Category: News

Samsung to launch smartphone accessory business

Samsung rules the roostSamsung might be about to step up its retail game. According to Korean tech site Etnews, the smartphone giant is going to launch an online shopping mall for phone accessories. Aside from making more cash, Samsung hopes the new service will help it grow consumer loyalty.

The online shopping mall is set to debut in Europe in early July. It will then expand to the rest of the world, with a bit of help from Best Buy stateside. Android Community reports Samsung and Best Buy will open around 1,400 retail locations, both online and offline, but the European push seems to be centred on online.

Of course, most of the accessories will be manufactured by Samsung, although some of them will be supplied by its partners. The details of the plan are still unclear, though. Samsung will probably focus on pricey accessories like wireless charging devices and docks, but there is a chance it will start peddling everything, including cheap screen protector films. The service will also carry some Samsung flagship phones.

The global phone accessory market is worth an estimated $44 billion. With Samsung’s huge market share, it is clearly a burgeoning market that needs to be tapped.

Lenovo rebrands storage gear

lenovo_hqLenovo and EMC recently cuddled up in a joint venture and the first LenovoEMC branded products are already hitting the market. However, as a side effect Lenovo is also rebranding some of its other storage products.

The Iomega brand seems destined for the bargain bin. It appears that it will be used solely for low-end storage solutions. The good stuff will feature the LenovoEMC brand.

“Effective immediately, the former Iomega-branded network storage products are available worldwide with new branding that reflects the LenovoEMC business while continuing to utilize the Iomega mark on entry-level consumer network storage products,” Lenovo said.

Lenovo’s high performance StorCenter px series is now the LenovoEMC px series, while the EZ Media series storage solutions and NAS gear will retain Iomega branding.

“With the transition from the highly successful stand alone Iomega brand to the power of the combined Lenovo and EMC brands, our Lenovo network storage solutions from the LenovoEMC joint venture will continue to evolve in features and capabilities as world class network storage that complements server products from the Lenovo Enterprise Product Group. This is an important element in Lenovo’s continued growth in the PC Plus world,” said Roy Guillen, vice president, Enterprise Product Group, Lenovo.

LenovoEMC today also announced an agreement with Acronis to provide True Image 2013 Lite PC backup software with all Lenovo EMC network storage products. The Lenovo EMC px series include three licenses for ATI Lite per product and Acronis will offer special pricing for additional upgrades and licences.

UK outfit sells IBM in the US

slide-1-728In a “coals to Newcastle” move, Europlus Direct boss Jim Hart has said that his UK outfit is doing a roaring trade flogging IBM products in the US.

Chatting to the Yorkshire Post, Hart said that Europlus turned over £7.1m last year, with a rise to £8.2m forecast for 2013.

This year, Hart set up Europlus Direct International in Las Vegas so that it can buy IBM services very competitively in the US.

Hart said that a lot of the firm’s customers are European companies going into the US – and Europlus buys the services for them.

He said that there is huge potential in the US and he is hoping in 12-18 months the company can sell as much as $600,000- $700,000 in the US market.

His company started out as an IBM support services reseller, solely targeting the French market.

“I employed two French people and we got a contract with IBM France”, recalled Hart. “It basically provided us with a database of French IBM customers whose maintenance support was about to expire”.

He said that he was not interested in the service delivery side, he just sells. If a server goes down in Paris, it’s an IBM engineer that goes along, it’s not Europlus.

Europlus Direct’s target clients are firms which already trade internationally or which want to.

In 2010, it moved into distribution selling IBM maintenance contracts in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the firm also specialises in providing spare parts.

He said that it was dangerous for companies to only have one business model. Hart is looking at new areas with IBM, such as big data, and may become a reseller of that in the future.

AMD thinks clock speed will sell again

Antique_Clock_FaceThis week AMD has released a 5 GHz processor into the market which puts clock speed back on the marketing ticket.

The AMD FX-9590 is based around an 8-core CPU and is being pitched as providing shedloads of gaming and multimedia performance for desktop enthusiasts.

