SILICON VILLAGE

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Now iGATE joins L&T, Essar, in expressesing Interest in Satyam

There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for the fraud-ridden Satyam Computer Services. After Larsen & Toubro and Essar showed interest in buying whole or part of the Hyderabad-based IT major earlier this week, now IT major iGATE has also joined in.

The Bangalore-based iGATE Corporation, an integrated technology and operations (iTOPS) company, on Friday expressed interest in Satyam and also the board of iGATE has been meeting officials from the newly-formed board of Satyam.

Talking to CXOtoday, Phaneesh Murthy, Chief Executive Officer of iGATE, said, "We are interested in a dialogue with Satyam and currently are quite keen and comfortable to acquire selective portions of the business."

Asked about how he plans to raise the "moolah", he said the company is in touch with PE players who are ready to bring in the money.

iGATE Corp. is a Nasdaq listed company while the other entity, iGATE Global, was listed in National Stock Exchange (NSE) in Mumbai until January 2008, but de-listed from the Indian stock exchanges since.

Recently, the company announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec 31, 2008. Revenue for the year was $218.8 million compared to $201.7 million recorded last year. Net profit for the year increased to $29.3 million compared to $10.5 million last year. The company also added 27 new customers in 2008 showing their might in India.

Tarun Das, CII mentor and director on the Satyam board, has been saying that there were buyout offers from domestic and foreign companies, but without identifying any buyers. "Satyam has enormous fixed assets, human resource and technology assets. So, it is a very strong company. The board has not yet discussed the issue of looking for a buyer... But I have to truthfully say we have been approached by potential buyers," Das said.

Both L&T and Essar already have interest in Satyam. While L&T recently bought a little over 4 percent stake in the company, the engineering major is also into IT business through L&T Infotech. The Ruias-promoted Essar is also into IT-related business through its outsourcing firm, Aegis.

However, it is still not known where iGATE interest is. "We have to wait for the new board at Satyam to evaluate all strategic options and based on that evaluation set the direction for the company," said Murthy.

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Toyota considers layoff of 1,000 full-time jobs

Toyota Motor Corp is considering cutting more than 1,000 full-time jobs in North America and the United Kingdom to cope with faltering global demand, a news report said on Friday.

The details of the job cuts will likely be finalised by the end of the month, said the Nikkei, Japan's top business daily, citing an unnamed senior company official. Japan's top automaker could slash more jobs in other regions if global auto sales continue to slump, the daily said.

Toyota spokesman Yuta Kaga declined to confirm the report, saying nothing had been decided.

Mike Goss, a spokesman for Toyota's North American manufacturing operations, said Toyota is considering "additional steps" after making several production adjustments in recent months, but no decisions have been finalised.

"Current business conditions are not forcing us to make involuntary reductions of Toyota team members," he said in a written statement.

Hit by the collapse in demand for cars, Toyota is expecting to incur its first operating loss in 70 years. The company on Tuesday tapped Akio Toyoda, grandson of the Japanese automaker's founder, as president, paying homage to its roots amid a deepening global downturn.

The US-educated Toyoda, 52, is the first founding family member to take the helm at the Japanese auto giant in 14 years.

Like other Japanese automakers, Toyota has been reducing temporary workers at its auto plants in Japan to curb production amid the global recession.

Harley said its fourth-quarter profit fell 58 per cent to $77.8 million, or 34 cents per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with $186.1 million, or 78 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Revenue fell 6.8 per cent to $1.29 billion from $1.39 billion in the year-ago quarter.

The results fell short of Wall Street estimates. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected 57 cents per share on sales of $1.29 billion, on average.

Harley said its financial-services division swung to an operating loss of $24.9 million in fourth quarter, hurt by write-downs totaling $63.5 million. The company said it is evaluating ``a range of options'' to provide funding for the ailing Harley-Davidson Financial Services. Many analysts have suggested the lending unit may have to be sold because it has been unable to unload its debt in the financial markets.

