Category: News

Lenovo rumoured to buy IBM’s x86 biz

ibm-officeJust as Lenovo started climbing the ladder to become a top PC seller when it picked up IBM’s PC business, it is now rumoured to be in early discussion about buying Big Blue’s x86 server business.

Both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have reported rumours that the Chinese PC seller  is interested in IBM’s server unit, which isn’t making as much cash in revenues as the latter would like. With IBM’s results taking a bit of a kicking, a deal between the two could be just weeks away, and worth up to an estimated $4.5 billion.

Lenovo conceded that it is in early stages of discussions with a third party about a potential acquisition. Meanwhile, an unnamed executive deepthroat told CRN that Lenovo is the only company in the running to buy IBM’s x86 business.

The move could be seen as the first major play by recently appointed CEO Virginia Rometty – looking to shed excess weight from the company’s portfolio and focusing on other higher revenue areas.

Lenovo, for its part, would be undertaking a serious diversifying of its portfolio by picking up the server unit – pushing into the enterprise beyond its traditional role as a PC shifter. While it has managed to weather the storm of the global recession and keep PC sales relatively reasonable, the company may be looking to build on other, more consistent revenue streams – a hefty buy from IBM would not look amiss next to the company’s server and network storage work that began with an EMC collaboration in mid 2012.

Enterprise software driven by Cloud, Big Data

cloud 2A report from IDC said the market for enterprise software worldwide showed conservative growth during 2012.

It estimated that the worldwide software market grew 3.6 percent year on year – half the growth rate of 2010 and 2011.

However, some market segments grew by between six and seven percent, including data access, analysis, CRM applications, security software and collaborative software.

IDC said that the management of information for competiive purposes is pushing along applications associated with Big Data and analytics.

From the vendor standpoint, Microsoft was the leader of the applications primary market in 2012 with 13.7 market share, followed by SAP, Oracle, IBM and Adobe. Of these vendor, IBM showed the highest growth rate.

System infrastructure software made up 27 percent of total software revenues but that only grew 3.3 percent during 2012, compared to the previous year.

Retail search volumes on mobile gear skyrocketing

smartphone-shoppingAccording to the latest BRC figures, total retail search volumes grew 16 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to a year ago. However, search volumes on mobile devices are skyrocketing. Growth on smartphone devices is estimated at 66 percent, while the volume of searches coming from tablets grew by a staggering 198 percent.

The numbers should come as no surprise, as the high street had a rather miserable quarter and quite a few consumers chose to do their shopping online. The horrible weather also had a lot to do with it.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said the figures confirm tablets and smartphones are becoming increasingly integral to the shopping experience for many consumers.

“It’s easier than ever to compare prices and products online, and retailers are continuing to invest in their websites and their ‘omnichannel’ offer so that customers have choice, convenience and flexibility when they shop,” said Dickinson. “The retail search data also closely mirrors the sales performance across different categories in March. It’s clear that the prolonged cold snap held many of us back from both browsing and buying new-season clothing lines until some sunshine arrived.”

Google Retail Director Peter Fitzgerald described the results as a “strong start to the year,” pointing out that retail queries grew by 16 percent year-on-year.

“This growth continues to be fuelled by the multi-device trend we are experiencing. Tablet queries grew nearly three times compared to the same period last year, whilst mobile traffic grew at 66 per cent,” he said.

Fitzgerald said the positive trend is set to continue into 2013, as more and more users embrace multiple smart devices. He also added that British brands did relatively well overseas, with searches up 16 percent across the globe and 75 percent in America.

‘BadNews’ malware family infiltrates Google Play Store

dandroidLookout has unearthed a new family of malware it is dubbing BadNews – which has emerged in the Google Play Store for Android devices.

According to Lookout’s research, BadNews poses as an aggressive ad network – however, it floods the user with application install prompts and brings up fake news, all with the agenda of pushing more malware and affiliated apps.

In its early days, Android in particular was dismissed by critics as being unreliable on the security front thanks to the open access nature of the OS. The Play Store, or Android Market as it was known, did occasionally sport dodgy applications that would mimic other popular apps but were anything but.

BadNews, Lookout says, is significant because it has managed to distribute itself so far and wide – using a server to delay malicious behaviour. The security company has let Google know about the malware, and all developer accounts associated with BadNews have been suspended and are being investigated.

BadNews and its affiliated could have been downloaded as many as 9 million times. Not all apps that have been compromised had malicious code in them, but BadNews, LookOut says, puts a “significant number” of users at risk.

The malware also threatens to leak sensitive information such as phone numbers and IMEI codes.

