Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CSC under scanner for 'exploiting' Indian IT professionals in Denmark

The Indian subsidiary of the world’s fourth-largest IT services provider, the $16.7-billion Computer Science Corporation (CSC), is under scanner for allegedly exploiting Indian IT professionals sent onsite to Denmark.
Source: EconomicTimes

The accusation comes from a local IT workers’ union, which claims CSC is paying Indian IT professionals in Denmark salaries lower than the minimum stipulated by law.

PROSA — a Danish trade union for IT professionals — raised the issue last month when an Indian IT professional on deputation in Denmark, protested about not being paid the salary promised by CSC. The issue is creating headlines in the Nordic country, which has about 65,000 IT professionals.

According to papers filed by PROSA with Danish investigating authorities, CSC pays Indian IT professionals between 5,000 and 8,000 Danish Kroner (DKK) a month — roughly equal to what the Indian IT workers would get, working in Noida or Hyderabad. (One DKK is equal to Rs 8).

But Danish law states that foreigners must earn at least 31,250 DKK monthly to enter the country through the so-called salary amount rule, which is part of the Aliens Act. “Danish law requires companies to pay foreign IT workers in Denmark a minimum wage of 31,250 DKK, which is roughly equal to Rs 2.5 lakh per month, to enter the country. We believe more such IT companies are involved in exploiting Indian IT workers onsite,” said Hanne Lykke Jespersen, union secretary, PROSA. “The Danish government has already launched an investigation into this matter,” she added.

To give a comparison between the cost of living in Denmark and India, a McDonald’s Big Mac (called Maharaja Mac here) costs $1.5 (Rs 69) in New Delhi. The same Big Mac costs about $5.7 (Rs 250) in Copenhagen. In another comparison, per capita income in Denmark is about $3,000 per month. In contrast, Indian IT workers are often paid even lower, at about $1454 per month (equating with 8,000 DKK per month), going by PROSA’s claims.
Source: EconomicTimes

TCS to hire 30,000 in next fiscal

IT major, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), today said that its growth momentum in the last quarter of this fiscal would be better than the previous quarter and that the entire IT industry would see an improvement in the deal pipeline.

"The growth is definitely there and we should stick to what we have said earlier...The growth momentum in the last two quarters will continue this quarter also but we have to see whether it will be better than those during the boom days," TCS Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director, S Mahalingam, told reporters on the sidelines of a CII-IFRS summit here.

On increments to its employees, Mahalingam said that the company would be announcing the same around April but he would not be able to divulge the quantum now.

The TCS official, however, said that it would definitely be as per industry standards and keeping in view the prevailing economic scenario.

Mahalingam said that the company has planned to hire 30,000 personnel in the next fiscal.

Infosys to give ‘unheard of’ increments

Infosys Technologies has been seeing a churn of employees in the past three quarters. The churn began after new HR initiatives, including a career-determining programme called iRace, were started.

Several thousand dissatisfied employees have quit since October. Though no official count is available, employees put the number of exits since October at over 10,000. This has forced the company to make some changes in its HR policies. One of the changes is believed to be good salary increments this time.

Some of the other changes are: Delinking the average working hours every quarter from iRace and appraisal, and scrapping the requirement of completing two compulsory internal certification programmes.

A Hyderabad-based employee quoted the HR head, Nandita Gurjar, as saying that salary raises unheard of in the company would be given this April. Gurjar was not willing to tell Financial Chronicle the size of raises; but employees expecting hikes in the range of 5 per cent to 13 per cent.

The problem HR plan – iRace (short for Infosys role and career enhancement) – introduced last June, defines roles, competencies and proficiency requirements, while linking career movements to performance and business focus. FC had then employee apprehensions about the programme.

In the past two months, Infosys employees have been rushing to the internet, and the blogosphere, in particular, as well as the company intranet with lambasting iRace. Cartoons, videos on Youtube and fake interviews have also been posted.

This led Gurjar to post her comments on the internal blog. She said, “Of late I have noticed a disturbing trend wherein employees leaving the organisation write mails about it in disparaging terms, and existing employees take joy and pleasure in circulating these mails among themselves and even outside.”

“I feel deeply hurt when I hear of such incidences. It makes me wonder, would we behave in this way if someone spoke similarly about our friends, family or country...? At what point do we move from being a bystander enjoying the fun to be an owner who takes offence at this kind of behavior?’’

