Saturday, February 28, 2009


Dell's net income dips 48 pct; may cut jobs

IT giant Dell reported an 48 per cent decline in net income and said it could cut jobs in the Asia-Pacific region as its plans to save USD four billion to tide over the economic slowdown.

Without specifying the quantum of job cuts and the geography, Dell President (Small and Medium Business) Steve Felice said in a teleconference, "The job cuts were minor in South Asia as this region has a professional talented pool and going ahead though I can't comment on the exact number, I anticipate it to be minimal."

Asked if the company was looking at cutting workforce at its Bangalore facility, Felice said, "I cant comment on the specifics. The Bangalore facility has the second largest population (headcount) globally."

The US-based firm's net income dipped 48 per cent to USD 351 million for the quarter ended January 31, 2009, against USD 679 million in the same period last year.

The company's revenue stood at USD 13.42 billion in the quarter ended January 31, 2009 as against USD 15.98 billion during the same period a year ago, a decline of 16 per cent.

For the fiscal ended January, Dell's revenue stood at USD 61.10 billion, down from USD 61.13 billion a year ago.

With the IT industry facing turbulent times globally, Dell has also raised its fiscal 2011 cost-reduction goal to USD four billion from USD three billion.

Syntel expected to lay off 1,500 people in India(chennai and pune centres)

Sytnel, a mid segment IT and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) firm that caters to the banking, financial servcies and insurance (BFSI), healthcare, retail and automotive sector is expected to lay off around 1,500 people from the firm's Chennai and Pune centres.

These employees constitute as much as 15% of the company's employee strength of 10,500 in India, say sources close to the development. Globally, Syntel has around 12,300 employees.

When contacted, Shrikanth Karra, global HR head, Syntel, said that there were no major layoffs this year and things were routine.

He says, "Every year we lay off poor performers during March -April. These are about 5-7% of our total employee strength and the number was around 600 people last year. We haven't laid off such a huge number this year but just 50 people that were scanned as poor performers." Karra also added the firm has transferred around 300 people from IT services to KPO as the bench strength had grown and the company wanted to reduce these numbers.

"We have transferred around 300 trainees to KPO because we have had a huge bench with us. We wanted to reduce the bench and as well provide cross training with domain skills to these employees." He adds, that the company will continue to evaluate non-performers and that they are expecting to reduce the employee count by another 50 people under the process.

However, exigencies from the business side are expected to force the management to take this step. Already, the new project order flow has plateaued, despite there being encouraging enquiries.

Karra says, says that its US clients are coming back and the firm is experiencing similar number of enquiries as it was last year. "Like the entire industry, we too are seeing an increase in adoption of off-shoring. However, decisions are being delayed by at least a few months."

Currently, banking and financial services contribute as much as 56% of the company's revenue while insurance contributes around 19%, healthcare 14% and automotive 4%.

Karra reiterates saying, "We don't project on how many number of employees we may add during the year but we would just look at the 'just in time' hiring way."

Hence, with the project order flow slowing down, the management is expected to look at downsizing the staff strength, say sources.

Currenlty, Syntel hasaround 4,500 employees in Mumbai, 2,500 in Chennai, 3,500 in Pune and its US based office has 1,500 employees.

-Syntel has around 12,300 employees globally
-Transferred around 300 people from IT services to KPO
-Banking, financial services contribute 56% of company's revenue
-Insurance contributes around 19%
-Healthcare 14% while automotive contributes 4%

Laid-off Spansion employees outraged over execs' pay increases

Earlier this week, as 3,000 employees of Spansion, the Sunnyvale semiconductor company, were being laid off, many of their bosses were getting pay increases.

That juxtaposition — against the backdrop of the deteriorating economy and nationwide anger about greedy executives — has triggered outrage among the workers who have been let go.

Scores of the laid-off workers jammed a West San Jose pizza parlor Thursday to join two class-action lawsuits against the firm and to vent their anger. Click here for complete story.

Software Paradigms Infotech plans to hire 200 people

Even as the world is wailing about the deepening recession and the resultant job cuts, Mysore based Software Paradigms Infotech (SPI) is planning to open a new IT Development and BPO center in Mangalore and employ up to 200 resources in the field of IT and ITeS during the first year of operation. An IT and BPO player, SPI will be setting foot in Mangalore by starting operations in the incubation center provided by STPI.

Limited Brands layoffs 400

Lower-than-expected holiday sales have led Limited Brands to lay off 400 workers, 230 of them at its Columbus headquarters. Of the 400 jobs, 230 are in Columbus and 90 are in New York, said spokeswoman Tammy Roberts Myers. She declined to spell out where the rest of the workers are employed. The layoffs are effective March 7, but do not include any hourly store or hourly distribution workers, she said. Severance packages were offered based on time employed with the company and include health coverage during the severance period, as well as outplacement services, Myers said.

Sub-Zero to lay off up to 350 workers

Slow sales are forcing Sub-Zero Freezer/Wolf Appliance to lay off up to 350 workers on or after May 1. The company builds high-end refrigerators, freezers and cooking appliances. In January, 79 workers were laid off at the Wolf Appliance Division in Madison.

Dave Goodspeed, representing Local 565 of the Sheet Metal Workers Union, confirmed the layoff report. He said the union would be working to help retrain the soon to be laid off workers and assist them in obtaining unemployment benefits.

Infosys Expects Outsourcing Services to Recover in 2010

Infosys Technologies Chief Executive Kris Gopalakrishnan believes 2010 will bring a turnaround in IT outsourcing services, reports RTT News. The India-based outsourcing company receives nearly 60 percent of its revenue from the United States.

As the economy worsens, companies are sending more businesses processes overseas, according to It quotes Ritesh Idnani, vice president and head of global sales and marketing at Infosys BPO, saying: "Companies are under pressure to cut costs, and are more receptive to new ideas that can help them do it."

Although India’s IT sector has grown consistently in recent years, the Indian chamber of commerce Nasscom predicts the country’s software and IT services to expand at a slightly lower rate than the previously forecast 20 percent. The sector may take a hit in profits with President Obama's plan to end to tax breaks for U.S. companies that outsource jobs abroad.

Deloitte Offers Green Company Cars to All Employees in UK

Getting a company car used to be a perk reserved for executives. Now Deloitte is changing that with the launch of a new program to make fuel-efficient cars available to all 12,000 permanent employees in the UK.

The company will provide fuel-efficient cars for employee use at a reduced cost, and take advantage of new tax incentives for clean car fleets. The new Deloitte “All Employee” company car program will save employees money and reduce carbon emissions.

Savings are expected in three key areas:

Employees: By trading earnings taxed at a high rate (31 percent) for a car taxed at a lower rate (10 percent), employees will save money. The cars will include leasing, insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance, and taxes, all at roughly half the cost of renting a car privately.

The employer: Will gain volume discounts, recover sales taxes on the vehicles and save on insurance.

The environment – Cars with lower CO2 emissions save on fuel costs by using less fuel.

Deloitte’s other green initiatives including its Green IT program, which includes reducing the number of printers, file servers and backup tapes. Deloitte also has adopted video conferencing and has provided employees carbon offset charge cards.

Indian Firms, Microsoft Top H-1B List

Indian outsourcers, along with Microsoft and Google, again lead the list of companies bringing foreign workers to the U.S. on the H-1B visa program. According to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS), Four India-based companies topped the list:

Infosys Technologies (INFY, India): 4,559 H-1B visas approved in 2008, 4,559 in 2007
Wipro (WIT, India): 2,678 H-1B visas approved in 2008; 2,567 in 2007
Satyam (SAY, India): 1,917 H-1B visas approved in 2008; 1,396 in 2007
Tata (TCS.BO, India): 1,539 H-1B visas approved in 2008; 797 in 2007
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT): 1,018 H-1B visas approved in 2008; 959 in 2007
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG): 248 H-1B visas approved in 2008
Lehman Brothers: 130 H-1B visas approved in 2008

In fiscal year 2007, six of the top 10 visa recipients were based in India; two others among the top 10, Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTSH) and UST Global, are headquartered in the U.S. but have most of their operations in India, according to BusinessWeek

The H-1B program, which started in 1990, was set up to allow U.S. companies to import the best and brightest in technology, engineering, and other fields when such workers are in short supply domestically. The H-1B visa program is currently capped at 65,000 per year, with another 20,000 set aside for advanced-degree graduates of U.S. universities.

USCIS will begin taking H-1B applications for the next fiscal year on April 1 and will distribute the new visas on Oct. 1.

Source: U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS)

Google apologizes over Gmail crash

Google has issued an apology to customers after a system crash left millions of users around the world unable to send and receive emails.

Google's web-based email service, Gmail, got shut for two-and-a-half hours from around 9.30am (UK time), frustrating individuals around the world who rely on the email tool for communication, reports the Daily Express.

According to Internet data company comScore, an estimated 127 million people have Gmail accounts - making it the third most popular email provider after Yahoo and Hotmail.

As technicians worked to fix the problem, the Internet giant apologised to users of the service, stressing that it was an 'unusual occurrence'.

Once the problem was resolved, Acacio Cruz, site reliability manager for Gmail, posted a statement on the Google blogspot apologising for the inconvenience.

The statement read: "We know that for many of you this disrupted your working day. We're really sorry about this and we did do everything to restore access as soon as we could. Our priority was to get you back up and running."

Google also revealed that its engineers were still trying to establish the root cause of the problem.

A representative for Google said: "The problem is now resolved and users have had access restored. We know how important Gmail is to our users, so we take issues like this very seriously, and we apologise for the inconvenience."

iPhone Not Doing So Well In Japan, Now Free

There are no official statistics available as how well the iPhone sells after Apple started offering it in the Japanese market. Now Softbank Mobile, one of Asia’s biggest tech companies and the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in Japan, thinks sales need a boost and decided to give away the hardware basically for free.

Yahoo CFO to leave as company reorganizes

Yahoo Inc Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen is leaving amid a broad reorganization initiated by new CEO Carol Bartz to
dismantle the "silos" that slowed down the Internet company.

