Friday, October 31, 2008


San Francisco
The Economic Times

Google on Thursday made its version of communally-constructed online encyclopedia Wikipedia multi-lingual, opening its Knol compendium to nuggets of knowledge shared in French, Italian or German.

The Internet search powerhouse is inviting people to submit written "knols," to indicate units of knowledge, in those languages as well as in English.

Google's free Knol service has floundered since its July launch and international contributors could help it better compete with Wikipedia, which is consistently ranked among the most visited websites on the Internet.

"Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it," Google vice president of engineering Udi Manber said at the unveiling of the Knol service.

"There are millions of people who possess useful knowledge that they would love to share, and there are billions of people who can benefit from it."

While Wikipedia lets visitors make changes to its online pages, trusting that people with accurate information will correct errors and misleading entries, Google invites folks to author their own articles.

Pictures of authors are displayed on their knol web pages. Editorial responsibility rests with authors, whose reputations are at stake, according to Manber.

While Wikipedia merges topic entries in single articles, knols written on the same subjects remain separate and "compete" for the attention of visitors, who can give online feedback.

Knol authors have the option of letting Google post ads on their pages and sharing in the revenues.

Google is the world's most used Internet search engine and a proven master at mining revenue from online advertising targeted at those making queries and using its free Web-based services.

Luring Wikipedia users to its own community-created online encyclopedia promises to be another rich vein of ad income for the US Internet search giant.


The Economic Times

Chip giant Intel on Thursday announced a series of moves in Taiwan to support its wireless computing products, including a new T$386 million ($11.7 million) investment.

Intel's venture capital arm will invest the T$386 million in VMAX, one of several companies building new wireless networks in Taiwan based on the standard known as WiMax, which can deliver data at high speeds over relatively large areas.

Intel and the Taiwan government will also jointly establish a support center for Moblin, open source software optimised for devices using Intel's Atom processor, a lower-priced chip designed for smaller-than-conventional notebooks often used for Web surfing.

"As the Internet evolves, the industry has an opportunity to deliver what consumers are seeking -- a fast, seamless and personal mobile Internet experience, regardless of device or location."

Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini said during a trip to Taiwan, maker of more than 60 percent of the world's notebook computers. Intel's global investment group, Intel Capital, has invested in more than 80 companies in China and Hong Kong, and established a $500 million Intel Capital China Technology Fund to promote research in Chinese companies in April.

Intel said earlier this month its third-quarter profit rose 12 percent, adding that demand was holding up despite the global economic crisis. In the report it said Atom chip sales had generated $200 million in revenue.


The Economic Times, the web portal of America Online, rolled out a redesigned homepage on Thursday it hopes will become a central station of sorts for Internet travelers by letting people coordinate social networks, email accounts and more without switching from site to site.

The move comes a month after, the number four gateway to the web after Google, MSN and Yahoo, revamped its homepage to allow users to preview outside email accounts without having to leave a homepage.

With "My Networks," users can now log onto their Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, AIM or Twitter accounts directly from the homepage and send a status update to all of them simultaneously.

" is the first traditional big portal to offer access to popular social networking sites all in one place," said Bill Wilson, executive vice president, AOL Programming.

"Now consumers can connect with their numerous networks and information sources all from," he said in a statement.

The new RSS Feed Browser allows users to receive news from other websites and display it in scrollable window at the bottom of the page.

Entering the name of a US city or zip code provides a feed of local news and weather.

Another feature, "Themes," gives users the possibility of personalizing the homepage by choosing a color or backdrop of their own design.

AOL, a subsidiary of media giant Time Warner Inc., was a powerful player in the early days of the Internet but has lost ground since then and is trying to refashion itself as a popular one-stop portal.


Rajat Guha, New Delhi
The Economic Times (Mumbai edition)

The government is all set to allow 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in global positioning system (GPS)-enabled devices. At present, there is 100% FDI in products under telecom equipment category. A notification would soon be issued about bringing GPS-enabled systems under the list of FDI-approved telecom equipment. Of late, the demand for GPS-based security systems has gathered steam following recent bomb blasts in various Indian cities.

The GPS is a space-based radio navigation system that provides reliable positioning, navigation and timing services to civilian users on a continuous worldwide basis. The technology is applied in the areas of roads and highways, space, aviation, rail, agriculture and public security. GPS tags, which are installed at various locations, help track real time movements.

According to sources, there was confusion among the policy makers over FDI in manufacture of GPS-enabled systems, even though there is 100% FDI in manufacture of telecom equipment in India. “Once approved, GPS would become part of telecom equipment in list of FDI-approved manufacturing activities,” a source said. The issue of FDI in GPS systems came up recently in a series of meetings held by the foreign investment promotion board (FIPB). Of late, many Indian companies have evinced interest to manufacture GPS devices in joint venture with foreign counterparts.

As a result, the FIPB has directed DIPP to look at whether GPS could be opened up for foreign investments. The DIPP is of the view that the field of GPS has not come up as there was no major demand or FDI proposal for the same in the past.

However, experts believe that due to string of recent terror activities including major bomb explosion in various Indian cities including Delhi, alarm bells have started ringing among big developers to equip their buildings with latest security systems. Moreover, increased demand for such systems that are usually GPS-enabled has fuelled interests among global security system providers to enter Indian market.


The Economic Times (Bangalore edition) The Hindu The Asian Age

The ongoing attempt to reform India’s power sector, especially in the transmission and distribution segments, presents a huge business opportunity for the country’s information technology industry, Union minister of state for power Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday.

He said there is a need to replicate the success of the IT industry in the power sector, especially in the use of technology in redefining the distribution network. The minister, who unveiled a report — Technology: Enabling the Transformation of Power Distribution in India — prepared by Infosys co-chairman Nandan Nilekani and the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy, said aggregate technical and commercial losses in the power sector should urgently be brought down from about 34% to below 15%.

The government will soon hold a meeting of all electricity supply and distribution entities to discuss the implementation of reforms, he said. Nilekani was of the view that technology can play a crucial role in bringing down the cost of projects as well as the price of the power.

He said that many of the standards used by IT industry can be applied to the power sector. Even so, technology alone cannot bring about the desired changes as there is an urgent need to upgrade the skills of the employees in sector, he remarked.


New Delhi
The Economic Times The Tribune The Asian Age

IT may be a long wait for IT SEZs, which are looking forward to a review of section 10AA (7) of the Income Tax Act for enjoying 100% tax exemption on profits.

The empowered group of ministers (eGoM) on special economic zones (SEZs), which met on Thursday, has not only deferred a decision on the need for a review, it is also now clear that a change in the section can only happen through an amendment to the Act. Since the Act can be amendment only by Parliament, any change in the current provisions could take several months.