According to employees, of the over 10,000 that have quit since October, 4,000 left in February. About 1,000 e-separations were filed on the intranet on a single day: December 31. Gurjar though says that only 1,200 people quit in January, 1,104 in February; and a slightly higher number of departures were expected this month.

An employee based in Bangalore said, “iRace is the reason for the exodus. After the implementation of the programme and other policies like 9.15 hours of compulsory attendance, people now dread to work in the once dream company.”

Asked about the iRace effect, Gurjar told FC that employees had confused it with promotions and linked it to the slowdown.

“The career architecture has nothing to do with promotions and is more to do with skill mapping. Employees have to remember that promotions and hikes are a result of growth and they will grow only if the company grows. Earlier, when Infosys was growing at 40 per cent plus, raises and positions were attuned to that kind of growth. The cycles now will be more relevant to today’s growth rates,” she said.

She added that the company had now started communicating the initiative and employees were beginning to understand the positives. The employee angst notwithstanding, HR consultants feel rationalisation will continue. It could benefit both company and employees in the long run.

P Thiruvengadam of Deloitte India said, “Rationalisation of the career structure is a common phenomenon in most mature organisations. While companies are young and growing rapidly, they reward employees that way too but after they reach 20-30 years and saturate, they are more conservative.”

According to Kris Lakshmikanth of The Head Hunters India, different IT companies deal with the problem of inefficiency and excess fat in different ways. Infosys had chosen this method, which was facing trouble maybe because of the timing of its launch, he added.
Source: mydigitalfc.com

Intel invests in 3 Indian IT cos

Computer chip maker Intel's investment arm, Intel Capital has invested $23 million (Rs.115 crore) in three technology firms to foster innovation in India, the company said.

The three firms are July Systems, KLG Systel and MCX.

Intel Capital, however, did not disclose the investment in each of the firms, claiming confidentiality.

The company issued a statement here that funding would be drawn from the Intel Capital India Technology Fund floated in 2005.

"The investments will stimulate local technology innovation and reinforces our commitment towards fostering Indian innovation," Intel Capital president Arvind Sodhani said.

Wipro merges two offshore offices with itself

The the third largest IT exporter Wipro today said "Indian branch offices" of the two overseas subsidiaries-- Wipro Networks Singapore and Cyprus-based WM NetServ-- stood merged with the company.

The two branch offices of the subsidiaries merged with the company following filing of e-form along with certified copies of orders of the Karnataka High Court with the respective offices of the Registrar of Companies, Wipro informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The Indian branch offices of the two overseas subsidiary companies of Wipro filed the form on March 26, 2010 for making amalgamation effective from April 1, 2010, it said.

Wipro Networks provides communication solutions that include consulting, voice, data and converged solutions and managed services.

WMNetServ is a managed network telecommunications services provider. In July 2006, Wipro and Motorola formed it as a joint venture to deliver world-class capabilities in managed services to public and private network customers.

The joint venture was formed to deliver outsourced telecom services to help customers focus on their core business and gain access to capabilities not available internally.

Wipro expands its operations in Australia, opens development centre

In a bid to expand operations, India's leading software company Wipro today opened its new Australian Development Centre here.

Victorian premier John Brumby officially opened the centre and said it added to the state's impressive track record in attracting investment.

"We are working hard to attract investment from around the world and create thousands of Victorian jobs," Brumby said adding "Victoria is a great place to invest, with a growing economy, a highly skilled workforce, one of the most attractive lifestyles in the world, a competitive tax system and a supportive government."

Brumby said the opening has followed a number of Information and Communication Technologies companies choosing to expand their Victorian operations this year, including Kovair, Attra, Infosys, and BIT - creating 210 Victorian jobs.

Wipro's Australian Development Centre will provide consulting, software development, testing and business process services to domestic and global companies in Australia.

In a year, Wipro has grown its number of Australian employees from 450 to 700 with more than half of these based in Victoria.

Rajat Mathur, head of Sales and Operations for Wipro Asia Pacific, said the company was extremely pleased to be increasing its investment in Australia by establishing this new centre in Melbourne.

"Wipro's Melbourne operations will play an integral role in the company's expansion into Australia. We enjoy a good deal of business success in Australia, as Australian industry demonstrates a continued appetite for our global service delivery model," Mathur said.

"We chose Melbourne for its business environment, ready talent pool and excellent infrastructure - this combination of support and talent is what we look for in a strategic business location" he added.

The opening follows visits to the company's Indian offices by Brumby in September last year and ICT Minister John Lenders in February this year.

