8 posts categorized "Techology"


First phase of Motorola Mobility layoffs set for August

Flextronics, which operates the Motorola Mobility smartphone assembly plant at Alliance in Fort Worth that will close by year's end, will begin laying off its employees on or about Aug. 1, it says in a notice to the state. Layoffs are expected to be complete by January 2015. The company said 223 of its employees will be affected by the site's closing.

When Motorola Mobility said on Friday that it intended to  shutter the facility, it indicated that about 700 people were working at the 450,000-square-foot plant, down from a high of about 3,500. According to past news reports, a recruiting and staffing services firm, Aerotek, did significant hiring for Flextronics.

Disappointing sales of Motorola's Moto X smartphone, assembled at the plant, led to the move, company officials said Friday. The Fort Worth factory went into full-scale production in August 2013 and held an official opening in September, an affair that was attended by  Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, which owns Motorola. Goggle bought Motorola Mobility in 2012 and in January agreed to sell the handset maker to Beijing-based Lenovo.

-- Jim Fuquay


Think Big (Data), counsels Sabre CEO Klein

Don’t think just travel when it comes to Sabre Holdings, the Southlake-based company that has long provided reservations and technical services to airlines and hotels. Think Big Data, says new CEO Tom Klein. Klein told a Dallas audience Thursday that the company handles about 85,000 data transactions every second for its customers, which include users of the Travelocity online reservations website. Collecting, analyzing and interpreting that data to help the 70 airlines Sabre does business with and the 100,000 individual hotels in its reservations system, he says, is what will help them in their businesses and keep Sabre’s services in demand.

Klein made his comments at the Dallas Regional chamber’s annual State of Technology luncheon. He was named Sabre’s CEO in August and has been with the company about 20 years. The company employs about 3,500 people in North Texas.

-- Jim Fuquay


Motorola Mobility teams with Texas A&M and seven other U.S. schools

Motorola Mobility, which on May 29 announced plans to employ 2,000 people to build a smartphone at an Alliance development facility in north Fort Worth, says it is collaborating with eight U.S. universities in an effort to streamline new joint research projects and boost cooperation. Texas A&M is the only Texas school in the group, which also includes Stanford and MIT. The company will participate in the consortium through its  Advanced Technology And Projects group. Motorola Mobility, a Google company, said the Multi-University Research Agreement will let  ATAP and the schools to engage in research projects "in less than 30 days, rather than the several months that traditional sponsored research agreements can often take to establish."

-- Jim Fuquay


Is Apple eyeing Fort Worth for its Mac Pro production?

MacRumors.com put out a report today that Apple may be assembling its new Mac Pro at Flextronics new plant in north Fort Worth.

The website cited a securities analyst comment to Taiwan’s Economic Daily News that Apple will be partnering with Flextronics instead of its current manufacturing partner Foxconn on the U.S. production.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told a Senate hearing he wanted to bring Mac production back to the U.S. It has since been reported that it is likely in Austin.

In March, the Austin City Council approved $8.6 million in tax breaks for Apple to build new facilities where Apple would employ 3,600 workers.

Flextronics is getting ready to open a 450,000-square-foot facility at Alliance in Fort Worth where it will build Motorola’s new smart phone. The company is in the process of hiring 2,000 workers.

Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said she could not comment beyond Cooks’ and Phil Schiller’s, Apple’s chief marketing officer, recent comments that the Mac production would be in the U.S.

Catherine Hernandez-Blades, Flextronics chief marketing and communications officer, said in an email, “It is not our practice to comment on specific products or customers.  We respectfully ask that you direct any customer-specific questions, directly to the customer company.”

_ Sandra Baker


TECH Fort Worth launches radio show

TECH Fort Worth business incubator has launched TECH Talk – Texas Style, a twice-weekly radio program for technology startups and entrepreneurs.

The 45-minute programs are live at 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and are available and archived at Blog Talk Radio, www.blogtalkradio.com/texastechtalk.

“We will talk about technology startups, focusing on their challenges and successes,” said producer and host Sarah Zink, who is also Director of Business Development for TECH Fort Worth. “We’ll offer guests the opportunity to share their insights, resources they found useful and ideologies that helped them move forward.”

Zink said future shows will cover topics such as funding, corporate structure, intellectual property, marketing and topics of interest to technology entrepreneurs.

