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INFOTECH INDIA | Tech Briefs:

MICROSOFT: China Piracy Makes India Better Bet | India Computer Sales up 33 Percent in First Quarter | TOSHIBA: $10M Investment | INFOSYS: New Campuses | Broadband Bidding | TATA DOCOMO: Dive-in-Stores | TCS: Inter-connected Stock Exchange | SATYAM: New Chapter

China Piracy Makes India Better Bet: Microsoft

Microsoft Corp is less optimistic about China than India or Indonesia, due to the country's lack of progress in stamping out software piracy, chief executive officer Steve Ballmer said.

"India is not perfect but the intellectual property protection in India is far, far better than it would be in China," the head of the world's largest software maker has said in an interview in Hanoi, Vietnam. "China is a less interesting market to us than India, or Indonesia.”

Ballmer's concerns underscore growing dismay among U.S. companies toward operating in the world's third-largest economy.

In March, Google Inc moved its Chinese service out of the mainland to avoid censorship rules, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing said last month its members face an increasingly difficult regulatory environment.

China has implemented more than 1,000 measures related to the protection of intellectual property and the government will continue such efforts, said Chen Rongkai, a media officer at the nation's Ministry of Commerce in Beijing.

"China's effort at strengthening the protection of intellectual property is universally recognized," Chen said.

Lack of progress in protecting intellectual property has led China, which may overtake the U.S. as the world's biggest personal-computer market in a year, to generate less revenue for Microsoft than India and South Korea, Ballmer said.

China's gross domestic product is twice the two economies combined.

The value of pirated software in China almost doubled to 7.58 billion from 2005 to 2009, the highest increase in the world, Washington-based Business Software Alliance and market researcher IDC said in a report in May.

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India's Computer Sales up 33 Percent in First Quarter

India's personal computer sales touched 2.2 million in the first quarter of this year, registering a growth of an impressive 33 percent, says IDC, a leading technology consultancy and think tank.

Among the various segments, desktop computers accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total sales at 1.44 million units, representing an 18 percent growth, while notebook sales were up 72 percent with 803,000 thousand.

Overall, the impressive performance in the January-March quarter saw the sales of personal computers during fiscal 2009-10 log a 7.6 percent growth, on the back of an 8.1-percent decline in the previous fiscal.

"Continued consumer confidence and revival of growth in the economy led to the January-March 2010 quarter experiencing an upward trend in consumer personal computer shipments," said Anirban Banerjee, associate vice president with IDC India.

"The commercial segment, especially large and very large businesses, also saw a demand growth. This performance underscores a more broad based recovery in the India personal computer market."

In the overall personal computer market, including notebooks and desktops, Hewlett Packard retained the top spot with a market share of 16.5 percent, followed by Dell (13.6 percent) and Acer (13 percent).

In desktops, too, HP was the top player with a market share of 11.2 percent, followed by Acer and HCL. In notebooks, HP reclaimed the top spot with a market share of 25.9 percent, followed by Dell and Acer.

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TOSHIBA: $10M Investment

Toshiba India, the Indian subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation, will invest $10 million (about Rs 470 million) this fiscal in the personal computer business to revamp its brand in the Indian market.

The company, which has an existing lineup of nine notebook models), plans to introduce 30 new models of computing devices in the Indian market over the next two months.

"We have been present in India for some time with our laptops. But over the next one year, we will expand our business, presence and brand here," Toshiba India director (PC division) Tengguo Wu told PTI.

The company has earmarked $10 million for the purpose, Wu said, adding that the money will be invested in retail expansion, increasing the product line and brand-building initiatives.

"The new range of about 30 SKUs will be introduced over the next two months. It will include laptops and netbooks priced between Rs 23,000-80,000," he said.

Toshiba's current line-up includes the Satellite, Satellite Pro, Qosmio, Tecra, Portégé and Libretto brands.

Though Wu did not reveal the sales figures expected, he said that the company is aiming at garnering a 10 percent share in the country's notebook segment. As of now, Toshiba has less than 5 percent share in India's notebook market.

According to the IDC, notebook PC sales had grew at 52.8 percent year-on-year for the fourth quarter ended December 2009, clocking 6.9 lakh units.

Toshiba India is also looking at expanding its retail presence in the country. "Apart from retail stores like Croma, we are also increasing the number of exclusive stores to strengthen our presence," Wu said.

The company, which is celebrating its 25th year in India, plans to set up 25 flagship stores. It has more than 50 exclusive stores and is present across 450 multi-brand outlets.

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INFOSYS: New Campuses

Indian IT companies which have recovered from the fallout of the U.S. slowdown are looking to expand their businesses in a big way. Big IT companies like Infosys and Wipro have mega investment plans lined up in India's Silicon Valley Bangalore.

Infosys is planning to set up two new campuses in the Garden City. Wipro is also planning to set up a brand new campus there. Karnataka Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani said that both companies have plans to set up campuses, however they are in proposal stage.

Infosys is planning to pump in almost Rs. 29.6 billion at two campuses. One campus will be 360 acres which is almost four times larger than their present campus and the other campus will be about 40 acres.

Wipro on the other hand is planning to pump in Rs 5.37 billion to set up a 40-acre campus.

This comes on the back of a lot of hiring increase that has happened in the past few months by IT companies.

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Broadband Bidding

Bids for one set of all-India wireless broadband spectrum licenses reached 31.98 billion rupees ($670 million), or about 83 percent higher than the base price, on the second day of an auction, government data showed May 25.

