Tuesday, September 30, 2008


New York
The Economic Times

Sprint Nextel Corp announced a one-market launch of Xohm, its next generation high-speed wireless data service based on WiMax, with pay-per-day options as well as monthly service fees. The Monday launch in Baltimore, Maryland, comes before Sprint's expected completion in the fourth quarter of a venture with Clearwire Corp to build a larger network based on WiMax, which promises to blanket entire cities with wireless Internet access.

Sprint, which has been working to stem customer losses from its existing services, said consumers in Baltimore would be able to try out the service for $10 a day or pay $25 a month for home access or $30 a month for mobile service. The company, which envisions consumers each owning multiple gadgets that can connect to its WiMax network, is also offering a $50 a month service for coverage for two WiMax devices.

The first devices supporting the service include Samsung Electronics connection cards for $59.99 that could be slotted into a computer. A Nokia wireless Web tablet will be available later this year along with laptop computers with built-in WiMax support and a device that supports access to Sprint's existing network as well as the WiMax network.

Sprint and Clearwire have said their joint venture, which will be called Clearwire, will offer WiMax services covering potentially 140 million consumers by the end of 2010.


The Economic Times

Apple Inc shares tumbled 16 percent on Monday, their biggest drop in seven years, amid concerns the maker of Mac computers and other consumer electronics will suffer as the economy slows.

Two brokerages cut their price targets, earnings forecasts and stock recommendations on the company, which also makes iPod music players and iPhones.

"We worry that consensus estimates have not been revised down to reflect slowing global consumer demand and that a broadly positive investment bias ... limits upside to (Apple) shares over the next three to six months," said Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty.


The Economic Times

The world's top cellphone maker Nokia said on Monday it would focus its services development on consumers rather than businesses. Nokia said it was in advanced talks to sell its security appliances business to a financial investor, while it would halt development and marketing of its "behind-the-firewall" corporate software. The measures will affect in total around 700 staff, it said.


New York
The Economic Times

Shares in DISH Network Corp fell more than 14 percent on Monday after phone company AT&T Inc said it would end a marketing agreement with the satellite company next year in favor of a pact with DISH's rival DIRECTV Group.

AT&T said on Friday that after its five-year contract with DISH ends on Jan 31, DirecTV would take over a multiyear partnership to jointly sell video services alongside AT&T's fixed line phone, wireless phone and high speed Internet.

DirecTV will be the video partner in regions that AT&T's new advanced video service, U-verse, does not reach. Analysts said the long-expected decision by AT&T leaves DISH in a difficult position versus DirecTV and other cable competitors.


New York
The Economic Times

TiVo Inc. and Nero AG of Germany were set to announce Monday that they will be launching a package that turns a Windows PC into a TV recorder, just like a TiVo set-top box.

The kit will cost $199 when it goes on sale Oct. 15, and includes a remote and a TV tuner that plugs into the PC. The interface on the computer screen looks just like the one on a TV equipped with a TiVo box.

It's not the first software that allows TV recording on the PC. That's been possible for years on computers equipped with TV tuners, and some versions of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista operating system include the necessary software. But it will be the first time that both the TiVo interface and functions have been replicated on a PC.

The Nero LiquidTV/TiVo PC will go on sale initially in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, but it could open up some markets where TiVo does not yet sell its set-top boxes. Joshua Danovitz, vice president and general manager of international business at TiVo, said the plan is to launch it in Europe next year, including in Nero's home country, Germany. Britain is the only European country where TiVo currently has subscribers.


Santanu Mishra
The Economic Times

The Advent of information technology (IT) has changed the way transactions are done. Simple banking transactions such as cash withdrawal, which used to consume a lot of time, can now be executed within minutes.

Today, IT has become an indispensable tool for not just banking, but all sectors. Given the phase of consolidation in India Inc, the role of technology has gradually changed. Due to increasing competition, managing information has become strategic in nature for many industries like banking, retail and financial services among others. This is where technology plays an important role by speeding up the process of decision making.

Many of the aforementioned services have been commoditised and it is very important for a company to generate and use the information, which its competitors might not have. The company can use such asymmetric information to gain competitive advantage. People and such data are two of the major assets for industries. Companies can use different analytics tool to convert such data into useful information. Earlier, such works within a company was looked down upon as just another cost centre. But, the situation has changed and now, IT-related work is often under the direct supervision of the senior management.

"At Citigroup, we have two main objectives - delivering value to our customers and leveraging our assets to maximise the benefits," says Ron Guggenheimer, senior director, fixed income analytics, capital markets and banking, Citigroup. In a competitive market, there are number of reasons why a company needs to have an edge over its competitors. One, products and services are being increasingly commoditised and secondly, customer expectations are increasing.

A live example in place is Citigroup, which has changed the business model using the credit card data. The outcome of such use of analytical tools is that it has created business partnership with many retailers. Also, it is better-equipped to predict the consumer behaviour. "Citigroup has partnered with SaS for a long time and the analytics has helped Citigroup for site location, store location, workforce optimisation and finding customer profiles and overlaps among others," says Guggenheimer.

What an organisation needs to create such analytics capability is an enterprise worthy business intelligence and analytics platform. Further, the companies need to speak to the core clients and find out the requirements. Another important question that many organisations face is the return on investment on such analytical tools. Guggenheimer says Citigroup was very careful while selecting its first application. But over a period of time such investments have benefited the organisation a lot and the adoption of new tools have never been an issue for Citigroup since both Citigroup and SaS have shared a long-term partnership.


N Shivapriya & Rashmi Pratap, Mumbai
The Economic Times

UK telecom major British Telecom (BT) is learnt to have put the sale of its stake in Tech Mahindra on the back burner following the dramatic collapse of Wall Street’s giants.

“BT has temporarily put the process on the hold because of bad market conditions,” sources told ET. Although the market was bearish when BT had initiated discussions for the stake sale, there was no crisis of the current scale and impact. “BT would not like to sell in such a market,” said the source.

The telecom operator was earlier in discussions with a few top private equity players to sell part of its stake, and buyout firm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR), was reported to be among the top contenders. Tech Mahindra scrip closed at Rs 609.35 on Monday, down 2.54 percent from its previous close. At this price, the market capitalisation of the company is around Rs 7,425 crore, valuing BT’s 31 percent stake at Rs 2,301 crore.

“The stock price is much below the Rs 750 levels that it had reached in July this year when BT was actively considering sale. In the current market scenario, a sale will not give BT the desired returns as it will fail to capture the real value of the company,” said another source. “BT will wait for the market to stabilise,” he added. In response to a questionnaire from ET, a BT spokesperson stated, “BT does not comment on rumour and speculation. BT has operations and investments worldwide, which we regularly review. India remains a critical market both for BT and our customers, and we expect to continue developing both the operational network and service presence that we have established over a number of years.”