Section 10 AA (7) of the I-T Act states that only a proportion of profits of a SEZ unit, based on the proportion of export sales from the unit to the total turnover of the parent company, will be exempt from taxation.

For instance, if a SEZ unit 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% as otherwise promised in the SEZ Act. While this will not affect most units in the SEZs as companies have mostly set up independent subsidiaries in the SEZs which are separate entities, big IT companies like Infosys, and TCS, which have set up units under the parent company, might get caught in the taxation net.

Under the SEZ Act, profits earned by the unit are 100% tax-exempt in the first five years and 50% tax-exempt for the next five years. Units are also eligible for 50% tax exemption on reinvested profits for another five years. “Section 10AA (7) is an aberration and that needs to be corrected. The eGoM chairman has heard the points made by everybody and a decision will be taken,” commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath said after the meeting. The finance ministry, however, is opposing the move.

Speaking to the media, Nath emphasised that at this point of time (of global slowdown), the government needed to give out signals of enhanced economic activity. “It is very important that every step is taken to sustain economic activity,” he said. When asked how section 10AA(7) would be changed, the minister said, “The Income Tax Act needs to be amended in Parliament.”


The Hindu Business Line The Economic Times (Delhi edition) Financial Chronicle

Wipro Infotech, the IT business arm of Wipro Ltd, on Thursday announced that it has implemented Oracle's Peoplesoft Enterprise Human Capital Management 9.0 for Jammu and Kashmir Bank. It will help streamline the HR management of the bank, which has an employee strength of more than 8,000. It will also enable the cutting down of paper work to a major extent and reduction of manual work thereby lending alacrity to HR processes, Wipro said in a statement said.

“As a result of this implementation all the zones and branches are connected to the centralised HR system and a fully customised claims management system has been deployed to facilitate the claims process, which also includes an interface to Oracle's Peoplesoft Enterprise Payroll,'' it added.

Some of the modules implemented by Wipro include Talent Acquisition Manager and Candidate Gateway (Recruitment), Administer Training, eDevelopment, ePerformance, eProfile Manager Desktop, eProfile, Profile Management, Global Payroll for India, Absence Management and Approval Workflow Engine.


Adith Charlie, Mumbai
The Hindu Business Line

The global financial crisis seems to have prompted client companies to outsource IT projects of a more traditional nature as is evident from the September quarter numbers of major IT firms.

Indian IT firms have shown a significant jump in sequential revenues from the application maintenance and development (ADM) practice for the quarter ended September 30.

While ADM revenues have gone up by 13.7 percent for Tata Consultancy Services, it has gone up by 9.8 percent and 8.7 percent for Infosys and Satyam respectively.

Similarly, the custom applications practice of HCL Technologies has gone up 7 percent compared to the previous sequential quarter.

ADM has traditionally been the bread and butter business of IT companies.

And even within ADM, it is the application development part (which entails maintenance of applications already developed) that would show higher growth in the September quarter, said Rishi Maheshwari, Independent IT Analyst.

“This is because volume growth has hardly been there on a quarter-on-quarter basis,” he said.

However, before the start of the US recession there was a visible trend of ADM component slowing down (as a percentage contribution to overall company revenues) because Indian companies had begun to pursue more of high-end work such as consulting services, product engineering, infrastructure management etc.

Unfortunately, analysts say that these high-end outsourcing initiatives are a part of the client’s discretionary budget, which is clearly under pressure.

“Given the volatility in the market, there is a decrease in incremental IT spending. And hence there is an increase in outsourcing contracts that entail maintenance of existing applications (or development around the existing applications) rather than transformational deals,” said Ashish Basil, Partner, Transaction Advisory Services, Ernst & Young

The migration from an old IT environment to a new IT set-up (including applications, infrastructure etc) is an example of a project that is transformational in nature.


Shanthi Kannan, Chennai
The Hindu

New Lease Software of Chennai has entered into a joint venture with New Lease Australia to be the SPLA (service provider licence agreement) reseller for Microsoft in India, according to V. K. Chandrakumar, Chairman and Chief Executive of New Lease Software.

Chandrakumar told this correspondent that under the agreement, the company was entitled to operate throughout India. But initially, it would operate in four Southern States. It had also been appointed as SPLA reseller by Microsoft, Singapore, he added.

On the benefits of the SPLA Licensing, Rohini Chandrakumar, Director and COO of the Indian company, said service provider licence agreement (SPLA) would enable service providers to license Microsoft licensed products on a monthly basis, to provide software services and host of applications to their customers.


The Hindu

Intel Corp. CEO Paul Otellini on Thursday announced that Intel had signed an agreement with the Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs to jointly provide support for open source software and applications designed for Intel’s new Atom processor-based devices in Taipei, Taiwan.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


October 30, 2008
The Economic Times

Internet search and advertising leader Google Inc is increasingly looking at the energy sector as a potential business opportunity, a newspaper reported.

Engineers at Google are hoping to unveil tools soon that could help consumers make better decisions about their energy use, the paper said.

Google has hired engineers who are conducting research in renewable energy, former government energy officials, scientists and even a former NASA astronaut, whose experience with electronic gadgets is being put to use to develop energy tools for consumers, the paper said.

It added that the company's philanthropic unit,, is considering large investments in projects that generate electricity from renewable sources.

"We want to make money, and we want to have an impact," Dan Reicher, director for climate change and energy initiatives at, told the Times.

But with a recession looming and oil prices dropping, investors might pressure Google to curtail its clean energy ambitions, the paper said.


San Francisco, October 30, 2008

Hewlett-Packard Co on Wednesday will unveil a new mini-notebook in a move to gain ground in the fastest-growing PC category, which until now has been dominated by its smaller rivals.

Netbooks - ultraportable, inexpensive laptops designed for Web browsing and light tasks - have taken the PC market by storm this year, with smaller computer firms such as Acer Inc and Asustek Computer Inc leading the charge.

HP’s sleek new Mini 1000, costing about $400, is significantly different from the company’s first netbook release, launched last spring. It uses Intel Corp’s Atom processor, and is also substantially less expensive, signaling that the price war in netbooks that some analysts have been predicting may have begun.

Although still a fraction of the overall PC market, netbooks’ popularity could lead to changes in the pecking order of PC makers and cut into margins and profitability as average selling prices come down.

In the third quarter, Acer gained ground on HP and Dell Inc, with a big assist from mini-notebooks.

According to industry tracker IDC, Acer’s total shipments leaped more than 50 percent, and the company’s share of the overall PC market climbed more than 3 percentage points to 12.5%.