For the full year, Harley said its earnings fell 30 per cent to $654.7 million, or $2.79 per share, from $933.8 million, or $3.74 per share, in the same quarter last year. Sales fell 2.3 per cent to $5.59 billion from $5.73 billion in 2007.

Analysts expected $3.02 per share on sales of $5.61 billion in revenue for the year. Harley said it would not provide earnings guidance for 2009, but analysts call for $2.15 per share.

Agencies

Harley to cut 1,100 jobs as profit falls

Harley-Davidson Inc said Friday it will cut 1,100 jobs over two years, close some facilities and consolidate others as it grapples with a slowdown in motorcycle sales.

The Milwaukee-based company also reported its fourth-quarter profit fell nearly 60 per cent, and said it is slashing motorcycle shipments in 2009 to cope with reduced demand.

The iconic motorcycle maker said it will consolidate two engine and transmission plants in Milwaukee into its facility in Menomonee Falls, Wis. It will shrink its paint and frame operations in its York, Pennsylvania, plant and close its distribution facility in Franklin, Wisconsin, whose duties will be handled by a third party.

Harley also said it will end its domestic transportation fleet operation.

The company said the cuts include 800 hourly production positions and 300 non-production, mostly salaried positions. It said 70 per cent of the job cuts will occur this year and the rest in 2010.

The cuts will result in one-time charges of $110 million to $140 million over 2009 and 2010, Harley said. Once they are finished, the cuts will save between $60 million and $70 million per year.

Harley has been stung by the rapid downturn in motorcycle demand. The economic recession has prompted many consumers to put off purchases of its high-end bikes, while the credit crunch has kept some would-be customers from obtaining financing.

Meanwhile, the company remains in the midst of a shake-up among top management. Chief Executive Jim Ziemer said last month he would retire in 2009, and the company remains in the process of finding a successor. Sy Naqvi, the head of Harley's troubled financial-services arm, resigned earlier this month. Chief Financial Officer Tom Bergmann has taken on Naqvi's old duties until a replacement is found.

Harley said worldwide retail sales fell 13.1 per cent in the fourth quarter, with sales in the U.S. _ its biggest market _ falling nearly 20 per cent. International sales crept higher, though, and the overall heavyweight motorcycle sales fell 25.5 per cent in the same period, Harley said.

For the full year, worldwide retail sales fell 7.1 per cent. Harley said it is slashing new motorcycle shipments in 2009 to between 264,000 and 273,000 to cope with the down market. That would be a drop of 10 per cent to 13 per cent from a year earlier.

In 2008, Harley said it shipped 303,479 new motorcycles, down 8 per cent from 330,619 new motorcycles in 2007.

Agencies

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sun Microsystems begins laying off 6,000 across all ranks

Sun had earlier last year announced a series of changes designed to align its cost model with the global economy and accelerate the introduction of compelling open source innovations. As part of that effort Sun announced a global workforce reduction of approximately 5,000 to 6,000 employees, representing approximately 15% to 18% of the Company’s global workforce. Sun can confirm that today layoff notifications were given to approximately 1,300 employees as part of that action. Reductions were made across all levels, including vice presidents and directors.

Sun continues to make choices to align strategically, geographically and operationally with its plan for long term growth. We believe the restructuring will result in a more efficient coverage model with resources aligned to growth opportunities. We believe the number of positions that will be eliminated, when combined with the other cost cutting measures and organizational changes being implemented, will put the Company on track for improved financial performance.

Last November, Sun Microsystems said it would be laying off up to 6,000 employees — or around 18 percent of its workforce — after a weak first quarter performance. The cuts are happening today, we’re hearing from a well-placed source, ahead of the company’s second-quarter earnings report next Tuesday.

The server and software company is facing hard times as the market has shifted from closed-source to open-source software technologies, like Linux, and it is facing stiff competition from larger rivals like IBM and HP. To boot, a significant portion of the company’s business is in the financial sector — clients that aren’t in a position to make large purchases these days. Sun has been experimenting with software-as-a-service and other models to help it gain market share, and most prominently purchased open-source database company for MySQL for $1 billion last year. Here’s some more from the strategy announcement it released in November:

As part of this effort, Sun is announcing a global workforce reduction and alignment of its Software organization into new business groups - Application Platform Software, Systems Platforms, and Cloud Computing & Developer Platforms - with a focus on boosting open source momentum and growing new sectors of the market who view technology as a competitive weapon.

