$99 iPhone Arrives, But Not at Walmart

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

There was a News some days back saying the Iphone will be sold at Wallmart which was said by an Wallmart employee. Everyone were very eager to buy iphone at wallmart listening to that News. But Now check this out, how abt an iphone costing around 99$.

Now AT&T is knocking out refurbished 8GB iPhones at $99 apiece, and 16GB models for $199.

That AT&T is selling refurbs is nothing special -- both AT&T and Apple are veterans of the refurb game and some great bargains can be had. That Walmart's iPhone price is not $99, as some gullible people believed, is equally non-shocking.

But the fact that Walmart, a company known for squeezing every penny out of its suppliers, managed to knock Apple down just $2 is astonishing. We wouldn't be surprised if this discount is actually coming out of Walmart's pocket.

And even apple is very good at negotiation. Lets look forward and stay tuned.


The 9 hottest skills for '09

Monday, December 29, 2008

This is the survey of ComputerWorld.com.
Almost US Economy is in its worst and millions of Americans are Job less. But still some technologies have a strong demand the market of IT.Technologies like SAP,.NET and Helpdesk/Support remain strong.And while some employers will continue to look outside their companies to find workers with expertise in these and other disciplines, some CIOs are building some of this know-how internally as hiring freezes become more common.

Have a look at the survey done by Computerworld.com

1. Programming/application development

Ask any recruiter what the single most sought-after IT skill is at the moment, and the universal response is a three-letter word: SAP.

"The little joke in our industry right now is that if you have 'SAP' on your résumé right now, you have zero unemployment," says Bruce Culbert, CEO of iSymmetry Inc., an IT consulting and recruitment firm with offices in Washington and Alpharetta, Ga.

SAP experts, particularly those who are experienced with a specific module in a certain industry, are commanding $35 to $40 per hour more on average than other types of senior technicians, says Culbert. Demand for SAP skills has remained red hot because a growing number of companies are working toward establishing global instances of the ERP system, says Jill Herrin, president of IT recruiter JDResources Inc.

But not far behind is demand for IT professionals with .Net experience, say Herrin and other observers. Some companies that relied on offshore labor to deliver .Net and C# capabilities just a few years ago found that route to be "nonproductive," says Herrin. Now they're looking to fill those jobs in-house, she says.

Rich Schappert, senior director of IT at Casey's General Stores Inc. in Ankeny, Iowa, says he has been filling the retailer's demand for .Net and SQL Server programmers for the past five years by recruiting and training local college students. The company, which operates 1,500-plus stores across the Midwest, has been moving its Cobol-based financial applications into the .Net environment to reduce its mainframe costs. "[It's also] getting tougher to find people who know Cobol," notes Schappert.

2. Help desk/technical support

Help desk and technical support skills remain in strong demand, particularly for people who offer a blend of deep technical expertise and solid customer-service abilities, says Herrin. "I have lots of customers who tell me their customer service function is broken and they need people with better communication skills," she says.

"One of the things we're seeing a demand for in this space is what we call a JOAT -- a jack-of-all-trades -- somebody who can do break/fix work and a bit of desktop support," says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director at IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology. Demand for well-rounded technicians tends to become more acute when companies are looking to get more work done with fewer people, she says.

3. Project management

Even though many companies are cutting back on IT projects, there's still robust demand for project managers with solid track records, says Spencer Lee. "A differentiator is whether the person can articulate that they've brought a project in on time -- or, better yet, under budget -- and how they did that," she says.

Project management is one of the areas "that endure all economies and climates, where companies are constantly looking for people who understand the project and the systems development life cycles and make sure the project goals are closely aligned with the business objectives," says Harvey Koeppel, executive director of the Center for CIO Leadership in New York.

Employers also need people with project management certificates, even at the vice president level, according to some headhunters. As of late July, The Computing Technology Industry Association had awarded 20% more Project+ certifications than in the previous year, says Gretchen Koch, director of skills development programs at CompTIA.
4. Networking

The ongoing convergence of voice, e-mail, video, instant messaging and other communications systems will continue to create demand for networking specialists with implementation experience. For example, Scholastic Inc. in New York posted a job opening in November for a network convergence manager to help it create a virtual call center using voice over IP, says Saad Ayub, senior vice president and CIO at the children's education company.

