Friday, July 31, 2009

11.9 m new Indian subscribers added in June

India's telecom industry continued its robust growth story in June by adding 11.91 million new subscribers to take the total subscription base to 464.82 million, said a government statement.

The number of total subscribers in the country as on June 30, 2008 was 325.78 million.

The wireless (GSM and CDMA) segment added 12 million new subscribers, while the wireline segment witnessed a dip of 134,000 connections, the statement said.

The overall tele-density reached 39.86 percent in June 2009 as compared to 28.33 percent in the like period last year.

Broadband connections reached 6.4 million at the end of May and the total number of licences issued for Internet service providers (ISPs) is 375, the statement added.

Under the Bharat Nirman programme, public telephones were provided to 264 villages in May.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Indian Search Industry to experience stronger competition

Despite the search market in India being very small and amounting to less than $40 million in a year but the market is growing rapidly at about 33% yearly and so the Microsoft-Yahoo! deal is significant to India, Praveen Bhadada, engagement manager, Zinnov Management Consulting.

Speaking on the Microsoft-Yahoo! deal and its impact on India, Bhadada said, “Google is the dominant search engine in India and there are about 15 plus local search engines that have emerged in the last 2 years, for e.g., justdial,,, etc. covering niche areas. Unlike Baidu (search engine in China), they do not directly compete with the global giants such as Google, Yahoo or Microsoft.”

With presence of more than 35 million SMBs in India, and some of them relying heavily on search engine marketing to push their products across the globe, the

Microsoft-Yahoo partnerships can provide them a better second alternative, he said.
The rapid pace of broadband penetration in India will help both Google and Microsoft-Yahoo in the long run and help them gain larger share in markets such as India and China.

The deal will help both Microsoft and Yahoo! put a strong battle against Google, which currently enjoys more than 65% market share in the $25 billion plus global market for search engine marketing, said Bhadada.

In fact, Yahoo! globally accounts for close to 20% while Microsoft, with its new Bing search platform enjoys about 9% market share.

In the exclusive agreements, Microsoft will acquire a 10 year license to Yahoo’s core search technology and Bing will be the exclusive platform for all Yahoo! sites.

According to the official statement, Microsoft will compensate Yahoo! at an initial rate of 88% of search revenue generated on Yahoo!’s sites during the first 5 years of the agreement.

He said Microsoft will guarantee Yahoo!’s revenue per search in each country for the first 18 months following initial implementation in that country. “Complete integration may take anywhere between 18-24 months.”

The two will continue to compete in other common business areas such as email, web products, messaging etc.

However, dominance of Google may or may not be hampered, he said. Search major Google may be less worried with this agreement with Yahoo and Microsoft Google enjoys a big share in the market and the customer confidence is high on Google as compared to Yahoo and Microsoft. “Unless the actual number of searches increase for the user, this deal may not bring in any fruitful results for the two and the complete integration will only happen by 2011-2012 timeframe,” he said.

But some believe that the Bing platform for advertisers is relatively inferior to that of Yahoo and but alternatively, users will now have a stronger alternative that will provide them scale and if the combined search can provide users a better experience, then they may potentially eat up into Google’s share in the future.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Analytics company SPSS Inc to be acquired by IBM

IBM plans to buy technology services company SPSS Inc for about $1.2 billion in cash, the companies said on Tuesday.

SPSS shareholders will receive $50 a share, a 42% premium to Monday's closing price of $35.09 on Nasdaq.

Chicago-based SPSS provides predictive analytics software and services. Predictive analytics are used by companies to forecast future trends and spot shifts in consumer patterns, helping them control costs and use resources more wisely.

IBM said the deal will help expand its Information on Demand software portfolio and business analytics capabilities.

Shares of SPSS jumped 41 per cent in premarket trade to about $49.50. The shares had already enjoyed a gain of about 30 per cent this year.

The deal values SPSS at about 25 times analysts' estimated 2010 earnings per share, and the $50 per share price represents an all-time high for the stock, topping its previous all-time top of $47.87.

The deal is subject to SPSS shareholder approval and regulatory clearances, and is expected to close later in the second half of 2009, the companies said.

Separately, IBM said it has acquired closely-held Ounce Labs Inc, whose software helps companies reduce the risks and costs associated with security and compliance concerns. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Back in May, IBM's chief financial officer, Mark Loughridge, told the Reuters Technology Summit that the valuations of potential acquisition targets were attractive. IBM has spent $20 billion buying more than 100 companies since 2000, paying prices that range from as little as $50 million to as much as $5 billion.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Apple,Palm battle it for the smartphone market

Palm Inc has fired another volley at Apple Inc in their smartphone war, as the two rivals tussle over whether iTunes should be compatible with Palm's new Pre smartphone.