Lenders said the announcement was further evidence of the Victorian Government working closely with the world's best ICT companies to create highly skilled jobs in the sector.

"We are providing strong leadership to create skilled jobs in Victoria and to keep our state at the forefront of new technology," Lenders said.

Victoria is home to a very strong ICT industry sector and with over 84,000 employees, accounted for more than a third of Australia's ICT services, products and revenue, Brumby said.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Convergys to recruit over 1,000 employees

Convergys, global human resource and billing services provider, on Wednesday, said that it would hire more than 1,000 employees in Gurgaon (Haryana) in the next three months.

The company said 30 per cent of the hiring would include fresh graduates while the rest would be experienced talent.

“It has been a positive year for us and we have started a premium candidate programme under which we will be hiring employees aged between 20-25 years. The hiring has started from Wednesday and would be over in the next three months,” director (recruitment) Convergys’ Customer Management Operations in India, Ashutosh Sinha told Financial Chronicle on phone.

He said these jobs are the result of new businesses from telecommunications and financial services clients, especially from the US and UK, who will provide a range of voice-based support to the clients’ customers there. Apart from hiring, Sinha said the company would also raise wages for the existing employees including team leaders and managers in the company in the next two-to-three weeks.

“We have decided some bonuses and wage hikes for our existing employees of customer care associates and management staff. Our intent is that as it is a good year for Convergys, so there should be some fruitful results for them too,” he added.

The company at present employs around 11,000 people across India in its eight centres. On asked, what kind of investment the company would pump in for this, Sinha said, “It will be pretty much in par with the international standard. We have done some market analysis on that and will forward with it.”

Convergys, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio has around 70,000 employees in 82 customer contact centres and other facilities in the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, West Asia and Asia and our global.

Friday, March 26, 2010

India Inc may give up to 12% salary hike in 2010-11: Ernst and Young

India Inc may give salary hikes in the range of 9-12 per cent in the coming financial year to retain talent amid revival in the job market, according to consultancy Ernst and Young said.

Most companies are expecting higher attrition levels over the next few months on jobs coming back into the economy resulting in salary hikes being used as a tool to retain talent.

"At an overall level, extraordinary jump in increments do not seem probable and the average salary increase is likely to be in the range of 9-12 per cent," Ernst & Young partner and national head (People & Organisation) N S Rajan told PTI.

However, Rajan cautioned that along with the pay hikes, companies are likely to follow a cautious approach of keeping tight monitoring and controlling of any additional salary costs.

In spite of excitement around economic recovery, average pay hikes across sectors would be slightly conservative.

"While on one hand pharma and FMCG companies will lead the space with increments in the range of 10-13 per cent, the IT and technology companies will give reasonable increments close to eight per cent," Rajan added.

Moreover, the telecom sector is expected to give above average salary hikes in the range of 12-15 per cent.

Is Infosys losing employee-friendly status?

Source: Infotech.indiatimes.com
For over a decade, Infosys has been seen by many as the epitome of employee friendliness. That reputation has now taken a big knock.

Several measures taken over the past few months -- partly an attempt to correct what the company saw as excesses of previous years -- has had many employees seething with anger.

That's reflected in hundreds of comments made in response to articles about Infosys on the internet in recent weeks, and in conversations TOI had with employees. Even the official internal blog is said to have been used to convey the discontent.

The biggest grouse relates to an HR initiative called iRace - Infosys Role and Career Enhancement - that was rolled out last year. The initiative was designed by consulting firm Mercer with the idea of mapping positions with experience and skill levels.

Previously, positions and promotions were often given arbitrarily, based on an employee's bargaining strength, which often was substantial considering jobs were aplenty. Many were given managerial responsibilities within three to four years, often leading to clients complaining about their lack of technology skills.

While iRace's objective appeared laudable, it suffered in its implementation, the worst of which was to make it applicable with retrospective effect. Many employees were demoted on the ground that they did not meet iRace's experience standards. So, senior project managers went down to project managers, project managers to technical leads, some even went down two levels.

Designations are so important for everybody. And if the management found somebody good enough for a certain position earlier, how can they now say that he is not? What makes it worse is that, all those affected were at lower levels. Nobody in the senior delivery manager and higher positions were affected," said an employee.

Nandita Gurjar, global head for HR in Infosys, said about 5% of Infy's employees would have been impacted by designation corrections and demotions. Infy has a little more than 1 lakh employees, so that would mean about 5,000 being impacted.

She also added that salaries had been protected and that 95% of the company's employees had taken the iRace "career architecture" well. But some employees insist that's not the case.

