Friday, November 20, 2009

Bonjour India says France; To kick off cultural fest in December

France says Namaste to India — French style. In an effort to bring French culture to more than 18 cities in India, the Embassy of France in India and Culturefrance, have announced the launch of ‘Bonjour India — Festival of France in India’.

The Bangalore chapter of the celebrations was launched in Alliance Francaise, Vasanthnagar by Jerome Bonnafont, the French ambassador to India on Thursday. “The French President and the Prime Minister of India have agreed on a unique partnership between India and France on the issue of global warming and sustainable development. We support it with ‘Bonjour India’ by giving the people an experience of the young, multi-coloured, creative and dynamic France,” said the Ambassador.

The mega festival is an initiative to celebrate Indo-French relationship through a series of exhibitions, music concerts, book launches, film festivals, literary meetings and debates, food festivals, scientific exchanges and other cultural events over a period of three months from December 2009 to February 2010.

The festival is planned in a grand manner in Bangalore, which is identified as a melting pot of world cultures. The Bangalore chapter will be inaugurated officially on December 5 across the city.

The ambassador emphasized the French government’s efforts to encourage Indian students in France by reforming the visa and work system in favour of students. He also said that Bonjour India will help further the process by giving students in India a taste of France.


Throwing light on Indo-French trade possibilities, the French ambassador emphasized that France is keen on building trade relations in India. “We are one of the largest European nations to invest in the IT sector in India. The French company Capgemini that specialises in IT, management consulting, outsourcing and professional services, currently employs around 20,000 people in India,” said Bonnafont.

“France is also looking at investing in other consumer products such as tyre manufacturing by setting up Michelin’s Rs 4,000 crore production facility in Chennai that would provide employment to about 1,500 people. The other key areas that we are looking at are furniture, clothes and apparel that cater to the growing middle-class milieu, who look to have a better lifestyle at competitive pricing. However, heavy duty taxes add to the challenges of growth in these sections,” he added.

Times of India

Over the next 5 years 1,000 German firms may invest in India

Upbeat on the second fastest growing economy in the world, about 1,000 German firms may invest in India in the next five years, the head of Baden-Wurttemberg, regarded as the most successful German state, said today.

"I am sure, in next five years 1,000 more companies from Germany and may be 200 from our state would be interested in investing in India," Guenther H Oettinger, the Minister- President of State of Baden-Wuerttemberg (Germany) said here.

About 1,800 German firms, including Porsche, Siemens, BMW, Voith and Audi have already invested in India which is being seen as the potential German manufacturing hub for the Asian market.

Indian industry and workers match the quality of Europe's and North America's, Oettinger said at the CII meeting.

With over six per cent expansion, the Indian economy is the second fastest growing after China despite global recession.

German Ambassador to India Thomas Matussek also addressed the meeting stating the India-German bilateral trade is expected to touch $27 billion by 2014 from over $18 billion in 2008.

India's major exports to Germany include garments, machinery and instruments, electronic goods and transport equipment, while imports comprises machinery, iron and steel, machine tools and organic chemicals.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

No easy going for IT companies in Europe

For India’s top tech firms seeking to grow revenues from Europe in order to offset lower spend by American clients, it’s going to be Key facts on India's IT industry

a long, arduous journey, said research firm Forrester on Wednesday.

The US, which accounts for over half of India’s $60-billion software outsourcing industry, has traditionally been the top market for Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro, among many others. However, over the past few years, Indian tech firms have been trying to mitigate their high American exposure by focusing on Europe’s $14-billion market for software and back-office services.

“You cannot replicate the US model in other markets. Unlike the US, European customers are not thinking primarily about costs. If Indian companies follow the same model for another 2-3 years, they will struggle,” said Sudin Apte, principal analyst of Forrester Research. Mr Apte, who surveyed around 400 European customers in order to understand their outsourcing priorities, said India’s tech firms will need to go beyond just hiring local workforce for sales and delivery efforts, if they really want to become successful in Europe.

“Offshoring in North America is a standard business decision, however in continental Europe, it’s a religious decision,” said Mr Apte, quoting one of the customers surveyed for his study.

Indeed, for almost a decade, the UK has been the top market for Indian companies with customers such as British Petroleum (BP) and British Telecom (BT) outsourcing projects to TCS, Infosys and Wipro. However, the UK, which outsources around $9 billion worth of projects to India every year, does not reflect the entire Europe.

“The United Kingdom is very similar to the US, unlike continental Europe where language and cultural barriers exist,” added Mr Apte.

Many European customers are more comfortable working with delivery teams in neighbouring countries, instead of signing large offshore contracts. “For example, Romania’s historical ties with Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, and Germany makes it easy to connect with clients in these locations,” Mr Apte added.

However, mature outsourcers such as BT, BP and ABN Amro have had no such bottlenecks, while deciding to work with large Indian offshore services providers such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro.

“For globalised European customers, outsourcing is not a new phenomenon, but for many companies, especially those who are pan-European only, outsourcing and offshoring is not such as hot thing,” he added.

Compared with Forrester’s survey in 2008, the current research shows a drop of more than 20% in the number of companies that were thinking about starting an offshore initiative for the first time. “This means that in the next 12 months, we will see few first-time offshore users sending their work to locations like India,” said Mr Apte.

The Forrester research also found that multinational firms such as IBM and Accenture are better positioned that the Indian IT vendors when it comes to serving customers in continental Europe.

“Accenture has more staff serving continental Europe customers than anybody else - it’s not about pure offshoring anymore,” he said. For instance, Accenture serves more than 300 customers from Germany with a few hundred staffs making use of the managed services model, which allows the company to serve more with less.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One billion mobile users in India by 2015

India could have more than one billion mobile phone users by 2015, with the bulk of that growth in rural areas, one of the country's top telecom executives said on Wednesday.

Manoj Kohli, chief executive of India's biggest mobile phone group Bharti Airtel, told an industry conference in Hong Kong that his firm is aiming to almost double its customer base to 200 million people in the next few years.

"Achieving a billion plus (Indian mobile users) by 2015 is possible," he told the Mobile Asia Congress, the region's largest telecom industry gathering.

"The largest growth will happen in the rural market," he said, adding that pricing wars between providers were knocking down rates in the Indian market and making phones affordable to more people.

Competition in India has become even more aggressive as new players unleash deeper price cuts with innovative per-second billing plans that have pushed call costs down to less than a cent a minute.

"There is hyper-competition like no other place in the world," he said.

India is the world's second-biggest cellular market with more than 400 million users, lagging behind only China, which has over 600 million users.

Rural customers are also seen as key to growth in China, said Chang Xiaobing, chairman of China Unicom, one of the nation's three major telecoms operators.

The company aims to tap "vast rural areas" for growth as demand for basic mobile voice services slows in saturated urban markets, he said, with customers now looking for multi-function devices that can send emails or play movies.

"Voice is a mature market in some areas, but we still see some growth potential," Chang told the conference. "Voice will be in continuous demand (in China)."

But Chinese operators must boost their data business to offset falling prices on voice calls, he said.

Chang has said he expects Apple's iconic iPhone, which Unicom distributes, will be China's highest-selling smartphone despite disappointing results after its official launch this month.

Mobile connections in Asia Pacific are expected to cross the two billion mark this year, more than triple the level in 2003, according to statistics released by conference organiser GSMA, a mobile industry trade group.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

IT spending likely to fall 5.2% worldwide, says Gartner

The worldwide IT spending is on pace to decline 5.2 percent this year. However, the IT industry will return to growth in 2010, with IT spending forecast to total $3.3 trillion, a 3.3 percent increase from 2009, according to research firm Gartner. In Asia Pacific, IT spending is expected to grow by five percent to reach $515.6 billion in 2010.

Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President at Gartner and Global Head of Research, said that this represented a fast V-shaped recovery for IT spending in the region. Emerging regions will resume strong growth, he said. By 2012, the accelerated IT spending and culturally different approach to IT in Asia will directly influence product features, service structures and the overall IT industry.

However, growth varies considerably by country, vertical market and IT sector. Sondergaard said that while software would post the strongest growth in Asia Pacific, telecommunications still represented the largest area of IT investment.

In Australia, the five-year outlook for enterprise IT spending is a compound annual growth rate of 1.3 percent, with total IT spending by Australian businesses to reach Australian dollar 56.4 billion by 2013. The vertical sectors with the highest IT spending growth would be communications (3.2 percent), healthcare (2.6 percent) and utilities (2.3 percent). While IT spending will increase next year, Gartner cautioned IT leaders not to be overly optimistic.

"While the IT industry will return to growth in 2010, the market will not recover to 2008 revenue levels before 2012," said Sondergaard. 2010 is about balancing the focus on cost, risk, and growth. For more than 50 percent of Chief Information Officers the IT budget will be zero percent or less in growth terms. It will only slowly improve in 2011, he added.

Sondergaard said that the three most-searched terms by Gartner clients on provide some clues as to the priorities of IT leaders around the world. Cost remained the most-searched term during 2009, although it peaked in May, followed by cloud computing. "Next year will be the year when cloud computing moves from the discovery phase to small pilots, as part of organizations' desire to move from owned to shared IT," he said.

The third most-searched terms on were business applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). "We believe that 2010 will see increased focus on optimization of business processes linked to software applications, what we call application overhaul. That is what will drive growth in the software segment," Sondergaard said.


Quest Software Offers SaaS Windows Management Solutions

Quest Software, Inc. has announced the launch of its first set of Software as a Service (SaaS) Windows management solutions. Quest OnDemand will be hosted on Windows Azure, securely managing IT environments by leveraging Microsoft Corp’s Windows Identity Foundation (WIF) and Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) 2.0. The first solutions are currently available in beta.