Eleven firms including India's top three telecoms firms -- Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone Essar -- and U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, are bidding for broadband spectrum.

The current auction follows bidding for third-generation (3G) spectrum that ended after 34 days and 183 rounds. The sale fetched the Indian government 677 billion rupees in revenue, nearly double the total estimated from both 3G and wireless broadband spectrum auctions.

The base price for one set of all-India wireless broadband spectrum license was set at 17.5 billion rupees. Two such all-India licenses are on offer for private firms, while a third set has been reserved for state-run firms which would have to match the final bid prices.

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TATA DOCOMO: Dive-in-Stores

Tata Docomo, the GSM brand of telecom major Tata Teleservices, has  said it plans to open 100 “Dive-in-Stores” across the country.

"The company plans to open 100 Dive-in-Stores across the country by this fiscal end, which are exclusive product experience zones for the customers," Gujarat Tata Docomo chief operating officer Nipun Sharma told reporters in Ahmedabad.

"Such stores shall come up with an investment of Rs 100 crore," he said.

"As part of this national roll out plan 16th such store was inaugurated in Ahmedabad, which is the second in Gujarat after Vadodara," Sharma said.

The company is putting on display its cutting-edge technology at such stores for the customers to come and experience, besides showcasing a vivid range of handsets and series of value added services offered by it, he said.

Amongst one of the fastest growing players in the telecom sector, the company claims to be adding around 2.8 million subscribers per month.

"Nationally we have a subscriber base of 31 million customers and we are adding close to 2.8 million subscribers monthly," Sharma said.

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TCS: Inter-connected Stock Exchange

Inter-connected Stock Exchange of India Ltd, a national level stock exchange, has appointed Tata Consultancy Services to provide software solutions for its soon to be launched trading platform.

ISE, promoted by 13 regional stock exchanges, shall offer cost-effective trading, clearing & settlement, risk management and surveillance support to over 800 trading members across 79 cities in India supported by its 9 branch offices.

ISE aims to offer its members a platform that synergizes amalgamation of best practices in trading. The first phase will be the launch of live trading on ISE Platform scheduled to begin in October.

The second phase will witness ISE hosting a trading platform especially for SMEs.

TCS has played a catalytic role in the development of capital market infrastructure in India. This solution transforms the organization’s exchange trading platform to support the future need of securities exchanges. It enables multi-exchange, multi-asset class trading on a single platform, and integrates the surveillance, risk, clearing, and settlement platforms for better operational efficiency and uniformity.

ISE will be the anchor customer for the deployment of TCS’s integrated exchange trading platform marketed worldwide.

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SATYAM: New Chapter

For Mahindra Satyam, the FIFA world cup this June in South Africa can well be the inflection point the company has been waiting for over past three years.

Over 2.3 lakh people involved across the functions of ticketing, accreditation, transport, materials management and overall event management will be using a software solution developed by a team of around 160 Satyam engineers.

“Not only is this among one of the most visible projects for us and many of our customers, this also gives us an opportunity to derisk our revenues from the U.S.,” says Dilbagh Gill, head of the sports business at Mahindra Satyam. A lot is riding on the FIFA project for Mahindra Satyam since its founder admitted to fraud last year.

Once ranked among the top four Indian software exporters, the company is beginning to gain contracts from new customers such as BASF and also increase its share of business from top existing clients, including Glaxo Smithkline, bidding against larger rivals Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Cognizant.

“We are definitely seeing more of them, especially in shortlisting for large over $100-million deals, compared to six months ago,” said a senior executive at one of the top five Indian tech firms.

Two months ago, the company outbid Infosys to gain an outsourcing contract from BASF — the world’s biggest chemical company, potentially worth $100 million. BASF, which runs enterprise resource planning software from SAP, plans to offshore functions of e-mail management, application development and other services that can be delivered from a remote delivery center.

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Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

COVER STORY
Cricket Tamasha:
The IPL Scandal

Hype, big money and now scandal — the Indian Premier League has it all, but purists lament that cricket has gotten lost in the shuffle. Priyanka Bhardwaj reports.


COMMUNITY
Undue Hardship:
New Visa Rules

A retroactive Indian visa rule regarding the surrender of Indian passports upon acquisition of U.S. citizenship puts undue burden on Indian Americans, writes Inder Singh.


ECONOMICS
Don’t Give it Currency:
The Yuan Debate

India should not become a party to the China-U.S. dispute over China’s under-valuation of its currency, writes Arvind Panagariya.


OTHER STORIES
EDITORIAL: The IPL Crisis
NEWS DIARY: May
PROFILE: Minister Jairam Ramesh
SUBCONTINENT: Carbon Credit: Green India
IMMIGRATION: Hi-tech Green Card
THEATER: Naatak Presents Tughlaq
HERITAGE: Know India Program
ENVIRONMENT: Sustainable Mining
RECIPE: Sweet & Sour Stir Fry Veg
REAL ESTATE: Cause for Optimism? The Housing Market
TRAVEL: A Trip to Britain
AUTO REVIEW: 2011 Ford Fiesta
BOLLYWOOD: Hindi Film Review: Kites
BOLLYWOOD: Guftugu
TAMIL FILM: Kanagavel Kaakka
CINEMA: Bicycle Bride
COMMUNITY: News in Brief
INFOTECH INDIA: Tech Briefs
BUSINESS: News Briefs
COMMUNITY: May Day Dance
HOROSCOPE: June


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