AMD FX-9000 Series CPUs will not be sold over the counter but will go to the outfits’ system integrator partners.

Bernd Lienhard, corporate vice president and general manager, Client Products Division at AMD started the performance spin saying that the FX 5 GHz processor is an “emphatic performance statement to the most demanding gamers seeking ultra-high resolution experiences including AMD Eyefinity technology”.

AMD reminded us that it was was the first to break the 1GHz barrier in May of 2000 and suddenly we were propelled into the 1990s where AMD and Intel were telling us all that sort of stuff, all the time.

These days it is all about how much battery life and less concern about how many clock cycles you could wring out of the thing before it caught fire.

AMD system integrator Wallace Santos, CEO of MAINGEAR said that AMD was pushing the envelope when it comes to desktop capabilities and power performance.

The new 5 GHz FX-9590 and 4.7 GHz FX-9370 is based around the “Piledriver” architecture. They are unlocked for easy overclocking which means that they could be pushed much harder.

The processors feature AMD Turbo Core 3.0 technology to dynamically optimise performance across CPU cores and enable maximum computing for the most intensive workloads.

The chips will start appearing in systems this summer. Two models will be available the FX-9590 at 5 GHz Max Turbo and the X-9370 at 4.7 GHz Max Turbo.

There’s no word on how much these chips will cost but they will almost certainly only be seen in high end gaming machines.

Dell wants friends with benefits

friendsDell is beefing up its imaging and print strategy partner programme so that it can provide exclusive benefits for its partners.

Deals up for grabs include rebates on inks and toner, to training and marketing funding, to enable partners to better sell Dell Imaging products and grow their print business by developing profitable, long-term relationships with customers.

According to Dell, it is also offering training and technical support, a dedicated account manager, and a reimbursement of up to 50 percent for marketing investments towards Dell campaigns.

While Dell has had a partnership arrangement for its strategic printing partners since 2008, the terms of this one all is new. It is designed to push sales of Dell mono, colour and multifunction printers.

A Dell spokesman said that the scheme builds on Dell’s existing commitment but provides new benefits.
Dave McNally, Director of Product Marketing, Dell Imaging, EMEA, said that as the growth of Dell’s print business continues to accelerate across key EMEA territories including the UK, Germany and France, it needed committed Partners.

These could come from within the traditional printer market and more widely, to take advantage of the dramatic growth forecasted for Managed Print Services (MPS).

“The Programme builds on our commitment to our channel Partners who continue to focus their print businesses on selling our printers. The Programme provides tools which will be integral in enabling our partners to further grow and strengthen customer relationships, benefitting both Dell and Partners,” McNally said.

Partners must already be Registered, Preferred or Premier Partners in the Dell PartnerDirect Programme to qualify.


IT buyers out of touch with office needs

Canon logoCanon has commissioned a study which found those making buying decisions in the office are often out of touch with the needs of the actual user.

Canon Europe surveyed 1,671 end users and decision makers. It found that firms all over Europe are having a hard time bringing in technology to enable flexible working – with a real minority making sure employees had smartphones or tablet PCs. BYOD, then, is crucial at the moment, as those with these devices find they are crucial to their jobs.

Most respondents said they need advice and support from their IT departments if they’re to properly reach their working potential, whether in the office or on the go. Just one quarter knew the office technology inside out, and the report highlights many workers feel they are excluded when it comes to picking technology they feel would be right for their companies.

Canon also found that, while the majority of respondents work with sensitive documents, they are being allowed onto insecure devices on insecure networks. Many end users believe that their organisation is managing document security – when that isn’t a case at all, with under five percent of IT buyers indicating that as a concern in printing, copying or scanning.

The company’s European and UK marketing manager, Matt Wrighton, said the gap between staff and decision makers is obvious. “It’s clear to see how the division within organisations between the two key parties, decision makers and employees, will, if not already, prove harmful to productivity in the workplace,” Wrighton said.