Quest Recovery Manager OnDemand for Active Directory provides backup and object-level recovery of Active Directory data. It is designed to enable flexible, scheduled backups without manual intervention, facilitating quick and scalable recovery of Active Directory data. Quest InTrust OnDemand securely collects, stores, reports, and alerts on event data from Windows systems, helping organizations comply with external regulations, internal policies and security best practices. Both products are expected to be generally available in Q1 2010 on a subscription basis without requiring on-premises deployment and maintenance.

In addition, Quest will roll out a Windows Azure-based SharePoint site report solution, Quest Site Administrator Reports OnDemand for SharePoint, which will give administrators the ability to run overview reports on an unlimited number of sites across their organizations. This solution will be available at no cost.

“Quest has been a long-time partner and leader in Windows management solutions. The evolution of adopting its on-premises solutions to SaaS proves once again that Quest is committed to leveraging the latest technology to proactively lead their customers to the next level of IT efficiency,” said John Chirapurath, director of the Microsoft Identity and Security Business Group at Microsoft. “The fact that the Quest OnDemand solutions are built upon the Microsoft technologies such as WIF, ADFS 2.0 and Windows Azure demonstrates the company’s focus on the importance of business-ready identity and security services in cloud computing.”

Quest OnDemand solutions leverage the Windows Identity Foundation for all identity management, authentication and authorization and are hosted on the Windows Azure platform for secure storage of customer data. In addition, ADFS 2.0 enables authentication by creating a federation between a customer’s on-premises Active Directory and the Quest OnDemand solutions. The combination of these technologies provides customers with secure and seamless service.

“Quest has helped IT manage on-premises Windows environments for more than a decade, and now many of our customers are making the strategic decision to manage these environments with cloud-based services,” said Dmitry Sotnikov, manager of new product research, Quest Software. “Adapting to SaaS solutions will give them the security and management capabilities they need, while eliminating on-premises maintenance and minimizing upfront costs.”

During the Professional Developers Conference, Kim Cameron, chief architect of Identity at Microsoft, will present “Security + Services Identity Roadmap Update” on Nov. 17 at 11:00 a.m. PT. Quest’s Dmitry Sotnikov will demonstrate the Quest OnDemand framework and Recovery Manager OnDemand solution during this session.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Why are banks in the US on the downfall?

The U.S. economy is showing signs of recovery, but despite that fact, the number of bank failures in the U.S. has continued to increase with 123 entities going out of business so far this year. The authorities shut down three banks - Orion Bank based in Naples, Pacific Coast National Bank in San Clemente and Century Bank F.S.B of Sarasota on November 13, taking the count of failed banks to 123 this year, according to PTI.

The Federal Deposit Insurance (FDIC), which was named the receiver of the failed banks, took over Orion Bank, with about $2.7 billion in assets and $2.1 billion in deposits and Century Bank with $728 million in assets and $631 million in deposits. Pacific Coast National Bank was also shut down. It had $134.4 million in assets and $130.9 million in deposits. In addition, FDIC had entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Iberia Bank of Lafayette, Louisiana, to assume all of the deposits of Century Bank, FSB.

However, the maximum number of collapses this year took place in July, when 24 banks were closed down, while 20 entities bite the dust last month.

Despite the slowly improving economic situation, soaring unemployment rate have resulted in rising defaults, primarily impacting the small and medium banks.


Google adds new social search functions for users

Internet search giant Google has been working on adding more features in its search domain for making it easy for the users to easily find blogs and twitter feeds.

Users need to open a profile with Google and services can be accessed from Google labs.

Google Germany spokesman Stefan Keuchel said that friend finding on internet would become very easy with the help of new facility. He added that Twitter feed's new searches and the recently introduced search functions are different. The function would initially be made available in English.

The new social graph can be readjusted as per user's preferences. The feature would allow only close friends to be highlighted in the searches, leaving postings from others.


Watch TV anywhere with new Nokia mobile TV phones

Nokia has announced the launch of Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition, which will allow users to watch television anywhere. The phone is an entertainment hub that combines mobile broadcast TV (DVB-H), social networking, music and gaming in one compact 3G device. Nokia says that broadcast TV consumption is on the rise and by 2012 there will be over 300 million people worldwide watching TV on their mobile phones.

"The introduction of the Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition responds to the arrival of DVB-H broadcast mobile TV networks in new markets and offers an affordable device for new and existing customers alike. Customers are increasingly watching a variety of programmes on their mobiles, such as drama programs, news and sport, for a longer period of time. The Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition has the sound and image quality to hold audiences captive," said Mark Selby, Vice President, Nokia.

Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition's DVB-H technology allows programs to burst through the QVGA 2.4" screen in full-colour, crystal clear, sharp images. A user can set reminders for favorite shows and create personal channel lists with Nokia's Electronic Program Guide (EPG) for a good mobile broadcast TV experience.

The Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition provides broadcast picture quality while the headset acts as an antenna for outstanding reception. Long battery life gives up to six hours of DVB-H usage. "It is essential for DVB-H service providers to have a variety of devices capable of serving the mass market. Having a complete portfolio of handsets is pivotal for the commercial success of mobile TV. The new Nokia DVB-H enabled mobile phone, the Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition, is a great addition to the current portfolio of broadcast TV-capable handsets," said Franklin Selgert, Chairman, Broadcast Mobile Convergence Forum.

The Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition comes with all the latest social networking software, making it simple to stay in touch with friends via Ovi Contacts, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. Post status updates for friends and family to follow or instant message (IM) them via Windows Live(TM) Messenger, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ, AOL and many others.

Users can capture photos and video clips, day or night, using the 3.2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom and LED flash before uploading and sharing favourite shots via sites such as OviShare and Flickr.

Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks work with more than 30 operators worldwide on Mobile TV implementations. Commercial launches with Mobile TV services based on DVB-H and OMA BCAST standards include Austria, Finland, Ghana, Kenya, India, Italy, Namibia, Nigeria, Netherland, Philippines and Switzerland. Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition costs around Rs. 11,000 excluding taxes.


Friday, November 13, 2009

IDC says India's domestic BPO market to touch $6.82 bn

After establishing itself as a major player in the international BPO market, India is now set to shift focus on the domestic market, which is projected to grow at over 30% annually.

According to a report by IT research firm IDC India, the country's domestic BPO market, with nearly 500 players, will grow at a CAGR of 33.3% to touch revenues of $6.82 billion by 2013, up from $1.62 billion in 2008.

The report said the domestic BPO industry would evolve from just running isolated processes for customers to engaging more deeply in identifying and transforming core business processes.

"Positive market indicators of an economic recovery, unbundling of mega outsourcing deals and large unaddressed white spaces such as regional language services support the current optimism," the report said.

Currently, the BFSI vertical contributes the lion's share of 37% to the domestic sector's revenues, while telecom contributes about one-fourth to it.

Other verticals like utilities and services, energy, food and hospitality, aerospace and automotives, consumer durables and government contribute 17%, while the travel segment contributes 8% to the revenue.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why Yahoo! want to chip in for unique ID cards project?

I was raised as a pretty poor farm girl in Wisconsin and always thought of upgrading myself. So I over-achieved! I was lucky...” A characteristically short bio from Carol Ann Bartz, the feisty chief executive of the $7.2 billion internet company Yahoo! and editor of ET’s Emerging Business and IT page today. But there's more to the lady than her reputedly colourful language and distinct management style that has roused the veteran internet company from its supposed stupor.

She battled cancer to take her previous company Autodesk from a mere vertical applications company into a diversified yet focussed $1.4 billion software giant. When she stepped into the top job at Yahoo! this January she had knee surgery. "So, I've decided that I won't start another new job — that knee replacement hurt much more than cancer!” she laughs, but the gritty spirit shows.

Considering she took her time to agree to Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang's repeated pleas to come out of retirement, it was obviously more than glasses of her favourite cheap white wine that made her say yes. The tedium of her golf handicap improving only from 40 to 28 and days filled with gardening, photography and reading were only partly responsible. It was obviously the Autodesk-like challenge of clearing up and focusing while steering the Sunnyvale, California-based company out of a financial slump.

And the first big decision she took reflected it: a decade-long alliance with Microsoft in the search space. “Yahoo currently has a market share of about 20%; Microsoft has about 8% in search. Combined, we will have over 28%,” says Bartz. “But the two will exist as separate brands, maintain their identities. Yet, users will have more data to go after when they search — it’ll make a Yahoo! search deeper and better, and we expect regulatory approvals on the alliance by Q1, 2010.”

An India fan who has been to this country five times before, on her first visit as Yahoo! CEO she is predictably clear about her plans here too. And it has nothing to do with her interest in Mughal history and elephants... She wants in on the government’s Unique Identity Project, and more. She met the PM about it and her friend Nandan Nilekani, stressing Yahoo’s strength. “It involves a huge database and we at Yahoo! have expertise in handling huge amounts of data,” she reveals.

Education and training, what internet can do and how mobile phones can transform the internet experience, are obviously also target areas - and since India is Yahoo's biggest R&D centre after Sunnyvale, more than a supporting role is on the cards. "Entire products are already developed here, not parts of products. Our cloud computing initiative, video search ability and the total search monetization project are being done by Yahoo! in India," she emphasises, seeing Yahoo developing even more tools out of the India centre.

But the main trend this "over-achieving" tech pioneer (she got her computer science degree in 1971) sees is the web getting more collaborative and yet personalised. "It's not just about gathering information but also sharing, and about getting each others opinion," she says as she decides on 'collaborative internet' as the theme for her EBIT page today.