Those types of projects often require new skills as well. In 2008, for example, CRST International Inc. moved from a frame-relay network to AT&T's Multiprotocol Label Switching network and installed Cisco's VoIP system. As part of that project, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based transportation company trained some of its IT staffers to become Cisco Certified Voice Professionals, says Steve Hannah, vice president of IT.

Network convergence projects will also heighten demand for workers with network security and data privacy acumen, Koeppel says, adding that "it's not just pure [network] backbone and infrastructure skills" that are being sought by employers.
5. Business intelligence

Now more than ever, corporate executives want to be able to analyze customer and sales data in order to make informed decisions about business strategies. That's driving demand for business intelligence specialists across the board, including people with data mining, data warehousing and data management skills.

At Aspen Skiing Co., which operates four ski resorts in western Colorado, company officials will be making year-over-year comparisons on customer spending, including analyses of spending habits during the previous recession, says CIO Paul Major. "We're going to have to get very granular with our analytics," he says.

Meanwhile, there's steady demand for IT professionals with experience using vendor-specific BI tools from companies such as Business Objects and Cognos, says Spencer Lee. But the toughest people to find in this area are those who can help business managers understand the type of data they're trying to analyze and how to interpret the results, she says. "What's difficult," she adds, "is to find someone who's the full-meal deal."

6. Security

When it comes to demand for certain types of security professionals, those with SAP security experience "are probably the hottest of the hot right now," says Herrin.

But interest in security professionals remains strong across the board. "Companies can't ignore security requirements, even in tough economic times," says Stephen Pickett, CIO at Penske Corp. and past president of the Society for Information Management.

There's also strong interest in people with network and wireless security skills, as well as those with Certified Information Systems Security Professional accreditation.

7. Web 2.0

While many companies are just starting to noodle with corporate implementations of social networking applications such as MySpace and Facebook, "more and more companies are trying to reach their customers via the Web," says Pickett.

Demand for Web 2.0 skills is also driven by the continuing expansion of business-to-business connections. For instance, Children's Hospital and Health System in Milwaukee recently created a portal for roughly half of its physicians who work remotely. The system provides them with access to summary medical data on patients, says Mike Jones, vice president and CIO.

8. Data center

Most of the glass-house buzz is about server and storage virtualization projects that help organizations lower their energy costs and shrink their data center footprints.

But few companies are recruiting specifically for data center skills. Instead, they're retraining existing staff in VMware and other virtualization technologies. For instance, Aspen Skiing is considering virtualizing up to 40% of its servers in 2009, says Major. To achieve that, Aspen Skiing plans to rely on VMware and EMC to provide staff with the necessary training.

9. Telecommunications

VoIP and projects involving unified communications continue to drive demand for blended telecommunications and networking skills, particularly among small to midsize businesses that are just beginning to deploy these systems, says Spencer Lee. Interest in Wi-Fi, WiMax, Bluetooth and related skills is also growing, says Koeppel, "particularly as cities look to WiMax as a feature to attract businesses."


IT Amendment Bill by Lok Sabha

Monday, December 22, 2008

In December 2006,the IT Act Amendment Bill was suggested by The IT ministry/Department of Information Technology (DIT) . However, it was found inadequate and deficient by the Parliamentary Standing Committee that submitted its recommendations in September 2007.

Guys look at this, The Lok Sabha has passed the IT Amendment Bill 2006, which adds provisions to the existing Information Technology Act, 2000. The IT Act was enacted in the year 2000. It contains provisions regarding e-commerce, e-governance, cyber crimes, etc. Publishing and transmitting obscene materials in electronic forms, will now be punishable under the amended IT Bill.

Actually IT Law is a set of legal enactments which is used to process and opening to widespread of information digitally.These legal enactments cover gambit of different aspects relating to computer software, protection of computer software, access and control of digital information, privacy, security, internet access and usage, and electronic commerce.


