Thursday, September 22, 2005
IM continues steady climb in workplace despite risks
We are just wrapping up our twice-yearly tracking survey of instant messaging in the workplace. The results are not particularly stunning, but they reflect the maturation of the IM market and its continued growth.
Here are some of the results from the research:
- Twenty-six percent of e-mail users in the workplace use IM on a regular basis while at work, up slightly from 24% as we found in the March survey. This figure continues to creep up consistently as new users realize the benefits of using IM in the workplace.
- Fifty-two percent of organizations are using IM for real-world business applications, identical to what we found in our last survey. While this figure is impressive given that consumer IM clients dominate the use of IM in the workplace, we expect this figure to climb significantly as organizations roll out their own enterprise-grade IM systems and/or provide enterprise features to the current base of IM clients, instead of relying solely on the viral nature of IM to expand its use.
- Two-thirds of organizations are concerned or very concerned about the potential for viruses, worms and other threats to enter their networks through IM. This is the highest percentage of respondents that are this concerned since we added this question to the tracking survey last year. I suspect that this concern is due, in large part, to the well-publicized nature of the growing number of IM threats that have affected IM systems - the number of IM threats so far in 2005 is dramatically higher than for all of 2004.
- The three leading consumer IM clients - AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger - continue to be the three leading workplace IM clients. Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing (Sametime) continues as the leading enterprise IM system in use, although Microsoft Live Communication Server continues to increase its penetration. Surprisingly, Google Talk is already present in a significant percentage of the organizations we surveyed, despite the fact that it was introduced only recently.
Microsoft, the largest software maker in the world, said that it had realigned into three divisions and said that James Allchin, the Windows chief, planned to retire at the end of next year. Ray Ozzie, who joined the company this year as chief technical officer, will expand his role, Microsoft said in a statement. Microsoft will divide into a platform products and services unit including Windows for PCs, servers and tools and MSN, run by Kevin Johnson and Allchin. The business division, which will include Office products, will be headed by Jeff Raikes. Robbie Bach will become president of the entertainment & devices unit.
Google tests Wi-Fi
The Internet search leader Google is preparing to release its own wireless Internet service, Google WiFi, according to several pages found on the company's Web site on Tuesday. The Google site refers to a product called "Google Secure Access," which is designed to "establish a more secure connection while using Google WiFi," according to a page of frequently asked questions. Another page, offers a free download of Google Secure Access. Google declined to comment.
Baidu plans appeal
The Chinese search engine Baidu.com plans to appeal a court ruling that it violated copyrights held by a local affiliate of the music company EMI, Baidu's lawyer said. The Haidian District Court in Beijing found Baidu guilty on Monday, saying that it provided access to Web sites offering illegal MP3 files of music belonging to the recording company Shanghai Push, also known as Shanghai Busheng Music Culture Media. Baidu argued that it provided a search function, not downloading services, and therefore was not violating copyrights.
ITunes battles over prices
Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple Computer, vowed Tuesday to resist music companies' "greedy" demands for price increases on the iTunes music download site and warned that such a move would encourage piracy. The company also updated its online subscription service, quadrupling the storage space available over the Internet.
DJ ditty’ from Dell
Dell, the largest maker of personal computers, introduced a smaller version of its digital music player to help tap a market dominated by Apple Computer's iPod. The Dell DJ Ditty music player will sell for $99. Separately, Kevin Rollins, the chief executive of Dell, said greater sales to China would help the company meet its goal of making about $80 billion in annual sales within four years.
Mitsubishi Electric, the Japanese electronics conglomerate, raised its net profit estimate for the business year ending in March by 10.7 percent on strong sales of factory automation equipment and cost cuts.
Browser without Ads
The Norwegian group Opera Software said it would offer its Web browser Opera free and without advertising banners, in a bid to outdo a rival, Firefox, and become the world's second-most-used browser, after Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
Tèlècom France sells shares
France Télécom sold new shares Tuesday for €898 million, or $1.09 billion, to help finance the purchase of 80 percent of the Spanish mobile company Amena.
Cellphones on flights
Two European airlines - TAP Air Portugal and the British carrier BMI - will allow passengers late next year to use their own cellphones on flights within Western Europe, according to OnAir, a Swiss technology company.