Economic Times

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Google enters mobile advertising space with AdMob acquisition

In a push to expand its digital advertising empire to cellphones, Google has agreed to acquire AdMob, a fast-growing mobile advertising start-up, for $750 million in stock, the companies said.

AdMob is one of the top sellers of banner ads on iPhone applications and Web pages that can be retrieved from mobile phones. The acquisition could help establish Google as an early leader in the small but rapidly expanding mobile phone advertising business.

The deal shows that Google is serious about becoming a major player in the mobile advertising ecosystem, said Neil Strother, an analyst with Forrester Research. It puts Google in the front-runner position.Strother and other analysts said that position could prove tenuous. The mobile advertising business, which has long been hailed as the next big thing, remains embryonic.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Accenture on a hiring spree in India; To hire 8,000 by 2010

Global technology and consultancy firm, Accenture has said that it is going to add around 8,000 people in India by the end of next year taking its total employee base in the country to 50,000.

"We are 42,000 right now and we imagine we will be about 50,000 by the end of 2010," said Accenture Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, William D Green on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit. Indicating a recovery from the global downturn, Green said the company will continue to focus in India, specially in the areas of analytics, reports a media.

Accenture's focus in India is going to be the analytics space, which will help its clients in converting information into insights for better yields. Green added, "We believe that analytics is going to be an important trend that our customers are going to demand from us. We think India is going to be a great place for us. We have some core centres of excellence in the analytics space in the country."

Accenture, which has annual revenue of $21.58 billion for fiscal 2009, will strengthen its focus on clients in pharmaceutical, telecommunications and energy in the country.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

By 2010 Indian cos to see 20-30% pick up in hiring

Riding high on a six to seven per cent expected economic growth and with the global economy gradually bouncing back, India Inc is likely to hire 20-30 per cent more talent in CY 10, a top industry official said.

"In 2010 (January-December), I envisage atleast 20-30 per cent increase in recruitments by companies," recruitment consultancy firm, Fun & Joy At Work's Chief Executive Officer, R L Bhatia, told the media here.

This would be over and above the 30 per cent dip in hiring that was witnessed last year, Bhatia said.

Fun & Joy At Work is a nine-year-old recruitment firm with offices across Mumbai and Singapore. The company claims providing talent consultancy to a host of Indian companies across sectors.

BPOs, bio-technology, media, telecom and finance are some of the sectors likely to witnessing higher hirings, Bhatia said.

The Indian economy would clock around six to seven per cent growth and substantial investments into India is in the offing, Bhatia said, adding, "this will trigger an increased hiring."

Bhatia said that despite the the slowdown, companies did hire, though less in number.

"Maybe they hired less, but they hired nevertheless," he said.

His own firm had some 30 companies which have plans to hire around 20,000-30,000 personnel, he said.

"Industry is exercising caution now. As a result, companies are investing only when and where it is necessary. They are sensibly investing in people or human resources," he said.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Intel to partner with telecom major ITI

Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is planning to participate in bids invited by Indian state-owned telecom equipment maker ITI Ltd to set up joint ventures, the Business Standard reported on Friday.

ITI intends to be a minority partner in the proposed joint ventures with a 26 per cent stake according to the bid proposals, the newspaper said.

It said Intel was interested in making the hardware and consumer premise equipment around WiMAX technology, which provides for wireless transmission of data up to 75 megabytes per second.

Though interested parties have been asked to participate before Jan 29, 2010, the telecoms ministry is holding a pre-bid conference before selecting them, the paper said.

Other global players that have showed interest include Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung and Hitachi, the paper said.

A spokeswoman for Intel in India could not immediately respond to the report.


Friday, November 6, 2009

JavaScript programming tools now from Google

With a project called Closure Tools, Google plans to start helping developers who aspire to match the company's proficiency in creating Web sites and Web applications. Google is a strong proponent of using JavaScript to write Web-based programs, which is a part of its Web-centric ethos, reports CNET News.

Indeed, the company has pushed the language to its limits with services such as Gmail and Google Docs, and it developed its Chrome browser in part to enable JavaScript programs to run faster. But writing, debugging, and optimizing heavy-duty JavaScript can be difficult - in part because a given JavaScript program sometimes works differently on different browsers. Google's open-source Closure Tools project is an attempt to help with some of these challenges.

The first in the suite of tools is the Closure Compiler, a software package designed to boil down a JavaScript program so it's smaller and runs faster. Along with the compiler come some extra tools that run in the Firefox browser. One, Closure Inspector, is an extension for Firefox's Firebug add-on designed to help programmers understand and debug the rewritten JavaScript. Another add-on for the Google Page Speed extension lets programmers see how much the compiler helped.

Google also plans to make the compiler available as a Web application hosted on its Google App Engine service. The second element is called the Closure Library, a collection of pre-built JavaScript codes that lets programmers handle relatively sophisticated technology - arrays and string manipulation, for example. Last are Closure Templates, more pre-written codes to ease creation of JavaScript and HTML user interfaces.

In an earlier era, programming tools were expensive packages bought by a select few, but open-source software, new marketing strategies, and new business methods have made that approach the exception rather than the rule these days. Now programming tools are often a means to another end - encouraging programmers to produce the software that will make Windows or the Palm Pre useful and therefore popular.


Retail sector to grow at 28% during 2008-12 in India

During 2008-2012, the IT market in the Indian retail sector is likely to grow at an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 percent; reaching $1.4 billion by 2012, says a report. According to the report titled as 'IT in the Indian Retail Industry: Emerging Trends and Market Opportunities' brought out by Springboard Research; software is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 28 percent for the period under review, while hardware will grow at 19 percent.

Springboard Research is an IT market research and advisory firm. The firm has brought out this report after interviewing leading IT vendors operating in the retail sector and 152 Chief Information Officers from both large and mid-sized retail companies across India. According to Nilotpal Chakravarti, Senior Research Analyst, Springboard Research, although the recession has affected retailers' profitability, it opens a window of opportunity for IT vendors as retailers turn to technology to address the challenging economic scenario. "Many retailers are eschewing curtailing their long-term IT projects, while they remain cautious with short-term IT spending and new investments," he added.

Nearly half of the CIOs in the retail sector interviewed, indicated large format stores/hypermarkets as the top business opportunity in the sector, while competition is named as the biggest business challenge by a majority of the CIOs. Inventory management has emerged as the top strategic IT focus areas for the CIOs, followed by supply chain management (SCM). Enterprise resource planning (ERP) topped the list of business applications in terms of actual deployments in the last 24 months.

According to Springboard's data, POS (Point of sales) is the top preferred store solution that Indian retailers have deployed in their stores. CIOs revealed that a large number of retailers mentioned price as a key determinant in external IT vendor selection, while strong service and support came in the second place on the list of priorities. Other influencers like vendor reputation and existing relationship rank much lower in the priority hierarchy. Springboard also found that local IT vendors have a sizeable foothold in the retail space because they provide low-cost, industry-specific solutions.

According to Springboard's data, SAP, Microsoft and Oracle hold the largest market share in the Indian retail sector, while HCL is the leading local vendor in the retail space. IBM is also named as among the leading vendors in this space.

"Best-of-class retail solutions like RFID, intelligent shelves, and kiosks still remain out of reach for the Indian market because of their high cost. IT vendors should look to address this gap by rationalizing costs, along with clearly defining ROI benefits for clients," said Chakravarti.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Will the Web run out of address space?

The world could well run out of internet addresses next year, unless urgent action is taken to switch to a new generation of net addresses, the European Commission has warned.

According to the commission, businesses urgently need to upgrade to internet protocol version six or IPv6, a new version of the web’s addressing protocol, which will hugely increase the number of available addresses.

The IPv6 system has been ready for over a decade and is providing 340 trillion web addresses. But, not many companies are actually ready to migrate to the new platform.

A survey, conducted by the commission, found that few companies are prepared for the switch from the current naming protocol, IPv4, to the new regime, IPv6, the Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday. The IPv4 and IPv6 protocols refer to the way in which addresses are created and assigned. Each website has a unique IP address, represented by a string of numbers, such as, which are then given a user-friendly web address to make them easier to remember.

The IPv4 protocol uses 32-bit addresses, which enables the web to support around 4.3 billion unique addresses while IPv6 uses 128-bit web addresses, creating billions of possible new web addresses. The EC survey found that of the 610 government, educational and other industry organisations questioned across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, just 17% have upgraded to IPv6.

Detlef Eckert, director in commission’s information society and media directorate-general, said: “Only by ensuring that all devices connected to the internet are compatible with IPv6 can we stay connected and safeguard sustainable growth of the internet.”


Cisco, EMC, VMware join hands to take on IBM, HP

Technology heavyweights Cisco Systems and EMC Corp dampened speculation the two companies would merge as they announced on Tuesday a broad partnership to develop data centre technology, taking on rivals IBM and Hewlett-Packard. The two have spent three years developing technology and ironing out details of a deep partnership through which they will bundle Cisco’s networking equipment and server computers with EMC’s storage and virtualization technology.

Their goal is to become a top provider of data centre products as the industry switches to technology focused on providing socalled “cloud” computing services from central data centres that can be accessed over the internet and corporate networks.

As they announced that partnership, top executives from both companies suggested that persistent speculation Cisco plans to acquire EMC has been unfounded.EMC chief executive Joe Tucci said in an interview that the rumours may have been sparked as investors got wind of the close talks between the two companies that led to the partnership over the past few years.

