Friday, November 28, 2008


San Francisco
The Economic Times

Apple Inc, facing a tight US consumer-spending environment, is gearing up for a one-day sale on Friday and at least one analyst expects the company to offer discounts of up to 15 percent.

The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, is the traditional kickoff to the US holiday shopping season and one of the biggest buying days of the year for consumers.

The outlook for the computer and consumer electronics industry is universally grim, with shoppers widely expected to cut back on purchases as a recession looms.

An announcement on Apple's website said the online store is holding a "one-day-only holiday shopping event. You'll find dozens of great iPod, iPhone, and Mac gift ideas."

An Apple spokesman declined to provide details. Apple products are typically more expensive than those of competitors, and it doesn't offer price reductions very often.

Kaufman Bros analyst Shaw Wu said in a research note that he expects Apple's Black Friday promotions to be "a little more aggressive than usual."

Wu expects Mac computers, iPod digital media players and accessories to be discounted up to 15 percent, but said it was unclear whether the iPhone would also be on sale. In years past, Apple has cut prices by 5 percent to 10 percent.

Retailers, including Best Buy Co Inc and Inc, are already discounting Apple products. The Best Buy website is currently offering $100 to $150 off certain MacBook laptops.

Wu also said many Apple stores are electing to match the price discounts of resellers. Apple shares rose 2.7 percent to $93.23 on Tuesday, in line with other technology issues on Nasdaq..


The Pioneer

In Haryana, over 100 Information Technology Plans and Information and Computer Technology Project Proposals, amounting to Rs 389.42 crore covering 60 major departments and organisations had so far been approved in the State. It was stated by Haryana Chief Secretary, Dharam Vir during e-Governance Conference, which is organised by Data Quest at Chandigarh on Thursday. Haryana had already taken a lead in implementing State sector Mission Mode Projects identified under National e-Governance Plan of Government of India.

The Chief Secretary said that Haryana aspires to use e-Governance as a way of life for the people of the State in the near future to qualitatively raise their standard of lives. It would not be confined just as an instrument to be selectively used for the development of economy in selected areas only. He said that Haryana State Wide Area Network (ADHAAR) had been set up in the State as a communication corridor to connect State Head Quarter to District Head Quarters and further to Blocks, Sub-Divisions, Tehsils and Sub-Tehsils on a three-tier vertical structure. Haryana was the first State to rollout all Common Service Centers (CSCs) across the State for enabling the citizens to have easy access to citizen services. As many as 1159 rural and 104 urban CSC's had been established in the Public Private Partnership mode. In order to provide a state-of-the-art common central repository of all applications and data, a large scale State Data Centre with 35 TB storage capacities was being set-up at a cost of Rs 50 crore under the NeGP. With this, the State had now geared up to take the benefit of latest technology down to the grassroots of administration and the citizens.

The Chief Secretary said that the State had received 18 prestigious national e-Governance awards, including Winners award of TELECOMM India Excellence Award 2007 for the most progressive State Government in e-Governance from India Tech Foundation. Haryana had been treated as leader in e-Governance readiness index 2006 of the country.


Vidhya Sivaramakrishnan, Chennai

Chennai has evolved into a city with traditional values but a modern outlook where you find software professionals carrying thair saadham (curd rice) in their tiffin boxes and eating it at the posh food courts of their offices, says C. Chandramouli, planning and development secretary of Tamil Nadu.

Having attracted many auto mobile and electronics companies, Tamil Nadu is now being increasingly looked at as an attractive IT destination. Chandramouli, who was the state’s IT secretary until recently, says in an interview that the large number of graduates that the state produces every year, along with its work ethic, is drawing big names in the IT industry to Chennai and Tamil Nadu.


How do you view the growth of industries as well as IT in the south?

Chennai has always been the gateway of south, and when you look at the Look-East Policy, we are the gateway of South-East Asia also. So in that way, Chennai assumes a very strategic position, both geopolitically as well as the kind of infrastructure that people look for investment.

When I talk of infrastructure, the first and foremost asset that Chennai or Tamil Nadu has is its human resources (HR). We are adding about a lakh engineering graduates every year and three lakh of non-engineering graduates. These people are English-speaking, trainable and, more importantly, their work ethics, which everyone talks about.

What more does Chennai need to attract further investments or is its story successful enough for people to flock in?

No, we realize that it’s not successful enough... The major problem is the quality of education, though we have numbers in place, we don’t have the quality in place. And that is why we have started the IT Academy.

The IT Academy doesn’t look at students. It looks at developing faculty, developing curriculum, developing content so that we can equip the colleges, which are in the private sector.


Ajay Sukumaran, Bangalore

Fixing India’s IT capital, as Bangalore is also known, is among the biggest challenges faced by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Karnataka. The state government has been talking of bringing about a change through better planning and more private participation.

S. Suresh Kumar, the state’s urban development minister speaks about how his government intends to achieve this.


Your government has constituted the Agenda for Bangalore Infrastructure Development (ABIDE).

What will this panel do?

The intention behind ABIDE is to take practical steps that will make a better Bangalore.

ABIDE is coming out with a policy statement about what exactly Bangalore needs and how exactly we should move forward to implement those needs. We have observed that there was no coordination between the principal agencies (for civic affairs, transport and water supply). That is the minimum thing needed. It’s a time-bound programme and we want to achieve all these things in six or eight months.

How is Bangalore still attracting investments when Chennai and Hyderabad too are aggressive in this regard?

The potential of Bangalore lies in the knowledge capital that we have… May be coupled with that, the climate also plays a role, unlike Chennai or Hyderabad. This is not a new started at least one-and-a-half decades ago. We are continuously improving upon that. In a way, even without the government taking any specific steps in the earlier days, Bangalore had remained an investor-friendly city, not only for IT giants but also for (the) manufacturing sector.


The Hindu

Infrastructure works at the proposed IT (information technology) parks at Ilanthaikulam off Ring Road and Vadapalanji near Madurai Kamaraj University will begin on December 5.

A sum of Rs. 22.80 crore has been earmarked for establishing roads, compound walls, lamp posts, electricity transformers and drinking water facilities in the IT parks. After the State government identified two-tier cities for establishing IT parks, it entrusted the work with the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu. The decision to start the work was taken at a high-level consultative committee meeting in which Collector P. Seetharaman and ELCOT Managing Director Santhosh Babu, among other officials, participated, a press release issued here on Thursday said.

At Ilanthaikulam, 28.91 acres of land had been earmarked for establishing a state-of-the-art IT Park in which HCL Technologies, Honeywell Technology Solutions, Satyam Computers and Sutherland Global Services, among others, are expected to set up shop. The government has entered into a 90-year lease agreement with these companies.

In Vadapalanji and Kinnimangalam villages, 245.17 acres of land have been identified in which an integrated IT complex will come up on about 50 acres with all infrastructural facilities on the lines of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The Corporation of Madurai will establish drinking water supply to the IT parks.


