Tuesday, February 24, 2009


New York
The Economic Times

Hewlett-Packard on Monday launched a $2.7 billion, three-part sale of notes via Banc of America Securities, Deutsche Bank and RBS Greenwich Capital, according to IFR.

The world's largest PC maker is offering $1 billion of 3-year, fixed-rate notes at a yield spread of 295 basis points over comparable U.S. Treasuries, said IFR, a Thomson Reuters service.

It is also offering $1.5 billion of 5.25-year, fixed-rate notes at 295 basis points over Treasuries and a third tranche of $200 million of 2-year floating-rate notes at three-month London Interbank Offered Rate plus 175 basis points, IFR said.

New York
Hindustan Times (Delhi edition)

During his first days in office, US President Barack Obama insisted on keeping his BlackBerry.

But if you think his firmness has anything to do with keeping in touch with pals or work on the fly, you’re absolutely wrong.

Apparently, the American leader is addicted to the cellphone game BrickBreaker. “He plays to unwind,” The New York Daily News quoted a source, as saying. “Every night before bed, he gives it a few minutes,” the source added.

Despite warnings from his advisers, the president has insisted on keeping his beloved PDA, which has specially designed super encrypting security software.

Obama’s super-secure BlackBerry is like a “holy grail” for hackers. And, according to the world’s most famous hacker, the equipment can be hacked.

“It’s a long shot, but it’s possible,” Kevin Mitnick recently revealed.

“You’d probably need to be pretty sophisticated, but there’s people out there who are,” he added.


The Hindu Business Line

Intel Corp., the world's biggest computer chip maker, responded to European Union charges regarding a probe into allegations that it used discounts to retailers to thwart competition.

Intel said in a US regulatory filing on Monday that it submitted a response to official charges - known as a statement of objections - on February 5. The response is confidential.

A European court last month rejected Intel's request to halt the investigation by the European Commission, the EUs anti-trust authority in Brussels.

Working with representatives of the various German states, it developed the child-friendly messenger in collaboration with Microsoft and FSM, an e-commerce site that focuses on protecting minors. "Children can't make contacts independently. Parents have to do that," said Ms Inge Breichler of jugendschutz.net


The Hindu

JNTU Hyderabad and Mission10X, a not for profit trust of Wipro Limited have come together to train senior faculty in engineering colleges so as to help students gain employability skills.

A MoU was signed between the JNTU-H and Wipro in this regard and it would be in force for a period of three years.

The focus of the MoU would be on conducting faculty enablement programmes empowering senior faculty members of engineering colleges to innovate in their classrooms using Mission10X learning approach, which would help in turn developing students with higher levels of understanding their technical subjects along with augmenting their employability skills. Developing curriculum

Prof. D.N.Reddy, JNTU-H Vice-Chancellor, said both the parties would collaborate in developing curriculum, conducting faculty enablement workshops and engagements, undertaking joint research in creation of educational assets and disseminating new learning.

Pratik Kumar, Executive Vice President – Human Resources, Wipro Limited said the partnership provides a platform to reach out to all the colleges under the JNTU umbrella thereby helping graduating engineers across Andhra Pradesh. .


Nagesh Prabhu, Bangalore
The Hindu

Eight African countries have shown keen interest in forging ties with information technology (IT) firms and the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) to develop IT-related skills and industries in their nations.

A high-level delegation comprising senior government officials and educators from Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Tanzania visited Bangalore and other cities over the past fortnight to study Indian IT, infrastructure and investment policies.

A member of the delegation said “we are ready to forge linkages with Indian IT industry”.

Growth potential

Jee-Peng Tan, Yaw Ansu, Peter N. Materu and Anubha Verma, education experts in the World Bank’s African Region section, and Randeep Sudan, lead ICT policy specialist of the bank, told The?Hindu that IT-BPO was a nascent industry in Africa and offered exciting potential for growth and job creation in the continent. However, lack of relevant skills and talent was cited as a barrier to the development of IT-BPO firms in Africa. The delegation visited Mumbai and Hyderabad under the bank’s initiative, New Economy Skills for Africa Programme. The initiative aims at assisting African countries in building skills for economic growth and competitiveness.

Job creation

“The Indian experience demonstrated how the IT and ITES industry can be a great way to participate in the global economy and create jobs if the right skills are nurtured,” said a member of the team that visited the Infosys headquarters here.

Delegation members also visited the Reliance BPO facilities in Mumbai, the Indian School of Business and the Indian Institute of Information Technology in Hyderabad.

‘A mirror’

“The visit to Bangalore provided us with a mirror to assess our own work back home and fill in the gaps,” said Ansu. IT-BPO was a global phenomenon that would be sustained, and which would only grow over time, he said.

Jee-Peng, the bank’s education adviser for Africa, took note of the close cooperation and interaction between industry and training providers in identifying skills gaps and designing programmes to fill these gaps. “India’s experience contains ample lessons for Africa on how to grow and upgrade a country’s talent pool to support an increasingly sophisticated IT-BPO industry,” she said.

Ansu said India’s leadership and experience in the IT-BPO sector provided a rich repository of policy and practical lessons for African policymakers to help guide efforts to grow IT-related services in their countries. The team was inspired to build a Nasscom-like organisation for East Africa. The team learnt about the certification process for IT-BPO skills, he said.


The Pioneer

Team Balasore Alloys and Luminous Infoways have won the Best and Innovative IT initiatives. They were presented the trophy by the members of CII IT Panel in a gala ceremony organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in presence of captains of IT sector in the State. The CII Orissa has initiated IT Awards Competition since 2006, in which the State Department of Information Technology has always been a partner. This year, the participants were Balasore Alloys, Hindalco, PPL, TRL, Tata Steel, Vedanta, CSM Technologies, JSS IT solutions, Modulesoft, Luminous Infoways and others.


Chennai/ Bangalore
Business Standard

The Karnataka government is proposing to establish biotech parks in prominent cities to promote the biotechnology sector in the state. Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, in his Budget proposals for the year 2009-10, said the government would take steps to establish biotech parks based on the recommendations of the Biotechnology Mission.

He said Rs 10 crore had been sanctioned to the state-owned Karnataka Electronics Development Corporation (Keonics) to set up an IT park in Gulbarga. To give incentives for establishing IT-based industries in the backward areas of Gulbarga, the chief minister announced an assistance of up to Rs 20 lakh to every unit.

