SILICON VILLAGE

Saturday, September 19, 2009

500+ BPO jobs to move from Australia to India: Vodafone

Vodafone Hutchison has announced that it will be offshoring 450 call center jobs from Australia to Tasmania and India. A spokesman for Vodafone Hutchison Australia said that company would transfer an unspecified number of positions to a call centre in Mumbai and about 100 jobs to Kingston, Tasmania.

Service Stream, the company that was running Vodafone contract confirmed the telecom operator's plans to end the contract employing 450 in customer service and support roles starting in October to February. Michael Doery, Managing Director of Service Stream says that the company would try to find new roles for the affected employees, but was unlikely to accommodate them. "We're trying to do the right thing for our staff but not give them false expectations. Call centre people are unlikely to suit the other sort of work we do, which is technically-based or based on outdoor civil activities. If a company we're providing services to makes a decision to in-source call centre jobs to Tasmania and India, that's not our decision," Doery said.

The decision to transfer call center jobs out of Australia comes three months after Vodafone Australia and Hutchison 3G Australia formed a 50:50 joint venture. Speaking on the current development Nigel Dews, Australia Chief of Vodafone Hutchison said, "The opportunity to use our combined scale to enhance our customer service capabilities is an important outcome for the Vodafone Hutchison Australia merger."

Agencies

$2 tn in revenues for green businesses by 2020

Global revenues from climate-related businesses such as energy efficiency rose by 75% in 2008 to $530 billion and could exceed $2 trillion by 2020, HSBC Global Research estimated.

In the 2006 Stern Review on the economics of climate change, climate-related revenues were forecast to climb to $500 billion by 2050. “We can see that this seemingly huge figure has already been surpassed well ahead of time as more and more businesses adapt their business model,” said Joaquim de Lima, global head of quant research for equities at HSBC.

The climate sector has surpassed the size of the global aerospace or defence industry, with the United States, Japan, France, Germany and Spain accounting for 76% of global climate revenues, the report found. For revenues to rise to $2 trillion, the way energy is generated and used needs to change and continued government support is needed.

The four core investment pillars will be low-carbon energy production, energy efficiency, control of water, waste and pollution and climate finance, the report said. Energy efficiency recorded the highest investment returns in the year to date at 30%.

“This is a very significant trend given the substantial share of climate stimulus funds that have been directed at energy efficiency and energy management by governments across the globe,” HSBC analysts said.

Agencies

Friday, September 18, 2009

Co-founder of Netscape, Andreessen now joins HP board

Two years after selling his software company to Hewlett-Packard, Marc Andreessen has joined the PC giant's board of directors.

HP announced the appointment, effective immediately, on Thursday. In a statement, HP's chairman and CEO Mark Hurd described Andreessen as "a software pioneer whose leadership has helped shape the Internet...Marc's entrepreneurial background and industry expertise will be a welcome addition to the HP board of directors."

Andreessen and HP's relationship goes back several years, culminating with HP's purchase of Opsware for $1.6 billion in 2007. Since then, Andreessen, best known as the co-founder of Netscape, has helmed social network creation service Ning, and a new venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz. He also sits on the boards of eBay and Facebook.

Agencies

Rs 700 crore govt business is Wipro's target

Wipro is eyeing about Rs.700 crore from government projects in the current fiscal. It intends to nearly triple this in three years. The move comes at a time when the Centre is clearing the decks for a slew of projects under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), reports a media.

"The targets for this year represent a 100-per cent growth over the previous fiscal," said Ranbir Singh, Head, Government, Wipro. The export-oriented Indian IT industry has been facing headwinds in its traditional strongholds such as the US and Europe, and though things seem to be looking up, Nasscom's annual projections have pegged software exports growth at 4-7 percent for FY10.

In contrast, the domestic market is expected to grow at 15-18 percent during the year. Projects such as MCA-21, e-passport and eBiz - which were handed out in the past, have whet the appetite of IT firms that are now looking to leverage opportunities closer home. The Unique Identification (UID) project has created quite a stir among vendors and every IT player; Indian and MNC are hoping to participate in the ambitious effort; the other large projects waiting to take off include eDistrict, eCourt, eOffice, Income-Tax and Central Excise.