Moinak Mitra
The Economic Times

Dassault Systemes has used its 3D simulation software to create fighter carriers for the US armed forces and aeroplanes for Boeing. Now CEO Bernard Charles is helping Tata Motors create a virtual plant for the Nano.

When Bernard Charles signed up with Dassault Systemes at the age of 26, he was married to science. After graduating with honours as a mechanical engineer from Ecole Normale Superieure in Cachan, France, Charles immersed himself in research. Even in his first year at Dassault, he contemplated quitting so as to boost his career in research. At that time, Dassault Systemes had just 30 employees. Today, with a workforce of 15,000, Charles sits at the helm of affairs at Dassault as its president and CEO.

Much has changed for the former professor at Superieure. Though he continues to lecture engineering students with the same passion he had 25 years ago, a strong element of business has seeped into his method. Charles, 51, clearly sees an end to the means. “We want the practical experience to come to theory, virtually,” says the Frenchman, who is in India to attend the company’s annual PLM (product lifecycle management) forum at Mumbai.

It is this practicality in the virtual space that has propelled Dassault Systemes from nowhere to a $2 billion workhorse in flat 25 years. A world leader in PLM software solutions, Dassault designs and develops industrial products by offering a 3D vision of the entire product lifecycle, from initial design to maintenance. And that has given the company a leverage across 11 sectors, including automotive, aerospace, fabrication and assembly, consumer goods, electrical and electronics, ship building, with over 100,000 clients.

“Next time, I’ll show you something new,” is his oft-repeated phrase, peppered liberally through the conversation, as he uses his iPhone to effect by demonstrating a retail experience in 3D and various other nuggets from core verticals. That’s something he also tells Ratan Tata each time they meet. “For the first 15 minutes, Ratan tells me about his new projects knowing fully well that I will reveal some new secrets. The last time we met, I showed him our 3DVIA and how one could do city-planning,” says Charles.

The Tata-Dassault equation doesn’t just pop up in isolation. Tata Motors is a major client and work on the ‘Nano’ has gathered steam. “The whole plant has been designed and simulated in advance so that there’s no wastage. Also, with franchisees, they can replicate the same plant across the country,” says Charles. “The heart of our platform is to use the virtual or digital definition so that you can verify things yourself before actually physically rolling them out. Never underestimate the huge savings you can have if waste is removed.”

Having said that, he feels the ongoing global recession will have a strong bearing on human behaviour. “The buying experience will change and probably people will be more comfortable in buying a product that offers value, and value will become the reason for the emotion.” Retailers, like GAP, Gucci, LVMH, Quicksilver and Under Armour, too, are thronging to Dassault to realise their moment of truth. “We put laser beams on store shelves to read where consumers’ eyes are going and why they choose one product over another, with our 3DVIA Virtools,” says Charles. Indian retailers are also queuing up at Dassault.

Dassault emerged as a major player in the technology space in the 80s by “telling companies not to think flat, but in 3D”. That made Dassault gain heavyweights, like Mercedes Benz, BMW and Northrop Grumman. “In 1994, when the Boeing company demonstrated to the world that an aeroplane of the size and complexity of 777 could be produced digitally without physical prototype, that was our first achievement,” says Charles, Boeing saved itself hundreds of millions of dollars as it delivered to customers without a physical prototype. In 1996 Dassault started training the staff at Toyota virtually on the shopfloor. That also was Dassault’s first brush with the Nonaka Model of manufacturing, when Toyota decided to manufacture straight after design, not from the front but the backend.


Business Standard The Hindu

The Microsoft Hyderabad campus has kicked off its annual ‘Giving’ campaign and community week. A tradition running for 32 years in Redmond, where Microsoft is headquartered, and since nine years in Hyderabad, the Giving campaign encourages employees to take up social initiatives throughout the year.

The campaign will involve the 3,000-odd full-time employees of Microsoft’s three business units in Hyderabad – Microsoft India Development Centre, Microsoft IT-India and Microsoft Global Services India – who will volunteer various CSR activities including painting a school in Tolichowki, taking kids adopted by non-governmental organisation Hyderabad Council of Human Welfare to gaming zone Krazee Chiks and teaching basic computer skills to 77 kids of Sharada High School.

The software major is also organising a live auction of various items donated by employees such as paintings, handicrafts, books and electronic items, besides organising two cricket matches in which top bidders among the employees will play against the Leadership team.

The employee positions have been auctioned and the Leadership matches the combined bid amount. The entire money will be donated to listed NGOs, said Kalpana Sinha, director (people and organisation capability), Microsoft Hyderabad.

“So far this year, the campaign has witnessed 1,565 man hours and a Rs 85-lakh contribution including the company matching, as against Rs 1 crore last year. We basically manage employees by task and not by time and the campaign is being carried out without impacting our deliverables,” she added.


Anirvan Ghosh
The Economic Times (Bangalore edition)

Dell India is planning a new marketing strategy to complement its new push into SMB businesses. It is scouting for customers in smaller towns, and targeting simplification of business processes as the main area of growth as part of a new strategy for Indian emerging businesses. “We see emerging businesses across India as our main driver of growth,” says Saleh M Munshi, who heads the SMB business for Asia-Pacific South. As part of a new rollout plan, the company had tied up with Tally to offer accounting solutions online.

“This sector is not exposed to global shocks that much and is therefore a more stable market,” says Neeraj Gupta, general manager of Dell SMB India. The Tally subscription will be free on select Dell Vostro systems for the initial subscription period and the systems will be available only through Dell’s partner network and direct sales.

“We will work with Tally to develop more solutions for the emerging businesses,” says Gupta. Munshi says that the company finds that SMBs look first at the basic areas to improve cost efficiencies, then opt for better communication tools to do a better job of managing revenue streams, eventually progressing to CRM tools.

Dell’s new advertising campaign titled ‘Take Your Own Path’ was targeted at Indian SMBs and that it has been launched first in India. “In the entire region, this market is growing noticeably faster,” he says, explaining the new marketing strategy and the new range of laptops targeted at the sector.

The company grew around 48 percent in the third quarter, and its business with emerging companies has outstripped the market growth, one of the few regions in the world to deliver such growth for the company. The firm has doubled its SMB team in the last couple of quarters and now has 200 people, and support staff in addition to that, according to Munshi.

It has also expanded to over 600 cities, most of them tier-II and tier-III cities. “We are now planning to be more aggressive on smaller businesses,” he says, adding that he sees Indian emerging businesses growing faster than other countries. “When we went to the smaller towns, we saw a remarkable awareness about what they want in IT,” says Gupta, adding that they found firms of 10-20 people with global aspirations. That is what set them thinking of a new strategy for them, and a new approach, which partly resulted in partnering with Tally.

