Posts tagged ‘Microsoft’


China breaks patent application record – BBC News

China-based innovators applied for a record-setting number of invention patents last year.

The country accounted for more than a million submissions, according to an annual report by the World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipo). It said the figure was “extraordinary”.

Many of the filings were for new ideas in telecoms, computing, semiconductors and medical tech.

Beijing had urged companies to boost the number of such applications.

But some experts have questioned whether it signifies that the country is truly more inventive than others, since most of China’s filings were done locally.

What is a patent?

A patent is the monopoly property right granted by a government to the owner of an invention.

This allows the creator and subsequent owners to prevent others from making, using, offering for sale or importing their invention into the country for a limited time.

In return they must agree for the patent filing to be publicly disclosed.

To qualify as an “invention” patent, the filing must contain a new, useful idea that includes a step – a new process, improvement or concept – which would not be obvious to a skilled person in that field.

Some countries – including China – also issue other types of patents:

Utility model patents. The ideas must still be novel, but it is less important that there is a “non-obvious step”

Design patents. These require the shape, pattern and/or colour of a manufactured object’s design to be new, but do not require there to be a novel technical aspect

Skewed figures

A total of 2.9 million invention patent applications were filed worldwide in 2015, according to Wipo, marking a 7.8% rise on the previous year.

China can lay claim to driving most of that growth. Its domestic patent office – the Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (Sipo) – received a record 1,101,864 filings. These included both filings from residents of China and those from overseas innovators who had sought local protection for their ideas.

The tally was more than that of Sipo’s Japanese, South Korean and US equivalents combined.

Applicants based in China filed a total of 1,010,406 invention patents – the first time applicants from a single origin had filed more than one million in a single year.

But they appeared to be reticent about seeking patent rights abroad.

According to Wipo, China-based inventors filed just 42,154 invention patent applications outside their borders – Huawei and ZTE, two smartphone and telecoms equipment-makers, led the way.

There was a rise in the number of medical tech patent filings from China

By comparison US-based inventors sought more than five times that figure. And Japan, Germany and France also outnumbered the Asian giant.

One patent expert – who asked not to be named – suggested the disparity between Chinese inventors’ local and international filings reflected the fact that not all the claims would stand up to scrutiny elsewhere.

“The detail of what they are applying for means they would be unlikely to have the necessary degree of novelty to be granted a patent worldwide,” he said.

But Wipo’s chief economist said things were not so clear cut.

“There is clearly a discussion out there as to what is the quality of Chinese patents,” said Carsten Fink.

“But questions have also been asked about US and other [countries’] patents.”

And one should keep in mind that China is a huge economy.

“If you look at its patent filings per head of population, there are still fewer patents being filed there than in the United States.”

Patent boom

Part of the reason so many applications were made locally was that China set itself a target to boost all types of patent filings five years ago.

Sipo declared at the time that it wanted to receive two million filings in 2015.

The government supported the initiative with various subsidies and other incentives.

Adding together China’s invention, utility and design patents, its tally for 2015 was about 2.7 million filings, meaning it surpassed its goal by a wide margin.

One London-based patent lawyer noted that Chinese firms were not just filing patents of their own but also buying rights from overseas companies.

“This all goes to show the growth of the telecoms and high-tech industries in China, and that these companies are playing a more significant role globally than hitherto,” said Jonathan Radcliffe from Reed Smith.

“The fact we are now seeing them suing and being sued for patent infringement in Europe and in the US on subject matter such as mobile phones and telecoms standards – and indeed seeing Chinese companies suing each other over here in Europe for patent infringement – shows that they have truly arrived.”

Source: China breaks patent application record – BBC News


China’s Tech Industry Is as Male-Dominated as Silicon Valley – China Real Time Report – WSJ

When Chinese President Xi Jinping met with top U.S. and Chinese technology executives in Seattle two months ago, they posed for a now-famous group photo. But one thing was missing: women from China.

As WSJ’s Li Yuan writes in her “China Circuit” column: This defies the conventional wisdom in China that compared with Silicon Valley, China’s tech industry has less of a gender-inequality problem. True, women accounted for nine out of 30 Alibaba partners when it went public in 2014. Both Alibaba and Baidu’s chief financial officers are women. Some of China’s most prominent venture capitalists are women, too.