Bartz, who took the reins six weeks ago, announced the changes in a blog post on Thursday, as well as in an e-mail to Yahoo employees.

Meltdown Effect: Web 2.0 Expo Europe 2009 Cancelled

A message on the German O’Reilly community blog indicates that the Web 2.0 Expo Europe, an annual event held in Berlin, Germany, has been suspended for this year in the face of the worst economic downturn in decades. (translated version here) The event, co-produced by O’Reilly Media and TechWeb, had been running for only two years.

Web 2.0 Expo Europe was widely known as an outstanding event for the European tech community with a host of excellent speakers, but like many companies O’Reilly and TechWeb are feeling the sting of the declining economy and are being forced to make difficult decisions. Obviously, this is bad news for European entrepreneurs and startups.

MphasiS: strong results, weak market valuation

Information technology (IT) services provider MphasiS Ltd, owned by Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), has reported strong results for the quarter ended January, defying the slowdown which caused most IT firms to report weak numbers for the December quarter.

MphasiS follows the November-October fiscal year to align with the practice followed at HP. Revenues grew by a strong 9.3% sequentially and net profit rose by nearly 15% between the three months to January, much higher than the low single-digit growth rates most IT firms reported for the December quarter.

The secret to MphasiS’ success lies in its parentage. HP and its services arm EDS outsource some of their work to MphasiS to cut costs. While software services work coming to the HP group has been affected owing to the slowdown, this hasn’t impacted the work flow pushed down to MphasiS because of the large difference in the size of the two firms.

The HP group reported services revenues of $8.75 billion (Rs44,362 crore) in the January quarter, while MphasiS’ revenues stood at around $200 million. Now, MphasiS derives 45% of its revenues from work pushed down by HP. This amounts to just about 1% of HP’s total services revenues. Even if, for arguement’s sake, HP’s services revenues fall by half owing to the slowdown, the quarterly revenues of around $100 MphasiS derives from HP is hardly at risk. HP contributed to 40% of revenues till October, which indicates its contribution has grown in the last quarter.

It’s not that all the credit of MphasiS’ better-than-industry performance goes to HP. The company has done well to contain costs and take full advantage of the depreciation in the rupee. According to the company’s chief financial officer, Susanto Banerjee, in the past year the company has improved employee utilization, pulled back on travel, and invested in sales and marketing.

But it’s clear that it doesn’t make sense to infer from MphasiS’ results that the IT industry isn’t in trouble. MphasiS’ business model is unique because of the work it gets from HP. Still, the market has valued it at only around 4.5 times annualized earnings for the January quarter.

MphasiS net profit up at Rs 210 cr

IT solutions and services providers, MphasiS (MPHASIS.NS : 168.5 -3.05) Group recorded net profit of Rs 210 crore for the quarter ended January 2009, showing a steep incline by 270% from Rs 56.7 crore in the corresponding quarter last fiscal.

Operating profit of the group for the quarter surged 246% to Rs 210.6 crore from Rs 60.8 crore, while revenue increased by 58.1% to Rs 977.7 crore from Rs 618.3 crore.

Friday, February 27, 2009

More work, less pay @ TCS

The infotech leader, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), said on Thursday that there would be no salary hikes for its employees next year. To cut costs, the company would also review the variable component in salary packages.

The company’s managing director and chief executive officer, S Ramadorai, did not rule out job cuts either if the business environment got worse. He told media here that TCS planned to increase the working hours of employees from 40 hours a week now to 45 hours from April 1. He said this was being done to better serve the company’s customers.

Ramadorai said, “The situation is so bad that one of our clients has asked for a 70 per cent price cut. We have told them of our inability to do so. In general, we have received a price reduction varying between four and 15 per cent. In this situation, we have decided to cut costs and increase our efficiency for long- term viability and sustainability.”

The variable pay component ranges from 20 to 35 per cent of gross salaries of the company’s 1,40,000 staff, and account for 8 per cent of its revenue. All lateral recruitments have been frozen except where urgently needed. Costs on other heads, including capital expenditure, are also being lowered.

The price pressure on TCS because of the global economic meltdown has also left an impact on the company’s recruitment plans. “We asked around 24,500 people to join our company in the next financial year. But we will take real- time decisions while recruiting them -- which means they will be inducted according to the need,” Ajoyendra Mukherjee, TCS vice- president and head of global human resources, said.

There is a bright spot in all this. TCS has been selected to provide IT services years for a suite of applications used by the Singapore Airlines group of companies, according to Girija Pande, head of TCS Asia Pacific.

Under the three-year agreement, TCS will continue to manage a significant portion of the airline’s IT systems, including 24x7 business critical applications ranging from passenger reservations to flight operations. The infotech company’s metrics-based management model and airline domain expertise will ensure make the airline more responsive to its customers.

Besides, its application rationalisation programme will help the airline minimise costs, reduce risks and increase business agility, Pande said.
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Microsoft slashes contract worker rates by 10 pct

Microsoft Corp. is slashing overtime, hours and pay for U.S. temporary workers as part of an overall push to curb expenses during the recession. Microsoft will cut what it pays the staffing agencies by 10 percent for current projects and won't raise the rate it pays for temporary workers who return after a mandatory annual 100-day break. The company also plans to reduce overtime and the total number of hours clocked by temporary workers.

Microsoft does not disclose how many contract workers it uses, and analyst estimates vary. Sid Parakh, an analyst for McAdams Wright Ragen, said he believes the number is somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000 worldwide. The company employs an additional 95,000 permanent workers globally.

In a statement Thursday, the company said it talked with some employment agencies before making the decision. Online advertising spending is also on the wane. Microsoft's online search and ad business was already losing money despite heavy spending to beef up the underlying technology. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said this week that the company would continue to pour money into competing with Google Inc. on this front.

The company relies on skilled contract workers for all sorts of jobs, from developing and testing software to designing Web sites to writing technical documentation. And it's not alone. Tech companies including IBM Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. routinely hire temporary workers; Google had 10,000 contractors as recently as October.

In the United States, a 2006 General Accountability Office report indicated that about 21.5 million U.S. workers find jobs through temp agencies, work as independent contractors or are self-employed. Inside Microsoft, the fine distinction between permanent and temporary workers was contentious enough to prompt a class-action lawsuit in 1992, in which contract workers argued they were treated exactly like permanent workers but offered fewer benefits. Microsoft settled in 2001 and began paying $72 million to nearly 8,600 former contract workers in 2005.

Cap Gemini sacks 2,000

Notice period? What notice period?
Questions are being raised about how IT consultancy giant Cap gemini is laying off employees in its Indian offices. The company sent out an email to employees early 2008 saying they need not serve a 90-day notice period when they quit their jobs. The notice period was reduced to 30 days. This was done without the consent of employees as it results in huge savings for the firm - Capgemini will now have to pay outgoing staffers a month’s salary instead of three months, an insider told IT Examiner.

Another message followed, asking employees to sign on a tailored resignation letter. While most employees fell prey to the nasty nip, few decided to snub the proposal, calling it illegal, said the source.

According to our source, this method has been adopted to lay off around 2,000 employees over several months, in Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata. In these tough times, it’s shocking to see companies choosing methods that can hardly be termed as legal to cut costs. Shrinking the notice period without employees’ consent is unethical.

Our source said that those who refused to sign the resignation letter pointed out that their appointment orders clearly states that the notice period extends to three months. The HR department responded by de-activating their email IDs and even threatened them, the source said.

A few employees, who spoke to Capgemini’s India HR head Dr. Sripada Chandrashekhar, were told that if the company decides to shrink the notice period from three to one month for 2,000 employees, it certainly has to be legal. “Following the massive revolt, Jnanes Kumar who was heading the HR process back then was deported to another division. Arun Kumar was brought in as replacement,” the source said.

A senior advocate, on condition of anonymity, told IT Examiner that, “as per Indian laws, companies cannot shrink the notice period in the case of permanent employees. But it can be done with those still on probation. Otherwise it is illegal to reduce the notice period without the consent of employees.' According to him, in such cases employees usually give up and sign the resignation letter. 'A company has an upper hand in these cases as employees are reluctant to individually sue the company fearing high expenses of the legal process. Even if one wins the case, there is no guarantee that the company will hire him/her in the same position. The best way to battle this is by approaching an employees’ union and fighting the legal case, making it more economical.'

IT-BPO union, UNITES has made an appeal to the Capgemini employees to raise their voice. “I am aware of what’s going on at Capgemini. Employees often commit a mistake by succumbing to the pressure. Capgemini has done the same thing by forcing them to sign it. We cannot intervene once they sign the resignation letter,” said UNITES India general secretary, R Karthik Shekhar told IT Examiner.

Shekhar added, “It’s illegal to violate the terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement. If they have promised three months’ pay, they have to hand it over the same day. This is unacceptable. Even if they throw workers out citing poor performance, this has to be given in writing.”

He made an appeal saying, “We can go to the labour commissioner with this problem only if the employees are courageous enough to talk to us.”

Capgemini failed to respond to our queries by press time. But do they have anything to say at all?
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TCS lays off U.K. Staff; Infy, Wipro to cut onsite staff

Bangalore: The credit crunch does not cease to take toll on jobs. As customers tighten IT budgets and demand more projects be executed offshore for cost saving, India's tech firms like TCS, Wipro and Infosys are cutting back their onsite staff anywhere between 5-10 percent, reports The Economic Times (ET).

TCS has already asked several employees in its U.K. office to leave, as the firm prepares to move more delivery functions to offshore locations like India. "TCS just laid off most of their marketing team in London, plus a number of professionals in the consulting division. It seems the target is high-end consultants who cost a lot to keep on the bench, and marketing," said a U.K. based expert. Though the exact number of those being laid off could not ascertain, a source said the number of those impacted could be above 100.

A TCS spokesperson confirmed the layoffs to ET. "To stay competitive and drive internal efficiency in a difficult operating environment, TCS U.K. has decided to optimize its operations. This has resulted in some involuntary attrition affecting fewer than one percent of our U.K. workforce," said a TCS spokesperson.