Infosys reviewing employee rating system

India's second-largest IT company, Infosys Technologies, is reportedly reviewing its employee rating system, iRace --Infosys Role and Career Enhancement.

According to a news report in D&A, the company has set up a working group to review the employee appraisal system. The initiative designed by consulting firm Mercer with the idea of mapping positions with experience and skill levels is said to have met with widespread resentment.

Previously, positions and promotions were often given arbitrarily, based on an employee's bargaining strength, which often was substantial considering jobs were aplenty. Many were given managerial responsibilities within three to four years, often leading to clients complaining about their lack of technology skills.

While iRace's objective appeared laudable, it suffered in its implementation, the worst of which was to make it applicable with retrospective effect. Many employees were demoted on the ground that they did not meet iRace's experience standards. So, senior project managers went down to project managers, project managers to technical leads, some even went down two levels.

Designations are so important for everybody. And if the management found somebody good enough for a certain position earlier, how can they now say that he is not? What makes it worse is that, all those affected were at lower levels. Nobody in the senior delivery manager and higher positions were affected," said an employee.

In fact, according to a recent report from brokerage firm CLSA, over 4,000 employees may have resigned from Infosys in February.

Though the large attrition figure is said to be due to the improvement in the economy, some industry observers and Infosys employees also said that another reason for the high attrition could be due to iRACE.

Incidentally, so far Nandita Gurjar, senior vice president and global HR head of Infosys, has strongly maintained that iRACE is not the driver behind exits and that the complaints are coming from a “minority”. Also, that promotions cannot happen at the same pace as the pre-crisis times, unless growth returns to the heady levels.

Convergys to hire over 1,000

Global human resource and billing service provider Convergys Corporation today said it will hire more than 1,000 employees in the country over the next three months.

The company would hire over 1,000 people for its Gurgaon office in the country, the New York Stock Exchange-listed firm said in a statement.

"Convergys provides an outstanding quality of service to our clients, which is why they continue to entrust us with more business. We will hire the top quartile of candidates to ensure that we deliver superior service levels consistently," Convergys' Customer Management (India Ops) Director of Recruitment Ashutosh Sinha said.

The new jobs are for supporting its increased business from telecommunications and financial services clients and the employees taken on board would provide a wide range of voice-based support to the clients' customers, it said.

Convergys has about 70,000 employees in 82 customer contact centres and other facilities in the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

In addition to comprehensive training, Convergys offers employees a positive work environment, competitive wages and benefits including tuition reimbursement, the statement added.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cisco to hire 500 at Bangalore unit

After setting up its Globalisation East centre a couple of years ago, networking major Cisco now plans to make Bangalore one of its three hubs for technical services business. The business unit, presently being reorganised at a global level, will grow its Bangalore strength by 500 engineers in next 24-30 months.

Joe Pinto, senior vice-president - technical services, Cisco Systems told FC that the rapidly growing division is being transitioned to have three concentrated centres including in Bangalore and Raleigh (North Carolina, US) and other smaller units. “Bangalore will be a key centre with several senior engineers. Apart from doing some support for US clients, the team will take care of emerging markets and rest of Asia,” he said.

Presently, the technical services team has 3,500 people globally. In the short term, the unit is expected to add 500 people.

In its Globalisation East centre, Cisco has mirrored all corporate and operational functions at the US HQ. It also is looking to develop solutions and products especially aimed at emerging markets. Pinto sees the Bangalore team gaining from the available talent pool in India and easier access to solutions being developed at the Globalisation centre.

Siemens to axe 4,200 jobs from IT business

Diversified German conglomerate Siemens AG has said it will reduce headcount by 4,200 people from its IT business worldwide by 2011 as part of reorientation.

In a statement, the company said it would eliminate 4,200 jobs at Siemens IT Solutions and Services (SIS) worldwide by the autumn of 2011. The company currently employs about 35,000 people in its IT business globally.

Siemens Group has a good presence in India, where it provides direct employment to over 17,000 people.

Of the total number of 4,200, around 2,000 jobs would be axed in Germany, the company said without providing details for the rest of the job cuts.

"As part of the reorientation, plans call for eliminating some 4,200 of about 35,000 jobs worldwide by 2011. Roughly 2,000 of the jobs affected are in Germany," Siemens said.

Besides, Siemens is also planning to hive off its IT unit into a separate business entity.

While making job cuts, Siemens said it would "exhaust all possibilities for voluntary measures and to implement the cutbacks in as socially compatible a way as possible.

