Tag: software

Customers fear Microsoft audits

damsel-terror-gifCustomers have a rather serious fear of a Microsoft software audits, according to a new survey.

Snow Software has found that the prospect of a Microsoft software audit puts most customers into a state of panic.

While most software audits spark terrors of sudden licensing costs and threats of fines and court action, those from Microsoft, SAP and Oracle are the worst.

Snow Software found that three quarters of those SAM and IT managers it quizzed saw Microsoft as the vendor audit to be feared the most. There were high levels (53 percent) for Oracle and SAP (33 percent).

Microsoft has been a heavy auditor and pounded on the doors of 68 percent of firms in the last year.

What creates the fear is not so much the resulting fines but also the fallout of having to explain to senior management just why those unplanned costs had occurred and the disruption it could cause to the business.

Matt Fisher, vice president of Snow Software said that while he expected to see Microsoft reported as having the highest volume of audit activity, it was surprising to see them take the number one slot in terms of being feared by their customers.

“In our experience, Microsoft is actually one of the least aggressive and difficult software auditors.  We typically hear far more horror stories from customers that have been audited by Oracle or Attachmate (now Micro Focus),” he added.

FAST rewarding whistleblowers

r-1417839-1397651202-4169-jpegThe Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is planning to start a scheme where it will financially reward whistleblowers.

The incentive payment agreement works on the basis that if a report from a whistleblower leads to the successful identification of illegal software then there will be a payment of 55 percent of the historic use payment. In some companies that could be a lot of dosh.

FAST hopes that it will encourage more people to come forward and grass up their companies.

FAST CEO Alex Hilton said piracy figures are declining in the UK, but there remains a hard core of users who are intentionally using unlicensed software. It has announced a new damages programme to punish companies and now it wants to reward individuals who know that the organisations they are working for are intentionally misusing software.

In most cases the vast majority of cases where FAST comes across under-licensing in business, it is the result of oversight. In those cases FAST will help ensure that their software is compliant.

However company bosses who are deliberately ignoring their software licensing responsibilities should be warned that FAST is coming at them with a big financial stick,” he added.

Whistleblowers can report illegal software use via the FAST hotline or through the web. A report, which clearly details the use of unlicensed products, then needs to be submitted for the group to act on.

FAST has found that in the past job preservation was preventing more whistleblowers from coming forward. The reward system might encourage greater willingness to speak out against illegal activity.

Adobe has given up on software audits

Adobe Analysts working for Gartner have noticed that Adobe has abandoned its software audits.

Big G research director Stephen White blogged saying that the programmes were closed in the North America, Japan and Latin America markets since November 2015.

“Closure of the EMEA program (sic)  is currently underway; the company states it will maintain audit/compliance programming only in select markets throughout APAC,” he wrote.

Until recently, Adobe was also one of the top five most active auditing software publishers according to Gartner client surveys. However, the elimination of Adobe’s audit and licence compliance programme is not terribly surprising, considering the company’s aggressive conversion to SaaS subscriptions, and implementation of monitoring services including the Adobe Genuine Software Integrity Service.

White thinks this is a good thing, because it shows the company’s move to software-as-a-service has eased its piracy and counterfeiting problems to the extent that it doesn’t need to conduct audits any more.

With SaaS the outfit can see just what its customers are up to and fire off automated reminders of licensing obligations and take them to court if they ignore the request.

 

Microsoft’s profit falls thanks to strong dollar

dollarSoftware giant Microsoft reported a fall in its quarterly profit as sluggish PC sales dampened demand for Windows software and the company struggled with the impact of the strong US dollar.

Shares of the world’s largest software company, which have surged to 14-year highs in the past few months, fell three percent.

The fall did not seem to faze the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street who seemed to be expecting it. Not much can really stand up to a high dollar pressure and most thought the numbers were good enough.

Microsoft’s flagship Windows business has been under pressure for three years as PC sales have declined, although the market appears to be stabilising in recent months.

Currency shifts against the strong U.S. dollar also crimped profit in the fiscal second quarter, ended December 31, although Microsoft did not specify by how much. Microsoft gets almost three-quarters of its revenue from overseas, but a significant amount of that is still in US dollars.