TCS serves customers such as British Airways, BT and United Utilities in the U.K.. The company has around 4,800 professionals working at almost 65 customer sites in U.K. and Ireland.

"An onsite resource is thrice as costlier as an offshore professional, so there is an obvious push to move more roles to cheaper locations," said a senior executive at a top Indian tech firm on the request of anonymity. Meanwhile customers such as Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have been pushing more work offshore, and are asking their vendors including Infosys to bring down the cost of delivering projects.

TCS puts 130 more UK staffers under scanner

India’s largest IT firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) might soon ask some more employees from its UK geography to leave. The company has already retrenched over 100 employees in the UK, a fact confirmed by company CEO & MD S Ramadorai in Kolkata today.

“Although I am not sure why the employees in the UK were asked to leave, two of the reasons could be that their contracts ended, or bad performance. Going forward, a lot of emphasis this year will be on employee efficiency,” he said. The company has already put 130 more employees under scanner. These recruits are working on its UK-based insurance client Legal and General’s (L&G’s) account.

Meltdown effect: 20,000 Indians return losing jobs abroad

About 20,000 Indians have returned home after losing their jobs overseas due to the global economic crisis, the government said on Thursday. Though the exact number of people who have returned is not available, there are reports which indicate that between 16,000 to 20,000 Indians have come back here after the economic slowdown, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vyalar Ravi told the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.

To a supplementary, the Minister said that the number of incidents of overseas employers keeping passport of Indian employees have come down by 50 per cent. But he did not provide the period when this reduction has been witnessed. He said the government is aware that some employers keep the employees' visas with themselves and do not renew these in time, rendering them illegal immigrants. The government is holding talks with foreign countries on the issue.

The UAE has issued direction to employers not to keep the visa of their employees, he added. The Minister also said there is a need to make changes in the Immigration Act, which was last amended in 1983. On the issue of migrant workers, he said the government has taken a number of initiatives, including signing of bilateral agreements to protect their interests. Asked how many Indians are in jails abroad, he said the government does not have the figure, but it is very vigilant and would collect the information.

Report: Salary freeze, reduction in increments in MNCs in India

Hit by the economic meltdown, R&D centres of multinational corporations in India have either resorted to salary freeze, reduction of average increments or postponed their merit increase cycle, according to a study conducted by a management consulting firm.

Zinnov Management Consulting, a leading management consulting firm, in its annual compensation and benefit study 2009 released in Bangalore said over 27 per cent of the participating organistions announced a salary freeze across the board.

The study, spread over Bangalore, Pune and Chennai,covered compensation and benefits analysis of software product development companies for the year 2009. Bangalore stands highest in its average salary for MNC R&D companies, followed by Pune and Chennai.

It said the percentage of salary freeze was expected to increase further in the coming months.

The average increment for 2009 announced by some participating organisations ranges from five to 12 per cent.

The study said of all the participating companies, 15 per cent have postponed their merit increase cycle and will take a call based on the economic scenario at a later stage. Similarly, 12 per cent of them have announced salary cuts ranging from five per cent to 10 per cent either to the senior management team or across all levels.

The study higlighted the fact that companies are shifting focus to the variable pay component to reward and retain top performers, as opposed to fixed pay and some of them have even restructured their compensation, linking employee rewards to individual and organisational results.

TCS extends contract with Singapore Airlines

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) today extended its contract with Singapore Airlines to provide IT services for three years to the latter for a suite of applications used by the Singapore Airlines Group of Companies.

After the end of the existing term, Singapore Airlines went through a formal vendor selection process and chose to partner TCS to support a range of processes and applications across the airline.

The 25 Most Dangerous Cities for Offshore Outsourcing

Note: Rankings based on mean scores in ten areas of risk as reported by The Brown-Wilson Group's "2009: The Year of Outsourcing Dangerously"
1. Bogota, Columbia
2. Bangkok, Thailand
3. Johannesburg, South Africa
4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
5. Kingston, Jamaica
6. Delhi/Noida/Gurgaon, India
7. Manila/Cebu/Makita, Philippines
8. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
9. Mumbai, India
10. Jerusalem, Israel
11. Curitiba, Brazil
12. Dalian, China
13. Juarez, Mexico
14. Brasilia, Brazil
15. Chandigarh, India
16. Colombo, Sri Lanka
17. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
18. Quezon City, Philippines
19. Accra, Ghana
20. Pune, India
21. Chennai, India
22. Hanoi, Vietnam
23. Bangalore, India
24. Hyderabad, India
25. Kolkata, India

The Worst Three Cities for--
Corruption & Organized Crime
1. Bogota, Colombia
2. Juarez, Mexico
3. Johannesburg, South Africa

Heightening Trans-national & Geopolitical Issues
1. Delhi/Noida/Gurgaon, India
2. Jerusalem, Israel
3. Colombo, Sri Lanka

Unsecured or Unprotected Networks and Infrastructure
1. Bogota, Colombia
2. Bangkok, Thailand
3. Kingston, Jamaica

Unstable Currency
1. Bangkok, Thailand
2. Bogota, Colombia
3. Johannesburg, South Africa

Personal Crime Rate/Police-to-Citizen Ratio
1. Bangkok, Thailand
2. Johannesburg, South Africa
3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Environmental Waste & Pollution
1. Bangalore, India
2. Chandigarh, India
3. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

High Terrorism/Rebel Target Threat
1. Mumbai, India
2. Delhi/Noida/Gurgaon, India
3. Jerusalem, Israel

Legal System Immaturity
1. Bangkok, Thailand
2. Bogota, Colombia
3. Kingston, Jamaica

Weather/Climate Threats
1. Kingston, Jamaica
2. Manila/Cebu/ Makati, Philippines
3. Bangkok, Thailand

Cisco Confirms Global Job Cuts; First Wave of Layoffs Begins

Cisco Systems Inc. cut several hundred jobs this week in the first wave of a planned 2,000-employee layoff. San Jose-based Cisco cut 250 jobs at its headquarters and said other jobs in U.S. and foreign offices were eliminated as well. An exact figure wasn't disclosed.

In a statement, Cisco said it "is constantly evaluating its business priorities, resources and overall employee alignment as part of our business management process. Cisco, which ended the January quarter with approximately 64,000 employees, said more cuts would follow.

Eclipse headed toward chapter 7 liquidation, all 800 employees laid off

Eclipse Aviation Corp., which makes the 6-seat Eclipse 500 very light jet in Albuquerque, said it will not contest a motion by senior secured creditors to convert Eclipse’s bankruptcy proceedings to a Chapter 7 liquidation.

Eclipse had already furloughed its remaining 800 employees on Feb. 18 because of the delays in financing negotiations. At that time, however, the company said it was a temporary move and it expected the deal to close and affected employees to return to work.

In a letter to employees on Feb. 24, Eclipse executives said the furlough had converted to a layoff effective as of Feb. 19, meaning no salaries would be forthcoming for paychecks due on March 5 and all benefits would end as of Feb. 28.

JP Morgan to trim 12,000 from WaMu headcount

JPMorgan Chase and Co. said today that it will eliminate about 12,000 jobs as it folds in the operations of recently acquired Washington Mutual. The New York-based bank said it expect to save about $1.35 billion from the cuts.

JPMorgan acquired the assets of Seattle-based Washington Mutual, the largest bank ever to fail in US history, at the end of September. It was not announced where the cuts will be made. Washington Mutual has a major presence in Oregon.
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TCS, Infosys & Wipro eye $3 bn UK outsourcing deals

At a time when the world’s biggest IT market — the US — is evaluating protectionist measures against offshoring of IT jobs, Indian companies such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro are preparing to bid for around $2-3 billion outsourcing contracts being fleshed out by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the ministry of justice in the UK.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

TCS may extend working hours

Come April, and TCSers may have to put in more working hours as compared to the current 40-hour, five-day week cycle. According to a report in a business daily, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is planning to increase its working hours by 10% to 15%. Commenting on the issue TCS spokesperson though said that the company till date has not made any changes in the working hours, added that TCS constantly reviews its efficiencies and looks at ways to serve customers better and improve its competitive position.

Experts feel that addition in working hours may help the company offset the losses it may incur from repricing of its existing contracts. According to analysts, a 10% increase in working hours can add half-a-million billable hours for TCS alone, considering that over 55% of the company's contracts are the Time & Material type.
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Infosys, Wipro hope Obama will not hurt US competitiveness

Indian IT bellwethers Infosys Technologies and Wipro Wednesday expressed confidence that the US would not take any measure that would hurt its global competitiveness.

Reacting cautiously to US President Barack Obama's remarks on outsourcing Tuesday, Infosys said outsourcing had enhanced the competitiveness of US corporations and had created more jobs within the US economy.

TCS asks several employees in UK office to leave

India’s biggest software exporter, TCS, has asked several employees in its UK office to leave, as the company prepares to trim its payroll costs and cope effectively with the recession by moving more roles and delivery functions to offshore locations such as India.

As customers tighten their IT budgets and demand more projects be executed offshore for cost savings, tech firms such as TCS, Wipro and Infosys are seeking to cut back their onsite staff anywhere between 5-10% in the first phase of rationalising their costs.

“TCS just laid off most of their marketing team in London, plus a large number of professionals in the consulting division,” said a UK-based expert familiar with these layoffs.” It seems the target is mainly the high-end consultants who cost a lot to keep on the bench, and marketing,” he added on conditions of anonymity.

While ET could not independently ascertain the exact number of professionals being asked to leave, the UK-based expert said the number of impacted professionals could be above 100.

When contacted by ET, a TCS spokesperson confirmed the layoffs.

“In order to stay competitive and drive internal efficiency in a difficult operating environment, TCS UK has decided to optimise its operations. This has resulted in some involuntary attrition affecting fewer than 1% of our UK workforce,” said a TCS spokesperson when contacted by ET on Wednesday. “This will not affect customers and they will continue to receive the high level and quality of service they have come to expect from us.”