"While the opportunity is large, it is also important to remember that the lead and the closing timelines tend to be longer for Government contracts. But, clearly, this is a space that every company wants to play in," an industry observer pointed out. Naturally, no one wants to be left behind in the race. Wipro's Joint CEO, Suresh Vaswani, told Business Line recently that the company was 'revisiting' its strategy and game-plan on government business. The company has already clinched a Rs.1,200 crore multiple-year contract floated by the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).

The project relates to computerisation of the ESIC and to provide smart cards to around 1.5 crore industrial workers across the country. The contract brought its own share of controversies when rival firm TCS wrote to the Labour Ministry against the procedures adopted in awarding the contract.

Agencies

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Can indigenous systems address IISc's security?

To improve the internal security, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore is set to tap indigenous technology and advanced surveillance systems. "We have about 15 proposals from people and organizations across the country," N. Balakrishnan, Associate Director, IISc, Bangalore told Mint.

Balakrishnan also said that the project would cover four broad areas: Materials detection, information security, video analytics and large-scale data mining. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) tasked the Indian Institute of Science to identify specific technologies and coordinating organizations for the security project. This security project would basically involve with collecting a wide range of data such as travel history, educational qualifications, biometrics from a large number of people and preparing risk profiles of them.

Although the Centre has earmarked Rs. 35 crore for the project, Balakrishnan emphasizes that funds will to be a problem. "This is a large project, where civil and defence agencies are closely going to work with each other. T. Ramasami (the incumbent DST Secretary) will even provide Rs. 3,500 crore if needed," he said.

According to Balakrishnan, this specific project would contribute to fundamental change in the next five years, in the way technology is harnessed to boost up the internal security. "After Mumbai, there's a much greater level of seriousness across the government that will pull this project a long distance," he said.

Mint

New green computing centre from Microsoft

In an eco-friendly move, Microsoft has announced that its new center at its Redmond headquarters will cut the company's carbon footprint by 12,000 metric tons per year. The Redmond Ridge 1 centre will combine Microsoft's research laboratory servers from individual product groups with the corporate systems that process other data, reports BusinessGreen.com.

According to the software giant, the facility is due online in April 2010 and will provide major power efficiencies. "The opening of Redmond Ridge is a big milestone and represents a real transition point in the company's culture," said Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist at Microsoft.

The building has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, using air heat exchangers to keep the temperature down. Air conditioning starts only if the temperature rises above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. "This facility is a great example of how technology can help improve the energy efficiency of a company's operations," said Bernard.

The move is causing something of a cultural shift at Microsoft, however. Engineers developing new code are physically removed from the servers testing it for the first time. Microsoft has not said how much of its computing it intends to centralize, but is aiming to cut its carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2012.

Agencies

Will TCS reduce the salary of campus recruits?

IT services company TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) has announced that it would revise the compensation package of campus recruits. Under the changed structure, TCS trainees will no longer be paid the variable component of the compensation - which works out at Rs. 5,000 per month or 19-20 percent of the total annual pay packet of Rs. 3.1 lakh - offered to them during their in-campus recruitment.

Ajoy Mukherjee, Global Head, Human Resources, TCS said, "As part of a compensation restructuring exercise, freshers joining the company this quarter onwards will not be eligible for variable pay during the training period. Restructuring trainees' salaries is being done from the point of view of productivity so that they get accustomed to the fact that variable pay depends on performance."

Last year, the company had made campus offers to 24,885 students. Of this, the company is expecting around 19,000-20,000 students to join. Going by this number, the company is expected to save around Rs. 10 crore per month by altering the variable part of salary for trainees. For six months, the savings would be Rs. 60 crore. Mukherjee said, "The company would be able to take on board all campus recruits in the current fiscal itself."

However, other IT giants like Infosys and Wipro are not fiddling with the compensation package of trainees. Infosys decides on the variables based on a test conducted after 18 weeks of initial training. Mohandas Pai, HR head, Infosys said, "Those who score four out of five are entitled to variables." Wipro claims to pay the variable part to its employees from the beginning of the training period.

Now, it would be interesting to see, what steps these companies take for campus recruitment in next fiscal. TCS is yet to decide on how these campus offers would be made in the next fiscal.

Agencies

Atlast! Facebook finally becomes profitable

Facebook is making enough money to cover its costs and now has 300 million users, the world’s largest social networking site, said on Tuesday, proving the Internet’s newest star industry can be a viable business.

Facebook is now generating enough cash to cover its operating expenses, as well as the capital spending needed to maintain its fast-growing service.