He said the government would promote setting up of electronic public call offices (e-PCOs) to popularise use of Internet in rural areas.

Yeddyurappa also announced an assistance of Rs 10 crore for the establishment of ‘excellent’ institutions, improvement of science education in colleges, universities, district level science centres and museums among others. This was based on the suggestions made by the Mission on Science and Technology, headed by scientist Prof C N R Rao.


New Delhi
The Hindu Business Line

The Board of Approval for SEZs, chaired by the Commerce Secretary, G.K. Pillai, on Monday allowed the merger of three stand-alone SEZs, promoted by the Adani Group at Mundra in Gujarat, following the nod given to such a proposal by the empowered group of Ministers (eGoM) on SEZs headed by the Union Finance and External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee.

The combined SEZs with an area of 6,215 hectares exceed the maximum ceiling of 5,000 ha set by the eGoM in 2007, following protests over indiscriminate acquisition of farmland.

However, this amalgamation has been granted by the eGoM as it would help the promoter to pare down costs and achieve a synergy in building infrastructure and utilising it efficiently, Pillai told reporters after chairing the BoA meeting here.

The three SEZ units, located near the Mundra port, include two multi-product units and a 300 MW power plant to be commissioned next month, Pillai said.

Besides the merger of the three SEZs, the BoA also granted formal approval to nine proposals out of 25 proposals it considered and one in-principle approval to Maharashtra Airport Development Authority for an SEZ in power sector in an area of 109.54 ha at Nagpur.

9 more proposals

The nine formal approvals include Navi Mumbai SEZ Pvt Ltd for a gem and jewellery SEZ, L&T shipbuilding Ltd SEZ for heavy engineering near Enore, Tamil Nadu, two bio-tech SEZs in Andhra Pradesh and Haryana each and IT/ITES SEZ in UP.


The Economic Times Financial Chronicle The Hindu Business Line The Times of India (Bangalore edition) Mint The Financial Express

Software exporter Patni Computer Systems is expanding its presence in western Europe and beefing up its senior management there.

The company has announced four appointments to expand its operations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The senior-level executives have previously worked in companies, such as T-systems, Infosys Technologies, Cognizant Technology Services and Hewlett Packard.

“The appointments are an integral part of Patni’s overall strategy to build a significant operation in Europe to complement its business operations in the US and India,” the company said. Juergen Dillenberger has been appointed senior sales manager while Georg Wagner has been inducted as vice-president.

Gabi Schulte-Holthaus has been appointed sales director, SAP alliance, while Amit Luthra has been taken on board as senior sales manager, life sciences, Patni said in a statement.

Dillenberger has more than 22 years of international business experience and has held a series of senior leadership positions in Germany. He was also vice-president at T-Systems, responsible for the global account with Volkswagen. Wagner was earlier global director for application outsourcing and offshoring at Hewlett-Packard.

Schulte-Holthaus was with Infosys Technologies and Siemens before joining Patni while Luthra has worked with Cognizant and Accenture Management Consulting Services.


The Hindu Business Line Business Standard Financial Chronicle

HCL Infosystems is planning to increase its headcount in the city-based centre, besides developing a software with bi-lingual capabilities, to strengthen its operations in the city.

The company has also acquired a city-based software development firm Natural Technologies Ltd for the purpose, HCL Infosystems Executive Vice-President, George Paul.

"We aim to leverage the centre to serve its clients in the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) segment in a much more enhanced way by offering customised solutions. At present, the centre is 400 seater and we are planning to double the head count within two years,'' he said.

George said that the Jaipur centre will be developing software with bi-lingual capabilities, which is very critical for facilitating banking in smaller towns and rural operations of private or nationalised banks and as well as cooperative banks.

"Cooperative bank space is a big opportunity area for us in terms of providing network and software solutions. We are focusing hard on enabling cooperative banks to deliver online services like any other mainstream banks,'' he said.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Washington, February 23, 2009
The Economic Times

Microsoft Corp on Sunday announced the creation of a website, Elevate America, aimed at improving access to job training tools.

The site, http://www.microsoft.com/ElevateAmerica, provides resources to help individuals gain the technical skills needed for acquiring jobs, the world's largest software company said.

The economy has shed 3.6 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007 with about half of the decline occurring in the past three months, recent Labor Department data showed.

The website provides access to several Microsoft online training programs, including how to use the Internet, send e-mail and create a resume, as well as more advanced programs on using specific Microsoft applications.

"We are also providing a full range of work force development resources for state and local governments so they can offer specialised training for their workers," said Pamela Passman, corporate vice president of Microsoft Global Corporate Affairs.

Microsoft tapped Washington State as the first state to provide Elevate America to its residents.


February 22, 2009
The Times of India

Richest technology companies

Even as many US companies struggle to stay solvent in one of the worst financial crises in decades, some technology companies are bursting with cash, with the only question being how they plan to use it. Fitch estimates that the US tech industry is carrying a cash balance of around $260 billion, one of the largest among all sectors.

"There's a strong emphasis on the preservation of liquidity, but we think the larger players will use their balance sheets and use their cash balances to ignite mergers and acquisition activity," said Fitch Ratings analyst Nick Nilarp.

The old cliché that cash is king is never truer than in bad times. So as investors navigate tough financial markets, the cash hoards held by tech companies could make their shares more attractive and bolster the argument made by some analysts that the sector will lead the way out of the downturn.

Here are some of the technology companies with huge cash piles.


Cisco Systems Inc is the most cash-rich tech company with $29.5 billion in hand, putting it just behind Exxon Mobil Corp's $31.4 billion, despite having a market value less than one-quarter of the oil giant's.

The company has been rather upfront about its plans to use some of this cash to make acquisitions. Cisco has said it plans to be acquisitive during the economic downturn, and bankers and analysts think it may make a move on virtualisation software maker VMware Inc or its parent EMC Corp.

Taking advantage of loosening credit markets, Cisco recently made a surprisingly large $4 billion debt sale. The company stated that it intends to use the recent debt sale "for general corporate purposes" and to repay $500 million in notes due in 2009.


Another tech company with some of the largest cash piles includes Apple Inc with $25.6 billion. In spite of spending about $2bn a year on R&D and capital investment, Apple's $26bn in cash has left it with the biggest cash pile in the technology world -- a big contrast to the last downturn, which it started with less than $4bn. The cash now accounts for about a third of its market value.

