Trending February 2024 # Apple ‘Surprised’ By Gt Advanced Bankruptcy Filing, Company Spokesperson Says # Suggested March 2024 # Top 2 Popular

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Company spokesman Chris Gaither said in a written statement to Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and other major outlets that “we are focussed on preserving jobs in Arizona following GT’s surprising decision and we will continue to work with state and local officials as we consider our next steps”.

After purchasing a 1.4-million-square-foot facility in Arizona from a solar-panel producer for $113 million last year, Apple basically leased the site to GT Advanced. The idea was that Apple would own the plant and the equipment while GT would focus on component production.

But up until that point, GT was only known as a leading maker of sophisticated furnaces used to grow synthetic sapphire. According to the terms of the multi-year agreement, Apple would prepay $578 million — contingent on meeting certain technical requirements — for the cutting-edge equipment.

GT agreed to start repaying Apple beginning 2024. Crazypants analysts expected GT’s 2014 revenue to grow fifteen fold on the heels of the Apple deal alone.

The problem is, GT as a equipment manufacturer has never dealt with Apple in the past and it admittedly had no experience whatsoever running a large-scale mass production that can match Apple’s insane needs.

Unfortunately, the huge gamble has failed to pay off.

Suffering low yields and ongoing manufacturing woes, GT was unable to ramp up production of sapphire, prompting Apple to reportedly withhold the last $139 million payment, enough to push GT into financial distress.

As a result of these miscalculations and the fact that Apple unveiled new iPhones with heavy-duty Gorilla Glass glass screens, rather than sapphire, GT filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, a move designed to allow the firm to continue normal operations and meet its obligations until it reorganizes its business and negotiate new financing arrangements with its creditors.

“Today’s filing does not mean we are going out of business; rather, it provides us with the opportunity to continue to execute our business plan on a stronger footing, maintain operations of our diversified business, and improve our balance sheet,” GT Advanced Chief Executive Tom Gutierrez said in a news release.

Waisuke Wakabayashi of The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple opted against using the precious gemstone, whose hardness is second only to diamond, after the material “proved brittle” and cracked in testing.

As of September 29, GT had about $85 million in cash.

Shares of GT nosedived 90 percent on the news.

The bankruptcy filing should’t disrupt Apple’s supply chain as the California firm has been sourcing scratch-resistant sapphire material for the Touch ID sensor and the iSight camera lens from other suppliers.

And even though two of the three distinct editions of the Apple Watch, due in early 2024, do feature a sapphire coating to protect their Retina screen, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says GT’s bankruptcy won’t affect Apple Watch production as Apple is already working with a handful of other sapphire ingot (or cast) suppliers including Hansol and Harbin Aurora Optoelectronics.

For what it’s worth, the Mesa facility was supposed to create more than 700 high-quality jobs in the first year and “generate significant capital investment” going forward, as per The Arizona State Governor Janice K. Brewer’s November 2013 press release.

In addition, the project was expected to benefit the state by producing approximately 1,300 construction and other associated jobs.

Is Apple going to now buy GT for cheap and run the plant itself, do you think?

[Reuters, The Wall Street Journal]

You're reading Apple ‘Surprised’ By Gt Advanced Bankruptcy Filing, Company Spokesperson Says

Gt Bankruptcy Puts Apple In Control Of Sapphire

GT bankruptcy puts Apple in control of Sapphire

GT Advanced is Apple’s partner in their yet-to-be-opened Sapphire Glass facility in Arizona. The facility is near completion, and with a possible ocean of Sapphire Glass flowing from the desert soon, GT Advanced filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. In examining the circumstances surrounding that filing, it seems Apple could be poised to own the facility themselves.

In filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday, GT Advanced CEO Thomas Gutierrez said “Today’s filing does not mean we are going out of business; rather, it provides us with the opportunity to continue to execute our business plan on a stronger footing, maintain operations of our diversified business, and improve our balance sheet.” He went on to add filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy, which protects them from debt collection during a reorganization process, was the right thing for GT to do in paving a “path to future success”.

Gutierrez is now under the crosshairs for selling stock. One day before Apple announced their iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which didn’t (and don’t) have Sapphire Glass, Gutierrez sold 9,000 shares of GT Advanced stock. After Apple’s announcement, GT shares fell 13%.

