Saturday, August 29, 2009

Can TCS earn $1 bn revenue from domestic market?

Country's top software exporter Tata Consultancy Services said that it aims to double its revenues from the Indian market to $1 billion in the next 3-4 years.

"India has been one of the important markets. We are looking at whether in next 3-4 years we can double our revenue to billion dollars in the Indian market," TCS CEO S Ramadorai said.

At present, the domestic market contributes 10 per cent to the total revenue.

"Every mission mode project (government) that would come on the radar, we will certainly bid for them. TCS is in talks for 3-4 such mission mode projects as of now," Ramadorai said.

"When we look at the domestic market we look at three pillars -- large enterprises, governments - both the central and state governments -- and the third is the small and medium businesses which are part of our overall growth," he added.

Of the three, he expects the large enterprises to contribute more than the other two, followed by the government and the SMB sector.


Has Apple unleashed Snow Leopard earlier into the wild?

Apple released its Snow Leopard into the wild a little early, while Microsoft revealed its release plans for Windows 7 this week.

Apple began shipping its newest operating system to customers on Friday, a little earlier than expected. Mac OS X Snow Leopard is not as much about adding new features as it is about refining the code in the operating system. For instance, according to Apple, 90 percent of the Mac OS X code has been worked on for the Snow Leopard release.

The CNET Reviews team took the new OS for a spin and gave it a rating of excellent in its review:

Interface enhancements like Expose in the Dock and better file and folder viewing in Stacks make finding apps and files much easier. A completely overhauled QuickTime X now sports a cleaner interface and recording tools. The much-anticipated Exchange support across Mail, the Address Book, and iCal is huge for those who take their Macs to work.

However, the team notes that Snow Leopard will work only on Intel-powered Macs; PowerPC users are out of luck.

Snow Leopard could include some features that would make it secure, or at least push it closer to the level of security that Vista and Windows 7 have, experts said this week.

Contrary to popular belief, Macintosh is not more secure from a software standpoint than modern Windows; it's merely safer to use because malware writers prefer to target the platform with the biggest install base, according to Charlie Miller and Dino Dai Zovi, co-authors of The Mac Hacker's Handbook, which came out this spring.

"Apple hasn't implemented all the security features that Vista has," Miller said. "They made some improvements in Leopard, but they are still behind."

Mac OS X Snow Leopard will cost $29 as an upgrade for Leopard users. For Mac OS X Tiger users, the Mac Box Set, which includes Mac OS X Snow Leopard, iLife '09 and iWork '09, will cost $169.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mahindra Satyam BPO on a hiring spree; To hire 300 by Sept

At a time when software firm Mahindra Satyam is rationalising its headcount, its BPO arm seems to be on a hiring spree with plans to recruit 300 employees by the next month.

The company has recently bagged a major contract from a domestic client for providing it back office support.

“To support the client we have already hired 700 employees in the last one month and will hire another 300 by the end of next month," Mahindra Satyam BPO CEO Vijay
Rangineni said.

However, he declined to divulge the name of the new client or the deal size. According to sources, the new win is in the telecom space.

The total headcount of the company after the recruitment would stand at 2,900. Though the parent firm Mahindra Satyam have a considerable presence in the domestic market, this is the first major win by Mahindra Satyam BPO in the domestic space.

Rangineni further said the company would now focus on the sizeable domestic market.

"Post the acquisition by Tech Mahindra, we now have a footprint globally and will leverage the strengths of Tech Mahindra wherever they are present," he said.

Mahindra Satyam BPO has one delivery centre each in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune. The company, however, do not have a global delivery centre so far.


Will Nissan unit shift from UK to Chennai lead to job losses?

Japanese major Nissan has decided to shift the entire production of its small car Micra from the UK and relocate it to India. After production of the Micra begins here, Nissan plans to manufacture four more models in India, involving a total investment of over Rs 2,000 crore.

The move underlines the rush among automakers to rationalise production costs and move to locations that offer the best value and quality. “We have decided to shift the production of the Micra compact car from our UK plant and manufacture it in India at our upcoming factory at Oragadam, near Chennai,” Nissan India MD and CEO Kiminobu Tokuyama told TOI here.