Underwater robot working on severed internet cables

Well there was the news that cables were cut in the mediteranian sea. And you know what, this is the second time in this year.The earlier cut, in late January, was apparently caused by a ship's anchor. Actually these cables carry above 75 % of all Communication traffic between
Europe and the Middle ease.
As per their thoughts an earthquake or trawler net may be the reason behind this damage.Because of which more than 12 countries has got very slow internet access.
A team of specialist engineers, aided by an underwater robot nicknamed Hector, are working on the problem, which they hope will be fixed by Thursday.


More than 55% of online customers go through a website before they buy a product from the store.

Friday, December 19, 2008

These days Online customers are very keen before they go for their product.What ever online product it may be but they look for reviews from the other customers.
According to research, 81% of online customers go for a review before they buy the product.
Asked what factors they consider when evaluating customer reviews, 63% said that the product has multiple ratings or reviews, 14% that the reviews come from an established source and 3% that it comes from someone the consumer knows.
Most people are reviewing the web of local retail stores before they go physically to the stores.This shows how important it is for the owners of the stores or products, to give sufficient information about thier product on the internet. Guys this could be the mantra for your earnings on online portals.Get the reviews as many as possible for your goods by perfect marketting on internet.


Macworld Expo Ditched by Apple

Guys here its the big news again, Apple Declared the upcoming event of its will be the last time that it gonna exhibit macworld. So i guess this is a very big threat to the mac-world.And also steve jobs will not be addressing the Keynotes which they used to do for the past 10 years.Apple has taken this decision as their customer expectations are increasing day by day and they want to come up with innovative new ways to reach their millions of customers.
According to Rob griffins Macworld.com writes on a website saying that "Unfortunately, it seems to me that Macworld Expo is now like a mall that’s lost its large anchor tenant. While the mall may continue to operate for some period of time, the number of shoppers will decline, smaller retailers will fold up shop, and—eventually—the mall will close with a whimper, leaving people only with memories of what used to be. I hope that’s not the future for Macworld Expo, but I fear that it is."


Wow , Hp with GNU/Linux

Friday, December 12, 2008

Now days of WOW for microsoft doesn't look great. Competetors are giving a tough fight with the updated versions of their softwares. Now its turn of HP to turn down Windows operating systems.
HP is introducing GNU/Linux as an operating system choice for business desktop customers. The offerings are designed to help small businesses enhance their productivity and ease their management of technology.
Hp has come up with Operating system as SUSE Linux with their desktops offering secured and cost-effective options for thier customers.They have included some applications like openoffice.org,Web Browser, Multimedia tools and e-mail , Instant messagin software.
Hp also said that it concentrating on Virtualised browsing solution accross selected business Desktop products.
The thing is if you made any changes to the PC they dont alter the browser settings using a virtual layer. Now a days Internet is the primary tool for the business for many companies, Hp has come up with Virtualised Browsing.


Vista vs Fedora 10

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This is everlasting conversation according to me bcz this is the debate which was goin accross linux and windows. But one thing i can say is that linux was trying accross to make user feel comfortable working on their environment when compared to windows. when comparing vista and fedora , Vista has an advantage: it comes already installed on most systems. By contrast, pre-installations of GNU/Linux, such as Dell's Ubuntu systems, are still rare.
Both Windows and GNU/Linux distributions now feature graphical install programs and first-time boot wizards with detailed instructions that any intermediate user can understand.
But still i feel like user is comfartable installing windows from scratch rather than linux.
Here are the few points which i can compare are
Look and Feel
Now Fedora and Vista look similar. But Now Fedora has many things that can really overtake windows.There are differences in menus and Listing out of currently running programs.
I am listing out the features of vista and fedora so that you can have a clear view whats new in these before you start comparing the both.
here are Features of Vista listed out below

Bring Vista's Best New and Improved Apps to XP

A Better Explorer: Windows Explorer is one of the most improved applications in Vista, thanks to added features like breadcrumb navigation, better file previews, and more.
Encrypt Your Hard Drive: Some versions of Vista—toward the Ultimate end of the scale—come with a new drive encryption software called BitLocker built in.

Take Quick and Easy Screenshots: PrtScrn has been around forever, but it's never been the most user-friendly way to get a screenshot.