Palm, whose executive ranks include former Apple brass, released a software update for the Pre this week that allows it to sync again with Apple's iTunes media management software.

The move comes after Apple last week issued its own software update to close a loophole in iTunes that had allowed it to sync with the Pre. ITunes is designed to work with Apple's iPod and iPhone products.

Palm mimicks Steve Jobs

Palm announced the software update in a blog post that mimicked Steve Jobs' signature catchphrase "Oh, and one more thing," which the Apple chief executive has often used to announce a brand new product.

"Oh, and one more thing: Palm webOS 1.1 re-enables Palm media sync. That's right -- you once again can have seamless access to your music, photos and videos from the current version of iTunes (8.2.1)," said Palm's blog posted late on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear when Apple may issue another software patch to counter Palm's move. When asked for comment, an Apple spokesman said, "As we've said before, newer versions of Apple's iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with unsupported digital media players.

$200 Pre was launched in June

The $200 Pre launched in early June as a competitor to Apple Inc.'s iPhone, became the first non-Apple device that could connect directly to iTunes. Palm launched the Pre to good reviews, seeking to win a slice of the touch screen smartphone market now dominated by Apple's iPhone. Prior to the launch, Palm had touted that the Pre "synchronizes seamlessly with iTunes."

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky estimates Palm has sold 325,000 to 375,000 Pre phones so far, ahead of expectations. In comparison, Apple sold more than a million iPhone 3GS units in the first three days on the market.

While analysts and the Pre's carrier, Sprint Nextel Corp, have said it's too soon to know if the phone will be a real hit, it has already sparked a huge rally in Palm shares this year.

War with Apple generating plenty of drama

Avian Securities analyst Matthew Thornton said the war with Apple is generating plenty of drama, even though few Pre users bought their phone with the intention of syncing with iTunes.

"There's a lot of hype around it," he said, noting that some senior Palm personnel formerly worked at Apple, making the rivalry between the two companies seem that much sharper even if the dispute will likely have a limited economic impact.

Palm Chief Executive Jon Rubinstein had helped create the iPod, and senior vice president of product development Mike Bell also used to work at Apple.

Rubinstein was brought in as Palm's executive chairman from Apple

Rubinstein was brought in as Palm's executive chairman when private equity firm Elevation Partners bought a stake in the company in 2007, and he was named CEO last month. Elevation's co-founders include tech investor Roger McNamee, former Apple Chief Financial Officer Fred Anderson and singer Bono.

Kaufman Bros analyst Shaw Wu called Palm's move a "modest negative" for the company.

"While we acknowledge this is a short-term fix, frankly, we would have preferred Palm respond in a more professional and mature fashion," he wrote in a research note. "We do not believe hacking third-party software to work with one's hardware is a viable long-term business model, especially for a publicly traded company."

Palm was a pioneer of handheld devices

Palm was a pioneer of handheld devices, but has fallen well behind competitors like Apple and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd.

"Palm believes that openness and interoperability offer better experiences for users by allowing them the freedom to use the content that they own without interference across devices and services," Palm spokeswoman Leslie Letts said.


Avail IT education tourism in India from IBM

IBM today announced the launch of an education programme that it said would enable IT professionals and students to come to India and receive IBM certified training here.

To avail of this offer, an individual needs to register for a course from the IBM Power and IBM System Storage Curriculum, the company said in a statement.

All visa formalities, tickets and accommodation requirements are arranged and facilitated by an IBM training partner, it said.

The IT education tourism programme, slated to start next month, is a unique initiative where IBM has partnered with Stratom IT Solutions Pvt. Ltd., India to introduce IT education tourism as a package for global students and IT professionals.

IBM plans to target around 300 participants in India for a minimum of 30 days this year.

As part of the programme,IBM would offer a comprehensive portfolio of technical training and education services for systems designed for individuals, companies and public organisations to acquire, maintain, and optimise their IT skills, the statement added.


Monday, July 27, 2009

AMD Subsidiary Building $4.2 billion on New York Facility

AMD's manufacturing subsidiary -- Global Foundries is building a $4.2 billion chip manufacturing facility in upstate New York. With its new facility, the AMD spin-off will now be able to directly compete with archrivals Intel and other semiconductor manufacturers.
According to AMD semiconductor manufacturing remains expensive, and hence outsourcing will increase. However, analysts said it will be difficult for the New York chip foundry arm business (fab) to compete with Taiwanese industry leaders.

