Video: T. Boone Pickens on The Daily Show, Again

T. Boone Pickens — BP Capital founder, and creator of the Pickens Plan — hit The Daily Show for the second time in as many years last night, and discusses how Obama’s pledge to reduce oil use from the Middle East hasn’t moved forward.

T. Boone May Scale Back Wind Project

T. Boone Pickens could scale back his plans for a massive 4,000-MW wind farm in Texas, we’ve confirmed. A local Amarillo news channel was reporting the possibility recently, and SolveClimate had heard the rumor from a distressed asset sales specialist. In a statement that Picken’s team emailed to us, Pickens says:

The capital markets are problematic for everyone, and we are keeping an eye on them. We are committed to wind development projects and believe it’s a viable business for us. The capital markets may lead us to scale back a bit but we are still going forward with our wind business.

It’s pretty much what Mesa Power told the local news channel, and Pickens declined to include more information on how much the project will be scaled back. The original project was supposed to cost $10 billion and include 2,700-turbines, but that was before Pickens and his fund took a pummeling from the drop in oil and natural gas prices.
The news that Pickens may reduce his wind project plans comes on the heels of the Wall Street Journal’s report that about half of the investors in Picken’s energy fund have asked to withdraw their money, due to 60 percent losses this year. On 60 Minutes this Sunday, Pickens said that he and his fund are down a staggering $2 billion.

T. Boone Estimates He’s Down $2B From Drop in Oil, Gas Prices

Yet another profile of wind crusader T. Boone Pickens aired Sunday night — this time on 60 Minutes — and it had the usual details about the 80-year-old former oil baron’s plan to get the U.S. off its addiction to foreign oil. But 60 Minutes did score an interesting tidbit about how much Pickens and his investment firm BP Capital have lost since oil and natural gas prices started dropping in July: $2 billion!

The steep drop in oil and gas prices since July has cut the value of Pickens’ hedge fund in half. . . Overall, Pickens and BP Capital are down a staggering $2 billion. . . Boone acknowledges that is serious money. Asked if he’ll get it back again, he says, “Yeah, I’ll get it back.”

At the end of September the Wall Street Journal estimated that Pickens’ funds had lost about $1 billion this year, including $270 million of personal losses. “It’s my toughest run in 10 years,” Pickens told the Journal. “We missed the turn in the market, there’s nothing fun about it.”
But Pickens also told the Journal that he thought oil would finish the year around $120 or $125, barring a major global economic downturn. Well, the international economic downturn appears to be here. On Friday oil prices dropped to around $63. While it’s pretty hard to predict oil prices these days, we’re not sure it’s set to double in 2 months.

Wasn’t T. Boone Supposed to Be Earning Money Off Green?

We don’t doubt that T. Boone Pickens will eventually make substantial earnings off of his green kick — including the world’s largest wind farm, and the proliferation of natural gas to power our vehicles. But Clean Energy Fuels, Pickens’ natural gas distribution company, reported earnings yesterday and, yep, it’s still losing money. The company reported a loss of $2.41 million for the quarter, though that was narrowed from a loss of $3.56 million for the same quarter a year ago.

Despite overall losses, the company’s revenues are growing — the Seal Beach, Calif.-based company reported revenues of $34.60 million for the quarter up from $30.66 million from a year ago. And actually, the company’s performing better than it has in several years. In the the third and fourth quarters of fiscal year 2006, Pickens, the company’s director and largest shareholder, actually had to extend the company a line of credit to meet certain margin requirements for contracts.
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AMD Faces Nvidia With Dual Chip Plan

Nvidia and AMD today each launched two graphics chips for the PC market — but the two companies are pursuing divergent strategies. Both share a recent focus on high-end graphics, which underlines how important visual computing has become; but the different approaches taken by each firm may cost Nvidia market share if its monolithic high-end chips can’t deliver the graphic punch to compete with a multi-GPU strategy embraced by AMD and Intel.

Nvidia launched its GTX 280 and GTX 260 chips, which are larger multi-core processors on a single chip. AMD on the other hand, has taken a bottoms-up approach with smaller, multi-core chips that can be harnessed to a second graphics processing chip on a board to deliver higher-level performance. Lower-end PCs can rely on one AMD processor and those needing more power can turn to two AMD chips or Nvidia’s single, high-power chip.

The real question is how the graphics will look on the screen. And, as in most chip releases, the proof will be a while in coming. Nvidia already has HP signed up to use its new chip in a new Voodoo desktop especially for gaming. That makes sense. Nividia’s chip will rock the high-end application, while AMD’s is designed to provide compelling imagery for cheaper, power-efficient PCs and laptops at a large scale. The real battle will be whether AMD’s dual-chip strategy takes business away from Nvidia for specialty graphics computers and high-performance technical computing. If that occurs, Nvidia will have to be on guard: Intel’s planning to follow the same dual-chip path with its Larrabee GPUs.

With Private Equity Looming, Infineon CEO Resigns

Infineon Technologies, a Neubiberg, Germany-based company that was recently in the news for allegedly winning a deal to supply chips for the new 3G iPhone, has announced that CEO Wolfgang Ziebart is leaving due to a disagreement with the company and its board of directors. EETimes Europe first reported about Ziebart’s exit.

What seems to be the problem? He didn’t want to sell a big portion of the company to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., a private equity firm that then wants to merge Infineon with its other chip holding, NXP Semiconductors, formerly Phillips Semiconductor. (Someone had earlier argued for a three way deal between Infineon, STMicro and NXP.) Infineon is part of an older guard of chip companies that are caught in the whirlpool of shifts currently taking place in the sector. In addition to Infineon, others in the old guard that seem to be wheezing right now are NXP, STMicro and FreeScale; Broadcom, on the other hand, seems to be leaping ahead.

SafeBoot encrypts your Windows Mobile device

Safeboot_logoKeeping private and confidential data on a mobile device can be a risky proposition; misplace the device and you run the risk of the data finding it’s way to into someone else’s hands. One option to protect that data is SafeBoot’s Device Encryption for Windows Mobile:

"SafeBoot® Device Encryption™ requires both users and machines to be authenticated before the system boots, and its features include secure hibernation, pre-boot event logging, an optional data bomb, token support, and integration with SafeBoot® Management Center™ for password reset and policy synchronization with Active Directory®, Novell®, PKI, and others. Encryption of internal data, files, databases, and memory cards is performed transparently and automatically when the device is turned on and off." Check out the full press release at SafeBoot’s site.

(via Mobility Site)


Michael Capellas, Playing Clean-Up Pays

Michael Capellas has made a career out of taking over sinking ships, applying a slick paint job, and then flipping them to someone willing to buy. A few months after doing that, he exits, whistling and with a few million dollars in his pocket. He sold Compaq to HP, and pocketed about $20 million. Then more recently he sold MCI to Verizon, and has now left the building with $39.2 million. (He’s done really well in playing clean-up.) (AT&T’s David Dorman made chump change in comparison, for actually selling a company that was finally turning the corner.) Now as one reader points out that given MC’s history, Verizon should be worried. Look what Compaq did to HP!