Gupta says that the approach is not guarded anymore. “We are going all out in our expansion into the interiors of the country,” he says. Dell is now planning to introduce Dell 360, which would be a portal where SMBs can learn how IT can work for them and also have a discussion forum dedicated to their needs.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


The Economic Times

Touchscreen PCs could move from the margins to the mainstream as falling LCD prices, advances in technology and applications in high growth markets prompt computer makers to take a closer look at the sector.

Their interest follows the wild success of Apple's iPhone, which has led to a parade of knock-off cellphones by everyone from industry leader Nokia, Taiwan's HTC and now Research In Motion, whose BlackBerry Storm began flying off store shelves this month.

The niche could get a further boost from Microsoft, which has said it plans to support touchscreen technology in Windows 7, the successor to its Vista operating system.

"These computers are challenging the way we interact with a computer," said Bryan Ma, an IDC analyst.

"The phenomenon hasn't really taken off yet, and we're still seeing just a few early starters, but it'll be very interesting to see what's going to happen."

Touchscreen PCs, which use a specialized kind of liquid crystal display (LCD), could take off quickly if designers find applications that take advantage of their greater flexibility over keyboards, said DisplaySearch analyst Jennifer Colegrove.

Writing text in non-letter-based languages such as Chinese is a good example.

"Keyboards are not optimized for typing Chinese and other east Asian languages," she said.

"Test audiences who have had to type in Chinese have been extremely receptive of touch screen PCs that they can write on. This could potentially mean massive inroads for PC vendors in the massive Chinese market."

Low cost boost

Touchscreen PCs have been around for more than a decade, but their high cost and limited functionality have kept them out of the mainstream, leaving them limited to specialty devices such as those often seen in restaurants and supermarkets.

Touchscreen notebooks currently account for less than 1 percent of all notebook shipments in Asia, according to IDC.

But recent advances in technology including improved picture quality and better sensitivity to touch, combined with falling LCD prices, are increasing the viability of touchscreens.


The Financial Express

Determined to break the “bubble” surrounding the US presidency, tech-savvy Barack Obama on Wednesday said he was “negotiating” with the secret service and others whether he could retain his Blackberry after moving to the White House.

Obama, who will succeed incumbent George W Bush as the 44th US President on January 20, said he was concerned that the isolated life of a president would limit his access to information from outside the bubble of the White House.

Throughout the gruelling presidential campaign, Obama was often seen communicating via his Blackberry mobile phone, a convenience he may legally have to forgo.

For national security purposes, a president has limited access to electronic correspondences for fear of hacking. Additionally, presidential communications are strictly monitored and archived for historical purposes.

“One of the things that I’m going to have to work through is how to break through the isolation—the bubble that exists around the president.

“I’m in the process of negotiating with the secret service, with lawyers, with White House staff ... to figure out how can I get information from outside of the 10 or 12 people who surround my office in the White House,” Obama said in an interview to ABC News.

Last week, the New York Times had reported that Obama, apparently addicted to the Blackberry, might have to give up his high-tech instrument.

Quoting Obama’s aides, the report had said he hopes to have a laptop computer on his desk in the Oval Office, making him the first American president to do so.


New Delhi
The Economic Times Financial Chronicle

India has approved 32 foreign investment proposals valued at 8.5 billion rupees ($172 million), including that of billionaire Carl Icahn-controlled Federal-Mogul, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

Foreign direct investment in India in the six months to September grew 137 percent to $17.21 billion, led by inflows into services, construction, real estate, and computer hardware and software firms.

India has said it will meet a target to attract $35 billion of foreign direct investment in the year to March, and officials say there is no evidence to indicate a slowing of inflows as analysts have predicted.


The Economic Times

Hughes Communications Inc., is the fastest growing technology company in North America, followed by Ticket Software LLC, Starent Networks Corp., Abraxis BioScience Inc. and Pure Digital Technologies Inc., according to the 2008 Deloitte Technology Fast 500. The award is a ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences companies in North America based on percentage of fiscal year revenue growth over five years (2003-2007).

"Deloitte's Technology Fast 500 recognizes technology companies who have achieved extraordinary growth in North America's most innovative and competitive sectors," said Phil Asmundson, Deloitte LLP vice chairman and national managing partner for Technology, Media and Telecommunications. "We congratulate all of our Fast 500 winners on this significant accomplishment."

"Now more than ever, fast growth companies of all sizes are a bright spot not to be overlooked," added Mark Jensen, national managing partner of Deloitte LLP's Venture Capital Services. "Historically, it is the fastest growing businesses that spur innovation, job creation and economic growth in general."

Top Five Companies in Deloitte's 2008 Technology Fast 500. The top five Fast 500 winners are:

Hughes Communications Inc., a Germantown, Maryland-based provider of broadband networks and services, reported a revenue growth rate over five years of 138,762 percent, moving from revenues of $699,000 in 2003 to $970,648,000 in 2007. This is its first appearance on Deloitte's Fast 500 ranking.

Ticket Software LLC, a Vernon, Conn.-based privately held company that provides software solutions for the ticket industry, reported revenues of $83,760,000 in 2007, a leap of 111,580 percent from 2003 revenues of $75,000. This is its first appearance on the Fast 500 ranking.

Starent Networks Corp., a Tewksbury, Mass.-based company that provides networking solutions for mobile operators, reported revenues of $145,797,000 in 2007, a leap of 80,008 percent from 2003 revenues of $182,000. This is its first appearance on the Fast 500 ranking.

Abraxis BioScience Inc., a Los Angeles-based biotechnology company providing progressive therapeutics and core technologies, reported revenues of $333,686,000 in 2007, a leap of 77,682 percent from 2003 revenues of $429,000. This is its first appearance on the Fast 500 listing.

Pure Digital Technologies Inc., a San Francisco-based, privately held developer of digital imaging equipment and solutions, reported revenues of $54,616,000 in 2007, an increase of 44,667 percent from 2003 revenues of $122,000. This is its first appearance on the Fast 500 ranking.


Business Standard DNA

Anil Agarwal, executive chairman of the London Stock Exchange-listed Vedanta Resources, is the Ernst &Young (E&Y) Entrepreneur of the Year. Agarwal will now represent India at the E&Y World Entreprenuer of the Year Award in Monte Carlo, Monaco in May 2009.

Eight other entreprenuers also received awards in various categories at a glittering function held here today. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to PRS Oberoi, chairman and chief executive of the Oberoi group.

The 10th edition of the E&Y awards in India was decided by a six-member jury headed by KV Kamath, managing director and chief executive of ICICI Bank.

AM Naik, chairman and managing director, Larsen and Toubro, won the Manager Entrepreneur award and Arvind Rao, CEO and co-founder of OnMobile Global was the Start-up Entrepreneur of the Year.

The other Entreprenuer Award winners in various categories were Jaiprakash Gaur, founder chairman of Jaypee Group (infrastructure and construction), Gautam Thapar, chairman and CEO of Avantha Group (manufacturing), Rohinton Screwvala, CEO of UTV Software Communications (services), Sanjeev Bikhchandani, CEO and MD and Hitesh Oberoi, director and COO of Info Edge (business transformation), and P Namperumalsamy, chairman of Aravind Eye Care Systems (health care and life sciences).

