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INFOTECH INDIA | Tech Briefs: JUNE 2011

Infosys: B-1 Visa Fraud Charge
India World’s Best Outsourcing Destination: Study
Intel: AppUp Small Business Service
iPhone 4 Comes to India
India, Brazil: Most Popular Spam Sources

Infosys: B-1 Visa Fraud Charge

India’s software giant Infosys Technologies Ltd is reviewing its procedures to counter the charge of misusing B-1 business visas to the U.S., said a senior company official.

“We are in the midst of internal review of procedures/processes to respond to a U.S. Court notice on business visas. We will also cooperate with the investigation into the issues raised by the U.S. Department of Justice,” Infosys cochairman S. Gopalakrishnan said.

Admitting that the company had received a subpoena (directive), May 23 from a district court in Texas for appearance, Gopalakrishnan said it was not the first time, the company was facing such a charge and expressed confidence of clearing its position.

“As we are a listed firm even in the U.S. on NASDAQ, we have informed the SEC that we would soon submit our appropriate response to the court notice and the justice department,” Gopalakrishnan affirmed.

One of its employees, Jack Palmer, in an Alabama court in February alleged that the company was sending low-level employees from India to the U.S. to work in full-time posts at its customer sites against the immigration laws. The U.S. immigration authorities issue B1 visas for short-term visits to attend business seminars and restrict employees from engaging in gainful employment during their stay.

Though the $6 billion Indian IT bellwether did not yet receive summons directly from the justice department on the investigation it was carrying out on the visa violation charges, the company has decided to clarify its viewpoint to clear the air by informing the regulator.

“Transparent and ethical way of conducting business being our hallmark, at no time, have we violated state laws or procedures in any country. We have always gone by the rule book and operated within the regulatory framework,” a company official said, but declined to be named as he is not authorised to speak to media.

Declining to comment on reasons for ordering investigation into the company’s use of B-1 business visas, the official in the company’s human resource department said since the tech meltdown in the aftermath of global recession, demand for U.S. visas under various categories had slumped substantially.

“With increasing offshoring and outsourcing due to convergence of technologies and paradigm shift in business models, the Indian IT services sector has not been utilising the full quota of visas, be it H-1B, L-1 or B-1,” the official pointed out.

According to the May 23 disclosure made to the SEC, the parent company has about 10,000 of its software engineers on H-1B visas and 2,200 on L-1 working in the U.S.

Referring to the complaint lodged by its employee, the official said there was no such violation and had sufficient documentary evidence to allay the charges.

In the SEC filing, the company, however, agreed that any action by the U.S. government against it in this regard would seriously affect its business in the North America market, which accounts for about 60 percent of its export revenue.

“In the event of the US government taking action, which limit the B1 business visa programme or other visa programme that we utilise, it will materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations,” the company said in the filing.

In April, US Senator Charles E Grassley submitted a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano seeking an investigation into the use of the visa program.

“I’m very concerned about fraudulent actions that at least one foreign-based company has allegedly been taking in order to get around the requirements and US worker protections of the H-1B visa programme,” Grassley wrote in the letter, citing the complaint by Palmer against Infosys.

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India World’s Best Outsourcing Destination: Study

India remains the favorite back-office of the world thanks to its “first-mover advantage” and deep skill base, as per global management consulting firm AT Kearney’s ranking of the best outsourcing destinations.

The top three slots in AT Kearney’s 2011 Global Services Location Index (GSLI) are occupied by three Asian countries: India, China and Malaysia.

The three countries have enjoyed the top three rankings since the inception of the GLSI in 2003, demonstrating “remarkable staying power, thanks to their deep talent pools and cost advantages.”

“India is the all-around standout, able to provide manpower for any type of off-shoring activity. With its first-mover advantage and deep skill base, it still maintains the lion’s share of the IT services market,” the report said.

The report also says that India has proven itself adept at competing in all dimensions of the industry, being the “preeminent destination and leader” in all fields of offshore services.

India has excellence in IT, thanks to its elite educational institutions, in BPO because of the large annual output of qualified graduates and in voice, because of the English language capabilities of its population.

“With its first-mover advantage and deep skill base, India remains the unquestioned leader in the index – a half point ahead of China and a full point in front of Malaysia.

“On top of that, India’s IT services stalwarts are moving up the value chain,” the report said, adding that companies such as Infosys and Wipro are developing their R&D capabilities and expanding well beyond their traditional vendor roles.

Asia ranked highly throughout the rest of the top 10, which features Indonesia (5), Thailand (7), Vietnam (8) and the Philippines (9).

China has begun offering specialised skills not only in English, but also Korean, Japanese and Chinese.

However, China may not make a great impact in the call centre arena, the report said, adding that China’s most attractive avenues are high-end analytics and advanced IT, where it is an alternative to Russia and Eastern Europe.

Nevertheless, it can be a strong competitor to India in the BPO sector.The United States is the top customer for outsourcing services, accounting for 63 per cent of global IT outsourcing spending.