The company's stock price too has rebounded from its low of $78.20 in the week when Steve Jobs announced his leave. The realisation that Apple's cash can be a big strength during recession has quieted critics, who in the past have called on the company to buy back shares or offer a dividend.


Microsoft Corp too sits on a huge cash pile of $20.7 billion. The rich software giant, however, announced rather disappointing quarterly results recently, unlike IBM. Microsoft recently announced that its Q2 2009 profit sank from $4.71bn a year ago to $4.17bn, a loss of 12 percent. Total revenue was $16.63bn, a 2 percent rise from year before. This was only possible thanks to higher server, tools and entertainment sales. Client sales revenue, which includes Windows products, fell 8 percent.

The company may have missed the analysts’ target, however, the fact is it is still posting big profits -- $4.17B in profit is enough to make even some of the biggest companies drool.


The search giant Google Inc too sits pretty with a cash reserve of $15.9 billion. The Mountain View, California-based company had almost $16 billion in cash at the end of the recent-announced fourth quarter.

According to Google CFO, Patrick Pichette, the cash reserves provided Google with sufficient flexibility "for the right deal at the right price."

Google said its Q4 earnings declined to $382 million, far below the $1.2 billion it earned in the prior-year's fourth quarter. The fall was attributed to losses from Google's investments in AOL and Clearwire Corp.

Oracle Corp

The enterprise software giant Oracle too sits on a $7.4 billion pile of cash. Little doubt that the Redwood Shores-based company is quietly going on a shopping spree.

The software giant completed as many as 10 acquisitions in 2008, ranging from a maker of insurance policy-writing tools, to a designer of `plan-o-gram' software (the software used by stores to optimise shelf space usage). Recently, the company bought mValent Inc, a small software company that helps configure other software. The deals put Oracle in the club of cash-rich companies bargain hunting amid the present economic turmoil.

Oracle made sales of $22.4 billion in fiscal 2008. However, the company hasn't been unscathed from the slump, it recently reported a 1 percent drop in net income, the first decline in three years.

Sun Microsystems

Sun Microsystems might be facing hard times. The company’s stock has been faced considerable hammering in the past few months further accentuated by fears of weakening global tech spending. However, Sun Microsystems too is among the companies with a relatively large amount of cash. The company carries a cash balance of $2.6 billion and a market cap of $3.8 billion.

The high-end computer and software maker posted better-than-expected results as a strong software and open storage business cushioned declining overall sales.

Like much of the industry, the company is now struggling to slash costs as tech spending dissipates globally. It said in November it would cut 5,000 to 6,000 jobs, or 15 to 18 percent of its workforce, as part of a plan to save $700 million to $800 million a year.


Hopkinton-based EMC Corp's fourth quarter profit though fell 45 percent, the company said that it increased its cash reserves by 9 percent.

In Q4, EMC's profits fell from $526 million to $288 million, on restructuring charges. For the full year, the company reported revenue of $14.9 billion, a 12 percent increase over the prior year, and a profit of $1.4 billion, a 14 percent increase over 2007.

The data storage giant's fourth quarter revenue hit $4 billion, an increase of 8 percent over the third quarter and 5 percent over the fourth quarter of 2007. EMC announced recently that it would lay off about 2,400 employees, 600 of them in Massachusetts.

While these tech companies are guarding their money and investing in only the safest of instruments, such as US Treasury debt, analysts expect the bigger players to put their cash to work later in the year in the form of acquisitions or share buybacks.

Past learning

Seems the experience of previous downturns and fear that they could need deep reserves to draw on has made technology companies cautious on spending.

Some Silicon Valley veterans point to earlier near-failures, with Intel forced to take an investment from IBM in the 1980s, and Steve Jobs famously accepting a $150m cash infusion from Microsoft after returning to head Apple in 1997.


February 23, 2009
The Hindu Business Line

It is just as well that the Government has decided to do away with its convoluted method of determining the extent of foreign investment in a domestic enterprise. An enterprise was deemed to be half owned by foreign interests if 50 percent of the total capital invested in that enterprise came, in equal measure, from two entities with respective foreign ownership stakes of 75 and 25 percent. While such an approach looks elegant in theory, in practice it ignored the fundamental reality of management control that doesn’t seep through layers of investment in the manner contemplated in the official norms. For instance, the 25 percent foreign stake in the second entity may be of little consequence in so far as the exercise of voting power in the target enterprise is concerned, as that will be dictated by domestic investors controlling the balance 75 percent stake. The new regime rightly will not consider investment by such companies as foreign.

While this attempt at simplification is welcome, it is not clear whether the Government indeed wanted to open the gates for the flow of foreign investment in far greater measure than its own sector-specific limits on ownership in select industries/services allow today. On a strict reading of the guidelines spelt out by the Government in its Press Note it appears that a foreign investor could use an investment vehicle to gain a toehold in sectors such as retail (where FDI is banned) or substantial control in other sensitive sectors in association with pliant domestic investors in such a way that it doesn’t breach the investment ceiling. All that is needed is that the Board of Directors of the target enterprise be so constituted that it is not inimical to the foreign investor’s interests. If the Government wanted to ease these sector-specific limits on foreign ownership, it could have done so openly rather than constructing this loophole. And why has it queered the pitch with the additional stipulation that it be informed of the ownership particulars even where such investments are to be allowed under the so called ‘automatic route’?

A liberal economic policy demands that operational aspects of State regulation be left to autonomous authorities such as the Reserve Bank of India or the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority. The Government’s decision to involve itself in individual transactions of foreign investments not only militates against this principle but also renders independent regulators superfluous in the larger scheme of things. The timing couldn’t have been worse as the global investor community is gripped by a crisis of confidence besides restricted access to credit markets. The focus should be on transparently easing the flow of foreign investments rather than creating loopholes or new hurdles.


Dinesh C. Sharma, Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 23, 2009
Mail Today

Pranav Mistry is no ordinary geek. He can just wave his fingers in air to draw a figure on any surface just as you use a computer mouse and a screen to do so. He can simply frame a scene with his hands, snap its picture and project it anywhere he likes.

Not only that, he can also check his email on his palm, draw a watch on his wrist to check the time and use his palm as keypad of his mobile phone.

This is no science fiction or virtual reality. You may call it ‘ mad science’ but Pranav calls it the ‘ Sixth Sense’, a sensational invention that is creating waves in the world of high technology in North America these days.

Pranav, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, is currently pursuing a doctorate in fluid interfaces at the famed Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology here.