Retail apps may cut price-comparison shopping

nexus4-ceIt sounds counter intuitive, but according to a survey commissioned by UPS, retail apps might actually cause consumers to do less price comparisons and more shopping. The vast majority of shopping apps do the exact opposite, they are designed to find the best deals and pinch pennies.

However, the survey revealed that 46 percent of US online consumers are less likely to “comparison shop” once they are immersed in well designed apps peddled by the retailers, reports Business Insider.  It sounds like good news for everyone who ever tried to justify the expense of developing a proper app for their business.

Interestingly, the survey also found that shopping satisfaction was better on a tablet than a proper PC. The experience on smartphones lags behind both tablets and regular PCs, which probably has something to do with screen size.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that retailers with good mobile apps should try to gouge consumers. Most people still like to browse and compare prices. There is no substitute for good deals and good service.

EMEA server market slides 10.5 percent

server-racksThe EMEA server market seems unable to regain its footing. Following several consecutive quarters of lacklustre results, the negative trend seems set to continue, according to the latest IDC figures.

Revenue dropped 10.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013 year-on-year. Shipments also dropped by 5.7 percent, to 520,000 units. This is the sixth quarter in the red and the market has been contracting since the fourth quarter of 2011.

IDC EMEA Enterprise Server Group research manager Giorgio Nebuloni said yearly revenue declined by more than 40 percent.

“Part of the spending intended to keep core business applications running is now absorbed by new integrated system offerings combining x86 and lower-end RISC/EPIC blades with storage and networking back-ends,” Nebuloni said.

The non-x86 market was especially hard hit, with a revenue decline of 34.8 percent. Revenues generated by x86 server dropped by 1.5 percent. Demand for x86 servers in developed European economies is flat, while demand for non-x86 gear is plummeting.

“RISC sales were particularly hit, down by 49.8% year on year, whereas mainframe revenue suffered single-digit declines of 4.8%” said IDC EMEA Enterprise Server Group senior research analyst Beatriz Valle. “Big organisations in the corporate space and government are consolidating existing infrastructure using high-end x86 servers, with demand for legacy architectures at an all time low.”

Demand is evaporating in the CEMA region as well, with a third consecutive drop in the first quarter. Shipments were down 9.7 percent, although some positive trends were seen in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Meanwhile the share of modular server shipments increased from 19.9 percent to 22.7 percent in the first quarter of the year. The growth was driven by the increasing popularity of density optimised servers in the HPC area.

Club 3D dumps Nvidia for AMD

club3d-logoDutch add-in-board partner Club 3D has ditched Nvidia and decided to become an AMD exclusive partner. The move doesn’t come as much of a surprise, since Club 3D was practically the only big AIB that did not launch Geforce 700 desktop boards last month.

The company confirmed that it is an AMD-only players in a press release late Monday. Acting CEO of Club 3D Judith Ma Tseng said Club 3D believes AMD is “uniquely positioned to deliver a complete solution concept” for its customers.

“We firmly believe that we can offer a better solution, if we proceed with AMD alone,” said Ma Tseng.

Unsurprisingly, AMD welcomed Club 3D’s turncoat antics.

“Their decision to join AMD as an exclusive hardware partner is a powerful acknowledgement of our leadership in the graphics space, and a tremendous contribution to the technical expertise in the AMD Radeon graphics ecosystem,” said Zvika Greenstein, Director of Desktop Product Management, AMD Graphics.

This isn’t the first time that an AIB has chosen to switch sides, or go exclusive. Back in 2010 XFX also ditched Nvidia and became an AMD exclusive partner. Gainward did the exact opposite, when it stopped selling Radeons to focus on Nvidia products.

However, it should be noted that all AIBs, especially smaller ones like Club 3D, are facing a lot of pressure. Sales of desktop PCs have been tumbling for years, while at the same time powerful integrated graphics are slowly killing off the high-volume, low-margin market for entry level discrete graphics.

Bill Gates is a believer in G4S security

jailWhile G4S must be one of the most mocked security companies in the UK, it seems that it has a firm believer in the Software king of the world Sir William Gates III.