Net Phone service
Qwest Communications International and Microsoft said they would offer Internet phone service to small and midsize businesses, starting in 2006.
Time Warner also said that its America Online unit would introduce a Web phone service called TotalTalk early in October.
Telefònica stake grows
Telefónica, the Spanish phone service, bought €917 million worth of shares in Cesky Telecom, raising its stake in the largest Czech phone company to 69 percent from 51 percent as part of an offer for all of Cesky.
Chirac questions H-P plans
President Jacques Chirac of France called on the European Commission to examine plans by Hewlett-Packard to cut 5,900 jobs in Europe. Chirac also asked ministers to ensure that Hewlett-Packard "fully respects" its obligations under French labor law. The French labor minister, Gérard Larcher, said he would meet with the head of Hewlett-Packard's European operations next week to discuss the computer company's plans to cut jobs in the country. Larcher, who met Wednesday with labor union representatives of Hewlett-Packard France, will meet Francesco Serafini on Monday, the Labor Ministry said in a statement. Hewlett-Packard, the largest maker of printers in the world, said on Sept. 12 that it planned to cut 1,240 jobs in France as part of a worldwide plan to shed 10 percent of its work force. Larcher wants a "clarification of its strategy and concrete assurances about the continuity of its operations and its development in France," the statement said.
AOL to Roll Out VoIP in the U.S. in October
AOL will launch TotalTalk, its VoIP service, in the U.S. on October 4. The service, which will not require an AOL subscription, will be offered in multiple calling plans including an unlimited national calling plan for $29.99 per month. AOL plans to have its phone service interoperate with email and its instant messaging client.
Ingenico costs rise
Ingenico, a leading maker of electronic payment systems, reported a first-half loss as costs rose and its chief executive of three months, Amedeo d'Angelo, took charges to reorganize the business. The company, based in a Paris suburb, posted a net loss of €24.6 million, or $30 million, compared with net income of €2.9 million a year earlier. Ingenico took a €24 million charge to cover inventory writedowns and the costs of fixing a faulty product. Operating profit sank 87 percent to €1.1 million. D'Angelo has replaced a third of the top executives and plans to reduce the range of products, cut costs and sell some businesses.
Esmertec posts loss
Esmertec, a Swiss maker of software for mobile phones, posted a loss for the first half on costs from two failed public offerings and a bad debt provision. The company posted a loss attributable to shareholders of $1.9 million, after a loss of $4.1 million a year earlier. It also said its chief financial officer, Arno Waschkau, would step down on Nov. 1 for personal reasons and would be replaced by Deborah Choate, former chief financial officer of Wavecom.
Nokia, the biggest cellphone maker in the world, delayed the introduction of its N91 music phone to the first quarter of next year to improve the phone's features. The company, which originally planned to start selling the phone in the fourth quarter, will add features to enable music downloading from services using Microsoft technology, a spokesman said. Nokia also said it was expanding its range with a new cellphone to sell cheaply in emerging markets. The folding 2652 model will have an estimated retail price of €100 and will be sold starting next month in China, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. The company reported selling its one-billionth cellphone and estimated that more than two billion people use mobile phones worldwide. The phone was sold in Nigeria this summer, a Nokia 1100 model that retails for less than €50.
Q-Cells, a German maker of solar cells, and its owners plan to raise as much as €280.3 million in a share sale, one of four planned initial public offerings of solar-power companies in Germany this year. Q-Cells plans to sell as many as 6.66 million shares for €29 to €34 each.
Shares in commerce
Rue de Commerce, the largest French Internet retailer of electronics, plans to raise as much as €69 million in an initial share sale to increase its after-sales services and expand in Italy and Spain. The company, based near Paris, started selling 3.85 million shares on Wednesday at €13.42 to €15.60 each, it said.
Seiko Epson cut its operating profit forecast by 46 percent for this business year, underscoring a slide in prices and sales of display panels and inkjet printers. Seiko Epson, the second-largest maker of inkjet printers after Hewlett-Packard, forecast a group operating profit for the year ending next March of ¥44 billion, down from the ¥82 billion it estimated in late July.
IBM in Poland
International Business Machines will open a software center in Poland to benefit from Polish government aid for new employers. IBM plans to hire 200 people in the next two years for a new center in Krakow. The government will support it with 800,000 zloty, or $250,000, from a fund for raising employment among people with university degrees.
