Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Japan Quake Roundup: Some Companies More Disrupted Than Others

The disruptive effects of the ongoing earthquake plus tsunami plus nuclear near-meltdown in Japan are still being assessed nearly a week after the initial events. And while there’s still a lot that remains unclear about the longer-term effects for the tech sector, the picture is clearing up at least a little. Here’s a roundup:

Sony Ericsson

Wireless handset maker Sony-Ericsson just issued a statement on the extent of disruptions it expects.

“Although the full impact of the current situation on our business will take additional time to assess, Sony Ericsson anticipates disruption to its supply chain operations,” the company said in a statement. “As part of our business continuity plan, we are in contact with all our key suppliers in the region and we are identifying the possible relocation of certain component manufacturing, and looking at secondary sources of supply.”

Intel and Qualcomm

Some analysts had speculated that plant shutdowns by Mitsubishi Gas would slow chip production by cutting supplies of certain chemicals used in the chip making process. Both Intel and Qualcomm told Bloomberg News that they’re careful to avoid situations where important supplies come from only one source.

Texas Instruments

Wireless chipmaker Texas Instruments said on Monday that a plant in Miho, about 40 miles northeast of Tokyo, had suffered “substantial damage” and that it may be July before the plant is back up to full production. The plant is responsible for about 10 percent of TI’s overall production, and about a third of its capacity is devoted to its Digital Light Processor, and the rest to analog components. Shares of Diodes, Inc., a TI rival, jumped when analyst John Vinh of Collins Stewart said the company stood to benefit from TI’s troubles.


Analyst Derrick Wood of Susquehanna Financial said in a note to clients that fears about Oracle’s exposure to the Japanese market, which has driven the shares down in recent days, are probably overblown. Even though Japan accounts for about five percent of Oracle’s revenue, he said, fears are “likely overdone.” Most of Oracle’s revenue from Japan comes from recurring maintenance fees, so the risk of a serious hit to sales is minimal.

Raw Materials

The Wall Street Journal
notes that Japan supplies about 90 percent of the world’s bismaleimide triazine, an important material used in making printed circuit boards for wireless phones. Japan also supplies much of the world’s silicon wafers that are used to make chips.

(Map via Wikimedia Commons)

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald