Nothing invokes consumer confidence quite like a company having to mortgage nearly everything they own just to pay the bills. Sharp has done just that with most of its offices and factories, striking a deal with two financial groups to secure up to 150 billion yen, or $1.92 billion, in credit. Should Sharp default on their loan, these buildings would be used to cover their debt. As Sharp struggles to stay afloat, this cash infusion might last them until they can cut a more lucrative deal elsewhere, or it might be their undoing.
Updated content follows below. For years, Apple fans have whispered rumors of a successor to the Apple TV; a television set built with Apple's eye for quality design and fully connected to iTunes and other sources of streaming media content. Now, a report from China Daily seems to indicate that Apple's go-to manufacturer, Foxconn, is preparing to build just such a device. Unless, of course, this is all just a big misunderstanding.
Everyone's favorite Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer Foxconn has announced that it will increase its robot workforce 100 fold in the next three years. Foxconn, which is responsible for the manufacture of Apple's iPad among other devices, currently employs over 1.2 million people but only 10,000 robots. By 2014, Foxconn plans to make that 1 million robots. The company's founder Terry Gou broke the news during a "company dance party" this past Friday, saying that the new 'bots would help reduce rising labor costs and increase efficiency. Aside from its affiliation with Apple, Foxconn has mostly made headlines over its treatment of employees, and a rash of suicides amongst its workers. The company also famously operates a company-owned community, drawing inevitable comparisons to American coal towns. Whether these new robots will help improve working conditions or the company's image remains to be seen. What also remains to be seen is whether such a massive addition to Foxconn's robotic workforce will lead to human layoffs, or simply greater production capacity. But this might not be the end of Foxconn's problems, since depression is not an unheard of condition for robots. (Xinhuanet via Slashdot)