Commercial licensing is chiefly sales of Windows and Office to business customers, which is Microsoft’s biggest revenue generator.

Microsoft reported profit of $5.86 billion for the latest quarter, compared with $6.56 billion last year.

Sales rose eight percent to $26.47 billion, largely due to the acquisition of Nokia’s phone handset business last year.

Analysts had expected revenue of $26.3 billion including some restructuring costs.

 

Worldwide IT spending still to grow

Pic Mike MageeIT spending worldwide will reach $3.8 trillion 2015 – that’s up 2.4 percent from last year.
But market intelligence company Gartner has warned that its earlier prediction of 3.9 percent will be affected by the rise in the price of the US dollar as well as conservative sentiment about services and devices.
But Gartner research VP John-David Lovelock sought to play down the reduction.  He said it “is less dramatic than it might at first seem.  The rising US dollar is chiefly responsible for the change.  Stripping out the impact of exchange rate movements, the corresponding growth figure is 3.7 percent.”
Gartner breaks down the spending by categories as follows:

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 12.09.23

Datacentre systems will be worth $143 billion in 2015, while enterprise software will total $335 billion.
There will be a price war in cloud per seat during 2015 with price drops of as much as 25 percent right through until 2018.  Vendors are discounting cloud offerings heavily, said Gartner.

 

Github too open saucy for porn companies

INDUSTRY HP 1Open Sauce depository Github is being hit in a crossfire between porn companies and torrent sites.

Several Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaints filed to Google by the porn companies have taken down dozens of legitimate GitHub URLs.

GitHub support pages, entire code repositories, and user profile pages have all been purged from Google and Tomasz Janczuk, a former Microsoft employee, had part of his GitHub repository ​removed from Google’s search results by a company representing Adam & Eve, a porn production company.

Janczuk said that removing GitHub pages from Google’s search results could harm the open source software community by reducing its visibility online.

Apparently Adam&Eve thought that Janczuk’s URL, “https://github.com/tja​nczuk/edge,” was apparently too close to The E​dge, a 2001 flick made by the company.

Of course it is not just the porn companies doing this. Other GitHub pages have been taken down by the music companies for similar reasons.

All of it is because the content groups are using the dumbest method to find P2P content – that of URLs rather than actually checking if the site infringes their copyright.

GitHub does have a DMCA ​policy​ requires that users be notified of complaints levied against them and given time to correct the issue. Google handles its 345 million yearly takedowns nearly automatically .

Nicky Case, developer of Nothing​ to Hide, an open source indie game was target​ted by Total Wipes in September for having the word “hide” in its GitHub​ URL, in an email. In the end however his software was not taken down from Google’s search results.

But he said that if his GitHub repository was less famous, maybe it wouldn’t have gone as well.

 

Indian software market grows again

flaggThe accession to power by the “business friendly” BJP party in India has resulted in the software market starting to grow again.

That’s according to a report by market intelligence firm IDC, which said during the first half of this year, the market grew by 10.7 percent, compared to the first half of 2013.

IDC thinks the market will continue to grow in the next five years with a compound annual growth rate  (CAGR) of 10.5 percent.

Areas of growth include mobile application development and device management, security software, systems software and engineering applications.

Shweta Baidya, a senior market analyst at IDC, said that large and small to medium enterprises want to curb capital expenditure and move into the cloud.

Virtualisation and cloud players like Vmware, Salesforce and Red Hat generated good business, and database and analytics companies including Teradata, Oracle, Qlik and others saw double digit growth.

IDC provided a pie chart which shows market share in the region.

indiapie

SAP to stop buying companies

sapbeerAfter a spending spree that saw it spending over $7 billion software company Concur, German CRM giant appears to have decided enough is enough.

CEO Bill McDermott told a conference in Barcelona today that SAP is going to “step down” its acquisition efforts.

It had pledged to buy itself into a position of real power in the market, but according to a report by Reuters it was going to tuck itself into bed and that would probably put people to sleep.

SAP has seen some tough times in the recent past but McDermott believes it now has a business plan that will see it do reasonably well between 2015 and 2020.

SAP’s major competitors include Salesforce, Oracle and Workday and that market is becoming increasingly competitive.

McDermott’s strategy is to sell more of its products through the cloud, and that makes it just like every other vendor and therefore more vulnerable to competition too.