A Tech Mahindra official said, “The company does not comment on market rumour and speculation.” BT is Tech Mahindra’s number one customer contributing over 60 percent of revenues. It has committed business worth over $2 billion to Tech Mahindra. The two partners have enjoyed a good relationship and there was no immediate trigger for BT’s decision to sell part of its stake, excepting to monetise its value. BT’s profits have been under pressure and analysts had said this was one of the more immediate motivations. The Tech Mahindra stock had hit a high of Rs 1,550 in October last year and has been slipping after that.


Chennai, Hyderabad
Business Standard

Leading personal computer seller, Dell, opened its learning centre at the SOS Children’s Village in Vottinagulapally near Hyderabad on Monday.

The centre will have a computer room with 20 PCs with Internet capability, a music room comprising instruments like drums, tabla, guitar, sitar, harmonium and synthesiser, and a library room with books and CDs ranging from academic, entertainment and general knowledge.

Addressing mediapersons, Rajeev Kapoor, site director (Hyderabad, Dell International Services), said the centre, which involved an investment of $40,000 (around Rs 18.4 lakh), will also provide opportunities for Dell employees in Hyderabad to share their time and knowledge and become role models for the children.


The Economic Times Mint

Software services firm Infotech Enterprises is eyeing an acquisition in Germany for its design engineering business, Chairman BK Mohan Reddy told a news channel on Monday.

The acquisition is worth $40 million, he added.


Shivani Shinde & Kalpana Pathak, Mumbai
Business Standard

Symphony Technology Group (STG), the US-based strategic holding company founded by an Indian, plans to invest $900 million (around Rs 4,230 crore) to expand its group firms over the next three to four years.

“Most of the $900 million will be spent on acquisitions. The current economic environment does not change our strategy, which is to invest in companies in the US, Europe and India,” Romesh Wadhwani, chairman, STG, said. Wadhwani had earlier said that his acquisition targets are from software and services, financial services, retail, consumer goods and telecom verticals.

The over $2-billion company wants to achieve a revenue target of $5 billion by 2010-11, and believes the acquisition route to be just right to achieve this target. Wadhwani feels that despite the current slowdown it is an achievable target. “I am still hopeful that STG can be a $5- billion revenue firm in 2010 or 2011, but we have a lot of work ahead of us to get there,” he said. “I am hopeful that the economic recession in the US will affect Symphony less than the traditional IT services players since its customers are less affected by the recession,” he added.

The group so far has nine companies including Bangalore-based Symphony Services and Symphony Marketing Solutions. Of these, nine firms, many have significant offshore presence in India.

STG had raised $1 billion in December last year, of which $500 million was contributed by Wadhwani, while around $300 million came from the Government of Singapore and $100 million each from two US universities.

Of the $1 billion raised, the company has spent $100 million for the acquisition of US-based Netik and Sweden-headquartered Teleca.

Wadhwani also said that he hopes to list Symphony Services by 2009 as long as it maintains its growth rate and keeps improving its profitability.


The Hindu Business Line

HCL Technologies’ ambition of expanding its enterprise application services has found expression in its £441 million offer for the Axon Group in the UK. But if the offer goes through, HCL Tech will be introducing debt and interest charges in its balance sheet, which hitherto featured negligible leverage. Media reports suggest that HCL Tech would borrow £400 million at 6.5 percent to fund this deal. The rest is from internal accruals. HCL Tech had about Rs 2,460 crore of cash (around £290 million) as of June 2008.

The benefits from this deal for HCL Tech include an expansion of the European geography, increase in enterprise application service offerings and getting access to verticals such as oil and gas and Government clientele through Axon’s established practise. Axon has been a consulting and solutions implementation partner of SAP for the past 14 years. Axon’s strength in consulting and solutions implementation is evident from the fact that the company derives 19 and 69 percent revenues respectively from these two services.

Enterprise application services, including package implementation and associated consulting services, command higher billing rates compared to traditional application development and maintenance services. This service contributes 11 percent of HCL Tech’s revenues, the lowest among tier 1 IT players. The acquisition would therefore provide considerable scope for HCL Tech to ramp up on this count.

But acquiring a company with a relatively low margin has its own challenges. HCL Tech’s net profit margin of 14 percent is already several rungs lower than frontline peers, while that of Axon is 10 percent. It also remains to be seen how much of work can be offshored, as only that would enable a low-cost high-billing scenario, thus enabling margin expansion. But even this can happen only over a longer time frame.

Similar challenges in relation to the Axon acquisition apply to Infosys as well. But Infosys has about $2 billion in cash and equivalents, making it relatively easy for it to finance a possible deal.

Infosys derived $993 or 24 percent of its 2007-08 revenues from consulting and package implementation services. Within this, 33 percent was from SAP package implementation and related services.


Mint The Economic Times (Delhi edition)

Software solution provider California Software (Calsoft) has developed a specialised module in Oracle implementation.

Beehive is a collaboration tool announced by Oracle that takes messages from calenders, instant messaging and email and displays them in a unified format, according to a release issued here today.

The tool was under development for three years. Beehive was an open platform that can work with many of the industry’s most popular platforms.

Beehive’s security model has a series of computer instructions to limit the amount of data that can be shared and ensure the integrity of corporate servers. This integrated and extensible set of collaboration services, would transform the way in which organisations collaborate.

The tool works with existing software like Outlook and Thunderbird, but allows diverse teams using a variety of programmes to communicate and organise within a new framework without having to rely on single common application.


Krishnan Raghu, Bangalore
Mint The Hindu Business Line The Economic Times (Mumbai edition) DNA Hindustan Times

Subex Ltd, a Bangalore telecom software firm said it won an order of $50 million or Rs 235 crore from British Telecom Plc, to provide fraud detection and revenue assurance software and offer their services over three years.

The framework contract specifically covers fraud detection, domestic and international interconnect, international billing and settlements and event integrity, it said in a statement.

BT is already an existing customer for Subex.

Subex stock lost 0.84% to end the day at Rs 77.


New Delhi
Business Standard The Economic Times The Hindu Business Line The Financial Express The Hindu The Telegraph Deccan Chronicle The Asian Age

Information Technology's trade body National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) will revise its industry growth forecast in the first week of December. Though the industry would be able to meet the $60-billion target for 2010, the body may revise software exports growth forecast downwards by few percentage points for 2008-09 due to the US financial turmoil.