Cisco CEO John Chambers said in the same interview, that “Our tendencies are to partner together. I think we do that remarkably well.” When specifically asked if he was interested in buying EMC, as investors have long speculated might be the case, Chambers said: “You buy big-tosmall. You partner big-to-big.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the partnership will sell and provide maintenance and service support for a product called “V-Block,” combining EMC’s storage equipment, Cisco’s virtualized servers and networking gear and VMWare’s virtualization technology.

The partnership, the paper said, will have two components. It will be responsible for marketing and providing maintenance and support for V-Block. But the actual cloud infrastructure will be constructed by a coalition of the three companies.

The publication noted that technology giants had breached new markets, “turning once stalwart allies into competitors”.

The move by Cisco, EMC and VMWare, it said, comes amid a wave of consolidation among companies that provide hardware, software and services to corporate data centres.“Following the actions of IBM and HP to create one-stop IT shops, Dell announced in September it will purchase IT services firm Perot Systems. Software giant Oracle Corp, meanwhile, is awaiting European antitrust approval for its acquisition of Sun Microsystems,” The Journal said.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is Peanuts what you will be paid for IT job?

One may boast of being employed in IT in the current scene, however they have to work twice as much for getting an interview and the annual salary is peanuts compared to earlier days. A worsening economic crisis, increased availability of skilled workers and lower demand for software services have brought down the entry-level salaries for IT professionals in the country by up to 20 percent, according to experts tracking the sector.

Every year, around 3,00,000 computer science and engineering graduates seek employment with hundreds of tech firms, including big names such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro. This year, more than half of them were left unemployed because tech firms were already finding it tough to manage resources sitting on the bench, according to Economic Times.

"The entry-level salaries are down by at least 10-16 percent. Last year, a number of companies gave away offer letters but did not recruit. On top of that, there is a new pool of qualified professionals being churned out this year - all this has created an oversupply in the entry-level IT job market where salaries typically sway between Rs. 3 lakh per annum and Rs. 5 lakh on the higher side," said GC Jayaprakash, Principal Consultant of Stanton Chase International.

Until two years ago, almost all computer and engineering graduates were absorbed by India's outsourcing industry, comprising top tech firms such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro and many others. However, as customers delayed and shelved outsourcing projects, these tech firms also postponed campus hirings. Many students had to approach potential employers directly, since companies did not visit their campuses for placements. "We formed groups and toured companies, and agreed to settle at lower salaries because it's better to be employed at lower salary than having no job at all," said Srilekha Varma, who recently accepted a job offer from a Chennai-based IT firm specializing in banking software.

In a normal year, computer science graduates were offered entry-level salaries of Rs. 3.5-5 lakh. However, companies are now hiring freshers at Rs 1.7-3.5 lakh. However, human resources heads at tech firms, including Wipro, India's third-largest software exporter, say professionals have become more realistic about what they want from their employers. "I don't think salaries have come down, but the environment has indeed helped us in containing salary hikes," Pratik Kumar, Head of Human Resources at Wipro said.

But few companies have not forgotten the offers made. TCS said it would do new campus hiring in January 2010 and will honor all 24,000 offers made for financial year (FY09). "Around 1,800 graduates have joined us in second quarter (Q2) and another 8,000 will join in Q3, rest of the graduates will join based on the demand," a TCS spokeswoman said. Infosys said for FY10, it has made 20,000 campus offers and expects an 80 percent conversion rate i.e. 16,000 of these offers to join the company. "We are honoring all our hiring commitments," an Infosys spokeswoman said.


TCS signs multi-million contract with Cardiff City Council

Tata Consultancy Services' contract with Cardiff City Council for technology services is a multi-million dollar deal that will run over 15 years, a company source said on Tuesday.

Under the deal signed last week, Tata Consultancy will provide a host of IT services for faster and efficient delivery of services in Cardiff.

Tata Consultancy and its rivals such as Infosys Technologies and Wipro are aggressively vying for deals in markets such as Europe and Asia Pacific to cut their dependence on the US, which brings in more than half the sector's revenue.

Tata Consultancy, a part of the diversified Tata Group that spans commodities autos and services businesses, last month beat forecasts with a 29 per cent rise in quarterly net profit helped by demand from recession-hit financial customers.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Green battery gives non-stop energy for years

Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a new, environmentally friendly silicon-air battery capable of supplying non-stop power for thousands of hours without needing to be replaced.

Created from oxygen and silicon, such batteries would be lightweight, have an unlimited shelf life, and have a high tolerance for both humid and extremely dry conditions.

Potential uses include medical applications (example, powering diabetic pumps), sensors and microelectronics structured from silicon. “Silicon-air batteries will be used like the ones already in use today,” said lead researcher Yair Ein-Eli. “But by using silicon – a safe, non-toxic, stable and more common material – we can create batteries with infinite shelf life and high energy capacity,” he added.

Silicon-air batteries would be able to provide savings in cost, weight as they lack the built-in cathode used in conventional batteries.


80,000 engineers to be absorbed in IT sector by 2010

Software industry body, Nasscom expects at least 70,000-80,000 engineering graduates who passed out in June 2009 and were offered jobs in their 5th and 6th semesters by TCS, Infosys and Accenture, among others, to get absorbed by March 2010. Not too long ago, there were apprehensions that the appointments of these tech grads could get deferred till 2011 in the aftermath of the global slowdown. However, the perception appears to have changed.

Speaking to the media, Nasscom Vice-President Sangeeta Gupta said, "There's some amount of pick-up in IT spending and clients have become active in the decision-making process. This augurs well for the IT industry and is likely to result in hiring by IT companies. Companies like TCS, Infosys and Accenture, among others, are expected to start honouring the offers they made. As a result, at least 70k-80k engineering graduates, who were issued offer letters, are expected to get absorbed by March 2010."

For instance, the country's biggest software firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) had made some 24,000 offers in 2008-09, according to its Q2 analyst call. The company had indicated that it would honour these offers this fiscal. In Q3, TCS is expected to absorb about 8,000-odd, and the balance, in the following quarter. Till Q2, the company had absorbed some 1,800 people.

Similarly, Infosys, in its Q2 earnings call, indicated that it would add 20,000 people instead of 18,000 indicated earlier. The additional 2,000 would be partly in BPO while the rest would make up laterals at Infosys Technologies.

Incidentally, Nasscom has urged member companies to recruit those who've completed their eighth semester to ensure that hiring is closer to the need of companies. For this fiscal, Nasscom has projected a mere 4-7 percent export growth. It is likely, that with IT sector showing signs of recovery, Nasscom will review the export target. "We can review the export target by end- December," she added.

McKinsey in its report titled 'Perspectives in the IT industry by 2020', has noted that with the current pace of reforms and expected constraints in talent and infrastructure supply, the exports component of the Indian IT industry is slated to reach $175 billion in revenues by 2020. The domestic component will contribute $50 billion in revenues by 2020, which is larger than the total export revenues for India now.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

e-book revolution hits Indian market

In a unique revolution in the publishing world, two Indian books have made their debut in the virtual world. Converted into the e-book format, both these books can now be downloaded on the e-book reader, Kindle.

Published by Indian publishing house Wisdom Tree, "Mantras: The Sacred Chants" by Swami Veda Bharati and "Yogini: Unfolding the Goddess Within" by Shambhavi Chopra can now be downloaded within minutes on the e-book reader.

The e-book versions, which have been uploaded on online retailer Amazon's website, can only be downloaded on Kindle.

Talking about the response to the e-books since last week, Shobit Arya, publisher at Wisdom Tree, said: "The results in the first week itself are absolutely amazing. We sold the first Kindle version of Mantras within hours of it being available and sold eight copies within the first three days itself."

Wisdom Tree has sent 15 of its books to be e-formatted on Kindle of which two have been done successfully while the rest are still in the pipeline, Arya added.

The only hitch in this is that Kindle is still not very popular in India unlike in the US. But according to Arya, it's just a matter of time before the rage catches up here and these e-book reader gadgets are readily available here.

"Online retailer Amazon whose initiative Kindle is, started shipping these e-book readers to almost a hundred countries, including India, recently. According to statistics shared by the company, they sell 48 Kindle copies for every 100 physical copies of books that they offer in both formats," Arya said.

"Five months ago they were selling 35 Kindle copies per 100 physical versions. Amazon thinks that ultimately they will sell more books in Kindle editions than they do in physical editions because it's easier and faster to acquire, don't need physical space to store like normal books and more eco-friendly," he added.

Taking the e-book step further, Wisdom Tree has also tied up with US book retail chain, Barnes and Noble, which has announced its own e-book reader called Nook. Therefore, books published by Wisdom Tree will soon be available through Nook as well.

"We all agree that content is the king but distribution of content is the real king-maker. In book trade especially the biggest challenge across the globe has been distribution. Technology has the potential to be a great leveller," Arya said.

"The world seems to be getting condensed in our palms - from communication to banking, from music to stock-broking and now reading - the new gadgets are like genies. The sooner we accept it and adapt ourselves to the changing scenario, the better it is," he added.


Kindle, e-book, revolution, India,publishing world, Wisdom Tree, Shobit Arya, publisher,Amazon,

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Canada Ford plant to shutdown in 2011, layoff 1,400 jobs

US automaker Ford Motor Co. will shutter one of its manufacturing plants in Canada in 2011, a move that will cut 1,400 jobs, the Canadian Auto Workers said Friday.

As part of a cost-reduction agreement between the company's US headquarters and the CAW, the plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, will close in the third quarter of 2011, the powerful union said in a statement.

Some 1,400 employees will be dismissed, CAW spokeswoman Shannon Devine told AFP. Canadian media put the number of jobs eliminated at 1,600.

As part of the tentative agreement the union said it obtained a commitment by the US automaker to keep at least 10 percent of its North American production in Canada.

