R&D spending by the big three in smartphones – Nokia, Google, Apple

A fascinating graphic and the article it is pulled from.

 

 

Nokia led the wireless revolution in the 1990s and set its sights on ushering the world into the era of smartphones. Now that the smartphone era has arrived, the company is racing to roll out competitive products as its stock price collapses and thousands of employees lose their jobs.

This year, Nokia ended a 14-year-run as the world’s largest maker of mobile phones, as rival Samsung Electronics Co. took the top spot and makers of cheaper phones ate into Nokia’s sales volumes.

Nokia is losing ground despite spending $40 billion on research and development over the past decade—nearly four times what Apple spent in the same period.

Instead of producing hit devices or software, the binge of spending has left the company with at least two abandoned operating systems and a pile of patents that analysts now say are worth around $6 billion, the bulk of the value of the entire company.

 

Source: Wall Street Journal – Nokia’s Bad Call on Smartphones

Apple goes on hiring spree in Israel, Ireland (to start domination of Europe?)

Apple is to hire 500 people in Ireland.

The consumer electronics giant will increase the headcount at its European headquarters in the southern city of Cork over the next 18 months from 2,800 at present, a spokesman for the company said.

He said the jobs would “support our growing business across Europe.” The Cork operation provides distribution, supply chain management and back office functions.

While workers are still being laid off as consumer spending continues to shrink, Dublin has succeeded in attracting Google and Facebook thanks to its low corporate tax rates and educated, English-speaking workforce within the eurozone.

via Reuters

And, in Israel:

The “major hiring campaign” by Apple will kick off in the next few weeks, according to Israel’s Ynetnews. The new positions will work at Apple’s R&D center in Haifa.

The company is expected to rely on the assistance of a “headhunter” who will handle the hiring of “dozens of candidates simultaneously.”

The new employees will join the roughly 200 personnel at Anobit, a flash memory company that Apple purchased in late 2011 for a rumored $490 million price. That strategic acquisition is expected to help Apple secure capacity of flash memory for devices like the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook lineup.

Apple’s new hires will be located in Haifa’s Scientific Industries Center, an international technology center known as Matam. Other companies with operations there include Google, Intel, IBM, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

via Apple Insider

 

// Photo – eriwst

Bloom Energy, an update – from start-up to acceleration, this company is winning

It’s been two years and time for an update on Bloom Energy. Back in February, 2010, the company made a big splash by announcing their technology and their customers.

The technology is revolutionary for the simple fact that it does not use steam-powered turbines. Every power plant in the world from coal to nuclear still uses a steam engine. Think Mark Twain on the Mississippi and you’re not far off.

This technology uses a Solid-Oxide fuel cell to convert natural gas into energy without combustion (or steam).

For decades, experts have agreed that solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) hold the greatest potential of any fuel cell technology. With low cost ceramic materials, and extremely high electrical efficiencies, SOFCs can deliver attractive economics without relying on CHP (steam). But until now, there were significant technical challenges inhibiting the commercialization of this promising new technology.

via Bloom Energy

The “low cost ceramic materials” is huge because traditional fuel cells use expensive and rare ones that America fights China for.

The other major component here is the “technical challenges” that Bloom has overcome using a term they call “R&D on steroids”.

As a venture capital backed company they have been able to rapidly iterate since 2001, resulting in some incredible efficiencies. The first is the fuel cell they launched in 2010 that requires half the natural gas for the same power from traditional sources.

The second, recently launched, allows for double the amount of power with the same cell. Put another way, with the same footprint you get 200 kw instead of 100 kw.

These innovations have been hugely popular among the right set of customers. Companies like Coca-Cola, Walmart, Google, Bank of America, AT&T, and Ebay have all installed the Bloom Servers at their offices.

That success is continuing as seen by the rapid growth in their workforce, which has increased by 70% since 2010, and added 1,000 manufacturing jobs in California. Not to mention establishing an international arm to push this technology worldwide.

Back in 2010, when the company was lauded as the next big thing many were skeptical, including myself. Here is my coverage of that press event launching Bloom Energy.

At this point, though, it seems clear that the only question is when GE will buy the company or start competing with them.