"The current financial crisis in the US has certainly impacted the domestic IT industry as a majority of the business comes from the US. However, by how much we would come to know in December after the review comes up. There will be a short-term impact," said Som Mittal, president, Nasscom. In July, Nasscom had forecast revenue growth rate in the range between 21 and 24 percent to reach $50 billion in FY08-09.

However, the financial turmoil has led the domestic IT firms to explore new territories in Europe, Asia and West Asia thereby decreasing their dependence on the US, Mittal said.

He also said that the scope for embedded designs and manufacturing of hybrid chips is high. This has also led to a rise in merger and acquisition opportunities.

In third and fourth quarters, we will see a large number of acquisitions as the aspirations of the companies are rising and it is cheaper to buy companies as valuations are lower now," Mittal said on the sidelines of the EmergeOut Conclave 2008.

Small and medium enterprises (SME) are likely to see more merger and acquisition activity as their growth is faster at about 43 percent than the industry average of 30 percent.

Analysts also concur with Mittal’s statement and said that the low sentiment in the overall market will remain only for third quarter. Diptarup Chakraborti, principal research analyst, Gartner, said that there can be restructuring in companies such as HP-EDS and after some time, supply of talent may exceed demand. Indian firms are likely to buy small companies overseas rather than buying domestic companies.

The US government's $700 billion bailout fund to buy bad debt is likely to help markets to recover, Mittal said.


Farah H Chitalwala

University of Pune has tied up with Intel India, to offer an MSc in VLSI design,"Intel has partnered with us on curriculum design and provides visiting faculty for specific topics," says, Dr PB Vidyasagar, director, board of college and university development, University of Pune. The company also provides six month internships to the students and recruited three out of the 10 students of the pilot batch.

"VLSI design is the process of creating integrated circuits which are used in consumer electronics like computers, printers, laptops etc," explains DR AD Shaligram, head, department of Electronic Science, University of Pune. India is fast becoming a global hub for this process. The growth rate for the embedded design industry of which VLSI is a part, is projected by the Indian Semi Conductor Association as 23% CAGR (2005-2010) and create 780000 jobs by 2015.

"We decided to short list university of Pune on the basis of two criteria. The first being its competence in the field of electronics and second, the flexibility that they allowed us in moulding the curriculum as per industry requirements," says, Manav Subodh, head (South and West India), Corporate Affairs, Intel India.


The Hindu Business Line

Agilent Technologies, the $5.4-billion global measurement company, is set to launch the next-generation DNA sequencer by end of 2008.

The new high throughput crunching machine would be able to do pinpointed sequencing of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) of portions of the human genome.

This would, in effect, mean faster and cheaper method of getting the desired genetic information from the sample of an individual. At present, DNA sequencers rapidly sequence the entire genome, giving out large amounts of data.

The DNA sequencer, called ‘Sure Select’, will be globally launched, including in India in the next 2-3 months, said Chris Grimley, Senior Marketing Director (Genomics), of Agilent Technologies Life Sciences Unit.

The machine would have the ability to sequence DNA in a massively parallel manner as well as easily target specific regions of the genomes under study, he said

Agilent Technologies is amongst the leaders in high throughput DNA sequencers. It had acquired Velocity XI, US towards the end of 2007 to enhance its robotic capabilities, he told Business Line here on Monday.

Monday, September 29, 2008


September 28, 2008
The Times of India
Apple has started selling unlocked models of its popular iPhone 3G in Hong Kong, which allow users the freedom to select the telecoms provider of their choice. Apple said the phone can be activated with any wireless carrier. The move is a shift from Apple’s previous strategy of tying the phone exclusively to a single mobile operator in each country or territory. As you can imagine, the unlocked sans-contract version of the iPhone 3G comes at a premium over the subsidized with-contract version that we get here. The 8GB and 16GB sell for about $700 and $800, respectively, pricing it at around the same range as an unlocked HTC Touch Diamond.


New York, September 28, 2008
The Economic Times

DirecTV Group Inc, the largest US satellite television provider, said on Friday AT&T Inc had picked it to offer a co-branded package of video, home telephone, wireless phone and Internet service from Feb 1, 2009.

The news mean AT&T will not be renewing its five-year partnership with DISH Network Corp raising new concern about future of the second largest satellite TV provider.

DirecTV will begin selling the joint service in a new multi-year contract once AT&T's current partnership with DISH Network expires on Jan 31.

AT&T said current AT&T/DISH customers will continue to receive the same service after that date. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. New AT&T/DirecTV customers will get DirecTV programming with the benefit of a discount for bundling other AT&T services, including phone and broadband services.


Chennai, September 28, 2008
The Economic Times

Malta today said it would provide various incentives to aspiring Indian companies for settling up operations in the European island nation.

"Malta, the newest entry into the European Union, is a well-connected investment location, which boasts of an advanced communications set-up and business environment", Malta's High Commissioner H E Wilfred Kenely told reporters here at an event organised by South India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI).

"Malta Enterprise Act (ME Act) provides incentives for foreign direct investors and local enterprises demonstrating commitment toward growth. Enterprises engaged in manufacturing, ICT development activities, call centres, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, filming and audio visual may benefit from these incentives," he added.


Coimbatore, September 29, 2008
The Hindu Business Line

Expertus has received the Chief Learning Officer (CLO) Magazine's `Learning in Practice' award for excellence in customer service. The award was presented at the CLO symposium held in Coronado, California.

Expertus has, in a release, said that the company won for its work with global networking company's IT learning group.

Expertus helped the organisation combine all classes into a global catalogue, designed tools to track and manage scheduling activities, booking/ cancellation, provided live support to both instructors and learners for virtual class, ensured effective delivery of the courses.


September 29, 2008
The Economic Times

Global majors Microsoft, Cisco, IBM and Xerox generate over 50% to their India revenues from small and medium businesses by offering relevant products.

Like in all other eco-systems, the small and the big coexist in business, making each other relevant for each other. Take for instance, the information technology business. While all of us would think that the biggies of the business depend primarily on multinational giants to jack up their toplines, many of them are increasingly turning towards small and medium enterprises for more business.

Sample this: Microsoft just launched a new product called Business Essentials which will come at one-fifth the price of a regular ERP package to address a large segment of emerging businesses, which at the moment finds switching to ERP solutions a tad expensive. The package will be a lighter version of a regular ERP package delivering only the essential applications for emerging businesses. "With Business Essentials we are targeting small business up to the range of Rs 50 crore. Small businesses of today will be the large ones of the future," says Rajeev Mittal, group director, Microsoft India. Consumers in this category had to buy a quality ERP package for Rs 10-15 lakh but this one now starts from Rs 2.5-3 lakh along with licensed implementation at the client end by Microsoft partners. The SME market already contributes over 50% to Microsoft's India business. The Indian SMB sector contributes over 60% to Indian GDP, and yet its IT spend is only 30% of the total IT spend of $22 billion by Indian companies, says Zinnov Consulting report.