Agencies

Intel to shut sites in Malaysia, Philippines; To layoff 6,000 jobs

Intel Corp said on Wednesday it would close manufacturing plants in Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as its only remaining factory in Silicon Valley, cutting as many as 6,000 jobs.

The announcement comes a day after the world's largest maker of microprocessors used in personal computers slashed prices on a number of its chips and a week after it reported a decline in fourth-quarter revenue.

Intel said it would close two assembly test facilities in Penang, Malaysia, and one in Cavite, Philippines.

It will also halt production at a wafer fabrication facility in Hillsboro, Oregon, as well as its Santa Clara, California plant -- a factory connected to its headquarters and the only one left in Silicon Valley.

The actions will result in a reduction of 5,000 to 6,000 jobs, Intel said. It ended 2008 with around 84,000 employees.

Not all cuts at the affected plants will lead to job losses and some workers will be offered positions at other facilities, it said, adding that the restructuring will take place between now and the end of 2009.

"It's not a surprise given that their first quarter is probably going to be challenging, and they're trying to do what they can to cut costs in places that make sense," said Taunya Sell, an analyst at Ragen Mackenzie, a division of Wells Fargo.

Intel said it was not halting production at any of its more advanced factories.

Intel shares rose about 1 percent to $13.40 in after-hours trading, after rising 3.11 percent to close at $13.26 on the Nasdaq stock market.

Last week, Intel said its fourth-quarter revenue fell 23 percent from the year-ago period and profit tumbled 90 percent. It also held back on giving detailed quarterly forecasts, citing economic uncertainty.

Analysts have been wary about Intel's outlook for the year as chip sales slide. PC makers and other technology companies have been trimming inventory and cutting back on purchases.

Intel also faces competition from new, cheaper chips made by Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD.N).

On Tuesday, Intel said it was lowering prices on some of its processors, including price cuts of up to 40 percent on some of its higher-powered, faster quad-core chips.

AMD said earlier this month that it expected to post additional restructuring charges for fiscal 2008 and 2009.

Agencies

Apple logs record $10-bn sales; beats recession

Apple Inc rose as much as 6.8% in Nasdaq trading as holiday demand beat estimates last quarter, helping allay concerns the recession and the absence of Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs will stymie growth.

Overseas demand for iPod players, Macintosh computers and iPhones offset a US slowdown and pushed quarterly sales past $10 bn for the first time, Apple said. Analysts had expected profit to drop for the first time in five years.

The cachet of Apple’s products helped the company maintain orders and command premium prices, even as the economy shrank, job losses swelled and consumer lending dried up. By updating models and pushing into new countries, Apple was able to shrug off the worst holiday shopping season in four decades. The company also is coping with the temporary loss of its CEO, who is giving up his day-to-day role until June to take a medical leave.

“It shows that people, even in a downturn, like Apple products and want to buy them,” said Andy Hargreaves, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Oregon. He’s one of 25 analysts tracked by Bloomberg who recommend buying the shares.

First-quarter net income rose 1.5% to $1.61 bn, or $1.78 a share, from $1.58 bn, or $1.76, a year earlier, Apple said. Sales rose 5.8% to $10.2 bn in the period ended December 27. Analysts in a Bloomberg survey estimated profit of $1.39 a share and sales of $9.76 bn.

Analysts had predicted a drop in profit after sales at US retailers fell more than twice as much as forecast in December, the sixth straight month of declines. The US accounts for more than half of Apple’s revenue.

Agencies

Due to drop in profits, Ericsson to cut 5,000 jobs

Wireless equipment maker LM Ericsson on Wednesday said profits dropped 31 per cent in the fourth quarter, citing restructuring charges and weaker handset sales, and said it would slash 5,000 jobs.