“All the winners are outstanding individuals who have built exceptional enterprises. They have challenged existing business models, created markets where none existed, led innovation and also built global scale and structure,” said Rajiv Memani, country managing partner of E&Y..


Arun S, New Delhi
The Financial Express

In a move that would help developers of special economic zones, particularly of IT/ITeS SEZs, enhance the commercial viability of projects, the government has allowed them to build more and larger housing facilities, offices and other required social infrastructure in the ‘non-processing area’ and avail tax benefits for it.

Half the total area of each SEZ comprises the non-processing area that houses only social amenities, while the other half is the processing area where industrial units are located.

The ceilings on housing and office space in the non-processing area of SEZs were imposed to prevent SEZs from becoming a pure-play realty business. But the curbs were affecting the commercial viability of SEZs, according to the commerce ministry.

The ministry had even mooted amendments to the rules saying developers should be permitted to build over and above the ceiling limits, but by forgoing the tax and duty exemptions for such extra constructions.

After several rounds of inter-ministerial deliberations and Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) meetings in August and October this year, the government has now decided that the Board of Approval (BoA) for SEZs can approve the construction of social amenities according to the enlarged overall ceilings in each category of social infrastructure. As per the new norms, developers would even be able to claim the duty drawback, and benefits of tax exemption or concessions, sources said.

However, there are some riders. Construction of social amenities as per the relaxed norms would be permitted only in a phased manner and would depend on the employment generation, increased focus on exports and building of infrastructure in the area housing industrial units.

Besides, the BoA will apply the new norms on a case-by-case basis, depending on the location of the zone and the projected number of employees. Earlier, due to the differences between the commerce and finance ministries on the easing of such norms, the government had asked Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for its expert opinion to help in arriving at a consensus.

As per the suggestions of the DDA, the overall ceilings in each category will be revised upwards in proportion with the available area of land and the floor area ratio as well as the norms prescribed by the local town planning authorities.

The ceiling on social amenities has been causing problems to SEZ developers. For instance, an IT/ITeS SEZ, with a minimum area of 10 hectares, could allocate only 10,000 square metres (sq m) for housing and 1,000 sq m for office space. Since most IT/ITeS SEZ have around 15,000-20,000 employees, they would need much more floor area than these limits.

The scene was no different for sector specific (with a minimum area of 100 hectares) and multi-product SEZs (minimum area of 1,000 hectares). While sector specific SEZs could allocate only a maximum of 750,000 sq.m (or 7,500 units) of housing space and 50,000 sq m of office space, for multi-product SEZs it was 25 lakh sq m (or 25,000 units) for housing and 200,000 sq m for office space.

“If all the employees of SEZ were to be settled inside the zone, then the permitted floor area for housing and other facilities should be much higher. These ceilings on the number and size of social amenities are limiting factors. Many employees who cannot be accommodated inside the zone will settle outside, creating a burden on the existing housing and infrastructure facilities,” a representative of the Export Promotion Council for EOUs and SEZs Panel for SEZ Developers.


Purabi Bora, New Delhi
The Indian Express

To meet the growing demands of technology environments, Hewlett-Packard announced several new products, services and solutions to enable customers to realize the full potential and benefits of their virtualisation projects. These new offerings are aimed at business needs that span from desktops to data centres.

Virtualisation can provide several benefits, including increased business agility, lowered costs and reduced risk of downtime. When properly implemented, virtualisation becomes a strategic enabler for data centre transformation.

Recent global research conducted on behalf of HP has revealed that while 86 percent of technology decision makers have implemented virtualisation projects, the vast majority of respondents expect to have virtualised just 25 percent of their technology environments by 2010. While many of those surveyed anticipate eventually reaching 75 percent virtualisation of their total environments, only one-third of these technology implementers recognize virtualisation as a valuable business tool. Two thirds of implementers relegate virtualisation to the role of technology enabler. .


Thomas K Thomas, New Delhi
The Hindu Business Line

IT major Oracle is close to bagging a multi-million dollar IT solutions deal from Aircel. While the exact size of the deal is not known, Oracle has bagged similar contracts from Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular.

Oracle offers packaged software solutions that deliver end-to-end support for the key business processes for communications companies, from service creation, offer management, and order orchestration, through provisioning and service delivery, to billing, revenue assurance and reporting.

Close to 90 percent of telecom operators in the country are partnering with Oracle to deliver better services. Globally, it has nearly 700 communication customers.

For instance, Idea Cellular is implementing Oracle’s Siebel CRM applications to deliver a better customer service experience to pre- and post-paid mobile subscribers across its entire operations in India. Airtel has implemented Oracle Communications Order Management and Inventory Management for streamlined business operations and superior service delivery.

Bharti Airtel has also selected Oracle Communications Network Integrity to optimise the use of its 78,540-km extensive national optical fibre network. BSNL has also given a contract to Oracle comprising Oracle Applications, Oracle Database and Oracle Fusion Middleware which will enhance customer service delivery. The new deal with Aircel includes parts of these solutions.

Oracle India has more than 6,700 customers in the telecommunications, banking, insurance, manufacturing and utilities industries, across the Government and private sector. The company is a partner for e-Governance initiatives of Central and State Government bodies in India.


Purabi Bora, New Delhi
The Indian Express

To meet the growing demands of technology environments, Hewlett-Packard announced several new products, services and solutions to enable customers to realize the full potential and benefits of their virtualisation projects. These new offerings are aimed at business needs that span from desktops to data centres.

Virtualisation can provide several benefits, including increased business agility, lowered costs and reduced risk of downtime. When properly implemented, virtualisation becomes a strategic enabler for data centre transformation.

Recent global research conducted on behalf of HP has revealed that while 86 percent of technology decision makers have implemented virtualisation projects, the vast majority of respondents expect to have virtualised just 25 percent of their technology environments by 2010. While many of those surveyed anticipate eventually reaching 75 percent virtualisation of their total environments, only one-third of these technology implementers recognize virtualisation as a valuable business tool. Two thirds of implementers relegate virtualisation to the role of technology enabler. .

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The Economic Times

Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, is getting ready to introduce a slew of mobile internet devices (MIDs) to carve out a space for itself in what is seen as a large, emerging market for high-speed portable internet products and online gaming. The devices will be based on the Atom processor and Intel has chalked out an aggressive strategy to tap into the nascent market for the products in India, a senior company official said.

“Out strategy is a combination of bringing in customers/devices from other parts of the world and working with local customers and service providers. Our team in Bangalore is working on some products. We are also exploring the idea of manufacturing these devices in India,” said Pankaj Kedia, director of Global Ecosystem Programs, mobile internet devices, at the Intel Developer Forum in Taipei last month. HCL will be the first Indian company to introduce an Intel mobile internet device, powered by the Atom processor. The device is due for launch early next year and being manufactured by Inventec in Taiwan and China, he said, but did not provide further details. Worldwide, Intel has 35 designs on the Menlow platform, a family of low-power processors for MIDs.