But the group photo attests to what is really happening behind the success stories: China’s tech industry is as male-dominated as that of Silicon Valley. And unlike the debate and discussions taking place in Silicon Valley about gender inequality, China’s tech industry has yet to acknowledge the problem. With the​tech sector becoming the brightest spot in a sluggish economy, women risk losing out in the competition for the best-paying jobs and the best opportunities to start their own businesses.

Source: China’s Tech Industry Is as Male-Dominated as Silicon Valley – China Real Time Report – WSJ


Indian Startup Seclore Gains Traction Amid High Profile Hacks – India Real Time – WSJ


Bad news for corporate hacking victims can be good news for information security firms. Just ask Vishal Gupta, founder and chief executive of Mumbai, India-based Seclore.

Amid a string of high profile breaches like those that have hit Sony Pictures, health insurer Anthem  and infidelity website Ashley Madison, Mr. Gupta’s firm has been quietly gaining clients in the U.S. and elsewhere.  Among them  are U.K.-based drug maker AstraZeneca PLC, Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp., German automotive company Daimler AG and U.S. cable firm Comcast Corp.

The company, while not as prominent as cybersecurity firms like FireEye Inc. or Palo Alto Networks Inc., targets an important but sometimes overlooked niche: locking down sensitive documents even when they are emailed outside clients’ networks. Seclore’s tools ensure that sensitive information like financial statements and  payroll information cannot be altered or printed if they are shared with unauthorized users via email.

Seclore, which has about 200 staff and was founded in 2009,  still has a small annual revenue base of around $10 million but Mr. Gupta said his startup has become profitable in the last three quarters, helped by a growing number of clients in the U.S.. Seclore has received some $7 million of investments from the likes of India-focused venture capital firms Helion Venture Partners and Ventureast.

Mr. Gupta said that while companies like Microsoft Corp. offer competing products, he considers his biggest challenge to be finding and keeping top talent in order to keep up with rising demand.

“Information security has truly become a boardroom topic,” Mr. Gupta said.

Source: Indian Startup Seclore Gains Traction Amid High Profile Hacks – India Real Time – WSJ


China’s Top 100 Brands: The Private Sector Reigns Supreme – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s top brand is no longer a state-owned company, nor is it e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.BABA +0.85% It’s technology player Tencent Holdings TCEHY +3.45%.

In a ranking of the top 100 most valuable Chinese brands by research from agency Millward Brown and media company WPP, Tencent,  China’s largest online-games and social-networking company, ranked No. 1 with a brand value of $66 billion, ahead of No. 2 Alibaba’s $59 billion. Tencent’s WeChat and QQ messaging services propelled it to the top of the list, said Doreen Wang, global head of Millward Brown’s BrandZ division.

Tencent’s rise unseats state-owned telecom giant China Mobile, which has held the top spot since the ranking’s launch in 2010. It also marks a sea change for China’s private-sector companies, which now account for 47% of the value of the top 100 brands. To calculate rankings, Millward Brown and WPP analyze financial data of listed companies’ brands, pairing it with survey data from more than two million consumers in over 30 countries.

China’s state-owned enterprises have long dominated China’s list of leading companies. In 2010, of the top 50 Chinese brands identified in the report, state-owned companies occupied a third of the list and accounted for an estimated 70-75% of the $280 billion total combined value of the top 50.

Today, it’s a different story. In the past year, the government as has pushed private sector reforms and talked about the need to let market forces play a “more decisive” role in the economy. Alibaba’s public listing last year also contributed to the jump in value for market-driven brands, Millward Brown said, adding that technology brands have also for the first time surpassed financial institutions, becoming the highest valued sector in the rankings, representing 23% of the top 100’s value. Search giant Baidu Inc.BIDU -1.66% ranked No. 5, behind China Mobile and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.

Tencent now ranks fifth in the world for global technology leaders’ brand value, according to MIllward Brown. Google Inc. is No. 1 with $158.8 billion, with Apple Inc. holding the No. 2 spot, followed by International Business Machines Corp.and Microsoft Corp.

Yet, even with Alibaba’s record-setting IPO and Tencent’s various successes, Chinese brands haven’t gained global recognition, said Ms. Wang. Only 22% of consumers surveyed outside of China could recognize a Chinese brand in 2014, a slight rise from 20% the year earlier. Chinese brands need to clarify what they stand for and need to ensure that they can satisfy needs beyond the Chinese market for them to gain more recognition, said Ms. Wang. “They need to consider what kind of benefit they bring to global consumers,” she said.

via China’s Top 100 Brands: The Private Sector Reigns Supreme – China Real Time Report – WSJ.