The company’s Chennai plant will start production from May next year, and the export markets would be catered to from autumn, Tokuyama said. Nissan, he said, plans to meet Micra’s requirements for the entire European region as well as some other markets like Middle-East from the Chennai plant. “We plan to initially start with export volumes of 1.1 lakh units, which would be gradually scaled up to 1.8 lakh units as demand goes up,” Tokuyama said. But what has prompted the company to take such a step, uprooting manufacturing presence from an established base and shifting to an all-new location. “There are many benefits to count in India, and these include a high-quality vendor base that is also cost effectiveness, leading to globally-competitive pricing,” Tokuyama said. Also, the technological skills in India are of a high quality, he added.

Nissan’s move points to the growing importance of India in small car manufacturing, which was initiated by the Government by way of lower manufacturing tax (excise duty) on them. The rising scale of small car production in India also sweetens the deal in favour of the country as component makers have improved on quality and scale, making them a safe and a reliable bet. Lower wages in the market, and relatively high engineering skills, is another big advantage that attracts companies.

Times of India/Agencies

Japanese cos NEC, Hitachi, Casio to merge for mobile operations

Japan's NEC Corp, Hitachi Ltd and Casio Computer Co are in talks to merge their struggling mobile phone manufacturing operations to create Japan's No 2 handset maker, the Yomiuri daily reported on Friday.

Loss-making NEC could hive off its mobile operations and merge it with an existing joint venture between Hitachi and Casio to together develop handsets, or the three could merge their mobile phone production operations, the newspaper said without citing sources.

NEC would be likely to hold a majority of the new firm, it said. The three are struggling in Japan's saturated cellphone market and mounting development costs, said to be about 10 billion yen ($107 million) per handset. In the year ended in March, Sharp Corp controlled over one-fifth of Japan's handset market, followed by Panasonic Corp.


Indian firms to shift to Cloud services, says IDC report

Around 40 percent of Indian enterprises are considering the adoption of cloud services to save costs and compete in the challenging market environment reveals, an IDC report. Currently only five percent of the Indian enterprises have adopted cloud technology. "The main reason in India that is driving the interest towards cloud technologies, is its cost-cutting potential," says Surajit Sen, Director Channels, Marketing and Alliances at NetApp India, a storage and data management solutions provider.

Looking at the growing demand for cloud computing, NetApp has unveiled certain enhancements to its storage line. The company is particularly bullish on the Indian market, which is showing more interest to adopt cloud technologies.

"As the technologies supporting cloud computing have improved, the adoption is also set to grow now," said Alok Bardiya, Vice President, Managed Services and Marketing at Tata Communications, which is a cloud computing service provider in India. NetApp is the technology partner for Tata Communications, which has over a million square feet of datacenters around the globe including six datacenters in India.

NetApp unveiled the latest version of its Data ONTAP cloud platform called Data ONTAP 8. According to Sen, the Data ONTAP 8 is a combination of the earlier platforms Data ONTAP 7G and Data ONTAP GX. With this product offering, the company aims to increase the demand for cloud technologies in markets like India.

The Data ONTAP 8 comes with enhancements such as a new technology for seamlessly moving complete data volumes across multiple storage systems called Data Motion. Other enhancements include a new version of its add-on modules for increasing storage performance, an improved end to end multi-tenancy for better security and a new high-density capacity expansion device for its storage appliances.


Browse pure content on NaqaTube; Online version of YouTube

Sick and tired of profanities and explicit nature of some video clips on YouTube, a group of Saudis have developed a “clean” alternative called NaqaTube (naqa being the Arabic word for ‘pure’).

The aim, as they put it, is to prevent the youth from watching sexually explicit video clips online, an Arab news report quoted a moderator of the website as saying. With millions of youth logging into YouTube each day, the group launched NaqaTube, which is simply an amalgamation of “clean” clips from YouTube.

Abu Ibraheem, one of the moderators of the website, said that clips on NaqaTube are religiously safe and often edited prior to being uploaded.

The website’s logo is “participate with us in a clean website.”

The site also censors clips that are against the government, individuals and scholars, or which mock people in general, the report said. Women’s images are totally forbidden, along with music.

“Our dream is to decline the number of visitors to YouTube. Our website has received 5,000 to 6,000 visitors since its launch two months ago,” Ibraheem said.