It is a reminder that as smart device use becomes more widespread, so will malicious coders targeting these devices. While at one time mobile security features were panned by some corners, it can’t hurt to have a legitimate piece of antivirus software installed on your phone and to only download trusted applications, as malicious coders will increasingly target the etailing and digital services space.

Ingram Micro exec named most powerful influential women

IMIngram Micro has announced that one of its staff members has been named as one of the “Most Powerful & Influential Women” by the California Diversity Council (CADC).

Robyn Tingley, vice president, Human Resources for Ingram Micro North America and Latin America, has been awarded the title and will also be speaking on a panel at the conference titled “Gaining the Trust and Credibility You Deserve.”

Ingram Micro is of course thrilled at the publicity and bigged up Robyn by claiming she has been a  significant contributor on a wide range of inclusion and diversity issues including minority recruiting, veteran hiring and developing a workplace that is educated and aware of all aspects of diversity and inclusion.

The awards were presented in conjunction with the 4th Annual California Diversity & Leadership Conference, held April 18-19, 2013, at the Hilton Concord in Concord, California.

Tingley is a certified Global Human Resources professional who has worked internationally in the fields of human resources, communications, corporate social responsibility, public policy and journalism. Prior to her current position, Tingley was previously vice president of Human Resources and Communications for Ingram Micro Europe based in Brussels, Belgium.

She has been with Ingram Micro for five years. Prior to joining Ingram Micro, she was vice president of Communications and Public Affairs for Bell Aliant, a Canadian-based leader in telecommunications.

Google rakes in the cash for first quarter

google-ICGoogle made more than a few dollars in its latest quarter, raking in a cool $14 billion in revenue.

The company, which described the figures as a “strong start to 2013,” reported consolidated revenues of $13.97 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, an increase of 31 percent compared to the first quarter of 2012.

GAAP operating income in the first quarter of 2013 was $3.48 billion, accounting for 25 percent of revenues. This was in comparison to $3.39 billion, or 32 percent of revenues, in the first quarter of 2012.

Non-GAAP operating income in the first quarter of 2013 was $4.22 billion, or 30 percent of revenues. This compared to non-GAAP operating income of $3.94 billion, or 37 percent of revenues, in the first quarter of 2012.

GAAP net income including net income from discontinued operations in the first quarter of 2013 was $3.35 billion, compared to $2.89 billion in the first quarter of 2012.

Non-GAAP net income in the first quarter of 2013 was $3.90 billion, compared to $3.33 billion in the first quarter of 2012.

Again it was Google’s ad business that generated the most profit with revenues hitting
$12.95 billion, or 93 percent of consolidated revenues, in the first quarter of 2013, representing a 22 percent increase over first quarter 2012 revenues of $10.65 billion.

Google-owned sites generated revenues of $8.64 billion, or 67 percent of total Google revenues, in the first quarter of 2013 – an 18 percent increase over the same period last year.

And its partner sites also raked in the cash generating revenues of $3.26 billion, or 25 percent of total Google revenues, in the first quarter of 2013. .

In the UK, Google revenues amounted to $1.39 billion, representing 11 percent of revenues.

Traffic acquisition costs, the portion of revenues shared with Google’s partners, increased to $2.96 billion in the first quarter of 2013, compared to $2.51 billion in the first quarter of 2012.

However the company lost out on some dough over in its flagging Motorola mobile sector with a decline of 27 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

IBM goes on axe rampage in France

ibm-officeIBM is said to be wielding the axe amongst its employees in France.

According to Reuters, the company, which reported a five percent decline in revenue to $23.4 billion for the first quarter of 2013, has said it will be trying to make up gaps through  $1 billion of accounting charges this year.

It also wants to ensure its profits are boosted by 2015, despite the critical global economic crisis.

Part of this saving will have a knock on effect on its workforce, with three trade union reps over in France claiming that the company plans to axe  up to 1,400 jobs in the country over the next two years.

IBM has yet to confirm that its heads in the US have okayed the pink slip practice, but the union reps have said the deed had already been communicated.

Pierry Poquet, secretary general of the UNSA union told Reuters that IBM head honchos were set to present the plan to cut between 1,200 and 1,400 staff in a meeting was planned for April 25.

The CFE-CGC union’s representative, Evelyne Heurtaux, backed up her pal saying she had also been told that there was a around 1,300 jobs slated for the next two years.

Supply chain standard aims to eliminate counterfeit gear

server-racksCounterfeit iPhones, sunglasses and handbags have been around for years, but so have counterfeit IT products, and they tend to be a bit more dangerous and costly than a fake Gucci bag crafted from genuine imitation faux leather.