"Measures will include, for example, the termination of employment contracts by mutual consent or the non-renewal of temporary contracts. The required consultations with employee representatives will be initiated immediately," it added.

Moreover, Siemens said it would invest over 500 million euros into the SIS by 2012.

Siemens Group currently employs more than 4,00,000 people across the globe in its wide range of operations spanning from energy sector to healthcare and financial sector.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Cisco India's hiring plan on track, says John Chambers

Network-equipment maker Cisco Systems on Friday said it remains committed to the Indian market and its plans to increase headcount to 10,000 is on track.

“With all the appropriate caveats, the global econnomy is turning. We are deeply committed (to India). We are completing construction on two additional areas, which can house as many as 3,000 more,” Cisco CEO John Chambers said at a private function here.

The headcount India is projected to rise to 10,000 from about 6,000 currently, he added. However, Chambers did not divulge the timeframe.

TCS' 600 mn pound deal under fire in UK

The proposed multi-year contract between TCS and the UK government for administering its employment savings trust has evoked adverse comments from some British websites, one of which even suggested the deal could be reviewed if there is a change of guard in the government after the May elections.

The British's Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA) earlier this month had said it would sign a contract with Tata Consultancy Services to administer the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST).

The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority is a non-departmental public body in Britain.

According to the website www.moneymarketing.co.uk, the Conservatives have attacked the decision to sign the contract for NEST administration before the general elections.

The website quoted Conservative's shadow pensions minister Nigel Waterson as saying, "He is amazed that contract would be signed so quickly and stressed that this would not inhibit a Tory review of the scheme if they get into power.”

"We wish to make it clear that our review of NEST, should we win the elections, will not be constrained in any way by any contract signed by this government in its dying days," Waterson was quoted as saying in the report.
Source: EconomicTimes

MphasiS set to offer increments

Software services company MphasiS will roll out a salary increment for its 35,000-employees from May 1 this year, CEO Ganesh Ayyar told mediapersons at Pune. The company recently started a 2,000-seater global command and control centre in Pune for its remote infrastructure monitoring business vertical. The centre currently houses 600 technical staff supporting 450 clients worldwide.

While most companies had cut salaries in the slowdown time, MphasiS had retained them, linking the variable portion to the company’s performance as bonus. Mr Ayyar said: “Though this did give more money to the employees, most are still comfortable with the traditional increments, which is why we have decided to effect the hike,” adding that it had no relation to the revival of the economy.

High UK exposure may pose risk for TCS

With the UK government's contracts worth over $1 billion in the pipeline, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is exposed to substantial risks of project delays and anti-offshoring sentiments, according to local experts and rivals. Such projects also bring along single-digit margins and could impact profitability, unless there is significant work delivered from offshore.

Last week, the UK Personal Accounts Delivery said it decided to award a deal estimated at рде्600 million to TCS to administer the National Employee Savings Trust (NEST) scheme, a pensions scheme, for a 10-year-period in two phases. The decision has attracted sharp criticism from the Conservative party, which is opposing the decision taken close to the general elections.
Read full story on EconomicTimes

ITC Infotech looks to hire over 1,800 people by March 2011

IT services and solutions firm ITC Infotech is looking to hire over 1,800 employees by March next year in its various offices across the country.

"We are looking to ramp up our headcount by more than 50 per cent to 5,000 employees by March next year," ITC Infotech HR head Anand Talwar told PTI.

The Bangalore-based company's current employee strength is 3,200 across its offices in various cities, including Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad.

Cognizant announces bonuses, number touches 200 pc for top performers

Cognizant has announced bonuses for its employees globally for the calendar year 2009, seeking to reward employees after it posted strong growth in a difficult year.

The Nasdaq-listed company,which competes with TCS, Infosys and Wipro, confirmed the bonus payout but did not give out figures. However, people close to the situation told ET Now that the top performers got as much as 200% bonus, a number which is unprecedented in recent years, when IT companies felt the brunt of the recession in their major markets. They also added that a vast majority of employees got bonuses between 150-200%.

Cognizant’s performance-linked incentives are tied to the variable part of the compensation, which is about 10-15 percent at junior levels and goes to as high as 40 percent of the total compensation at senior levels.

Facebook beats Google once again!

Facebook has reportedly surpassed Google to become the most visited Web site in the US for the entire last week for the first time, according to the research firm Hitwise.

