Saturday, September 7, 2013

Microsoft‘s Nokia deal, Layoffs look inevitable

 Microsoft and Nokia's India operations are among the biggest outside their home countries, and it looks like a certain number of redundancies and consequent layoffs are inevitable. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's email to Microsoft employees on the Nokia deal said the companies would integrate all global marketing and have a unified brand and advertising strategy. It said that finance, legal, HR, communications, evangelism, customer care and business development would integrate functionally at Microsoft. ICM/IT will also integrate functionally for traditional IT roles, it said.

Microsoft, Most Xbox One pre order supply sold out

Retail stores in many markets have run out of Microsoft's Xbox One consoles available for pre-orders, a senior company executive said, ahead of a major clash with Sony's new lower-priced Playstation 4 this November.

Microsoft's first new gaming console in eight years will go on sale November 22 in 13 countries, Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of marketing, strategy and business for the Xbox, said in an interview.

That will put it one week behind the PlayStation 4 in the United States but ahead in many European countries where Sony's first new console in seven years is slated to go on sale on Nov. 29.

Kodak CEO talks about company s future

You can feel the spirit of George Eastman in Antonio Perez's office.

A picture of Eastman, who founded Kodak in 1880, sits among the current CEO's collection of family photos. The outer areas of Perez's office, built and first inhabited by Eastman about a century ago, include some of Kodak's Oscar and Emmy awards, along with a collection of historic photos. A large portrait of Eastman, who died in 1932, hangs near the entrance.

Perez's surroundings serve as a constant reminder of Kodak's hallowed history in the print and movie film industries - and of the pressure he is under to revive the ailing company.

Nestle makes fun of Apple on new KitKat website

ImageInternet giant Google has announced the next version of its Android mobile operating system will be called Kitkat. The company has partnered with confectionary brand, which is owned by global FMCG giant Nestle.

The surprise element, however, is that just a day after the announcement, Nestle has taken an unexpected dig at Apple, which rivals Google's Android mobile OS in the mobile arena.

The confectionery company has redesigned itsKitKat website to make it look like that of a gadget, with phrases reminiscent of Apple. Terms like 'Confectionery Perfectionary', 'wafer thin CPU' and 'global coverage, you can take it literally anywhere' remind users of Applehyperboles like ultrafast wireless internet (which the company used when 4G connectivity was introduced with iPhone 5).

The pull of Big Data start ups

An existing large global Big Data and analytics market and a fast growing domestic market for this industry seems to have triggered the preference for Big Data start ups by Gen Y.
According to IDC the Big Data market is projected to reach $18.1 billion by 2013 end, an annual growth of 61%. This puts it on pace to exceed $47 billion by 2017; which translates to a 31 per cent compounded annual growth rate over the five year period 2012-2017.

Balakrishnan may be Infosys CEO if Shibulal steps down

 V Balakrishnan, who until three months ago was looking like a fading star at Infosys, has seen his fortunes change so rapidly that he could soon be the CEO of India's second largest software company.

According to people aware of the thinking in the top echelons of Infosys, a confluence of events, including the decision of Americas head Ashok Vemuri to leave Infosys for iGate, make Balakrishnan's ascent to the role of CEO all but certain. "Internally, the sense is that the decision has been made," said a source.

Asha is the new hope for Microsoft

ImageMicrosoft-Nokia may never reach the market share highs that Nokia saw in India-it was 56% in 2008-but the merged entity stands a good chance of arresting the fall (the share is now down to 27%) and making gains in the mid and upper segments of the mobile phone market.

Most analysts don't think Microsoft will bother about the low-end of the feature phone segment, where margins are very low and local players like Micromax and Karbonn have proved too competitive for Nokia. This market remains big in India, and so long as it remains big and Microsoft does not play significantly in it, the company's share in the overall market will stay low.

