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|INFOTECH INDIA | Tech Briefs:
At Microsoft, Six Indians Many of the Shots | Wipro Projects $1.11B in Third Quarter | QUALCOMM: $200 PC | TCS: Recovering Growth | INFOSYS: Rural BPO Centers | Eyeing Latin America | Growth in France | UK to Open Up?
At Microsoft, Six Indians Many of the Shots
Indians run some of the key businesses within Microsoft, with the world’s largest software company being increasingly defined by the likes of S. Somasegar of Chennai, Amit Mittal of Mumbai, Amitabh Srivastava from Kanpur, Gurdeep Singh Pall from Chandigarh, Satya Nadella of Hyderabad and Anoop Gupta of Delhi. Along with a few others, they run everything from cloud computing, unified communications to new software development initiatives at the software behemoth.
These techies hold over 100 patents, have written key research papers in technical journals and are now driving the company to its next growth path.
Somasegar, senior vice-president, developer division, has over 4,000 people under him worldwide as he heads the developer division.
This is the division responsible for all new products including the recently-launched Windows 7.
Says Amit Mittal, corporate VP, unlimited potential group, Microsoft: “My group is involved in development of new products that will create solutions for the next one billion people (those untouched by tech) and create value for Microsoft.”
Mittal has 20 patents to his credit for work done in mobile technologies, e-commerce and software services areas.
Amitabh Srivastava, senior VP, Windows Azure, leads the development for Microsoft’s cloud computing business.
Gupta and Nadella were also technical assistants to Bill Gates, advising the company founder on future technology trends. That was before they moved to their current roles with Anoop Gupta being the corporate VP, Microsoft Unlimited Potential Group, Education Product Group, Technology Policy & Strategy.
Apart from the CEO, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft has seven presidents, 15 senior vice-presidents and about 100 corporate vice presidents.
Among the 15 VPs, there are four Indians and another 8-10 corporate VPs of Indian origin. Both India chairman of Microsoft and managing director (India Development Centre) Ravi Venkatesan and Srini Koppolu respectively are among the global corporate VPs.
Wipro Projects $1.11B in Third Quarter
Infotech giant Wipro Ltd recently projected an earning of $1.11 billion from IT services for third quarter (October-December) of this fiscal (2009-10), as revenue for second quarter (July-September) at $1.06 billion was higher than the guidance of $1.03 billion.
"We expect revenues from our IT services business to be in the range of $1.09-1.11 billion in the third quarter, as we see more stability in volumes and pricing," Wipro chairman Azim Premji said in a statement here.
In a regulatory filing earlier, the IT bellwether said net profit for the second quarter increased by 19 percent year-on-year (YoY) to Rs.11.62 billion, as per the Indian accounting standard.
The net profit is higher than the projection of Rs.10.6 billion by analysts who keep track of Indian blue chip firms in the technology space.
But consolidated revenue for the quarter under review (Q2) increased modestly by six percent YoY to Rs.69.17 billion, as per the Indian accounting standard.
According to the International Financial Regulatory Standard, the company's net income at $243 million increased by 21 percent YoY, while total revenue increased by six percent YoY to $1.44 billion.
QUALCOMM: $200 PC
Mobile chip maker Qualcomm Inc has said it hopes to launch its Rs 10,000 (around $210) personal computer alternative “Kayak” in India in the second half of next year.
The San-Diego-based wireless technology provider is in talks with major Indian telecom service providers like Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications to bring the product into India.
"Early next year we will start the trial and we hope we should be able to commercialize it in the second half," Qualcomm senior vice-president Kanwalinder Singh told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of a wireless lab at local school in Pokhra, Nepal.
"We are talking to telecom operators like Airtel, Tata Teleservices and Reliance to bring this alternative (Kayak) to India," he said.
Last year, the company had said it would launch a 3G- enabled Internet access platform Kayak in the emerging markets to provide both connectivity and computing.
"We believe we can build a device consisting of display, keyboard and mouse for less than Rs 10,000. It will make Internet access simple, affordable and run for 9-10 hours. The device would also allow users to make calls," he said.
"We aim to bridge the digital divide in India. In urban India PC penetration is higher than in rural India. We want to provide access to new technology to rural people to change there lives," Singh said.
The competition in cheap PC market is hotting up as major chip maker Intel has introduced the $400 Classmate PC.
The Indian government has also announced launching a cheap PC alternative for Rs 500 to provide educational solutions in around 18,000 colleges of 400 universities in India.
TCS: Recovering Growth
Tata Consultancy Services has said its deal pipeline for Asia-Pacific has improved in the past two months led by financial services and revenue could grow at a double-digit pace this year.
But the growth in its business in the region will still lag behind the 40 percent compound annual growth rate seen in the past five years before the current financial year, Girija Pande, the Asia-Pacific head of India's top IT services company by sales said.
"Pipelines are improving, we think green shoots are now getting leaves," Pande said.
"Will it come back and reach the 40 percent revenue growth that we have in the past? I doubt it will. 40 percent growth is not easy to maintain, but that's the CAGR we have, but certainly it will be double digit growth," he added.
Pande said the financial services firms are driving the deal pipeline for the Mumbai-based TCS, part of Tata Group that spans commodities, autos, and business services.
