Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Will HP make webOS software available to enterprises?

Hewlett Packard Co has decided to open its webOS mobile operating system to developers and companies, potentially taking on Google Inc's free Android platform that is popular with handset makers.

HP, which acquired webOS in a $1.2 billion purchase of Palm in 2010, had been trying to figure out how to recoup its investment after a failed foray into the smartphone and tablet market.

HP chief executive Meg Whitman said the company looked at a number of options for webOS, including a sale and shut down of the division.

The technology giant will make webOS available under an open source licensing agreement, but it has still not hashed out the terms of the licensing deal it plans to offer.

There are a number of open source projects that can be used as examples for deciding the structure of licensing, including Android and browser Mozilla.

The company plans to solicit ideas from developers before deciding on the licensing terms, Whitman said.

"We like the adoption of Android. It's growing like wildfire with a big developer community and hardware community," Whitman said, adding that HP would like to avoid fragmentation of the software that currently plagues Android.

Whitman also said HP may get back into the consumer tablet market in 2013 but it will not be making any more smartphones.

The future of webOS had been in limbo since August after HP killed its flagship webOS-based TouchPad tablet following poor sales.

While Google has the world's most-used mobile system with over 550,000 devices activated every day, HP's webOS could be an alternative to companies apprehensive that the Web search giant may compete with them directly in the smartphone handset market through its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility.

The webOS platform, which had been HP-only software, is widely viewed as a strong mobile platform, but has been criticized for having few applications -- an important consideration while choosing a mobile device.

Most developers prefer to work on Apple Inc's iOS or Google's Android because both are on millions of devices -- unlike webOS.

"Making it open source changes the rules of the game and has the potential to make (webOS) more appealing," said Van Baker, an analyst with Gartner. "It presents a potential challenge to Android, but I wouldn't call it a real challenge until we get a little further down the road."

HP still has to make sure the code is available and the tools for developers are as robust as those provided by Android to succeed, he added.

HP has not revealed its plans for any mobile hardware after the TouchPad was killed.

Source: Reuters

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

India records highest ever PC sales for a quarter

According to IDC, at 3 million units in Q3 2011, PCs registered a YOY growth of 10.8% and sequential growth of 26.6%

PC market in India thumped initial expectations and the overall market tipped off 3 million units in Q3 2011 (July – September 2011), registering the highest shipments as noted ever in the India PC market, said research firm IDC in a release.

The India PC market shipments for Q3 2011 stood at 3.09 million units, i.e. a significant sequential growth of 26.6% over the previous quarter even as the overall year-on-year growth was noted to be at 10.8%.

According to Kiran Kumar, Sr. Analyst at IDC, “The growth in Q3 was anticipated as it traditionally remains to be the largest quarter (in terms of shipments) for the India PC market. Pent-up demand and a festive season fuelled growth in the consumer segment. While Government aided expenditure and moderating domestic demand drove the growth in the commercial segments”.

Dell maintained its market leadership with a 15.5% market share in Q3 2011. HP leaped back with a strong growth to reclaim the second spot with a 13.8% share thanks to a revamp in its product-mix and a successful channel re-alignment model. While Lenovo clinched the third spot with a 12.3% share.

In another announcement, IDC also released sales and market share figures for the Hard Copy Peripherals (HCP) market in India.

The HCP market stood at 891,344 units in Q3 2011 (July – September 2011) registering the highest shipments noted ever in the India HCP market. The India HCP marked witnessed a significant sequential growth of 20.2% over the previous quarter even as the overall year on year growth was noted to be only at 1.9%. HP sustained its market leadership with a 45.8% market share.

Friday, September 2, 2011

PC sales to touch 12.71 million in 2012

The India PC market is expected to see sales (shipments) of 11.15 million units in calendar year 2011. An industry study by market intelligence firm CyberMedia Research expects sales to accelerate further by 14.0% in 2012, leading to sales of 12.71 million units.