This is for the first time that Facebook beat Google for an entire week at a stretch. Before this, the social network took the top spot on a few US National holidays like Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and the weekend of March 6th and 7th this year, which was the long Presidents Day weekend.

According to Hitwise, Facebook's visits increased 185 percent past week compared to the same week in 2009, while visits to Google increased 9 percent during the same time frame.

Analytics company comScore reported that Facebook search queries in the US grew by 10 percent in February to 436 million, up by 85 million over December's 351 million searches.

Facebook currently has more than 400 million active users. Together Facebook and Google accounted for 14% of all US Internet visits last week.

Facebook to set up centre in Hyderabad

Social networking site Facebook today announced that it will set up its office in Hyderabad to support the growing number of users, advertisers and developers in India and globally.

Facebook has seen exponential growth in recent months and has more than eight million active users in India, it said in a statement.

The rising popularity of Facebook has also come as a threat to various other social networking sites like Orkut, MySpace and Flickr.

It has more than 400 million active users worldwide.

The centre will house online advertising and developer support teams and provide round-the-clock, multi-lingual support to its users and advertisers globally, it further said.

The new centre in Hyderabad will supplement operations out of California, Dublin, Ireland and a recently announced location in Austin, Texas.

It has already started its hiring procedure for the Hyderabad centre.

"We expect our new office in Hyderabad to tap into the region's strong pool of talented people who understand operations and technology, and help us more effectively serve the needs of our users, advertisers, and developers around the world," Facebook Director (Global Online Operations) Don Faul said.

What China loses with Google

Source: IndiaTimes
China without Google a prospect that looks increasingly likely could mean no more maps on mobile phones. A free music service that has helped to fight piracy might be in jeopardy.

China's fledgling Web outfits would face less pressure to improve, eroding their ability to one day compete abroad. The extent of a possible Google Inc pullout from China in its dispute with the communist government over censorship and hacking is unclear.

But on top of a local search site that Google says it may close, services that might be affected range from advertising support for Chinese companies to online entertainment.

"If Google leaves, it's a lose-lose scenario, instead of Google loses and others gain," said Edward Yu, president of Analysys International, a Beijing research firm. Chinese news reports say Google is on the verge of shutting its China site, Google.cn, and has stopped censoring results.

A Google spokesman, Scott Rubin, denied censorship had stopped and would not confirm whether Google.cn might close. "We have not changed our operations in China," Rubin said by phone from Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California.

CEO Eric Schmidt said last week something would happen soon, and Rubin said he had no further details. Google says it is in talks with Beijing following its January 12 announcement that it no longer wants to comply with Beijing's extensive Web controls.

But China's industry minister insisted that the company must obey Chinese law, which appears to leave few options other than closing Google.cn, which has about 35 per cent of China's search market. Such a step could have repercussions for major Chinese companies as well as local Web surfers.

It would deliver a windfall to local rival Baidu Inc, China's major search engine, with 60 per cent of the market. But other companies rely on Google for search, maps and other services and might be forced to find alternatives.

China Mobile Ltd, the world's biggest phone company by subscribers, with 527 million accounts, uses Google for mobile search and maps. Baidu offers mobile search but China Mobile passed up a partnership with it earlier after they failed to agree on terms, according to industry analysts.

Millions of mobile customers might lose access to Google's Chinese-language map service. A key issue is whether Beijing, angry and embarrassed by Google's public defiance, would allow the company to continue running other operations, including advertising and a fledgling mobile phone businesses in China if Google.cn closes. China promotes Internet use for business and education but bars access to sites run by human rights and political activists and some news outlets.

Officials who defend China's controls by pointing to countries that bar content such as child pornography are stung that Google has drawn attention to how much more pervasive Chinese limits are. Chinese Web surfers are blocked from seeing Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and major blog-hosting services abroad and a Google pullout would leave them increasingly isolated.

Google hopes to keep operating its Beijing research and development center, advertising sales offices and mobile phone business, according to a person familiar with the company's thinking. But the person said the company won't do that if it believes its decision to stop censoring search results will jeopardize employees in China.

Industry analysts estimate Google has a workforce of 700 in China. The government says Chinese mobile phone carriers will be allowed to use Google's Android operating system but there has been no word on whether efforts to sell its own phones in China might be affected.

Google postponed the launch of two phones with a major Chinese carrier due to the dispute. Uncertainty also surrounds Google's China music portal, a free, advertising-supported service launched last year in partnership with four global music companies and 14 independent labels.