Bring Vista's Best Functional Features to XP
ask-Switching à la Flip 3D: Vista's Flip 3D is like Alt-Tab on steroids, displaying full previews of each window as you move through it.
Integrated Start Menu Search and Launch: Dubbed Instant Search by Microsoft, this new feature adds a search box to the Windows Start menu for quick searching and launching of documents and applications.
Replace the Windows Sidebar
Live Thumbnail Previews of Files
Speed Up Your System with a Thumb Drive
Streamline Your File Renaming:
Taskbar Window Previews
Self-tuning and diagnostics
Startup, sleep, and shutdown performance
More responsive
Windows SuperFetch
Low-priority I/O
Disk defragmentation on a schedule
Faster access to DVDs and music
Diagnosing performance issues
Performance gains from Windows Vista and new hardware
Windows ReadyBoost
Windows ReadyDrive

Fedora 10

AMQP Infrastructure A technology that makes it easy to build scalable, interoperable, high-performance enterprise applications Appliance Tools Tools and meta-data that make it easier for anyone (ISVs, developers, OEMS, etc) to create and deploy virtual appliances
Artistic 1.0 License Removal Remove all packages licensed under only the Artistic 1.0 license before Fedora 10
Better Printing Improve management and handling of printers
Better Remote Support Make it easier to connect to remote controls and have them just work with many applications.
Better Start-up Stream line graphical start up
Better Webcam Support Improved webcam support
Connection Sharing Enable adhoc network sharing
Eclipse 3.4 Rebase Eclipse to version 3.4
Evdev Input Driver Evdev is being used as the default input driver for X.Org.
Faster Startup Decrease the amount of time it takes to start and stop fedora
First Aid Kit First Aid Kit is an automated recovery tool that brings together common recovery processes and applies them to a system
Glitch Free Audio Rewrite the PulseAudio sound server to use timer-based audio scheduling
Gnome 2.24 Re-base Fedora to Gnome 2.24
GStreamer RPM dependencies Assist automated installation of GStreamer codecs provided by third-party repositories
Kernel Modes Setting for Graphics Move graphic mode initialization from the X server's DDX drivers to the kernel
LiveConnect Allows JavaScript from web browsers to connect to a Java(TM) Virtual Machine and vice-versa.
LXDE Desktop Make the LXDE lightweight X11 desktop environment available in Fedora
NetBeans IDE Add the NetBeans IDE to Fedora 2008-09-09
Online Accounts Service Provides applications with credentials for user's online accounts listed on online.gnome.org or stored in GConf.
Python NSS Bindings Include a newly developed package which provides python bindings for NSS
Remote Virtual Install Enable the creation of virtual machines on remote hosts
RPM 4.6 Update RPM to 4.6
Save to Bugzilla Auto create bugzilla entry with anaconda tracebacks
Sbin Sanity Add /usr/local/sbin:/usr/sbin:/sbin to the PATH for normal users to simplify command-line administration tasks
Security Audit A new security audit system and intrusion detection system
Sugar Desktop Include the Sugar Desktop (used in OLPC) in Fedora
Virtual Storage Make storage provisioning over libvirt connections (local and remote) virtual machines as simple as possible.


Technology to Visualise the dreams.

There was a time when we used to think about visualising about the dreams of other people or what they are thinking in thier mind. sounds like fictious but japanese researchers have made it true to some extent.
Researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories succeeded in processing and displaying images directly from the human brain, they said in a study unveiled ahead of publication in the US magazine Neuron.
They are trying to produce the images from the brain activity.They are in the initial stages at which they can only produce some simple images from the brain.
When people look at an object, the eye's retina recognises an image that is converted into electrical signals which go into the brain's visual cortex. Well it can be another giant step in the technology if this research gets succeeded.


Microsoft yahoo deal again

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Its back again yahoo-microsoft deal, there is a news like some company which has 1.5 percent of yahoo stock asked yahoo to make a deal with microsoft. Actually Ivory investment management LP is a company which holds 21.4 million shares of yahoo. They said like they feel like it is an maximization oppurtunity.
I think if this deal works out , it is a good oppurtunity to microsoft to compete the playing field of google.
"Under the Ivory proposal, Microsoft would own and operate the combined search platform, with Yahoo becoming an affiliate that retains 80 percent of the revenue generated through searches on its own site," Ivory said.
At present google owns 70 % of the market where as yahoo has 20 % and microsoft has 10%
But what ever we need to look how this deal works out and what stratagies that microsoft would take on.