"During the negotiations, Ford threatened that if we didn't come to an agreement, the company would begin shifting investment out of Canada," said Ken Lewenza, president of the CAW.

"In today's globalized economy where companies attempt to bypass community commitments, it's crucial that we don't allow this to happen."

The agreement, which expires in September 2012, is expected to be voted on and approved Sunday by the CAW's 7,000 Ford workers in Canada.

The St. Thomas plant produces the Ford Crown Victoria -- a model routinely chosen by US police forces and New York taxis -- as well as the Mercury Grand Marquis.

Although Ford did not accept bailout money from the US government like Chrysler and General Motors did, the CAW said Ford followed the pattern set out earlier in the year by its US rivals to cut significant portions of their Canada operations as part of restructuring.

Chrysler and GM both filed for bankruptcy and received billions of dollars in US government aid. Canada's government also pumped billions of dollars into the companies as part of packages to keep their auto manufacturing operations here afloat.

As part of the new deal, the CAW agreed to a reduction in holidays and a requirement for workers to contribute to the company's pension fund at the rate of one dollar for every hour worked, Devine said.

Ford for its part made new production and investment commitments in several manufacturing locations in Canada, including production of "at least two new-generation vehicles in the next product cycle" at its Oakville plant outside Toronto.

"This footprint commitment was an important achievement for the union," Lewenza said.

But Ford stood firm on closure of the St. Thomas plant.

"Nothing was harder... than coming to the realization that regardless of whatever suggestions the union came up with to save the St. Thomas facility, Ford would be closing the plant," said Mike Vince, chairman of the CAW-Ford bargaining committee and president of CAW Local 200.

Ford committed to funding and opening a center to assist workers unemployed after the plant closure.


Will Nokia close its gaming service N-Gage?

Nokia will close its battered gaming service N-Gage next year, acknowledging failure in its first major services offering.

The handset maker's mobile gaming push has encountered major challenges over the years, with consumers first shunning its dedicated gaming phones.

The online gaming service, opened last year, never moved beyond a niche audience.

Nokia has started to look for new revenues from online services as its traditional handset market is maturing, with games and music being the first focus areas of the cellphone maker.

"We will no longer publish new games for the N-Gage platform," Nokia said on its N-Gage blog.

It said the games from its first major services offering can be purchased until the end of September 2010, and the community site will remain in operation throughout 2010.

After closing the N-Gage service it will continue to sell mobile games at its Ovi Store, a smaller rival to Apple's popular App Store.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Syntel's Q3 results outshines Wall Street expectations

Syntel's revenue for the third quarter increased one percent to $104.7 million (Rs.506 crore), compared to $103.8 million (Rs.502 crore) in the prior-year period, and increased five percent sequentially from $100.1 million (Rs.484 crore) in the second quarter of 2009.

Sequential revenue improvement was driven by its Applications Outsourcing service offering, and growth was broad-based across all verticals. During the third quarter, Applications Outsourcing accounted for 74 percent of total revenue, with Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) at 18 percent, e-Business contributing six percent and Team Sourcing at two percent.

The Company's gross margin improved to 49.3 percent in the third quarter, compared to 44.3 percent in the prior-year period (500 bps increase) and 48.2 percent in the second quarter of 2009 (110 bps increase). Selling, General and Administrative (SG&A) expenses were 18.1 percent in the third quarter, compared to 19.1 percent in the prior-year period and 20.8 percent in the previous quarter.

Syntel's income from operations expanded to 31.2 percent in the third quarter as compared to 25.2 percent in the prior-year period (600 bps increase) and 27.4 percent in the second quarter of 2009 (380bps increase).

"Increasing stability in the business environment and a gradual improvement in customer confidence had a positive effect on our top line during the third quarter," said CEO and President Keshav Murugesh. "While our clients remain comfortable in moving forward with cost reduction initiatives, they are now increasingly willing to discuss longer-term business plans and strategic technology investments."

"The strong financial and operating discipline at Syntel has been evident in our financial performance during a very difficult nine month period. We expect that as demand for offshore services improves, costs of doing business in India will increase resulting in margin pressure. Syntel continues to invest in the people, infrastructure and new services necessary to drive long-term sustainable value for all of our key stakeholders."

Based on current visibility levels and an exchange rate assumption of 47.0 rupees to the dollar, the Company is updating 2009 guidance from Revenue of $395Mn (Rs.1,910 crore) to $415Mn (Rs.2,007 crore) and EPS of $2.40 to $2.50 to Revenue of $405Mn (Rs. 1,959 crore) to $408Mn (Rs.1,973 crore) and EPS of $2.60 to $2.65.


Web address get oked for Hebrew, Hindi, others scripts

The nonprofit body that oversees Internet addresses approved on Friday the use of Hebrew, Hindi, Korean and other scripts not based on the Latin alphabet in a decision that could make the Web dramatically more inclusive.

The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted to allow such scripts in so-called domain names at the conclusion of a weeklong meeting in Seoul, South Korea's capital. The decision follows years of debate and testing.

The decision clears the way for governments or their designees to submit requests for specific names, likely beginning Nov 16. Internet users could start seeing them in use early next year, particularly in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts in which demand has been among the highest, ICANN officials said.

``This represents one small step for ICANN, but one big step for half of mankind who use non-Latin scripts, such as those in Korea, China and the Arabic speaking world as well as across Asia, Africa, and the rest of the world,'' Rod Beckstrom, ICANN's CEO, said ahead of the vote.

Domain names _ the Internet addresses that end in ``.com'' and other suffixes _ are the key monikers behind every Web site, e-mail address and Twitter post.

Since their creation in the 1980s, domain names have been limited to the 26 characters in the Latin alphabet used in English _ A-Z _ as well as 10 numerals and the hyphen. Technical tricks have been used to allow portions of the Internet address to use other scripts, but until now, the suffix had to use those 37 characters.

That has meant Internet users with little or no knowledge of English might still have to type in Latin characters to access Web pages in Chinese or Arabic. Although search engines can sometimes help users reach those sites, companies still need to include Latin characters on billboards and other advertisements.


New music search from Google

Google stepped onto the internet music stage, unveiling a service for finding, listening to or buying songs online. Google announced an alliance with and MySpace-owned iLike at Capitol Records headquarters in Los Angeles that could cut down on the number of mouse clicks it takes to sample or purchase a song on the web.

“We are very excited today to be introducing a music search feature,” Google vice president of search Marissa Mayer said before a demo of the service called OneBox. “The search results will allow you to do a whole song play to verify it is the song you are looking for,” rather than just the 30-second stream typical of most major online music providers.


iGate expands Whitefield campus; To hire 1,500 by 2010

iGate on Thursday inaugurated the fourth phase of its global delivery facility at its campus in Whitefield, Bangalore. The new facility, set up at a cost of Rs 65 crore, provides 115,000 sq ft of additional workspace and can seat 1,050 people.

Phaneesh Murthy, CEO of the outsourcing solutions company, said iGate plans to hire about 1,500 people in 2010. The $220-million company currently has around 3,500 employees in Bangalore.

Murthy said he expected IT budgets to be up 2-4% in 2010.

“Discretionary project spends are starting to happen. The pricing environment is largely stable,” he said.

iGate’s campus has in the past sought to differentiate itself through the adoption of a host of environment friendly measures. The latest phase makes further advances on this front. It has LED lighting throughout and the lighting is solar powered. There’s an ozone-friendly air conditioning system, organic waste converter and a wastewater recycling system.

“We also made special efforts to procure green IT equipment,” the company said. The company has taken on a carbon footprint estimation study to determine the green house gas (GHG) inventory across all its global delivery facilities in India, Australia and Mexico.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cisco to strenghten Web security with ScanSafe acquisition

Cisco Systems has announced to buy the privately held Web security company ScanSafe for about $183 million, a move that will intensify its battle with security giants Symantec and McAfee. ScanSafe sells Web-based services that protect business computer networks and PCs from hackers, saving companies the cost of buying and installing software on their own equipment.

The top two security software companies, Symantec and McAfee, already sell such products, which are known as "cloud" services and whose sales are growing at a far faster clip than traditional software. As reported by Reuters, Cisco announced the deal on Tuesday, saying that the transaction is expected to close in its fiscal second quarter that ends in January 2010. The $183 million price tag includes cash and retention-based incentives, as per Cisco.

The deal helps Cisco expand its security portfolio, which includes email and Web security software company IronPort that it bought in 2007. San Jose, California-based Cisco has recently stepped up its pace of acquisitions. It announced deals for wireless equipment maker Starent Networks for $2.9 billion and Norwegian video conferencing maker Tandberg for $3 billion. Chief Executive John Chambers has said that he was looking to do more.


Will Infosys rural BPO centers in Andhra payoff?

Infosys BPO, a subsidiary of IT major Infosys, has signed an agreement with the Andhra Pradesh government to open rural BPO centres in 22 districts of the Andhra Pradesh (AP) state. Infosys BPO CEO and Managing Director Amitabh Chaudhry and State Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty CEO T Vijaya Kumar signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard in the presence of AP Chief Minister K Rosaiah.

"The first such BPO centre will be set up in the next six weeks, which will provide a testing ground for this model. The capital expenditure and other details will be worked out subsequently," said Chaudhry. He also added that all the 22 districts would have one BPO each. "Over 1,000 people would get direct employment through the rural BPO centers in the next 12-15 months. Statistics suggests that direct employment generates 1.4 times indirect employment as well," said

Noting that Andhra Pradesh would be the first state where Infosys would be setting such facilities, Chaudhry said, "We are in talks with some other states as well for similar ventures but I can't disclose the names at this stage."