Much of the material on the site is religiously inclined and the site’s front page displays links to over 10 channels featuring scholars, preachers, children and other Islam-related material. The site hosts clips of scholars from the Arab world delivering Islamic discourse. “We are promoting a moderate Islam, nothing extreme,” he said.


Harley-Davidson to ride into India in 2009

US motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson is optimistic about a recovery in the US economy but would continue to tread carefully by adopting cost-saving measures, a senior official said on Thursday. Milwaukeebased Harley-Davidson also said it plans to start selling its motorcycles next year in India, the world’s secondlargest market for bikes.

It is betting on a rising middle class population in the world’s second-fastest growing major economy to create a demand for its large and powerful machines. Harley, whose bikes account for half of the motorcycle sales in the United States, has been hurt by a slowdown in its biggest market and last month reported a slump in second-quarter net profit and slashed its 2009 shipment forecast.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

17% drop in the semiconductor revenue in 2009

The global semiconductor revenue is on course to total $212 billion in 2009, which is a 17.1 percent decline from 2008 revenue of $255 billion reveals a report. The report by research and analysis firm Gartner says that the projection is better than the second quarter projections of a 22.4 percent decline, which shows signs of recovery in the market.

Some of the major semiconductor vendors have reported positive second quarter sequential revenue growth. Intel posted 12 percent revenue growth, while Samsung announced its revenue increased by 30 percent and Qualcomm reported a 35.7 percent increase in its mobile chip sales. "The semiconductor market has performed better than expected, as was evident when second quarter semiconductor revenue increased 17 percent in sequential sales," said Bryan Lewis, Research Vice President at Gartner.

The increasing demand for products using semiconductor was the key driver behind the growth in the market. "Consumers reacted strongly to reduced PC and LCD TV pricing as price elasticity was amazing. The industry also benefited from the China stimulus package that worked remarkably well to boost short-term demand. Governments worldwide took action quickly and extensively to avoid a meltdown and it worked," added Lewis.

Though, the outlook for 2009 has improved, Gartner also points out that all major segments of the semiconductor market are expected to report double-digit revenue declines this year. The application-specific standard product (ASSP) - the largest segment in the semiconductor market - will touch $57.2 billion in 2009, a decline of 16.5 percent over last year's revenue. The memory market is predicted to total $41 billion with a 13.5 percent decline and the microcomponents segment is forecasted to reach $39.4 billion in 2009, a 19.2 percent decline from 2008.

According to Lewis, foundries are concerned that demand may drop off more than seasonal in the fourth quarter, and it may carry into first quarter 2010. Gartner's most likely scenario is a negative five percent growth in the first quarter of 2010, as customers take a break and absorb all the devices they purchased over the previous three quarters.


Is Apple iphone set for a launch in China?

Apple Inc is getting closer to clearing the hurdles to start selling iPhones in China, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

It is one of the last major phone markets Apple has yet to tap, the paper said. China is the world's largest mobile market with some 687 million subscribers, the paper said, compared with more than 270 million subscribers in the United States.

But Apple faces competition from other smart phones that are set to launch in China in coming months, the paper said. The company must still complete negotiations with state-owned wireless operator China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd., which is expected to carry the iPhone, the paper said. Analysts told the paper those talks are nearing conclusion. Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison declined comment.


Mega BP contract bagged by TCS, Infy, Wipro & IBM

India’s top three software exporters TCS, Infosys Technologies and Wipro, along with MNC rival IBM, on Wednesday, announced that they have won new outsourcing contracts from British Petroleum (BP) to be delivered over the next five years.

As reported by ET last month, India’s offshore outsourcing firms, including TCS, Infosys, Wipro and Mahindra Satyam had locked horns with MNC rivals IBM and Accenture over around $1 billion worth of outsourcing contracts to be awarded in August by BP.

While the companies did not disclose the value of new contracts, experts tracking the sector said Indian suppliers are expected to earn revenues in excess of $100 million each over the next few years from BP. “The total application development and maintenance contract value is over $500 million,” a UK-based outsourcing expert told ET on condition of anonymity.

BP, which used to outsource a majority of its application development, system integration and infrastructure management projects to almost 30 suppliers including IBM, Accenture, Mahindra Satyam and Infosys wanted to bring down its IT costs by up to 30% by working with fewer vendors handling more work at lower rates.

