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Multinationals grab most Australian gov't contracts

Research released today shows 20 ICT suppliers to the Australian federal government have signed contracts totalling A$655.5 million (US$495.7 million) during the first four months of 2005.
But three multinational vendors -- Accenture Ltd., Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Computer Sciences Corp. -- accounted for more than 80 percent of all contracts signed with federal government departments and agencies from January to April, according to research firm interData.

Written by Sandra Rossi06 June 05 22:00

Analysis: Intentia buy raises Lawson profile in midmarket

Lawson Software Inc.'s deal to acquire Swedish software developer Intentia International AB may give Lawson the bulk it needs to credibly compete in the midmarket ERP (enterprise resource planning) software space -- but successfully turning two struggling companies into one healthier company will be a tricky task, analysts warned.
Lawson's all-stock deal, valued at US$480 million, did not come as a surprise, given the enterprise software market's consolidation trend. As sales cycles grow longer and growth slows, many among the industry's profusion of applications vendors are looking to buy or be bought. St. Paul, Minnesota-based Lawson has reported losses in two of its last five years; Intentia posted losses in all five. Meanwhile, Lawson's revenue plunged from $152 million in 2001 to barely more than half that in 2003.

Written by Stacy Cowley06 June 05 22:00

Skype, VOIP handsets on show at Computex

East Asian hardware makers seeking to turn the popularity of Internet telephony services and Skype Technologies SA's Skype VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) application into sales were plentiful at Computex, which took place last week in Taipei.

Written by Martyn Williams06 June 05 13:55

Microsoft set to ship real-time collaboration client

Microsoft on Wednesday said it has completed development of its next generation instant messaging and real-time collaboration client, Office Communicator 2005, and plans to ship the software before the end of June.

Written by John Fontana02 June 05 08:02

SAPPHIRE US - Case Study: SAP arrives at Home Depot

Bob DeRodes, executive vice president and chief information officer (CIO) of The Home Depot Inc., admits that the home improvement company, North America's second largest retailer and a Fortune 13 company, hasn't been on the cutting edge of information technology.
"Four years ago when I joined this company and walked the sales floors, I found one networked PC in the stores," DeRodes said in round-table panel at SAP AG's recent Sapphire user event in Boston. "And when our chairman asked if he could send e-mail to our associates and was told no, he asked why not and was told the necessary infrastructure didn't exist."

Written by John Blau01 June 05 22:00

Telcos should be wary of Microsoft's moves

Microsoft's relentless march into the communication technology arena could spell changes for telcos and businesses seeking connective services, according to one IT industry analyst.

Written by Stefan Dubowski01 June 05 08:00

Toshiba, Canon to invest $1.7 billion in SED TV plant

Toshiba Corp. and Canon Inc. are investing ¥180 billion (US$1.7 billion) to build a factory that will make panels for a new type of flat-panel TV based on SED (surface-conduction electron-emitter display) technology.
The investment is being split evenly between the companies for the factory at an existing Toshiba site in western Japan, in Himeji. Construction will begin later this year and the factory will start producing 15,000 50-inch panels per month in January 2007, according to Hiroko Mochida, a spokeswoman for Toshiba.

Written by Paul Kallender31 May 05 22:00

New ITU standard boosts speed of DSL

Faster broadband is closer to reality with completion of the latest International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard for DSL (digital subscriber line), which is already in the playbooks of two major U.S. carriers.
The specification, called VDSL2 (Very High Bit Rate DSL 2), can deliver as much as 100Mbps (bits per second) both upstream and downstream, according to an ITU statement. That bandwidth, many times current DSL speeds of just a few megabits per second or less, could handily deliver voice calls, videoconferencing, high-definition TV and video on demand over existing copper phone lines, according to the standards body, an agency of the United Nations.

Written by Stephen Lawson30 May 05 22:00

Microsoft, HP partner on national ID systems

Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Microsoft are working together to offer governments national identity systems built on the .Net platform.

Written by Scarlet Pruitt30 May 05 09:00

Governments plan data grid projects

Some governments and not-for-profit organizations such as hospitals are beginning to look at data grid technology as a means to improve services, lower operating costs and spur economic development.
Separate data grid plans involving hospitals, schools and municipal agencies in Cleveland and within Singapore's government were announced this month. Such efforts will likely take years to reach fruition. But that doesn't stop people like Vincent Miller, CIO at Cleveland-based MetroHealth System, from seeing their potential.

Written by Patrick Thibodeau29 May 05 22:00

NHK, Sony developing slim, high-capacity 1' drive

Japanese public broadcaster Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), working with Sony Corp., has developed a prototype 1-inch disk drive that is thinner and has more storage capacity than similar drives on the market today.
NHK, Sony and the University of Tokyo are developing the slim, high-capacity drives for use in portable devices such as mobile phones, according to Eiichi Miyashita, a senior research engineer at NHK's Science and Technical Research Laboratories (STRL). Mini hard drives are often used in portable music players as well, such as Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod.