He has created a gadget using available hardware — a webcam, a small projector and a laptop — and highly complex software, which allows you to do away with keyboard and mouse, and a screen to connect and communicate with the digital world.

The real power of the device comes from the machine vision and the complex algorithms that Pranav has written.

The combination is a wearable machine that can empower you to use your fingers to access data and use any surface to project it.

“ I got this idea while I was visiting my parents in India last summer. So far, virtual reality and augmented reality has happened only in laboratories. I wanted to make a real consumer product which people can use,” Pranav said. “ So, I thought of this crazy idea of putting a projector on my head and using a webcam as a digital eye to capture information.

The digital eye understands what my hand is doing, whether I am gesturing or holding a product or a piece of paper. Once it understands what I am doing, it can send the information to my laptop or any computing device in my backpack and the information can then be projected on any surface through a projector,” he added.


New Delhi, February 22, 2009
Financial Chronicle Mint DNA

In the midst of a tough going for real estate players, the government will consider tomorrow the proposal of DLF for joining an SEZ project of the Tamil Nadu state agency TIDCO in Chennai for IT/ITeS.

The Board of Approval (BoA) in the Commerce Ministry will consider the DLF proposal along with 15 others this week, official sources said. DLF is joining the TIDCO project for which the formal central approval has already been obtained.

Under the SEZ law, any change in ownership of an SEZ project would require fresh approval from the BoA.

The project involves development of an IT/ITeS on 10.68 hectares near Chennai.

Earlier, the realty major had aborted a plan to develop an SEZ in the national capital in the wake of slackening demand for commercial space.

The 16 proposals listed on the agenda for the February 23 meeting, include those of Anand Jain-promoted Navi Mumbai SEZ for setting up a gems and jewellery unit, L&T's ship-building project and Maharashtra Airport Development Corp Ltd power SEZ, an official statement said.

According to official data, as on December 8, 2008, the government has given 552 formal and 141 in-principle approvals, while 274 SEZs have been notified.


Alappuzha, February 23, 2009
The Hindu

The information technology (IT) sector will be the State’s largest employment generator and revenue source in five years, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said.

Two lakh direct job opportunities and over five lakh indirect ones would be created in the sector in that time.

He was speaking after laying the foundations for the Cherthala Infopark at Pallipuram here on Sunday.

Achuthanandan said the State was recording the highest growth rate in IT-enabled-services (ITeS) in the country. Software exports from Infopark, Kochi, recorded an 85 percent growth last year, while those from Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram registered a 65 percent growth.

IT infrastructure

For the sector to grow further, basic IT infrastructure would have to be enhanced by at least five times the existing facilities in five years.

The State government was planning to invest Rs.1,500 crore to Rs.1,800 crore over three years in the IT hubs in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and surrounding districts. Private investment

He said the government was expecting private investment of at least Rs.4,000 crore in its Information Technology parks.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, pointing out that knowledge-based industries were best suited for the educated Kerala society, said the State would have to utilise the global economic slowdown period to the hilt.

This would be done by setting in place basic infrastructure so that investors could come down once the slowdown was over, the Finance Minister said.

He said the State had a new model for Information Technology development in its concept of decentralised development.

Laying of 248 km of roads to IT parks would be given administrative sanction this year.

With connectivity in all aspects being Kerala’s advantage over other States, the State was poised to grow. The government had a clear-cut vision and outlook on this, he said.

Cherthala park

IT Secretary Ajay Kumar said the Cherthala Infopark would come up on 28 hectares of land, of which 4 hectares would be developed for a commercial complex.

The Rs.100-crore first phase would be completed by 2011.

This was the second Infopark in the district after the Ambalapuzha Infopark, for which the foundations were laid last week.

Arun Jayan, Pune, February 23, 2009
The Indian Express

A city-based firm has set out to ease the troubles of small and medium companies who need but cannot afford sophisticated software, not only because of the huge cost but also for the time-consuming process involved in installation as well as training of employees.

Uberall Solution Ltd has offered its software at a cost several times less than its usual cost. Software like Alert Force, comprising readymade enterprise research planning (ERP) software and available online, normally costs lakh of rupees but it can now be accessed from the Internet at a fee between Rs 250 and Rs 2,500.

“Usually software like this costs anything from Rs15 lakh to 45 lakh and a buyer has to get it installed from the company. After that the company has to get its staff trained. This product is least complicated. At these times of a global economic downturn, the low price will help companies save,” said Parimal P Chanchani, director of Uberall


Shivani Mody, February 23, 2009
Times of India (Bangalore edition)

In government offices in Karnataka, you have clerks typing in Kannada using a keyboard having the local language alphabet. But now the state government is in the process of loading software onto the computers that will allow users to input text in English but which will output words in the local language using predictive transliteration technology.

The first pilots are being carried out in Bangalore and if successfully completed, it will be implemented across Karnataka.

The use of software as a translation tool is not new. Content in local language is increasing on the Internet on a daily basis. Today, nearly one lakh words are added online per day in local Indian languages. It has also become common for web browsers to find news and information in local languages.

Initially, the only way people could write in a local language was using the alphabet keyboard. This is a tedious process, as a user requires 3 to 4 months training to actually work with it. Using a software tool such as Quillpad users can type in English and get the output in 10 Indian languages.

The tool developed by Tachyon Technologies has a great number of users accessing the website, writing the text and then copying and pasting the content onto desired websites. Most of the Indian language fonts are included in Unicode, a standard, which when installed on websites allows you to see the text as it is.

Machine Learning Technology

The Quill technology works on advanced machine learning techniques, which makes it capable of learning new patterns from examples, and does not require manual intervention. All new words from all sources are added for testing, which is continuously updated onto the software. “These are still early stages. It will take some time for the software to evolve,” says Ram Prakash H, founder of Tachyon Technologies. The machine learning in Indian languages is a complex process as there are 14 major Indian languages and 200 plus dialects. Also the pronunciations and writing styles (using mathras) differs for each language.

Friday, February 20, 2009


David Filo
The Economic Times

Back in 1993 when Jerry (Yang) and I were at Stanford, the web was non-commercial and was mainly used by universities and research labs. It was a totally different world all together. That is until we experienced the web using Mosaic, which had the capability to render rich graphics and support data and forms. This inspired me and Jerry to think, “Wow! there are a lot of possibilities here!”.