"Asian banks are not affected as badly as the Western banks, they are buying the core banking services, while telecommunication companies are expanding," he added.
Pande's comments came a few weeks after TCS beat forecasts with a 29 percent rise in its quarterly net profit helped by demand from recession hit financial customers, but warned that a sharp growth rebound in the near term was unlikely.
The company's financial year runs from April to March.
India's nearly $60 billion outsourcing sector is seeing some signs of revival in business prospects after getting badly hit by the global economic slowdown and financial sector turmoil that had forced clients to shut the tap on technology spending.
Pande reiterated that Tata Consultancy, which provides services such as consulting, system integration and manages call centers, is aiming to raise its headcount in China to 5,000 people in the next five years, up from more than 1,000 now.
INFOSYS: Rural BPO Centers
Infosys BPO Limited, a subsidiary of IT giant Infosys, has signed an agreement with the Andhra Pradesh government to set up rural BPO centers in 22 districts of the state.
Infosys BPO Limited CEO and Managing Director Amitabh Chaudhry and State Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty CEO T. Vijaya Kumar signed an MoU in this regard in the presence of Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, in Hyderabad.
"The first such BPO centre will be set up in the next six weeks which will provide a testing ground for this model. The capital expenditure and other details will be worked out subsequently," Chaudhry said, adding that all the 22 districts would have one BPO each.
"Over 1,000 people would get direct employment through the rural BPO centers in the next 12-15 months. Statistics suggest that direct employment generates 1.4 times indirect employment as well," he added.
Noting that Andhra Pradesh would be the first state where Infosys would be setting such facilities, Chaudhary said, "We are in talks with some other states as well for similar ventures but I can't disclose the names at this stage."
Eyeing Latin America
India's top outsourcing companies are now exploring acquisition opportunities in the Latin American countries, as more customers demand nearshore delivery capabilities for physical proximity and ease of managing an outsourcing relationship.
Smaller service providers in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico such as Globant, which counts Adidas, LinkedIn and Citi among its top customers and has around $100 million in revenues, are increasingly being approached by some Indian tech firms, officials said.
“Even as we hire more locals, we continue to look at focused nearshore companies such as Globant for strategic alliances,” said a top executive of an Indian tech firm. While customers such as GE and Citi continue to send more IT work to offshore locations such as India, some customers and vendors are discovering that nearshore locations in Latin America are offering almost similar cost advantages for back-office projects apart from better proximity to customers.
Customers such as HNI Corp, one of the biggest American office furniture manufacturers, recently chose a nearshore partner in Brazil instead of an outsourcing vendor from India because it was not comfortable with the time zone difference.
“While there is no doubt about Indian companies’ ability to serve customers across time zones, some customers still prefer to work with a vendor located nearer,” said an outsourcing consultant familiar with HNI’s decision.
Growth in France
Wipro chairman Azim Premji has reiterated the company's commitment to France, a key growth market for the company, by growing its presence and creating employment opportunities in that country.
Premji, who met Christian Estrosi from the Ministry of Industry Paris during a high-level delegation meeting in Paris to discuss the Wipro's IT services growth strategy for France, said the IT firm was committed to work with local authorities to encourage local employment regeneration.
During the discussion, both Estrosi and Premji also spoke about Wipro's worldwide exit from the IP connectivity activity, which implied closure of its Sophia Antipolis center, a Wipro release said.
During the discussions, Wipro reiterated the measures being implemented to support the employees who will exit from the company, including providing financial benefits.
According to Christophe Martinoli, head of France, Wipro Technologies, "With continued investment and our focus in creating a skilled talent base in France, we intend to double our staff base and revenues in the next 18 months to serve our French customers across industries such as retail, manufacturing, telecom, energy and utilities, banking and insurance"
The company said over a period of time, it had increased its headcount in France from less than 30 to 170.
UK to Open Up?
Britain has promised to look into suggestions to allow more Indian IT professionals into the U.K. to build up a strategic partnership in the information technology field.
The suggestion was made by President Pratibha Patil to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown during a meeting here at the 10, Downing Street Oct. 28 night.
Patil stressed on the need for greater participation of Indian IT professionals in the U.K., which Brown assured to look into, Foreign Ministry officials accompanying the President told reporters.
The U.S. and other major EU nations have allowed greater flow of Indian IT professionals, which has led to a boom in the sector in these countries and apparently Patil's suggestion was to ensure that Britain did not lag behind.
Brown said India-U.K. cooperation in IT was a very important area for the growing bilateral strategic partnership, officials said.
The 30-minute-long meeting between the two leaders also focused on issues of bilateral cooperation in economy and education.
Brown told the president that business ties between the two countries were flourishing with a large number of Indian companies now listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Britain is also one of the largest foreign direct investors in India.
During the meeting, Brown also expressed keenness in further boosting India-U.K. cooperation in the field of education, the officials said.
Patil is the first Indian head of state to visit United Kingdom in last 20 years.
The two leaders exchanged their views on various issues pertaining to social spectrum, Millennium Development Goals and various aspects of women empowerment and dwelt on the role of women in contributing to democracy and development, the officials said.