“From an India perspective, many users are yet to taste fast internet on the mobile. We don’t think that a WAP-based or text-based or slow internet is what they want. They want the real internet and we think mobile internet devices will deliver the capability. The Asia-Pacific region is a big focus and India is a huge market for this product category. It will not happen overnight, but over the next 3-5 years you will see multiple devices shipping,” Kedia said


Douglas Hamilton
The Asian Age Deccan Chronicle

Want to optimise your looks without radically altering them? An Israeli team of computer scientists may have the answer.

They have developed a computer software model based on the innate preferences that studies show we have for human faces.

"This technology could become a product where for example there’s a web service where people upload their photographs and have them enhanced or beautified by our software," said Professor Dani Lischinksi of Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Studies show that eyes a certain shape and distance apart, nose a certain length, lips a certain curve, increase the probability that we will find one face more attractive than another.

"We were able to fit a mathematical model to this set of data that we’ve gathered, namely the images that we showed to people and their responses in terms of the beauty scores that they chose to give to each image," said Lischinksi.

The team then applied the model to modify images so as to make them appear more attractive. They are now exploring a variety of potential commercial applications for the software, Lischinski said.

"This is something we’re looking into," he said. It remains to be seen whether women would simply use the improved image as a guide to more effective makeup application or whether people take it to a plastic surgeon and say: "Make me look like that."

The results can be striking. The photographed face of one conventionally pretty woman processed by what some Israeli media dubbed "the beauty machine" became more beautiful.

The software did not attempt to correct the very slight crookedness in her nose, so she was unmistakably the same person but subtly enhanced to great effect. The aim is not a world "where everybody looks the same or everybody looks like a Hollywood star or a supermodel. What our program tries to do is to improve the perceived attractiveness of the face but in a manner that tries to change as little as possible," said the professor.

The Israeli scientists say they are well aware of the adage that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."


The Hindu Business Line

Andhra Bank, currently doing business of Rs 87,000 crore, is confident of crossing the Rs 1,00,000 crore mark by the end of the fiscal, according to R.S. Reddy, Chairman and Managing Director.

Reddy, who was here to participate in a seminar on financial inclusion in Andhra University on Tuesday, said at a press meet that the bank had lent Rs 8,000 crore to corporates during the past three months, after he had assumed charge as Chairman, and was going ahead with the introduction of technology-based products aggressively.

The bank would open 50 branches, most of them outside the State, and implement core banking solutions in all branches by the end of March 2009. The bank was also planning to refurbish 150 branches and shift 100 in order to offer better services.

Reddy said Andhra Bank had signed a MoU with Bank of Baroda and Legal and General Group of the UK to form a joint venture life insurance company and was in the process of filing for approvals from the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority.

The bank was also in the process of forming a joint venture in Malaysia with Bank of Baroda and Indian Overseas Bank for setting up a bank there. He said the bank would recruit 1,000 employees and impart training to them.


The Economic Times (Bangalore edition)

No.1 computer services provider IBM said India remains one of its fastest growing markets and it expects to maintain double-digit revenue growth in the region despite growing domestic competition, a company official said on Tuesday.

“We are looking at maintaining the double-digit (revenue) growth we are continuing to see on an average basis,” Sandip Patel, managing partner of IBM’s global business services in India and South Asia, said at the Reuters India Investment Summit.

Armonk, New York-headquartered IBM’s revenue from India, where it has been present since 1992, grew 43% to about $1 billion in 2007. But growth has been slowing in the past few quarters.

Revenue grew 43% in the first quarter of the 2008 financial year, then slowed to 36% in the second quarter and about 24% in the third quarter ended September 30.

The growth potential offered by India, Asia’s third largest economy, has led to increased competition from Indian IT companies, said Patel. India’s export-driven software services firms like Infosys Technologies and Satyam Computer Services are also vying for a bigger piece of the domestic market, as demand from their key US and European markets slows.


New Delhi
The Economic Times Business Standard The Hindu Business Line Financial Chronicle

Imagine surfing the Internet by using your voice, eliminating the need for visuals or keypads or think about getting medical treatment based on your genetic makeup under $100.

These innovations feature on computing giant IBM's third annual 'IBM Next Five in Five' list, which was unveiled today.

"These innovations have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years. I cannot comment on when these innovations will be available to the masses, but the details are being worked on," IBM India Research Laboratory Director Guruduth Banavar revealed.

The five selected innovations are based on market and societal trends, on-going projects in IBM's research labs, insights from IBM's business think tank and ideas from employees and partners around the world, in the US, China, Japan, Israel, Switzerland and India.

The list includes 'thin-film' solar cells, which are 100 times thinner than silicon-wafer cells used today, are cost-efficient and can be 'printed' and arranged on a flexible backing, on the sides of buildings, tinted windows, cell phones, laptops, cars, and even clothing.

With the retail segment growing by leaps and bounds, the trail rooms are also set to be computerised. "As fitting rooms are outfitted with digital shopping assistants like touch screen and voice activated kiosks, sales associate will be notified of the choice of clothing, and will gather the items and bring them directly to the shopper.

"Also, one will be able to snap photos of himself in different combinations and email or SMS them to friends and family for their opinion," he said.


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

Communications and IT minister A Raja said on Tuesday he will soon write to prime minister seeking a three-year extension to the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) scheme that provides tax exemptions to IT-ITeS firms.

The scheme is due to expire on March 31, 2010. Under the scheme, IT companies located inside software technology parks are exempted from income tax payment under Section 10A and 10B of the Income Tax Act. The scheme was originally supposed to lapse on March 31, 2009 but was extended for one year earlier this year.

“One-year extension has been given. This year I’ll again take up the matter with the PM. I want to have at least three years beyond March 2010,” Raja said, on the sidelines of the Economic Editors’ Conference. The tax rate for Indian IT companies would go up 3-8 percent on the expiration of STPI scheme from 12-25 percent, depending on their operational structure.

Apex software and services association Nasscom has been lobbying for an extension to the scheme. “It (STPI) needs to be equated to the SEZ scheme to create a level-playing field for small and medium companies.


The Financial Express

Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd (L&T Infotech) announced their SAP global services partnership. This partnership places L&T Infotech in a select group of global IT consulting firms that provide end to end strategy to execution services. As an SAP global services partner, L&T Infotech will invest in joint marketing resources and strategic planning to support the growth with SAP and serve customers worldwide.


N R Narayana Murthy
The Economic Times

Every nation experiences a seminal event that brings revolutionary changes in its economic life. Vanover Bush's proposal that US universities should focus on research to fuel US economic growth was in effect a critical reason for the extraordinary strides that the US has made in hi-tech.