The bankruptcy announcement sent shares tumbling 93%. GT Advanced shares now sit right around $0.80.

Now, back to that Arizona facility.

The facility is owned by Apple, with the understanding it will be operated by GT Advanced. Apple funded GT’s purchase of equipment for producing Sapphire Glass through a $578 million loan.

The terms of that loan stipulate that GT must pay back the loan over the course of five years. If they fail to pay the loan in full, Apple is entitled to take full ownership of the equipment in the facility, leaving them producing Sapphire Glass independently.

When they made the deal with Apple, GT said the Sapphire Glass production would give enough cash to be solvent, and profitable. Being the only company producing Glass for the most sought after mobile devices on earth would yield less margin, but provide steady income.

That tenuous agreement has one tidy little loophole for Apple. Though they’ve loaned money to GT for the equipment, Apple is under no obligation to actually buy anything from them. While the facility is clearly meant to produce Sapphire Glass for Apple products, Apple can source added displays from whomever they like.

Apple can freeze GT out, purchase nothing from them, and take ownership of the equipment housed in the facility they own. Apple could also bring in another company to run the operation. They control the Sapphire Glass patents relating to design and production, so it’s not as if they’d have to license the technology from anyone.

It’s worth noting that just ahead of the bankruptcy filing, Apple CEO Tim Cook said via Twitter he was hiking in Grand Canyon National Park. Cupertino is a long way from Arizona, and an interesting place to hike the day before your display tech partner files for bankruptcy.

It’s not far from that Sapphire Glass facility, though.

Ebay Is Filing Metaverse Trademarks

A photograph of eBay’s corporate headquarters, taken from Greylands Dr. on Memorial Day 2009. Via Wikimedia Commons, by Steve Arnold.

Digital auctioneer eBay rang bells across the metaverse today after indirectly announcing they filed three Web3-related trademarks with the United States Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO). This first step towards solidifying a virtual presence and scaling the company arrived on the same day as several similar developments–Lowe’s Hardware Store and French fashion label Louis Vuitton also filed patents of their own, marking a greater trend. 

All three companies have dipped their toes in the crypto pool one way or another. Now they’re getting serious. 

The news about eBay broke with a tweet from a patent lawyer–presumably theirs–named Mike Kondoudis. “eBay Inc. is coming to the Metaverse!” he wrote on Tuesday, June 28. “On June 23, the company filed trademarks indicating plans for: NFTs, NFT exchanges, NFT trading, NFT + Virtual good marketplaces, Online retail stores with actual and virtual goods.”

All the details are in an image below, down to the serial numbers and filing date. The nitty gritty notably mentions a consumer Web3 development suite, exchange services, and naturally–marketplace services. It also reveals potential plans for an online retail store offering actual and virtual goods from third parties, and perhaps even the company’s own downloadable virtual goods–we already knew eBay was at work on a metaverse department store, but proprietary merch would be new. 

Meanwhile Lowe’s just followed last week’s debut of their 3D visualization tool Open Builder with its own trademark filing, along with two more protecting their own company name–as reported by NFT Gators. Louis Vuitton may have been the target of a recent scam related to their NFT projects, but they followed suit with the trademark trend, filing “four new trademark applications for its brand name, logos and monogram indicating plans for “phygital” products.”

One has to wonder how eBay will fare in this cryptocrime climate, when trust issues already dog their Web2 services. 

Imagine bidding on Ugg boots like this. Via Unsplash.

It’s hard to see what could come of it all yet. However, their enthusiasm at this present moment alongside big names like Binance bodes well for the metaverse’s well-publicized inevitability. That enthusiasm also calls to mind the timely and tempering sentiments of Polygon Studios’ CEO Ryan Wyatt earlier this month–it’s all about the value add, rather than the cash grab. 

The Open Builder seems like an incredibly useful and cost saving tool. Time alone will tell if Louis Vuitton can harness LVMH’s economic might to build something truly unique in Web3. eBay sits somewhere between the complete utility of Lowe’s and Louis Vuitton’s entire reliance on sex appeal. When eBay hit the scene, it was a cultural phenomenon with power from both ends of the spectrum. It was where Kim Kardashian cut her entrepreneurial teeth. 