Los Angeles, October 30, 2008
The Times of India

The investment arm of US chip giant Intel Corp announced a $20 million investment in a Chinese solar cell manufacturing company to spur local green energy production even as oil prices decline.

When oil prices peaked at $147 a barrel in the third quarter, venture capitalists flocked to sustainable energy companies. But now that the price has dropped back to the mid-$60s a barrel, that enthusiasm has waned.

Intel expects its investment in Trony Solar Holdings Co Ltd to invigorate the Chinese renewable energy market.

"We believe these investments will be a catalyst to drive local clean tech innovation and help China toward the transition to a more sustainable energy system as well as economic growth," said Cadol Cheung, managing director of Intel Capital Asian Pacific.


New Delhi, October 30, 2008
The Economic Times

With companies in Asia Pacific expected to delay their technology spends, the region could see IT spending grow 8.3% in 2009, against an earlier projection of 11%, tech research firm Gartner said on Wednesday. The firm had earlier said that global IT spending could see only a 2.3% increase next year, in a worst case scenario, with hardware and IT services likely to be hit first. According to Gartner managing VP Matthew Boon, the second half of 2008 has seen and will continue to see shifts in confidence and willingness to invest. Chief information officers (CIOs) are paying closer attention to investments and now require higher levels of approval and justification for decisions.

Gartner says technology vendors need to be seen to support their customers’ cost containment strategies while at the same time focusing on value. “IT leaders in this region should take full advantage of the available time to quietly and privately develop plans for a worst case scenario in 2009,” Boon said. An 8.3% growth in IT spending in 2009 would take the Asia Pacific market size to $585.7 billion. It has recommended that IT organisations in the region should continue to invest in attractive markets, modernise infrastructure with virtualisation and cloud computing concepts and demonstrate the value of IT in improving business processes, increasing client acquisitions and retaining them. The tech research firm had earlier said that global IT spending could see a slower growth of 2.3% in 2009 against an earlier projection of 5.8%.


Bhubaneswar, October 30, 2008
The Economic Times

Frequently hit by natural calamities like flood, cyclone and heatwaves, Orissa government on Wednesday launched a pilot project on mobile-based technology for generation of geo-spatial data system as part of it's preparedness to meet the challenges.

While paying homage to the victims of Supercyclone and others in different calamities in the state and launching the service, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the instrument used in the generation of geo-spatial data system was designed by ISRO was a combination of a medium resolution camera, a GPS (Geographical Positioning System), a palmtop computer and a mobile phone set.

By these instruments, information from the field with photographs and geographic coordinates can be collected and sent to the central server through the avaibalble mobile phone network which could be used for an online decision support system, Patnaik said.

The pilot project was launched in Puri district for the first time in the country for creating a data base of relief shelters, hospitals and supply godowns.


New Delhi, October 30, 2008
The Economic Times Financial Chronicle

An empowered group of ministers is meeting here on Thursday to find a way of removing anomalies in calculation of tax benefits for IT special economic zones, which account for bulk of the SEZs approved.

"The issue (relating to Section 10 (AA) of the Income tax Act) will be discussed by eGom. Ministers will take a decision," Commerce Secretary G K Pillai said.

Pillai said Section 10 (AA) needs to be amended so that the tax benefits under the SEZ Act are given without any distortion.

The section provides exemption from income tax to the SEZ units on the export income. For calculating the exemption, export turnover is divided by the total turnover of the assessee. But an assessee may have a unit outside the SEZ as well.

In the absence of change in the law, the IT SEZs promoted by most of the big groups such as , TCS, Satyam and Infosys stand to lose. Of the 531 SEZs approved, 320 are IT and ITeS units.

At its last meeting on October 24, the eGom headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee decided to clear Essar's steel SEZ in Hazira and Adani's port SEZ in Mundra. Both the Essar and Adani SEZs were facing objections from the Revenue Department on different counts.


Hyderabad, October 30, 2008
Mint The Hindu Deccan Chronicle

City-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd, a producer of vaccines and biotherapeutics announced that the Orissa government has selected the company as the developer for its ‘Biotech-Pharma-IT Park’ project under public-private-partnership (PPP) mode.

The proposed industrial park is coming up on a 54.86 acre land located at Mouza-Andharua in Bhubaneswar.

BBIL will promote a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to undertake the integrated industrial park. The project is estimated to cost Rs 100 crore and is slated to be complete in eight years, a press release issued here stated.

“Our task is to focus on rapid development of this park by developing core infrastructure and technology to enable establishment of new companies whereby new local entrepreneurs in the biotechnology field will be created,” BBIL Chairman and Managing Director Krishna Ella said in the release.

About 10 acre land, within the park, is earmarked for development of biotechnology incubation centre, which will be funded by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, for the equipment or instrumentation.

A formal lease-cum-development agreement will be signed between the SPV and Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO).

The Orissa government and IDCO, in principle, have agreed to provide all the external infrastructure facilities like power supply, water supply among others, the release added.


October 30, 2008
The Economic Times (Bangalore edition) Mint

Bangalore-based computer-aided engineering solutions provider MaxSoft will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Friday with IIT Madras to establish IITM – Maxsoft Centre of Excellence (COE) for system simulation and smart structures, a company statement said. The COE will provide exposure to the multi-domain system modeling and simulation methodologies to students and corporate groups.


Phalguna Jandhyala, Hyderabad, October 30, 2008
The Hindu Business Line

Elico Ltd has acquired a US-based coding and billing company.

“The company we have acquired is the first acquisition in the BPO business and depending on the success of this acquisition we will look for more in the future,” Ramesh Datla, Managing Director, Elico Ltd said.

He, however, did not want to give the size of acquisition as both the companies are privately owned.

The Hyderabad-based Elico is a manufacturer of electronic analytical instruments, professional grade switches and software development & services. It also does back office work for US-based hospitals and physician practices and is into medical transcription.

Datla said currently there are 400 people working for its BPO business and it plans to increase the headcount to 500 by June-July next year. It also manages a 100-seat operation in Bangalore for a US client.

“Though the recent acquisition is a small one, we are now looking at companies in the ticket size of $5 million to $10 million, which are based in the US,” he said.

Datla said that the company is looking at setting up a facility in the proposed Hardware Special Economic Zone coming up on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

Datla said that it is too early to comment on the investments proposed and will be finalised only after the allotment of land.

Elico has entered into partnerships with seven multinational companies. It does new product design and development, manufacturing and also is involved in developing software for existing products for instruments for chemical analysis. It also does R & D activities for defence and PSU units.