Industry analysts say it has helped to undercut China's rampant music piracy by offering an alternative to unlicensed copying. The music service is run by Top100.cn, a company part-owned by Google, but can be accessed only through Google.cn.

Employees at Top100.cn referred questions to executives who did not immediately answer phone calls. "Without that, are we back to, 'Piracy wins'?" said Duncan Clark, managing director of BDA China Ltd, a technology market research firm.

"Piracy thrives because of censorship." The biggest impact of a Google departure could lie behind the scenes, where Chinese companies, many of them small entrepreneurs, rely on its AdWords advertising service, Gmail email and documents services.

Those might be disrupted if Beijing turns up Internet filters to block access to Google's sites abroad. Its US site has a Chinese-language search engine but is already inaccessible due to government filters.

In an uncomfortable irony for Beijing, Google might suffer little commercial loss from a pullout while China's own companies are hurt. The bulk of Google's estimated $300 million in 2009 revenues in China came from export-oriented companies that would need to keep advertising on its sites abroad even if Google.cn closes, according to Yu. "We believe the majority of revenue would still be kept on, with keyword purchases listed on Google.com instead of Google.cn," he said.

The loss of competitive pressure from Google also might slow Chinese development in search and other Internet services, Yu said. "This is definitely a bad thing for Chinese companies that want to go abroad in the future," he said.

The industry minister, Li Yizhong, said on Friday that China's Internet industry would develop without Google. But even some Chinese industry leaders who normally toe the government line in public are warning that controls on Internet companies and media are handicapping their growth.

Beijing has steadily tightened controls over Internet content and foreign investment in the industry. Video sharing sites must have state-owned media outlets as partners.

People in the industry say it is getting harder to register privately financed sites. "Without full and fair market competition, there will be no quality, no excellence, no employment opportunities, no stability and no real rise of China," said the chairman of major Chinese portal Sohu Inc., Charles Zhang, in a speech in February, according to a report on Sohu's Web site. "How do we do this practically?" Zhang said.

"The problem is complicated, but the fundamental point is to limit the power of the government."
Source: IndiaTimes

Genpact bags 5-year deal from Bengal Aerotropolis Projects

BPO major Genpact Tuesday inked a five-year deal with Bengal Aerotropolis Projects (BAP) for managing its IT operations for an undisclosed amount.

BAP is engaged in development of aerotropolis projects in the country.

As part of the deal, Genpact will provide BAP with a hosted-IT application and infrastructure services model, which will help the company in saving large capital investments in IT, Genpact said in a statement.

However, the size of the deal was not disclosed. The partnership would enable BAP to move to a cloud-based IT model and help shift from a capital-heavy owned model to an operational expense model, it said.

Patni sets up hub for BPO ops in Texas

Global IT and BPO services provider Patni Computer Systems said it has set up a new North American hub for BPO operations in El Paso, Texas. The establishment of the El Paso site follows Patni’s recent move to open a nearshore centre in Queretaro, Mexico, to serve North American and Latin American markets and augment the company’s global delivery capabilities, a company release said here.

Establishing the service hub expands Patni’s business process outsourcing (BPO) and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) delivery capability to service North American customers from domestic locations in a cost-effective manner and employ highly-skilled local talent, the release said.

TCS signs 5-year deal with Malaysia Airlines

The country's largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) today inked a five-year deal with Malaysia Airlines (MA) for an undisclosed amount.

The five-year contract for end-to-end IT infrastructure services will transform the airline's IT operations to deliver seamless internal customer experience, TCS said in a statement.

However, the size of the deal was not disclosed. "One of the key initiatives include fine tuning our IT outsourcing strategy to deliver the required business results at lower cost. At the same time, we will continue to work with our key vendors to maximise service delivery and to proactively address other business requirements," MA Chief Information Officer Faridah Abdul Rahman said.

Infosys may have seen 4,000 staff exits in February: CLSA

Brokerage firm CLSA said over 4,000 employees may have resigned from Infosys in February alone, largely driven by an uptick in business environment that has created a huge demand for talent, after a lull. The normal attrition numbers in India’s second-largest software exporter is around 1,200 employees a month.

“There is quite a bit of industry chatter that 4,000-4,200 employees have resigned at Infosys in February. This is not officially confirmed by the management, but multiple sources are claiming the same number, including industry blogs,” CLSA said in a note to its clients. However, Infosys group HR head Nandita Gurjar said it was not true.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wipro starts probe into $4 million fraud

Embezzlement by employees is seen to be a common phenomenon among Indian companies. And some say even the $4 million that a Wipro employee is said to have embezzled is a relatively ordinary figure.

