Every 30th Indian has a computer

May 29, 2009 at 4:33 am (News)

computerBangalore: In spite of the annual dip in growth rate of personal computers (PCs) in India, the country now boasts of one PC for every 30 of its citizens. PC shipment in India has surpassed 36 million units mark, representing a significant improvement over March 2007 when the country had boasted of one computer for every 50 Indians. 

Indian PC market has grown by seven percent in first quarter of 2009 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2008, according to IDC’s Asia/Pacific quarterly PC tracker. “Though the Year-on-Year growth rate of India Client PC shipments dropped by 19 percent (First quarter 2009 versus first quarter 2008), this is an improvement over the previous quarter, indicating that the market has perhaps already bottomed out,” said Sumanta Mukherjee, Lead Analyst, Computing Products Research, IDC India.

A total of 1.67 million units of Client PCs were shipped during the first quarter of this year. Overall PC shipments to the commercial segment were maintained by demand from the Government, Education and Banking (nationalized banks) segments. The Government sector expects some more spending to happen after the formation of a new government. “With a number of significant government-funded education and e-Governance projects lined up in the coming quarters, a lot will hinge on how quickly the new government settles down to business,” says Mukherjee.

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Corporate India loses $8 Billion in power cut

May 29, 2009 at 4:27 am (News)

Bangalore: The India Inc has suffered a loss of $8.64 billion (Rs.43, 205 crore) in the power downturn in the year 2008-2009, says a study by the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) and Emerson Network Power (India). The study was an in-depth analysis of the impact of downtime in corporate India due to high occurrence of power outages, loss incurred are scheduled and non scheduled expenses, which is just double the loss incurred in the year 2003, when it was only Rs.22, 000 crore. 

2The loss incurred is about one percent of India’s total GDP. The key reason described in the report for the loss is because of the infrastructure stress on the power utilities. There are a large number of companies which rely on the IT infrastructure for automation, productivity and business management. The employee productivity and customer management were severely impacted by such downtime. Manufacturing sector has been described as the worst affected in this downtime.

The study, which in the third round was conducted by the consulting firm M/S Feedback Business Consulting Services, covered around eight hundred cities located in seven important industrial cities in India. Sixty-two percent of the companies surveyed were found to have a complete dependability on the IT and Automation sector. Fourteen major industry verticals including manufacturing, electronics, telecom, IT services, IT enabled services, banking & finance, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, SMEs, retail, hotels, real estate, infrastructure and hospitals were surveyed and the information was obtained from the senior executives.

“Contingency planning is part of the India Inc’s mindset, based on traditional experiences with infrastructure limitations. This trend will continue in the light of global power failures encountered in Western countries. Firms will need to pay more attention to maximizing uptime if they are to remain competitive in a globally networked economy,” said Vinnie Mehta, Executive Director, MAIT 

The power disruption frequency was highest in Delhi, followed by Pune and Bangalore. Among the surveyed, 78 percent feel that the condition will improve in one year, but Delhi was at the top with the least confidence in showing up. The highest confidence level was polled for Chennai. Telecom sector was found to have the fastest restoration ability, while it was found slowest in pharma/biotech, hotels/hospitals and manufacturing. 

The downtime loss incurred across all the verticals was observed at an average of Rs. 54,434 per hour, which is highest in telecom and real estate/infrastructure companies, and lowest in the SMEs. The major impact of the downtime is on the employee productivity and customer management. The average speed of restoration was found about 71 minutes. Bangalore was adjudged with high frequency and longer outages. Mumbai continues to be most depended on grid for power. 

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Tech Mahindra wins bid for Satyam Computer

April 13, 2009 at 11:22 am (News)

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Mumbai: Tech Mahindra, the IT arm of auto major Mahindra and Mahindra, Monday won the bid for India’s fourth largest software exporter Satyam Computer.

Satyam’s new board of directors, which met here to select the highest bidder, chose Tech Mahindra following its bid of Rs.1,757 crore ($351.4 million) for 31 percent stake in the scam-tainted IT giant.  

Tech Mahindra offered Rs.58 for each Satyam share.

The board will now have to inform the Company Law Board (CLB) of its selection. The CLB will will announce its approval, within a week. The new owner will take over the management only after CLB’s nod.

Engineering major Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and private-equity firm WL Ross were among the other major contenders for the Hyderabad-headquartered Satyam.

L&T already holds 12.04 percent stake in Satyam.

The six-member Satyam board is headed by Kiran Karnik, former president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) that represents the software industry.

Besides Karnik, the board comprises HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, former Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) member C. Achuthan and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) mentor Tarun Das. 

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Infosys fires 2,100 for poor performance

April 13, 2009 at 11:14 am (News)

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Bangalore: Due to the poor performance, Infosys Technologies has given pink slips to 2,100 of its employees across the country, after an annual performance appraisal exercise concluded mid-March, reported The Times of India.