Sanjay Vijay Kumar, Chennai, September 29, 2008
Financial Chronicle

Switzerland, which has been at the forefront of the nanotechnology curve, is in shortage of engineers in this core-competitive sector and would recruit people from all over the world, including India, Christian D Watts, regional director, Swiss business hub for IMEA (India, Middle East and Africa) said.

Micro and nano technology are among technology fields with greatest potential for innovation. The country has significant technological and scientific know-how in the segment.

Speaking at the sidelines of a Switzerland business conference, Watts said the requirement is significant, but refused to disclose the number of people required.

The conference, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), was led by a delegation of officials from the Swiss Embassy, trade, investment and consultancy.

Academic institutions in Switzerland collaborate with other research institutes across the world and research activities in micro, and nanotechnologies cover a very broad range from materials science to production and processing technologies to the invention and development of components and systems.

Watts also said the country is keen to attract investments in the field of biotechnology, medical technology, information and communication technologies, environmental technologies, micro and nanotechnology, which are the five cornerstones driving Switzerland’s economy. Switzerland is also keen to invest in India's infrastructure, solar and power sector.

Swiss Consulate General office in Bangalore: Switzerland plans to open a Consulate General office in Bangalore next year, Peter E Specker, Consul-General of Switzerland, Swiss Consulate, Mumbai, said.

He added that the consulate is expected to be established by March and would benefit the Switzerland-bound entrepreneurs, business travellers and tourists from this part of the country who travelled to Mumbai for getting their visa and meeting other requirements.

Swissnex, a network of science and technology outposts, would be attached to the Bangalore office.


Amiti Sen, New Delhi, September 29, 2008
The Economic Times

A number of units in special economic zones (SEZs), especially those set up by IT companies, may not get 100% tax exemption on profits, at least for the next few months. The empowered group of ministers (eGoM) on SEZs does not seem keen to review section 10 AA (7) of the Income-Tax Act which states that only a proportion of profits, based on the proportion of export sales from the SEZ unit to the total turnover of the company, will be exempt from taxation.

The commerce department had asked the eGoM to correct the anomaly in the I-T Act since SEZ units, in theory, were supposed to be given a 100% tax holiday in the first five years of operations. If the eGoM refuses to take a view on the issue, then the matter has to be taken to the Cabinet so that the I-T Act can be amended. “This will not be possible till the new government is in place next year,” an official source said.

While Section 10 AA (7) will not affect those companies that have set up independent subsidiaries in the SEZs, units set up by IT companies under the parent company might get caught in the taxation net. For instance, if an IT unit in a SEZ exports 50% of the company’s total turnover, then the exemption on the profit that it makes from exports will be restricted to only 50% instead of 100% –– notwithstanding the promise made in the SEZ Act.

Speaking to ET, a government source said the eGoM was not comfortable with the taxation issues and wanted those to be addressed at a “more appropriate” forum. “The commerce department has been informed by the eGoM that the issue related to interpretation of Section 10AA (7) of the I-T Act may not be settled within the group. It should be settled elsewhere,” the source said.

According to sources in the commerce department, if the eGoM refuses to sort out the issue, it has to be taken to the Cabinet by the department. If the Cabinet gives its nod to the department’s proposal of giving 100% tax exemption on profits to units in SEZs, then the I-T Act would need to be amended by Parliament.

All this would take some time. Since the government will be in election mode early next year, it is unlikely that anything in the area could be done before the new government is sworn in, sources added.


Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee, New Delhi, September 29, 2008
The Hindu Business Line

HCL Technologies, which rivaled Infosys’ bid for Axon Group, has tied up the £400-million loan component to fund its offer, at an attractive interest rate of about 6.5 percent per annum, based on the current dollar LIBOR rate.

According to sources, the borrowing has been structured in such a way that the loan attracts a dollar LIBOR instead of pound.

“The loan carries an option for HCL Technologies to draw down in equivalent of dollars. This is a commercially evaluated decision. Given the borrowing cost of 6.5 percent per annum compared to our treasury yield of about 10 percent on our own funds, it becomes clear as to why HCL Technologies decided to maximise loan component for funding the acquisition,” sources pointed out.

Last week, HCL Technologies announced a cash offer of 650 pence a share for the UK-based SAP consulting company valuing it at £441.1 million, over eight percent higher than a rival £407 million offer made by Bangalore-based Infosys Technologies.

HCL has inked an ‘inducement fee contract’ with Axon, which entitles it to get one percent of the bid amount if it failed to acquire the consultancy firm..


New Delhi, September 28, 2008
Business Standard
Nasdaq-listed Internet security provider Check Point Software Technologies has announced that it has begun shipping of a new version of Check Point Endpoint Security, the first single agent for endpoint security to combine the highest-rated firewall, network access control (NAC), program control, remote access, antivirus, antispyware, full disk encryption and media encryption with port protection in India.


Chennai/ Thiruvananthapuram, September 29, 2008
Business Standard

Thiruvananthapuram-based IBS Software will deploy its new-generation passenger service system aiRES for Maldivian, the national airline of Maldives.

The solution is to help Maldivian manage its passenger reservations, inventory control, fares and ticketing, and departure control functions.

Maldivian has chosen IBS’ solution for its cost-effectiveness; optimum fit, short implementation time and flexible features that include web distribution, GDS, and credit card payment gateways.

“Through its open architecture, aiRES will enable Maldivian to broaden its customer service offering by integrating it with its distribution channels,” the company said in a release.

Maldivian operates scheduled flights to Thiruvananthapuram and is looking to add destinations such as Colombo in November 2008 in its bid to boost tourism to the nation and to provide better convenience for the locals traveling abroad.


New Delhi, September 29, 2008
Business Standard

The Indian semi-conductor industry lobbied hard and eventually obtained an elaborate package of incentives from the government to enable India to secure a foothold in the global semi-conductor play. But market forces have caused a range of private projects to be announced, and action has been taken on some of them even before any incentives have been sanctioned! Over a dozen proposals have been announced, proposing a massive investment of Rs 1,36,000 crore. Work has already started on a couple of projects, which are likely to go on stream by 2010. Thus, in the field of semi-conductors, which lie at the heart of information technology and in the manufacture of which India has so far been a non-starter, the train has left the platform — without any of the incentives which were controversial when they were announced, because many considered them unnecessary, for two very good reasons: the industry is hugely capital-intensive and delivers low margins, and what it produces is easily imported.