Anti-pornography in Italy
Police officers conducted raids in Italy, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain, detaining up to 30 people and placing 80 under investigation, to crack a child pornography ring that shared abusive images over the Internet, officials said. The Carabinieri paramilitary police of Rome, who led the operation, said in a statement that the suspects had created a secure network that let them use the Internet to anonymously share pornographic images of children 11 and younger.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
A German court ruled that Deutsche Telekom should pay Telegate, a telephone-directory service provider, €65.2 million for overcharging for data since the directory market was opened to competition in 1996.
The regional court in Cologne ordered Deutsche Telekom to repay the equivalent of $80.4 million to Telegate for "excessive data costs" and interest since Telegate filed a complaint last December. Deutsche Telekom said it would appeal.
The decision in Cologne comes after a ruling last November by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg that KPN, the largest Dutch phone company, may charge alternative directory service providers for the transfer of data only and not for the cost of collecting it.
Logica profits: LogicaCMG, a British computer-services provider, said first-half profit rose 62 percent to £24.1 million, or $43.5 million, as British sales rose and the company's German unit reported a smaller loss. Sales rose 11 percent to £891.7 million.
The company's units in Britain and the Netherlands are compensating for Germany and France, where the company is heading for a third unprofitable year. LogicaCMG won contracts this year from clients including the British Ministry of Defense and the London Metropolitan Police.
Photo fears: South Korea plans to raise its concerns with the U.S. government about a service offered by Google that displays satellite photos of sites around the world, the president's office said. Recent South Korean newspaper reports have pointed out that Google Earth provides images of the presidential Blue House in Seoul and military bases around the country, which remains technically at war with North Korea.
North Korean sites like the nuclear research facility at Yongbyon are also displayed on the service, which was introduced in June.
Digital Disney: Kudelski, a Swiss provider of security for digital pay television, has set up a joint venture with Walt Disney to develop and market a video-on-demand system for digital television operators worldwide.
Kudelski and Walt Disney Television International said their set-top box system would offer a selection of movies and other television content delivered to its hard drive, as well as the capacity for subscribers to record personal content from existing channels. The system is designed to run on satellite, cable, terrestrial and IP digital video recorder hardware platforms, the companies said.
Italian net loss: FastWeb, the only Italian provider of Internet-based TV and video on demand, said its second-quarter loss widened to €79.6 million from a loss of €45.5 million a year earlier as higher operating expenses and commissions outweighed rises in sales and customers. FastWeb added more than 56,000 clients in the quarter, bringing the total to 598,000 at the end of June. Sales rose 27 percent to €227 million.
Paypal pricing: EBay's PayPal online payment service introduced special pricing for payments of digital goods, like music downloads. The new fees will enable merchants to process payments under $2 at a rate of 5 percent plus 5 cents per transaction, PayPal said.
Traffic alert: Traffic.com, a Pennsylvania-based provider of real-time traffic information, plans to offer shares in an initial public offering and said it hoped to bring in as much as $86.3 million. The shares will be listed on the Nasdaq if the offering is approved by regulators.
Flat-panel loss: Quanta Computer, the largest maker of notebook computers in the world, said first-half profit fell 30 percent from a year earlier to 4.15 billion Taiwan dollars, or $126.7 million, because of a loss related to its investment in flat-panel displays.
Mobile India: Bharti Tele-Ventures, Reliance Infocomm and other Indian mobile phone companies are set to increase their subscribers by five times to more than 300 million by the end of 2009, the research firm Gartner estimated. Gartner predicted that revenue from mobile phone services in India would reach $24 billion in 2009.
Fixed-line fall: China Telecom, the largest Chinese fixed-line operator, said its first-half net profit slipped to 14.70 billion yuan, or $1.81 billion, from 14.71 billion yuan a year earlier as costs rose. Revenue rose to 84.02 billion yuan from 80.22 billion yuan.
Last week, the industry was abuzz about Google introducing its Google Talk application, an instant-messaging system designed to interoperate with Jabber and Trillian right away and possibly with other IM networks down the road.
