Intel’s moat

Historically, semiconductor manufacturing has been a brutal industry yet Intel has outperformed its peers by a wide margin.  Here’s what I think is going on…

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Heterogeneous computing / GPGPU (INTC, AMD, NVDA)

Heterogeneous computing refers to computing systems that use a mix of different types of computational units.  The type of heterogeneous computing that I am most interested in is rise of the general purpose graphics processing unit (GPGPU).  The industry trend has been to use the GPU graphics chip for purposes other than graphics.  Innovations in the GPGPU could cause some changes to the landscape between Intel, AMD, and Nvidia.  I believe that heterogenous computing will grow from a small niche into a larger one. Continue reading

Digital River (DRIV) and payment processing (V, MA, GOOG, EBAY)

Digital River is a company that offers:

  1. Payment processing.  For (very) small software vendors such as myself, Digital River competes with Paypal (owned by Ebay), Google Checkout (now Google Commerce), and others.
  2. E-commerce / online store.  This relates to automatically letting the user download the product once payment is received, product updates, etc. etc.  I use E-Junkie for this service.

Digital River has a lot of unhappy customers because it was upselling its customers’ customers.  The software vendors are unhappy since they can’t opt out of the upselling (nor do they profit from it) and some of their customers are turned off by the upselling practices.  Digital River doesn’t seem to understand its software vendors and has a terrible reputation among them (Google around… here is one example).  I will never do business with Digital River as a software vendor.  And I wouldn’t go long the stock.

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Premier Exhibitions (PRXI) update

Premier Exhibitions closed up 18% after earnings.  (I have a very small short position so I have a very small loss.)  I believe that the two most important factors for the gain are as follows:

  1. Premier reported a very profitable quarter.  They announced a profit of $2.76M for the quarter.
  2. They announced that they have a non-binding letter of intent to buy the Titanic artifacts for $189M.

On closer examination of these two points, I am not worried.  (But again, I may be a little biased.)

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