Initially famous for being one of the first private security companies involved in the English prisons, it next became infamous for letting rather too many escape.

More recently the outfit made a huge blunder over its staffing of the London 2012 Olympics when it failed to get a promised 10,400 guards for the London Games. This forced the tax payer to send in the troops to bail it out.

Following a profit warning in May, its chief executive stepped down last month. Shares in G4S, have fallen 18 percent in three months. This morning you could pick one up for £241.55 as is where is.
However despite all that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has increased his stake in G4S. And while it is normal for people to find their way out of G4S, it is news if someone wants in. This is probably because Gates thinks it is a bargain.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust and Cascade Investment, an asset management firm owned by Bill Gates increased their combined holding in G4S to 3.2 percent last week by acquiring around 6 million more shares.

G4S is a jolly big company and it runs services such as cash transportation and prison management in over 125 countries.


Trustmarque in £43 mill management buyout

TrustmarqueYork-based Trustmarque has been bought out by its management to the tune of £43 million.

The deal was underwritten by Dunedin which is a UK mid-market buyout house.

Trustmarque has been in operation for over 25 years and it helps organisations license, deploy and manage Microsoft, VMware, and McAfee software.
It made £130 million for the year ended 31 August 2012 and it is hoped that Dunedin’s investment will enable Trustmarque to expand.

The company hires 180 people at three sites in York, Bracknell and Edinburgh and currently serves over 1,200 clients including RBS, Lloyds Banking Group, Sainsbury’s and Capita. Public sector clients include the NHS, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, HMRC, local authorities and NHS trusts throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Trustmarque was the first Microsoft partner to achieve Gold licensing status and remains a top software and consulting services supplier to the UK Government.

The Sunday Times ranked it as number 54 in their 2013 league of the best small companies to work for in the UK and the company has also been shortlisted by the National Business Awards scheme.

Mark Ligertwood, partner at Dunedin said that Trustmarque esd s market-leader with a clearly positioned brand and an exceptional reputation within both the commercial and public sectors.

“The UK market for software and IT services is currently worth an estimated £40bn and is expected to grow at two percent to five percent to 2016,” Ligertwood said.

It appears the company’s management has a cunning plan to expand and it is a business plan that Dunedin thinks has legs.

Scott Haddow, CEO of Trustmarque said that Trustmarque has developed significantly over the last four years. His ambition is to cement our position as an independent end-to-end technology services provider and the trusted adviser of choice for blue chip and large government enterprises.

Trustmarque was previously owned by LDC which grew it from an IT reseller into a value-added provider of IT services, growing services-driven revenues to 33 per cent of turnover.

In 2011, Trustmarque bought Nimbus Technology Systems as part of a move to provide cloud-based services.

FCS Global aims at suicide prevention

Console LogoUS IP phone systems provider ShoreTel signed a deal with Irish independent communications company FCS Global to provide hardware for its suicide prevention and support charity, Console.

Console offers suicide bereavement and prevention services and resources around Ireland and the UK. All of its free services are delivered by fully qualified and accredited counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists, to those who have been affected by suicide.

Paul Kelly, CEO and founder of Console said the charity relies heavily on the kindness and support of local communities and businesses.

Under the deal, FCS will set up ShoreTel unified communications systems to help Console to streamline operations and aid the further development of its centres and 24 hour helpline service in Ireland and the UK.

Console will be expanded throughout the UK and FCS Global to support its growth with the ShoreTel UC systems.

Using the technology new offices can be easily added by Console to the ShoreTel platform without the need for specialist technical knowledge and will ensure all the centres can continue to collaborate effectively as the charity grows.

UK reports online fraud increase

kcalmOnline fraud is on the increase, providing a windfall for security firms trying to pitch packages to cash strapped businesses.

The latest figures from the National Fraud Authority show that account takeover fraud rose by 53 percent compared with the previous year.