The Open Group has published a new technical security standard with the aim of improving supply chain safety and weeding out counterfeit products, or gear that has been tampered with. The Open Trusted Technology Provider Standard (O-TTPS) is a 32-page document containing a set of guidelines, requirements and recommendations that should mitigate the risk of acquiring counterfeit products, or products that were “maliciously tainted.”

The standard is being backed by the likes of IBM and Cisco. It should address concerns raised by governments and the US Department of Defense, which tends to be rather picky when it comes to networking gear. Junipar, Huawei, EMC, Raytheon, HP, Microsoft, the NSA, Booz-Allen Hamilton, Boeing and NASA are also on board, reports Network World.

It is still unclear when the group will start issuing accreditations, or how it plans to go about it, but the backers feel that the IT industry should get acquainted with the new standards. With such high profile names on board, the industry should listen closely.

Big outfits are expected to embrace the new standard first, but in doing so they will also reduce the risk for smaller businesses. Still, the best way of steering clear from dodgy routers and switches is to simply avoid buying gear from unknown companies altogether.

Gartner weans firms off Windows XP

framedwindowsDespite Windows XP and Office 2003 support ending in April 8 2014, more than 15 percent of midsize and large businesses are still, and will continue using the OS Gartner has said.

The company has decided to help heal the IT world and put together some recommendations on how companies can wean themselves off the OS as well as the risks associated with sticking to them.

Michael Silver and Steve Kleynhans, vice presidents in Gartner’s client computing team pointed out that not having support means that organisations’ PCs could be vulnerable to attack.

New vulnerabilities are always being found, and new vulnerabilities that are found in more current products could affect Windows XP and Office 2003, the duo said.

They warned that any unpatched device could be vulnerable to attack, even a private network  that has no internet access. They explained that this was because another device, even one running a supported product, could be infected with malware outside the private network and bring it onto the private network, infecting other devices.

Many applications will no longer be supported while running on Windows XP, which the pair said meant organisations could be on their own to resolve issues and problems leading to system downtime.

Organisations that are not almost or completely finished migrating off Windows XP and/or Office 2003 should reassess their position by reviewing their project plans and ensuring that they are on target to meet the deadline, Gartner said.

It said companies that were afraid they were unlikely to complete their migration projects by April 2014 should prioritise their applications and users so they could reduce the risks by addressing critical resources first.

Conducting several analyses on their application portfolios to help safeguard the company after XP support ends, and in preparation for Windows 7 or 8 migrations would also help businesses.

EE pledges jobs, sustainability

eeCarrier EE has published its first Responsibility Report, and we’re sure the PR cogs were working overtime to get it word perfect.

Within its musings, the company claims it has identified twelve areas that need improving, including reducing its environmental impact, keeping children safe and building further sustainability in its supply chain.

It also promised that by 2015 it will improve the digital skills of 1 million people, as well as recruit 500 apprentices into its business

The company has said it will be launching an EE graduate scheme and has committed to
supporting Plotr, the government-supported careers portal which is set to launch this year.

EE said its HR team will begin an initiative in schools, supporting 10 week-long work experience placements at its Bristol office for students from local secondary schools.

The pledges come as a new survey found that a quarter of Brits can’t be bothered to report broadband issues. According to comparison website, of the 1447 people it asked  74 percent blamed slow internet issues on ‘heavy traffic’ and fail to report slow connectivity to their internet service provider.

Just over a third said they only reported a problem when ‘connectivity stopped entirely’, while 11 percent stated that they ‘never’ reported issues.

Economic turmoil wreaks supply chain havoc

supply-chain-managementThe never ending economic crisis was to blame for more supply chain disruptions last year than insolvencies and horrible weather. According to a survey by Dynamic Markets, commissioned by Oracle, more than half of major companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) suffered supply chain disruptions caused by economic woes.

TalkTalk faces “doublespeak” wrath of ASA

PhoneTalkTalk has faced the simpering wrath of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The telecoms company has been told off after it promised customers a “free” YouView box alongside a TV and phone package on a TV ad.

A direct mailing advert also had the same promise.

The complainant challenged whether the claims that the YouView box was “free” in the ads because there was a £50 installation fee.

TalkTalk said its offer of a YouView set top box was a conditional purchase offer in accordance with the CAP Guidance on the use of “free”. It explained that the price of itsPlus telecoms package was established in the marketplace prior to the addition of the free set top box.

At the time the YouView box was introduced, it said it did not increase the price of the paid-for items, for example the Plus telecoms package.