The Global Services Location Index analyses and ranks the top 50 countries worldwide for locating outsourcing activities, including IT services and support, contact centres and back-office support.

The rankings are based on a country’s performance in categories such as financial attractiveness, people and skills availability and the business environment.

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Intel: AppUp Small Business Service

Intel Corporation recently launched its AppUp Small Business Service, which enables server manufacturers, software vendors and service providers to offer small businesses the advantages of cloud computing, but with applications and data running on their own premises.

Enabled by the Intel Hybrid Cloud platform, the service represents a new business model for Intel, the company said in a statement.

The solution consists of a server, a catalog of pre-packaged small business applications from a broad range of software providers and Intel-developed software to securely manage and track use of the application software.

Small business customers access the solution through service providers, paying on a monthly basis for software they use,just like in the cloud, but getting the responsiveness and control of running their applications and data onsite, Intel said.

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iPhone 4 Comes to India

Telecom operators Bharti Airtel and Aircel announced the availability of Apple’s iPhone 4 in India from May 27.

“With a robust roll out of Aircel’s 3G services in 13 circles across India, the launch of iPhone 4 will allow our consumers to truly savor the 3G experience,” Aircel Director Sandip Das said in a statement.

“With our incredible new price plans, we aim to make iPhone more affordable than ever,” Das said.

Growing smartphones sales are expected to get a further fillip with the roll out of 3G services in the country. 3G services, which offer high-speed internet access, have already been rolled out by both Aircel and Bharti airtel.

About 12 million smartphones are expected to be sold in India during 2011, according to a CyberMedia Research study.

Indians love to use the latest mobile devices, and with the functionality  and design that Apple is known for, it won’t be long before suppliers in China will be smiling all the way to the bank.

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India, Brazil: Most Popular Spam Sources

India and Brazil remained the most popular sources of spam in April, accounting for 12.76 per cent and 7.15 per cent of the total volume of spam respectively, Kaspersky Lab has announced in its spam report for April 2011.

Compared to the previous month the amount of spam in email traffic increased by 1.2 percentage points and averaged 80.8 per cent. In the second half of April, the average figure exceeded 83.6 per cent, suggesting the share of unsolicited mail will continue to grow in the coming month.

Russia continued its slide down the rating of most popular spam sources, being overtaken by South Korea whose contribution to global spam almost doubled compared with March’s figure.

Of particular interest in April was the appearance of Packed.Win32.Katusha.n and Trojan-Downloader.Win32.FraudLoad.hxv in the rating of malicious programs blocked by mail antivirus.

Both malicious programmes are linked to fake AV: the former is used to pack them while the latter downloads them to users’ computers.

In April, malicious files were found in 3.65 per cent of all emails, an increase of 0.43 percentage points compared with the previous month.

USA, Russia and UK continued to occupy the top three places in the list of countries where malware was detected most frequently in mail traffic.

There was an increase of 1.93 percentage points recorded in the USA, but the figure for Russia decreased by 2.9 percentage points compared to March.

According to the report, in April, phishers seemed to lose interest in eBay with almost half as many of its users being attacked compared to the previous month.

The subsequent drop of 4.2 percentage points saw eBay fall two places to 4th in the Top 10 rating of organizations most often targeted in phishing attacks.

PayPal was the undisputed leader of April’s rating. However, the intensity of the attacks on this e-pay system has eased off slightly, with a drop of 6 percentage points compared to March.

Facebook and Santander moved up to 2nd and 3rd respectively, with just a slight rise compared to March.

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Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

COVER STORY
Social Media:
Savior of Mankind or a Peril
Parents don’t quite understand the impact of social media on their children. It is a subject of major debate. We should make the most of the new age of information says Prof. Vivek Wadhwa


SUBCONTINENT
Dangerous Misperceptions:
Chinese Views of India’s Rise
At the mass level, ignorance, stereotyping, and latent hostility characterize the views of India held by a large segment of Chinese society, writes Prof. Minxin Pei


SUBCONTINENT
Indo-Pak Ties:
Post-Osama Scenario
The U.S. eliminated Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. India cannot postpone the issue of J&K till eternity, writes Priyanka Bhardwaj


OTHER STORIES
EDITORIAL: Social Media: Savior or Peril
POLITICS: Didi, Behenji and Amma
SUBCONTINENT: India Seeks Dawood
CONFERENCE: TiECon 2011
TRIBUTE: Celebrating Tagore
COMPETITION: Intel Science Fair
TRAVEL: Liberty Ship at Pier 45
PHILANTHROPY: Cupertino Rotary Project: Education for Kids
RECIPE: Fruity Nutty Custard
AUTO REVIEW: 2011 Nissan Juke SV
BOOK REVIEW: The Sweetness of Tears
FILM FEST: 11th New York Indian Film Festival 2011
BOLLYWOOD: Flim Review: Ragini MMS
BOLLYWOOD: Guftugu
TAMIL FILM: Engeyum Kaadhal
CULTURE: CCF Dance Competition
INFOTECH INDIA: Tech Briefs
HOROSCOPE: June

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