“Every business unit at BP was running its IT operations separately, with different set of suppliers. This led to complexity and higher costs of operations. With this consolidation, BP now wants to work with not more than six vendors globally,” a UK-based expert familiar with BP’s sourcing strategy told ET recently. He requested anonymity as he is not authorised to comment about these contracts.

When contacted by ET last week, a BP spokesman confirmed that the supplier review is nearing its end. “Yes, we have been reviewing our strategic IT providers, and are getting close to the end of that process, but I can’t confirm numbers of the current or possible future providers,” Robert Wine, a BP spokesman, had told ET last month.

Economic Times

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ManTech bags cyber security order for US Dept of Agriculture

ManTech International Corporation, is one of six companies awarded a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide cyber security support. The BPA has a one-year base period, four one-year options and an initial ceiling value of $30 million for all six firms.

ManTech was also recently awarded its first two task orders under this BPA, a press release adds. The first, to provide a vulnerability assessment of several USDA applications, is valued at $41,000. The second is a four-year contract to provide computer forensic support to the Agriculture Security Operations Center valued at $1.3 million.

It will continue to compete to assist the USDA in implementing new cyber security measures to ensure the proactive protection and security of its networks, applications and hardware. These measures will include identifying security vulnerabilities, responding to attacks against agency resources and implementing corrective action accordingly.

"ManTech has been providing cyber security solutions to the Intelligence Community, DOD and other federal agencies for more than 17 years," said Larry Prior, President and COO, ManTech International Corporation.


Does US lag in internet speed over other countries?

The US is lagging far behind other industrial nations in the availability and high speed internet broadband connection, according to the Communications Workers of America (CWA) report.

The report states that the average download speed in South Korea is 20.4 mbps, four times faster than the US average of 5.1 mbps. Japan, Sweden and the Netherlands follow South Korea with an average of 15.8 mbps, 12.8 mbps and 11.0 mbps respectively.

The new research indicates that between 2007 and 2009, the average download internet speed in the US has increased by only 1.6 mbps, from 3.5 mbps in 2007 to 5.1 mbps in 2009. At this rate, it is likely to take the US 15 years to catch up with current internet speed in South Korea, the country with the fastest average internet connection.

The report says, "Our nation continues to fall far behind other countries. People in Japan can upload a high-definition video in 12 minutes, compared to a grueling 2.5 hours at the US average upload speed." The 2009 speed test done by shows that only 20 percent of those who took the test have internet speed in the range of the top three ranked countries - South Korea, Japan and Sweden. Even more alarming, 18 percent do not even meet the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) definition for current - generation broadband as an always-on internet connection of at least 768 kbps downstream.

Continued job growth, innovation and rural development require high-speed, universal networks. Data shows that for every $5 billion invested in broadband infrastructure to create these networks, 97,500 new jobs in the telecommunications, computer and IT sectors will be created.

Larry Cohen, President, CWA said, "Every American should have affordable access to high-speed internet, no matter where they live. Unfortunately, fragmented government programs and uneven private sector responses to build out internet access have left a digital divide across the country."

The US President Barack Obama has pledged to put broadband in every home and the FCC has embarked on an ambitious project to bring high-speed internet access to every corner of the country.

According to the CWA report, the fastest download speed in the US is in the northeastern parts of the country while the slowest is in states such as Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.


C-DOT plans rural projects on its 25th anniversary

The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), the country's premier telecommunications research and development centre, turned 25 Tuesday.

"In all these years, C-DOT has been in the technology forefront and significantly contributed in the indigenisation of telecom technology, digitilisation, bridging the digital divide between urban and rural, establishing strong telecom manufacturing infrastructure and employment generation," said C-DOT executive director P.V. Acharya.

Added Sam Pitroda, National Knowledge Commission Chairman who founded C-DOT, "C-DOT was established as an independent society to help develop a series of digital switching products to meet Indian requirements. At that time, we had about two million phones for 750 million people."

Maintaining that C-DOT "planted the right seeds" for the an information and communication technology (ICT) revolution a quarter century ago, Pitroda told media, "The spirit of private enterprise helped it grow to a substantial industry."