The study points out that with nearly 10 million unit sales in 2010, the combined installed base of desktop and notebook personal computers in India is estimated to have crossed 52 million units as of December 31, 2010.

The current installed base of personal computers translates into one computer for every 25 Indians, doubling the per capita PC availability in just four years. It may be recalled that at the end of 2006 there was approximately one computer for every 50 Indians.

"The future growth of the India PC market will be driven by adoption of new form factors such as LED monitors in the commercial desktop space, netbooks, ultra lightweight notebooks and tablet computers in the portable space,” stated Anirban Banerjee, Associate Vice President, Research and Advisory Services, CyberMedia Research.

"These four form factors--desktops, ultra lightweight notebooks, netbooks and tablet computers--will co-exist, leveraging on the increase in reach and penetration of mobile broadband data services, content and 'apps'", Anirban further added.

The first tablet computer was launched in India in November 2010. Since then, the market saw a slew of launches from both MNC and Indian players. While models like Cisco's Cius and RIM’s Blackberry Playbook tablets are focused on the enterprise user segment, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Reliance 3G Tab are focused on the consumer segment. (Reliance 3G Tab manufactured by ZTE, retails at Rs. 12,999 per unit).

CyberMedia Research expects tablets to become the new battleground as major MNC and India vendors and operators race to capture a share of this emerging market.

"As telecom carriers started offering 3G services in India since early 2011, the enhanced connect speeds are expected to boost usage of data services by subscribers. For tablets to become a common man's device, the data usage tariffs for 3G services need to be brought down even further.” Anirban stated.

The first half of 2011 witnessed subdued sales in the India PC market on account of lower off take by the government, public and private sector. Lower consumer demand too added to this.

This situation is expected to correct itself in the July-September 2011 quarter as the new academic year commences witnessing strong demand from the Education sector. Consumer buying is also expected to be higher in the July-December period of 2011 on account of 'festive' season buying. Demand from the domestic large and SMB enterprise segments is expected to remain healthy.

A 'wait-and-watch' buying sentiment may continue in the corporate sector due to the ongoing uncertain economic environment in the US, Europe and Japan.

The other major development with a likely impact on leadership of the PC market was HP's announcement on August 18/19 to spin off its PC business.

"HP's strategic rethink of spinning off its US$ 40 billion Personal Systems Group may be attributed to the rapid commoditisation of the PC business in absence of any major differentiator, in the last few years. While this trend impacted every player in the market, HP's PC division recorded a significantly lower operating margin compared to its other businesses in the year ended July 2011", stated Sumanta Mukherjee, Lead Analyst, Computing Products, IT Peripherals and Channels, CyberMedia Research.

"HP also failed to leverage its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm in 2010. An unsuccessful attempt to promote devices based on WebOS not only denied HP a leadership position in the smartphones and the tablets markets, it also seems to have underlined the need for a strategic shift. Given this background and the fact that HP is still the global leader in the PC market, the call to spin off its PC business is a bold but necessary step in the right direction. It is likely to yield business benefits in the long run", Sumanta further added.

Impact on India PC Market:

While HP's top global brand status will likely mean 'business as usual' at the moment, the global announcement would definitely play on the minds of local partners. As a result, HP's India partners could adopt a cautious approach, which may not augur well for HP before the impending festive season that typically witnesses the highest consumer PC sales in the year.

"While the spoils can be shared among Acer, Dell, Lenovo and Sony, Dell is better suited to reap the most of this opportunity because of their greater exposure to the consumer space. In the long term, both Microsoft and AMD could be impacted, since HP has been a major partner for both the world's No.1 software company and the No. 2 PC processor vendor. Whatever happens, Personal Computers are unlikely to die out in India in a hurry", concluded Sumanta.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

IBM Tops Indian Super Computers

Technology giant IBM has ranked numero uno in terms of supercomputers installed in the country, with six such sites, a report by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) said.

As per the "India's Top Supercomputers list for 2011", complied and published by Supercomputer Education and Research Centre (SERC) of IISc, IBM topped the list with six high performance computing (HPC) installations across India.