TCS serves customers such as British Airways, BT and United Utilities in the UK. The company has around 4,800 professionals working at almost 65 customer sites in UK and Ireland.

Leading outsourcing customers such as GE and Bank of America plan to increase their offshore outsourcing in order to lower their cost of managing IT in the US and UK, where billing rates are more than half of what can be achieved by sending work to offshore locations such as India. “An onsite resource is thrice as costlier as an offshore professional, so there is an obvious push to move more roles to cheaper locations,” said a senior executive at a top Indian tech firm who did not wish to be identified. Meanwhile, as reported in ET few weeks ago, customers such as Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have been pushing more work offshore, and are asking their vendors including Infosys to bring down the cost of delivering projects.

Over past few months, RBS has brought down the number of onsite staff in UK by almost one third, and has relocated many positions at its Indian captive centre. RBS did not respond to an email query sent by ET a month ago. Infosys too did not respond to an email query sent on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Wipro corporate VP, HR, Pratik Kumar said, “Whenever such opportunities arise, we explore moving roles offshore, but these are client-agreed movements.”

TCS cries foul as ESIC awards Rs1,200 crore deal to Wipro

Questioning Employees' State Insurance Corporation's (ESIC) move of awarding a Rs1,200 crore IT contract to Wipro, Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) which is another bidder for the same contract, has filed a complaint at the labor ministry to which ESIC reports.

ESIC, a Union government agency providing health insurance to at least 10 million workers in the country, had invited bids for a project called Panchdeep. The project was designed to streamline registration filings and payouts at ESIC's 144 hospitals and 50 regional centers.

Apart from TCS and Wipro Infosys also was a bidder for the contract. Out of the three, Wipro was selected winner by ESIC on the basis of the lowest bid, in a second round of the tender process earlier this month. The two tenders were called within a span of three months after the first round was rejected on grounds of 'defective' submissions by the parties.

In the first tender, which was floated on 24 October and financial bids were opened on 19 November, TCS, which quoted Rs1,677 crore, the lowest price compared with a Rs1,890 crore quoted by Wipro and a Rs2,100 crore bid made by Infosys Technologies.

ESIC decided to cancel that tender round because, according to a corporation official, who did not want to be identified, the bids of Wipro and Infosys were found to be defective and the agency did not want to go with the lone bidder left, TCS, even though the Tata firm was the lowest bidder in the round.

But taking objection this, a senior TCS executive insisted that his company was told its bid was rejected because it did not include service tax (of 12.36 percent on certain components of its offer). Later, when the company asked for a clarification, ESIC said that all bids would have to include service tax, this executive added, requesting not to be named.

However, TCS believed its bid then was within the terms of the tender. "Our understanding is that we don't need to pay service tax," said the TCS executive. "Even if service tax was required to be paid, the onus of paying the tax would have been on us, not ESIC or the government," he added.

However, when the second round tender bids were opened, Wipro emerged the lowest bidder with a quote of Rs1,181 crore - about 37 percent less than its previous bid, two people familiar with the tender - the TCS executive and a senior executive at a software product vendor that would have benefited from the contract - said. TCS quoted Rs1,530 crore (8.77 percent lower than its earlier bid) and Infosys Rs1,791 crore (14.71 percent less).

The Wipro offer did not include service tax and should not have been considered going by the reasons for the rejection of the TCS bid in November, said these two executives.

Is job stress taking a toll on your relationship?
Mumbai-based couple Anu*, 28, and Shekhar Khanna*, 33, are at loggerheads most of the time. "He is so infuriating. Always gloomy and worried. I know times are bad, but will worrying make them any better? I wish he would lighten up and stay cheerful," complains housewife Anu of her husband.

For Hyderabadi couple Sumita*, 29, and Samir Tanna*, 34, things are hardly different. Sumita is a schoolteacher, while her husband works for a leading airline company and for a whole week now, they've been going about their jobs and not speaking to each other at all. Why? Because while she wants to refurbish their house, he would rather invest that sum of money.

These are just a couple of examples, when in fact innumerable couples today have it tough -- these are stressful times and uncertainty is looming large.

Shekhar's complaint is that his wife Anu is far removed from reality. "She lives in her own little world of kitty parties and movies, while I see dozens of people receiving the pink slip every day. I live in the real world and things aren't happy and cheerful. I can't smile and be buoyant. I'm worried about what the months ahead hold for me."

Samir has a similar grudge against his wife Sumita. He says angrily, "Is this the time to spend foolishly on refurbishing the house or an extravagant foreign holiday? I'm trying hard to explain to my wife that it isn't a good idea to take an expensive vacation abroad, but she thinks I'm being stingy!"

Akash Dadlani*, 36, a VP with an investment bank in Delhi [Images] says, "I've received a retention bonus from the bank where I work. I don't know if I'll have a job six months down the line and the job market isn't exactly brimming with offers. So I don't want to spend even a penny of this bonus. God forbid, if the bank asks me to leave and I don't have a job, this will be the only money we'll have to pull us through until I'm able to secure another position elsewhere. But my wife, Pinaki, thinks otherwise. She works for a small media firm and she knows that her salary isn't enough to sustain our financial liabilities. I wish she would think wisely in these troubled times."

Pinaki* argues, "I know we should be prudent with money and I'm not asking for a world tour. I think we should spend a small portion of the bonus he has got -- get away someplace nice and relax. The bonus is a huge amount. It wouldn't matter if we spend a lakh of rupees! I just want to get away from the madness, go to some nice place -- a good resort -- and enjoy taking a break with my husband."

Opinions and clashes -- this time of economic downturn truly isn't the best for romance and your relationship. While one reads in mainstream publications about high-flying investment bankers in New York trimming down on their partners' extravagances like exclusive spa memberships, shopping budgets and other frills, the average Indian couple back home is dealing with a lot of stress too.


Remember you're together to help and support each other through rough patches too, not just sunshine. It's when the going gets tough that your partner needs your loving support the most. If you're a stay-at-home spouse, educate yourself through magazines and television about the economic scenario. Be realistic. It isn't a prudent decision to squander money on refurbishing the house when people are losing jobs. Understand your spouse's worry. Seeing and reading about people losing their jobs is scary and it is natural for the man to worry. It makes sense to save money for a rainy day, should it arrive. Also remember that while you manage the monthly budget for the house, your partner needs to look at the larger picture -- housing loan, the children's education and much more. So if you aren't earning, at least be supportive.

Don't let your friends influence you

Don't let your friends influence you with their talk of buying the latest designerwear and taking foreign trips. Only you know your own finances. This isn't the time to follow the herd.

Says Nita Patel*, a homemaker from Mumbai [Images], "I was getting very influenced by a friend of mine who was planning a trip to the US. I started pressurising my husband to plan a grand Euro-trip. Then I realised how foolishly I was behaving. This isn't the time to squander Rs 4-5 lakh on a holiday. Later, I learned that my friend who was telling us about her impending trip was also spinning yarns!"

Keep your head firmly on your shoulders and don't let other's follies influence you.


There's no harm in penny-pinching when the times are bad. People all over the world are doing it. You'd be giving your partner the right signals and putting him at ease. It makes imminent sense not to overspend or indulge in impulse purchases. Before buying those new shoes, ask yourself -- do you really need them? You already have so many pairs.

Beat stress

While this isn't the time for expensive holidays and mindless spending, a bit of fun never killed anyone. Try to get away from the tension by taking a short break -- it doesn't have to be an expensive holiday, just somewhere nice and cosy. Go away, just the two of you, or with a group of friends -- whatever your preference -- and keep your worries at bay. Endlessly stressing about the situation will not make it go away. Especially for working couples, the tension can get a bit much with both stressed out. It can take a toll on your health and more importantly on the relationship. Don't let that happen.

Remember, what goes up must come down and vice versa. Nothing is permanent -- not even bad times. So this too shall pass. You enjoyed the good phase, now is the time to swim through the economic downturn. Just remember -- with winter here, spring can't be too far behind!

HCL Technologies laid off 450

India's IT services firm HCL Technologies has shown door to 450 employees at its Delhi and Bangalore offices. A majority of those axed were on the bench- the buffer of employees kept on the rolls for new projects, reports The Economic Times (ET).

An HCL Technologies official told ET that the company had sacked 400 people in Delhi and another 50 in Bangalore in the last one-two months. The firm had earlier asked those on the bench, to get assigned to projects or face the prospect of being asked to leave the firm, he said.

In an email reply, a company spokeswoman didn't comment on the number of people sacked by the company but indicated that the move was linked to the performance of employees. "HCL follows a systematic process of performance review and development, and the expectation of the organization is for employees to meet the stringent performance standards. This is a routine and ongoing process," she said.

As of December 31, 2008, HCL had about 52,957 employees. The global downturn has impacted the revenues of clients of Indian IT companies, thereby dampening demand for software services.

Express-News announces job cuts

San Antonio’s Hearst Corp.-owned daily newspaper says it will lay off 135 people and will not fill an additional 30 positions. The moves come as newspapers across the nation are facing declining advertising revenues and other economic challenges.

NFL boss takes 20 percent pay cut after job losses

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell has taken a 20 percent pay cut from the 11 million dollars in salary and bonuses he was to receive this past year, the league announced Wednesday. NFL officials also announced they have eliminated 169 jobs through layoffs, buyouts and cutting of unfilled positions, meeting a goal Goodell set in December to trim the league's staff of 1,100 by 15 percent due to budget woes.

Obama to stop outsourcing, India Inc worried

President Barack Obama's latest stand on outsourcing is worrying India- with the US already in recession and the President's announcements against outsourcing, the US is in protectionist mode.

“We will restore a sense of fairness and balance to our tax codes by finally ending the tax rates for corporation that ships our jobs overseas,” says President United States, Barrack Obama.

A strong warning by President Obama that will discourage US companies from outsourcing jobs to cheaper countries like India. In his first Congressional address, President Obama says it's time for America to lead again.

“We don’t accept that future where the jobs and industry of tomorrow take root beyond our borders and I know you don’t even, its time for America to lead again,” adds Barack Obama.