Chip manufacturers have posted significant losses in recent quarters because they have been unable to run at capacity.

AMD had launched Globalfoundries as a JV with Abu Dhabi-backed Advanced Technology Investment Company in May, a move that led to Intel accusing it of breaching a 2001 patent cross-license agreement.

The U.S. Company holds a 34.2% stake in the venture and ATIC holds the remaining 65.8%. Their New York foundry is scheduled to begin production in 2012, said the company.

Does use of Facebook kill productivity?

Companies effectively lose an average of 1.5 percent of total office productivity when employees access social networking sites like Facebook during work hours, a study has revealed.

The study by Boston IT advisory firm, Nucleus Research shows that nearly half of office employees access social networking sites such as Facebook during work. Moreover, one in every 33 workers built their entire Facebook profile during work. Nucleus interviewed 237 randomly selected office workers about their use of Facebook for the report.

It has been found that nearly 77 percent of workers have a Facebook account. The average worker uses it for 15 minutes a day, and 87 percent of those who access it couldn't define a clear business reason for using it. "Given that 61 percent of employees access Facebook at work, companies can reasonably estimate a cost of 1.5 percent of total employee productivity," the report said. The findings are significant especially since most companies are facing constricting bottom lines due to recession.

Nucleus Research Vice President (research) Rebecca Wettemann said, "If your company is facing tight margins and low profitability, as many are now, then how can you accept any work distractions that drain your overall productivity?"

However since most organizations do not monitor and manage these sites as closely as email, it opens up the potential to violate corporate communication policies. The report concludes that companies should evaluate their Facebook policy and the cost in productivity in allowing access to Facebook, as blocking the site may actually result in a 1.5 percent gain in productivity.

"While it won't make you popular, restricting Facebook can reclaim lost productivity. If your profitability is say two percent, this could be the difference between staying open or closing shop," Wettemann added.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

PC's from ViewSonic now in India

US-based visual display product maker ViewSonic today unveiled its first all-in-one PC for the Indian market at a price tag of Rs 32,000.

The system 'VPC100' is the first of a new line of concept products that the company plans to launch in India. The PC allows users to watch HD movies, browse Internet, play games or view documents with crisp details. It is powered by Intel's 1.6GHz Atom processor, the company said.

ViewSonic Technologies India Country Manager Gautam Ghosh said ViewSonic's PC will be available in India through the company's authorised distributor Redington India at an MRP of Rs 31,999.

The domestic market is flooded with computers with basic features to advanced functions at a price range starting from Rs 8,000 onwards.


Can India emerge as the 3rd largest Internet users by 2013?

The number of internet users worldwide is expected to touch 2.2 billion by 2013 and India is projected to have the third largest online population during the same time, says a report.

"The number of people online around the world will grow more than 45 per cent to 2.2 billion users by 2013 and Asia will continue to be the biggest Internet growth engine.

"... India will be the third largest internet user base by 2013 - with China and the US taking the first two spots, respectively," technology and market research firm Forrester Research said in a report.

Globally, there were about 1.5 billion Internet users in the year 2008.

Titled 'Global Online Population Forecast, 2008 to 2013', the report noted that emerging markets like India would see a growth of 10 to 20 per cent by 2013.

"In some of the emerging markets in Asia such as China, India and Indonesia, the average annual growth rates will be 10 to 20 per cent over the next five years (2008-13)," the report said. India's number of Internet users was estimated to be 52 million in 2008.

In the next four years, about 43 per cent of the Internet users globally are anticipated to reside in Asia and neighbouring China would account for about half of that population.

"... the shifting online population and growing spending power among Asian consumers means that Asian markets will represent a far greater percentage of the total in 2013 than they do today," Forrester Research Senior Analyst Zia Daniell Wigder said.

According to the report, the percentage of internet users in Asia would increase to 43 per cent in 2013 from 38 per cent in 2008.

"The percentage of the global online population located in North America will drop from 17 per cent to 13 per cent between 2008 and 2013, while Europe's share will shrink from 26 per cent to 22 per cent.

"The percentage of those in Asia will increase from 38 per cent to 43 per cent and Latin America will remain steady at about 11 per cent of the global total," Forrester noted.

The report said apart from China, other Asian countries with substantial online growth rates include India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

"By contrast, growth rates in some of the more mature markets such as Japan and South Korea will rise by less than two per cent each year," it added.