As we started to use the web more and more, we realised how difficult it was to find the stuff we were looking for. There were no directories or search services. This led us to start organising the web for ourselves. Eventually, we went on to catalogue the stuff that we were interested in. We categorised the links into a directory structure and loaded it on to a webpage. An unintended outcome of this effort was that other people could come and visit the webpage and find stuff they were looking for quite easily. Our friends started using it and slowly the word spread —here was a tool that you could use to find things that you need on the web.

Within a month people from around 30 countries started visiting our directory page. We started receiving submissions for useful things around the web and building on our list. And that was how we began to build a property as we know it today — looking at w e b - sites, cataloguing them and categorising them based on where they fit in the hierarchy.

We were quite passionate about our work to make the web more practical and usable. Eventually in 1994, what began as a tool that was meant to be used by me and Jerry became Yahoo! — a customised web database that thousands of people from across the world began to use regularly.

In the early days, none of us realised where things at Yahoo! were headed and how quickly we could unleash the potential of the web. We saw it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in the revolution the web was creating, though we did not yet know how to make it a viable business. While there were a lot of people who were looking at web ventures with business models in mind, we were really focused on the consumer experience — how can we create the highest value for the consumers who visited our site, how do we listen to what they want and deliver it to them.

Soon, we saw a rapid increase in the users visiting our site. We had managed to secure one million dollars in funding. While this was a big feat, we quickly realised that we would need more to keep pace with the highly dynamic and fast growing environment of the web. We needed more people to maintain the momentum. This motivated us to pause and think how we could generate revenues. So eventually, it was sometime in late 1995 that we signed up our first five advertisers and since then there was no looking back. Today, Yahoo! is one of the leading internet brands in the world and one of the most visited site on the web.

The author is the co-founder and Chief Yahoo, Yahoo!


San Francisco
Financial Chronicle

A small Web site operator has filed an antitrust suit accusing Google of unfairly manipulating its advertising system to harm a potential competitor.

TradeComet.com, which operates a site called SourceTool.com, a vertical search engine for those seeking business products and services, accused Google on Tuesday of raising the advertising rates it charged the company after it realized that SourceTool was a potential competitor.

TradeComet also said Google had entered into an anti-competitive agreement with Business.com, a SourceTool rival that was offered more favourable advertising terms, despite a similar business model.

‘‘Google understood the threat that vertical search engines posed to its business model,’’ Jonathan Kanter, a partner in Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, said Tuesday. Kanter’s firm represents Microsoft in antitrust matters. He said Microsoft had ‘‘no involvement in this matter at all.” Google said it had not reviewed the complaint in detail. ‘‘But as we have consistently made clear, the advertising market in which Google operates is highly competitive, and advertisers have a huge range of choices,’’ said Andrew Pederson, a Google spokesman.

Last year, SourceTool urged the Justice Department to block a proposed search advertising partnership between Google and Yahoo.


The Asian Age

On a weekend getaway in Mahabaleshwar to get away from the heat of May, an interesting conversation happened with Dr Kiran Datar, veteran Delhi academic administrator and an advisor to the National Knowledge Commission.

When she was the Principal of Miranda House in the nineties, she was faced with the problem of young first year students coming to class in dishevelled clothing and inappropriate jewellery because of some ragging experiences with their seniors.

Reluctant to come down with a heavy hand and risk getting the students’ backs up against authority, Dr Datar called a tea meeting with all the resident students of the college and walked into the room dressed in layers of mismatched clothing and garish jewellery.

The peals of laughter soon melted into a realisation of the key message the wise principal was giving the girls and the delinquencies were never repeated.

In today’s context in the IT and particularly the BPO industry, many people who have been managers in more traditional sectors are quick to pass judgement on the wild ways of youth and jump to the conclusion that this mobile and irreverent workforce cannot be tamed and should either be chastised or tolerated so that the essential work of the organisation does not suffer for the few months or sometimes even weeks when they arrive in their shifts to work in contact centers around the country.

Are we forgetting sometimes that these youngsters in their teens or early twenties are not dissimilar to the college students that many of us have in our own families and will respond to positive stimuli and an attempt to engage in the same way as any of our young family members would?

The net impact of this "us versus them" approach to managing very young people in BPOs has often led to a mental detachment which causes a rebellion against authority and sometimes even a callous disregard for one’s own well being in an effort to prove a point — to the organisation, the family, society and indeed even themselves.

While it would be too facile to argue that some of the tragic rape and murder incidents in Bangalore and Pune could have been caused by this internal sense of rebellion, there is no doubt that a more inclusive approach and an effort to empathise with the inner seething of young minds and hearts could mitigate some of the risks associated with stressful shift jobs, which are going to continue and expand as the industry realises its potential of being what many people believe could be the "back office of the world".

There are extreme comments and statements too which all of us who have the future of the industry at heart should be on guard against. The recent study by a reputed mental health institution alleges that a significant percentage of young people involved in BPO organisations suffer from mental trauma and depression and would have us believe that it is this industry that is causing the breakdown of well being in thousands of young people.

If one peels the onion a little, the questionnaire used to elicit responses and the conclusions drawn from limited data would seem to fly in the face of research rigour that is needed before such conclusions are drawn and widely publicised by the scandal hungry news hounds but the larger point is that unless a climate of participation and mutual trust is created, every piece of wood will be used as a stick to beat the industry.

The point of this essay is not to say that our Human Resource teams are not doing their jobs — on the contrary I was heartened to hear a very competent young HR person from one of the banking captive centres talk about how effectively they had separated the recruitment function from the challenge of employee engagement and multiple initiatives are in place at firm and industry level to engage early and keep young people motivated through the stresses and strains of their progress in the BPO sector.

It is clearly a time for all of us to set aside our own prejudices and perceptions and walk the floor to engage with our young folk. As the IT and BPO sector grows from two million to eight million associates which the NASSCOM-AT Kearney research has shown to be the potential in the next ten years, let there be "no child left behind" in the journey to success.
Dr Ganesh Natarajan is Chairman of NASSCOM and Global Vice Chairman and CEO of Zensar Technologies.


Sangeetha Chengappa, Bengaluru
The Asian Age

Namma Bengaluru has scored high once again, with Gen Y from 156 locations around the country choosing the IT city as the most preferred workplace. Company reputation, size and management credibility matter most to them when they evaluate potential employers, followed by formal training/learning opportunities that companies provide which will help their careers blossom.

This is in consonance with global studies of Gen Y preferences, which show that they particularly like companies that are high on corporate social responsibility (CSR).