Marketing firms scan online snaps

19th-century-photographerMarketing firms are scanning the 1.8 billion photos posted every day to social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook looking for clues about what to peddle you.

US company Ditto Labs has created a program which ‘reads’ digital photos Software scans photos for brands and analyses the facial expression with it.

This data then builds profiles of people to help targeted advertising. Apparently, this is being used by Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Procter & Gamble and Adidas.

The software, created by Ditto Labs in Massachusetts, also ‘reads’ the background, the person’s clothing and even the location of the photo in a bid to glean as much information as possible as the customer and how they view the product or brand.

The wealth of information is then used to set up a profile which spells out exactly how that customer should be targeted by advertisers.

Liberty rights campaigners have warned the process goes ‘far beyond’ what most users should expect and that companies should seek permission before passing on the information to third parties.

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, a campaign group set up to challenge policies which it believes threatens privacy, said  scanning our photos for logos and certain backdrops will go far beyond what many would expect companies to do with the photos we post.

“If companies want to use our data in this way, explicit permission should be sought. It is also only right that users ask for complete transparency about what data will be collected, analysed and who it will be sold on to,” she said.

Computer scientists began creating the program more than a decade ago. Other brands include Adidas, which, through the program, discovered that 13 percent of its ‘Adidas population’ are also interested in Justin Bieber. Of course, 87 percent want him killed on sight. Budweiser has found that beer drinking generally peaks at 11PM, presumably because its customers are returning their rented product.

 

Big Data market growing exponentially

server-racksAnother survey on the growth of big data technology and services underlines the growth in this sector of the IT market.

Market research company IDC predicts that the western Eurpean big data market will grow between now and 2018 at a compound annual growth rate of 24.6 percent.

IDC said that western European organisations are catching up with the USA rapidly because of a combination of smaller datasets, challenging economies and privacy concerns.

The market sector is segmented into infrastructure, such as servers, storage and networking;  software; and services.  Storage was worth $536 million in 2013, while the server market is worth $314 million.  But the largest segment is software, worth an estimated $698 million last year, followed by services which was worth $593 million.

IDC said the UK, Benelux and the Nordic countries are showing higher initial adoption, but Germany and France are fast catching up.

But Alys Woodward, research director at IDC, warned that getting value from investments in big data is far from guaranteed. Vendors need to clearly demonstrate to their customers how their organisations can benefit from adoption.

Software errors cause Euro GPS to get lost

gallioEurope’s global positioning satellite project is not off to a good start after software was blamed for placing the satellites in the wrong orbit.

It does not bode well when a software project which is supposed to help Europeans find themselves to within 10 feet, can’t place its own satellites in the correct orbit, but that is exactly what has happened.

To be fair, the problem was not with the European Union’s Galileo satellites but  software errors in the Fregat-MT rocket’s upper-stage.

According to a Russian newspaper Izvestia a nonstandard operation of the integrated management system was likely caused by an error in the embedded software. As a result, the upper stage received an incorrect flight assignment, and, operating in full accordance with the embedded software, it has delivered the units to the wrong destination.

Both the upper-stage and the software for it were developed by a Moscow-based government-owned corporation, the Academician Pilyugin Scientific-production Centre of Automatics and Instrument-Making, or the Academician Pilyugin Centre.

The Arianespace satellite launch company, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos are currently investigating the incident.  It just seems a pity that the Europeans did not have a rival to the Russian or American mapping systems.

 

Intel’s TSX development grinds to halt

ship-wreckA bug in Intel’s Haswell CPU core TSX instructions has stopped developers from using the chip function, according to Techreport 

The TSX instructions promise to make certain types of multithreaded applications run much faster than they can today.

But that work may stop because Haswell’s TSX implementation has bugs that can cause critical software failures.

Intel revealed the news of the bug to a group of hacks during briefings in Portland last week. The TSX problem was apparently discovered by a software developer outside of Intel and it is a cock up of huge proportions.  Bugs of this size aren’t often discovered this late in the life of a CPU core.

Intel has disabled the TSX instructions in current products using a CPU microcode update delivered via new revisions of motherboard firmware.