Written by Paul Kallender29 May 05 22:00

Microsoft courts mainframe shops, pushes Windows use

Swapping out big-iron boxes in favor of Windows servers may not be the hottest of IT trends. But at its first Mainframe Migration Conference, Microsoft Corp. said it's making steady progress with its efforts to court mainframe users.
Three mainframe-to-Windows converts at the Chicago event pointed to expected cost reductions, one of the main benefits that Microsoft has been touting since it forged the Mainframe Migration Alliance with Micro Focus International Ltd. in April 2004.

Written by Carol Sliwa29 May 05 22:00

'Take it all' outsourcing on the wane

The messy breakup between Sears, Roebuck and Co. and its service partner Computer Sciences Corp. this month symbolizes a new outsourcing maxim: Bigger isn't better.
While the US$33 billion U.S. outsourcing market is expected to grow at about a 4 percent clip through 2009, the size of outsourcing deals is shrinking, according to IDC and others. Instead of entering into huge, throw-everything-over-the-wall outsourcing contracts, such as the one Sears inked with CSC, corporations are signing on for smaller, more business-specific arrangements.

Written by Jennifer Mears and Ann Bednarz29 May 05 22:00

Australian ICT board cold shoulders overseas vendors

Overseas vendors seeking to influence Australian government IT and communications policy have been publicly frozen out of the policy-making loop, with IT and Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan opting for a blend of research and business brains in the selection of her ICT Advisory Board.
The ICT Advisory Board is the first major policy plank in the government's efforts to resuscitate the IT part of Coonan's portfolio in the wake of her predecessors and has been given the laudable task of providing "strategic advice on key issues affecting the development of ICT sector in Australia".

Written by Julian Bajkowski26 May 05 22:00

Analysis: As Salesforce.com grows, analysts probe ROI

Salesforce.com Inc. recently reported first-quarter results showing growth of more than 80 percent in its paid-subscribers count and revenue from the year-ago period, then followed that news by announcing two high-profile endorsements: a partnership with Accenture Ltd. and a 5,000-seat licensing deal at Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. But as Salesforce.com's star continues to rise, analysts are stepping up their warnings to customers that hosted applications can carry steep costs over the long run, especially for larger organizations.
Research firm Gartner Inc. estimates that after three years, the cost for complex organizations of running Salesforce.com will surpass that of traditional, packaged CRM (customer relationship management) software. Salesforce.com's strength is SFA (salesforce automation) functionality; while it offers tools for customization and adding additional applications to its platform, building out those features requires a customer to invest the resources themselves or work with a third-party ISV (independent software vendor).

Written by Stacy Cowley26 May 05 22:00

HP readies final update to PA-RISC line

Hewlett-Packard is set to begin shipping the final processor upgrade to its HP 9000 line of Unix servers. The new chip, called the PA-8900, is expected to be introduced at a press event held at the ENSA@WORK - HP Enterprise Forum in Copenhagen on May 31, where HP also will announce enhancements to its NonStop fault-tolerant servers, according to people familiar with the announcement.

Written by Robert McMillan25 May 05 13:14

Wireless USB group finishes 1.0 specification

A cable-free version of USB (Universal Serial Bus) took a big step forward on Tuesday with the completion of the Wireless USB 1.0 specification, but there is still some work to be done and questions remain about its prospects for widespread adoption.

Written by Stephen Lawson25 May 05 09:42

IBM unveils privacy software

Claiming a technology breakthrough in privacy and security, IBM on Tuesday introduced software that allows corporate users to share information with each other and government agencies without having to reveal private personal details.

Written by Ed Scannell25 May 05 08:20

Apples bowl over university's Linux desktops

Hope of Linux tackling the desktop market has suffered a reality check with the University of Melbourne's Trinity College dumping the penguin in favor of Unix cousin Mac OS X, not x86-based rival, Windows.
A lab of 20 PCs running Debian GNU/Linux will be replaced by G5 iMacs with the compelling reasons for the migration being a "slick user interface" and ease of use, according to Trinity College systems administrator Tim Bell.

Written by Rodney Gedda24 May 05 22:00

Australian digital TV bandwidth strained to capacity

Unstable data compression compounded by a lack of high-definition television (HDTV) digital broadcast spectrum has forced Australia's national broadcaster to choke the quality of its digital signal to free-to-air digital television viewers.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) managing director Russell Balding told a Senate Estimates committee hearing that the ABC's decision to broaden the amount of digital content over the bandwidth of the HDTV signal had resulted in a sacrifice of digital reception quality.

Written by Julian Bajkowski24 May 05 22:00