These were some of the findings of a nation-wide survey of over 5,300 students across disciplines ranging from engineering to management, undertaken by AssessPeople, a workforce assessment services company based in Chennai, during September-October 2008.

Says R Kannan, CEO, AssessPeople, "A majority of the future workforce have zeroed in on Bengaluru as the most favoured location to work in, followed closely by the National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai. Telecom, IT and financial services are the sectors they prefer most."

In a sign of the times, the company’s India Attrition Survey of 2008 revealed that HR professionals find ‘sourcing’ the primary challenge, and not retention, which is now a secondary challenge.

Aseem Marwaha, co-founder of eLitmus Evaluation, an entry-level assessment company, had a different take on Gen Y preferences. Tier I Engineering segment, comprising of IIT and NIT students, value work content the most if two companies were to offer them the same salary, but "given a 25 percent differential in salary, they wouldn’t bother to work with a company even though the work content there may be great," Marwaha said. "Besides, in 50 percent of the cases, they would prefer to work with a start-up rather than a large, well-known company simply for the sheer exhilaration of meeting new challenges every day."

The brand image of a company counts only in the case of students from Tier II engineering colleges, who prefer large MNCs over Indian companies. In Tier III colleges, students go by what society, parents and peers seem to perceive of the brand, he pointed out.

MeritTrac co-founder Madan Padaki believes that it is not so simple. A combination of three factors plays on the minds of job-seekers when they have to choose which company to work for. A fair compensation package, a company that treats its employees well and a workplace where they have opportunities to constantly learn and receive training to further their careers are all factors that Gen Y job-seekers consider before they join a company, he said.


Business Standard

The downturn, which has made its impact on the IT industry too, has not deterred the Karnataka government from venturing into a new IT Park in Mysore.

The state government has kick started a Rs 15.18 crore IT Park in the Hebbal Industrial area. The first phase of the project will be on one acre where one lakh square feet building is expected to be completed in about 15 months. According to IT and BT Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu, who spoke at the function, 20,000 people are likely to get jobs here.

The chief minister laid foundation stones and inaugurated several projects and programmes costing over Rs 100 crore, to be taken up under the Rs 100 crore special grant made by the state government and under the State Finance Commission allocation for the development of Mysore.

He also laid foundation stone for works costing over Rs 1.88 crore under the 18 percent fund allocation to be taken up in areas where scheduled castes live in the city.

These works are to be taken up by the Mysore City Corporation, Mysore Urban Development Authority and other departments of the State Government in the district.

Some of the major projects cover road works in the district for over Rs 50 crore, development of Mysore’s famous Kukkarahalli Tank by Mysore University (Rs 1.50 crore), reconstruction of the road bridge on K R S Road (Rs 7.7 crore), and construction of Government Girls’ Pre-University College building at People’s Park (Rs 1 crore).

He also declared open a 3,000 metric tonne capacity godown constructed by the State Warehousing Corporation at the Hebbal Industrial Area, the Rs 2.19 crore Dewan Purnaiah Building, built in memory of the former Dewan of Mysore, where existed the famous Dewan Purnaiah Choultry and the renovated IPD block of the K R Hospital.

While inaugurating the centenary celebrations of the Mysore Ayurvedic College, the chief minister announced the setting up of a university for Ayurveda studies from 2009-10 academic year with Central assistance. The Centre had come forward to support the proposal, he said.

He also announced a new 100-bed Panchakarma Hospital wing for which Rs. 1 crore is already released and five more post-graduate courses in Ayurveda in addition to the existing two in the College this year.


Business Standard

Lahari Infrastructures Limited, a subsidiary of city-based Lahari Group, will be investing about Rs 1,500 crore in a multi-services special economic zone (SEZ) in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh in phases.

The company has entered into a joint development agreement with the Mumbai-based Hiranandani Group for executing the project, wherein Lahari will own 30 percent of the built-up space while the rest will be held by the latter, Lahari Group chairman G Hari Babu told mediapersons.

Christened Hiranandani Upscale, the 250-acre SEZ will have 15 million sft of space for 31 services including research and development, IT/ITeS, free trade, warehousing and education.

“All the required clearances including fire and aviation approvals are already in place except building permission, which is expected by this month end, from the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority. The first phase of the project, involving 2 million sft of built-up space with an investment of Rs 400 crore, will be completed by the first quarter of 2011. We plan to add 1.5 million sft every year for the next 10 years,” Hari Babu said.


Moinak Mitra
The Economic Times

If Java were not a geek intervention, it could well have stood for coffee, or even a primeval Indonesian island. But as the recent punchline of James Gosling an advert cackles, ‘a lot can happen over coffee’. Well, the Bay Area geeks seem to know their beans and love them too.

So it came as no surprise when San Franciscan James Gosling took off his gloves to unveil the Java programming language in 1991. The 53-year-old VP & Sun Fellow at Sun Microsystems is credited to be the father of Java, a programming language expressly designed for use in the distributed Internet environment. Today, the language rules the world of code jocks as the very platform that supports other “specialised” computer languages.

But first, smell the coffee. Java. To begin with, such aromatic nomenclature was definitely not on the cards. Gosling had initially coined the term ‘oak’ for the programme after the mighty oak that he could see outside his work window. But that ran into trademark issues and so random names were thrown up. “Java slipped in because it was slang for coffee and everybody loved coffee,” says Gosling, whose team went through a dozen names before selecting Java at lucky number five. “My personal favourite was ‘lyric’ at number four but even that didn’t pass muster.”

Anyhow, what’s in a name. The idea was not born in a day — it arrived in a context, when Gosling was working on a project at Sun, researching on the rumblings outside the computer industry.

“Cellphones were getting started, car electronics were getting sophisticated, automation was happening,” he says. In the early 1990s, people were reinventing computer science. “I kept meeting people who were doing things and kept failing at them but on the other hand, there was a different attitude about scale and consumer interface.” That’s when a bunch of electronics engineers at Sun decided to embark on an academic exercise with the Green Project. The idea was quite simple: to build some consumer electronics prototype around software development methodologies. “That happened to be where the world was really headed, which was a piece of luck,” says Gosling.

Now there may be about a dozen things that Java did very differently from previous computer languages. For instance, it adopted a different attitude to work by providing a set of tools “that enabled people build consumer-friendly tools”. Earlier, computers tended to be things tucked away in back-offices. Around the same time, networking became the buzzword as systems started getting connected. “Java was best suited for an interconnected environment,” says Gosling.