_ Sandra Baker


THR, physician group picked for Medicare program

Texas Health Resources, one of North Texas' largest hospital groups, and North Texas Specialty Physicians said today they were selected to participate in a new federal effort to treat Medicare patients using a collaborative system called an Accountable Care Organization. Arlington-based THR and the Fort Worth-based physicians' group are among 32 organizations nationwide that will operate under Medicare's Pioneer ACO Model, which aims to provide more coordinated care at lower cost. THR and NTSP said they already use a health information exchange that allows them to share patient records electronically. The only other Texas party in the Pioneer program is Seton Health Alliance in Austin.

Jim Fuquay


Ranking Texas' biggest economic events in 50 years

Economist Ray Perryman this morning at a Fort Worth meeting of economic development officials offered his version of a Top 10 list: the state's most influential events since 1961. Perryman is a Texas native whose professional life has revolved around regional economics and forecasting, so he's probably as qualified as any to expound on the topic. Perryman divided the selections into 10 major categories, then decided on the most significant development within each. Here are his picks, with his own caveat that such a ranking leaves plenty of room for discussion. (That's what that "Comments" button is for, folks.)

1. Democraphics/sociological -- Air conditioning. Without AC, you don't have people relocating to the South, or moving to the suburbs and spending all that time driving into work.

2. Energy/natural resources -- The 1973-74 OPEC oil embargo, which pushed crude oil prices from $3 in the 1960s to $35  in the 1970s. As Perryman put it, "When the thing you sell the most increases in price by 1,200 percent, that's good."

3. Defense/aerospace -- Texas defense contractors landed plenty of big contracts during the Vietnam War, such as Bell Helicopter's Huey and General Dynamics' F-111. But the selection in 1961 of Houston by NASA as home of the manned spacecraft center tops the rest. When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, "Houston was the center of the world," he says.

4. Transportation -- Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Interstate highways are important, but the airport allowed the area to advance its position as the center of commerce and finance in the Southwest.

5. Tourism and culture -- TV's "Dallas?" The movies' "Urban Cowboy?" Willie Nelson and the Texas music outlaws? All good stuff. But Perryman picks the Astrodome's completion in 1965. Architects still vote it one of the most recognized structures in the world, he says.

6. Laws and regulations -- This one gets a little wonky. The move to branch banking in the 1980s and tort reform in the 1990s were major, but Perryman gives the nod to a state constitutional amendment in 1989 that declared economic development "a public purpose" that qualifies for public dollars, paving the way for city sales taxes for economic development.

7. Electronics -- Austin is the state's silicon center, and it started with two research consortiums: the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp. (MCC) in 1983, and the Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (Sematech) in 1987. They marked a change in attitude in state leaders from depending on petroleum to pushing new technology as an economic driver.

8. Healthcare and biomedical -- The heart advances of Drs. Michael DeBakey (first coronary bypass) and Denton Cooley (first artificial heart) established the reputational foundation for the Houston's huge Texas Medical Center complex.

9. Corporate relocation and recruitment -- Alliance Airport. Perry says that in 1987 Ross Perot Jr. invited him for a helicopter ride above the north Fort Worth prairie, pointed to Interstate 35 and a major Santa Fe Railroad line, then asked: "What if we put an airport right here?" 

10. Globalization -- Texas had few exports in 1960, but now ranks No. 1, accounting for 14 pecent of all U.S. exports. A big reason: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Texas' trade just with Mexico is bigger than the total trade of most of the world's nations, Perryman says.

-- Jim Fuquay


GameStop to begin selling new iPhones, iPods, iPads?

Shares of GameStop rose on an otherwise-bad day for stocks, up 66 cents to $22.79 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Sunday, the Apple news site 9to5mac.com reported that GameStop reported that GameStop plans to sell Apple’s iOS mobile devices, such as iPhones, iPods and iPads, at GameStop stores. 9to5mac.com is not affiliated with Apple.

GameStop earlier this year began selling and taking trades in used iPods and iPhones throughout North Texas.

“We see an opportunity there to extend buy-sell-trade, and we’re trying to move with a lot of velocity before the market catches up,” Paul Raines, GameStop CEO, said said in an interview with the Star-Telegram in June.

GameStop isn’t responding yet to a request for an interview on the latest news.

GameStop made the announcement to dealers at a trade show in Las Vegas last week, 9to5mac.com said.

- Scott Nishimura


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