The success of the auto industry in Japan propelled that nation to be the second most powerful economic power in the world. Similarly, the emergence of the software industry in India heralded a new confidence, a new mindset and a new paradigm in the Indian business.

For the first time in the history of this country in 300 years, the country felt that it had arrived on the international business scene. Let me talk about a few major contributions of this industry to the nation.

It is generally agreed that this industry has raised the international image of the country like no other sector. Wherever you go in the developed world, there is a new-found respect for India, thanks to the software industry.

India has gained reputation as the software development centre of the world, much like China's reputation as the factory of the world. Many influential authors have told me that our industry is an important reason for India being bracketed with the enormously successful China.

Most of the top companies in this industry have followed the finest principles of corporate governance, run their companies with transparency and accountability, are listed on international exchanges like NASDAQ and NYSE, and embraced the changes on these exchanges as front runners and brought recognition to India.

Infosys has been a pioneer in advancing the state-of-the art corporate governance practices in India. Infosys is also the first company on NASDAQ to provide the balance sheet and income statement according the GAAPs (the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) of eight countries - India, US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Japan and Australia.

During the nineties, a popular saying among the industry leaders was, "If you see a Mercedes Benz car in front of a house, you can be sure it belongs to the CEO of a failed traditional sector company; If you see a ramshackle ambassador in front of house, you can be sure it belongs to the CEO of a hugely successful software company". This sentence says a lot about the majority of the leaders in our industry.

The software industry has replaced the public sector as the largest creator of jobs. Today, TCS, Infosys and Wipro add more high quality, high disposable income jobs a year than any other company has done in the last hundred years. Such jobs have stimulated the economy in a significant manner.

Our youngsters buy vehicles, buy homes, go on vacation, shop in supermarkets and go to restaurants. When the industry is in top gear, which it has been for most of the last 15 years, there is joy on the main street, an air of confidence among shop owners, and a sense of pride among the families of the professionals. In other words, this industry has been the creator of a positive spiral in our economy.

As I have often said, this industry has been the shining example of all the good that came out of liberalisation and the economic reforms since 1991. As against just 8 percent of the Indian engineering industry output going to exports during the nineties, the contribution to exports from this industry has been between 80 percent and 90 percent of revenues.

What is even more important is that the net foreign exchange percentage is one of the highest at 50 percent in this industry. Thanks to the invisibles from this industry, the country is in a strong balance of payment position in spite of soaring oil prices.

Major import-intensive sectors of our economy like automobiles, consumer durables, travel, computer hardware and many other sectors have been sustained, thanks to the head start given by the software sector. The top four companies in this industry have practised compassionate capitalism and have spent much time in addressing the social equity issues.

Tata's laudatory record in philanthropy, Azeem Premji Foundation's focus on primary education, Infosys Foundation's work in addressing the basic needs of the poorest of the poor, and Satyam Foundation's work in enabling the rural folks are good examples of focus of these companies in matters of social equity.

The leaders of these companies have often taken firm and bold stand on various issues of governance and social equity. Companies like Infosys have been pioneers in democratisation of wealth by distributing a significant portion of financial equity to employees. Infosys has brought the benefit of spread of wealth to a large number of employees from janitors and clerks to professionals. This industry has been the first from India to focus on world-class excellence in every aspect of operation - HRD, finance, sales and marketing, software development, physical infrastructure and technology. This has given confidence to other Indian companies to compete confidently in the global market based on global level of excellence. It has given them a new mindset, courage and confidence.

I can go on and on. The message is clear. That is, the software industry has added tremendous value to the country, the Indian business and the Indian people.


Business Standard The Economic Times (Bangalore edition) The Hindu Business Line The Hindu The Financial Express

Satyam Computer Services Limited, the country's fourth largest software exporter, on Tuesday announced plans to collaborate on several critical research projects with the Centre of Data Engineering (CDE) at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT)-Hyderabad.

Satyam and CDE will work on the ‘Nurture a Research Area’ programme, which was established to foster collaboration between industry bodies and IIIT to create solutions to problems in areas of mutual interest. The collaboration between Satyam and IIIT-Hyderabad will focus on research and development in data mining and open source technologies.

Additionally, it will leverage the analytics expertise of the insitute to uncover business opportunities associated with social networking. Both the organisations will work together to create technologies and tools to extract knowledge from these networks and develop joint assets.

“Satyam and the CDE are focusing on data mining, especially where it concerns behavioural and psychographic analysis that will give companies insights into the buying behaviour of their customers,” Swaminathan Srinivasan, head (business intelligence and product management solutions and alliances), Satyam, stated in a release.


The Times of India

Sony Computer Entertainment has launched its PlayStation3’s exclusive game LittleBigPlanet in India. Globally, Sony released its anticipated `Little Big Planet' five days before the end of October, however, the game managed to come in eighth on the month's list of best-selling games after it sold 215,000 units.

LittleBigPlanet is a game that combines platform adventure with a social community, enabling consumers to play, create and share their gaming.

The LittleBigPlanet experience starts with players learning about their character's powers to interact physically with the environment. There are places to explore, creative resources to collect and puzzles to solve – all calling for a combination of brains and collaborative teamwork. As soon as the players begin to explore, their creative skills will be intensified, and they will soon be ready to start creating and modifying their surroundings – the first step to sharing it with the whole community.

Characters have the supremacy to move anything glued and stitched-together 3D landscape; they have the control to design, shape and build both objects and entire locations for others to view and play.

According to Atindriya Bose, Country Manager, Sony Computer Entertainment, "LittleBigPlanet is the first game to give you a fantastic adventure that propels you to stimulate your grey cells. Creating in LittleBigPlanet can get very addictive! Sooner than you know, you would want to start building your own levels and objects from scratch. Creativity is part of the gameplay experience and playing is part of the creative experience."

LittleBigPlanet on PS3 will be available in the Indian market at Rs 2,899. The game is available at Croma, Landmark, Planet M, Reliance Digital, Music World, Sony World and select toy and game stores across the country..

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Los Angeles
The Economic Times

Microsoft will be filled to the gills with "The Guild."

The software giant has an exclusive lock on the long-awaited second season of the Internet cult hit, which will be the first to be distributed worldwide simultaneously across Microsoft's triple platform of Xbox 360's Live Marketplace, MSN and Zune.

Sprint has signed on to sponsor the 12-episode run, making it the first marketer to test Microsoft's new strategy to draw ad dollars with the combined reach of a gaming console, Internet portal and portable media player.

A scripted comedy chronicling the misadventures of a group of online gamers, "Guild" premieres Tuesday on Independent Video, Xbox's new channel devoted to original content. "Guild" will lead a collection of ad-supported and fee-based programs, including such other game-oriented fare as "The Jace Hall Show," "Red vs. Blue" and first-season episodes of "Guild."

Although launching with just five or six programs, Xbox has ambitions of expanding Independent Video beyond the gaming theme to embrace a broader audience. The channel is launching with the only other original deal it has done to date, the webisode "Horror Meets Comedy" from Safran Media Group, which is not gaming-related.