So why spend vast sums of pubic money in bolstering up such an industry?

The rapid progress has happened mostly because of the way oil prices have skyrocketed in the last couple of years, making the whole world and India, as one of the major emerging consumers of energy, take a fresh hard look at renewable energy. Most of the proposals aired so far relate to the production of solar panels and target photovoltaic and poly-silicon. The latter is used to manufacture photovoltaic modules that make up arrays or solar panels. Prominent companies, which are serious players include Moser Baer and Tata BP Solar. Activity has taken off in this segment of the semi-conductor space because of two reasons. The manufacture of poly-silicon in India is now considered viable in view of the current high global prices, which are the result of a global shortage of capacity. On the other hand, those who are going in for the manufacture of photovoltaic with imported poly-silicon are hoping that the price of the latter will go down once several projects under construction all over the world come on stream.


September 29, 2008
The Economic Times

It wasn't long ago when a printer was just another printer - it did what it was supposed to do - Print! Fastforward to today, there has been a near 180-degree shift. As business demands increase, the printer is morphing beyond its core functions, offering customers more value for money and is rapidly evolving.

While printers have added copying functionality, copiers have added print controllers. As a result, the printer and copier markets are converging. Printer-based MFPs typically offer the lowest acquisition price while copier-based MFPs provide a low cost perpage. However, under-utilised copiers represent another type of additional cost. While they offer a low cost-per-page, the actual cost of the hardware in conjunction with low utilisation is dramatically higher.

For volumes below 20,000 pages-per-month, printer-based MFPs are typically more economical. In addition, you have the option to buy several MFPs and reduce the number of users per device without significantly increasing your total cost.

"Multi-function devices are increasingly redefining office life, helping organisations to consolidate investment, maximise space and simplify workflow processes. MFDs also simplify supply ordering and minimise maintenance calls, saving time, money, and critical resources for SMBs," says Samir Shah, director, commercial & enterprise printing business, Imaging & Printing Group, HP India.

An increasing number of customers are considering color MFDs that not only combine printing and copying but also produce black-and-white output at the same cost and performance as black-and-white devices. "The new generation color MFDs are designed to remove one of the key barriers to color adoption by reducing the cost of printing black and white documents to the same level as that on monochrome printers, while simultaneously delivering on the quality and experience of color in the office," explains Shah.


Vinod Mishra, Hong Kong, September 29, 2008
The Times of India

Hewlett-Packard, world's largest technology company, will be expanding its retail business in India to further strengthen its consumer leadership. HP will roll out 7,500 new stores in 1,000 cities and experience stores across Asia Pacific region.

With these new stores, HP will broaden its consumer reach to 25,000 retail partner stores in the region by 2010. "We have a massive plan and a large number of new stores will be based in India," Christopher Morgan, senior vice-president, Imaging and Printing Group (IPG), HP Asia Pacific and Japan, said. Besides big cities, HP will focus on increasing its retail presence in non-metropolitan cities like Jaipur, Morgan said while addressing the two-day HP Asia Pacific regional press event in Hong Kong on September 16.

This will help consumers of non-metropolitan cities to enjoy access to retail partner stores merchandising HP's full range of consumer offerings. In addition, HP is driving deeper engagement with key consumer segments with new alternate experience centres.

"Consumers today value personalised experiences. These centres will further complement and strengthen HP's growing retail footprint," said See Chin Teik, senior V-P, personal systems group (PSG), HP Asia Pacific and Japan. These centres will reach out to consumers for an intuitive, enjoyable and convenient shopping experience particularly for women, youth and families.

It will introduce a special edition notebook PC in collaboration with world-renowned fashion designer Vivienne Tam early 2009 to take care of women's interests in fashion. To cater to the need of youth, it will come up with world's first EA experience store in Hong Kong with a wide range of HP desktops and notebooks. These are installed with game specific, desktop icons and skins contributing to enhanced experience for gamers. To attract families, the HP has tied up with Indian retail group Future Group to set up photo centres that will inspire them to do more with their digital photos. The centres would provide users access to an easy-to-use, safe and convenient photo printing experience.

The company also introduced a comprehensive range of scalable products and solutions for businesses designed to help drive an enhanced customer experience at retail. The new offerings include HP rp300 Point of Sale solution that can easily integrate into any retail's IT environment.


New Delhi, September 28, 2008
Business Standard
Bangalore-headquartered IT services provider WEP Solutions has launched its managed security services business. With its new managed security services (MSS) offerings, WEP solutions will cater to the security needs of mid-sized and large enterprises. WEP solutions MSS addresses business risk mitigation, business asset protection and business productivity by delivering an end-to-end security services offering


Chennai, September 28, 2008
Business Standard
Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), has launched a new software BOSS (Bharat Operating Systems Solutions) Linux 3.0 in 18 Indian languages which will help the governments across the country in rolling out their e-governance initiatives. The free open source software can be installed on C-DAC’s website. C-DAC has also signed an agreement for deploying this new operating system with four states including, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Bihar and Tamil Nadu. By the end of the year, five more states will be signing an agreement with CDAC, according to M R Rajagopalan, director, C-DAC, Chennai.

Friday, September 26, 2008


San Francisco
The Economic Times

Google has released a kit for software developers to create fun, hip or functional programs for the "G-phone" in a direct challenge to Apple's hot-selling iPhone.

The Android 1.0 software developers kit lets computer programming wizards customize applications that will work on the open-source platform built into the G1 handsets being brought to market by telecom carrier T-Mobile.

The T-Mobile G1 phones are heralded as the first of a generation of devices built on the Google-led Android operating platform.

Apple recently began letting outside developers customize applications for iPhones and iPod Touch models but vets programs carefully and safeguards details of proprietary software built into its products.


Financial Chronicle

The "father" of the Internet has warned that the web will run out of IP addresses by 2010, saying the web does not have enough unique codes that allow computers to communicate with each other.

Vint Cerf, the "father" of the web, said when the Internet protocol (IP) addresses do run out, the connectivity of the Internet will be damaged and many computers will be unable to go online.

"This is like the Internet running out of telephone numbers and with no new numbers, you can't have more subscribers," Cerf was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph newspaper today.

The computer scientists, who helped invent the system, called for early preparations to switch addresses to a new system. He underlined that the web does not have enough unique codes that allow system to communicate with each other.

When the Internet was developed in 1977 there were 4.2 billion addresses available under the Internet protocol version four (IPv4) system.

According to the report in the British daily, each of the IPv4 addresses has a series of 32 binary numbers, but with the surge of broadband globally, it is estimated that these addresses will run out by 2010.