NRIs head back to India for career opportunities

According to a study by, nearly 60% of all the surveyed employers said that they are experiencing an influx of human capital from foreign shores. This is backed up by the statistic that nearly 60% of the organisations say that compared to early 2011, the number of expatriates in their organisation have definitely increased.

With a steady flow of foreign nationals and migrants returning home to fill vacancies for senior level positions, reverse brain drain is expected to be one of the key highlights of India Inc’s future recruitment landscape. Highly skilled professionals are returning home seeking the economic opportunities that they once sought abroad.

HTC Butterfly S launched at Rs 52,428

HTC Butterfly S has made its way to Indian market, taking the crown of the most expensive smartphone in the country. Online retailer Saholic has listed this handset on its website at Rs 52,428, making it the priciest base model of any smartphone in the market as of now. The listing on Saholic shows that the official price of Butterfly S is Rs 60,300 and deliveries will start from September 11.

Its predecessor, the Butterfly, held the crown of India's most expensive Android phone at the time of launch, before ceding the position to the recently-launched Sony Xperia Z Ultra. The corresponding 16GB Apple iPhone 5 costs Rs 45,500, while its top-end 64GB variant has been priced at Rs 59,500.

Sony announces Xperia Z1 with 20MP camera

Sony on Wednesday announced Xperia Z1, world's first smartphone with a 20.7 megapixels (MP) camera, at IFA, a trade show, in Berlin. The company said that the device has the "world's leading camera in a smartphone", implying that it can shoot better images than what Nokia's Lumia 1020, which has a 41MP camera, can manage.

"The Xperia Z1 is the absolute embodiment of that one Sony ethos," said Sony CEO Kaz Hirai. "We designed Z1 to deliver Sony's compact camera performance in a smartphone."

Apple sends out invites for iPhone launch event

Apple on Tuesday sent out media invites for an event on September 10. Though the company has not claimed that it would launch new iPhones, it is expected that Apple will show iPhone 5S, its next flagship phone, and iPhone 5C, a cheaper version of the device, at the event.

For now there are not enough details about the upcoming iPhones. But it is expected that iPhone 5S will have a design and size similar to that of iPhone 5. It will, however, is likely to be powered by a more powerful processor and may pack in a high resolution screen.

In Depth, Android 4.4 KitKat release date, news and rumors

In Depth: Android 4.4 KitKat release date, news and rumors
Well, this is a surprise. Having long expected version 5.0 of Android to be given the code name Key Lime Pie, Google has instead handed the 'K' release name to Android 4.4 and in a weird cross-promotional deal it's called it Android KitKat.
As part of the deal Nestle is running a contest to win a Nexus 7 or Google Play credit through specially branded Kit Kat bars.
So, apart from the fact that the chocolate bar has a space between Kit and Kat and Android 4.4 doesn't. what do we know about KitKat so far?

Infosys CFO sees recovery in global markets

 Rupee depreciation is definitely benefiting the IT sector in the short term, said V Balakrishnan, Board member of Infosys. Balakrishnan told ET Now that if the government is able to step up reforms, the rupee will stabilise. "Raghuram Rajan spoke in the right direction, if measures are implemented, rupee should find stability," he told ET Now.

While concerns on outflows will put pressure on the currency, Balakrishnan is of the opinion that both short & longer term measures are needed to reduce foreign exchange market volatility. "There is a need to attract a lot of capital in the short term to help rupee; sluggish growth, high inflation are weighing on rupee," he said.

We do advanced R and D in India, Synopsys CEO

Aart de Geus co-founded Synopsys in 1986. The US-based , $1.76-billion company is the world leader in the area known as electronic design automation, providing software tools for designing electronic systems such as printed circuit boards and integrated circuits. With Bangalore emerging as a global hub of semiconductor design, Synopsys has had a rapidly growing business here. On a recent visit to Bangalore, de Geus, chairman and co-CEO of Synopsys, spoke to TOI.

