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eBay spins off Skype

EBay plans to spin off Skype via an initial public offering (IPO) because the Internet telephony unit doesn’t mesh with the company’s two other businesses — e-commerce and online payments. EBay expects to complete Skype’s IPO in the first half of next year, it announced Tuesday. When exactly that happens will depend on market conditions. The plan is yet another acknowledgement that eBay’s US$2.6 billion acquisition of Skype in October 2005 was a costly blunder. Two years after the acquisition, eBay wrote down Skype’s value by $1.4 billion.

Intel reveals tough first quarter

Intel on Tuesday reported a sharp drop in revenue and profit for the first quarter, but the company’s CEO said the PC industry is showing signs of recovery. The company did not provide guidance for future quarters, however, citing continued economic uncertainty. The company saw important trends in the PC market that show order patterns reaching normal levels, it said. Desktop sales bottomed first, but reached normal levels in early February. The desktop inventory was not excessive and cleared quickly. In contrast, it took a longer time for consumer laptop demand to reach normal patterns as the backlog was much larger. That hurt Intel’s revenue as chip supply for laptops stagnated until the excess inventory was cleared out.

Ultramobile PC maker seeks buyout

Struggling to stay afloat during the recession, ultramobile PC maker OQO is seeking buyers, a company spokesperson said on Tuesday. OQO, which is based in San Francisco, is well-known for its innovative PC designs and in the past has received accolades for its products. However, its offerings have struggled to find buyers because of the high prices.  Rumors of OQO seeking a buy-out was first confirmed by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. The company is having cash problems and views a buy-out as the best way to solve its troubles and make OQO more competitive, according to the news report. A company spokeswoman confirmed details in the report, but declined further comment.

Intel prepares to ship laptop and desktop chips

Intel’s new Westmere microprocessors are being sampled by PC makers and will ship in volume later this year. The chips have shipped to about 30 laptop and desktop PC makers for testing, said Paul Otellini, Intel’s CEO, during an earnings conference call. The chips could be on sale in PCs by early next year, he said. Westmere is a shrink of Intel’s Nehalem microarchitecture, which is used in the Core i7 desktop and Xeon 5500 server chips. Nehalem integrates a memory controller with the CPU and provides a faster pipeline for communication with other system components. The laptop version of Westmere is code-named Arrandale, while the desktop chips are code-named Clarkdale.

…And those are the top stories from the IDG Global IT News Update, brought to you by the IDG News Service. I’m Sumner Lemon in Singapore. Join us again later for more news from the world of technology.

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