Of the 16 installations featured by SERC, HP was at the second spot with five installations and SGI had two systems.

"At IBM, we deliver powerful and innovative high performance computing solutions to meet our clients' most challenging and complex problems.

These solutions enable businesses and researchers to innovate, achieve breakthrough results and establish a sustainable competitive advantage in a Smarter Planet," IBM India/SA Executive (Deep Computing, Systems and Technology Group) Subram Natarajan said.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It’s official; Microsoft buys Skype for $8.5 billion

After rumors that first Facebook and then Microsoft were in talks to acquire Skype, the latter announced that it has acquired the VoIP giant for $8.5 billion in cash.

Skype will be integrated into Microsoft devices and systems such as Xbox and Kinect, Xbox Live, the Windows Phone, Lync and Outlook, Microsoft said in a report. The company has pledged to continue supporting and developing Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms as well.

The deal, which was spearheaded by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer with assistance from Charles Songhurst, the company’s head of corporate strategy, was completed Monday evening,

The acquisition is an expensive one for Microsoft. Not only is it the largest price Microsoft has paid for a company in decades, Skype is not yet profitable. Despite revenues totaling $860 million last year and operating profits of $264 million, the company lost $6.9 million overall, according to documents filed with the SEC. And the company carries $686 million in debt.

Much of the company’s appeal rests in its largest user base of 663 million, 145 million of which use Skype monthly (Update: Microsoft says Skype has 170 million regular users), and 8.8 million of which are paying customers.

There is one clear set of winners here: Skype’s investors. A group including Silver Lake, Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board purchased the company from eBay for $2.75 billion in September 2009.

In August, Skype filed for an IPO but put plans on hold after Tony Bates joined the company as CEO in October. Bates will take on the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division and report directly to Ballmer.

Source: Linkedin News

Friday, May 6, 2011

Will Facebook Buy Skype?

Reports indicate that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is talking to Skype about either buying the company or forming a joint venture, according to Reuters.

One of the sources said Facebook is considering a buyout of Skype at a price of between $3 billion and $4 billion.

The other source told Reuters the deal won’t be a purchase by Facebook but rather a joint venture between Facebook and Skype.

Skype and Facebook are no strangers. In October, when Skype released its version 5.0 software for Windows, it included a Facebook tab that let users chat or call Facebook friends via Skype, right from the Facebook newsfeed that can be viewed from within the Skype application.

Facebook isn’t the only one chasing Skype. One of the sources talking to Reuters added that Google was also in “early talks” with Skype about a joint venture.

When we contacted Skype Wednesday night, the company responded, “As a practical matter, we avoid commenting on rumor and speculation.”

Let us know in the comments what you think of this deal and who stands to gain the most.

Source: Reuters+Agencies

Monday, May 2, 2011

India mobile users to cross 1 billion by 2015

India’s mobile subscriber base should up to 993 million by 2014, according to researcher Gartner, which expects the world’s fastest-growing mobile market to close 2010 with more than 660 million subscribers.

India is the second-largest wireless market in the world after China with its 618 million mobile subscribers at end-May, according to data from the country’s telecoms regulator. Mobile connections were at 525 million at end-2009.

While the regulator’s data also includes fixed wireless subscribers of operators like Reliance Communications and state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Gartner forecasts exclude these subscribers, Neha Gupta, a senior research analyst at the research firm, told Reuters.

She estimated India had about 519 million mobile users at end-2009, excluding the fixed wireless subscribers.

More than half of the population in India now have a mobile phone, and Gartner sees the penetration reaching 82% in 2014, it said in a statement.

Sharp fall in call charges and launch of services by new mobile operators have helped the country step up mobile subscriber additions in the past one year, but increasing mobile penetration could lead to some slow down in future growth.

“We were expecting a degrowth in 2009, given the penetration rate, but because of the entry of new operators and decrease in price points, it didn’t happen,” Gupta said.