Ericsson said net profit fell to 3.9 billion kronor ($465 million) from 5.6 billion a year earlier.

It reported ``a dramatic drop'' in the contribution from its handset unit, Sony Ericsson. The joint venture with Japan's Sony last week said it had swung to a fourth-quarter loss of euro187 million ($243 million).

For the full year 2008, it posted a profit of 11.3 billion kronor, nearly half the 21.8 billion kronor reported for 2007.

Boosted by a weakening krona, Ericsson's sales in the fourth quarter rose 23 per cent to 67 billion kronor, from 54.5 billion kronor a year earlier.

The share soared nearly 11 per cent to 62 kronor in Stockholm stock market opening.

The world's leading maker of mobile broadband infrastructure said it released the fourth-quarter results a week ahead of schedule because it believed they exceeded market expectations.

In a statement, Chief Executive Carl-Henric Svanberg described his company's performance in 2008 as ``solid,'' pointing out the sales and the operating margins, excluding Sony Ericsson. He warned however that the financial downturn makes it ``difficult to more precisely predict to what extent consumer telecom spending will be affected, and how operators will act.''

The company said it needs to widen its savings program as the global financial crisis continues to pressure the industry, tough competition and the technical development. That would mean cutting 5,000 jobs, or more than 6 per cent of its 79,000-strong work force, Ericsson said.

The Stockholm-based company said it expected restructuring charges of 6 billion-7 billion kronor, yielding annual savings of around 10 billion kronor by the second half of the year.

In a webcast news conference with analysts and journalists, Svanberg said ``we're doing this of course because of the uncertainty in the market.''

For 2009, he said it will be a priority for the company to stay close to its customers to understand their behavior and needs, adding his company is also preparing for tougher times to be able to defend its margins and extend its leadership.

Agencies

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No job cuts in India, says Microsoft

Starting with 1,400 job cuts, software giant Microsoft will slash 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months.The layoff, however, would not be impacting the Indian operations. "It's not going to impact us. No job cuts in India," a Microsoft India spokesperson said in New Delhi.

In light of further deterioration of global economic conditions, extra measures to manage costs are being taken, including the reduction of head-count-related expenses, vendors and contingent staff, facilities, capital expenditures and marketing, the company, which posted a 11 per cent decline in profit for the second quarter, added in the statement.

"Microsoft will eliminate up to 5,000 jobs in R&D, HR, marketing, sales, finance, legal, and IT over the next 18 months, including 1,400 jobs today," the company said in a statement.

10 Oscar nominations for 'Slumdog Millionaire'

Inching closer towards an Oscar, composer A R Rahman on Thursday got himself nominated for three Academy awards for his score in British-Indian movie "Slumdog Millionaire", which was in all shortlisted for 10 categories including best film and best director.

"Something good is happening and I am really happy about it," was the reaction of Rahman, who became the first Indian to win a triple Oscar nomination. 43-year-old Rahman was nominated for Best Original Score and the numbers 'Jai Ho' and 'O Saya' were shortlisted for the Best Original Song.

Close on the heels of the dual-language film winning four Golden Globes, including one for Rahman, earlier this month, Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy were shortlisted for best director and best adapted screenplay categories.

The film also won nominations in cinematography, sound mixing, sound editing and film editing. David Fincher's romantic periodical "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", starring Brad Pitt, topped this year's race with a whopping 13 nominations.

The nominations were announced at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Samuel Goldwyn Theatre by Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker. The winners will be named on February 22 at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre.

Only two Indian have won the coveted Oscar till date, Bhanu Athaiya (for costume design in "Gandhi") and Satyajit Ray, who was given an honorary Oscar for his contribution to films.

This is also the first time that an Indian has won more than one nomination in Oscars history.

Reacting to the nominations, Rahman said, "I did not think it will get there. God has been really kind. And I have to really thank the prayers of all the people and their good wishes. "There is a kind of optimism in the film and so much of positive vibes as you leave the movie hall."