The Economic Times

Nokia is quietly extending its knowledge base in the free Linux operating system to give it extra options in the battle for mobile software supremacy with Google and Apple. The world's leading handset manufacturer has publicly made a big bet on Symbian software, offering $410 million to buy out other shareholders in the consortium and committing to opening the software up for free use when the deal is approved.

Nokia says Symbian plays a central role in its software strategy, but analysts say the role of Linux in the company's Nokia phones is also set to increase, reflecting a mindset shift for a company that has long shunned using software from multiple vendors.

"It is unlikely Nokia would be prepared to open-source a strategically important platform if it did not have another one in development," said Ben Wood, research director at CCS Insight. "We believe Nokia needs a more powerful mobile software platform to compete with the iPhone and similar products," Wood said, pointing to Linux as the likely candidate. Symbian, which has already some 250 million users, is the leading smartphone operating system, controlling more than half of the market. But the competition has heated up over last year with new players looking for a slice of a market that gives access to billions of users. "Linux will (serve) for the flagship phones, Symbian for mass-market," said eQ analyst Jari Honko.

Smaller handset vendors like Samsung Electronics and Motorola have used several operating systems in their phones, while Nokia has kept its focus on Symbian. However, the Finnish firm has for years dabbled with Linux, using it in "Internet tablets" - sleek phone-like devices used to access the Web that have lacked mass-market appeal due to their lack of a cellular radio.

Nokia last week told delegates at a technology conference the next version of its Linux maemo software will give devices access to 3G networks, while it also upgraded its membership in the Linux Foundation to gold level. "Nokia's vision is to bring open source and Linux to the consumer mainstream," Ari Jaaksi, head of Nokia's Linux software development, said in his blog.

Just like Google, Nokia hopes opening the software code to developers for free usage would boost its takeup among industry and developers who are often shy of using one-firm dominated platforms. "Look at what we have done with Symbian: that's going towards open and what we have already done with maemo -- it's very open. You see where we are putting our bets," Nokia's Chief Technology Officer Bob Iannucci said.

Computer operating system Linux has had so far little success on cellphones, but it has started to gain traction with launch of LiMo Foundation, a wide industry grouping. Google has also built its Android platform using Linux. Linux is the most popular type of open-source operating system, one available to the public to be used, revised and shared, meaning it has a large developer community that could result in more attractive programmes and lower costs for companies like Nokia.


The Economic Times Business Standard

Leading Internet company, Info Edge, on Thursday announced an investment of Rs 20-crore towards a 49 percent equity stake in eTechAces Marketing and Consulting Private Limited.

The investment would be made in tranches based on performance milestones, a press release issued here stated.

eTechAces Marketing is a company in the business of distributing financial products online.

eTechAces Marketing and Consulting is headed by a team of professionals experienced in the financial and the travel sector and having run similar businesses with a global footprint.

Info Edge (India)'s CFO and Director, Ambarish Raghuvanshi, said that "eTechAces has a great management team and a differentiated approach to distributing financial products online, by empowering the customer to enable comparison of available options and make an informed data-driven decision."

"The company's bouquet of products include insurance products to be sold online, which is so far an untapped area in India. In other countries, especially in Europe, it is a high-growth category," Raghuvanshi said.

Earlier, this year, Info Edge had announced an investment of Rs 6.5-crore for a 40 percent stake in Applect Learning Systems.


Business Standard
Chennai-based Vishal Information Technologies is planning acquisitions in the UK and continental Europe. The proposal will be considered by the board at its meeting on October 01, 2008, the company said in a statement. The company will consider issuing either Global Depository Receipts or raising External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) routes to raise fund for the acquisitions.


Vishal Kant, New Delhi
Financial Chronicle

Atlanta-based E-Bix.com is in the process of taking over an Indian software company. E-Bix is a leading international developer and supplier of software and e-commerce solutions to the insurance and banking industry with its business spread across in US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada and India.

"We cannot share the name of the company at this stage. The company is listed on the BSE. It is undervalued on the bourses at this stage, but has a strong consumer base in the US," Robin Raina, CEO and chairman of Nasdaq-listed E-Bix Inc told Financial Chronicle.

E-Bix is an international developer and supplier of software and e-commerce solutions to the insurance and banking industry with a business spread across in the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada and India.

E-bix, which made an unsolicited offer to buy Health Axis – the North Texas provider of health care software and services only a few days ago, is willing to invest $150 million for the take over. Amid the turmoil in the US financial market and funds drying up, the investment would be pooled in from the cash reserves of the company as well as from a few strategic investors, Robin said. "We have given a return of 4,700 per cent return to shareholders over the last five years. There’s no dearth of funds," he added.


Shyamala Seetharamanan, Chennai
Financial Chronicle

IT company 3i Infotech will invest close to Rs 200 crore in the next 18 months to set up about 12,000 self-service kiosks across different states.

The company has won deals from state governments including Tamil Nadu, Goa, Gujarat and Haryana. The citizen service centres will help to pay utility bills and apply for certificates including those that require mandatory registrations — land, birth and death.

“About 30 per cent of the amount will be spent from internal accruals and the rest has to be raised through debt,” said Amar Chintopanth, executive director and chief financial officer of 3i.

The company will run its own centres as well as work through franchisees, he added.

About 35 per cent of 3i’s revenue comes from the domestic market and government is a major contributor, Chintopanth said.

3i offers consulting services; does turnkey projects such as setting up of data centres, and runs citizen service centres for government.

The company also offers managed IT services and transaction processing for verticals including banking and financial institutions and telecom in India.

The company has diverse IT offerings and its operations are distributed among various geographies and hence it is well equipped to tackle the general economic slowdown, he said.

Apart from India, about 25 per cent of the company’s revenue comes from US, 17 per cent from UK, 9 per cent from Far East and APAC and the rest from Middle East countries. “Our overall order book size as of June 30 was Rs 920 crore, excluding the regulars worth Rs 600 crore.

“Even without any incremental growth in orders in the next two quarters, we would still go strong and meet our target revenue guidance of Rs 1,700 crore,” he added.


K Rajani Kanth, Chennai/Hyderabad
Business Standard

Syscon Solutions, a Hyderabad-based software product development company, will expand its sales and implementation ecosystem to cater to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The company plans to offer its enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution – Syscon Cronus – via the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

Cronus, which involved around 150 man-years of development efforts, is an out-of-box ERP solution focused on SMEs with functions including sales, inventory, excise, financial accounting, planning, production, quality, maintenance, dispatch production and payroll.

“We currently have three implementation partners, which we plan to ramp up to 20 in the next one year,” S Vijay Venkatesh, managing director of the 12-year-old company said.