“We are not expecting that kind of triggers in 2010,” she said.

Gupta estimated Indian operators would add mobile subscribers at a monthly average of 12 million, lower than 15 million seen in 2009.

Gartner estimated mobile service revenue in India to reach $19.8 billion by the end of 2010, up about a fifth from 2009 and reach $23 billion by the end of 2014, it said.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Watch The Grandest of Royal Wedding LIVE on Net

For the first time a British royal wedding of Britain's Prince William to university sweetheart Kate Middleton will be streamed live on the internet via an official royal channel.

April 29's event, expected to be watched by up to two billion people across the globe, will be available on www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel and accompanied by a live multi-media blog assembled by royal officials.

St James's Palace, whose officials represent Princes William and Harry, said the feed would be taken from British public broadcaster, the BBC, without a broadcaster's commentary.

"Staff at Clarence House and St James's Palace will provide a live commentary with historical information, interesting links, additional photographs and video footage as well as an integrated Twitter feed," the palace said in a statement.

Officials said it was the first time a live blog would run alongside a live stream on video-sharing website YouTube for any occasion.

In addition, an official video "Wedding Book" on YouTube invites anyone to submit their own video of congratulations to the couple.

The royal family, previously seen as out of touch with modern Britain, is making extensive use of the internet and a variety of social media applications in the run-up to the big day.

Photographs related to the wedding will be released via photo-sharing site Flikr, and announcements on the day itself will be published on the official wedding site http://www.officialroyalwedding2011.org

The royal family even have a page on social networking site Facebook (www.facebook.com/TheBritishMonarchy).

"Facebook users can click the 'I'm attending' button on 'The Royal Wedding' event to show their interest in the event," St James's Palace said.

Source: Reuters

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ISRO PSLV C-16 Rocket Launch Successful

ISRO or Indian Space Research Organisation PSLV C-16 was successfully launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota at 10.12 am on Wednesday morning. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is carrying a remote sensing satellite Resourcesat-2 and two mini spacecraft.

The countdown, which began at 0342 hours today, was progressing smoothly, ISRO sources said.

Apart from Resourcesat-2, the PSLV-C16 will also launch two other satellites, Youthsat and X-Sat. The 1206 kg Resourcesat-2, the primary satellite, has been built by ISRO for facilitating the study and management of natural resources.

The 92 kg Youthsat is a joint Indo-Russian satellite for stellar and atmospheric studies. X-Sat, weighing 106 kg, is a microsatellite for imaging applications built by Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

However, it still waits to be seen if ISRO's scientists can taste success even on the GSLV that it still needs to perfect.

Await more news...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Work cutoff for ISRO scientists

India Space Research Organization (ISRO) has established itself as a reliable worldwide service provider for the launch of light satellites up to 2 tons. However, they have not been able to replicate this success with heavier satellites. The team of scientists from ISRO will have their hands full perfecting the launch vehicles for the heavier satellites. The timetable calls for the launch of atleast three or four satellites this calendar year. The future of India's moon mission could depend on this success.

ISRO had earlier this year announced that it plans to launch a number of satellites within this calendar year. These include the launch of Resourcesat-2, Meghtropiques, Youthsat and X-sat satellites all scheduled for this year’s launch.

While the Resourcesat-2, is an advanced remote sensing satellite, Youthsat, is a participatory scientific mission with payloads from both Russia and India, and X-sat, Singapore's first indigenous satellite put off since last year are expected to be launched on board of PSLV C-16 during the next few months,

Despite the failures of two GSLV satellite launches last year, “The morale of our scientists remains high,” K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of ISRO told reporters a press conference after the crash. But the team at ISRO has been tight lipped and not willing to reveal anything more to the media.

Experts say the year 2010 was bad for ISRO. It had the recent failure for a heavy satellite launch -- GSLV-F06, rocket carrying a 2,130 kg communication satellite, which exploded 63 seconds after taking off from Sriharikota in December 2010. Earlier on April 15, 2010 GSLV-D3 developmental flight carrying GSAT4 onboard failed on take-off and plunged into the sea.