In the original score category, Rahman will compete with Alexandre Desplat ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), James Newton Howard ("Defiance"), Danny Elfman ("Milk") and Thomas Newman ("WALL-E").

Rahman will compete with Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman ("Down to earth" from "WALL-E") in the original song category. Gulzar has penned the lyrics of "Jai Ho" and Mia Arulpragasam "O Saya".

Co-director Loveelyn Tandon said "We have proved everyone wrong. It's a crazy feeling beyond words. Ten nominations is something unbelievable." She said all Rahman's work has been awarded and the "world has finally woken up to his talent". The films for the best picture race are "Milk", "Frost/Nixon", "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "The Reader".

Those nominated in the best director category along with Boyle are David Fincher ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), Stephen Daldry ("The Reader"), Gus Van Sant ("Milk") and Ron Howard ("Frost/Nixon").

Microsoft cuts 5,000 jobs as part of first layoffs

Microsoft Corp. said Thursday it is cutting 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months -- more than 5 percent of its work force -- a sign of how badly even the biggest and richest companies are being stung by the recession.

The layoffs appear to be a first for Microsoft, which was founded in 1975, aside from relatively limited staff cuts the software company made after acquiring companies.

The company announced the cuts as it reported an 11 percent drop in second-quarter profit, which fell short of Wall Street's expectations. Microsoft shares plunged 8 percent in morning trading.

The biggest names in the technology sector have been no stranger to layoffs lately. Giants such as chip maker Intel Corp. and even Google Inc. are among the companies that have pulled back on jobs to hunker down in the recession.

Even with $20.7 billion in cash on hand, Microsoft said its business prospects were hurt by the deteriorating global economy and lower revenue from software for PCs. The holiday quarter of 2008 was the worst the PC market had seen since 2002, with computer shipments declining about a half of 1 percent, according to IDC, a technology research group.

Making matters worse, the one type of PC consumers have warmed to in tight times -- the low-cost, low-power "netbook" -- actually cut further into Microsoft's earnings. The tiny portable computers run on Windows XP, which is older and less profitable for Microsoft than Windows Vista.

In a memo to employees, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer acknowledged that Microsoft is "not immune to the effects of the economy. Consumers and businesses have reined in spending, which is affecting PC shipments and IT (information technology) expenditures."

Ballmer said Microsoft cut operating expenses by $600 million in the quarter, but that it wasn't enough.

The layoffs, starting with 1,400 on Thursday, will affect workers in research and development, marketing, sales, finance, legal and corporate affairs, human resources and information technology, and mostly in Redmond, Wash., where the company is based. Ballmer also said changes would occur in departments that handle support, consulting, operations, billing, manufacturing, and data center operations, but he did not say whether layoffs are planned in those cases.

Microsoft won't stop hiring entirely. Ballmer said the company will add new jobs to support "key investment areas" over the next 18 months, so the total number of employees will drop by 2,000 to 3,000. Microsoft employs 94,000 people overall.

"I would have expected a more aggressive cut," said Cowen and Co. analyst Walter Pritchard. "They're trying to have their cake and eat it too, in terms of not cutting and hoping to have everything they were going to have before."

The software maker is trimming costs for travel, contractors and vendors, and said it will scale back a massive expansion to its Redmond campus.

Microsoft said its job cuts will reduce operating costs by $1.5 billion as it prepares for lower revenue and earnings in the second half of the year. The company says it is unable to offer profit and revenue guidance for the rest of the year, because of the market volatility.

Microsoft said profit in the last quarter fell to $4.17 billion, or 47 cents per share, from year-ago earnings of $4.71 billion, or 50 cents per share.

Total revenue edged up 2 percent to $16.63 billion.

The results missed Wall Street's forecast for earnings of 49 cents per share on sales of $17.08 billion.

Microsoft makes most of its profits on sales of the Windows operating system and its Office package of software, which includes programs such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Revenue and earnings shrank in both of those divisions.

A bright spot for Microsoft is software for corporate server computers, where revenue is still rising. Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald noted that the server business can thrive in a downturn because back-office software can help companies improve efficiency and save money.