Wipro is now instituting a high-level internal probe, and is said to have even mandated Ernst & Young to verify the audited accounts. Experts say the reason for such frauds typically is lax controls.

Kashi Memani, former chairman and managing partner of Ernst and Young India, said such frauds happen when a company does not conduct regular internal audits, do not have in place a tight set of internal controls and most importantly, when they decentralize the power of checks and balances to people down in the hierarchy.

"It is very important for companies to change the set of people who have access to accounts on a regular basis. But, one must be careful not to change people either too soon or wait for too long. Many a time people who have for long earned the company's trust of handling accounts, tend to misuse this trust," Memani said.

Several of these factors appear relevant in Wipro's case. The embezzler, one Anoop Kumar Agarwal, who committed suicide last December in Bangalore, is said to have joined the company in 2006 and later promoted as an assistant manager in the finance department. Agarwal, reports say, used stolen passwords to transfer money into his personal account.
Source: EconomicTimes

15 disqualified H-1B employers

Courtesy: IndiaTimes Infotech
2009 was one of the most controversial years for H-1B visas. For the first time ever, nearly 20,000 H-1B visas went a begging even seven weeks after the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) started accepting applications for the financial year 2010.

With H-1B visas facing blame for the spiralling job losses in the US, the year saw numerous Bills being introduced for restricting the use of H-1B visas through legislation. This made US Department of Labor (DOL) and other US Immigration agencies tougher in approving H-1B visa applications.

Among all the brouhaha, many companies were also disqualified from applying for H-1B visas. A company faces debarment over what is seen as an H-1B abuse under US laws. The penalty of debarment means that a company is disqualified from obtaining approvals of employment-based, permanent and temporary petitions. This disqualification includes all H-1B, L-1, O-1, and P non-immigrant petitions, as well as all I-140 immigrant petitions, as part of the permanent residence process.

Here's over to the top 15 companies disqualified (starting November 30 2009).

4MY2C, Inc
Debarment period: 6/1/2009 to 5/31/2011
Employer location: Santa Fe Springs, CA

AGA John, Inc
Debarment period: 6/1/2008 to 5/31/2010
Employer location: 8687 Melrose Ave. Suite B-130 West Hollywood, CA 90069

Amtech Electrocircuits
Debarment period: 3/1/2008 to 2/28/2010
Employer location: 701 Minnesota Drive Troy, MI 48083

API Accounting & Computer Consulting
Debarment period: 4/1/2008 to 3/31/2010
Employer location: 17870 Castleton St. Suite 116 City of Industry, CA 91748

Assured Horizons, LLC
Debarment period: 8/1/2008 to 7/31/2010
Employer location: 18607 Brookhurst Street, Suite 359 Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Bradley Consulting Services, Inc
Debarment period: 6/1/2009 to 5/31/2011
Employer location: 3357 Pitcher Plant Circle Pensacola, FL 32506

Calpension, Inc
Debarment period: 6/1/2009 to 5/31/2010
Employer location: 23232 Peralta Dr. Suite 218 Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Cambridge Resource Group, Inc
Debarment period: 6/1/2009 to 5/31/2011
Employer location: Sri Reddy 18 Lyman Street Suite 207 Westborough, MA 01581

Complete Systems Solutions, Inc
Debarment period: 6/1/2009 to 5/31/2011
Employer location: 560 Sutter Street #400 San Francisco, CA 94102

Julian and Associates
Debarment period: 8/1/2008 to 7/31/2010
Employer location: 4641 North Ashland Avenue Chicago, IL 60640

LNBJ Construction Company, Inc
Debarment period: 3/1/2008 to 2/28/2010
Employer location: 2642 Briarwood Drive Marietta, GA 30067

Magnolia Pool Supply, Inc
Debarment period: 6/1/2009 to 5/31/2011
Employer location: 9571 Magnolia Ave. Riverside, CA 92503

Morex Enterprises Inc
Debarment period: 3/1/2008 to 2/28/2010
Employer location: 1442 E. Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90021

Netultimate.Com, Inc
Debarment period: 6/1/2009 to 5/31/2011
Employer location: 8116 Arlington Blvd. Apt. 121 Falls Church, VA 22042

New Hope Solutions, Inc
Debarment period: 1/1/2009 to 12/31/2010
Employer location: 2731 Sawbury Blvd. Columbus, Ohio 43235
Source: IndiaTimes

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