While disabling TSX should ensure stable operation for Haswell CPUs, it does mean that those chips will no longer be capable of supporting TSX’s features, including hardware lock elision and restricted transactional memory.

If any software developer does want to work with TSX will have to avoid updating their systems to newer firmware revisions and retain the risk of TSX-related memory corruption or crashes.

The bug was discovered too late to be fixed in the first revision of Intel’s upcoming Broadwell Y-series chips and will not be part of the Core M-based tablets to be released later this year. First production Broadwell chips will also have TSX disabled via microcode.

Intel said that it will have a fix for Broadwell’s next incarnation. Given that most Haswell and all Broadwell systems affected are shipping in consumer-class systems, the impact of this TSX snafu should be small. TSX is mostly for server-class applications. Intel’s server-class Xeon lineup relies on the older Ivy Bridge core, which lacks TSX.

Putin the thumbscrews on Western tech companies

imperial_russiaTsar Vladimir Putin is taking his revenge on the US for bringing in sanctions against its Ukraine activity by cutting back on the use of American technology.

Apparently Putin is cross about the sanctions which froze the business assets of some of his closest business supporters. He thinks he should be allowed to supply missiles to pro-Russian supporters to use how they see fit without any world sanctions.

It looks like Putin is taking out his frustrations on US companies like Microsoft and IBM and ordering the country to be less reliant on Yankee tech.

Russia’s executive secretary of the commission for the State Duma, Andrey Chernogorov, was quoted as saying, “This all has to do with sanctions. Given the current international tensions, substituting imports with local software and hardware becomes the key to ensuring self sufficiency.”

The State Duma is currently in the process of drafting a bill which would seek to replace products from Microsoft and IBM in favour of software and hardware made by local companies.

It looks like the Russians will eventually only buy products that do not need to be imported or have licensed components.

It is not clear how that will play out yet. Probably some support or pressure to move to Open Source products. That might work well with the software, but hardware dependence on US, made in China, goods will be harder to shake.

Microsoft knows you are rubbish

Microsoft campusResearchers at Microsoft think they have found the secret of when someone is accidently introducing a bug into the software they are developing.

Microsoft researcher Andrew Begel said that instead of trying to go through a developers rubbish code looking for bugs it is possible to tell by looking into the developers eyes.

He hit on the idea of measuring the attributes of the developers themselves to see what cognitive or emotional issues lead to buggy code or lowered productivity.

This would enable employers to intervene and stop them from causing developers to make mistakes in the first place.

Begel has carried out tests using psycho-physiological sensors to measure developers’ reactions to tasks. He used eye-tracking technology, electrodermal-activity sensors (which measure changes in the skin’s ability to conduct electricity), and electroencephalogram sensors (which evaluate electrical activity in the brain).

Using this data, Begel was able to predict the difficulty of a task for a new developer with a precision of nearly 65 per cent. For new tasks the precision was even greater – almost 85 per cent.

Begel suggests that reducing the contrast on the display and making the fonts harder to read would force the developer to apply more brainpower to read and understand the code.

He added that Begel’s system makes no distinction between critical mistakes and minor mistakes, inevitably leading to unnecessary delays.

“I’m pretty sure that the industry could take pieces of the research that would help us understand better why mistakes are happening and when, and therefore how to try and avoid that,” said Shulman.

 

UserReplay, Star-Archats team up

cosyUserReplay has got all cosy with with Star-Achats.

The Session replay software startup has signed a deal with the French distributor in a bid to expand its reach into the pan-European eCommerce market.

According to Star-Achats the French eCommerce market now includes 120,000 e-commerce sites and will account for more than 53 billion Euros in transactions in 2013.

It added that major French financial institutions were also increasing their online banking offerings.

The company, which represents American and British software companies in the growing French-speaking markets of France, Belgium and Switzerland, said UserReply would fit in well in the markets as because of these factors.

UserReplay is claimed to allow users to record, re-run and analyse every visitors’ journey through a website. This aims to help customer service desks and support staff can use this information to quickly identify problems with the website.

Apparently this saves days for the web development team as they don’t have to try and replicate what happened based on vague details from the customer.

Other key uses of session replay are in resolving complaints and disputes with customers, recovering abandoned checkout pages and even protecting against online fraud.