Agencies

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

TCS may go slow on lateral hiring

The country's largest software company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), plans to go slow on lateral hiring. According to a report in a leading business daily, faced with the current tough business environment, TCS will be focusing more on trainees.

The company, however, is not planning any freeze on salary hike, though it said that the next year's salary hike would be in single digit per cent range.

TCS has been very controlled about the numbers that we take from here. The focus is on trainees as from cost management perspective this will balance out, said, Ajoy Mukherjee, VP and head, global HR, TCS, in the report.

TCS which reported net additions of 8,692 employees in third quarter, the highest in any of the last five quarters, however, assured that it will honour its commitment on hiring 24,800 people during financial year 2009-10.

Mukherjee added that while I am not saying that we will not hire experienced people, but it will be based more on domain expertise and business need. Besides, for off-campus recruitment, which we did in the fourth quarter to fill on gaps due to attrition, is also clearly ruled out this year. The other focus area also is shift from onsite to offshore.

Further, despite troubles in the US economy, TCS reported a robust 32 percent Y-o-Y growth in business in the region with 320 bps improvement in operating margin at 33.4 per cent in the just ended third quarter. Growth in the European market was lower at 23.4 per cent and came on 180 bps lower margin of 29.2 per cent.

TCS, however, reported lower utilisation rate including trainees during the OND quarter. The company's utilisation rate fell from 74.7 percent in the last quarter to 71. per cent.

Agencies

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mobile players focus on MVAS to increase ARPU

With Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) touching Rs 7,510 crore in 2008 and expected to touch Rs 9,760 crore in 2009 and Rs 16,520 by 2010, mobile players are aggressively rolling out new services to increase the average revenue per user (ARPU).

Talking to CXOtoday at the Forum Nokia Developer Conference 2009, Deepak Halan, Group Business Director of IMRB International eTech said, “In the wake of changing industry markets, telecom operators are looking at MVAS as the next wave of growth, and a large chunk of revenues is expected to flow from VAS in the near future. Our report indicated that this market is growing at 70% annually.”

While the growing subscriber base has positively impacted industry revenues, operator margins have shrunk, pulling down ARPU. “As ARPU declines and voice gets commoditized, the challenge is to retain customers, develop alternative revenue streams, and create a basis for differentiation in high-churn markets that is why telecom operators are looking at MVAS as the next wave of growth,” said Halan.

Presently the mobile market has about 12-15 major players besides a number of new licences issued to Etisalat, Unitech and Reliance (GSM) that is likely to take MVAS to all time high.

Among MVAS, the most popular service was downloaded mobile music, although voice portals were swiftly taking over, said Halan. SMS-based infotainment services are largely divided among the big players. A TRAI reports indicates that out of the 375 million users, one out of every five users have a GPRS-enabled mobile across India but not many services are available making then passive users, which is a deterrent factor.

However, the new 3G initiative give a fresh pipe for data and video tracks that could be downloaded without interruptions and also mobile TV with a lot more services like video on demand will is possible, said Halan.

Srikanth Raju, Director, Head of Product Marketing Forum Nokia said, “MVAS has seen a huge market in India and now with 3G being rolled out, will further help video downloaded and a lot more development on MVAS.”

Monday, January 19, 2009

Computer sales across Asia drop

Sales of computers in the Asia Pacific region outside Japan fell for the first time in a decade during the fourth quarter, as the global meltdown hit consumer spending, a study said on Monday.

Preliminary figures showed 17.2 million desktop computers and laptops were sold in the December quarter, down 14 per cent from the previous quarter and 5 per cent lower than a year ago, global market intelligence firm IDC said.

The figures marked the first year-on-year decline since the third quarter of 1998 when the region was grappling with the Asian financial crisis, it added.

"This quarter was quite a jaw-dropper" not just in China but also in India, said Bryan Ma, regional director for personal systems research with IDC.

"The clouds are darkening in 2009, although there might be some pockets of shelter in the region's public sector."