Analysts said this shows the financial viability of Facebook, which has faced questions about its underlying business model, despite its popularity, and was a good sign for a potential initial public offering.

“It’s certainly meaningful to show that this is absolutely the real deal,” said Broadpoint Amtech analyst Ben Schachter. “They are executing. People are spending money on the site.”

Since its creation in a Harvard dorm room five years ago, Facebook has emerged as one of the Internet’s most popular destinations and is increasingly challenging the Web’s established powerhouses like Yahoo and Google.

Facebook unveiled a revamped search engine last month and is currently testing an online payment system. Facebook users have tripled from about 100 million a year ago.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post on the company site on Tuesday that Facebook reached its goal of being free cash flow positive in its most recently ended quarter. The company had previously projected reaching the target sometime in 2010.

“This is important to us because it sets Facebook up to be a strong independent service for the long term,” said Zuckerberg in the blog post.

Facebook spokesperson Larry Yu said the free cash flow metric does not include any cash from private investment.

In May, Facebook announced a $200 million investment from Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies in a deal that valued the company’s preferred shares at $10 billion.

DST valued Facebook’s common shares at $6.5 billion in a subsequent deal to purchase shares from Facebook employees.

Facebook’s becoming cash flow positive ahead of schedule provides another nugget of data to back up the lofty valuations, and according to one analyst, makes Facebook a more attractive candidate for a potential public offering.

“They can command higher confidence from investors now,” said Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Aggarwal, who noted that he believes Facebook could go public in the second half of 2010, or in 2011.

Zuckerberg said in May that any IPO is “a few years out.” Facebook did not provide any other financial details on Tuesday. The company has previously said its revenue was on track to grow 70 percent this year.

Facebook board member Mark Andreesen told Reuters earlier this year that the company will surpass $500 million n revenue this year.

Zuckerberg said in his post that the company is exploring ways to make the service perform faster and more efficiently as the number of Facebook users continues to grow.

Agencies

TCS, Wipro and HCL emerge top IT leaders

A recent rating — for global R&D service providers across India, China and Eastern Europe — by Zinnov Management Consulting identifies Wipro, TCS and HCL as market leaders in the overall rating based on components like financial strength and business models, innovation & expertise, people strength and operations.

The rating has also highlighted the impact of recession on the R&D service providers community across all key levers — like contract re-negotiation, increase in sales cycle time, bankruptcy of clients and fears of business continuity risk — which did result in many of them having to reassess and redefine their strategies.

Result of this reassessment has seen core mid-market service providers like Tata Elxsi, Tech Mahindra, Aricent, MindTree, Symphony, Sonata, Global Logic, Polaris and Aditi, moving strongly towards the top-pack and establishing themselves as leaders in specific industry verticals, said the rating.

Pari Natarajan, CEO, Zinnov Management Consulting said, the global economy has witnessed a major reset and is currently observing green shoots of recovery, with Germany, India and China among others showing signs of improvement. “This tectonic shift in the economy has led to numerous changes in the current market dynamics, but one thing that can be safely assumed is the continued growth of interlinkages between global businesses and stronger relationships between service providers and MNCs would only continue to grow in times to come.’’

Vertical specific rankings were also under taken to understand the capabilities of the various service providers in providing turnkey product engineering services in verticals like aerospace & defense, automotive, consumer electronics, healthcare, semi conductors, telecom, & software.

The rating study also found that, R&D offshoring to India, China, Russia and Central & Eastern Europe is expected to grow at 6-7% with India and China continuing to constitute close 90% of the overall market. Though large firms have neither dramatically cut down nor increased their R&D spends. Hence, R&D offshoring to India, China, Russia and CEE is expected to remain flat.

Agencies

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Infosys opens training centre in Mysore

It was a wistful Sonia Gandhi who loved her day out on Tuesday. Happy to have “bunked school”, she said she was charmed by the environment, the buildings, trees, flowers and atmosphere at the Infosys campus.

Said the lady who keeps her Congress school in order, “...If I may share a secret, there is another reason for me to be happy to be with you this afternoon, this visit is giving me an opportunity to bunk my school — politics — for a few hours. I honestly want to say I wish I could bunk a few days to be here with you all!” She brought the house down.