YouTube kicks off comedy week in India

Google wants more Indian web users to head to YouTube. And in return it is promising to put a smile on their face. On Thursday the company launched comedy weekat the video hosting site, promising viewers 400 hours of curated comedy content. The comedy content will be hosted at a special page onYouTube from September 5 to September 12.

Gautam Anand, director content partnerships for YouTube APAC said, "Here in India, comedy shows contribute to over 30% of total watch hours within the TV shows category, and in the past year, comedy show viewership has shown one of fastest growth in viewership. Bringing the comedy week to India allows us to give India's audiences more of the content they love and discover new content that they can only enjoy on YouTube. We have also worked hard with the biggest names in the comedy in India and are excited to bring more leading Indian comedy content onto one destination on YouTube."

Infosys to launch Teach at Infosys programme for employees

Come Teachers' Day and Infoscions across campuses will turn teachers for their colleagues. They can choose from a variety of classes to attend: Composing music, making 'unbelievably awesome' presentations, chess, basketball, dance, salsa, cooking, Hindustani and Carnatic music, martial arts and mehndi designs, to name a few.

The IT giant is launching 'Teach@Infosys' for its employees to create a culture of collective learning. Every employee can share their expertise on a subject with fellow Infoscions. This programme has a blend of technical and non-technical courses ranging from how to build an app or understand the big data field to public speaking or even a course on photography.

First look: Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung is giving its latest Galaxy Note smartphone a stylish makeover.

The Galaxy Note 3, unveiled on Wednesday, has a soft, leather-like back. It feels like you're holding a fancy leather-bound journal. Grooves on the side of the big-screen phone make it easier to grip.

But I found the new phone to be complicated to use. There's too much going on. Between Scrapbook, My Magazine, Air Command and dozens of other functions, it might take even the most experienced smartphone user several hours to figure out.

Galaxy Gear to support all major Indian languages

Samsung has announced that its newly launched  smartwatch Galaxy Gear would be supporting all the major Indian languages. This comes as a major announcement to attract the Indian market, which is the fastest growing in the world for smartphones, into taking active interest inthe new smartwatch and boost its sales in the country. 

The South Korean company's thinktank head and director of research at Samsung Research AmericaPranav Mistry has tweeted that the Galaxy Gear would be supporting Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi and other major Indian languages. However, the exact number of Indian languages that the smartwatch would be supporting is not known so far. 

Qualcomm unveils Toq smartwatch

 Qualcomm introduced its "Toq" smartwatch, a wrist-worn device that can play music and handle phone calls and messages, marking the chipmaker's entry into the consumer electronics and wearable computing arenas.

The announcement came as SamsungElectronics unveiled its own much-anticipated "Galaxy Gear" in Berlin, a watch that can also perform basic functions like calls, photos and messaging in concert with a smartphone.

Qualcomm executives told developers in San Diego it will divulge details on how to buy a Toq later this month, and did not specify a price. They said it will be the first smartwatch with a touch-enabled color screen that can be easily be viewed in bright sunlight.

Sony India plans to hike prices of smartphones, cameras

Consumer electronics major Sony India said it will soon increase the prices of its products across categories to offset the impact of rupee's depreciation.

"With the weakening of the rupee, the company will raise the prices of its products. This will be done shortly," Sunil Nayyar, Head Sales, Sony India, told reporters here.

Sony India, which sells flat panel TVs (Bravia), digital cameras (CyberShot), notebooks (Vaio) and smartphones (Xperia) in the country, ships the products from other countries.

Bangalore IT pros facing home loan woes

Economic slowdown has cast a shadow on Bangalore's housing market, with the rising cost of living and poor salary increments forcing an increasing number of IT professionals in the city to put their upscale homes on sale.

Gen Y techies, who had invested in apartments, row houses and bungalows in Bangalore — India's IT capital, some 15 years ago, are now finding it difficult to service their expensive home loans or even maintain these houses amid falling rental yields. Resale inventory in this housing segment has grown 30-35% over the last six months, according to property portal