Google's offering will be similar to several other consumer-oriented IM networks in that it will provide conventional IM capabilities in addition to PC-to-PC telephone capabilities. While several IM systems are today interoperable via federated networks, the primary difference with Google Talk is that it will be an open system that is more natively interoperable than many other IM systems.
Early reviews of Google Talk indicate that its interface and capabilities do not really represent a stellar jump forward in terms of usability, features or functions - there is no video chat in the current iteration of Google Talk, for example.
However, I believe that Google Talk has the potential for making a major impact in the IM world. Google has been very aggressive and successful in the markets it has entered. For example, Google is the dominant search engine in use, accounting for 46.2% of online searches conducted in July, according to Nielsen NetRatings; Google Maps, launched in spring 2005, already has 7.2 million users; Gmail is gaining market share among Webmail systems.
I expect Google Talk will also gain market share fairly rapidly because of its ability to interoperate right away with the millions of Jabber and Trillian users and because of the potential for expanding this interoperability to other platforms - not to mention the fact that Google Talk will likely integrate with Google's other Web, e-mail and desktop-based properties.
The success of an IM system is due largely to its "gravity," since the greater the number of users an IM system has, the more likely it is to attract new users. However, our research has shown that, at least in the workplace, the number of IM clients per organization continues to grow. That means that even if someone is already using AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger or MSN Messenger, there is a strong possibility they will adopt a new IM client, particularly if it's free and offers capabilities that they find desirable. I expect Google Talk to be such a product.
Write: by LuisB 09.2005
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Google owns 2.6 percent of Baidu, but Baidu owns Google in terms of share of the burgeoning Chinese search market. An AP report notes Beijing's China Internet Network Information Center has Baidu's share at 52 percent of the Beijing market.
Mountain View-based Google held steady at 33 percent market share in Beijing; the study breaks down share by cities. Companies like Google, Baidu, and other search engines have begun to battle over a growing Chinese market of some 103 million Internet users.
The study by the CNNIC agency covers other cities in China, like Shanghai and Guangzhou. Baidu led Google in both of those markets. In contrast, Yahoo's market share was noted as being in single digits, alongside some local search engine companies.
Google has aspirations to increasing its share of the Chinese market. The company has established an office in Shanghai and added a top-level domain for its Chinese language site (google.com.cn).
The most public demonstration of Google's commitment to China has been playing out in courtrooms in California and Washington state. A Microsoft executive, Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, left Redmond to join Google, apparently against the terms of a non-compete clause in his employment contract.
Google wants Dr. Lee to head up its China operations for two years. Microsoft wants him idled for a year before taking up the position with Google as they allege his work for Google in China would directly compete with Microsoft.
For more information’s concerning the Chinese Internet market read “ The 16th Survey Report “
Monday, August 29, 2005
Apple's iTunes defined the legal music download market. At 99 cents per song, Apple CEO Steve Jobs put a system in place that boosted Apple to record profitability while reviving interest in a gasping music market.
Now a New York Times article suggests music publishers like Sony BMG and Warner Music, which will not license their music to iTunes Japan under the current pricing structure, could try that in the US market. This happened despite Apple using different pricing levels in the Japanese market, considered the second largest in the world.
Looks like the uptick in music interest since iTunes arrived in 2002, the proverbial rising tide lifting all boats, has awakened a bit of greed in music publishing circles. With the industry's legal arm, the RIAA, having had some success in conducting litigation against illegal file swapping, perhaps the publishers feel they have cooled interest enough in illicit downloads to demand greater profits on the backs of those switching to legal services.
Sony BMG, which recently had to settle with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office for its illegal payola practices, and the other three big music publishers may be ready to start dictating terms to Mr. Jobs. That would definitely see price increases imposed on new music; the Times cites the possibility that iTunes would be allowed to offer lower prices on older music. Call it the modern equivalent of the remainder bin.
Apple reportedly pays as much as 70 cents per single to publishers now; that could be higher in the case of the major publishing houses. With Apple having now sold well over 500 million songs on iTunes, the publishers have made hundreds of millions of dollars in a short span of time.
Apple's iPod media player drives the company's profitability and iTunes figures in that strategy. Mr. Jobs can't afford to have users defect to other services or go back to the brisk file-swapping trade. He'll have to convince the publishers that they can't afford that, either.