This means that those frauds where the criminal requires identity details accounted for almost two thirds of all frauds recorded by CIFAS in 2012.
More than 8.8 percent of UK adults were a victim of this fraud and those who lost cash tended to lose an average of £1,203 each.

Stephen Harrison, National Fraud Authority Chief Executive estimated that this year’s AFI has put the loss to the UK economy from fraud at £52 billion.

He said that private sector businesses suffer the highest levels of loss and can also suffer other impacts like reputational damage. Loss to smaller businesses can even put their future at risk.

Trusteer, which makes products for cybercrime prevention, said it has seen an increase in the number of Man in The Browser (MiTB) malware activity, and in the sophistication and techniques cybercriminals use to steal credentials and credit card data.

A Trusteer spokesperson said that as infection rates increase, account takeover fraud, and account fraud, is becoming a top threat for organisations.

This is not just a matter of providing companies with software or hardware to fix.

Companies need to come up with a holistic approach which encompasses endpoint security as well as clientless detection and conclusive event correlation is required.

This means that security resellers are having to create layered security covering PC and Macs, desktops and mobile, client and client-less solutions.

Brits hate their jobs

officegervaisA survey of professional adults in the UK has revealed that just 10 percent are satisfied with their jobs.

The study, commissioned by Peer 1 Hosting, asked 1,300 professionals about their job satisfaction. Over a third of those surveyed – at 36 percent – believed they could be at least twice as effective at their job if their employer recognised their full potential.

Just one in seven respondents believed their employer properly nurtured their potential and talents – and only one in five felt inspired by their company. Not only are employees unhappy, but the majority did not agree that customers were “very happy with the products or services that they receive”.

The prime motivation for almost half of those surveyed as not money. The majority wanted their talent recognised and nurtured through personal development and training – at 87 percent.

Asked to describe, in 140 characters or less, chief problems with their organisations, responses included ineffective management that does not listen to staff and head office imposing its own, out of touch policies. Others said the workload is getting bigger – with longer hours – as well as citing lack of opportunities, salary, and funding.

IT workers in particular were outspoken about the financial gains relating to personal growth and training. Overall, employees in smaller organisations felt more satisfied.

Young Londoners working in the financial sector were found to be most dissatisfied with their job, while 16-24 year olds working in professional services in Northern Ireland appreciated their job the most.

EMEA MD of Peer 1, Dominic Monkhouse, said it’s vital for companies to nurture individual employees to help them realise their own ambitions – “this then becomes a virtuous circle, unlocking potential and productivity while also making the working environment one that staff value,” he said.


Microsoft exec: uproot work status quo

brokenworkA top Microsoft UK exec has claimed in a new book that the current status quo for work is totally broken – and that the way forward for productivity relies in harnessing advances in technology and flexibility, rather than the traditions of hierarchy.

Chief envisioning officer of Microsoft UK, Dave Coplin, said “the future of work must be based on being open, on focusing on results, not process and on empowerment, not hierarchy”.

He backs up his point quoting a YouGov survey that said almost half of all British office workers have a manager that judges performance by the number of processes completed. Almost a third said their company doesn’t support flexible working at all.

Coplin’s book claims businesses are thoroughly entrenched in the old guard of management and dismiss new ways to collaborate. Employees, Coplin argues, are “not liberated to work creatively” nor are they trusted to set their own processes.

There is a block on progressive work policies and this appears to be management and the accepting of the status quo. Workers don’t feel engaged at the office, Coplin says, and are unable to utilise advances in communications properly.

“The massive risk here is that in a world defined by its processes and not its outcomes, working smarter is not an option and the only feasible other alternative is simply to work harder,” Coplin claims, adding that businesses should use collaboration and flexible working if they want to make the most of their employees.

Otherwise workers are simply being stifled by the monotonous daily grind. Coplin’s book, “Business Reimagined – Why work isn’t working and what you can do about it”, argues that businesses operating with an open mind will reap the rewards. Competitive advantage, Coplin says, will lie with those who can adapt to a changing world and increase collaboration.