Can supercomputers unravel universe's secrets?

Scientists are using the world's fastest supercomputer to model origins of the unseen universe including dark energy. Understanding dark energy is the number one issue in explaining the universe, according to Salman Habib of the Laboratory's Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology Group.

Even though it's looking at only a small segment of the 'accessible' universe, Habib's 'Roadrunner Universe' model requires a petascale computer because like the universe, it's very large, reports ANI. The model's basic unit is a particle with a mass of approximately one billion suns (in order to sample galaxies with masses of about a trillion suns) and it includes more than 64 billion of those particles.

The model is one of the largest simulations of the distribution of matter in the universe, and aims to look at galaxy-scale mass concentrations above and beyond quantities seen in state-of-the-art sky surveys.

According to Habib, as the universe is expanding and at the same time accelerating, either there is a huge gap in our understanding of physics, or there is a strange new form of matter that dominates the universe - 'dark energy' - making up about 70 percent of it. "In addition, there is five times more of an unknown 'dark matter' than there is ordinary matter in the universe, and we know it's there from many different observations, most spectacularly, we've seen it bend light in pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope, but its origin is also not understood," he added.

The Roadrunner Universe model relies on a hierarchical grid or particle algorithm that matches the physical aspects of the simulation to the hybrid architecture of Roadrunner. Habib and his team wrote an entirely new computer code that aggressively exploits Roadrunner's hybrid architecture and makes full use of the PowerXCell 8i computational accelerators.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nasscom sees great opportunity for SaaS in product cos

Nasscom believes that cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) provide excellent paradigms for software product companies to reach out to the mass of small businesses that require IT solutions.

SaaS allows small businesses to pay for what they need at the time they need it, instead of spending large sums upfront on IT solutions that are implemented onsite. This could substantially reduce the costs of IT, as also increase the ability of small businesses to access IT solutions.

Som Mittal, president of Nasscom, urged software product companies to rework their business models to provide their solutions as services.

Sharad Sharma, chairperson of the product forum of Nasscom and part of VC fund Canaan Partners, said the small business segment was opening up “really well”. “There’s a lot of opportunity for Indian software product companies in this because many of these companies have solutions that are world class,” he said.

He also noted the growing eagerness of large system integrators to work with software product companies to add value to their offerings. Product companies, he felt, could use such partnerships to reach global customers.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Banks, social networks new target for computer viruses

Cyber criminals are increasingly focusing their attacks on the hundreds of millions of users of social networks and on loopholes in bank security systems, security software vendors said on Wednesday. At the same time, spam e-mail messages rose sharply in the third quarter, Symantec Corp said.

And as Facebook reached 300 million accounts in September, social networks and social media continued to attract criminals, smaller research firm F-Secure said in its quarterly virus report. "As Twitter has grown in popularity, it has been increasingly targeted by worms, spam and account hijacking," F-Secure said.

Cyber criminals choose targets that are widely used, allowing them to go after the largest number of potential victims. "Cyber criminals continue to follow the money," said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, technology chief at a small security software vendor Finjan, who on Wednesday revealed a new method criminals use to steal money from bank accounts and hide their tracks.

Finjan said it expects a growing trend of using new software that forges on-screen bank statements, concealing the true transaction amount to dupe account holders and their banks, and then sends the stolen money to money mules accounts.

"With the combination of using sophisticated Trojans for the theft and money mules to transfer stolen money to their accounts, they minimize their chances of being detected," Ben-Itzhak said.

The amount of spam in all e-mail traffic rose to 88.1 percent in the third quarter from 81 percent a year ago, said Symantec's MessageLabs in its quarterly report. MessageLabs said botnets are now responsible for sending 87.9 percent of all spam. Hackers take advantage of the PC vulnerability by booby- trapping websites with a malicious code that loads onto computers.

Infected PCs are commandeered into a botnet, a network of hijacked computers. They are used for identity theft, spamming and other cyber crimes. "Over the past year, we have seen a number of ISP's (Internet service providers) taken offline for hosting botnet activity resulting in a case of sink or swim and an ensuing shift in botnet power," MessageLabs analyst Paul Wood said in a statement.

"However, this won't always be the case as botnet technology has also evolved since the end of 2008 and the most recent ISP closures now have less of an impact on resulting activity as downtime now only lasts a few hours rather than weeks or months as before," Wood said.


Jobless Americans climb to 551,000 in September 2009

The count of Americans seeking unemployment benefits for the first time climbed unexpectedly by 17,000 to 551,000 for the week ended September 26, indicating that labour market remains strained despite easing economic conditions.

The figures come a day after official data showed that the US economy contracted less than expected at 0.7 per cent i the June quarter.

According to the US Labor Department, the number of initial claims for jobless benefits rose 17,000 to 551,000 for the week ended September 26.

In the previous week, the figure stood at 534,000. As per the data, the four-week moving average was 548,000.

However, the count of those receiving unemployment benefits dropped as much as 70,000 to 6,090,000 for the week ended September 19.

"The 4-week moving average was 6,154,500, a decrease of 39,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 6,193,750," the Labor Department said in a statement today.

Yesterday, payroll-processing firm ADP in its National Employment Report said that 254,000 jobs evaporated in the American private sector in September.

However, the report noted that the decrease was the smallest since July 2008.


Jobless rate in Europe touches 10 years high

The unemployment rate in the 16-nation euro zone soared to a ten-year high of 9.6 per cent in August, as the region continued to feel the tremors of the financial turmoil.

Euro zone -- a group of 16 nations that share the common currency euro -- has seen the jobless pace jump to 9.6 per cent in August, little higher than 9.5 per cent in July.

In August last year, the rate stood at 7.6 per cent. Eurostat, the official statistical agency for the European community, today said the unemployment rate is the highest since March 1999.

A staggering 15.165 million people were jobless in the region in August.

In the European Union region, the unemployment rate in August was at 9.1 per cent, the highest since March 2004. The same stood at nine per cent in July.

As many as 21.872 million people were without a job in the 27-nation European Union in August.

"Compared with August 2008, unemployment went up by 5.008 million in the EU and by 3.224 million in the euro area," Eurostat said in the statement.

Among the countries, the unemployment rate was the highest in Spain at 18.9 per cent and Latvia (18.3 per cent), while the lowest was seen in the Netherlands at 3.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, many of the major economies including France and Germany have exited recession and the region as a whole is slowly seeing signs of stabilisation.


Cloud computing helps organization to remain more secure

Today the biggest challenges for CIO’s are managing and securing the exponentially growing information in the IT infrastructure that supports their business and providing centralized access to multiple data centers across the globe, said Manjunath Kashi, Director, Enterprise Computing Group, Unisys. He said a secure cloud, whether private or public, can enable them to do both more effectively. Excerpts of the interview.

1. How does cloud computing help address CIO challenges?

The biggest challenges for CIO’s today are managing and securing the exponentially growing information in the IT infrastructure that supports their business and providing centralized access to multiple data centers across the globe. A secure cloud, whether private or public, can enable them to do both more effectively.

Unisys believes that cloud computing will revolutionize the way enterprises obtain business and IT services and change the kind of payback they get from their IT investments. In a severely constrained global economy, the prospect of de-capitalizing enterprise IT, deferring and avoiding operational costs, fixing the IT bottleneck and more effectively mapping availability of IT resources to fluctuating business demands provide powerful incentives to adopt cloud computing.

The major attributes and benefits of cloud computing are the following:

1. Multi-tenant –the capability to process the needs of multiple users with shared resources, dynamically and transparently;
2. Elastic and scalable –resources can be expanded and contracted as needed;
3. Metered/rented – to a certain extent, “pay only for what you use”;
4. Self-provisioned – “self-check-in,” at least to some degree;
5. Internet-based – accessible by using Internet technology, usually over the public Internet;
6. “X” as a service [with “X” being software or infrastructure, for example] – The details/concerns of implementation are abstracted for the customer.

Clients and prospects consistently tell Unisys that concerns about security is the major impediments to adopting cloud computing for business needs. Secure, then, is the additional benefit that differentiates Unisys’ strategy and solutions for cloud computing from other cloud offerings available in the market. The word “secure” refers to providing an overall reduction in risk due to greater security protocols and tools for data in motion (transiting the infrastructure), data at rest (in storage networks) and data in process. Unisys offers those through the Stealth data protection technology in its Secure Cloud Solution.

2. What kind of applications do you expect enterprises to host on the cloud? Why?

Most enterprises have until now been comfortable moving only test and development suites to the cloud, because they don’t involve transmission of sensitive data outside internal firewalls. Unisys Secure Cloud Solution – a managed public cloud service with an unmatched level of data protection based on unique bit-splitting technology called Stealth – enables enterprise clients to securely move conventional business applications into a managed, shared cloud service without costly, time-consuming rewrites or other alterations. Those applications often include secure or sensitive data, such as human resources, financial, customer and healthcare information. The Unisys Secure Cloud Solution can thus help clients reduce capital and operating expenditures and protect their investment in critical business applications.

3. Benefits of cloud computing to the large and small enterprises?

Cloud computing – especially as embodied in Unisys strategy and solutions portfolio – can benefit organizations of all sizes. The Unisys approach enables clients to choose the type of data center computing services that best meet their business objectives, from self-managed, automated IT infrastructures to Unisys-managed cloud services. Using Unisys services and technologies, organizations can create a private cloud within their data centers, a public cloud through secure Unisys-managed cloud solutions, or a hybrid cloud solution combining the best of both private and Unisys-managed cloud services.

