The following is excerpted from IRG's weekly stock report:
Hardware• Brother Group, a developer and manufacturer of printing, communication and digital imaging products for homes, announced that it has achieved a 60 percent drop in carbon emissions in 2007 compared to its CO2 levels in 1990. The Group has also shaved off its total energy consumption of electricity and fuel use by an equivalent of 31 tons of CO2 emissions in 2007. The tremendous results of the company's environment-focused initiatives are in line with the launch of a trade-specific voluntary action plan in its global headquarters' location in Japan, which is set to decrease the industry's production of carbon wastes by 28 percent in 2010 against levels in 1991. Among the environmentally-aware representative organizations, which have spearheaded the action plan, are Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association, Japan Electrical Manufacturers' Association, Japan Business Machine and Information System Industries Association and the Communications and Information Network Association of Japan.
• Japan is investigating a possible defect in Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPod after one gadget allegedly shot out sparks while recharging, a government official said yesterday. The defect is suspected in the lithium-ion battery in the iPod Nano, model number MA099J/A. The problem surfaced in January in Kanagawa Prefecture southwest of Tokyo, and Apple reported the problem to the ministry in March. The ministry has instructed Apple Japan to find out the cause of what it is categorizing as a fire and report back to the government. The iPod was assembled in China, but it was still unclear who made the lithium-ion battery, the ministry official said.
• Sony’s (SNE) PS3 games console was put under renewed pressure by price cuts to Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360 console in Europe, according to industry analysts Strategy Analytics. Microsoft has confirmed that the recommended prices of each of its Xbox 360 console models will be reduced this week. The entry level model, the Arcade, is now the cheapest of the current generation of consoles from Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY). The most expensive, the Elite, is now 40 pounds (US$60) less expensive than Sony’s PS3. Sony is worried that the PS3's recent sales surge may fizzle out now that the premium Xbox 360 undercuts the PS3. Sony will be scrutinizing the daily sales reports, but will probably try to hold out until later in the year before making its next price move.
• Net Insight has received an order for a contribution network from a large communications company in Japan. This is a new customer for Net Insight, a Japanese telecommunications company that provides a multitude of services for video contribution and distribution to various operators from terrestrial broadcasters to CATV. Net Insight's Nimbra platform will be deployed and used for a contribution network for video and Ethernet services. The equipment will be delivered during the first quarter 2008. The order has been won in close cooperation with its partner Itochu Cable Systems and with this new customer, the company hopes to continue with its market penetration in Asia.
Mobile/Wireless• Sony Corp. will stop manufacturing cellular phones for NTT Docomo Inc. (DCM) by the end of this year to focus on overseas customers amid a saturated domestic market. The 10 or so manufacturers supplying handsets in Japan face an increasingly competitive business environment. Smaller players such as Sanyo Electric Co. (OTC:SANYY) and Mitsubishi Electric Co. (OTCPK:MIELY) have already announced plans to withdraw from the domestic handset market. Sony initially considered withdrawing from the Japanese handset market altogether, but has decided for now to continue developing and producing handsets for KDDI Corp. because of their partnership in the music distribution business.
Disclaimer: IRG is not responsible for the accuracy of the news compiled within this article, which is based on publicly available information.