The President's constant anti-outsourcing tirade is a worrisome for India Inc. The industry's worries are understandable especially since India gets more than 60 per cent, or $64 bn, outsourcing work from the US.

This is not the first protectionist move the US has made since Obama took charge. Recently, it introduced an H-1B hiring ban for companies receiving bailout money.

The ban is likely to hit India's techies hard. Of the 65,000 H1-B Visas issued annually by the US government, 21,667 are to Indian techies.

For the Indian IT Industry, already hit by the recession, President Barack Obama's stand on outsourcing could not have come at a worst time.

Jabil Circuit cuts 900 jobs in Hungary

American electronics company Jabil Circuit Inc announced plans to slash 900 jobs at its Hungarian plant. Falling orders amid the global economic crisis lead to the layoffs, the company told local news agency MTI.

More than 4,000 people work at the plant in the Hungarian city of Tiszaujvaros, 175 kms east of Budapest. The company said on Jan. 28 that it would reduce its global workforce of 85,000 by approximately 3,000, affecting 10 sites around the world and saving the company $55 million annually.

Satyam's Mynampati may have to take huge salary cut

Ram Mynampati, former interim CEO of tainted Satyam Computer Services, and his other senior colleagues may have to take a huge cut in their salaries. The Satyam board, functioning on a shoestring budget, is vetting a proposal to slash target variable pay.

It has decided to lay off its top-level employees to trim costs. Other associates of the firm with 53,000 employees will see a pay cut. This would include those working overseas.

Ram Mynampati is a senior employee of the company and about a half of his remuneration package is target variable pay. As the company is planning to slash target variable pay of employees to cut cost, he will have to reckon with a much lower remuneration compared to Rs 3.5 crore he earned last fiscal, said a source. Going by remuneration he earns he is considered to be the most valuable asset of the company.

In fiscal year ended March 2008, his total package, including perks, worked out to Rs 3.5 crore. Mynampati, also a whole-time director of the erstwhile Satyam board, in fact earned more than the disgraced founder of the company B Ramalinga Raju.

Mynampati is the president of commercial and healthcare business of the company. His salary was proportionate to the business his division brings in. With Satyam faced with a financial crisis, he also will have to compromise on remuneration, the source said.

Last fiscal, Ramalinga Raju earned Rs 60.4 lakh, while his brother Rama Raju’s package was Rs 44.07 lakh. The remuneration package for the Satyam employees comprises of a variable and a fixed component. The variable component is around 10% at the entry level, 20% at the middle level and 30% at the senior management level. Half of the variable pay is a guaranteed payment. The other half is linked to three parameters including the performance of the company, the individual and the business unit.

Clearly, variable pay is the lever the company has to trim. There will be job losses at the I band (senior rung employees and executives). Employees in the other levels will face a uniform pay cut as a part of the cost rationalisation, said Hari T, global marketing and communications head, Satyam.

The company will also relocate its onsite employees in UK and Europe to low-cost countries to cut down on its operational expenses. This will include employees who provide pre-sales and post-sales services onsite. In addition, the company is also looking at slicing its marketing expanses as a part of its cost rationalisation programme.
However, the company will retain key associates working on site, including those who directly interact with the clients, Hari said.

Two of the companys senior officials-Subu D Subramanian, global head of manufacturing and automotives division and Anil Kumar, a senior vice-president-quit earlier last week.

Milliken layoffs 650

Spartanburg-based Milliken & Co. announced that it plans to lay off 650 employees worldwide.Richard Dillard, director of public affairs for Milliken, said the company-wide work force adjustment was because of a significant downturn in its industry brought on by the global economic crisis.

Dillard said the cutbacks are effective immediately and will be spread across the company's 47 global locations. The company has four plants and 1,300 workers in Spartanburg County. Dillard said only 12 local jobs will be eliminated as a result of the layoffs.

Japan's Advantest Corp cuts 1,200 jobs

Advantest Corp, the maker of chip assembly and testing equipment forecasted 60% decline in sales and plans to cut 1,200 jobs.

Dow Corning cuts 800 jobs

Dow Corning Corp. says it will cut 800 jobs, or about 8 percent of its 10,000-member global work force, because of the poor economy. The company, a joint venture between Midland-based Dow Chemical Co. and Corning, New York-based Corning Inc., will eliminate the jobs during the first half of 2009 through a combination of voluntary retirement programs and involuntary layoffs.

ALZA Corporation cuts 140 jobs

ALZA Corporation said that it would lay off 140 of 700 employees at its Vacaville office, a representative said. The pharmaceutical and medical delivery systems firm is part of Johnson & Johnson. They blame the layoffs on a delay in a new product. ALZA laid off 40 workers in a streamlining effort last year.

The company specializes in drug deliveries into the human body, representative Greg Panico said. The Vacaville office is located on Eubanks Drive.

P&G announces layoffs

130 to 150 contract employees at the Albany Procter and Gamble plant will be laid off. The layoffs are part of a cost saving measure for P&G.

Hilton Hotels Corp. preparing for layoffs; IT department will be affected

Industry sources say Hilton Hotels Corp. is preparing for numerous layoffs, possibly some in its IT department which is based in Memphis. Earlier this month, Hilton’s CIO, Tim Harvey, who is in charge of the company’s IT department, resigned effective March 31. Harvey will stay on for a year as a consultant, a Hilton spokesman confirmed late Tuesday.

Industry sources say layoffs could be communicated to employees as soon as Thursday, but how many people would be affected is unknown. Hilton employs around 1,100 people in Memphis.

Nortel to lay off another 3,200 workers

Nortel Networks Corp. today said it will lay off 3,200 workers in addition to the previously announced 1,800 layoffs as it undergoes a restructuring that is part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the U.S. and a similar creditor protection filing in Canada.

The Toronto-based network equipment provider said it could not say which locations the layoffs will occur. In all, the 5,000 combined layoffs will reduce Nortel's workforce by 16%, from about 30,000 to 25,000.

San Francisco Chronicle to cut jobs, might close

San Francisco may lose its main newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, as owner Hearst Corp cuts a "significant" number of jobs and decides whether to shut or sell the money-losing daily. The privately held New York-based publisher already is considering shutting a second West Coast paper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, in the face of a devastating decline in advertising revenue and big losses.

Founded shortly after Gold Rush fever hit California in the mid-19th century, the Chronicle has long been an essential part of daily life for many Bay Area residents, even as it sometimes disappointed or outraged them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MphasiS wins Rs 250-cr contracts from US

IT services provider MphasiS, an EDS company, is reported to have won a clutch of contracts worth $50 million (around Rs 250 crore) from US companies in the areas of systems integration and infrastructure technology outsourcing (ITO).

“The contracts reflect the resolve of American companies to strengthen their technology associations with Indian IT companies. The possibilities for offering integrated IT-BPO services on some of these contracts is high,” a source said. The ITO division is currently MphasiS’ fastest growing business with over 4,500 people servicing over 50 clients globally.

Over 28,300 people are on MphasiS’ rolls currently, servicing clients in the financial services, consumer, healthcare, government, transportation and retail industries. The company posted a consolidated net profit after tax of Rs 295 crore for the seven-month period ending October 2008, from Rs 140 crore posted in the corresponding period a year ago. Revenues in the April-October period touched Rs 1,907 crore as against Rs 1,353 crore posted a year earlier.

MphasiS’ blue chip clients include JP Morgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland, Fedex, Merrill Lynch and Citi. The company has said that it witnessed record EPS growth of 111 per cent in 2008 with operating profit increasing 72 per cent.

Now, Google will pay for e-mail outage with 15-day credit

Google Inc is making amends for an e-mail outage by giving 15 days of free service to businesses, government agencies and other subscribers who pay for an expanded version of the product. The concession is meant to placate customers who were cut off from their e-mail accounts on Tuesday for as long as four hours. The outage began at 09:30 GMT, causing more inconvenience in Europe and Asia than in the United States.

Most people use the free version of Google's Gmail. The Mountain View-based company sells a more sophisticated version of Gmail as part of a software bundle that costs $50 annually per user. Google offered a 15-day credit to compensate for a less severe e-mail breakdown last August.

Gmail, Gfail

Tuesday's Gmail outage left users seeing only a "502 server error" page when trying to login to the Web-based system. Word of the problem spread quickly via Twitter and didn't take long to hit the tech blogs, where it was quickly dubbed as "the great Gmail outage of 2009." Some unofficial reports indicated the outage lasted as long as four hours. Google says it was only about two-and-a-half.

"We know that for many of you this disrupted your working day. We're really sorry about this, and we did do everything to restore access as soon as we could," Gmail Site Reliability Manager Acacio Cruz stated in the Official Google Blog.

"Obviously we're never happy when outages occur, but we would like to stress that this is an unusual occurrence," he added.

Gmail Outages Over Time

While "frequent" would probably be an exaggeration when it comes to describing Gmail outages, "unusual" might be missing the mark by a hair, too. In the past six months, Gmail has suffered some form of downtime on five separate occasions before this week's incident:

• July 16, 2008: A similar "502 error" struck Gmail, leading to what was described as a "long outage" by affected users.

• August 6, 2008: Technical trouble knocked an "undetermined number" of Gmail users (including both regular users and paying Google Apps clients) out of their mail for about 15 hours.

• August 11, 2008: An issue with Google's "contacts system" caused Gmail access to go offline for a "couple of hours" for numerous users. Both individual accounts and Google Apps accounts were affected again.

• August 15, 2008: The third outage within a span of two weeks left users locked out of their accounts for more than 24 hours. That pesky "502 server error" popped up on the Gmail login page here, too.

• October 16, 2008: Users went a full 30 hours without access. Google didn't elaborate on what caused the issue.

Gmail Outage Marks Sixth Downtime in Eight Months

Gmail's bounced back from its recent multihour outage, but questions over what went wrong are thus far unanswered. The Google mail service was offline from about 4:30 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. ET (or from 9:30 a.m. till noon for nations on Greenwich Mean Time). Google says it is now "investigating the root cause" of the issue.