Tag Your House With UV-based Temporary Grafitti

Look at the technology how it is goin up. now you can even spray paints on the light sensitive surfaces that produces temporary digital effects rendered in the real time. This is launched by Randam International's and named as Glow graffiti.
The interesting thing is RI's patented light sensitive surfaces change their graphic properties (such as their contrast) under exposure to the UV light. In order for the gadget to work, you have to use the special canvas.
The RI design house has created several of these type of digital paint gadgets. All are based on a design that previously linked electro-mechanical solenoid valves in the head of a paint roller to a computer that informed the valves with data to create the image. But what i think is we should not play around with these kind of gadgets most often and i think removal of harmful tobacco in fake cigs never completely cures the urge.
But guys this is not yet lanched in India and is only available in Uk and cost around 50 $.


Microsoft Hires Yahoo! Executive To Run Online Services

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Microsoft has appointed former Yahoo! executive Dr Qi Lu as the president of its online services group, with effect from 5 January 2009. Lu will lead Microsoft's efforts in search and online advertising and its online information and communications services.
Reporting to Microsoft's chief Steve Ballmer, Lu will oversee several groups including the advertiser and publisher solutions business, the online audience business, OSG research and development, and OSG Finance.

"I am genuinely excited about the opportunities ahead for Microsoft to make an enormous impact on the online industry," commented Lu. "Microsoft has built a great foundation for its search and advertising technologies and put an amazing team of researchers and engineers in place to drive the next wave of innovation in online services. I'm looking forward to working with them to help transform the way people and businesses use the Internet to find and share information."

Lu, most recently, served as executive vice president, engineering, search and advertising technology group, Yahoo! He left Yahoo! in August 2008 after 10 years of service. Before joining Yahoo!, Lu was a research staff member at IBM Almaden Research Center. Lu holds 20 U.S. patents and received his bachelor of science and master of science in computer science from Fudan University and his Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.

With the integration of aQuantive now complete, Brian McAndrews, former CEO, aQuantive, and senior vice president of advertiser and publisher solutions group, Microsoft, has decided to move out of Microsoft and will do so over the next several months, serving in a consultative capacity to Steve Ballmer and Qi Lu during that time.

As part of this announcement, several teams will move to further align resources. The field sales organisations in the online services group will move to Microsoft's centralised sales, marketing and services group led by chief operating officer Kevin Turner. This group, called consumer and online, will be led by corporate vice president Darren Huston, and will include the global advertising sales and services organisation, led by vice president Bill Shaughnessy.


Mobile Phones Will Soon Control Our Homes!

Imagine you control your Home appliances using a mobile phone. Sounds thrilling rite,
Nokia is developing a smart home platform, Nokia Home Control Center, to offer consumers new ways to control their homes with a mobile device.
All solutions based on the platform can be used through a smart phone or PC locally or remotely. Consumers can monitor and control their electricity usage, switch devices on and off, and monitor different objects, such as temperature, camera and motion. In future, entire systems within the home can be connected to the Nokia platform, including security, heating and ventilation systems.
Nokia's Home Control Center will be the basis for next generation security, smart home solutions and household energy management systems. The platform is open, allowing third parties to integrate their own smart home solutions and services; its core consumer value is the plug and play experience across all solution areas with high security levels built in.


Google Friend Connect Now Available!

Google Friend Connect is now available in beta. This service lets webmasters add social features to their sites by simply copying and pasting a few snippets of code. The company explains 'Friend Connect' makes it easy for anyone to sign in to a website, share a little bit about themselves through a personal profile, discover other people with similar interests, invite their contacts and interact with friends.
The Friend Connect service also lets users log in using an existing account from Google, Yahoo!, AOL or OpenID. Similarly, one can choose to either establish a new profile or use profiles and friend sources from other social networks that have opened up their services, like Plaxo and orkut. Friend Connect also includes YouTube videos in your comments.

"Friend Connect's goal is to facilitate an open social Web. Using open standards like OpenID and OAuth, Friend Connect makes it simple for people to instantly interact with one another on the sites that they already love to visit. Additionally, websites that use Friend Connect become OpenSocial containers, capable of running applications created by the OpenSocial developer community," concludes Google.