Chennai, October 30, 2008
The Economic Times (Bangalore edition)

Bangalore-based New Lease Software, a 51-49 joint venture between Australian company New Lease Software Pty and the nascent Indian company New Lease Software, has been appointed as a SPLA (service provider license agreement) reseller for Microsoft’s SaaS (software as a service) products in India. This comes two-years after Chennai-based Kryptos was appointed for the same purpose.

“We are not exclusive resellers for these products; but we have our own sales targets in terms of reaching out to the top service providers in the IT and ITeS segment,” said New Lease COO Rohini Chandrakumar. The firm has approached Sify, Cognizant, Sutherland and a few other companies. Following the deal with Microsoft clinched by the JV recently users in the IT and ITeS sectors can avail relevant SaaS based Microsoft products through a SPLA issued by New Lease. This agreement involves payment for the software on a monthly basis as per number of users.

SaaS was touted as a major step in the software products market in 2005, when the Indian SaaS market saw revenues rise by 53% to $7 million. It was also expected that these revenues would touch $48 million by 2008. However, this model has been most attractive mainly to SMBs, which cannot afford a large capex.

“Apart from eliminating the need to invest heavily on software upfront, it gives these companies the flexibility to adjust their number of licenses according to their number of users, that is, employees. These licenses typically include all software updates within the licensing period,” Rohini said.


Hyderabad, October 30, 2008
The Economic Times The Hindu Business Line Financial Chronicle

Global consulting and information technology services provider, Satyam Computer Services on Wednesday said that the company has been accepted as an associate member of AUTOSAR, a partnership of automotive original equipment producers, suppliers and tool vendors.

With the participation in AUTOSAR (automotive open system architecture), Satyam will expand its footprint in the outsourced embedded automotive engineering services market, a company release here said.

"AUTOSAR is a prestigious organisation and we are enthusiastic to play an active role in its programs," Satyam Senior Vice-President Kenneth Taormine stated in the release.

AUTOSAR is an industry-trade group established to create and establish open standards for automotive electronics architectures, which are replacing proprietary standards throughout the industry.


Chiranjoy Sen, Bangalore, October 30, 2008
The Economic Times

The SemIndia Group aims to start making chip modules for low-cost cellphones at its Hyderabad facility from April 2009, but ambitious plans for a semiconductor fabrication unit have been put on hold, the head of SemIndia’s electronics products arm said.

The modules will made at the ATMP (assembly, testing, marking and packing) facility for its Singapore-based partner Jurong Technologies, MD Bob Kondamoori said. Kondamoori is the managing partner of venture capital firm SandalWood Partners, which is an investor in SemIndia.

“While the fab side of the organisation is on the back burner because of the worldwide slowdown, it’s the systems side of the company that had got us excited. And we are forging ahead in this division,” Kondamoori said.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

IT companies look at Europe, Asia-Pacific

Economic times CHENNAI
With the US economy in the doldrums and firms cutting back on IT spending, Indian tech majors are turning their radars towards new locations such as Europe, West Asia and Latin America.

However, industry observers say these markets will be tough for Indian vendors to break into, as issues such as language, labour policies and longer sales cycles are likely to impact profitability in the near-term .

Earlier this year, Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan had said they planned to reduce dependence on the US to 40% from 60%, without detailing a timeframe . At the end of the second quarter of the fiscal, Infy's Europe revenues stood at 28.1% while contribution from North America was 61.5% of the overall revenues.

Like Infosys, TCS, HCL, Wipro, Satyam and Polaris were investing in growing their businesses in non-US locations, especially Europe, Australia, West Asia and Asia-Pacific (APAC).

Angel Brokings Harit Shah says that diversifying geographically is definitely a better idea than depending on one location, but vendors have to be prepared to face challenges. Newer locations are slow to send work offshore, and Indian service providers have to invest heavily on setting up nearshore centres. Europe, despite predictions of reduced IT spend in 2008-09 , seems to be the next favourable port of call.

Sony Q2 PlayStation 3 sales up 86 pc yr/yr

TOKYO: Japan's Sony Corp said on Wednesday it sold 2.43 million units of its PlayStation 3 game console in July-September, up 86 percent from 1.31 million units a year earlier.

Sony, which competes with Microsoft Corp and Nintendo Co Ltd in the Video game industries, sold 3.18 million units of its PlayStation Portable handheld machine in the latest quarter, compared with 2.58 million units a year earlier.

Windows 7 will be MS' answer to Vista's faults

SEATTLE: Bill Veghte hesitated when Microsoft Corp chief executive officer Steve Ballmer asked him to oversee sales and marketing for Windows. He even went as far as questioning the CEO’s commitment to the program.

Veghte, a senior vice president of the Redmond, Washington-based company, wanted assurance that Ballmer had learned from the shortcomings of Windows Vista, the operating system panned by consumers and corporations since it was introduced in 2007. The 18-year Microsoft veteran got what he came for: authority to make changes in the next version, Windows 7, and a record-breaking marketing push to promote the brand. “We’ve got to be clear what Windows stands for,” Veghte, in an interview, recalls telling Ballmer. “This can’t be business as usual.”

That the CEO had to reassure a deputy who spent 15 years working on Windows signals the challenge both men face to persuade investors the $17 billion Windows business can recover after Vista. As Apple’s Mac lures consumers, repairing flaws in Vista and Microsoft’s reputation are critical to reviving the stock after a 41% slump this year. “They know what’s at stake. They know they have to get it right,” said Heather Bellini, an analyst at UBS in New York who recommends buying the shares. “They can’t have another one that people think is skippable.”

When Vista went on sale in January 2007, more than two years later than planned, customers found the operating system ran slowly and crashed. Many programs wouldn’t work, including some produced by Microsoft. Amid delays and decisions to yank features, computer makers moved slowly to design machines and programs tailored to the new software. This time, Microsoft is getting partners on board earlier. The public effort starts on Wednesday as executives unveil Windows 7 for the first time to software developers at a conference in Los Angeles, where attendees will get a full working version.

Siliconware Q3 net profit falls on slowing demand

Siliconware, Taiwan's No. 2 chip packaging firm, posted a 37-per cent drop in quarterly profit on Wednesday and forecast weak sales into

the current quarter, as reduced demand hurt chip prices.

Siliconware Precision Industry Co. Ltd made a net profit of T$3.186 billion ($96 million) for the quarter that ended in September.

The profit was lower than the T$5.06 billion recorded a year ago but was higher than a consensus forecast of T$2.84 billion in a poll of 10 analysts compiled by Reuters Estimates.

Siliconware also said that its operating profit margin would be about 14-16 per cent in the fourth quarter, down from 18 percent in the third, while sales would decline 8-13 per cent over the same period.

