Intel to spend $7 billion on manufacturing plant upgrades

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Intel will spend 7 billion dollars over the next two years to revamp three U.S. manufacturing plants, and the company’s CEO called on other U.S. companies to also invest in the future as a way to combat the recession. Intel will update manufacturing plants in Arizona, New Mexico and Oregon to build new 32-nanometer processor chips. The U.S. manufacturing plants will build a line of processors code-named Westmere for desktop and mobile systems.

Advanced Micro Devices has been forced to give its shareholders an extra week to vote on a plan to sell off its manufacturing operations, after too few shares were voted at its stockholder meeting Tuesday morning. AMD said 97 percent of the shares voted were cast in favor of the spin-off, but that the shares voted represented only 42 percent of its total stock. A majority of shareholders must vote for the deal to go ahead. AMD is breaking itself into two parts. One part will retain the AMD name and will continue to design and market its semiconductor chips, while the other part, called The Foundry Company, will own and operate manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Germany.

Microsoft has beefed up the Malicious Software Removal Tool that ships with its Windows operating system so that it will detect and root out the notorious Srizbi botnet code. Because Microsoft’s detection software runs on hundreds of millions of computers worldwide, including many that are not running up-to-date antivirus software, a move like this can bring a botnet to its knees. That’s what happened in September 2007, when Microsoft added detection for the Storm Worm botnet, removing 91,000 Storm infections within 24 hours. The results may not be so dramatic this time around, as Srizbi was effectively knocked out of action last November when operators of the McColo Internet service provider, which hosted the command and control servers for Srizbi, were kicked off the Internet.

PC microprocessor shipments slowed in the fourth quarter and will continue to decline this year, according to an IDC survey released on Wednesday. Microprocessor unit shipments are expected to decline by about 15 percent in 2009. The worldwide recession has slowed PC demand which will continue to affect microprocessor shipments, according to the market researcher.

Nokia is closing a research and development site in central Finland and will lay off 320 employees there. It will also temporarily lay off staff making phones at factories in Salo as falling phone sales force it to cut production.

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

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