Sony halts PS2 production
Sony Corp said it has stopped producing its PlayStation 2 (PS2) consoles in Japan, fueling online rumors a PlayStation 4 is in the pipeline. Since launching in 2000 the PS2, which has a Blu-ray player, has sold more than 150 million units worldwide, making it the best selling console of all time and was so popular it outsold its replacement for the first three years. Shipments have been “completed” for the hardware of the PS2, the Japanese Web site of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc said, with no further comment.
Zynga packs up 11 titles
Social games publisher Zynga Inc confirmed on Monday that it has carried out 11 of the planned shutdowns of 13 game titles, with Petville being the latest game on which it pulled the plug. Zynga in October said it would shut down 13 underperforming titles after warning that its revenues were slowing as gamers fled from its once-popular titles published on the Facebook platform in large numbers and sharply revised its full-year outlook.
Amazon regrets Web error
Amazon on Monday said it was sorry for a Web Services mishap that put online film streaming service Netflix out of commission on Christmas Eve. “We want to apologize,” Amazon said in a message posted at its Web site. “We know how critical our services are to our customers’ businesses, and we know this disruption came at an inopportune time for some of our customers.” Amazon.com attributed the outage to a mistake by one of its developers that caused a problem with load balancers at data centers the company uses to provide “web services” to clients such as Netflix.
Kingfisher loses permit
India’s troubled Kingfisher Airlines has lost its permit to fly after a deadline to renew its suspended license expired, India’s aviation regulator said yesterday. The news is a fresh blow for the debt-laden carrier whose operations have been grounded since October after employees went on strike over unpaid wages. However, the airline said there is no “cause for concern” as the rules allow for the renewal of a permit within two years of expiry.
Bulgari accused of tax fraud
Italian jeweler Bulgari, which was bought last year by French luxury giant LVMH, is being investigated for alleged tax evasion via Ireland and Luxembourg, Italian media reported on Monday. The company is accused of routing its revenues through countries with lower taxes to avoid paying higher taxes in Italy and thereby dodging about 70 million euros (US$93 million) in taxes, the Corriere della Sera and Messaggero dailies reported. Contacted by reporters, representatives of LVMH and Italian tax police could not be reached.
Growth in Singapore slows
Singapore likely slipped into recession in the three months to last month, analysts said on Monday, as data showed growth last year came in lower than expected. In his New Year’s message, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) said “growth was slower this year, at 1.2 percent,” which is well off the official growth forecast of 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent. Lee said growth had been hit by weakness in the city-state’s key export markets of Europe, which is battling a debt crisis, and the US and Japan, where economic recovery is sputtering.
STEPPING UP: The firm has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week and to halt all but essential overseas business travel from next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has implemented a remote work policy for employees not on production lines in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. This is the first time in the Hsinchu-based company’s history that it has launched a large-scale remote work policy, joining global technology companies, such as Apple Inc and Google, that encourage employees to work from home. The chipmaker has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week, it said. As the number of virus infections continues to climb worldwide, TSMC has urged employees to halt unnecessary
Manufacturers are on a mission to produce desperately needed medical ventilators for the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it means converting assembly lines now making auto parts. Along with a shortage of masks and gloves, the spread of COVID-19 to almost every corner of the globe has highlighted a great need for specialized machines that help keep severely afflicted patients alive. “As the global pandemic evolves, there is unprecedented demand for medical equipment, including ventilators,” GE Healthcare chief executive officer Kieran Murphy said. The group has hired more workers and is making ventilators around the clock. Swedish group Getinge AB is also ramping up output
Facing the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 pandemic, Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) has proactively taken precautionary measures. “The health and safety of our colleagues and their families, as well as our clients and the communities we serve, are of the utmost importance. We continue to take proactive measures to preserve their well-being while we maintain our ability to serve our clients,” Citibank Taiwan chairman Paulus Mok (莫兆鴻) said in a statement yesterday. “We have local and regional contingency plans in place, and we have well-established business continuity plans for the firm. We are monitoring the situation closely, adjusting our operations accordingly,
GoShare, an electric scooter sharing service provider with Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), plans to expand to Tainan next quarter in a strategic alliance with Aeon Motor Co (宏佳騰). The company currently offers its services in Taipei and Taoyuan. “Tainan is very popular among tourists. The city receives an average of 22.94 million tourists every year,” GoShare head Henry Chiang (姜家煒) told a news conference yesterday in Taipei, citing Tourism Bureau statistics. “Besides, the city has a long history of riding scooters,” he said. Each household owns an average of 2.5 scooters, he added. “Expanding presence” is one of four strategies GoShare is adopting for this