Around 10 companies, which are into pharma, chemicals, electronics and engineering, are on the verge of finalising orders, he added.

Deploying ERP solutions through an ownership model is a challenge for SMEs as it involves huge capital infusion into services, server operating system, database, air-conditioned rooms, UPS, and professionals for maintenance.

Typically, an ERP deployment from majors like SAP, Microsoft Navision and Ramco Systems, will cost anywhere between Rs 13 lakh and Rs 30 lakh for the first year. The running costs will be around Rs 5 lakh thereon. On the contrary, SaaS will cost about Rs 8,500 per month for a five-user licence per year, Venkatesh noted.

The privately-held company has tied up with the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), Hyderabad, for offering full ERP functionalities including a stable server, data centre, and bandwidth.

“According to estimates, there are around 3 million SMEs in the country of which 250,000 companies are ready to go for the ERP SaaS model. We are aiming to complete 5,000 implementation in different parts of the country, garnering revenues of Rs 50 crore in the next three years,” he said.


The Economic Times Financial Chronicle Deccan Herald Business Standard

iSOFT, an Australian leading provider of healthcare software solutions, today announced the opening of its global product development centre here.

Govind S, Managing Director, iSOFT said: "The new facility will double our capacity in Bangalore, which is an important market for us both because of its strategic location and the knowledge-base that is available".

"iSOFT will be undertaking high-end product development at its centre of excellence, providing unique and exciting opportunities to work on cutting-edge technology for a select number of Bangalore's most innovative IT individuals", he said.


Harsimran Singh, New Delhi
The Economic Times

US-based One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) plans to sell one million laptops in India, each with a price tag of about $300 (including deployment) in the next twelve months.

The Massachusetts-headquartered association, which set up its office in the capital this month, claims to have already gathered sponsorship commitments from six top business houses for distributing about one million laptops to primary school children.

Sources say that the OLPC is also talking to major companies like Infosys, Bharti and the Tatas for sponsorship commitment of the laptop called XO-1. Bharti, however, declined having made a large order commitment as yet.

The price of a laptop is about $300 (inclusive of deployment and maintenance). However, without the deployment charge, the laptop costs about $200. “The laptops will only be available for charitable donations to primary schools. But, if an individual wants to buy the laptop for personal or corporate use, he/she may have to shell about $400 for two laptops. One laptop will go towards a school of his choice, while the other can be used by the buyer for personal use. We also plan to print the brand of the company on laptops provided it gets a large order,” says OLPC India advisor Hema Virani.

According to OLPC officials, the actual cost of the XO-1 Laptop is $100 but with additional features like video camera and USB ports, the cost goes up to $200. With maintenance and deployment costs, the cost shoots up to $300.

OLPC critics argue that the OLPC which was meant to be a $100 has nearly doubled its price thereby making large orders unaffordable by many governments in developing markets. But OLPC counters it.


Business Standard The Economic Times Financial Chronical Deccan Herald The Hindu

Hewlett-Packard (HP), a leading consumer Notebook PC brand in India, today announced the launch of its new series of Compaq notebooks targetted at young customers, a growing market segment for portables.

The nine series designed with preferences of the youth in mind and their needs for connectivity, entertainment and productivity, has factored in features like built in TV tuner card, blue ray drive and an infra red remote control.

With modern features like backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader and HDMI.3 (which enables interfacing of high definition content) along with its aesthetic appeal in terms of flush glass finish and the 3D drive guard, the new range is designed to be both sturdy and visually appealing, Rajiev Grover, director, consumer products, Personal Systems Group, HP India told reporters here today.

"The young generation can now enjoy the multi-media experience and flaunt its stylish look," he said adding that the range is priced between Rs 26,990 and Rs 48,000, he said.

The HDMI 1.3 enables a user to download photographs, audio and video with audio having the effect of dolby digital unlike the otherwise stereo sound, he said.

Speaking on the growing size of laptops from around 80,000 in 2003 to an estimated 2.4 million in 2008, he said that the customer profile of those purchasing portables had changed.

“It is no longer just the middle-aged or mid or senior management personnel who were purchasing it. The customer profile had shifted to the young.”

The usage of portables had also undergone dramatic changes from being used for basic computing to being used to remain connected and later being used for their entertainment value.


Deccan Herald

Tektronix, Inc., worldwide provider of test, measurement and monitoring instrumentation, announced on Thursday that the new Philips High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) Authorized Testing Center (ATC) in Bangalore has adopted the Tektronix HDMI V1.3b1 Compliance Test Solution (CTS).

The adoption of Tektronix HDMI compliance test solution by Philips, one of the key founders of HDMI, reinforces Tektronix leadership for HDMI test solutions, said the company. HDMI is a high-speed serial data interface between any audio/video source, such as a set-top box, DVD player, next generation gaming console or A/V receiver and an audio and/or video monitor.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


New York
The Economic Times

Google has added the biggest public transportation system in the US to its popular mapping service, showing travelers how to navigate New York City's mass transit system.

As of Tuesday, people looking up locations in the city get public transit options alongside driving directions. The feature includes information about subways, buses and commuter railroads.

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and some other organizations already provide transit trip planners, but Google executives note that their version is integrated with other search features, such as street views and restaurant reviews.

Google, the world's largest search engine, offers transit information in about 70 other cities worldwide, including Chicago and Tokyo. The Mountain View, California-based company worked for two years to add 40,000 subway stations, bus stops and other points on the New York metropolitan area's mass transportation network, executives said.


New York
The Economic Times

Nice try with the new phone, Google. Better luck next time.

That's what some seem to be saying about Google Inc's first foray into the world of cell phones. But while it may not attract long lines like Apple Inc's iPhone, it offers much to those looking to use their phones for more than talking.

So what's it like? The G1, which is made for Google by HTC Corp and sold by Deutsche Telekom unit T-Mobile, actually resembles an older handset the Sidekick, a soapbar-shaped phone also created by G1 designer Andy Rubin, the father of Google's Android mobile operating system. It has touch-screen controls, and a miniature computer keyboard that is uncovered by sliding the screen out.

This means a chunkier gadget than the svelte iPhone.

But it makes for a more familiar typing experience for consumers who dislike iPhone's virtual keypad, especially for typing longer notes.

The G1, which was greeted with cheers when it was unveiled in New York on Tuesday, shares many functions with iPhone -- a full web browser, an online market to buy games and software, and a music player. This will work in its favor for shoppers whose expectations from Google weren't as lofty.

Experts were not as giddy. Some analysts noted its lack of some typical smartphone features such as corporate e-mail and companion desktop software.