C-DOT has today realigned efforts and defined its roadmap with a focus on developmental schemes for the 11th five Year Plan period.

The company plans to implement projects of national and strategic importance for rural India through the shared GSM Radio Access Network, which is currently under development and expected to give a definite fillip to business in the hinterland.

In the northeastern region, C-DOT aims to breathe fresh life into the fixed line infrastructure.

C-DOT's focus projects include the Gigabit Optical Passive Network that aims at bringing broadband and next generation network products and services to homes.

"Twenty-five years ago, the system was very resistant to new ideas. C-DOT experiment was seen with a great deal of suspicion and there were many multinational lobbying groups constantly trying to kill the initiative," Pitroda said.

"C-DOT was seen by multinational companies as a direct threat to their business interests in India. It survived due to the political will of the prime minister (the late Rajiv Gandhi) and it got accomplished simply due to the energy of the young."

According to Pitroda, the next big challenge is to benefit from the ICT revolution to improve education, health, agriculture, financial services and governance to bring growth and prosperity to the doorsteps of people at the bottom of the pyramid.


Arabic portal Maktoob acquired by Yahoo!

Internet major Yahoo! Inc. today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire, an online community in the Arab world, with more than 16.5 million users. Though the transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2009, the financial details of the deal is not yet known.

"This acquisition will accelerate Yahoo!'s strategy of expanding in high-growth in emerging markets where we believe Yahoo! has unparalleled opportunity to become the destination of choice for consumers," said Yahoo! chief executive officer Carol Bartz in a statement.

According to Yahoo!, this acquisition will extend its current offerings by adding capabilities to deliver relevant Arabic-language content and services, as well as Arabic versions of Yahoo!'s popular Yahoo! Messenger and Yahoo! Mail services.

"Yahoo! and Maktoob are natural partners and this combination should help energize the Internet market in the region as a whole. We are excited about Yahoo! building a stronger presence in the Middle East and bringing its compelling suite of services to Arab users in Arabic," said Samih Toukan, founder of Maktoob.

While Internet usage in the Middle East has grown more than tenfold since 2000, most markets are still in the early stages of adoption. According to the World Bank, there are more than 320 million Arabic speakers worldwide, while less than one per cent of all online content is in Arabic, said the Yahoo press release. was founded in 2000 by Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury as the world's first free Arabic/English Web-based email service, and since then has grown to be the leading Arab online community in the region.

Keith Nilsson, senior vice president, Emerging Markets, Yahoo!, said, "We see great growth potential in both audience and advertising in the Arab world and combining with will allow us to quickly build our presence there with high quality products. This is a big win for publishers, advertisers, and consumers in the region."

Yahoo said this acquisition is part of its larger strategy to grow its business throughout the world's emerging markets by connecting consumers with the content and services that matter most to them in their local language.

Following the acquisition, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yahoo!. Ahmed Nassef, the current general manager of, will continue to lead the teams and will report to Keith Nilsson, said the release.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Booklet 3G from Nokia to take on Apple, Dell

Nokia started as a computer company in 1980's but sold the business in 1991 to focus on mobile phones. Now after two decades Nokia is all set to launch its booklet called "Booklet 3G" to broaden its product range to survive the tough competition in the declining mobile market.

Nokia is facing tough competition in the mobile market as many new players are now entering in the scene. Dell, Acer and Hewlett Packard (HP) are all interested to launch products in the mobile category. There are many speculations that Apple will soon be launching a tablet-type touch screen by next year. Nokia plans to take on these competitors in their own backyard with the launch of its Booklet 3G.

This booklet will mostly be mistaken for a netbook but it focuses on on-the-go networking. It is powered by a Windows operating system (not clear yet if it is Windows 7) and has a 10-inch color screen. It has both 3G and GPS functionality, as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when there's a network available. It will also have access to Nokia Music store and Ovi maps. Nokia claims that the Booklet will run for 12 hours on a battery charge.

"A growing number of people want the computing power of a PC with the full benefits of mobility. Nokia has a long and rich heritage in mobility, and with the outstanding battery life, premium design and all-day, always-on connectivity, we will create something quite compelling," said Kai Oistamo, Nokia's Executive Vice-President for devices to Telegraph.