That said, integration has always been the key driver for the language to thrive. In 1997, Sun approached a couple of standards bodies to formalise Java, but soon withdrew from the process. “It was because the standards process was being manipulated by Microsoft. There were shady backroom deals that people were engaging in and it became a very difficult situation,” recalls Gosling.

In May 2007, Sun made Java’s core code free and open source. Knowing Gosling, that was expected. “Open source makes things dramatically more secure than the standard model,” he says, claiming security issues crop up due to a failure of the imagination of those who write programmes. “In open source, people actually scrutinise the content and software engineers stare at interesting stuff. Today, almost every transaction in banks is done over Java because of its record for security.”

The programme is Gospel for those using connected networks. It is changing the way police departments relate to each other and the working of the Brazilian National Healthcare System, which provides healthcare in the Amazon Basin using programmes written in Java. For a host of governments, Java is increasingly coming in handy for tax accounting. The programme also dishes out applications for cellphones. When asked whether IT departments nowadays are still on an R&D binge, Gosling reveals that they’re doing much more with the same resources. That’s a complete U-turn from when he started out in IT with a burning ambition to just develop software, irrespective of the costs.


Sumali Moitra, Kolkata
The Times of India (Kolkata edition)

Software industry body Nasscom is in talks with the European Commission about evolving a single work permit norm for Indian IT professionals so that techies don’t have to apply for separate permissions when moving from one place to the other within Europe.

The Indian IT organisation has offered to collaborate in finetuning the mechanism through which this can happen keeping in mind the concerns various European countries have about immigration issues while emphasising the benefits such a step can provide in lowering administrative costs.

Speaking to TOI on Thursday, Nasscom president Som Mittal said discussions on this front have been moving satisfactorily so far and the issue would be taken up in more detail when a Nasscom delegation visits Europe in early March. He added, however, that provided such a relaxation arrangement is worked out, it could benefit not just Indian IT employees but also those from non-EU countries.

Nasscom chairman Ganesh Natarajan said the organisation already has a good record of working with the UK government to simplify visa-related formalities for Indian IT workers. The UK is the biggest market for India’s IT industry after the US. Together, the US and UK make up 80% of India’s software exports, with the US alone accounting for about 61%.

It may be noted, though, that Nasscom has also been trying to develop greater links with Japan, Germany, France and Scandinavian countries. It is also trying to identify and resolve the issues that are coming in the way of doing greater business with these countries.

“We are leaving for the US later this week where we would meet some key stakeholders, clients of customers and administration officials,” Mittal said. Apart from Washington DC, the Nasscom delegation would also be “travelling to New York and some other places,” he added.

Indications are that the delegates would be meeting Congressmen too to make them realise the benefits that would accrue to the US by not imposing outsourcing hurdles.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


New York
The Economic Times

IBM plans to take advantage of the US economic stimulus package signed earlier on Tuesday by offering Internet services over power lines to more rural consumers. IBM said its venture with International Broadband Electric Communications (IBEC), a company that provides broadband over power line (BPL) services, had begun to sign up Internet customers in rural parts of Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and Virginia and that it hoped to access more government funds.

The economic stimulus law signed by President Barack Obama included $2.5 billion for the Agricultural Department to expand broadband service in rural America. International Business Machines Corp Chief Executive Sam Palmisano was one of several US business leaders who met with Obama late last month, and IBEC's chief executive is set to meet with lawmakers on Wednesday to see how much of that funding would be available to the venture.

BPL technologies use radio signals, which help connect Internet service over electric power lines. Consumers can access the Internet by plugging modems into power outlets. Such services are widely seen as slower and less reliable than that of cable and phone providers, which offer increasingly fast connections as well as online video services with the help of fiber-optic networks and advanced network gear.

But IBM said the IBEC venture's service is aimed at remote and sparsely populated areas where advanced Internet services are not available, meaning the only competition would be traditional dial-up services which are even slower. IBM said it did not know how much government funds it could receive but that the venture would proceed regardless, and that it expects broader Internet use to stimulate the economy and help create more business opportunities in the long run.

"In the long-term, the effort will lead to the expansion of small businesses and creation of new industries, bringing new jobs to rural Americans and driving net new economic growth," said Raymond Blair, director of advanced networks at IBM.


Financial Chronicle

After a wave of protests from its users, the Facebook social-networking site said Wednesday that it would withdraw changes to its terms of service concerning the data supplied by the tens of millions of people who use it.

The about-face was made known to many users in a message posted on their Facebook homepage saying: ‘‘Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago.

Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised.’’ The posting invited users to click on a link to get more details. Terms of service, or use, generally outline appropriate conduct and grant a license to companies to store users’ data. Unknown to many users, the terms often give broad power to Web site operators.

Earlier this month, Facebook deleted a provision from its terms of service that said users could remove their content at any time, at which time the license would expire. It added new language that said Facebook would retain users’ content and licenses after an account was terminated.


The Economic Times

Indian-American Pradman Kaul, Chairman and CEO of Hughes Network Systems (HNS), has been named 'Via Satellite' Magazine's Satellite Executive of the Year for 2008.

Kaul has been a director as well as Chief Executive Officer and President since February 3, 2006, and has been HNS' CEO and President since 2000. Kaul was appointed to HNS' Board of Managers on April 22, 2005, and serves as its Chairman.

Previously, Kaul served as President and Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President and Director of Engineering of HNS. Before joining HNS in 1973, Kaul worked at COMSAT Laboratories in Clarksburg, Maryland.

"It is indeed an honour to receive this recognition by the leading publication in the satellite industry," said Kaul.

"The year 2008 was especially significant because our team succeeded in validating SPACEWAY 3's commercial success - rolling out nationwide service to over 100,000 new customers, while continuing to expand our broadband satellite footprint worldwide."

2008 was a year of many accomplishments for Kaul and his team, starting with the commercial launch of the SPACEWAY(R) 3 broadband satellite system, an effort initiated more than a decade ago..


Jyotsna Bhatnagar
The Financial Express

Corporate India no longer symbolises only corporates. It now encompasses most states of the country too with each vying for Numero Uno status on the investment sweepstakes. Selling themselves to investors as the ultimate investment destinations in a bid to attract big-ticket projects has become a major business for state governments with chief ministers donning the mantle of the CEO. And in this new marketing arena, Gujarat is emerging as a major gladiator.