Clients and prospects in organizations of all sizes tell Unisys that they see great operational and economic value in moving enterprise applications and data to the cloud. However, they have lacked the comprehensive security to make them confident in doing so.

Unisys cloud computing strategy and solutions focus on helping clients overcome those security concerns. We like to say that security is in Unisys DNA, data center transformation and application modernization are our heritage, and outsourcing services tailored to the client’s specific business needs are our forté. Unisys cloud computing strategy draws on all those core capabilities to help clients break through the barriers to adoption and gain a full range of options for cloud services while safeguarding their operations and lowering IT costs.

4. How secure are Unisys’s cloud computing offerings? What are the special features that Unisys offers on the cloud?

Most of the current cloud computing solutions lack the comprehensive security that gives clients the confidence in moving enterprise applications and data into the cloud.

Unisys’ cloud computing solutions provide the much-required extra layer of security. Underpinning our strategy is Unisys Stealth security solution, an innovative, patent-pending data protection technology, initially designed for government applications and now available to commercial clients too. The Unisys Stealth technology cloaks data through multiple levels of authentication and encryption, bit-splitting it into multiple packets so it moves invisibly across networks and stays secure in storage environments.

As I mentioned earlier, the Stealth technology also anchors Unisys Secure Cloud Solution, which is designed to provide the highest level of data security possible within a cloud environment today, while reducing clients’ upfront investments and ongoing operational costs for cloud computing. Using Stealth technology, the Unisys Secure Cloud Solution allows different clients in a multi-tenant environment to share the same IT infrastructure without the fear of exposing one client’s data to another.

In addition to the Stealth technology, clients of Unisys Secure Cloud Solution benefit from Unisys’ layered security infrastructure, which includes comprehensive capabilities, including intrusion detection and prevention service, security monitoring, advanced correlation and analytics, firewall management and logging.

5. How different are your offerings from other players in the same space?

Unisys cloud computing strategy is uniquely flexible. It draws on all the company’s core capabilities of security, data center transformation, application modernization and outsourcing services to help clients break-through the barriers to adoption and gain a full range of options for cloud services, while safeguarding their operations and lowering IT costs. As I said before, the Unisys cloud computing strategy enables clients to choose the type of data center computing services that best meet their business objectives -- from self-managed, automated IT infrastructure to Unisys-managed cloud services. Using Unisys services and technologies, organizations can create a private cloud within their datacenters, a public cloud through secure Unisys-managed cloud solutions, or a hybrid cloud solution, combining the best of both private and Unisys-managed cloud services.

The Unisys Secure Cloud Solution – a core component of Unisys cloud computing strategy – provides a global platform for delivering a full range of highly secure, managed IT infrastructure and application services available “as a service” through the cloud. This innovative solution enables enterprise clients to securely move conventional business applications – including those with secure or sensitive data, such as human resources, financial, customer and healthcare information – into a managed, shared cloud service without costly, time-consuming rewrites or other alterations. The unique Stealth technology, which delivers an unmatched level of data protection for the cloud environment, is a real differentiator for Unisys cloud computing strategy and solutions.

Also, Unisys portfolio of Cloud Transformation Services rounds out our cloud computing solutions. They provide clients a unique way to understand both how cloud computing can benefit them and what are the strategic and financial implications of adopting specific approaches.

6. What segment is Unisys targeting in India and why?

Unisys believes that our cloud computing strategy and solutions – with their unique emphasis on security – will have special appeal in market sectors such as federal government/public sector, healthcare and financial services, where data security, compliance with regulations for data management, and other security concerns are driving forces in decision-making.

In addition, industries or functions – e.g., financial reporting, benefits administration, and secure document management – that have weekly, monthly or even seasonal spikes in demand for IT resources to support business requirements could benefit from Unisys secure cloud solutions.

Unisys launched its cloud computing strategy and solutions on June 30th. We’re in the process of engaging with clients in a range of industries with our Unisys Cloud Transformation Services – a portfolio of advisory and implementation services that help clients assess potential cloud computing options and determine which option best suits their needs or financial objectives – and our Secure Cloud Solution, a managed, public-cloud service that multiple clients can share.

7. How much do you estimate the market size of cloud computing in India? What is the present growth rate?

Gartner says worldwide cloud services revenues are on a pace to surpass $56.3 billion in 2009, a 21.3 per cent increase in revenues from $46.4 billion in 2008. The market is expected to reach $150.1 billion in 2013. The Indian market, according to Springboard Research, will register a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 76 per cent between 2007 and 2011 and reach $260 million (around Rs 1,300 crore) in revenue by 2011. This presents a great opportunity for Unisys cloud computing solutions.

8. Despite being an old concept, why is this space picking up at the time of recession?

In the current economic scenario, the prospects of de-capitalizing enterprise IT, deferring and avoiding operational costs, fixing the IT bottleneck and more effectively mapping availability of IT resources to fluctuating business demands provide powerful incentives for enterprises to adopt cloud computing.

Go multilingual in 51 languages using Google gadgets

Google on Wednesday released free software that lets website operators automatically translate online pages into any of 51 languages.

A "translator gadget" powered by Google Translate offers to transform pages for visitors if the language settings in their browsers are different from the language of a particular website, according to Google product manager Jeff Chin.

"Automatic translation is convenient and helps people get a quick gist of the page," Chin said in a blog post.

"However, it's not a perfect substitute for the art of professional translation."

In August the Internet giant added automatic translation to Google Docs allowing users to translate documents into 42 languages.

The "Tools" menu on Google Docs now includes a "Translate Document" feature which provides a list of the various languages offered, which run from Albanian to Icelandic to Vietnamese.

The Mountain View, California-based company has already built automatic translation features into its popular email program Gmail and into services such as its blog reader.


Where is the $23-bn telecom Bharti-MTN merger heading?

The $23-billion deal for the merger of Bharti Airtel and South African giant MTN, which would have been the world's largest in the telecom sector, today fell through.

Sunil Mittal-led Bharti called off discussions with MTN citing the South African government's rejection of the proposed merger structure, which would have created the world's third largest telecom company with combined revenues of over $20 billion annually and a subscriber base of over 200 million.

The issue of dual listing of MTN to maintain its identity in the merged company appears to have been the deal-breaker during the tough negotiations lasting well over four months.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had strongly backed the deal which he took up with South African President Jacob Zuma at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh last week.

While announcing the calling off of the talks, Bharti in a statement expressed the hope that the South African government "will review its position in the future and allow both companies an opportunity to re-engage".

This is the second time in just over a year when Bharti has been forced to abandon talks for amalgamation of the two organisations in a complex deal that also hinged on Indian government's clearance for dual listing.

"This transaction would have been the single largest FDI into South Africa and one of the largest outbound FDIs from India," Bharti statement said, adding "the structure needed an approval from the government of South Africa, which has expressed its inability to accept it in the current form".

Senior management of Bharti, including Sunil Mittal, could not be reached immediately for comments as they are on a annual off-site, most likely in Pataya, Thailand.

After Bharti had called off negotiations with MTN last year accusing the South African entity of reneging on its commitment and presenting a different structure, Anil Ambani-led RCom had entered into negotiations with MTN for a deal.

This was also called off after Anil's elder brother Mukesh Ambani asserted the first right of refusal and

threatened a legal action. As per the proposed structure, Bharti would have acquired 49 per cent shareholding in MTN and in turn MTN and its shareholders would acquire about 36 per cent economic interest in Bharti.

The South African government had demanded dual listing of MTN in order to protect the character of MTN as a South African entity.

While starting the negotiations for the second time in May this year, Sunil Mittal had said "we see real power in the combination and we will work hard to unleash it for all our shareholders."

India Inc feels let down by deal failure Corporate India today felt let down by the failure of the $23-billion proposed merger deal between telecom giants Bharti Airtel and South Africa's MTN but said the south-south co-operation was still alive.

"In this particular proposed deal they (South African government) could have said they will make an exception in their law in terms of dual listing norms," Ficci secretary general Amit Mitra said.

He, however, said there was still scope in South Africa where Indian companies are preferred by "black administration" which today controls the country.

Assocham President Sajjan Jindal described the development as "the most unfortunate". He said the merger between Bharti and MTN would have provided a "golden opportunity" for India Inc to spread its wings in the global business space.

"It is most unfortunate. The MTN deal has been called off despite full support from the Indian government. It was a golden opportunity for India to globalise its wings," he said.

In a consolatory tone, CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee said the MTN deal not going through should not be seen as a dampener.

"India Inc has had many success in the past and in future too we can hope to see some large merger and acquisitions by Indian companies, including the likes of Bharti," he added.

PHDCCI president Satish Bagrodia, however, said: "Indian industry is quite disappointed with the proposed deal being called off. In future Indian companies will be over cautious."


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Will $1-b BSNL outsourcing deal impact 30,000 jobs?

Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) is planning to outsource the management and maintenance of its towers and cable networks to compete more effectively with private players like Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications, which dominate the booming industry and also unlock the value of its assets, reports the Economic Times.

The deal, which could be worth more than $1 billion (Rs. 5,000 crore) over the next five years, might receive stiff resistance from about three lakh employees as it will impact close to 30,000 jobs. "The company plans to train and redeploy a significant section of these employees to marketing roles," informed two executives requesting anonymity, as many employees are expected to be transferred to the IT firms that win the outsourcing deal.

Through this deal, BSNL will outsource more than 50,000 towers and over one lakh kilometers of optic fibre cable. "The telecom company is in process of finalizing tender conditions for inviting bids for the contract," said these executives.

"The move will help BSNL unlock the value from its towers and passive infrastructure as the once monopoly tries to play catch up with private rivals," said BK Syngal, Senior Principal, Dua Consulting.

