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INFOTECH INDIA | Tech Briefs: MAY 2011

Infosys: Major Reshuffle in Leadership
Facebook: 25 Million Users in India
Anna Hazare Rocks Cyberspace

Infosys: Major Reshuffle in Leadership

Infosys Technologies Ltd announced top management changes linked to the retirement of its chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy. Infosys is listed on the Nasdaq, is struggling to meet growth expectations and its shares have fallen over 15 percent in 2011.

The board named S.D. Shibulal, a founder of the company and currently its chief operating officer, as chief executive in place of S. Gopalakrishnan, who will be the company’s executive co-chairman, Murthy said at a press conference.

K.V. Kamath, 63, an independent director of the company, will take over as non-executive chairman of Infosys, a visibly emotional Murthy said at the company’s headquarters in Bengaluru.

Murthy, who retires as chairman in August, will serve as chairman emeritus of the company he set up in 1981 with six other engineers.

Infosys, which is seen as a trend-setter for India’s near-$60 billion outsourcing sector, is battling aggressive competition from larger rival Tata Consultancy Services  and Cognizant Technology, which are steadily chipping away at its market share.

Analysts have said the management announcements will put an end to uncertainty that has surrounded the company since talk of the change began last year and will allow the firm to focus on boosting growth.

Shibulal’s appointment as chief executive is in line with Infosys’ practice of giving a member of its founding group a shot at running the company, which Murthy and his six fellow engineers set up with $250 they scraped together.

Shibulal, aged 56, takes over from Gopalakrishnan, who in turn replaced Nandan Nilekani in 2007. Nilekani was made chief executive after Murthy stepped aside to become chairman alone.

Infosys will appoint three internal executives to its board by June, incoming Chairman Kamath, who is also the non-excutive chairman of India’s second-largest lender ICICI Bank, told reporters at the press conference.

Infosys will also seek shareholder approval to change the name of the company to Infosys Ltd.

All appointments will become effective Aug. 21, said the company which has seen a couple of recent exits by directors from its board.


Facebook: 25 Million Users in India

The number of Facebook users in India has crossed the 25-million base mark, the social networking site said Thursday.

“Facebook currently has 25 million users in India,” said David Fischer, vice president advertising and global operations, Facebook at an interactive advertising and digital marketing exhibition, Ad-tech here.

Facebook has almost become the most popular for active Internet users in the recent past in India, leaving behind other social networking sites such as Orkut and Twitter.

“We are also looking forward to building strong relationship with India’s strong network of developers and entrepreneurs who are increasingly harnessing Facebook to create unique sharing experiences on the social web,” said the company.

The 25-million and growing Facebook users in India range from business people and students to public figures and institutions, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the Delhi Traffic Police and Bollywood actor Aamir Khan.

From January, Municipal Corporation of Delhi has also started using Facebook for users to post problems for immediate action on areas like sanitation and garbage cleaning.

India has over 100 million users. Though the figure is hardly 10 % of the total Indian population of 1.21 billion, it still puts India at the number three position in the world largest internet users list.


Anna Hazare Rocks Cyberspace

Though the tech-savvy Indian youth are often accused of being apolitical and least bothered about the concerns of the society, they have once again proved the critics wrong by joining hands with the public movement against corruption initiated by Gandhian leader Anna Hazare.

While many young students and professionals bunked colleges and work place to join him at central Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Wednesday to support his fast-unto-death for a more stringent anti-corruption law, the cyberspace is celebrating Hazare’s movement as the second freedom struggle.

The crowd near the spot where Hazare is sitting for his fast is made up mostly of youngsters. Some of them came there after watching the news on TV while others were informed by chain messages on their mobiles.

Madhu Sudan, a 23-year-old B. Tech student from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, held the Indian national flag and posters were stuck on his chest and back. The posters read: ‘Indians together protest against corruption’ and ‘Poorna Swaraj from corruption’.

“Enough is enough and our country needs a revolution. There is no transparency in how the system works here and the few rich and powerful are ruling us. Criminals like (former communications minister A. Raja) are draining away our wealth,” he said.

And the celebrities from reel life to real life are behind the the Gandhian’s movement – in physical space as well as virtual space.

Aamir Khan, Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapur, Madhur Bhandarkar, Anupam Kher and Juhi Chawla among others from Bollywood came in support of the movement. Aamir even wrote letters to Hazare and also the Prime Minister. Many social activists like Aruna Roy are also supporting the movement. Interestingly political parties like CPI-M and BJP are also supporting the Gandhian’s freedom struggle.

But what is amazing is the happenings in the virtual world.



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