Intel to invest $1.6 billion in China factory | Reuters

Intel Corp (INTC.O) will invest $1.6 billion (1 billion pounds) to upgrade its factory in the city of Chengdu in western China, the latest sign of how the chipmaker is deepening ties in a market that is proving increasingly troublesome for some U.S. technology peers.

Indonesian youth walk past an Intel sign during Digital Imaging expo in Jakarta March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Beawiharta

As part of the upgrade, Intel said in a statement on Thursday it would bring its most advanced chip-testing technology to China. In exchange it will receive local and regional government support for construction.

“Deploying our newest advanced testing technology in China shows our commitment to innovating jointly with China,” Intel executive vice president William Holt said in the statement. “The fully upgraded Chengdu plant will help the Chinese semiconductor industry and boost regional economic growth.”

The announcement comes three months after Intel purchased a minority stake in a government-controlled semiconductor company to jointly design and distribute mobile chips, an industry that China considers to be of strategic importance.

Intel’s fortunes in China contrast with the travails of its rival, Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O), which is expected to announce in the coming days a potentially record-breaking settlement with Chinese antitrust regulators.

China’s investigation into San Diego-based Qualcomm, as well as a spate of recent probes against firms including Microsoft Corp, have prompted an outcry from foreign business lobbies. They say the Chinese government is increasingly adopting strong-arm tactics to yield technology-sharing or other arrangements beneficial to domestic industry.

The government, meanwhile, has defended its regulatory scrutiny as even-handed. It has pointed to a history of Qualcomm and Microsoft facing similar antitrust probes in Western countries.

Analysts say there is a broad recognition that foreign companies must do more to stay in China’s good graces.

via Intel to invest $1.6 billion in China factory | Reuters.


India’s Farming Women Use Cameras to Share Lessons – Businessweek

Kavita Devi has spent 50 years farming the way her elders taught her. Until recently, that meant working other people’s land in the northeastern Indian village of Gosaibigha in exchange for 10 pounds of rice once a season. But since July, twice a month she’s been joining about 30 women neighbors in saris who file into a makeshift movie theater in a buffalo shed, where they watch videos from a battery-powered, handheld projector shown on a fuzzy brown blanket hung on a wall. In the videos, which run for 8 to 10 minutes, women from nearby villages demonstrate ways to boost rice yield by spacing the seedlings farther apart and using compost instead of fertilizer. “They look very successful,” Devi says later. “I would like to be one of them.” Since July she’s been leasing a small patch to plant her own crops.

A videographer watches as farmers demonstrate techniques in Uttar Pradesh

Technology is transforming the way women like Devi farm. In rural India, impoverished women do most of the labor using methods passed down for millennia. About 100,000 (mostly male) government and private agricultural experts roam the country to teach farmers modern techniques. But fewer than 6 percent of farmers have ever seen one, according to the World Bank, and women are often excluded from those training sessions because they lack legal rights to their husbands’ land.

Digital Green, a nonprofit founded by Microsoft (MSFT) researchers, is trying to change that. The group distributes pocket cameras and tripods to local women and trains them to storyboard, act in, shoot, edit, and screen videos demonstrating farming innovations. Because the villages where the women work often lack reliable electricity, it’s all done via battery-powered projectors. Women who screen the videos keep track of attendee questions and monitor adoption of the practices to help directors improve later versions. Using the audience’s peers as actors is particularly important, says Rikin Gandhi, Digital Green’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “Viewers identify with those featured in videos based on dialect and appearance, etc., to determine whether it is someone they can trust,” he says. Villagers will tune out if they see items that aren’t common in their communities, such as a plastic bucket or a watch.

via India’s Farming Women Use Cameras to Share Lessons – Businessweek.


Frustrated Multinationals Look to Trim China-Based Staff – Businessweek

Slightly less than half of European companies operating in China plan to expand their mainland-based workforce in the next year—down from 61 percent in 2012, according to a recent survey by the European Chamber of Commerce. A quarter of these entities are looking for other ways to trim costs in China, and 51 percent believe doing business in China “has become more difficult” over the past few years.

The workshop of Bernard Controls, a French business that manufactures electric components in Beijing

Business isn’t typically bad—61 percent said their China operations were profitable—but it’s less spectacular than in past years. That’s due in part to China’s economic slowdown, in part to real and perceived hostility against foreign companies in China, and in part to problems or layoffs in their home offices.