Experts say if these satellites had been successfully launched it would have guaranteed India as a super space power. Success or failures are part and parcel of space program and ISRO is no exception. NASA, Russians and the European Space Agency have also had many failures mixed with success.

In fact, according to a Wikipedia report, since 1991 when India launched the GSLV program it has been a mixed bag of successes and failures. It kicked off with GSLV Mk.I, GSAT-1, a satellite with a payload of 1,540 kg was termed as partial success. A number of subsequent launches followed with success and failures. So out of the seven GSLV launches so far four were categorized as success or partial success while three of them failed.

Interestingly, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) is built on top of the earlier successful Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). There was the addition of liquid strap-on boosters and a cryogenic upper stage to put a 5000 kg into an easterly low Earth orbit. Indian GSLV engine makes use of liquid hydrogen and oxygen that did not ignite properly leading to earlier failures.

The government has also constituted a review committee to look into the failures, the committee will now only look into the failure of the GSLV program and also future launches like the INSAT-3D and Chandrayaan-II. This is more grueling work for the ISRO team since the operation would require an indigenous cryogenic stage.

The country’s ambitious moon project, Chandrayaan II project is expected to be launched in 2013 or 2014 and the scientists are need to act fast to meet the aggressive time-line.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Billionaire Buffett in India during March 2011

Multi-billionaire Warren Buffet will speak at a fund raising campaign in New Delhi next week. He will launch his firm's insurance selling portal and will meet policy holders at an event at the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi, as per a report on the company's website.

Berkshire India, which will now sell its general insurance policies or products through its berkshireinsurance.com portal. It has invited all policy holders to register for the March 25 event at the Taj.

Buffet is ranked No 3 world's richest by Forbes in 2011 and is expected to attend a ground breaking ceremony in South Korea on March 21 before flying into India.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mahindra, Cisco Systems enter into a strategic alliance

MUMBAI: Mahindra Group on Tuesday signed a strategic alliance with Cisco Systems . The joint venture will collaborate on global platform and provide cloud computing services.

Cisco said that the partnership with Mahindra will work on areas including connecting communities. The JV has an ambitious target market at $5 billion in 5 years.

Mahindra & Mahindra, Vice Chairman, Anand Mahindra said: "The JV will provide cloud computing services and will involve M&M group across geographies."

The partnership will also involve many contracts.

Mahindra said, "This is about a partnership and it is a partnership not just of one contract but involving many contracts between Mahindra and Cisco, not just in India but across the world. This is about an Indian company moving from simply looking at itself as a service provider to partnering Cisco in joint go-to-market initiatives."

At 12:19 Tech Mahindra was up 7.7% at Rs 729.40. It touched a high of Rs 727.20 and low of Rs 676.40 in trade so far. Around 1.50 lakh shares were traded in the counter. Mahindra Satyam was up 4.48% at Rs Rs 65.35.

With this joint venture M&M and Cisco will focus on the Internet. The two companies believe that the web will dramatically change the way in which businesses function and in the way that services are provided to customers.

"The second belief that we share with Cisco is that companies that are able to harness innovation in providing services to their customers are the ones that are going to be left standing and in fact standing on the victory podium. I believe that Cisco does truly understand that India can be a game changer in leveraging innovation," added Mahindra.

When asked about what has the JV got for Cisco, Mahindra said, "I have already mentioned one very important thing that they are going to be able to get even more traction in India, more reach in penetration through us. Cisco can also leverage us as a game changer for innovation through the internet as a way of reaching customers throughout the globe and therefore in essence they are going to leapfrog."

"For Mahindra the joint venture would help in becoming a brand that epitomise customer centricity and innovation that is very critical for us and we want to be known for this around the world. We believe that we can bring value to them and we believe that by tying up with them we will strengthen and enhance our capabilities to be more customer centric and innovative." said Mahindra.

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