The company's results were announced as the Taipei Stock market closed on Wednesday, when Siliconware shares rose 6.5 per cent against a 0.15 per cent rise in the main TAIEX index. Its shares are down nearly 50 per cent this year, amid a broader slowdown in the highly cyclical chip sector.

Siliconware competes with sector leader Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE) in chip packaging.

BNP Paribas downgraded Siliconware to "reduce" from "hold" in September, and cut its price target for ASE early this month, citing slower demand for chips and a bleak global Outlook.

Rs100cr Biotech Pharma IT park planned

Kolkata Oct 28
The Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited has been asked by the Orissa government to develop a Rs 100 crore Biotech Pharma IT park at Andharua near Bhubaneswar.

The park will be developed over 64.86 acres in public-private-partnership (PPP) mode. The project is expected to promote biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and information technology industries in the state, official sources said. Bharat Biotech has significant experience in the development and successful commercialization of technology parks in India. It has also successfully developed an integrated food biotech park in Bangalore.

The government has allotted 54.96 acres for the project which will be handed over in two phases. The land will be given in the form of a long term lease basis and the company will be required to make commitment on time bound development of infrastructure and facilities in the park.

A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be formed by the company to implement the project which will execute the lease cum development agreement of the company with Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO). “The project is expected to be completed in about 8 years and the state government and IDCO will provide all external infrastructure such as road connectivity, water supply, power supply with 33 KVA sub-station”, a senior official of the state science and technology department said.

A Biotechnology Incubation Centre (BIC) will also be developed over 10 acres of land within the park. This facility will be used by researchers, entrepreneurs and students. The department of biotechnology, Government of India, has assured funding for the equipment or instrumentation of this 'Centre of Excellence' within the park.

HP launches $400 mini-notebook

Hewlett-Packard Co on Wednesday will unveil a new mini-notebook in a move to gain ground in the fastest-growing PC category, which until now has been dominated by its smaller rivals.

Netbooks -- ultraportable, inexpensive laptops designed for Web browsing and light tasks -- have taken the PC market by storm this year, with smaller computer firms such as Acer Inc and Asustek Computer Inc leading the charge.

HP's sleek new Mini 1000, costing about $400, is significantly different from the company's first netbook release, launched last spring. It uses Intel Corp's Atom processor, and is also substantially less expensive, signaling that the price war in netbooks that some analysts have been predicting may have begun.

Although still a fraction of the overall PC market, netbooks' popularity could lead to changes in the pecking order of PC makers and cut into margins and profitability as average selling prices come down.

In the third quarter, Acer gained ground on HP and Dell Inc (DELL.O: Quote, Profile, Research), with a big assist from mini-notebooks.

According to industry tracker IDC, Acer's total shipments leaped more than 50 percent, and the company's share of the overall PC market climbed more than 3 percentage points to 12.5 percent.

HP, although still the top-selling PC maker, saw its overall market share dip slightly to 18.8 percent, and was outsold in Europe by Acer.

Analysts said the company was impacted by its delayed entry into the mini-notebook market.

Bob O'Donnell, vice president at IDC, estimates 10.8 million netbooks will ship in 2008, out of the more than 300 million overall PC shipments forecast for the year. He expects netbook shipments to jump to 20.8 million in 2009.

Carlos Montalvo, vice president of marketing in HP's managed home business, said the Mini 1000 is a superior product to the "second- and third-tier" offerings from competitors, which he said have been "over-optimized" for size and price, and lack HP's consistency and quality.

Without releasing specific numbers, Montalvo said HP's first netbook, which was targeted at the education market, was "phenomenally successful." However, he said the Mini 1000 is aiming for a broader audience.

Friday, October 24, 2008


New York
The Economic Times

Russian authorities have blocked Google Inc from buying an online ad service.

Google said in July that it would spend $140 million to buy the ad service, ZAO Begun, from Rambler Media Ltd, which runs one of the most popular Web portals in Russia. Google had expected the deal to be finalized during the third quarter.

At the time, Google said the deal was part of its moves to improve service for users, partners and advertisers in Russia, which has a fast-growing digital advertising market.

In a statement Thursday, the Internet search leader said it was ``very disappointed'' that Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, or FAS, decided to block the deal. Rambler also said in a notice on its Web site that the deal was rejected.

``At this time we are reviewing FAS's decision. Once this process is complete, we will decide on our next steps,'' Google said. A brief statement by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service did not elaborate on the reason for the rejection.


New York
The Economic Times (Delhi edition) said on Wednesday that its profit climbed 48 percent in the third quarter, but the company reduced its full-year sales outlook, showing that the online retailer cannot escape the weak economy. Its shares dived in after-hours trading.

Chief financial officer Tom Szkutak, speaking on a conference call with analysts, said the company experienced slower growth rates near the end of the third quarter, coinciding with the onset of recent turmoil in global financial markets.

Amazon said it now anticipates full-year revenue of $18.46 billion to $19.46 billion, below the $19.52 billion that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting. In July, Amazon had predicted 2008 sales of $19.35 billion to $20.10 billion.

Amazon shares fell $6.82, or 13.6 percent, in extended trading, after finishing regular trading down 24 cents at $49.99. Analysts were widely expecting the company to lower its guidance, but some said they were not expecting it to be lowered so much.

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian said Amazon is clearly “feeling the impact of the weaker economy,” but added that “at the same time, they continue to grow much faster than overall ecommerce, so the platform remains strong from that point of view.’’


San Francisco
The Economic Times (Bangalore edition)

Samsung Electronics is equipping Bluray DVD players so they can retrieve movies and TV shows from Netflix’s Internet streaming service, accelerating Netflix’s push to develop more delivery methods beyond the mail. The deal, to be announced Thursday, could set the stage for Netflix to embed software connecting to its streaming service directly into television sets made by Samsung.

In a statement, Netflix and Samsung said they are planning to plant the streaming capability in a variety of home entertainment products. Reed Hastings, Netflix’s chief executive officer, declined to elaborate on the other possibilities in an interview.

This won’t be the first time that Netflix has piped its online content through Blu-ray DVD players — devices built to show movies in high-definition quality that outshines traditional DVD players. LG Electronics began selling a $350 Blu-ray player with Netflix streaming earlier this month.

Netflix currently has nearly 8.7 million subscribers, most of whom still go online to request DVD rentals that are mailed to them a day or two later. But the California-based company has been trying to provide more instant gratification with a 21-month-old service that beams movies and TV shows over high-speed Internet connections in less than a minute.


The Economic Times Financial Chronicle Business Standard The Times of India Mail Today

India ranked 48th in the world in the 2008 IT industry competitiveness index, a study said.

India has an overall score of 28.9 on the IT competitive index as per the study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit its second year, assesses and compares the IT industry environments of 66 countries to determine the extent to which they enable IT sector competitiveness.