American companies expressed similar concerns in a recent survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Fully 60 percent of U.S. businesses said they felt “less welcome” in China than in the previous year. Anticorruption and pricing probes in wide-ranging industries have seemingly singled out foreign companies, from Microsoft (MSFT) to Abbott Laboratories (ABT), as targets. Almost half of those surveyed said they thought the pattern of harassment was deliberate.

via Frustrated Multinationals Look to Trim China-Based Staff – Businessweek.


China Investigates Microsoft, Symantec – Businessweek

For years, U.S. politicians have been calling Chinese telecom-equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE (000063:CH)threats to American security. But making charges about national security is a game that China can play, too. Following Edward Snowden’s disclosures of U.S. spying, the Chinese government seems eager to show American companies that they will pay a price for U.S. government actions.

Why China Is Investigating Microsoft and Symantec

That’s a lesson that Microsoft (MSFT) and Symantec (SYMC) are learning now. An antivirus company from Silicon Valley, Symantec competes in China against local favorites such as Beijing-based Qihoo 360 Technology (QIHU). According to reports by Bloomberg News and the Chinese media, China has instructed government departments to stop buying antivirus software by Symantec and its Moscow-based rival, Kaspersky Lab. Symantec software has back doors that could allow outside access, according to an order from the Public Security Ministry. Not coincidentally, Qihoo’s New York-traded shares rose 2.7 percent on Monday, following reports of the move against Symantec and Kaspersky.

Symantec is trying to contain the damage. Although the official People’s Daily newspaper reported on Sunday that the government had banned both Symantec and Kapersky, Cupertino (Calif.)-based Symantec says the action is more limited. “It is important to note that this list is only for certain types of procurement and Symantec products are not banned by the Chinese government,” the China Daily reported Symantec commenting in a statement. “We are investigating this report and will continue to bid for and win government projects in China.”

via China Investigates Microsoft, Symantec – Businessweek.


India Wants to Build Its Own Chips to Satisfy Electronics Demand – Businessweek

India’s IT services companies are tops in outsourcing, with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS:IN) and Infosys (INFY) competing globally with IBM (IBM) and Accenture (ACN). The cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad are well established as research centers for such multinationals as Microsoft (MSFT), General Electric (GE), and Intel (INTC).

Pedestrians pass in front of smartphone wholesale outlets at Gaffar Market in New Delhi on April 9, 2013

But when it comes to hardware, India is behind. In 2013 it imported $33.5 billion worth of electronics, from semiconductors to smartphones. That’s more than it spent on any imports except oil and gold. With India’s large and growing middle class buying more digital devices, the reliance on imported semiconductors and other hardware is likely to increase. By next year, according to market analysts Frost & Sullivan, such imports will top $42 billion. “Our manufacturing has not kept pace with our consumption,” says PVG Menon, president of the Indian Electronic & Semiconductor Association. India does some assembly of TVs, mobile phones, computers, and set-top boxes.

The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is trying to address this technology gap. The Indian cabinet on Feb. 14 approved plans for two semiconductor manufacturing projects, requiring an investment of $10.2 billion, with IBM, Geneva-based STMicroelectronics (STM:FP), and Israel’s Tower Semiconductor (TSEM:IT) taking part.

via India Wants to Build Its Own Chips to Satisfy Electronics Demand – Businessweek.

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The Other MIT: Microsoft CEO’s Alma Mater in India – Businessweek

Satya Nadella studied engineering at southern India’s Manipal Institute of Technology. Unlike its Massachusetts namesake, the Indian MIT isn’t so accustomed to the spotlight. The school is part of Manipal University, a private school that traditionally hasn’t enjoyed the same prestige as the Indian Institutes of Technology, the country’s elite public-sector schools launched by Jawaharlal Nehru shortly after independence.

Image representing Satya Nadella as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

“People’s general perception was the private universities were not able to bring out this kind of quality,” explains Ranjan Pai, Manipal’s chancellor. When it comes to higher education, “the private sector in India has generally been looked down upon.”

Having an alumnus from the Indian MIT in one of the world’s highest-profile—albeit most difficult—corporate jobs should help Pai, 41, as he tries to change that perception. His grandfather founded Manipal in the early 1950s, and today there are two campuses in the state of Karnataka as well as separate schools in the northern city of Jaipur and the Himalayan state of Sikkim. Combined, there are more than 30,000 students attending Manipal classes in person, with an additional 250,000 enrolled online.

via The Other MIT: Microsoft CEO’s Alma Mater in India – Businessweek.

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