The Congress chief was in Mysore to inaugurate the Infosys Global Education Centre-II, which will be a hothouse for next-generation IT professionals. “Social harmony, secure frontiers and communal amity are the need of the hour to create a conducive atmosphere for creation of wealth. Governments should ensure these elements for wealth creators to strive and grow,” she asserted.

Appreciating the efforts of Infosys chief N R Narayana Murthy and his peers for struggling hard and building an empire like Infosys, Sonia said he and his colleagues have shown the world that India can not only lead the IT field, but also guide the rest of the world. “Serious efforts, hard work and determination have made them accomplish this task of building GEC, which is a monument of sorts, withworld class facilities to train IT professionals,” she said.

Sonia said the foundation stone for modern technology was laid way back in 1985 by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, with the establishment of an earth station. Recollecting Rajiv’s efforts to take the country’s development in science and technology to new heights, Sonia said many in politics had flayed Rajiv Gandhi and were skeptical about his efforts. But he has now been proved right. “He knew that development of communication and transport facilities would lead India into a new world of development,” she said. Then, a telephone was a luxury, now every village has a public call office and telephone network.

Agencies

Omniture to be acquired by Adobe for $1.8 billion

Adobe Systems Inc plans to pay $1.8 billion for fast-growing business software maker Omniture Inc as the maker of Photoshop and Acrobat looks to turn around declining sales.

Adobe, which announced the deal on Tuesday as it reported lower quarterly sales and profit, has been struggling over the past year as the recession hurt technology spending and customers declined to upgrade older versions of its programs.

The acquisition would give Adobe a new stream of revenue to offset that decline. Omniture charges customers fees based on monthly website traffic, so sales are less sensitive to economic swings than Adobe.

"There is no way Adobe can grow organically. This is a smart move," said Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry.

Advertising agencies and companies use Omniture's software to analyze how consumers use websites. It is the biggest provider of such services, competing with Google Inc and other smaller players. The vast majority of all professional websites are built with Adobe's Creative Suite line of design software.

Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Sasa Zorovic said Adobe's customers will not necessarily choose to subscribe to Omniture's services simply because its technology is embedded into Creative Suite.

"It will require some selling, but I think the opportunity is there," he said.

Adobe, whose software competes with products from Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc, agreed to pay $21.50 per share in cash for Omniture, a 24 percent premium over Omniture's closing price on Tuesday.

Omniture shares soared 25 percent to $21.74 in after-hours trading, while Adobe shares slid 4.5 percent to $34.06.

The deal would be Adobe's second-largest acquisition after its $3.4 billion purchase of Macromedia in December 2005.

Omniture would become a unit of Adobe, headed by its current chief executive, Josh James. Adobe said the deal should close in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 and would add to Adobe's per-share earnings in fiscal 2010.

Adobe said it would be paid a fee of $64 million by Omniture if the deal is terminated, according to a regulatory filing.

Adobe also reported on Tuesday that fiscal third-quarter earnings, excluding items, fell to 35 cents per share from 50 cents per share a year ago. That beat Wall Street's average forecast by a penny, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Second-quarter sales fell 21 percent to $697.5 million, but beat analysts' average forecast of $686.2 million. For the fiscal fourth quarter, not counting any effect of the Omniture deal, Adobe forecast revenue and earnings, excluding items broadly in line with analysts' estimates.

Agencies

Has Oracle ended its HP computer tie-up?

Oracle Corp has ended a high-profile computer-building partnership with Hewlett-Packard Co as Oracle prepares to acquire Sun Microsystems Inc, a rival of HP.

Sun, the world's No. 4 server maker, and Oracle have jointly developed a second-generation version of a specialized database computer, dubbed Exadata. Oracle and HP launched the first version a year ago.

Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison unveiled the new machine on Tuesday, almost a year after he announced his company's entry into the hardware business with help from HP. At the time, he said that HP would be a key ally in that effort.

But the dynamics of that relationship have changed since April, when Oracle agreed to buy Sun for more than $7 billion. Hewlett-Packard and Sun are fierce rivals in the markets for server computers and storage equipment.

The new Exadata computer is the first of what Ellison has said will be many products that wed Sun's hardware with Oracle's software.

An Oracle spokeswoman said Oracle would continue to sell the Exadata computers, built in partnership with HP, until existing inventory is sold out, if customers request that model.

Officials at Hewlett-Packard could not be reached for comment.

When Ellison unveiled the HP partnership a year ago, he told customers that the product could not have been developed without that company's assistance.