Some outlets count Amazon as eBay’s greatest competitor, and although each company has at times emulated the other, they also command unique premises. eBay will always be an online auction platform first and foremost, which feels like a competitive capability given the nature of NFTs, but also the critical importance of actual engagement when working in Web3. If eBay does proceed with the department store already alluded to, it will be a missed opportunity. Imagine, really, if you could literally walk into eBay. Wouldn’t that party be kind of crazy?

These three companies’ first trademark filings are only the start. 

Read related posts:

Unsurprisingly, Apple Says ‘No’ To Custom Faces, Fart Apps And Time

Apple on Tuesday updated the official App Store Review Guidelines, officially taking a stance against third-party applications for the Apple Watch whose sole purpose is to tell the time, as first discovered by developer David Smith.

A newly added clause of the agreement guiding third-party development now explicitly states that Watch applications which simply tell the time will be flatly rejected.

It’s worth mentioning that these rules have been enforced since the onset as there has never been a single time-telling Apple Watch app, or a fart app, (or a custom face for that matter) available on the App Store.

In addition to time-telling apps, Apple also doesn’t want third-party developers to create custom faces for the Watch. The device ships with a selection of ten highly customizable faces, but that’s about it, at least for the time being.

For the time being, because the official Apple Watch User Guide implies that additional Apple-made faces might be coming soon by way of a future Watch OS software update:

Apple Watch includes a variety of watch faces, any of which you can customize to suit you. Check frequently for software updates; the set of watch faces that follows might differ from what you see on your Apple Watch.

So, where does that leave third-party developers?

We know native Watch apps are due later this year because Apple itself has acknowledged as much. Having said that — and I’m only speculating here — the firm may allow custom watch faces through an updated software-development kit that should support the creation of native apps which execute directly on the device.

At the end of the day, it will come down to company policy, not technology.

Even if we never see custom Watch faces, I’m sure the jailbreak crowd will eventually take care of that. Other people, like journalist Jason Snell, are holding their breath for third-party faces or, at the very least, third-party complications for existing faces.

“I’d be fine if Apple took a strong hand with faces and only approved a very small number that passed a very high bar,” he wrote, adding:

I’d be okay if Apple kept tight control of the faces… if developers could provide data from their apps as complications on existing faces. I’d love to plug in my Weather Underground temperature, for instance—today Apple’s standard temperature widget was a full ten degrees off of the actual temperature in my town.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Apple also appears to have taken a tough stance against fart apps on the Apple Watch. Sure enough, the App Store Review Guidelines have long pointed out that apps may be rejected over duplicate functionality, “particularly if there are many of them, such as fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra Apps.”

The same restrictions now apply to fart apps on the Watch.

As one developer confessed to Cult of Mac, his Watch app got rejected for letting people remotely control a fart sound broadcast from the iPhone.

“We noticed that your Apple Watch app is primarily a fart app,” Apple explained in an email to this developer. “We do not accept fart apps on Apple Watch.”

No surprises here.

Who’s feeling sad about the lack of fart apps on their Watch?

And what’s up with so many people spewing hate on Twitter against the Mickey Mouse face? Keep your inner Peter Pan alive, people!

Source: David Smith, Cult of Mac

Microsoft And Apple Waging Unjust Patent War On Android Says Google

Microsoft and Apple Waging Unjust Patent War on Android Says Google

There comes a time in every great invention’s life where it has to defend itself against those who would falsely claim to have created it come hunting. Thus is the word coming out of the Google offices today via David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for Google. He speaks harshly of both Apple and Microsoft in the following manner: “a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.” Is there any salt to Drummond’s claims? He continues to drum up some rather scary factoids in his release today, not all of them simple conjecture.

Businesses like Winstron, Onkyo, Velocity Micro, General Dynamics Itronix, and HTC have signed agreements with Microsoft to pay listening fees for each Android device sold while Barnes & Noble, Motorola, and Samsung have been sued to continue adding to these ranks. Drummond notes that a single smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 of what he calls “largely questionable” patent claims, where Google’s competitors, Drummond continues, “competitors want to impose a “tax” for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers.”