For 2008, struggling Chinese computer giant Lenovo was the region's number one vendor with market share of 18.3 percent, followed by US rival Hewlett Packard which had 14.1 per cent, and Dell at 9.1 per cent, IDC said.

Taiwanese computer firm Acer was fourth with market share of 7.5 per cent and China's Founder ranked fifth, with 4.0 per cent.

Agencies

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Will India-born executives bag Obama tech job?

Two prominent India-born executives are the frontrunners for the newly-created post of federal chief technology officer in the incoming Barack Obama Administration.

The two leading candidates are Padmasree Warrior, the chief technology officer (CTO) of Silicon Valley networking giant Cisco Systems and Vivek Kundra, who holds the same title in the government of Washington DC, US financial magazine BusinessWeek today quoted "sources with knowledge of the situation" as saying.

Warrior, who previously was the CTO at Motorola, represents hard-core technology expertise. Kundra, who was named to the DC post in 2007, has held similar government positions in the past and has a reputation for using technology to make government more open and inclusive, the report said.

Neither the Obama transition team nor the two executives would comment on their potential selection.

The President-elect is expected to announce his pick for CTO in a matter of days.

One of the sources told the magazine that the selection is being held up because it is not yet clear how the CTO will interact with the government's chief information officer and with the new cyber-security czar, another position that has not yet been filed.

Agencies

India to create 90 million jobs across sectors

The "India Shining" story may be under stress by the ongoing economic crisis, but some sectors and career options still hold promise for job seekers this year, according to human resource experts.

Leading advisory Boston Consulting Group says India will have a demand for 85-90 million people across various sectors, and the majority of the demand will come from high-growth industries like IT, outsourcing, banking, retail and healthcare.

Similarly, a survey by HR consultancy Manpower projects hiring to rise steadily by around 18 per cent from this quarter in many sectors, signifying that jobs in India may not be entirely affected by the financial turmoil in rich nations.

"India poses a far more positive outlook as compared to what has been happening across the world," said Cherian Kuruvila, director operations, Manpower India, adding that seven per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the country showed that the economy remained healthy.

"Employers in the mining and construction industries as also services sector are especially looking to scale up," Kuruvila said, but added that new jobs won't be distributed evenly through all regions and industries.

India has a work force of 484 million people, of which 273 million work in rural areas, 61 million in manufacturing and about 150 million in services, says the Boston Consulting Group that recently conducted a study on the country's services sector.

"Going forward, the Indian economy is likely to be overwhelmingly dependent on the growth of services. More than 70 per cent of India's incremental GDP and 60 per cent of new jobs over the next five years are expected to be generated by services."

A survey across the Asia-Pacific region by TNS, a market research and business analysis firm, with Gallup International, a global human resource consulting firm, also threw up interesting findings.

Sixty-two per cent of the Indians polled felt they would be able to hold on to their jobs in 2009 and the 57 per cent who expected unemployment to rise did not not consider they would be the ones affected.

"It seems, despite the slowdowns and reports of downsizing, there is an overall confidence among the employed in India that 'My job is secure! Difficulties, if any, are for others, not me'," said TNS India executive director Chhavi Bhargava.

Experts concede that the present financial meltdown has raised doubts over the performance of some industries and its impact on salaries and perks, but hope Indian businesses will come out of the slump earlier than their counterparts overseas.

"The impact on salary was felt in 2008 and it may continue till some time. The payouts were significantly lower than the 15-200 per cent bonus payouts in 2007," said Absolute HR Services chief executive Kunal Banerji.

"Gone are the days of experimentation with jobs. I would advise employees not to be adventurous checking different jobs. Stability is the mantra," said Confiar Consultants managing director Vivek Ahuja.

Apart from advising employees to keep their jobs this year, HR consultants also feel these are also the times when people will turn to age old values and ethics and play by the book.

"The old adages like no substitute for hard work and no short-cuts to success are back in vogue," Banerji said. "Stay hungry for work or stay hungry is the mantra for corporate India."

Agencies

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