"Successful bidders for this contract can share company's networks with private players for a fee and this could result in a revenue boost for BSNL," added Syngal, who is also a former Chairman of VSNL (now Tata Communications).

Reliance Communications had formed a joint venture with Franco American networks major Alcatel-Lucent last year and outsourced the management of its GSM and CDMA networks and infrastructure such as optic fibre cable in a deal worth $500 million over a five year period. The deal had crossed $750 million mark in July 2009.

Bharti Airtel also entered into a $500 million joint venture with Alcatel-Lucent to manage its landline and broadband business in April 2009. Around 4,000 Airtel employees were transferred to this new venture, which is a front runner to bag another $500 million contract from Airtel to manage and maintain its 80,000 kilometers intercity optic fibre cable network.

BSNL had recently postponed plans to hive off its towers and other related infrastructure into a separate company. The company felt it would be difficult to unlock value by merely hiving off its infrastructure and listing it due to falling valuations for the tower sector, said the executives.

Agencies/Economic Times

Increase of IT spending by 20-25%, says GE

General Electric (GE) may increase its IT spending by about 20-25 percent for 2010-11, a step that can turn out to be a boon for several Indian information technology (IT) vendors.

Software firms like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), HCL Technologies, Patni Computer Systems and iGate, who generate a significant amount of revenue from GE, are likely to benefit most from the increase in its IT budget.

A person close to this development said, "GE has allotted an additional $500-600 million for its IT budget during 2010-11. The firm may be looking to extend contracts with vendors like iGate and Polaris by three to four years and significantly increase its spending with large capital firms like TCS and HCL going forward."

GE has already extended its IT contract with Birlasoft, estimated to be worth $50 million and $100 million and with Mahindra Satyam, worth $100 million by three years. The existing contracts for iGate, Polaris Software Lab and Birlasoft will end in December this year.


Will HP merge its PC, print divisions?

Hewlett-Packard Co is considering a plan to reorganize the company and combine its printer and personal computer units, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A plan is being finalized that would put Todd Bradley, who leads HP's PC group, in charge of the combined division, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

An HP spokeswoman declined to comment on what she called "rumor and speculation."

PCs made up around 30 percent of HP's revenue in the July quarter, with the printing group accounting for roughly 20 percent.

The printing group boasted an operating margin of 17 percent, making it HP's most profitable division.

For fiscal 2010, HP forecast revenue growth of 3-5 percent in its PC business and zero to 2 percent in its printing group.

HP is the world's No. 1 PC maker, holding a roughly 20 percent share of the global market.

The Journal report said Vyomesh Joshi, a longtime HP veteran who leads the printing division, could potentially leave the company in the coming months.

He has been approached in recent years by other technology companies looking for a new chief executive, the report said, citing people familiar with Joshi's discussions.


Free computer security software from Microsoft released

Microsoft has released free software that people can use to protect computers against viruses, spyware and other malicious codes in arsenals of cyber criminals.

Microsoft Security Essentials is available for download at and is built on technology that the global software giant uses in computer security programs it designs for businesses.

"With Microsoft Security Essentials, consumers can get high-quality protection that is easy to get and easy to use, and it won't get in their way," said Amy Barzdukas, general manager for consumer security at Microsoft.

"Consumers have told us that they want the protection of real-time security software but we know that too many are either unwilling or unable to pay for it, and so end up unprotected."

Microsoft hopes that the free software will be broadly adopted, particularly by those who have not been vigilant about protecting computers from hackers, and thereby "increase security across the entire Windows ecosystem."

More than 90 percent of the computers worldwide run on Windows operating systems made by the US technology firm.

"Microsoft is helping to reduce some of the barriers that constrain consumers from running (anti-virus software)," said IDC security analyst Jon Crotty. "Microsoft is focused on the challenges that prevent consumers from running up-to-date anti-virus software today, particularly in emerging markets where there is a growing prevalence of malware."

Security Essentials is designed to run behind the scenes, defending machines against infection by malicious computer codes.

The real-time nature of the software means it is automatically kept up-to-date regarding viruses.

Computer security specialty firm Symantec downplayed the Microsoft offering, saying it is lightweight and isn't tuned for new forms of attack being used by hackers.

Symantec referred to Security Essentials as a stripped-down version of an old Microsoft OneCare product that got poor ratings.

"From a security perspective, this Microsoft tool offers reduced defenses at a critical point in the battle against cyber crime," Symantec said of the free offering that competes with Norton products sold by the firm.

"Unique malware and social engineering tricks fly under the radar of traditional signature-based technology alone -- which is what is employed by free security tools such as Microsoft's," it said.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Will Kyocera Wireless India be acquired by MindTree

MindTree Ltd said on Tuesday it would buy Bangalore-based Kyocera Wireless India Pvt Ltd and make an upfront payment of $6 million, while
further payments will be linked to revenue in FY11 and FY12.

The IT firm expects the acquisition to contribute about $9 million in revenues for the period Oct 2009 to March 2010, with profit after tax expected to be in the range of 13-15 percent, it said in a statement.


Is Xerox set to acquire ACS for $6.4 in 2009?

Xerox, the global copier and imaging giant, will pay $6.4 billion to acquire the outsourcing company Affiliated Computer Services, expanding its foothold in a growing industry, the companies said.

Xerox, based in Norwalk, Conn, is paying $63.11 a share in cash and stock for ACS, which posted revenue growth of 6% and new business signings of $1 billion in annual recurring revenue during its fiscal 2009.

“We’re creating a new class of solution provider,” Xerox’s chief executive, Ursula M Burns, said in a statement, adding that the deal was “a gamechanger for Xerox.” She estimated the company’s revenue from services would triple to $10 billion next year from $3.5 billion in 2008. Lynn R Blodgett, ACS’s chief executive, said in the statement that the deal was necessary “to expand globally and differentiate our offerings through technology.” ACS will continue to operate as an independent organization. Blodgett will remain as chief executive, reporting to Burns.
It was the first major deal for Burns, who took over Xerox in July with the retirement of Anne M Mulcahy.

Owners of ACS stock will receive $18.60 a share in cash and 4.935 Xerox shares for each ACS share. Xerox will assume $2 billion in ACS debt and issue $300 million of convertible preferred stock to ACS’s Class B shareholders. ACS had a market value Friday at the close of trading of $4.6 billion. Xerox said the transaction would add to profit in the first year on an adjusted-earnings basis.

ACS, based in Dallas, specializes in outsourcing processes for industries including telecommunications, retail and financial services and health care, and describes itself as the largest provider of managed services to government entities in the United States. The companies estimated the market for so-called business process outsourcing at $150 billion, growing at a rate of 5% a year.

JP Morgan Chase and Blackstone Advisory Partners acted as financial adviser to Xerox, while Citigroup Global Markets served as financial adviser to ACS


Monday, September 28, 2009

IT SEZ from realty firm in Ahmedabad

A city based realty developer Calica Construction and Impex pvt Ltd laid the foundation stone for an It and ITeS Special Economic Zone here on Sunday.

The SEZ will be spread over 20 acres of land on the outskirts of the city and would house small and medium sized information technology companies.

The developers have planned to complete the first phase of the project in two years with initial investment of Rs 300 crore while total estimated cost of the project is Rs 650 crore.

Union minister of state for small and medium enterprises Dinsha Patel and Gujarat minister of state for industry and energy Saurabh Patel were among those present at the foundation stone lying ceremony.

According to Bipin Shah, one of the developers of the new venture, the company has already got the notification from the Board of Approval (BoA) for SEZ and other clearances are in the process.

He said that over 30,000 square feet space will be created for the It and ITeS companies.

He added that they are also in the process of tying up with major IT firms to set up their centres in the SEZ which would offer world class infrastructural facilities.


India's $100-b defence pie eyed by American miliary contractors

Eyeing India's estimated $100 billion defence pie, major U.S. arms suppliers are wooing Indian defence agents and officials as New Delhi embarks on a major military shopping spree to modernise its Soviet-era arsenal, a US media report said.

At the U.S. embassy in New Delhi, defence contractors such as Northrop Grumman are sponsoring little league baseball teams, the companies' names stitched onto the uniforms, the Washington Post said in a report from New Delhi.

Almost every weekend, there are cocktails and closed-door presentations in the suites of New Delhi's five-star hotels, hosted by retired admirals and generals from the US armed forces who now work for defence firms, such as Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, it said.

"India will look back-generations down the road-at this period as a defining moment for its new, modern military," the Post cited Roger Rose, chief executive of Lockheed Martin India, which is renting half a wing of New Delhi's Taj Palace Hotel for a 12-person office.

"I think we can all see that there are a lot of threats shared between our two democracies."

With its growing military footprint, India is steering away from traditional ally Russia, its main weapons supplier, and looking toward the United States to help upgrade its weapons systems and troop gear, the Post said

India is also pushing the Obama administration to ease the acquisition of US weapons and technology. Already this year, a high-level US government group cleared the way for Lockheed and Boeing to offer India cutting-edge radar technology for fighter jets.

India now has a shopping list that includes 126 fighter jets, 155mm howitzers, long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, vast cargo planes used in long-distance conflicts, high-tech helicopters and deep-water submarines. Boeing is vying with Lockheed-along with French, Russian and Swedish companies and a European consortium-for a fighter jet deal worth about $10 billion.

India is holding flight tests for the fighter jets. Lockheed and Boeing have conducted demonstration flights for Indian celebrities and defence experts.

"America's relationship to India is maturing and expanding. India is an important global player now," the Post said citing William S. Cohen, a defence secretary during the Clinton administration who is a member of the US-India Business Council's board of directors.


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