Although the 20 economies remained the same compared to a year ago, three new countries moved to the top five slots - Taiwan, Sweden and Denmark. In terms of ranking in Asia Pacific, Taiwan led followed by Australia, South Korea, Singapore and Japan.

The key attributes of a country in analysing its environment for the IT sector was ample supply of skills, innovation friendly culture, world class technology and infrastructure, protection and enforcement of IPRS, open competitive economy and government support.

The study revealed that India performed best in business environment and support for IT industry development with a score of 59.3 per cent and 54 per cent. Areas of improvement include IT infrastructure and R and D environment in the country, which are relatively low in the IT industry competitive index.



The Goa government has disbursed state investment subsidy cheques amounting to Rs 3.18 crore to 30 industrial units.

The industrial units, which received the subsidy amount of Rs 25 lakh each, included Bharti Dura Line, Vico Laboratories, Cadila Health Care, IFB Industries, Parle Exports, B T Composites and Nestle India, whereas Intax System and Saisons Communications were given Rs 10 lakh each.


The Economic Times

The financial system in a country plays a pivotal role in enhancing its trade relations with other economies. The efficiency of banks and financial institutions is critical for companies engaged in trade-related activities. As one of the premier banks in India, HSBC has been actively involved in helping Indian companies, including small and medium enterprises, execute their trade transactions smoothly.

Puneet Chaddha, managing director and head, commercial banking, HSBC India, feels that Indo-German trade offers enormous opportunities that are waiting to be tapped. Though the global meltdown is likely to affect the volume of trade, the bankers feel there are positives as well that bode well for the future.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Indo-German Trade Summit jointly organised by HSBC and The Economic Times, he said, "The inherent strengths of the industrial environment in India and Germany are complementary. Whilst strong technical expertise and industrial research characterise the German industry, a strong underlying production capability along with the ability to quickly integrate innovations and a strong IT capability are demonstrated by Indian firms.

This ensures that there are significant avenues to establish mutually beneficial relationships between Indian and German companies." "We do expect growth on the longer term and capex investments are likely to strengthen. Consequently, the growth areas would continue to be machinery and equipment imports from Germany. Key exports from India would be garments and also software and offshoring services," added Bhriguraj Singh, senior vice-president and head, trade services, HSBC India.


Amiti Sen & Deepshikha Sikarwar, New Delhi
The Economic Times (Delhi edition)

A number of policy issues that could decide the fate of special economic zones (SEZs) set up by companies including Essar, Adani, Infosys, and TCS will be taken up by the empowered group of ministers on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) on Friday.

The group, headed by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, will try to decide on the definition of ‘vacant land’ which in turn would decide whether Essar’s steel SEZ in Hazira and Adani’s port SEZ should qualify as an SEZ or should be stripped off the status.

Attorney general Milon Bannerjee has given his clean chit to the Essar’s proposal for the second time. EGoM in its last meeting had asked the department of commerce to seek Bannerjee’s opinion for the second time.

Also on the agenda is the Adani group’s request to be allowed to merge its three SEZs in Mundra, Gujarat to form a single SEZ. This would be a landmark decision as the merger would result in a SEZ that would breach the land ceiling of 5,000 hectares.

The imposition of export duty on steel supplied by domestic producers to SEZs, which has been challenged by the commerce department, will also be taken up by the eGoM. “It is unfair that export duty has to be paid on steel supplied to SEZ units and developers. Since the steel is staying within the country, there is no logic behind imposition of the duty. We hope the eGoM will remove it,” an official said.

The eGoM will also 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. If section 10 AA (7) is not reviewed and changed, it would prevent IT companies such as Infosys, and TCS, from enjoying 100 percent tax exemption on their profits as they have set up SEZ units under the parent company and not as independent subsidiaries.


Surabhi Agarwal
The Financial Express

The continuation of the STPI scheme beyond March 2010 has a stronger case now with global economies in the tailspin said Ganesh Natarajan, chairman, Nasscom. The Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) scheme, which was meant to be a 10-year tax-holiday for companies, was originally set to end by March 2009 but was extended by a year till March 31, 2010.

“It was the global industry that put India on the IT map. With the economic meltdown, the STPI should get an extension,” said Natarajan. IT companies are facing an increased pressure due to the slowdown in the US and the UK markets, which contribute around 90 percent to the revenues of the Indian IT industry.

Stating that the need for the tax holiday is much more now, Natarajan said that the industry body will enter into a dialogue with the new central government (after the general elections next year) post July August on further extension of the STPI.

Talking about the impact on the IT industry, Natarajan said that companies will continue to see around 30 percent growth in their topline, while the bottomline growth could be nil next year. “The industry should grow at 15-20 percent despite the adverse scenario, compared to the 20-25 percent growth rate expected before,” he said.

While the work outflow in applications support, maintenance and implementation is expected to continue, new application development like ERP could come to a grinding halt in the short term, said Natarajan. However, he stated that clarity would only come by January next year when the budgeting season starts and the impact is somewhat absorbed by global companies.

Nasscom had earlier predicted employment of 2,75,000 jobs this year, which will get trimmed to around 2,00,000 now. He added that the industry continues to hire though the recruitments are restricted to specific tasks. “Bench hiring is a little low and utilisation rates are going up,” he said.


Thanuja B M, Bangalore
Financial Chronicle

Anglo-Indian firm Silver Software, which has a Bangalore presence, has announced its merger with Germany’s Atena Engineering and formed a joint venture — Silver Atena. The merged entity plans to double headcount and revenues in next four years.

Currently, the company employs about 500 people of which 200 are in the Bangalore development centre. Senthil Kumaran, MD of Silver Atena India said the plan is to hike total headcount to 900 people in next four years. Over 550 staff will be based in India.

Silver Atena provides software and safety engineering services for aerospace and railway segments. Clients include GE Aviation, Ultra Electronics, BMW, Daimler Chrysler and Airbus.

The firm is aiming to have combined revenues of $50 million in 2008 and double that in next four years, Kumaran said.

Expansion plans will see the company add three more development centres in US, Israel and Europe.

It has four development centres now — Bangalore, Malmesbury in UK, Munich in Germany and Madrid in Spain.


S Shyamala, Chennai
Financial Chronicle The Hindu Business Standard

Cognizant Technology Solutions announced a five-year agreement with pharmaceutical-major AstraZeneca on Thursday.

The company will provide application maintenance services in research, clinical development and sales and marketing.

AstraZeneca is a global pharmaceutical major with healthcare sales of $29.55 billion (about Rs 1.4-lakh crore). The five-year contract is worth about $95 million. The agreement will further expand Cognizant’s long-standing relationship with AstraZeneca, a company release said.