Four Firms, Including Wipro, Develop a New Model for ECM Auditability: ECM3

Consulting firms Wipro Technologies, Hartman Communicatie, and Smigiel Consulting Group, along with independent analyst company CMS Watch have introduced the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Maturity Model (ECM3), a method enterprises can use in their efforts to better align business and technology initiatives. According to the companies, ECM3 helps enterprises assess their existing readiness and guide their ECM roadmap going forward.

As enterprises are required to manage growing volumes of content related to issues such as mitigating legal and compliance risk; following storage, archiving and disposition policies; and reducing paper usage, the amount and complexity of the planning involved also increases. According to the four companies, ECM3 can help CIOs overcome this complexity by providing a structured framework for setting priorities to address these challenges.

The model offers graded levels of capabilities ranging from rudimentary information collection and basic control, through increasingly sophisticated levels of management and integration, finally resulting in a mature state of continuous experimentation and improvement. The Enterprise Content Management Maturity Model can be downloaded at under a creative commons license.

e.go by Wipro: 10-inch Wipro Netbook specifications

Wipro Infotech, known better for its enterprise IT products made a foray into the consumer segment with the launch of three new laptops, including a 10-inch netbook, which have a 'lifestyle' appeal in design. Apart from the color schemes of the laptops (which exclude black and white for now), the lifestyle quotient was reinforced by a fashion show which accompanied the launch, indicating that the company is looking to establish a different image in the consumer segment. The laptops will be available through electronics retail stores like Reliance Digital, E-Zone and Next.

The 10-inch e.go 7F3800 laptop is powered by an Atom 270 CPU, like most netbooks. But what is more impressive is Wipro has put in a 2GB RAM, which will make working on the netbook smoother. Windows XP Home edition comes pre-installed on the 7F3800. A 1.3MP webcam, stereo speakers, 120GB hard disk and 3 USB ports are seen in the spec sheet. The good news continues with the pricing as well – as an introductory offer, the e.go 7F3800 will be available at a price of Rs. 19,990, including tax. This breaks the Rs.20,000 barrier for a 10-inch netbook. Post the initial launch offer, the pricing is likely to be Rs.19,990 plus taxes, Wipro said. Battery life is claimed to be 3 hours.

The other two laptops launched were the 12-inch BM2700 (approx. Rs. 40,000) and the 14 inch EM471X Series (priced between Rs. 35,000 to 38,000 depending on the configuration).


e.go 7F3800
10 inch ultra portable netbook available in Ocean Blue and Racer Yellow. Display resolution of 1024x600 pixels.
Wireless LAN - 802.11 b/g
Battery life of up to 3 hours
Integrated 1.3MP webcam and stereo speakers
CPU: Intel Atom 270, RAM: 2GB, Hard Disk: 120GB, up to 160GB.
OS: Genuine Windows® XP Home
Expansion: 3 USB ports, 8 in 1 card reader
No optical drive
Weight: Approx 1.25kg.

e.go EM471X Series
14 inch Ultra bright widescreen laptop available in Autumn Red and Coral Blue colors.
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Gigabit LAN, 56K modem, Bluetooth
Platform: Intel® Centrino®2, Intel® Pentium® Processor / Intel® CoreTM2 Duo, Up to 8 GB Memory, Up to 320 GB Hard Disk
OS: Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium / Windows Vista® Home Basic / Windows Vista® Business
Expansion: e-SATA, for hi speed connectivity to external storage
Multimedia: HDMI
6 cell battery with up to 3 hours battery life, ECO power management tool to adjust battery life depending on usage
Optional finger print reader
DVD Super multi drive
Weight: 2.2 KG
e.go BM2700 series

12-inch laptop with frameless black border and chrome highlights available in Chrome Red exterior.
Connectivity: High speed access with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, LAN, 56K modem, Bluetooth
Platform: Supports Intel® Centrino®2 Processor Technology, Intel® CoreTM2 Duo
Processor, Intel® Pentium® Processor,
OS: Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium / Windows Vista® Home Basic / Windows Vista® Business
Up to 4 GB Memory, Up to 320 GB Hard Disk
Expansion: 9 in 1 Card Reader, iEEE 1394 Port, Express Card slot
6 cell battery with up to 3 hours battery life
DVD Super multi drive
Weight: 2.14 KG

Wipro launches new range of notebooks

Wipro Infotech, the India and Middle East IT business of Wipro, has launched e.go - a new range of notebooks for the Indian market. The new products come with enhanced security features including hard disk user password protection that helps to secure data and interface security lock.

Available in a range of colours, the starting price of the notebooks is a little less than Rs 20,000, Ashok Tripathy, general manager and head, computing division, Wipro said.

He said the company has taken due measures including restriction on the use of hazardous substances to make the new products completely green. Wipro expects that the new range of products will find acceptance both in the corporate and retail segment.

Wipro’s notebook business grew at over 70 per cent last fiscal, accounts for about a third of the company’s PC business that is estimated to be over Rs 100 crore.

Nokia plans to cut 1,000 jobs through voluntary departures

Nokia, the world's leading mobile phone maker, said that it has launched new restructuring measures and plans to cut 1,000 jobs globally through voluntary departures.

"As part of its previously announced plans to increase cost-efficiency and adapt to the challenging market environment, Nokia today announced new voluntary measures aimed at reducing personnel-related costs and lessening the need for involuntary redundancies," the company said in a statement.

"The Voluntary Resignation Package will be open for application from March 1 until 1,000 employees have applied, closing at the latest May 31, 2009."

Microsoft says no new cost cuts

Microsoft Corp outlined plans to offset revenue declines as the PC market shifts to low-cost netbooks, but it failed to announce more cost cuts, sending its shares to an 11-year low.

Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told an analysts' meeting in New York on Tuesday that Microsoft will offer robust versions of its yet-to-be-released Windows 7 operating software for netbooks, as the company looks to boost revenue from these hot-selling, low-cost computers.

flash memory technology firm 'Spansion' to cut about 3,000 jobs

Spansion Inc. said late Monday that it plans to cut its global workforce by roughly 3,000, making it the latest technology company to resort to job cuts in an attempt to grapple with the recession.

Spansion which makes flash memory technology, said the cuts amount to roughly 35% of its employees and would be made primarily at the company's manufacturing sites.

Microsoft: Laid-off can keep extra pay after all

Microsoft Corp. admits it screwed up a key part of the plan. First Microsoft realized that an administrative glitch caused it to pay more severance than intended to some laid-off employees. The company's response: It asked the ex-workers for the money back.

But when one of Microsoft's letters seeking repayment surfaced on the Web on Saturday, the situation turned embarrassing. On Monday, the company reversed course and said the laid-off workers could keep the extra payouts.
Lisa Brummel, Microsoft's senior vice president for human resources, said the letters were mailed to 25 of the 1,400 people let go in January. Most of the checks were off by about $4,000 to $5,000, she said.

Brummel said she learned of the letters over the weekend after one appeared on the technology blog TechCrunch. "I decided it didn't quite feel right," she said in an interview. The executive called most of the 25 laid-off employees Monday to personally tell them Microsoft would not seek repayment after all. Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft also gave about 20 employees too little severance. When the company noticed its mistake, it sent checks and explanations to those people, she said.

Brummel called the glitch a clerical error, and said that at some point in the process of calculating severance packages, communicating with employees and cutting checks, "we had payments misaligned with people's names." (Brummel said she didn't know whether an Excel spreadsheet was at the root of the problem.)

With the recession biting into sales of Microsoft's core Office and Windows software, the company said in January it would let up to 5,000 of its 94,000 employees go, the only mass layoff in its 34-year history. Microsoft remains profitable, however, and has a cash hoard of nearly $21 billion.
Shares of Microsoft sank 79 cents, or 4.4 percent, to close at $17.21.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

HP Posts Declines in All Groups but EDS

Despite declines nearly across the board, Hewlett-Packard just barely managed an increase in revenue for the first quarter of 2009, which ended Jan. 31, the company announced Wednesday. Net revenue for the quarter reached US$28.8 billion, up 1 percent compared to the same period last year. HP Software revenue was down 7 percent to $878 million and HP Financial Services revenue decreased 1 percent to $636 million.

Net income was $1.9 billion, or $0.75 earnings per share, down from $2.1 billion, or $0.80 earnings per share. On a pro forma basis, which excludes certain one-time items, net income came in at $2.3 billion, the same as in the first quarter of 2008, although earnings per share rose to $0.93 from $0.86. Without strong growth in its Services group, HP would have fared much worse. Revenue for that group grew 116 percent to $8.7 billion, primarily due to HP's acquisition of EDS.
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Indian outsourcers, Microsoft top the list of H-1B users in '08

Microsoft Corp. was the top U.S.-based recipient of H-1B visas in 2008, receiving approval for 1,037 visas, slightly more than in 2007. But the largest users of the program remain the major Indian offshore IT services firms -- and their use of H-1Bs appears to be increasing, according to government data.

The importance of the H-1B visa program to India-based outsourcers is clear from the fiscal 2008 approval list compiled by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). That fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

Laid off? How to tell the kids

Source: BaltimoreTimes
Sign of the times: A reader asked for help in telling her kids she'd been laid off. I asked Brad Sachs to respond. He's a psychologist in Columbia who's written books on parenting including The Good Enough Child, The Good Enough Teen, and When No One Understands.

He gives us six ways to approach a layoff with your family...

"No family is completely protected from adversity, and it is important to use these challenging times as opportunities to teach children enduring lessons about resilience, hope and belonging. Due to the economic precipice that we all are now living on, one that we will most likely remain on for some time, many contemporary parents will encounter adversity in the form of a lost job and income, which naturally stirs substantial fear, anxiety, uncertainty and concern regarding the future. How you address and discuss this matter with your children will go a long way towards determining how well they (and you) adjust and adapt to this challenge. Here are some things to keep in mind as you do so:

1) It is best to be straightforward with them, and to avoid pulling any punches. Children need to be able to trust their parents, and trust is rooted in knowing that they will be dealt with honestly. Your candor will also build their self-esteem, because they will recognize that you see them as able to handle difficult matters. “I have some not so great news to share with you, but I think you’re old enough that I can be truthful—you’ve probably heard that the economy is pretty bad right now and times have gotten tough. Well, I found out yesterday that I’m being laid off at work, and this means that I’ll need to look for a new job. Until I find one, we’re all going to have to find some ways to pull together and get through this.”