"This is an important device, but there has to be more to it," Michael Gartenberg a Jupitermedia analyst who described the phone as "a good first step" after the launch, even as he created a checklist of what he wants for the next versions.


Financial Chronicle

Dell hopes its new retail drive to sell in stores rather than just online will help it sell to consumers in emerging markets buying their first computer, Chief Executive Michael Dell said on Tuesday.

Dell, the world's second-biggest computer maker, has recently switched from a pure online and phone sales model to build an expanding network of retail stores, putting its PCs and laptops within the reach of consumers without Internet access.

Asked at an emerging markets conference organised by the Economist whether he aimed to sell consumers in emerging markets their second computer, once they were already online, he replied: "With 15,000 stores, we want to sell all the PCs."

Dell outlined a sales method he dubbed dell.com@retail, in which store staff, for example in India, take customers through an assisted sale on dell.com, combining a personal shopping experience with the advantages of having no store inventory.

The company said last week that slow demand had spread from the United States to Europe and Asia, and had not rebounded as expected after the summer lull.

Pim Dale, who heads Dell's operations in European, Middle Eastern and African emerging markets including Russia, said demand in Russia was "robust" although it was too early to judge the fallout from last week's banking sector meltdown.


Financial Chronicle

Asustek, the world’s top motherboard producer, expects sales of its branded products in Europe to rise as much as 58 percent this year, hoping that its product mix will make up for slowing global demand. Asustek, a Taiwanese company that also sells laptops under its own name, is aiming for sales in Europe to reach $5 billion to $6 billion this year, up from $3.8 billion last year, said Eric Chen, Asustek’s regional head for the European market. Europe contributes 50 percent of Asustek’s total sales of branded products, which include mobile phones and laptop computers carrying the company’s name.


The Economic Times

Oracle Corp, the world's No 3 software maker is teaming up with Hewlett-Packard Co to sell powerful, specialized computers that companies use to analyze data on their business activities.

The move, which Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison announced on Wednesday, will expand Oracle's footprint in the hardware business and put pressure on smaller players Teradata Corp and Netezza, which specialize in selling those devices, known as data warehouse appliances.

Forrester Research analyst James Kobielus said that the machines are the most powerful data warehouse appliances that Oracle has ever developed. The products will help the company better compete with Teradata, whose machines have been able to crunch more data than ones from Oracle, he said.

"Oracle needed to scale out on the high end," Kobielus said. But he and some other analysts said that there may not be huge demand for appliances with so much capacity. "Pretty cool stuff, but it will likely have limited market reach, appeal," said Sageza Group analyst Clay Ryder.

"The real question is just how many customers are there for a solution of this scale and performance?" Kobielus of Forrester Research estimates that Oracle and its rivals sell some $9 billion in data warehousing software, hardware and appliances each year, a market that is growing at an annual clip of about 15 per cent.

Oracle has the largest share, followed by Teradata, then IBM, he said. Companies use data warehousing equipment to store and analyze crucial data from customers and transactions. Phone companies looking to sell existing customers new products might look for clues on possible needs by analyzing call patterns with a data warehouse.

Credit card companies store information on transactions, which allows them to quickly review new purchases in a bid to instantly identify fraud. Redwood City, California-based Oracle has previously developed less-powerful data warehousing appliances with HP as well as hardware vendors IBM, EMC Corp, Dell Inc, Silicon Graphics Inc and Sun Microsystems, analysts said.

Charles King, an industry analyst with Pund-IT Research, said that the products announced on Wednesday appeared to be similar to ones developed with Sun that were announced at Oracle's users conference in November 2007. Hardware appliances account for a relatively small share of revenue at Oracle, the world's largest maker of computer database software.


Sanjay K Singh, New Delhi
The Economic Times

The Supreme Court has said the Income-Tax Department has to accept the authenticity of the accounts maintained in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act and certified by the auditors.

The assessing officer cannot go beyond the net profit shown in the profit and loss account, except to examine whether the books of accounts were duly certified by the authorities and properly maintained, the court said.

A bench comprising Justice S H Kapadia and Justice B S Reddy said: “The AO (assessing officer) has to accept the authenticity of the accounts maintained in accordance with the provisions of Part II and Part III of Schedule VI to the Companies Act, which are certified by the auditors and pressed by the company in the general meeting.”

According to explanation of the Act, the “book profit” means the net profit as shown in the profit and loss account prepared under sub-section (2) of the Act. The court said Section 115JA of the Act, which refers to ‘deemed income relating to certain companies’ has an overriding effect upon other provisions of the Act.

In this case, HCL Comnet Systems & Services had filed its return for 1997-98. During the course of assessment proceedings, the AO found the company had debited Rs 92.15 lakh on account of bad debts to the profit and loss account. However, on the ground that it was a provision for bad and doubtful debts, the AO added the amount to its book profits.


Jacob P. Koshy, New Delhi

Individual inventors and research organizations here may find their patents turning liquid with the imminent entry of Intellectual Ventures Llc., a controversial company that owns an estimated 20,000 patents and is in the market for as many more as it can lay its hands on.

The company has already entered into agreements to buy patents from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and is close to signing an agreement with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, India’s largest research and development organization, said a person familiar with the developments who did not want to be named.

“We’ve entered into agreements with a number of premier research institutions, universities and companies,” said P. Ananthakrishnan, director, business development, Intellectual Ventures India. He declined to give more information, saying it would be inappropriate to do so before the formal launch in October. Ananthakrishnan, however, confirmed that Ashok Mishra, director, IIT Bombay, would join Intellectual Ventures.

Founded by former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold, Intellectual Ventures collects patents in the hope that it can license them to other companies. A 17 September report in The Wall Street Journal said Intellectual Ventures (or IV), “has secured payments in the range of $200 million to $400 million from companies, including telecom giant Verizon Communications Inc. and networking gear maker Cisco Systems Inc....”

Patents are typically illiquid. They can be turned into money in one of three ways: the owner licenses or sells them to someone else for a fee; the owner develops a product or service built around the patents; or the owner looks at whether existing products or services have used the technology described in the patent and then threaten litigation. IV offers patent owners a variant of the first option: It buys patents, and because it is out to acquire as much intellectual property as it can, it renders illiquid assets liquid.

Still, IV’s strategy borders greenmail, or patent trolling, a term used to describe a firm acquiring patents and using them to extract money from other companies by threatening litigation. In a 2006 article in Fortune magazine, Myhrvold, who counts Microsoft, Intel, Sony, Apple, eBay, and Google among investors in the company he founded eight years ago, admitted that an article once called him “the most feared man in Silicon Valley”.