On Tuesday he bragged that Sun's technology made the database computer far superior to hardware from rivals including Teradata Corp and Netezza Corp.

"Everything is bigger about Exadata, Version 2. Everything is faster about Exadata, Version 2," he said during a presentation to customers that was broadcast over the Internet.

Oracle does not break out sales of the Exadata machine. But during the company's most recent earnings call, Ellison said that it was one of the most successful products he had launched since he founded the company more than 30 years ago.

Agencies

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

$215 b losses for UK banks, says Moody’s report

UK banks are less than half way through posting £240 billion ($398 billion) of losses on loans and securities, a reflection of the country’s economic weakness, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

British banks are likely to record losses of at least £130 billion, in addition to £110 billion lost since the beginning of the credit crisis in 2007, Moody’s said in a report on Monday.

The company expects the sustained weakness of the UK macroeconomic environment to feed through into higher loan arrears with ensuing pressure on profitability and capital, it said.

British taxpayers have provided about £1.4 trillion of support to banks, becoming the biggest shareholder of Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Lloyds Banking Group, while seeking to shore up capital eroded by writedowns. British banks have raised about £120 billion of capital from the beginning of the credit crisis to mid-2009, Moody’s said. “We have been underweight on the banks for some time”, said Dave Bradbury who helps manage $6 billion at Canada Life in London.

Agencies

Check out the best IT employer: Dataquest-IDC survey


The average salary increase in the IT sector during 2009 was down at 1.4%, according to a Dataquest-IDC survey.

Employees under two years of experience earned a 2% increase in salary, while those between 2.1 to 5 years had their salaries cut by 7%. Those between 5.1 to 10 years got an average salary hike of 5% and those with over 10 years experience earned a 4% salary increase.

In the survey, HCL Infosystems emerged as the best employer in the IT industry, followed by iGate, Rolta, RMSI and SAS Institute. HCL jumped up two positions from last year, while iGate slipped one notch to No. 2.

The survey covered 200 IT companies of which 31 companies were short-listed for the final round. For the first time, India’s top four IT companies declined to take part “as layoffs and salary re-alignment leads to dip in IT employee morale”, the survey said. The top four IT firms employ about 40% of the IT professionals in the country.

Seven new entrants — R Systems (6), Perot Systems (7), Ingram Micro (11), Sify Technologies (13), Infogain (17), Unisys (18) and Novell (19) — made it to the Top 20 Best Employers in IT list.

The employee attrition rate came down to an average of 15%, from 18% last year. A majority of IT employees said they changed job for better salaries and compensation (53%), overseas postings (38%), better job security (18%), flexible working hours (18%) and training and development (9%). While the average retention rate, defined as percentage of employees retained out of the total employees as on March 31, 2008, improved to 85%, from 79% in 2008, Hexaware Technologies showed a remarkable retention score of 100.

The study also reveals that companies have become more transparent in their communication with employees giving them a sense of belonging. They have also gone ahead and adopted a higher degree of professionalism in their dealings with employees as well as customers or suppliers.

Another key finding is that more employees are satisfied with the interest shown by their companies as well as their immediate seniors in helping them strike a worklife balance compared to last year. The study reveals that there is a drastic fall in the number of people who feel that their job is secure within their company.

Agencies

Monday, September 14, 2009

StanChart to open KPO in Bangalore; Hire 2,000 staff

Foreign lender Standard Chartered Bank plans to hire around 2,000 employees in India in the current financial year, a top official said.

The bank currently has around 8,000 employees in the country.

The banking major has also plans to open an office of its knowledge process outsourcing network -- Scope International-- in Bangalore by October, StanChart's Chief Operating Officer, India and South Asia Sreeram Iyer told reporters here.

At present, Scope International has offices in Malaysia, China and Chennai.

It employs over 7,000 employees in its Chennai unit.

Agencies

Major management shake-up at Intel Inc

Intel is expected to reveal a sweeping management change today, said the New York Times attributing to people briefed on the company. This management shake-up will witness its core chip Business Head Patrick Gelsinger leave the company after 30 years.

As Gelsinger departs, Sean Maloney, Intel's Head of Sales and Marketing, would take on an even larger role at the company. Maloney will look after the major chip businesses in Intel including its PC, graphics and server chips.

Also, Maloney, Intel's Sales Chief, is considered to be one of the possible successor to Intel CEO Paul Otellini. Another report from the Wall Street Journal, said 48-year-old Gelsinger would run computer-storage giant EMC's storage-products operations and some smaller software units.