Cognizant will adopt an “outcome or effect-based” model to provide the services by leveraging its global delivery network, talent pool and best practices.

This will ensure a predictable service model, reduce the overall cost of IT ownership and deliver year-over-year efficiency improvements.

Richard Williams, global chief information officer of AstraZeneca, said in a statement: “Our strategic partnerships will enable us to streamline operations efficiency, raise standards and deliver world-class services. The selection of Cognizant will allow us to leverage their global operations to meet the needs of our business and increase our focus on our core business — to make the most meaningful difference to patient health through great medicines.” Cognizant signed an agreement with AstraZeneca in March to provide centralised data management services.


Business Standard

Satyam Global Life Network, a wing of Satyam Computer Services, which provides technology support to the Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), is now looking at offering its services offshore.

EMRI chief executive officer Venkat Changavalli, said there had been requests from Egyptian and African countries for replication of the EMRI services. Though there are no plans at present to extend its footprint to other countries, Satyam Global is actively considering to tie up with some local partners there for technology transfer.

A few European agencies too have shown interest in the technology to upgrade their emergency management services. “The talks are on and it will take two months to forge an alliance with the partners,” Venkat said. The company will also assist in benchmarking the ambulances for standardisation of services and care extended to the patients.

EMRI operates about 1,200 ambulances in six states and plans to ramp up presence in five more states by February 2009. It would add over 5,000 ambulances in the next phase.

An international conference — Transforming emergency management through leadership and technology — focusing on leadership, technology research and learning, is to be conducted by the institute in February.


The Economic Times

The semiconductor industry has transformed the world. As the semiconductor industry greens itself, it has an important catalytic role to play as it contributes to the greening of other industries. For example, in automobile industry, the efficiency of hybrid cars becomes possible because of the role of semiconductors, MindTree chairman and managing director Ashok Soota said.

“But the market requires us to produce millions of products in every field. The solutions are use of clean energy, a huge improvement in power consumption and energy efficiency which will decide how products are designed,” Soota said.

While the semiconductor industry has a role to play, IT industry too has one. A study conducted by the Institute of Sustainable Communication (ISC), the energy consumed between data centres and servers has doubled between 2000 and 2005. This is projected to double again by 2010.

“We are committed to social responsibility and each one us has to play a part preserving the environment. We feel about conserving natural resources and employ environment-friendly mechanisms. Any approach you do for greening has to start from facilities,” Soota said.

The MindTree chairman said making energy-efficient products is not sufficient unless consumers do not know how to make the best use of the devices. Therefore, consumer education becomes a priority and manufacturers should consider it an important part of their design. The usage of hazardous products in electronics needs to be minimized and evolving methodologies and practices like recycling and reuse of the discarded material is the way ahead. “We need real efficient, environment-friendly technology which needs to be accelerated and reached to the mass production stage,” he concluded.


The Hindu Business Line DNA The Asian Age The Economic Times

Computer-maker Dell Inc said the current slowdown would eliminate some of its competitors and help the company to gain market-share, though it would also create some softness in demand for its products.

The company said it is seeing a little bit of softness in the market. “The slowdown is not localised to just one market, but is pretty much around the world,” said Mark Jarvis, Chief marketing Officer, Dell Inc.

He said the slowdown would eliminate some of Dell’s marginal competitors and help the company to gain share in a number of markets. India is important among these markets, he said. These competitors would generally be small, local brands and not key players, he added.

Jarvis said Dell was very bullish on investing in the India and growing its share in the Indian market. “We are growing 8 to 9 times faster than the market here in India, and we want to take advantage of that,” he added.

Dell announced a new campaign, Take Your Own Path, for small and medium businesses in India, which is a focused area of growth for the company. The campaign, which includes a dedicated SMB portal, would improve interactivity with Dell’s customers, it said in a statement.

The campaign would include Indian business heroes and talk about the technology they have used to become successful. “This is a campaign on how we grow our brand equity in the Indian SMB market, and also grow our channel partners and retail presence,” said Jarvis.

“We have seen we are not the brand leader in the SMB space and we have also seen there is an opportunity for us to become the brand leader,” said Jarvis.


Bangalore, Anand Parthasarathy
The Hindu Business Line

Building on the brand equity of IBM's `Think' range of computing products, Lenovo has launched a new series of ThinkServers, into the Indian market, adding some user-friendly software icing of its own. The five platforms - 3 towers and 2 racks - are all architectured on Intel's x86 chip sets and are fuelled by quad core Xeon processors. The launch, the first for this series in the Asia-Pacific region, is sharply angled, cost and usage-wise, towards the `small guys' of the business world. The machines start from Rs 45,000. Though they are currently manufactured in China, the Lenovo India Managing Director, Amar Babu, promises competitive pricing for the Indian market, with specially created software tools such as EasyStartup, EasyManage and update features that should appeal to enterprises which may not have the services of a full time systems engineer.


Anand Parthasarathy, Mumbai
The Hindu

Just a week after the U.S. launch, Apple has brought its new MacBook consumer notebook family to India, offering seven models in three product categories. All of them are built using the new mechanical design which uses a single ‘unibody’ ultra light aluminium chasis — which enables the company to claim the lightest, thinnest title in their class, for many of the offerings.

The most radical change inside is an across-the-board shift to a graphics-intensive integrated chip set from NVIDIA — making Apple the first user of the new GeForce 9400M 3-D processor. Apple retains faith in Intel for the main processor — harnessing its Core 2 Duo chips with varying speeds from 2 GHz to 2.5 GHz.

The seven new releases include the MacBook, MacBookPro and MacBook Air categories. While the 13.3-inch MacBooks are aimed at lay users (Rs. 79,700 and Rs. 96,500); the 15.4-inch Pro machines are optimised with a ‘stepney’ graphics chip from NVIDIA to deliver high rendering and editing speeds for visual computing professionals (Rs. 1.20 lakh to Rs. 1.45 lakh).


The Economic Times DNA

US-based IT major, Apple on Thursday launched its LED cinema display and redesigned laptops that offers advanced features to customers.

The cinema display features 24-inch LED-backlit wide-screen display with built-in iSight video camera, mike and speakers and an integrated MagSafe charger, three USB 2.0 ports and the new mini display port, the company said here in a statement.

"The new LED Cinema display is the most advanced display that Apple has ever made," Apple's Senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, Philip Schiller said in the statement.

The new LED Cinema Display will be available from November through Apple's authorised resellers for Rs 60,900, the company said.

The company also launched an all new MacBook family that redefines the notebook design for a cheaper price, the company said.

