Greene King ends Wrexham FC deal

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28 September 2011 Last updated at 14:24 GMT Racecourse ground at Wrexham The future of Wrexham Football Club finally agreed The Greene King brewery and pub chain has ended its sponsorship deal with Wrexham Football Club.

The announcement came two days after Wrexham Supporters' Trust (WST) agreed a deal to take over the club.

Wrexham said the two-year sponsorship deal, agreed last April, was ending because the Racecourse ground is now owned by Glyndwr University, which has its own beer sale deal.

Greene King said an amicable agreement had been reached.

After months of negotiations, WST and the club agreed a takeover deal on Monday.

On Wednesday, outgoing club chief executive, Jon Harris, said Wrexham FC could no longer honour its agreement with Greene King because ownership of the Racecourse had been transferred to Glyndwr University, which has a beer sales deal with another company.

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It's been a tough eight months because of the nature of what we have been trying to do here”

End Quote Jon Harris Wrexham FC chief executive A Greene King spokesperson said: "We originally agreed a sponsorship deal with Wrexham FC in good faith which included providing beer for the club and both stand and shirt sponsorship.

"We have met with the club to discuss how the sale of the ground has impacted on our sponsorship deal.

"It has transpired that the new owners have been left in a position where they don't have the ability to meet our original agreement as the right to sell Greene King beer was not transferred from the ground to the new owners as part of the sale.

"As a result we have reached an amicable agreement to end our sponsorship with immediate effect so the new owners are free to find new sponsors. We wish Wrexham FC and its loyal fans the very best of luck for the future."

A club spokesman expressed sadness at the end of the partnership as Greene King was a "fantastic sponsor" but it gave the new owners the chance to seek a new shirt sponsor.

Jon Harris said he expects to leave his job as caretaker managing director at the end of the week.

The former Shrewsbury Town general manager arrived at the Racecourse in January and took on the role of chief executive in May after failing with his own bid to buy the club.

He said the supporters' trust had made it clear they had their own people to run the club.

"It's been a tough eight months because of the nature of what we have been trying to do here.

"But it's a magnificent club with great potential and supporters who are second to none.

"I wish the trust well and now I'll just have to wait and see what the future holds for me. I have had a great time here and I think the majority of people have appreciated what I have tried to do."

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Amazon unveils Kindle Fire tablet

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28 September 2011 Last updated at 16:42 GMT Amazon boss Jeff Bezos unveils the Kindle Fire

Amazon has unveiled a colour tablet computer called the Kindle Fire.

The $199 (£130) device will run a modified version of Google's Android operating system.

Until now, the company has limited itself to making black and white e-readers, designed for consuming books and magazines.

As well as targeting Apple's iPad, Amazon is likely to have its sights on rival bookseller US Barnes & Noble, which already has a colour tablet.

The Kindle Fire will enter a hugely competitive market, dominated by Apple's iPad.

Amazon will be hoping to leverage both the strength of the Kindle brand, built up over three generations of its popular e-book reader, and its ability to serve up content such as music and video.

In recent years, the company has begun offering downloadable music for sale, and also has a streaming video-on-demand service in the United States. Those, combined with its mobile application store, give it a more sophisticated content "ecosystem" than most of its rivals.

Continue reading the main story 7" IPS (in-plane switching) display1024 x 600 resolutionCustomised Google Android operating system$199 (£130)Weighs 413 grammesDual core processor8GB internal storage"It's the price and the backup services that make it really exciting," said Will Findlater, editor of Stuff magazine.

"Content is the big differentiator. It's what every other platform has been lacking, except the iPad."

Amazon's decision to opt for a 7" screen, as opposed to the larger 10" displays favoured by many rival manufacturers was a cause for concern for Ovum analyst Adam Leach.

"This screen size has undoubtedly helped them achieve a lower price point for the device but so far this form factor has not been popular with consumers, we shall see if this is related to other aspects of those devices other than its screen size. "

Digital dividend Digital content has already proved itself to be a money-spinner for Amazon.

Although the company has never released official sales figures for the Kindle, it did state - in December 2010 - that it was now selling more electronic copies of books than paper copies.

Its US rival, Barnes & Noble, has also enjoyed success with its Nook devices.

In October 2010, the company unveiled the Nook Color, which also runs a version of Android, albeit with lower hardware specs than many fully featured tablets.

While the Nook Color is largely focused on book and magazine reading, some users have managed to unlock its wider functionality and install third-party apps.

Kindle Touch Amazon has dropped the keyboard from some of its Kindles in favour of touch

The Kindle Fire's $199 (£130) price tag undercuts the Nook Color by $50 (£30) and is significantly cheaper than more powerful tablets from Apple, Samsung, Motorola and others.

It is due to go on sale on 15 November in the US, although global release dates are currently unavailable.

Price cuts

Alongside the Kindle Fire, Amazon also announced a refresh of its Kindle e-readers.

The entry level device has had its keyboard removed and will now sell for $79, down from $99. Amazon UK announced that the new version would retail at £89.

A version with limited touchscreen capability, known as the Kindle Touch, will sell for $99. Only the US pricing has been announced so far.

"These are premium products at non premium prices," said Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos. "We are going to sell millions of these."