The New Template for Techfunk

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This is new template which is gonna be the face of techfunk as it going to be 1 year of my blogging so it takes 2 days of time to rearrange all the things. so keep waiting


Major Changes in Techfunk

Dear Readers, i am in a process of making some major changes to TechFunk. so i may not be posting for two days from now. Keep Waiting . . .


More Troubles For Vista: Fedora 10

Monday, December 1, 2008

The latest version of the free operating system is here. While Vista is almost an year old, GNU/Linux-based operating systems keep getting better and better.

The Fedora Project, a Red Hat sponsored and community-supported open source collaboration project, has announced the availability of Fedora 10, the latest version of its free open source operating system distribution. Fedora 10 features numerous leading-edge technologies and continues to lay the groundwork for derivative open source distributions throughout the enterprise.

Fedora 10, the 10th release in five years, features substantial virtualisation improvements for remote installation and management of storage provisioning. These features will make system administration of virtual machine hosts and guests easier and more capable of automation, especially as they are integrated into Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Additionally, Fedora 10 includes NetworkManager connection sharing, allowing laptop users with an Ethernet or mobile broadband connection to provide Internet routing to others through the laptop wireless interface, for instant collaboration anywhere, anytime.

Fedora 10 includes the premiere of a new graphical boot system called Plymouth, designed to speed up the boot process by taking advantage of a new kernel mode setting feature. Plymouth was designed by Fedora contributors and targeted primarily at ATI cards, but will be expanded in the future to support a broader range of media cards. Fedora 10 also features increased hardware support for a vast array of webcams and better handling of printers via both direct physical connections and networks. Further, PackageKit, a software management tool that originally debuted in Fedora 9, has been extended in this release to provide on-demand codec software installation.

According to Linux Format magazine's review of the OS, "The first thing you'll notice is the vast increase in boot up speed thanks to the implementation of Plymouth - the replacement for the ageing and increasingly fragile RHGB. Along with the improvement in speed, the general look and feel of the initial boot process feels a lot smoother thanks to work done to minimise all the different hand overs between the BIOS, GRUB, RHGB and finally a smooth fade into the GDM login screen.

"Fedora volunteer contributors and Red Hat engineers worked together to develop the cutting-edge features found in Fedora 10. Their widespread appeal, combined with Fedora's policy of collaborating with upstream free software communities, means that many of these features will be found in other Linux distributions in the future," said Paul Frields, Fedora project leader at Red Hat.

Fedora 10 also enhances its commitment to security with a new security auditing and detection toolkit called SecTool, and a brand-new set of Python bindings that allow programmers to use the FIPS-140 validated NSS library for rapid development of secure applications. The distribution also extends the Live USB persistence feature that was pioneered in Fedora 9, adding support for a separate user data area with optional encryption for the ultimate experience in secure, portable computing. Amongst the many new and enhanced features, Fedora 10 includes the all-new OpenOffice.org 3.0 and GNOME 2.24.1, for maximum desktop productivity and ease of use; a rewritten audio system for faster response and lower power usage; a full set of appliance building tools; and support for more hardware than any other operating system.


Top Searches For 2008 by Yahoo

Yahoo reported on Monday that Barack Obama's presidential victory got more clicks than any other story on yahoo.com this year, but the most searched term was "Britney Spears".

Yahoo said that in the top 10 searches, Spears was the most popular, and has been for seven of the past eight years, followed by World Wrestling Entertainment and then by Obama.

Others on the top 10 list were Miley Cyrus, online game RuneScape, actress Jessica Alba, Japanese manga cartoon series Naruto, actresses Lindsay Lohan and Angelina Jolie, and reality TV talent show American Idol.

The top 10 political searches were Obama, Sarah Palin, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, George Bush, Ron Paul, John Edwards, Mike Huckabee, Arnold Shwarzenegger and Mitt Romney.