Agencies

Indian IT firms see return of hiring, salary hikes

Many were predicting six months back that the Indian IT industry would be entering its twilight zone, but now there are indications that these predictions may go wrong. Several IT companies have restarted hiring and are giving salary hikes to their employees.

"That phase of drastic downturn is behind us," says S Ramadorai, CEO of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). "There's stability now. The deal pipeline is encouraging, but the time it takes to close a deal remains long. And many customers are yet to fully open up their IT budgets," Ramadorai added.

While IT majors like TCS, Wipro and Cognizant have started promotions and salary hikes, Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO and Managing Director of Infosys feels that things are looking better now, however the company prefers to wait and watch before giving any promotions or hikes, reports The Economic Times.

The recovery of the defamed Satyam Computer Services under the new owner Mahindra Satyam has also proved to be a boon for nearly 28,000 employees across all levels, with the restoration of the variable pay. The variable component is 10 percent at the entry level, 20 percent at the middle level and 30 percent at the senior management level. IT bellwether Wipro has lifted its freeze on hikes and promotions, at least for some employees.

Manpower supply company TeamLease, which saw its open positions drop significantly from 10,000 a month to 800 post-recession, has in the past couple of months seen those numbers rise to 3,500.

With the current trend companies have also started showing more confidence in the Indian market. Information infrastructure company, EMC has announced that it will invest $1.5 billion in India over the next five years, a level of investment from a single company that the sector has not seen in close to two years. Partha Iyengar, Regional Research Director in Gartner India, says the number of calls the company gets from customers for directions and consulting has gone up sharply in the last 3-4 months.

The Indian IT industry was one of the worst hit by the recession on account of its dependence on international markets - especially the U.S. and European markets. The freeze on IT budgets by companies around the world meant that new orders dried up. Industry association Nasscom initially forecast that IT exports would grow by 22-24 percent in 2008-09, but as the recession deepened, this was revised down to 16 percent. For this fiscal, the association has projected a 4-7 percent growth to $48-50 billion.

Agencies

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cisco expands campus; Likely to increase headcount

Cisco will be adding two additional office blocks totaling a floor area of 70,000 square feet. The expansion will happen around its 2.1 million square feet campus at Cessna Business Park on the Outer Ring Road in Bangalore.

This expansion might be by far the biggest in the commercial space market in this region in the last one year. Although Cisco declined to comment on the expansion, it issued a statement saying, "We have designated Bangalore as our Globalization Centre East and indicated that we will have 10,000-12,000 employees based here over the next three to five years. The idea is for 20 percent of the top talent in Cisco to be based here." At present, Cisco has 4000 Indian employees.

Agencies

Motorola unveils Cliq smartphones

Motorola introduced its first smartphone based on Google's Android software, in a move that's key to the company's goal of regaining its place among the world's top cellphone manufacturers.

The device, dubbed the Cliq, will first be made available later this year in the US through T-Mobile. The touch-screen phone will run a new service from Motorola called MotoBlur, which synchronises all user messages and contacts, Motorola chief executive Sanjay Jha said at the Mobilize conference in San Francisco.

"MotoBlur makes text, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter feeds and photos from sources like MySpace, Gmail, Yahoo and corporate e-mail appear in a single stream and sync them together with no different logins," Jha said. "This means you can focus on what people have said instead of how and where they said it."

The Cliq will feature a full, slide-out keyboard, a 5-megapixel camera and access to all the Google programmes and applications available for the company's Android platform.

The phone will be called the Dext in markets outside the U.S. and will launch in France, Britain and Latin America later in the year, Jha said. No pricing was available for the device.

Analysts said the integration of social networking into phones could give Motorola and other manufacturers a foot in the door in their battle to challenge the iPhone as the world's dominant smartphone.

Motorola has been especially hard hit by the move to smartphones, selling just 18.8 million handsets in the most recent quarter, down from 28.1 million a year ago. Earlier this decade, the company's Razr was the world's most popular cellphone.

Jha said that Motorola was now refocused on producing cutting-edge mobile devices. He said the Cliq was crucial to the company's recovery.

"It's a very important starting point for us," Jha said. "I see smartphones as the future of computing. If it doesn't fit in your pocket, I don't think it's going to be a relevant device."

Agencies

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