2) It’s important to be hopeful. I generally try to distinguish hope from optimism, in the sense that optimism is the simple belief that things will get better, while hope is the more important belief that there are things that we can do that are likely to make things get better. With this in mind, you might want to suggest, “I’m not happy about this, of course, but I’ve already begun thinking about some ways that we can cut back until I find a new job, and I’ve already begun talking to people and exploring some new possibilities on the job front that might turn out well.”

3) You want to share with your children your previous experiences with similar adversity, and how you were able to endure and become stronger as a result. If you have had experiences (as we all have) when what felt like a loss or disappointment in the short run actually turned out to be a gain or a triumph in the long run, this would be a good time to share such a story or anecdote. “I remember being fired from my first job and thinking it was the end of the world, but as it turns out, that forced me to get some additional training in my field, which led me to get a much better job down the road. I’m not sure I ever would have gone to the trouble of getting that extra training if I hadn’t gotten the axe in the first place.”

4) Because children often feel futile and helpless in the face of forces that they have no control over, such as the loss of their parent’s job, it is important to give them a sense of what they might do to contribute to the family’s survival. Helping them to feel needed during a difficult time will mobilize them to rise to the occasion and, ultimately, build their sense of self-respect. “Tonight at dinner we’re going to spend some time talking as a family about ways that we can cut back on our spending and save money until I’m back at work. I want you to think about some things, even small things, that you might do differently in the coming weeks that will make a difference and help us to get by."

5) During family crises, children need to be able to rely on their friends for support. While you may not be enthusiastic about having your unemployment broadcast among your son or daughter’s peer group, it is important, nonetheless, to let them know that they’re free to discuss this with their closest friends if they’d like to, and that they’re not to feel embarrassed or ashamed. You can remind them that most likely some of their friends’ families are currently, or are going to be, in the midst of a similar ordeal. On the other hand, if they’d prefer to keep it private, you can let them know that that’s perfectly okay, too, and it’ll just be kept within the family.

6) Finally, you want to use this crisis as an opportunity to emphasize what you believe are the most meaningful and profound aspects of being a family, which have less to do with achievement, accomplishment and acquisition, and more to do with compassion, kindness and collaboration. Children need to be reminded that hard times can actually be good times, because we tend to come together and appreciate each other more when we yoke together in the face of misfortune. There’s a difference between having goods and being good—when we educate our children in the vulnerability that we all share as human beings it ultimately provides them with a deep sense of security and connectedness that transcends financial security and enables them to better cope with and grow from the subsequent challenges that will come their way."

HP imposes staff wage cuts

Source: The Register
Hewlett-Packard workers fired up their PCs Friday morning to find a long memo from Mark Hurd explaining why he was imposing wide-ranging pay cuts in an effort to prevent further job losses at the computer vendor.

HP CEO Hurd told employees yesterday that no more jobs would be axed for the foreseeable future. Instead he applied salary reductions across the board.

Executive council members will have base pay trimmed by 15 per cent; other execs will see base pay reduced by 10 per cent; “exempt employees” base salary takes a five per cent hit; and “non-exempt employees” base pay drops 2.5 per cent.

Stimulus package sets H-1B limits, leaves out E-Verify mandate

Source: ComputerWorld
A provision requiring banks receiving federal bailout funds to give hiring priority to U.S. workers over foreigners with H-1B visas made it into the final version of the economic stimulus bill that President Barack Obama signed last week.

But House and Senate negotiators dropped a separate proposal that would have forced all employers benefiting from stimulus money to use the government’s Web-based E-Verify system to vet the employment status of their workers.

Meltdown hits tech companies in Calif. foothills

GRASS VALLEY, Calif.—High-tech companies clustered in the Sierra foothills east of Sacramento are being hit by the down economy, just like their counterparts in Silicon Valley to the west. The recession is forcing layoffs and cutbacks for firms in Grass Valley and Nevada City that produce things such as television broadcasting equipment, medical devices and circuit boards.

The Nevada County Economic Resource Council says more than 80 tech companies employ about 2,000 workers in the area. That's about 7 percent of the county's work force. The county's unemployment rate hit 8.4 percent in December, up from 5.5 percent a year earlier. Grass Valley Group, a 280-employee company that started the tech trend in 1959, just laid off 7 percent of its employees and is up for sale.
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About 20 mid-cap IT firms willing to sell out

Source: SiliconIndia
Mumbai: Reeling under the burden imposed on them by the current financial slowdown, 15 to 20 mid-sized IT companies that generate revenues of $100 - $150 million are willing to sell out, reports Business Line.

Many overseas IT majors who do not have a well-developed India strategy are already showing interest in those companies as Indian promoters seem to have become more realistic when it comes to valuations, according to merchant bankers and private equity players.

Rajesh Subramaniam, Managing Director, Walden International India, a private equity firm, said, "The business models of several IT companies, especially the ones exclusively servicing the U.S. financial services industry, have become redundant due to the global financial crisis. If one were to look at companies in the $100-200 million range, there would easily be more than 20 IT firms that would be interested in selling out."

Analysts think that while companies with revenue upwards of $500 million can manage price cuts with a manageable dent in margins, the ones with the revenue from $100 to $150 find it extremely difficult woo customers with discount or other offers.

"Mid-tier IT companies have very little scope to offer price cuts or discounts to customers," says Ranu Vohra, Managing Director and CEO of investment banking company, Avendus Capital.

Valuations have been the reason why many prospective deals involving multi-national IT players did not go through in the last three years. However, that seems to have changed: "We have seen valuations dropping by 30-40 percent compared to last year," said Atreya.

Sun Micro lays off 150 in India last week

Global IT firm Sun Microsystems has laid off over 150 employees in India around late in January, most of them software developers from the company's Bangalore office, a source close to the development informed Hindustan Times.

Another round of lay-offs is slated around the last week of February and will impact support staff from departments like marketing, human resources and sales, the source added.

IT cos move to designing medical products

Source: TheEconomicTimes
From doing bits and pieces of design and testing on the electronics inside, a few Indian software firms are now partnering with their overseas clients to help them launch medical equipment and other devices for the Indian market.

Firms, HCL Technologies, for instance, have moved on from being offshore providers to becoming advisors on emerging market strategies for clients and even designing and manufacturing the final product.

Others like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and MindTree, which were earlier doing verification and support for semiconductor vendors, are now partnering with them for end-to-end chip and product design.

“There are 4-5 firms here that are currently working on this model. What we are seeing, especially in industries like medical equipment and automotive, is that the manufacturer washes his hands of completely. The Indian IT firm handles everything from where to buy the chip to where to manufacture. This is more of an exploratory model, but if it works, we could see more such instances,” said Gartner Research principal research analyst Ganesh Ramamoorthy.

“We were not addressing the Indian market earlier, we were providing some pieces of the project and other technical resources. Now, we have started taking responsibility for the entire product. The client gives us the concept and then, we do everything starting from market research to the final prototype,” said HCL Technologies V-P and global head, life sciences and healthcare, Pradeep Nair.

HCL’s life sciences division has partnered with IIT Kharagpur; MIT, Apollo Hospitals and Doctor Kares Hospital. It is now taking this ‘cradle to grave’ model to other BRIC countries.

“The time-to-market pressure is very high. We are seeing more such end-to-end chip and product opportunities, especially in the area of automotive, hand-held devices, telecom infrastructure and consumer electronics,” said TCS head (embedded hardware) Rajaram Nayak. When launching a device for a new market such as India, the manufacturer has to consider various factors such as price points, user interface, local regulatory requirements and even reliability of power supply.

“A US company wanting to launch a portable sugar monitoring equipment in India may outsource the entire design to the Indian firm,” said Mr Ramamoorthy. “Semiconductor vendors looking to develop new products in niche segments such as automotive and medical devices for emerging markets, should either consider end-to-end outsourcing and product design or negotiate an equal risk/ reward partnership with Indian design services vendors,” he added.

MindTree president and co-CEO (R&D services), Vinod Deshmukh, said that because companies such as MindTree understood chip design they could also work with product manufacturers. Electronic equipment manufacturers consume a large number of semiconductors, making chip design a key element in the product design chain. “More and more electronics are going into hospitals. We are seeing this segment grow 70% even today,” said HCL Tech head, marketing (life sciences) Ravi Vij.

Infosys eyes two European firms

Infosys Technologies is eyeing European software firms BCC and Ciber Novasoft among others as potential acquisitions, the Economic Times said on Monday citing two people familiar with the development. The paper said a final transaction could be some time away, quoting one source as saying there was no agreement yet on the valuations of the two firms.

Poland-based BCC, which has annual revenues of $180-200 million, could cost more than $300 million, the paper quoted a source as saying. Ciber had an annual revenue of almost $75 million, the paper said. Officials at Infosys could not be reached for comment immediately. Both BCC and Ciber provide services to companies using products of German business software maker SAP. Lasy year, Infosys bid for British consultancy and SAP services provider Axon but lost to smaller Indian rival HCL Technologies.

Patni eyes Europe, appoints new execs

Patni Computer Services, on Monday announced that it has appointed four new executives to drive its international businesses.
According to the company, its strategy is to build businesses in Europe to complement business in the US and India. The four new appointments were made with the intention of developing businesses in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) area.

Increasingly, Indian IT companies are spreading their geographies to reduce their business risks. Two of the three large deals bagged by Tata Consultancy Services, India’s largest software services company, in the recent past were from European markets.

Satyam expects to bag more deals

Satyam Computer Services expects to garner more business in the coming months, over and above the $250-million worth of deals it bagged over the past seven weeks, said T Hari, global marketing and communication head.