Nokia will mostly give further details about pricing early next month at Nokia World '09 in Stuttgart. It is expected that the booklet will be expensive and will be in the range of $700 to $1000.


GM's Hummer now a likely target of Chinese

General Motors may sign an agreement for the sale of the Hummer sport-utility vehicle business to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co based in Chengdu, China this week, said two people familiar with negotiations.

The China firm's executives are expected to arrive in Detroit early this week for more negotiations with GM. Meanwhile GM's advisers are recommending the board consider spurning a German-backed sale of its Opel unit to retain a bigger presence in Europe and Russia.


New tablet may replace keyboard with touch-screen

Apple is shrinking its Mac computer and bringing out a tablet that is small enough to be carried in a handbag but big enough for comfortable web surfing, newspaper reading and watching movies. The computer will revolutionize laptops as we know them because it is one flat touch-screen device without a keyboard.

Speculations have reached a feverish pitch that by 2010, the revolutionary touch-screen gadget will be in a store near you. Blogs are alive with rumours that the tablet’s launch will be announced in September by Steve Jobs, Apple founder and CEO, and launched in time for the Christmas market, reports the Telegraph.

The product is believed to have been in development for the past six years, with Jobs personally involved over the last two. If the speculation is true, it could be the next technological breakthrough for Apple, which has sold more than 200 million iPods since its launch in 2001. The tablet will be billed as the solution for people who work a lot on the move, but don’t want to be burdened with a laptop.

Pundits are predicting that our lives will never be the same. “People expect it to be the ultimate Apple surprise. This thing will knock people’s socks off,”Leander Kahney, a blogger and author of The Cult of Mac, told the Observer.

“Apple will totally rejig the computing experience. You won’t manipulate a keyboard and mouse any more but rather use an intuitive touch-screen. It will very tactile. It will be a whole new paradigm.”

Gene Munster, a technology research analyst, estimated that the tablet, with an onscreen keyboard like the iPhone, would cost around $600, putting it between the high-end iPod Touch at $399 and the Mac-Book, which starts at $999.


Monday, August 24, 2009

No pay for Honeywell employees for 10 days

Honeywell has announced that its employees will have to take a mandatory 10 days off in the month of December-January without pay. Krishna Mikkilineni, President of Honeywell Technology Solutions, conveyed the decision at a public gathering in Bangalore recently, reports a media.

On this matter, a Honeywell Spokesperson said, "Even as Honeywell continues to grow its businesses in India, our employees have agreed to participate in a voluntary and temporary reduced work schedule, in consonance with their colleagues elsewhere."

Honeywell, which makes products like aviation electronics, car turbochargers and temperature control systems for buildings, has been hit badly by the global recession in all of the key businesses it supports - aviation, auto and property. In the second quarter ended June 30, its profit plunged 38 percent and revenue dropped 22 percent.

In the quarterly report, the company said that it did not expect any recovery this year from the recession, as customers were expected to keep holding off on the purchase of Honeywell parts. Sales in the aerospace unit, which makes radar systems and other aviation equipment, dropped 17 percent, to $2.7 billion. The company said that many of its airline customers were choosing to use parts from their own idled planes for repairs rather than buying new parts from the company. One of the few growth areas is military sales, where Honeywell expects a three percent growth in sales. David M. Cote, Chief Executive, Honeywell said, "We are executing very well. Unfortunately, it is a very tough economic environment."

The company has taken a number of cost cutting measures. At least for some employees in the U.S., Friday is now a half-day without pay. In India, where it has 10,000 employees, benefits like cafeteria subsidies and vacation rewards at the end of five years of service with the company have been withdrawn.


Will Accenture layoff 336 executives in 2009?

Accenture, a business consulting and outsourcing company is likely to lay off around 336 senior-level managers as part of a broad-based restructuring effort. William Green, CEO, Accenture said, "We are taking this step to position Accenture better for both short-term and long-term economic improvement growth and profitability."

The company has about 177,000 employees globally, of which 4,800 are senior-executive employees. The lay off is likely to be completed by the end of November 2009. The company said that the reductions would cost about $247 million in the fourth quarter, which ends on August 31. Out of $247 million, about $128 million of the charge is for severance and related costs of workforce reductions at the senior executive level and $119 million linked to reduction of excess office space. The company said that the space reductions would be completed by the end of August, while the job cuts are expected to be completed in the first quarter of fiscal 2010.