“The tolerance for non-performance has come down to zero,” said TV Mohandas Pai, Head of the company’s HR. “The appraisal was conducted for 60,000 of our employees. At the bottom, some 3.5 percent of the people were either out-placed or left the company. It is an annual scenario after every performance assessment. In fact, normally the bottom size is 5 percent,” he added. Trainees were not part of this exercise. Outplacement means off-loading excess/unwanted staff to another employer.  

Infosys currently has an employee base of 1,05,000 which includes 45,000 trainees. During quarter ending December 31, the company had a total headcount of 1,03,078. Infosys had said a quarter ago that it would hire 26,000 people during fiscal 2008-09, more than what it had projected in the beginning of the year. During the third quarter, the company made a gross addition of 5,997 with the net intake being 2,772.

Infosys has made offers to around 20,000 engineering graduates for the current year. Infosys’ earnings for 2008-09 will be out on April 15. 

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Experts brace for possible computer worm attack

April 1, 2009 at 5:08 am (News)

San Francisco: Government and private security teams are in a rush to gear up for a possible attack by a computer worm that threatens to carry on disruptive activities April 1.

The Conficker worm, also known as Downadup or Kido, first appeared last November and is estimated to have infected millions of computers worldwide.

By exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Windows operating system, the worm can infect users’ computers and spread to other computers across a network automatically, without human interaction.

Computer security experts believed that a new variant of Conficker, which surfaced this year, could contact 500 of 50,000 randomly generated domain names April 1 to receive updated copies or other malicious commands.

A domain name is the address of a website that can help connect computers on the Internet. Previous Conficker variants were written to connect to 250 domain names.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Monday released a tool that can detect whether a computer is infected by the worm.

The tool can be used by federal government, commercial vendors, state and local governments, and critical infrastructure owners as well as operators to scan their networks for the Conficker worm, the DHS said in a statement.

A team of researchers from the Honeynet Project, an international non-profit Internet security research organisation, also announced Monday that they have discovered a flaw in Conficker which makes it much easier for users to detect infected computers.

After finding the flaw last Friday, the researchers quickly developed a new scanning tool for detecting Conficker over the weekend and is making it publicly available ahead of the worm’s scheduled activation date.

“What we’ve found is pretty cool: Conficker actually changes what Windows looks like on the network, and this change can be detected remotely, anonymously, and very, very quickly,” Dan Kaminsky, one of the researchers, wrote on his blog.

“You can literally ask a server if it’s infected with Conficker, and it will tell you,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a move to calm the computer users, security experts are playing down the havoc that Conficker may cause.

The worm is going to change its operation a bit, but it is unlikely to cause anything visible April 1, Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of computer security company F-Secure, said in a posting on the company’s blog.

“Although we don’t think anything will happen on this particular date, Conficker is nothing to laugh about. The gang behind this is serious and we should not underestimate them,” he noted.

“The general public should not be alarmed, but should, as always, exercise caution and implement security best practices into their daily computing routines,” Vincent Weafer, an expert of computer security company Symantec, said in a statement.

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Cash withdrawal from any ATM free from today

April 1, 2009 at 5:05 am (News)

New Delhi: Now you can use ATM of any banks to withdraw cash from the account belongs to any other bank. As per a new directive by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), banks are asked to remove any fee for cash withdrawals using ATM and debit cards issued by other banks. The new arrangement will come into effect from April 1st onwards.

Meanwhile, banks can still charge extra for services such as cash withdrawal with the use of credit cards and at ATMs located outside India. In this context, some banks are planning to expand their ATM network. Oriental Bank of Commerce looks to increase its ATM base and will open 60 new ATMs across the country to facilitate smooth cash withdrawal.

On March 10 last year, RBI had brought out guidelines to limit the fee charged by banks for using their ATMs by clients of other lenders to Rs 20. It had also allowed the use of ATM, for purposes like balance enquiry, free of any charge. According to the central bank, this was to ensure greater transparency and facilitating usage of any ATM installed within the country by customers without shelling out more.

At present, banks charge Rs 20 per transaction when a customer uses the cash machine of any bank other than the one in which he/she has an account with.

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New virus infects ATM , steals money from banks

April 1, 2009 at 5:04 am (News)

atmMoscow: Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) may not be a safe way of transaction anymore as a new software virus has been found out which infects ATMs to steal money from bank accounts of their users. Doctor Web and ‘Kaspersky Lab, two major anti-virus software producers have discovered such virus in the networks of several bank ATMs, which is able to collect information from bank cards.

This is a malicious program intended to infect and survive in ATMs. It is possible that new software will appear, aimed at illegitimately using banking information and removing funds,” an official of the Kaspersky Lab was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency.

According to the official, the virus is a Trojan which is able to infect the popular American Diebold brand of ATMs, used in Russia and Ukraine. Judging by the programming code used, there is a high probability that the programmer comes from one of the former Soviet republics.

The computer security experts say the number of infected ATMs is minimal but individual bank cardholders will not be able to detect whether an ATM is infected or not. However, banks can run security software to find out if their machines are at risk.

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