The $250-million deals include a single order of $50 million and multiple orders across industry verticals, technologies and geographies. It also includes deals worth over $10 million from six customers and a few orders in the range of $5-10 million.

Microsoft Asks Laid-off Workers to Return Overpaid Severance

Microsoft is asking some of the workers it laid off in late January to pay back money they were given in excess of their severance packages. The Redmond-based company is blaming an accounting error and expects repayments within two weeks.

After making 1400 staff redundant, Microsoft reportedly overpaid some of those former employees and underpaid others at the same time. Those who were overpaid were reportedly sent letters requesting for a refund.

Wait set to end for HCL Tech recruits

Source: BusinessLine
Mumbai, Feb. 23 In what could end several months of uncertainty for the 1500-odd campus recruits selected by HCL Technologies in their penultimate year of college (in 2007), they could now be joining the company within the next five months.

“You will be given an eight-week notice to join the organisation and the joining dates shall be communicated to everyone over the next three months as we decide city, technology and service line for each student,” the company said in an e-mail dated February 13, to its employees-in-waiting.

It added that the appointment letter with the joining details will be shared two weeks prior to the date of joining.

Business Line had reported earlier this month that about 1,500 campus recruits were groping in the dark as HCL had neither given the date of joining nor a hard copy of the offer-letter to the freshers. HCL had then said that the hard-copy of the offer letter was provided only closer to the date of joining.

Subsequently, about 50-70 recruits organised a peaceful protest in front of the HCL campus in Noida. And the company eventually wrote back to its employees-in-waiting that they would get their date to join the company in three months.

In its latest communication to the employees-in-waiting, the country’s fifth largest software exporter agreed that the challenging macro-economic environment had forced it to rethink some of its strategies for training, hiring, performance evaluation and deployment.

“Unfortunately, unlike the past few years, this year we will be unable to demonstrate any flexibility on defined norms and process,” the company said.

Due to shrinking client-spend, IT firms are going slow on recruitments. Even those freshers with a valid offer letter are being brought on board in a staggered manner. Recently, the country’s largest software company Tata Consultancy Services said the last batch from the previous year’s campus recruits (about 1,000 persons) would join the company latest by this month-end.

“Deployment at HCL is planned in a phased manner and done in batches. The first batch has already joined the organisation after completing their training and certifications, while few others are undergoing training,” the company said.

Indian IT cos sublease office space to tide over crisis

Source: TheEconomicTimes
As information technology companies learn to cut their coat according to their cloth in an economic downturn, many of them are looking to don the role of temporary landlords by subleasing the office space which has become surplus because of stalled expansion plans.

For the past five years, when most tech companies were growing at a frenetic pace, they would hire staff and acquire office space in anticipation of large contracts. The projects kept coming and the arrangement was working well as long as the good times lasted.

But now, with growth slowing, the office space that has already been acquired lies unused because hiring is down and new deals are few and far between. And many tech companies are looking to make the best of a bad bargain by letting out the excess space until the good times return.

“Most rental contracts today have a sub-lease clause. Companies may be thinking of making use of this clause if they are sitting on large blocks of empty spaces,” said Karun Verma, managing director (Bangalore) of real estate services provider, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj.

In November, business process outsourcer OPI sublet office space to Nokia in Bangalore. Other companies in India’s tech capital which may be looking at similar short-term deals are said to include Apple, Yahoo, Ernst & Young and Tishman Speyers.

Real estate consultants say the IT clusters in Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai are setting the subleasing trend, with negotiations underway between tenants, developers and potential occupants looking to share the office space. Firms which have over 10,000 sq ft of idle space are believed to be the ones most keen on the sub-lease option.

The CFO of one of India’s top IT companies said subleasing could even result in rent arbitrage in a number of cases. For companies looking to occupy sublet space, they have greater bargaining power.

Such deals can be sealed through tripartite contracts involving the developer and the tenants or bipartite, involving the tenants, with a ‘no-objection certificate’ from the developer. A real estate industry expert says there can be more such deals but for the restrictive rules by state governments.

Satyam bags orders worth $250 mn

Satyam Computer Services Limited is back to winning new work, thanks largely to the efforts of the newly constituted Board to restore stakeholder confidence and ensure business continuity. The firm has bagged $250 million worth of purchase orders and work extensions since January 7.

"The recent successes include a single order of $50 million, and multiple orders from across industry verticals, technologies and geographies, reflecting an all-round positive trend. More than half of this value comes from new orders, which reinforces the confidence that customers have been sharing with us in our discussions," Chief Executive Officer A S Murthy said.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Top 10 Indian outsoucring companies

The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals has announced the world's best outsourcing service providers in 2008. The Global Outsourcing 100 list has 6 Indian companies among the top ten. In the global 100 ranking, Infosys is ranked third, followed by Capgemini and TCS at fifth and sixth positions, respectively.

Infosys ranks first among Indian companies in terms of outsourcing and is ranked third in The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals' list.

IAOP mentions its key strength as executive leadership. IAOP, in association with Fortune magazine, inducted N. R. Narayana Murthy and Nandan M. Nilekani, co-founders, Infosys, into 'The Outsourcing Hall of Fame'.

In 2007, Infosys was ranked at No. 7 on the strength of customer testimonials.

Infosys Technologies Ltd was started in 1981 by 7 people with just $250. Today, the company has revenues of over $4 billion.

2. TCS
TCS is ranked 2nd among Indian companies and is at the sixth position globally. The company's strength lies in employee management.

TCS has over 130,300 trained IT consultants in 42 countries offering IT and IT-enabled services. The company generated consolidated revenues of US $5.7 billion for fiscal year ended 31 March 2008.

S. Ramadorai, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director for TCS.

Wipro ranks third in the list. It is ranked 7th in the world's top outsourcing providers' list. Its key strength is employee management.

Headquartered in Bangalore, the company has a client base of Fortune 1000 and Global 500 companies. With combined revenues of US $5 billion, core areas of business include global IT services, infrastructure solutions, professional services and business solutions in India and the Asia Pacific region.

Wipro employs over 100,000 people. Azim H Premji is the chairman of Wipro.

4. Genpact
Genpact is ranked 4th among Indian companies and is ranked 9th in the world. It key strength is executive leadership.

Genpact began in 1997 as the India-based business process services operation for GE Capital.

In 2005, with equity investments from General Atlantic and Oak Hill Capital Partners, it became an independent company and was rebranded Genpact.

The company reported a net income of $125.1 million for 2008, up 122 per cent over 2007, while the revenue rose 26 per cent.
Genpact manages services from a global network of more than 31 operations centers in ten countries. Pramod Bhasin is the president and CEO.

5. Tech Mahindra
Tech Mahindra is ranked 5th among Indian companies and is ranked 10th in the world. Its key strength is outsourcing experience.

Tech Mahindra was incorporated as a joint venture between Mahindra & Mahindra and BT plc in 1986 under the name of 'Mahindra-British Telecom'.

Later, the name was changed to 'Tech Mahindra'. The company reported a 12 per cent growth in quarterly net profit at Rs 222.90 crore (Rs 2.22 billion) and revenues for the Mahindra group company rose by 17 per cent to Rs 1,132.20 crore (Rs 11.32 billion). Tech Mahindra reported a 12 per cent growth in quarterly net profit at Rs 222.90 crore in the quarter ended December.

Vineet Nayyar is the managing director & CEO of the company.

6. HCL Tech
HCL comes next at 6th position and its world ranking is 11.

Its key strength is outsourcing experience.
HCL Technologies focuses on software-led IT solutions, remote infrastructure management, engineering and R&D services and BPO.

HCL has a network of offices in 19 countries offering sevices in financial services, manufacturing, aerospace & defense, telecom, retail, life sciences & healthcare, media and entertainment, travel, etc.

HCL Technologies, along with its subsidiaries, had consolidated revenues of US$ 2.0 billion (Rs 8,974 crore), as on 31st December 2008.

Vineet Nayar is the CEO of the $2.0 billion HCL Technologies.

7. HOV Services
HOV services is ranked 7th among Indian companies.

It's ranked 15th in the world. Its key strength is outsourcing experience. HOV Services Limited one of the largest end-to-end BPO company headquartered in Chennai, India.

It offers finance and accounting services in the BFSI, healthcare, government, telco, publishing, retail, commercial and industrial manufacturing industries.

Its clients include over 50 per cent of the Fortune 100 companies across key verticals such as financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, insurance, construction, publishing, finance and accounting and government.

The company has more than 12,000 employees. The company's total income for the third quarter ended December 31, 2008 has increased to Rs 23,586 crore (Rs 235.86 billion). Suresh Yannamani is the president of the company.

8. Mastek
Mastek bags the 8th position while it's ranked 16th in the world.

Its key strength lies in customer testimonials. Ashank Desai, R. Sundar and Ketan Mehta established Mastek in Mumbai in 1982.

Mastek, is a Rs 916 crore (US $227 million) publicly held, leading IT player providing enterprise solutions to insurance, government, and financial services organizations worldwide. Mastek operates across the US, Europe, Japan and Asia Pacific regions.

9. Hexaware Technologies
Hexaware Technologies is at 9th position. The company ranked is 22nd in the world and its key strength lies in competency certification.

Hexaware is a global provider of IT and process outsourcing services. Founded in 1990, Hexaware has 6 development centres - three in India and one each in Germany, USA and Mexico, and offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, and employs around 5500 workers globally. In 2008, Hexaware generated over $262 million in revenue.

Atul Nishar is the founder and executive chairman of the company.

10. ITC Infotech
ITC Infotech comes next in the list, it is ranked at 40 globally and its key strength is competency certification.

ITC Infotech, a global IT services company, is a fully-owned subsidiary of ITC Limited.

Headquartered in Bangalore, India, with subsidiaries in UK and USA, ITC Infotech services Fortune-listed customers across North America and Europe. Sanjiv Puri is managing director of ITC Infotech India Ltd.

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