According to a projection by Goldman Sachs Group, global technology spending will decline by eight percent this year. Accenture said that it continued to expect net revenues for the fourth quarter in the range of $5 billion to $5.2 billion with operating margins between 13.4 percent and 13.7 percent. But the company also added that the restructuring charges will likely reduce its earnings per share for both the fourth quarter and the full year by 24 cents.

The company had generated net revenue of $23.39 billion for the fiscal ended August 31, 2008. In the last one year, the stock of Accenture has climbed by 11 percent on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).


Sunday, August 23, 2009

LED set to change the display systems

You may soon get to enjoy facilities like flexible high-resolution home theatre displays, wearable health monitors, and biomedical imaging devices because scientists are working on a novel process for creating new classes of lighting and display systems.

John Rogers, the Flory-Founder Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois, has revealed that the new process is all about creating and assembling ultra-thin, ultra-small inorganic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) into large arrays that offer new classes of lighting and display systems with interesting properties, such as see-through construction and mechanical flexibility.

He said that such properties would be impossible to achieve with existing technologies. "Our goal is to marry some of the advantages of inorganic LED technology with the scalability, ease of processing and resolution of organic LEDs," said Rogers.

Compared to their organic counterparts, inorganic LEDs are brighter, more robust and longer-lived. Organic LEDs, however, are attractive because they can be formed on flexible substrates, in dense, interconnected arrays.

Rogers and his colleagues-including collaborators from Northwestern University, the Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore, and Tsinghua University in Beijing-say that the new technology combines features of both.

"By printing large arrays of ultra-thin, ultra-small inorganic LEDs and interconnecting them using thin-film processing, we can create general lighting and high-resolution display systems that otherwise could not be built with the conventional ways that inorganic LEDs are made, manipulated and assembled," Rogers said.

To overcome requirements on device size and thickness associated with conventional wafer dicing, packaging and wire bonding methods, the researchers have developed epitaxial growth techniques for creating LEDs with sizes up to 100 times smaller than usual.

They have also developed printing processes for assembling these devices into arrays on stiff, flexible, and stretchable substrates.

To create an array, a rubber stamp contacts the wafer surface at selected points, lifts off the LEDs at those points, and transfers them to the
desired substrate.

"The stamping process provides a much faster alternative to the standard robotic 'pick and place' process that manipulates inorganic LEDs one at a time. The new approach can lift large numbers of small, thin LEDs from the wafer in one step, and then print them onto a substrate in another step," Rogers said.

The researcher says that shifting position and repeating the stamping process can transfer LEDs to other locations on the same substrate, and, in this fashion, large light panels and displays can be crafted from small LEDs made in dense arrays on a single, comparatively small wafer.

Given that the LEDs can be placed far apart and still provide sufficient light output, Rogers says that the panels and displays can be nearly transparent. He even envisions the creation of flexible and even stretchable sheets of printed LEDs, which can have potential use in the health-care industry.

"Wrapping a stretchable sheet of tiny LEDs around the human body offers interesting opportunities in biomedicine and biotechnology, including applications in health monitoring, diagnostics and imaging," Rogers said.

A research article describing the researchers' work has been published in the journal Science.


$1 salary for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison will receive a base salary of $1 for fiscal 2010, according to a regulatory document filed Friday.

That's a decrease of $999,999 from last year. But Ellison won't exactly be starving. He is the world's fourth wealthiest person, according to Forbes.

And according to Oracle's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ellison's base pay of $1 million in fiscal 2009 only accounted for 1.2 percent of his total compensation anyway. Ninety-seven percent was in the form of stock.

Still, Ellison's new $1 base pay puts him on the salary pedestal with the likes of Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

"The compensation committee recognizes that Mr. Ellison has a significant equity interest in Oracle, but believes he should still receive annual compensation because Mr. Ellison plays an active and vital role in our operations, strategy and growth. Nevertheless, during fiscal 2010, Mr. Ellison agreed to decrease his annual salary to $1," Oracle said in the filing.

Oracle's fiscal 2010 began June 1.