Armed with deft media management and high-decibel publicity blitzkriegs, its biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summits (VGGIS) have become case studies for all that state governments should do to market their USPs to investors effectively.

And with a deluge of MOUs totaling a humungous Rs 12 lakh crore this year, Modi has become the strongest contender for the Best CEO CM award. In fact, several leading industrialists have raised his bar even higher pitching him as a suitable CEO PM material. Says Kumar Mangalam Birla, scion of the Aditya Birla empire, “The growth in Gujarat is excellent. We would prefer Gujarat for our further investments in sectors like power and cement.”

But if you thought that Gujarat is the only state going the extra step to rake in the moolah, think again. Several states are in the race to bag more and more projected investment. In fact, surveys conducted show that despite the global meltdown, the number of investment intentions including industrial entrepreneur memoranda, letters of intent and direct industrial licences are registering a significant increase.

The number of investment intentions filed during April-October 2008 increased by 16.6% over the corresponding period in 2008. Analysts say it’s because companies do not want to be caught unawares when the good times return after the prevailing sluggishness is over.

Andhra Pradesh is yet another exciting investment destination and is as savvy as Gujarat when it comes to promotion of its USP. The state conducts a regular investment promotion event, the Hyderabad IT Summit. Previously known as Gitex, the objective of the event is to invite investment into IT & ITES sector from across the world. And like Gujarat, the state government, in association with industry chambers, organises various road shows, events and seminars to showcase investment opportunities in various sectors to prospective entrepreneurs.

APInvest, an independent nodal agency for investment promotion, is acting as a single point of contact to facilitate and handhold the investors to extend every possible support. It also conducts road shows across the world and has so far conducted road shows in the US, Germany, Singapore and other parts of the world. The agency works closely with most of the embassy offices of foreign countries in India, and industry associations across the world to showcase Andhra Pradesh as a preferred investment destination.

The efforts of the Andhra Pradesh government to promote itself have borne good dividends as well. While the national growth rate in 2007-08 was recorded at 9.03%, Andhra Pradesh has achieved a GSDP growth rate of 10.64%. The state government has made an inclusive growth encompassing all sectors like IT, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, rural development, agriculture, irrigation and social security. The state has an enviable number of more than 300 industrial parks and 98 approved SEZs located across the state that offer investment opportunities particularly in sectors like petroleum and chemical.

One state, which has been successful in attracting as much, or perhaps more, mega bucks than Gujarat, however, views investment melas with utter disdain. Downplaying the signing of MoUs by the Gujarat government at the recently held Vibrant Gujarat, the Maharashtra government is instead concentrating on giving finishing touches to its new industrial policy and a revised policy for IT and ITeS to maintain pre-eminence in attracting investments in the state.

Since the declaration of its mega project policy, Maharashtra has, in last three and half years, attracted investment worth Rs 1,40,000 crore in 116 projects largely in the automobile and auto components, textiles and engineering. The government claims that the implementation rate is also high at 78%. Under the mega project policy, the government offers customised incentives to the investors.

The state government is also planning a mega event Maharashtra 2020 to attract more investments. However, according to a senior state government official, “The government is not keen to have a jamboree but a real business like gathering. All details are being worked out.”

To give a big push to its move to attract domestic and foreign direct investment, the state government is also readying a new IT policy, a new Agri Industries Policy and a comprehensive pro-investor land acquisition policy. Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan has also indicated that focus will be on expediting infrastructure development, biotechnology, power generation and upgradation of 22 airstrips in the state.


Chandra Ranganathan
The Economic Times

By most counts, 2008 was a bad year for IT companies, mostly due to the credit-induced economic crisis in the US, their biggest technology market.

ET spoke to IT company officials, analysts and industry experts to get a sense of the trends to watch out for next year in IT services, on the demand and the supply side.

Geography: India offers a spring of hope
While company officials and analysts say much of the business would continue to happen out of the US, they also see an up swell of demand in Asia Pacific and India.

For example, Cognizant, which derives a major portion of its revenue from North America, has been making investments in the last 12 to 18 months specifically in Japan, Australia and India to build its leadership team and sales engines. The company's president and managing director R Chandrasekaran said this would be the additional growth engines in the coming years.

At the same time, HCL Technologies, which is seeing more growth happening out of Continental Europe and Scandinavian countries, said it would pitch itself as an integrated service provider (infrastructure and application to gain a pie of the domestic Indian market. Apart from government contracts worth millions of dollars, IT companies also see more action in the retail and FMCG space.

Service offerings - IT Infrastructure services and BPO
Traditionally, application, development and maintenance services have been the bread and butter of a majority of the software services providers in the country. While this area will continue to grow, the merging growth areas would be IT infrastructure services (IT IS), remote infrastructure management (RIM) and business process outsourcing (BPO). "A large number of infrastructure contracts would be off-shored.

Expect more discussions and debates on IT IS, RIM, BPO, virtualisation and unified communications as companies try to work efficiently across locations and lessen travel costs," said Frost & Sullivan ICT practice deputy director Kaustubh Dhavse.

Pricing- Bang for every buck
While there is consensus that contract prices will be renegotiated, there is no clarity yet on whether there would rack-rate cuts or reduction on a project-by-project basis. Gartner India's principal research analyst Diptarup Chakraborti said, "Rack rates look difficult to sustain at least in the short run and price negotiations even in existing contracts is likely to happen. Both old and new clients pressure is likely. Every client will seek maximum bang for his buck."

At the same time, Dipen Shah, vice-president, private client group- research, Kotak Securities said that this would happen more in the case of small-cap companies who would be open to lower price points to save volumes.

Vendor consolidation- More offshoring
For months now, Indian IT companies have been saying that the consolidation happening in America's BFSI space, would result in more work transferred here, as banks look to save costs by moving operations low-cost destinations offshore. Some companies have been lucky to be a vendor of the acquirer and the acquired entity, thereby getting more business from the merged entity.

"In a few instances in recent large M&A situations in the banking industry, we has found ourselves in the position of being a very substantive provider to both the acquirer and the acquired entity. During the 3rd quarter (July-September), we began working on post merger integration work with a major BFSI client of ours who has recently completed significant M&A activity," Chandrasekaran said.

Similarly, Infosys found itself on the safe side since it was servicing Lehman Brothers and Bank of America. Polaris, too, retained its Bear Stearns business, because it was already servicing Bear Stearns' acquirer JP Morgan Chase.