Write: by LuisB
Friday, July 22, 2005
Currency revaluation should not impact end-user prices for IT goods. China's currency revaluation raised the cost of paying worker salaries at the thousands of electronics factories across the nation, but that won't impact end-user prices for IT goods like PCs and servers, analysts say.
On last Thursday (07.22.05), China dropped a decade-old peg to the U.S. dollar and said it will allow its renminbi currency to fluctuate more freely against a group of currencies. Initially, the change amounts to a 2 percent rise to 8.11 renminbi per dollar. Before the revaluation, a dollar bought 8.28 renminbi.
It may seem like a small change, but currency fluctuations can have a huge impact on product prices -- and China makes more notebook computers, PCs and other finished electronics goods than anywhere else.
Even though the majority of this equipment is built in China, (the revaluation) will have a fairly small impact on the cost of making these products.
The majority of PC and laptop parts -- and the most expensive, like central processors and flat screens -- won't be affected by the currency change anyway because they're not made in China. Labor is the main value added at Chinese electronics manufacturing plants, and that's a fairly small part of overall cost.
The stronger renminbi also offers some benefits to companies operating in China that should help offset higher labor costs. Since most global commodities and even computer parts prices like DRAM (dynamic RAM) are quoted in U.S. dollars, Chinese factory owners should be able to get more for their money thanks to the currency change.
For example, Merrill Lynch estimates that Canon will have to pay an additional ¥9 billion ($82 million) for production at its digital camera and other imaging plants in China due to the currency revaluation. But the Japanese company will save money on parts, offsetting about half of the higher production bill.
Over the long term, China's currency will likely rise slowly -- no more than a few percentage points per year over the next several years, said Duncan Wooldridge, an economist at investment banking firm UBS in Hong Kong.
A few points a year could add up over time and start a trickle of offshoring from China to less-expensive developing nations like Vietnam to keep costs down. But in the next few yeas, the electronics industry won't see much impact from China's currency revaluation.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
"Casualties reported as explosions hit the London Underground subway system and at least one bus. Causes of the blasts are not clear."
Police say there are at least two fatalities... Radio stations in London say as many as 37 dead and 700 blessed (two are italian citizens)... Some suggest it may have been an electrical system failure or a power surge; others suspect terrorism because evidence of explosives was found... The Tube is closed... Story is developing minute by minute…
... Tony Blair on TV... says he thinks it was a terrorist attack. He seems shaken... says he is going to London to find out more details..."I'ts particularly barbaric that this has happened on the day that people are meeting to discuss helping Africa... Our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to impose extremism on the world..." He views it as an attack on "civilized" people...
Blair is speaking again... has regained composure...says again terrorists will not succeed, will not weaken our resolve... to combat those who would "impose" their extremism.. he is speaking while flanked by all the leaders of the G8, including Bush and Chirac; the other leaders stand silently, stiffly behind him...
Some british friends living in London city contacted by phone reports convoys of buses taking people to hospital... many still trapped underground... situation is confusing... security stepped up... report 90 casualties in one Tube station... On a personal note, having just been in the Tube in London earlier this week, I know how terrifying this must have been... There are reports that there were warnings....
U.S. terror alert has not been raised... Stay tuned for more all around the world but for the moment the people live in countries like Italy and Denmark starting loosing is peace of mind...
Writte; by LuisB
Website Carries Statement Claiming Credit
"The BBC has located an Islamist website that has published a 200-word statement issued by an organisation saying it carried out the London bombings. The organisation calls itself the Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda [literally the base] of Jihad Organisation in Europe. The group not previously been heard of. The website has previously carried statements purporting to be from al-Qaeda. It is not possible to verify such claims published on the web. This is the full text of the statement."
"'In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, may peace be upon the cheerful one and undaunted fighter, Prophet Muhammad, God's peace be upon him.
"'Nation of Islam and Arab nation: Rejoice for it is time to take revenge against the British Zionist Crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The heroic mujahideen have carried out a blessed raid in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters.
"'We have repeatedly warned the British Government and people. We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid in Britain after our mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.
"'We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all the Crusader governments that they will be punished in the same way if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. He who warns is excused.
"'God says: "You who believe: If ye will aid (the cause of) Allah, He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly."
Friday, July 01, 2005
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