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Tech Roundup: Wireless Cutbacks, Semiconductor Red Ink, AT&T and Starbucks, More

Consumers consider cutting back on wireless handsets, services -- Many connected in any way, shape, and form to the telecom industry have been counting on the continued strength of consumer and corporate demand for wireless. The theory was that people would maintain spending on cell phones. Oops, wrong number. Pole results suggest that almost 80 percent of respondents will delay buying a new phone and over three-quarters are trying to reduce their wireless bills. The weak spot is in additional fees for web access. [Source: BusinessWeek]

Semiconductor foundries largely looking at red ink -- Most semiconductor design companies -- outside of a few like Intel that maintain their own manufacturing facilities -- depend on foundries to produce they chips they sell. But with the exception of one large foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), many are looking at losing money in the fourth quarter. That includes United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Company (SMIC). Even TSMC will probably see revenue declines of 20 to 30 percent. That suggests a lot of design companies are going to be in deep trouble, as they don't order what they can't sell. [Source: DigiTimes]

Web-ad broker shakeout coming -- To continue the economic dirge, many of the hundreds of online ad networks that started within the last few years are falling on hard times. Venture money is being diverted to companies that VCs think will be the winners, and everyone knows that in a horse race there are many entries past win, place, and show. JellyCloud just closed after receiving $11.5 million in venture money earlier this year. Adzilla is gone and AdBrite laid off 40 percent of its workers. Time Warner's AOL sees slowing ad sales and RBC has cut estimates for ValueClick, the fifth largest ad network in the country. Those affected might be picking up a different type of ad: an old-fashioned newspaper help wanted section. [Source: Wall Street Journal]

AT&T and free Starbucks wireless access -- maybe -- AT&T has been running a promotion promising two free hours of wireless access at Starbucks locations for iPhone owners in the U.S. The only problem is the entire program has had a now-you-see-it, now-you-don't vibe since the spring. But text messages have been going out to iPhone owners that, contrary to popular (and official) word, the promotion is on again. Ah, but what does it matter? Chances are you won't get a good connection anyway. [Source: Engadget, Engadget]

EA spends Super Bowl-sized bucks on Madden NFL -- Ever wonder what it takes to have a really big video game? Well, in the last 18 months, EA has spent close to $10 million on marketing the only "official" NFL game, Madden NFL. That's a million on the web, about $3 million for network TV, and another $5.5 million on cable. Wonder how much that is per collective touchdown. [Source: GameDaily]

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