The most searched news stories were on hurricanes, Caylee and Casey Anthony, election 2008, Pakistan, pregnant man, China, Iraq, Shelley Malil, Patrick Swayze and Afghanistan


Microsoft’s Security U-Turn: Ovum

Microsoft will provide free malware protection to consumer PCs and mobile Windows devices in 2H09 under a project called 'Morro' it announced last week. This will mean the end of both Windows Live OneCare and the new Microsoft Equipt product.
Microsoft launched Equipt, an attractive package embracing Office and security products, in the US in mid July 2008 and in the UK on 20 October 2008. Its withdrawal four weeks later is surprising and leaves Microsoft’s Office strategy in the consumer market without a subscription offering.

Morro will turn Microsoft’s core anti-malware functionality into a free anti-malware product for PCs, stripped of OneCare’s more extraneous features. Microsoft says this has been precipitated by a rise in malware incidences and the failure of users to install basic security, particularly in developing countries. However, these long-standing problems are not new.

This move is also surprising because Microsoft has been reporting substantial improvements in countering malware on Windows with each new version of Windows and with every service pack. The largest single improvement occurred with XP SP2 and progress has been maintained through more recent releases. No single strategy will solve the malware problem, but there is no longer the urgency that we faced back in 2002/03 at the start of the Trustworthy Computing project.

Will Morro impact the occurrence of malware? Microsoft intended OneCare to extend the take-up of anti-malware products rather than to grab market share from competitors, and its current small market share indicates that it has not succeeded. Morro will not be built into Windows – a move that would bring major anti-trust battles for Microsoft – but Microsoft could install it on new PCs, as other anti-malware products are today. As most new PCs in developed markets are already shipped with anti-virus installed, the main impact would be to help overcome user inertia when the free subscription expires. Morro should help but its success will depend on how it adapts to changing attack strategies.

The consumer sector is secondary to the business market for most security vendors. However, a free Microsoft offering will impact their overall viability, leading to accelerated consolidation in the industry.

Few consumers will opt to buy an anti-malware product when there is a free alternative available from a well-known supplier. The market is largely commoditised already.

Information security is a 'market for lemons' – a term used by Akerlof in 1970 in the context of the used car market. The buyer has less knowledge of the product than the seller, and consequently bases their purchasing decision solely on price. In the case of IT security, the consumer has no way of understanding what is under the hood and has little technical understanding.

A free product is unbeatable – except by another free product. Revenue could come from value-added components, but the total revenue opportunity will be less than it is today.

Vendors could vacate the consumer and small business sector entirely, as Sophos did successfully several years ago. However, this would involve scaling down operations and would accelerate industry consolidation.

Microsoft will make Morro suitable for mobile Windows devices with a small-form factor. Businesses are free to use it on their PCs. The main restriction is that Morro will not provide any central deployment or management capability, making it unsuitable for larger organisations. Morro will address a large slice of the anti-malware market.

The danger is that a monopolistic situation will impede innovation. The current generation of anti-malware products react to threats and struggle to cope with the explosion in the number of variations of malware. Morro will likely follow the lead of Trend Micro in moving malware scanning into the cloud to allow it to work on smaller devices, but this does not surmount the fundamental limitations of a reactive approach. Proactive forms of defence may render today’s products obsolete within five years. In the case of consumer devices, this could come from improvements in the Wintel architecture, and Morro may come to be seen as a stepping stone to eliminate commercial and political opposition to these developments.


Axon Approves HCL Technologies' Buyout

The board of UK-based consultancy firm Axon Group has approved the £441.1-million acquisition bid by Indian IT major HCL Technologies. At the general body meeting, the majority shareholders voted in favour of HCL's 650 pence a share cash offer.
Vineet Nayar, chief executive officer, HCL Technologies, commenting on the vote, said, "We are very pleased that the Axon shareholders have approved HCL's offer for the company. This acquisition continues to make sound strategic sense for HCL especially in the current macro economic situation."

"Axon has achieved a significant degree of success in creating a leading SAP implementation services business which when combined with HCL's enterprise applications services, offshore capabilities and complementary market presence in North America, Europe and Asia will help drive the ongoing expansion of product and service capabilities in the global IT Services sector," added Nayar.

As HCL Technologies has already acquired 10.43 per cent shares of Axon from the open market at less than 650 pence a share, therefore Nayar said the overall deal size would now be lower than the initially-announced £441 million.

HCL will announce the final acquisition on 15 December 2008.



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