not possible.

Although both companies discard Chrome’s pre-rendered pages — those that the browser loads in the background in case the user decides to view them — their methodologies differ significantly. For one thing, StatCounter tallies page views while Net Applications counts unique visitors.

More importantly, Net Applications — but not StatCounter — weights its data by country to account for the lack of Western insight into browsing habits in places like China, where IE is the overwhelming favorite. The result is that Net Applications’ numbers for IE are always much larger, and Chrome’s much smaller, than StatCounter’s.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft has accepted Net Applications’ estimates and rejected StatCounter’s.

The two companies’ numbers for Firefox, Safari and Opera are typically in the same ballpark. In April, 4.7 percentage points separated the numbers for Firefox, 2.3 points for Safari and just one-tenth of a percentage point for Opera.

The differences between their shares for IE and Chrome, however, were much larger: 13.3 percentage points for Chrome and a whopping 20 points for IE.

Those variances have been obvious of late. In the early months of 2012, Net Applications revealed a rebound of IE and a halt to Chrome’s usual growth. By Net Applications’ calculations, the turnaround has been IE’s most significant and longest-sustained since the browser began shedding share last decade, first to Firefox, then to Chrome.

Meanwhile, StatCounter has spotted no sign of an IE recovery, and has said IE’s share fell and Chrome’s climbed in each of the first four months of the year.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg’s RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Read more about browsers in Computerworld’s Browsers Topic Center.

Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/256373/chrome_to_take_worlds_top_browser_spot_for_may.html

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29 May 12 Chrome to take top browser spot from Internet Explorer for May


Google Chrome will grab the top browser spot for a full month for the first time from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, according to data from StatCounter.

For the month until yesterday, Chrome had an average usage share of 32.5%, slightly higher than IE’s 32.1%, the Irish company said.

If the remaining three days of May play out as did the previous 28, Chrome will take the browser crown from IE for a full month for the first time since Chrome’s September 2008 launch.

Previously, Chrome had edged IE on weekends, and then earlier this month topped Microsoft’s combined browser usage share for the week ending May 20. That trend continued in the month’s fourth week as Chrome beat IE 32.9% to 31.4% for the seven days ending May 27.

The spread between the two browsers for the fourth week of the month was 67% larger than during the third week, hinting that Chrome continues to gain momentum in the share race.

Other browsers remained steady. Through May 28, Mozilla’s Firefox accounted for 25.5% of all browsers used worldwide, while Apple’s Safari and Opera Software’s Opera logged in at 7.1% and 1.8%, respectively.

But StatCounter’s numbers are contentious in some quarters.

Rival metrics firm Net Applications, for example, cites data that shows Chrome far behind IE, with April’s numbers spotting Chrome at 18.9% and IE at 54.1%, almost three times larger. Net Applications does not make its daily share data available to the public, so a direct comparison with StatCounter’s numbers through Monday was not possible.

Although both companies discard Chrome’s pre-rendered pages – those that the browser loads in the background in case the user decides to view them – their methodologies differ significantly. For one thing, StatCounter tallies page views while Net Applications counts unique visitors.

More importantly, Net Applications – but not StatCounter – weights its data by country to account for the lack of Western insight into browsing habits in places like China, where IE is the overwhelming favourite. The result is that Net Applications’ numbers for IE are always much larger, and Chrome’s much smaller, than StatCounter’s.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft has accepted Net Applications’ estimates and rejected StatCounter’s.

The two companies’ numbers for Firefox, Safari and Opera are typically in the same ballpark. In April, 4.7% separated the numbers for Firefox, 2.3% for Safari and just 0.1% for Opera.

The differences between their shares for IE and Chrome, however, were much larger: 13.3% for Chrome and a whopping 20% for IE.

Those variances have been obvious of late. In the early months of 2012, Net Applications revealed a rebound of IE and a halt to Chrome’s usual growth. By Net Applications’ calculations, the turnaround has been IE’s most significant and longest-sustained since the browser began shedding share last decade, first to Firefox, then to Chrome.

Meanwhile, StatCounter has spotted no sign of an IE recovery, and has said IE’s share fell and Chrome’s climbed in each of the first four months of the year.

Article source: http://rss.feedsportal.com/c/270/f/470440/s/1fcf79fc/l/0Lnews0Btechworld0N0Capplications0C3360A6190Cchrome0Etake0Etop0Ebrowser0Espot0Efrom0Einternet0Eexplorer0Efor0Emay0C0Dolo0Frss/story01.htm

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26 May 12 Orange Exec: Android, Windows Phone and iPhones Are Gas Guzzlers and …


For most of the past few years, Yves Maitre has lead the effort to ensure its Orange cellphone customers in places like Britain and France have the right selection of phones.

And when it comes to the company’s major markets in Western Europe, Maitre said things are in pretty good shape. Windows Phone, Android and iOS have paved the way for a solid set of options for both high-end devices and even midrange ones, often sold prepaid and, in some cases, under the Orange brand name.

But when it comes to serving the next 6 billion potential smartphone customers, Maitre said that none of the major operating systems is really lightweight enough from either a cost perspective or from the amount of bandwidth consumed.

In an interview Thursday, Maitre likened it to when he was growing up in France and his family had a two-cylinder Citroen. He idolized the huge eight-cylinder cars coming out of Detroit in the 1970s. And while those cars did enjoy a moment in the sun, the world realized that with more cars out there, gas wasn’t unlimited.

In the end, the car makers like Toyota that created fuel-efficient vehicles fared better.