After reaching 9 million views with a 10-episode season financed from viewer contributions via PayPal, "Guild" emerged last year as one of the more buzzed-about webisodes. Its star, creator and writer-producer, Felicia Day, has become the face of the original Web production world, starring opposite Neil Patrick Harris in one of the few other success stories in online originals, "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," created by Joss Whedon. "Horrible" also is syndicated on Xbox's Independent Video.

A key component of the deal allows for Day to retain the intellectual property rights to "Guild" while collecting an unspecified upfront license fee. A who's who of Web brands courted Day for rights to "Guild," from old-media companies to gamer-centric ad networks, though many insisted on retaining the traditional set of rights.

The Economic Times

The computer technology shown in science fictions like Minority Report and James Bond flicks are drawing closer to reality, with a Los Angeles-based company designing a system that can consign the mouse to history.

John Underkoffler, chief scientist at Oblong Industries that has created the technology, says that the new technology called G-Speak may fundamentally change the way we interact with computers.

He says that rather than having to use one hand to control a mouse, a user can communicate with a PC intuitively by "slipping on special gloves" and "using both hands".

"Human hands are the most sophisticated manipulating tools in the world," Times Online quoted him as saying.

"The idea is to drop the mouse and let hands do what they're fully capable of. That is to describe and push, poke and pull and manipulate the world," he added.

G-Speak allows selection of objects on screen through pointing. When the user brings his hands closer to his body, the object seems to have come closer and appears larger. Pushing the hands to one side moves the object to a different screen.

Underkoffler reveals that things on screen are interacted with as if they were real.

Though some companies and universities are already using the technology, Oblong plans to develop it to be suitable for an elite police force

"It's exactly like the interface from Minority Report, except that it's better, because its in the real world and it works," said Underkoffler.

The technology involves multiple screens allowing several people to control what they see at once, and can take up entire rooms. However, Oblong is working on smaller versions so that they can be used in the home and at work-stations.


The Hindu Business Line

Professors and students at IIT Madras will join hands with HP Labs India’s researchers in exploring newer forms of human-computer interacting, including hand gesture and speech, to influence virtual objects on a computer monitor or projection screen.

They will be working along with a team from the State University of New York in the project, according to a company official.

For the next three years, HP Labs will provide IIT Madras annually $50,000-$70,000 to work on the project.

There will be at least one Ph.D student working in the project along with a few under graduate students, said Ajay Gupta, Lab Director, HP Labs India.

HP Labs selected IIT Madras for HP Labs Innovation Research Award 2008 to fund the joint research project. The award is part of the HP Labs Innovation Research Programme that aims to create opportunities at universities and research institutes globally for breakthrough research.

Following an open and competitive process that reviewed over 450 proposals from 200 universities in 28 countries, HP selected 41 projects at 34 institutions.

IIT Madras joins other institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Germany, Russian Academy of Sciences and China’s Tsinghua University, says a press release.


Business Standard

Soon, financial planning services may not be confined to private bank customers. The country’s largest lender, State Bank of India, is set to offer wealth management and financial planning services to its customers who hold more than Rs 5 lakh in the bank.

Though the bank will formally launch the service in a few weeks, it has already approached around 30,000 customers. “Not everyone has shown enthusiasm but, we expect the response to improve once there is more awareness about what we are offering,” said a bank executive, without disclosing the number of account holders who have opted to avail of the service.

The exact number of account holders who will benefit from the move could not be ascertained, but, a senior SBI executive said the bank would have over a million customers with the required balances.

Though the bank has trained its manpower to begin the services, technical glitches are holding back a full-fledged roll out. “We did not have the software and hardware. Now, TCS has developed the software and the hardware should be in place in a month or so,” said an SBI executive, associated with the exercise.


The Economic Times (Bangalore edition)

Educational content provider Edurite Technologies will soon be receiving investment of $12-15 million from a strategic investor as it looks to scale up its operations, the company’s CEO said.

Without divulging the name of the investor, Meena Ganesh said that the funds will be used to expand its current line of businesses, which includes providing content for schools, tutorials, employability support and school-management. The education segment in India is estimated to be a $40 billion industry.

Ganesh said Edurite would now play a very active role in providing educational curriculum to schools, including tutorials for teachers. It has already held discussions with a few schools in this regard. Currently, Edurite provides content to around 3,000 schools, covering one million students. Furthermore, it provides tutorials to around 3,000 pupils for various entrance examinations.

Ganesh said Edurite operates under the build-own-operate-transfer model and would be looking at furthering its reach across different segments of the education sector. For 2008, Edurite has provided content to 40 new schools and plans to reach 100 by the end of the year.

Edurite, founded in 2000, is part of the Tutor Vista group of companies. It reported revenue of Rs 10 crore for FY08 and is targeting Rs 35 crore for FY09. Ms Ganesh was earlier the CEO, Tesco Hindustan Service, the captive IT unit of the British-based retail chain Tesco.


The Economic Times The Hindu Business Line Business Standard The Tribune The Telegraph Financial Chronicle Hindustan Times DNA The Times of India (Bangalore edition) Mint

Shareholders of the British-based Axon Group plc at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) held in London on Monday approved the acquisition of their SAP consulting firm by India's fifth largest IT bellwether HCL Technologies Ltd.

The Delhi-based HCL informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that a London court had also cleared the scheme of arrangement to implement the acquisition by its subsidiary HCL EAS Ltd at a meeting held prior to the EGM.

"Axon investors by majority (99.9 percent) accepted our cash offer of 650 pence ($9.78) per share. The deal will be finalised after the court approval Dec 15," HCL chief executive Vineet Nayar said in a conference call from New Delhi.

Axon is also expected to hold its annual general meeting on Dec 15 to endorse the court approval and finalise the buy-out.

In a dramatic move a month after the Bangalore-based IT bellwether Infosys Technologies Ltd bid for Axon at 600 pence per share Aug 25, HCL Sep 26 edged out the former by offering a premium of 8.3 percent (650 pence) per share. In value terms, HCL offered to pay 441 million pounds ($662 million) for 34.7 million shares of Axon in an all-cash deal as against 407 million pounds ($610 million) by Infosys. Infosys, however, pulled out of the deal in mid-October after its board felt the HCL counter-bid was over-priced and beyond its strategic offer price.

"The deal is significantly more attractive to us today than it was yesterday. In fact, we bought 10.43 percent of Axon shares in October from the open market at less than the offer price (650 pence)," Nayar said in an oblique reference to the impact of global recession and financial meltdown on stock prices in the equity markets worldwide.

Admitting that there could yet be another bidder for Axon between now and Dec 15, Nayar said the company was taking strategic steps to ensure it remained strong in the race till the deal was clinched.

"There is a distinct possibility of a counter-bid anytime over the next two-three weeks because of the competitive environment and valuations declining in a downturn. Potential investors look for such assets keeping in view the long-term prospects of deals," Nayar hinted.

