PCR Five for Friday (22/09/2017)

Five for Friday is a weekly feature to give a brief roundup of our top five stories from the week that you might have missed. Think we left anything out? Let us know your favourite stories of the week by pinging us a tweet @pcr_online.

PC prices have been raised by a third since Brexit

According to new info from Context, the average sales prices (ASPs) for desktops, notebooks and workstations hit £480 in July and August, up 30 per cent year on year.

But it wasn’t just Brexit that was the cause of the price increases. A multitude of factors, including component shortages in key areas including memory, growing demand for higher-spec systems and decreased sales for lower-margin, were also to blame, noted Context senior analyst Marie-Christine Pygott.

iPhone X launch reignites row between Imagination Technologies and Apple

Analysts at Numis speculated that Apple will have to pay royalties to Imagination for technology in the new iPhone, despite Apple’s boasts about it being its own work. A spokesperson for Numis said: “It is noted on Apple’s developer website that the A11 GPU uses a key Imagination-patented approach called tile-based deferred rendering, which would indicate it will be a royalty-bearing chip.”

Imagination made chips for all of Apple’s phones until it was ditched earlier this year and told royalties would be wound down. But despite the setback, the British chipmaker Imagination Technologies posted an annual profit despite its ongoing fallout with Apple. The firm recorded a £2.4 million pre-tax profit with group revenue up 19 per cent to £145.2 million, overhauling a £29.4 million loss from the previous year.

Record 1.9 billion data records compromised by breaches in first half of 2017

The number of data breaches around the world has reached a record high. According to the latest Breach Level Index Report, lost of compromised records increased by 164 per cent in the first six months of the year. In total the index revealed that 918 data breaches has led to 1.9 billion data records being compromised in the first half of the year alone.

A large proportion of those came from the 22 largest data breaches, each involving more than 1 million compromised records. More than 500 of all the breaches worryingly had an unknown or unaccounted number of compromised records.

In total, more than 9 billion data records have been exposed since 2013 when the index began benchmarking publicly disclosed data breaches. Compromised data includes medical, credit card and financial data as well as personally identifiable information. Worryingly, less than 1 per cent of the stolen, lost or compromised data used encryption to render the information useless, a 4 per cent drop compared to the last six months of 2016.

Printer hardware shipments on the rise

The printer market is growing according to latest figures. According to data published by European IT market analysis firm Context, unit shipments of printer hardware to Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) continued to improve in Q2 2017 and registered an increase of four per cent year-on-year compared to a decline of three per cent in Q2 2016. While there was positive performance across the board, the increase was driven mainly by shipments of multifunction inkjet devices.

Western Europe accounted for almost 70 per cent of all printer hardware shipments to EMEA and mirrored the performance in the region as a whole – a significant improvement on the six per cent decline in the same quarter last year. Shipments of laser multifunction printers (MFPs) registered growth of 10 per cent year-on-year and were largely responsible for the overall increase.

Toshiba picks Bain consortium as memory chip buyer in $22 billion deal

The latest – and quite possibly, the final – twist in the highly contentious auction of Toshiba’s memory chip unit looks like drawing the affair to an end. According to Reuters, Toshiba has selected a consortium led by Bain Capital to buy its valuable chip unit. Turning its back on a proposed deal led by Western Digital, Toshiba is set to make around $22 billion from the sale.

The Bain-led consortium also consists of South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix, as well as tech giants Apple and Dell. The sale of the second largest NAND semiconductor producer has gone back and forth with a number of revised bids, lawsuits and negotiation disputes tacking place. Only last week, Western Digital looked in poll position to tie up a deal, with reports coming out of Japan that the deal was in the final stages. However that deal appears to have broken down as Western Digital failed to agree on limits to its future stake in the chip business demanded by Toshiba.

Western Digital have legal rights as a partner to disapprove any deal Toshiba strikes. This is likely to prevent the deal from going ahead straight away and may even result in a further legal case

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