While conventional wisdom is that low-cost Android devices will bring smartphones to the developing world, Maitre says even Google’s OS is too resource intensive. It may have started out as a four-cylinder or six-cylinder car, he says, but with the latest Ice Cream Sandwich release it is every bit the gas guzzler that iOS and Windows Phone are.

Maitre said that Orange is committed to building 3G networks in all of its markets, but that it needs more energy efficient vehicles, if you will.

“I cannot run an eight-cylinder car because it is too expensive,” said Maitre, a senior vice president at France Telecom’s Orange unit. The average selling price of phones in Orange’s developing markets is $54. And while customers might be willing to spend an extra $30 to get a smartphone, they can’t spend another $100.

“If we are not in a position to give them a smartphone at $80, we will miss the six billion,” Maitre said, adding that Orange is committed to having smartphones that hit that price. “If I cannot have Microsoft on it, if I cannot have Android, if I cannot have iOS, then I will look somewhere else, mostly likely in China,” Maitre said.

Already the company is looking at a variety of options including Mozilla’s Boot-to-Gecko project and mobile Linux options like Tizen, in addition to low-cost Android variants coming out of China.

Phones also must become more bandwidth-efficient, Maitre said, because, like gas for cars, bandwidth is a limited commodity.

Today, he said, there are about a billion people crowding the airwaves, most of whom use less than one gigabyte of data per month.

“Tomorrow, seven billion people will use bandwidth and all use [in the range of] five or six gigabits,” he said. “The bandwidth will start to become a very valuable resource.”

Article source: http://allthingsd.com/20120525/orange-exec-android-windows-phone-and-iphones-are-gas-guzzlers-and-developing-world-needs-a-prius/?mod=googlenews

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25 May 12 MB CHARGE CHROME INDEX: China’s market stirs after destocking


Charge chrome import prices in China have edged up in recent weeks on slightly improved demand and a drawdown in stocks.

Metal Bulletin’s China import charge chrome index 50% Cr was calculated at 96 cents per lb on a cif basis in Shanghai on May 25, which was launched that day, compared with prices as low as 90 cents previously.

Prices are expected to continue to increase and global market participants will be watching developments in China closely, particularly with European benchmark price negotiations starting in the coming weeks.

“I think we’ve already seen the bottom in May,” a trader at a Chinese trading company told Metal Bulletin.

“A large consumer set a price of 7,480 yuan and nobody offered so they increased the price twice,” the trader said, noting that it was highly unusual for a stainless steel mill to lift its bid prices twice in rapid succession.

The flat Chinese price has been one of the main arguments undermining producers’ calls for higher contract prices.

“It could be quite tough to get a rise in the benchmark without a further rise in the Chinese price,” a market source told Metal Bulletin.

The European market has been tight since February when South African producers started shutting furnaces under electricity buyback deals with state power group Eskom.

The shutdowns, implemented by all but one of the major producers, have reduced South African production by around 30% over the period of the shutdowns.

Some South African producers have had to buy from their rivals to cover their contractual obligations as stock levels dwindle.

European high carbon ferro-chrome has been trading at $1.16-1.22 per lb since April 20, compared with $1.16-1.20 per lb on February 24 and as little as $1.05-1.15 per lb at the start of the year.

Charge chrome, usually a discount product, has traded at similar levels to high carbon material in recent months in Europe.

Despite the European tightness and slightly higher import prices in China, the Chinese market remains subdued.

But market participants have called for a reliable reference price for charge chrome in China for some time.

“Today’s market is quiet but that does not negate the need for an index,” a second market source said.

South African producers and Chinese buyers express opposite views on the outlook for Chinese demand for South African ferro-chrome.

Chinese market participants say the country is becoming increasingly self-sufficient for its ferro-chrome needs and therefore less reliant on South African imports.

“China will become less reliant this year, but we don’t need to worry about the European and US markets. The only problem for South Africa is China not buying any more but they will never export,” the trader said.

South African producers say there is a perceived shortage on China due to the stock drawdowns and say Chinese ferro-chrome producers, which are operating at low capacity, will not be able to ramp up fast enough to avoid importing good volumes.

“We are hoping the perceived local shortage in China will help a bit. Domestic producers there run at low capacity and are increasing, but not as much as domestic consumers would like,” a source at a South African producer said.

Some Chinese buyers insist the furnace shutdowns in South Africa will lead to more UG2 ore being sent to China because it is not being smelted in furnaces in South Africa.

South African ferro-chrome producers insist this is not the case, because the ore that is not being smelted due to the shutdowns is mainly the higher quality LG6 ore. Bid prices from China have not reached a level that suppliers will accept, they said.

They also point to China’s import statistics, which show that while ferro-chrome imports from South Africa are falling, they still make up around two thirds of China’s ferro-chrome imports.

Metal Bulletin asked a source a second South African ferro-chrome smelter about the extent of the mutual dependence of South African producers and their customers in China.

“South African producers need to rely on China to an extent. Some rely more than others on the Chinese market,” the source told Metal Bulletin.

“It’s a matter of time before the industry needs to consolidate or close down. In terms of alloy sales to China I’d say we’ve got at least another couple of year, worst case scenario,” the source said.

“Yes the South African market share is decreasing but China can’t survive without [any] South African alloy, that’s ridiculous. The numbers are the numbers.”

Article source: http://www.amm.com/Article/3036399/Nonferrous/MB-CHARGE-CHROME-INDEX-Chinas-market-stirs-after-destocking.html

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