The new MacBook delivers top features like all metal enclosure, high performance 3D graphics and LED-backlit displays starting at Rs 79,700, the company said.

The product will be available through Apple's authorised centres from next month.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


The Economic Times

British chip designer ARM, card network Visa, Chinese technology group Huawei and nine others said on Tuesday they planned to join the Symbian Foundation to get free access to its software.

Since June 2008, 52 companies have said they plan to join the foundation, including all major mobile phone makers, AT&T said in a statement, giving it an edge over Google's Android in a battle over who will dominate the mobile phone software market in coming years.

Nokia, the world's No.1 mobile phone maker, said in June it would buy out other shareholders of UK-based smartphone software maker Symbian for $410 million and make its software royalty-free to other phone makers in response to new rivals.

Nokia would contribute Symbian's assets to the not-for-profit organization, the Symbian Foundation, uniting with leading handset makers, network operators and communications chipmakers to create an open-source platform.

Nokia has said it sees the Symbian Foundation as a faster way to bring new products to the markets. Foundation members also avoid having to pay fees to outside software developers.

New York
The Economic Times
Google is jumping into the mobile phone business with its new G1 phone. The G1 is available starting on Wednesday for $179 with a two-year contract from T-Mobile. The new gadget features a touch screen, slide-out keyboard and a trackball. This alternative to Apple’s iPhone is the first phone powered by Google’s opensource Android operating system. Open source means the operating system’s blueprints are published, allowing software developers to create programs, or “apps,” that users can download. There are apps for the iPhone, but Apple hand-picks which ones are available, something that limits innovation.


The Times of India

Dell computer chief Michael Dell said his company would increase investment in emerging markets, and China in particular, so it can continue to grow as the world economy slows.

Demand for Dell products in China has continued to grow despite the weakening global economy, with sales up 33 percent year on year in the second quarter, the computer maker said at a briefing in Shanghai.

"China is one of the most critical emerging countries in the world," Dell, the company's chairman and chief executive, told reporters and analysts.

He said emerging markets would be key to the company's effort to continue growing faster than the industry average, along with developing mobile computing products and helping companies cut costs during tough times.

The computer maker's shipments in the Asia-Pacific increased 35 percent in the third quarter, nearly three times faster than the industry average of 12 percent, according preliminary figures compiled by technology analysts IDC.


Supriya Unni, Bangalore
Financial Chronicle

Five sectors have been identified as sunshine industries as the growth of the Indian manufacturing sector through the development of SEZs, industrial corridors and townships is expected to create a significant impact in the real estate market.

According to a report released by real estate consultants Jones Lang Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj- The Indian Industrial Real Estate Landscape – An emerging investment opportunity, automobile and auto components, telecommunications, semiconductor, pharmaceuticals and drugs and logistics and warehousing will help the real estate sector tide through rough times. The Indian real estate market has been going through severe depression with the domestic market scenario coupled with global economic depression.

The major emerging and high-growth industrial sectors are automobile and auto components; telecommunications; semiconductor, drugs and pharmaceuticals and biotech industries. The growth of the manufacturing and retail sectors and the improvement in transport infrastructure has already attracted many domestic and international players to invest in the logistics sector. Logistics and warehousing sectors are foreseen as the sectors which will witness growth at breakneck speed in the future. “The growth of the Indian manufacturing sector through the development of SEZs, industrial corridors and townships is expected to create a significant impact in the real estate market.

The residential and retail sectors, which act as value-added sectors to the manufacturing industry, will also experience growth," said Abhishek K Gupta, Head of Operations, Research and REIS, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj.

"Over time, we can see the emergence of numerous industrial corridors along various regional belts to significantly bolster demand for real estate," he added.


Chittaranjan Tembhekar, Mumbai
The Times of India (Mumbai edition)

In a major policy decision, the state government has now allowed IT-supported financial establishments like banks and insurance companies 100% additional floor space index (FSI). However, 20% of the FSI will be allowed for commercial establishments in IT parks.

A notification issued by the urban development department on October 20 states that 80% of the total FSI will now be used for IT-supported financial services (ITSFS).

The state government had in 2004 modified development control regulations (DCR) to grant 100% additional FSI to all IT and ITES units in IT parks. As per the earlier provisions, ITSFS were allowed to use 30% of the 100% FSI but it’s now been extended to 80%.

Also the state’s industry, energy and labour departments had permitted financial services in 60% to 80% built-up area earmarked for IT and ITES on the condition that minimum 50% shall be used for pure IT and ITES activities.

The government has invited objections within 30 days of publication of the notice in government gazette.

As per the new provision, additional FSI will be granted upon the payment of premium that should be recovered at the rate of 25% for IT and ITES users, 40% for the IT supported financial services and 100% for commercial users of the present market value of the land under references as indicated in the ready reckoner. “The benefiting financial institution will be liable to pay 40% of the premium even if only a part of 80% of the total area is being used by them,’’ the notification stated.


The Hindu
AIG Global Real Estate has invested in Venlankani Tech Park, part of the Bangalore-based Velankani group. Velankani is developing a notified special economic zone in Sriperumbudur. According to a release, the proposed development of 8.5 million sq. ft is aimed to provide plug-and-play space for electronics hardware and telecom component manufacturers and IT/ITeS companies.


Bibhu Ranjan Mishra, Bangalore
Business Standard

Telecom software product firm Subex is gradually reducing its dependency on its biggest client British Telecom, which contributes more than 20 percent to the company’s top line.

Even as the business it is deriving from BT is increasing in absolute terms, the revenue contribution to Subex’s annual revenue in 2008-09 might fall to 18-20 percent this year from 21-22 percent a year ago, Subex said. This is mainly due to faster growth of its other top-10 clients including AT&T, Telstra, Telecom Italia and Swisscom.

Subex Founder Chairman and Managing Director Subash Menon said, “This year, we will get about 18-20 percent revenue from BT in line with our guidance. Last year, it was a little higher.

Since the other portion (non-BT business) is also growing faster, the revenue share from BT is decreasing. In absolute terms, the revenue we will get from BT will be higher than the previous financial year.”

Unlike most companies in the IT services sector, Subex is over-dependent on its top-10 clients. The top-10 clients contribute close to 85 percent of its revenue. However, since most of the contracts in the telecom space are multi-year deals, the risk of depending too much on specific clients is mitigated to a certain extent.

BT, which is also an indirect investor in Subex through Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), provides a business of $20-23 million on an annualised basis. The business from BT is growing at 10-15 percent every year.

Almost three years ago, when BT announced 21st Century Networks (21CN), a network upgradation project transform its legacy network with advanced network capability, Subex was also awarded with a small portion of the project. The project with an outlay of $10 billion, spans over five years and involves multiple vendors.