What this means, if what Drummond says is true, is that instead of creating new devices with innovative features to compete with Google, its competitors are fighting through litigation. Drummond continues by noting that this “anti-competitive” strategy is taking the cost of patents and driving it WAY beyond what they’re “really worth.” For example the Notel patent portfolio recently sold for nearly five times what it was estimated at pre-auction: $1 billion to $4.5 billion at the hammer fall. Drummond notes though that “the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means” and that therefore as these purchases of patents and suing of manufacturers is likely to draw regulatory scrutiny and this “patent bubble” will pop.

Drummond concludes his public statement with the following:

We’re not naive; technology is a tough and ever-changing industry and we work very hard to stay focused on our own business and make better products. But in this instance we thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it.

We’re looking intensely at a number of ways to do that. We’re encouraged that the Department of Justice forced the group I mentioned earlier to license the former Novell patents on fair terms, and that it’s looking into whether Microsoft and Apple acquired the Nortel patents for anti-competitive means. We’re also looking at other ways to reduce the anti-competitive threats against Android by strengthening our own patent portfolio. Unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices — and fewer choices for their next phone.

What do you think? Does Google have a point, or are those with the patents the ones who have the right to get the patent cash?

[via Google]

Gibson Files For Bankruptcy: Guitars In Question

Gibson files for bankruptcy: Guitars in question

It would seem that the brand Gibson has overstepped its ability to command the entire world of electronics. After a whole bunch of acquisitions, Gibson Brands just filed for bankruptcy. The brand’s most recent public statement on the matter suggests they’ll be trying to keep their bankruptcy transition invisible to the everyday customer. But when it comes to a case this massive, you can’t really tell until it’s all in motion. That goes for the guitars as well as the rest of Gibson Brands many subsidiaries. Especially the parts they bought recently and can’t sustain.

Gibson suggested they’d be winding down their Gibson’s Innovations business and would continue to operate during the proposed bankruptcy. This comes after Gibson took on some debt a few years ago and acquired several lesser brands in audio equipment and home entertainment. Brands acquired by Gibson over the past couple of years include: Onkyo stereos, TEAC, and Royal Phillip’s home entertainment systems.

This case was filed at Delaware Bankruptcy Court (debke) on the first of May, 2023. The case was announced to be handled by Judge Christopher S. Sontchi. Also on the list for recently filed chapter 11s in the same court are:

Gibson brands filing for bankruptcy:

• Gibson Europe B.V.

• Wurlitzer Corp *

• Neat Audio Acquisition Corp. *

• Gibson Pro Audio Corp.

• Gibson Innovations USA, Inc.

• Gibson International Sales LLC

• Consolidated Musical Instruments, LLC *

• Gibson Cafe & Gallery, LLC

• Cakewalk, Inc. * (recently acquired by BandLab from Gibson)

• Gibson Holdings, Inc.

• Baldwin Piano, Inc. *

• Gibson Brands, Inc.

* Owned in part or in whole by Gibson Brands, Inc.

There’s a restructuring support agreement in place with senior secured noteholders of Gibson Brands, Inc. to help repay bank loans. It’s estimated by the bankruptcy petition that the brand has up to $500 million in debt. A PDF of the filing can be found at Reorg-Research (PDF). Estimated number of creditors in this case is between 1,000-5,000, and estimated assets ring in at between $100,000,001 and $500-million. Estimated liabilities are marked between $100,000,001 and $500-million USD.

UPDATE: Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz released a statement this morning on the matter. “Over the past 12 months, we have made substantial strides through an operational restructuring. We have sold non-core brands, increased earnings, and reduced working capital demands.

“The decision to re-focus on our core business, Musical Instruments, combined with the significant support from our noteholders, we believe will assure the company’s long-term stability and financial health,” said Juszkiewicz. “Importantly, this process will be virtually invisible to customers, all of whom can continue to rely on Gibson to provide unparalleled products and customer service.”

We’ll see. Cross your fingers for one of two outcomes: invisible stability or a whole lot of fire sales! Below you’ll see a rather nice run-down of what happened to Gibson over the past several years. This video was first released on February 21st, 2023 – so it’s not entirely up to date. But it’s close!

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