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IBM's bet on data-centric computing

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3 October 2011 Last updated at 23:01 GMT IBM's Watson computer IBM's Watson computer was a proof of concept, says Dr Menon Each week we ask high-profile technology decision-makers three questions.

This week it is Dr Jai Menon, the chief technology officer and vice-president for technical strategy for IBM's Systems and Technology Group.

He holds 52 patents and is arguably most famous for his contribution to the Raid storage technology. Computing giant IBM has more than 426,000 employees, generating an annual turnover of just under $100bn (£64.6bn) and profits of $14.8bn.

What's your biggest technology problem right now?

Technology of Business

There are always multiple problems, but one problem that we are focused on is providing our customers with IT solutions that are flexible to their needs, but easily consumable.

Our customers have many different kinds of workloads they have to run, for example transaction-based systems that have to serve thousands or millions of users at the same time, 24/7.

Or analytics systems with fewer users that require deep complex computation. The challenge is how do you satisfy all these different kinds of tasks?

The are two different approaches: You can standardise it all on one kind of computer, and use that for all their business tasks. But that doesn't really work: it's like saying 'buy just one type of car', and hope it meets the needs of a small family, and doubles up as a pick-up truck, a big van or an MPV [people carrier].

So the other approach is to realise that you have lots of different types of workload, and you buy systems that are optimised for these tasks. That's clearly preferred to the first approach. The challenge over time is that with lots of different workloads, you end up with many kinds of computers, and then there's the challenge to make that consumable.

We are working on a technical approach that will create a system that has all the pieces that make up a computer system. You build this system with different kinds of processors, and there are memory and storage and networking elements, and then you have very sophisticated software that comes with the system. And the software is able to construct the kind of computer you need.

So if you need a lot of computing power, medium-sized storage and not a lot of memory, that's what the system provides. And once the task is running, and you need more memory or computing power, then the system will make that choice for you.

And when your workload goes away, you simply deconstruct the system.

This is not just virtualisation, where you have one kind of standardised computer, with a standardised processor and a certain amount of storage and memory.

You need to be able to assign more than what a single computer can do.

This is very much customer driven. What our customers are telling us is: 'Come up with newer better computers, that take up less floorspace and are faster.'

People have amazing amount of workload, and require lots of different virtualisation environments, but they also have too many different systems.

So I've got to let customers reuse their existing assets, skills and software.

The software is key - it's a universal resource manager.

What's the next big tech thing in your industry?

The next big thing in our industry are new kinds of computers. I call them data-centric computers, because right now our computers are very processing-centric computers.

These new computers can extract and find information in data that can aid human cognition. When we created [supercomputer] Watson, it combined hardware and deep analysis software that we designed to work together.

We are moving away from computers that compute, to computers that can extract information from the huge amounts of unstructured data - because every two days we generate more data than all data from the dawn of civilisation until 2003.

Watson was just an example to prove the point. There are very interesting business problems out there, and rather than having to be programmed these computers learn as they go along.

They are data-centric rather than compute-centric.

For example, they could work as a physician's assistant, providing all the knowledge, the data about the patient itself, manage the doctor's notes.

Right now, all we do is Google a medical problem, and we get back 20 documents, and we have to go through them and rate them and find the answer.

In the future, the computer will give you an answer with a probability to go with that, and that's so much better than what we do today.

That to me is the next big technology thing. And it also applies to government. Computers could help governments find answers to tax issues, zoning laws, financial issues.

From a technology point of view, we still need a few things that to support this - more memory in the system, and solid state memory and storage, and obviously the deep software.

This is not Skynet [as described in the Terminator movies]. People always worry about new technology. When pocket calculators were introduced, people said we would forget to multiply; when computers came they said we would forget how to spell.

In reality all these computers are assistants, and they save us time so that we can focus on doing the things that only humans can do.

Pilots, for example, have always had things to helped them fly a plane. But at the end of the day I would not fly without a real human on-board.

What's the biggest technology mistake you've ever made - either at work or in your own life?

This is probably an unusual kind of answer, but the timing of innovation is really important. My experience is, as innovators, we are always frustrated if we are too late.

We say: "I had the idea first, why did product development not move fast enough?" But my biggest mistake was in pushing an innovation too early to market, and I've learned from that.

What I've learned is that you really have to prepare the market. You have to shape the market, prepare your customers, create a standard, get enough people to buy into the standard.

And if you introduce your product too early and you haven't done that, then your product doesn't do very well. You just create a vicious circle, because you don't have the profits from the product to recycle and improve and innovate the product.

And then, once the market is ready and prepared, then you will be hesitant because you tried this once before and it didn't work. Then it gets very difficult to reenter the market.

For example in the storage space, we developed this IP [internet protocol] driven storage attached to the network. We shipped it in 2001, and it didn't do so well in the market.

This is now a $3bn market - 10 years later it's a great story, but by pushing it too soon, maybe five years too soon, it soured our executives as to whether this really was a good idea.

And then it is hard to catch up later.

Timing is everything. You can be wrong on both sides, too early and too late, and both are bad.

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VIDEO: Build up a cash cushion, says Alvin Hall

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30 September 2011 Last updated at 10:22 GMT Help

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