Due to currency fluctuations, the value of the deal has gone down the offer price (441 million pounds).

"Outlook for the company is positive and it is on a healthy course in meeting its guidance. The slowdown will not change Axon's good track record," Nayar asserted


New Delhi
The Economic Times

Microsoft Corporation India Pvt Ltd on Monday announced the availability of the Get Genuine Solution (GGS) for Windows Vista whereby Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) can easily legalize their counterfeit or unlicensed Windows Vista PCs.

So far, customers were able to legalize their counterfeit or unlicensed Windows XP Professional PCs under GGS. Businesses with five or more copies of unlicensed Windows Vista software now have to simply place an order with their reseller to legalize their counterfeit software. Once the order is placed, businesses will receive genuine Windows Vista related license materials.

They will also become eligible for further updates and constant enhancements under the Windows Genuine Advantage Program. In addition, they will have the option of enrolling for Microsoft's Software Assurance (SA) program that makes them eligible for future updates of the software including Windows 7.

Launched last year, GGS has received an overwhelming response from businesses across the country. Over 5000 small enterprises and SMBs have already taken advantage of this initiative since the launch. GGS is aimed at easing the pain that businesses face while migrating to original software and allows them to derive greater value out of their technologies.

It is a simple, cost-effective and practical solution that will help SMBs easily migrate to original software and can therefore rest assured of the security that it provides to their business. Due to its strong dependency on the channel community, GGS also helps resellers strengthen their customer relationships and create an ongoing value to their business.

Commenting on the announcement, Rajeev Mittal, Group Director, Small and Medium Enterprise, Microsoft India said, "GGS has been well received by our SMB customers across the country. In less than a year, we have sold over 90,000 licenses through this initiative. With the inclusion of Windows Vista in GGS, we expect an even better response from our SMB customers. Considering the high levels of piracy in the country, it is our constant endeavor to make the access of original software easy and viable for our customers. Our customers can now effortlessly legalize their counterfeit or unlicensed software and enjoy the benefits of an enhanced performance, reliability and security provided by Windows Vista cost effectively."


Shwetaa Karnik

If officials from the state power utility are to be believed, software has been designed wherein the company can identify trends of consumption at a click of a button.

"Industrial and commercial consumers consume almost over 35% of the total electricity and contribute over 55% of the total revenue. It therefore becomes important to track their consumption pattern as it has been noticed that at times there is serious fluctuation thereby adding to the increasing deficit," said AB Pandey, managing director of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL).

For instance, an ice manufacturing company has a particular consumption pattern wherein during summer it increases and drops during winter. "In this case, if even during winter the consumption is equal to that of summer, it needs to be investigated. Such consumers are tracked and the divisional officers concerned can check if there is any illegal use or theft of electricity," said a senior official from MSEDCL.

The utility has projected capital investment worth Rs4,500 crore in this current fiscal. It intends to execute projects like infrastructure development plan, gaothan feeder separation scheme, single phasing scheme, accelerated power development and reform programme, Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana through this investment.

Also with the transmission and distribution losses reducing by 6% the company has managed to make profits to the tune of Rs117 crore as against losses in the last two financial years — Rs303 crore in 2005-06 and Rs134 crore in 2006-07.

In the meantime, officials of the Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private Limited (RGPPL) met officials from the Maharashtra State Electricity Generation Company Limited (MSEGCL) to discuss the faulty machines allegedly supplied by General Electric. "Generation company officials heard the complaint but since members from GE were not present it was difficult to arrive at an amicable solution. We are trying to ask them to sign a service agreement to resolve the complaints once and for all," said sources from MSEGCL.


Writankar Mukherjee, Kolkata
The Economic Times

Samsung has merged its consumer electronics and telecom (read mobile phone) businesses in India. Accordingly, Samsung Telecommunications India is being merged into Samsung India Electronics.

Both Samsung Telecom India and Samsung India Electronics are wholly owned subsidiaries of Korean parent, Samsung Electronics Co. Samsung expects to gain significant operational and production synergies along with cost-savings through the merger.

Post-merger, Samsung India Electronics will have three business divisions — consumer electronics, IT and telecoms. The company has recently received Delhi High Court approval for the merger. The move will also help Samsung consolidate its market-share in key segments since the merger will allow it to cross-sell products.

Samsung Electronics director (South West Asia HQ) W T Yang said: “The merger of the two subsidiaries in India is significant as it will help gain operational efficiencies and leverage synergy across both the businesses.”

“The consumer electronics and telecom business divisions will leverage the synergy in terms of management, business processes, manpower, production facilities and even in terms of vendors. Going forward, we are also look at tapping synergy by way of our channel, especially the brand stores,” Yang added.

The consumer electronics division is headed by R Zutshi, deputy MD of Samsung Electronics India. Sunil Dutt is country head for Samsung's cellular mobile business while Ranjit Singh Yadav heads Samsung's IT business. Post-merger, all business heads will report to Samsung India Electronics managing director SH Oh.

Last year, the combined sales turnover of the three divisions (2007) was $1.3 billion, which the company plans to grow by 30% this year. Samsung India Electronics' scope of operations include sales & marketing, manufacturing and R&D in India.

While the manufacturing facilities for mobile phones and consumer electronic products are located at Noida, the company's second manufacturing facility in Chennai produces TV and washing machine. Samsung has two software development centers at Noida for development of software pertaining to digital media products and mobile phones.

The company has beefed up its organisation this year by increasing the number of branch offices for consumer electronics business from 20 to 50. It has also undertaken strategic recruitment of senior professionals for both consumer electronics and mobile phone divisions. The hirings include areas like market intelligence, strategic channel management, national sales and product management amongst others.

Monday, November 24, 2008


New York, November 24, 2008
The Economic Times (Bangalore edition)

A hardy, heat-resistant, graphite-based memory device holds the potential of making massive amounts of storage available for computers, handheld media players, cell phones and cameras.

Rice University researchers, who are currently developing the device, said the solid-state device takes advantage of the conducting properties of graphene and would have many advantages over today’s state-of-the-art flash memory and other new technologies.

Graphene memory would increase the amount of storage in a two-dimensional array by a factor of five, said James Tour, who led the research team.

This is so because individual bits could be made smaller than 10 nanometres, compared to the 45-nanometre circuitry in today’s flash memory chips.

Findings of the new research have been published online in the journal Nature Materials. Being essentially a mechanical device, such chips will consume virtually no power while keeping data intact — much the same way today’s e-book readers keep the image of a page visible even when the power is off.

What distinguishes graphene from other next-generation memories is the on-off power ratio — the amount of power a circuit holds when it’s on, as opposed to off. “It’s huge - a million-to-one,” said Tour. “Phase change memory, the other thing the industry is considering, runs at 10-to-1. That means the ‘off’ state holds, say, one-tenth the amount of electrical current than the ‘on’ state.”