TalkTalk also tried to cover its tracks explaining that that installation of the YouView box had to be undertaken by an engineer so as to ensure proper activation of the TV service. It said The engineer installation charge had not been inflated to recover the cost of the free YouView box and pointed out that both ads made clear that there was a £50 installation charge with the free YouView box.

The ASA said it understood that the £50 engineer installation fee was payable by all consumers who opted to take the YouView box and that the YouView box and the £50 fee were inextricably linked.

However, it pointed out that when a consumer unbundled the YouView box from the telecoms subscription, they effectively paid £50 less, which was the cost of the installation fee.

Because the fee was payable to TalkTalk and not a third party, all consumers who took up the claimed “free” offer were charged £50 more than those who did not.

The watchdog said it therefore considered that because the YouView box and the £50 fee were inextricably linked, the claims that the box was “free” were misleading.

It ordered that the claims should not appear again in their current form and told TalkTalk to take care in future when describing an item as “free”, in the future.

Tesco profits flag

tescoTesco is facing the same fate as many other businesses, reporting the first annual profit loss in nearly 20 years.

The supermarket giant said pre-tax profits were down 51 percent to £1.96 billion, while post-tax profits including the cost of its £1.2 billion US exit were £120 million, marking a decrease of 95.7 percent.

The company confirmed that it would be backing out of the US after its investment in 190 Fresh and Easy stores failed to make it a profit.

In Blighty the company has also announced a property write down of £804 million. This was as a result of a review by the company, which uncovered more than 100 sites, scooped up five years ago for potential stores, now lying dormant.

In a blog post, head honcho Philip Clarke said: “Much of this property was bought more than five years ago, some more than 10 years ago.

“That is before the 2008 financial crisis, before the iPhone, social media, tablet computers, before we knew how profoundly technology would change both how we and our customers live and shop.

“Technology has changed much that we all took for granted and it is still changing. The last five years have shown that change in retail can be disruptive and come in sharp steps, not a steady trend. We must anticipate change and act decisively so we looked hard at the land we own and conclude that although we have a strong and attractive network of stores, we will never develop some of this land, mostly the very large mixed-use developments.”

The past three months have also not been favourable to the company, with Tesco claiming its sales, not including petrol, only rose by 0.5 percent. This was a decrease from the growth the company faced in six weeks to 5 January when the company marked a 1.8 percent rise as a result of Christmas shopping.

Measles hits distribution channel

fgwAs the measles crisis reaches dangerously high levels, a GP has spoken about under the table payments and the rush to get hold of single vaccines. Meanwhile, First Great Western is offering MMR injections to people under 25.

The now retired medical professional  also pointed out that research has both suffered and improved as a result as it is now far more regulated, while the “scare-mongering” has created a huge UK risk.

His comments come as Wales is currently experiencing an epidemic of measles. Last week the cases had risen by 73 to 693 in the Swansea area with professionals warning that the outbreak wouldn’t reach its peak for another four weeks.

The country is now furiously racing around trying to get as many teens vaccinated as possible.
First Great Western has also waded into the crisis, with reliable sources claiming the train company would be offering the vaccine to anyone under 25.

The government, which has been blamed for the outbreak, is now targeting schools and offering immunisations to 10 to 17 year olds – the age group likely to have missed out on being given the jab as a result of research released in the 1990s.

The study, carried out by now discredited Dr Andrew Wakefield’, linked the MMR jab to autism. However, after the initial hype died down, the Government, which initially backed these findings, and scientists, insisted that MMR was safe.

By this point the damage had already been done.

“The world went mad when the research about the vaccine came out all those years ago and the number of those choosing to get their children vaccinated fell rapidly,” the retired GP told ChannelEye.

“We went from packed waiting rooms to days when no one would show up, despite our reassurances that it was safe.

“Mums were running around trying to get the single inoculations, with some going as far as France to pick them up and paying GPs, maybe under the table, over here to administer them.
However, the children who didn’t have the jab are now suffering, as is a nation, which is now experiencing this outbreak.

The medical world, which has for so long backed research, is of course now more cautious about releasing research, which could have a knock on effect. Does it stifle innovation? Yes I suppose it does.

“On the flip side, it also shows research has to be carried out far more intensively before it potentially destroys communities.

“It was all scaremongering but people jumped on the bandwagon and that was that.”

However, one mum isn’t so sure, claiming her child “has never been the same” since the MMR jab.

“I don’t really talk about it because it upsets me, but he was never the same after that jab,” she said.

However, as many professionals have pointed out, the signs for autism do usually come out at around 12-18 months, the same time that the jab is traditionally given.