Ellison, who is 64, founded Oracle in 1977. According to the SEC filing, he owns 1.18 billion shares of Oracle, or 23.4 percent of the company's total stock.


Is Intel set to acquire two software firms?

Intel has quietly snapped up two software companies in the last 30 days with aim of boosting development of applications that take better advantage of chips with more than one processing core.

In a company blog, the chipmaker indicated the acquisition of Cilk at the end of last month and then Rapidmind earlier this week. Both are small companies that employ under than 50 people. The acquisitions follow the purchase of software company Wind River Systems in June.

"Over the last few years, there has been a gradual emergence of multicore microprocessors. It's put parallelism in more and more machines," James Reinders, chief evangelist and director of marketing and sales at Intel, said in a phone interview Friday, explaining why Intel bought the two firms.

"If you look at traditional applications, ones that we use everyday, it's fair to say that most are not exploiting parallelism--at least not to the full extent," Reinders said.

A multicore processor is defined as any chip with more than one processing core. Today, almost all Intel chips that go into laptops, desktops, and servers have at least two cores. The challenge for Intel is to make sure that applications take advantage of all the cores--so-called parallelism. This has historically presented a challenge for software programmers.

"The operating system does stuff for applications in parallel," Reinders said, referring to operating systems such as Windows. "But considering that we can produce more and more cores every year, to truly get the benefit of what the future holds, applications need to change. And most applications haven't changed," he said.

The goal is to facilitate the development of parallel programming. "How do we help software developers tackle parallel programming? Both companies had teams of experts that had been focused on this problem. So, they're kindred spirits," he said.

Writing about Cilk in a blog, Reinders said Intel sees "great opportunities for Cilk to integrate with our parallel tools...including Intel Parallel Studio." The firm's technology enables "mainstream programmers to develop multithreaded (or parallel) applications...Providing a smooth path to multicore for legacy (older) applications that otherwise cannot easily leverage the performance capabilities of multicore processors," according to Cilk's Web site. Original Cilk research was done at MIT.

Rapidmind was founded five years ago as Serious Hack and grew out of work at the University of Waterloo. It boasts advanced technology for helping software developers with data parallel programming for multicore processors and accelerators.

The cost of the two acquisitions was not disclosed.

Larsen and Toubro to set up commercial banks

The financial services arm of construction and engineering major Larsen and Toubro (L&T) is planning to set up a commercial bank as part of its efforts to have a presence in the entire gamut of financial services in the country.

L&T Finance, which already holds 4.69 percent in City Union Bank, said here Thursday that there were related advantages of starting a bank especially to provide services to corporate partners.

Apart from L&T Finance, the group has floated another non-banking finance company (NBFC), L&T Infrastructure Finance, as well as incorporating a general insurance company, L&T General Insurance.

"Our long-term vision is to be present in the entire gamut of financial services including asset management, general and life insurance and bank. Our vision is to be a wholesome financial services player but no time frame has been fixed to achieve that," said Larsen and Toubro's executive vice president for financial services N. Sivaraman.

Various options will be looked at -- going alone, partnering another company or acquisition -- before a decision is taken, Sivaraman told reporters.

However, Larsen and Toubro's first expansion move in the financial services field will be in the general insurance sector through its investment arm L&T Capital Holdings.

"We don't find a need for a foreign partner for funds. For assessment of risks, it is actually based on local experience. A foreign partner brings in expertise in pricing of the risk. We can do that on our own," Sivaraman said.

According to him, though there are talks about the Indian general insurance sector moving towards consolidation, buying out the stakes of existing promoters did not enthuse Larsen and Toubro.

"The foreign promoters of Indian general insurance companies are here for the long run. Further, an existing company may come with a baggage which we do not want."

The non-life insurance company is expected to start business in 2010.

About floating a bank, Sivaraman said: "There are relative advantages of having an NBFC and a bank."

"There are two agendas for holding a stake in a bank. The first one is to have a share in the business. The second is the availability of banking services to our trade partners in opening letters of credit and other banking products."

The lending portfolio of Larsen and Toubro's two NBFCs at the end of last fiscal stood at around Rs.7,500 crore, which is expected to grow this year.

L&T Finance will also raise Rs.1,000 crore through issue of non-convertible debentures for business deployment.