Sony Cuts Semiconductor Spending Investments

It’s tough times over at Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) these days. From exploding batteries to the mediocre launch of its Playstation 3 videogame console, the venerable electronics and media giant has certainly seen better days.

Now the company is cutting resources at its semiconductor business, and considering whether or not to continue manufacturing its Cell chip used in the PS3 in-house.

The Tokyo, Japan-based company announced that its capital expenditures in its semiconductor business will be much less than the 460 billion yen ($3.79 billion) it spent over the last three fiscal years, according to Executive Deputy President Yutaka Nakagawa, who heads the company’s semiconductor and component device business.

Last month, Sony blamed the launching costs of its PlayStation 3 game console for much of the 5 percent drop in group net profit for the last three months of 2006 to 159.9 billion yen ($1.32 billion).

The company has been engaged in a massive turnaround effort since 2005, when Welsh-born American Howard Stringer took the chief executive job. Sony has dropped unprofitable businesses, sold off assets, cut jobs and closed plants.

Nakagawa also said that production of 45nm Cell processors – the main chip used in the PlayStation 3 – would probably begin at the end of fiscal year 2008 or the beginning of fiscal year 2009. Sony had yet to decide whether the 45nm chips will be manufactured by Sony itself or in cooperation with another company, he said. The processor is currently made using 90nm technology, and Nakagawa said the chips will soon be made with 60nm technology.

Components such as the Cell chip and a Blu-ray DVD player have driven up the PS3 price. Lower costs for the high-speed chip are expected to help the new game machine better compete with Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360. However, finer circuitry also means heavier initial investments for chipmakers as costs for chip-making equipment balloon.

Among the possible businesses to which Sony may outsource the work are Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and United Microelectronics, which are the world’s largest and second-largest contract chipmakers, respectively.

“They are aggressively investing in cutting-edge technology,” Nakagawa said of the two companies. “Our basic understanding is that we probably won’t need to do everything by ourselves for next-generation chips.

“When we first offered the PS2, there were no semiconductor companies that were able to make chips for the machine, so we did it ourselves. But now, there are companies that specialize in (such) chip production.”

Despite the cuts, Sony expects revenue at its chip operations to grow 57 percent to $6.35 billion during the current business year that ends in March, accounting for 9.4 percent of its estimated group sales, although part of its chip sales are made through in-house transactions.

Sales have been driven by brisk demand for chips used in its game machines as well as in digital cameras, Nakagawa said.

Sony’s PS3 sales have so far paled in comparison with the rival Wii.

The Nintendo machine outsold the PS3 nearly three to one in Japan last month, according to videogame magazine publisher Enterbrain, which blamed PS3’s higher price tag and a shortage of game titles.

Don’t Throw Your Wine Investment Down the Drain: Store Your Wine the Right Way

Through the centuries wine has become more and more popular. Every year more and more money is going into investments and the consumption of wine. Many people are finding the history of wine to be very important in their purchasing strategies. But with their investment they want and need to know how to properly store and take care of their wine collection.

Many people ask about humidity, temperature, lighting, angle of the bottle, etc. This is very important information that people do need to know this. If you have a very nice bottle of Tokay Pinot, that runs around $170.00, then you don’t want it to taste like vinegar, do you. When you open a bottle of wine that has been stored properly, you definitely can tell the difference from a bottle of wine that hasn’t been stored the right way.

In order to store your wine the proper way, you do have to consider these important factors, humidity, temperature, lighting, and storage area cleanliness, and the angle of the bottle and any vibration of the bottle on the rack.

The most important is the temperature. Try to keep it around 50 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. The lower temperature helps age the wine at a low pace. If you do have fluctuations in the temperature, try to see that is happens very slowly. If the temperature does not go to high to fast then your wine should be okay.

The humidity level for storing wine should be around 70% but it’s okay to keep it 10% above or below the 70% range. The label could mold if the humidity is to high and this brings the wine’s value down. If the humidity is to low, around 50%, the cork will shrink and this lets air into the wine bottle, which ruins the wine in know time flat.

The angle of the wine bottle is very important, as the wine should stay in contact with the cork during its storage. This keeps the cork from drying out. If the wine doesn’t stay in contact with the cork, the cork will dry out and this will let air into the wine bottle. Light will also affect the wine. You should always keep wine out of light; light will ruin any type of wine. Light will cause the wine to age prematurely so it’s very important that you store your wine in a dark location.

Sediments can also damage your wine. Your storage area should be free of all vibrations. Vibration is not a good thing for wine; the sediments become disturbed and can ruin the wine to the point that it will taste horrible. You don’t want to have to pour out that $170.00 bottle of wine. So store your wine in a location that it won’t be disturbed so the sediments can settle.

Here are some storage ideas that you may consider for your wine.

Wine racks – they serve 3 purposes. 1. Storage. 2. Display. 3. Prevent corks from drying out.

Your main concern should be the display and humidity level; keep this in mind while your looking for that perfect place to put your wine rack. Wine racks come in many sizes and shapes and in wood, metal, iron etc. There are also tabletop wine racks if you are short on space.

Refrigerated wine storage rack – they control the temperature and humidity level very well.

If you are considering a refrigerated wine storage rack make sure you have decided where you want to put it. They come in all sizes from holding a few bottles of wine to many bottles of wine. Make sure you measure the area you would like to put a refrigerated wine storage rack before you make your purchase.

In protecting your investment of your wine, storage and care is the number one thing that is mandatory. Storing your wine in the proper location will bring you the best tasting wine that it was meant to be. Nothing is more important than opening that wine bottle that you have let age for several years, on that special occasion, only to find that it is nothing but vinegar.

Wine isn’t hard to care for or store, just remember these factors and enjoy.