Tech Roundup: Cisco Cuts Ties with Group Lobbying for a Tax Holiday, JDSU Partners Up to Bring Broadband to Rural America, and More

A look back at how Milpitas companies made the news over the past week.


A lobbying coalition backed by Cisco, Microsoft and Apple, which had been working for the past year to seek a tax holiday for repatriating offshore profits, ended its campaign recently, news reports indicated this past week. The Win America Campaign, which the three companies were a part of, wanted Congress to reprise a 2004 tax holiday that let companies bring home offshore profits at a discount. News reports claim the campaign severed its relationship with all three lobbying firms in March, according to forms filed with the U.S. Senate over the past week. The coalition “temporarily suspended” lobbying on the issue, said Jennifer Dunn, a spokeswoman for Cisco. The company still considers repatriation and a tax-code overhaul to be top priorities, she said. “We believe both are critical to leveling the playing field for American businesses as they compete overseas and to creating a boost for the U.S. economy,” Dunn said in a statement this week. Critics, including the Obama administration, said the proposal would cost the government money, encourage companies to move profits offshore and undermine efforts to overhaul the U.S. tax code.


Thanks to a new partnership between Milpitas-based JDS Uniphase (JDSU) and Frontier Communications, high-speed broadband communication services will now be made available to lower-income, more rural areas of America, beginning with West Virginia. Together with Frontier, JDSU will help extend fiber-optic, next-generation broadband throughout West Virginia. Frontier's Fiber 7.0 implements 13 connected rings throughout the state, which provide greater quality in its consistency and reliability of service. "The benefits of providing broadband services in rural areas are enormous. From a business perspective, from an education perspective and from an entertainment perspective, connecting small, rural areas to the global marketplace changes the nature of the U.S. economy," said David Heard, president of JDSU's Communications Test and Measurement business segment.


Two big cyber security companies also announced a partnership this week – Milpitas-based FireEye Inc. and Mandiant Corp. The partnership is expected to improve joint customers' capabilities to respond to advanced cyber threats faster and more efficiently. As part of the alliance, FireEye and Mandiant intend to integrate their products in 2012 for comprehensive breach detection and remediation, so that threats can be efficiently prioritized based on the risk they pose. This will help provide comprehensive, network-to-endpoint breach detection, representatives from both companies said in a statement Tuesday. "Cyber attacks get more sophisticated every day," said Ashar Aziz, FireEye’s founder and CEO. "Speed and efficiency in detection and response is key. FireEye's network-based capabilities for detecting and blocking advanced targeted attacks, such as the APT, working with Mandiant's ability to detect and scope threats on the endpoint, shortens the time for customers to mitigate targeted attacks."


Milpitas-based KLA-Tencor is celebrating the release of its new CIRCL suite this week. The company has reportedly increased the throughput of its wafer inspection and metrology tool by as much as four times. Called “CIRCL” for “Concurrent Inspection and Review CLuster,” the lithography review and outgoing quality control system uses embedded intelligence to monitor the front side and, if defects are found, also monitor the back side and edge of a wafer for defects too, while simultaneously measuring the wafer edge profile, edge bead concentricity and macro overlay error. In addition, two lots can be simultaneously monitored in parallel, potentially quadrupling overall throughput. "The CIRCL's ‘Directed Sampling’ technology can be programmed to inspect and measure just what you want it to," said Thomas Groos, senior product marketing manager. "For instance, it can inspect the front, back and edge every time, or be programmed to just do the back an edge if associated defects are found on the front.” CIRCL is already available and being used by many companies, according to KLA-Tencor’s press release, issued this week.


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