Global Dispatches

An international news digest

India Faces Hurdles in Attracting Chip Makers

DALIAN, China -- Intel Corp.’s decision to build a $2.5 billion chip-making factory in China is a key loss for India, and it may underscore concerns about India’s infrastructure, according to a Gartner Inc. report released last week.

Intel had rejected a substantial offer by the Indian government to locate the facility there, said Ganesh Ramamoorthy, a Gartner analyst and the author of the report. He said that India offered to provide up to a quarter of the cost of the project.

“Intel’s decision to move to China was driven mainly by China’s superior infrastructure facilities, compared with those in India, and Intel’s need to be closer to its customers in China and Japan, even though China’s supply of semiconductor talent is considered to be weaker than India’s,” according to Ramamoorthy.

In an e-mail, he said that problems with electricity, water and roads in India are hurting its efforts to attract investment by chip makers.

India has been trying to attract chip factory investments to build up its manufacturing talent.

-- Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service

Sohu.com Threatens Google With Lawsuit

BEIJING -- Sohu.com Inc. last week threatened to sue Google Inc. for violating its intellectual property rights, just days after the search engine maker acknowledged using part of a Sohu database in its Pinyin input method editor (IME) product.

“We are very sorry that a leading U.S. company like Google, which comes from a country that respects intellectual property rights, has exhibited a complete disregard for intellectual property in China,” Sohu said in a statement.

“We demand Google stop infringing on [Sohu] intellectual property and cease downloads and the operation of Google Pinyin IME. Otherwise, we will bring [legal] charges,” the statement said.

A Google China spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment. The company had earlier said that the Sohu database was “inadvertently” incorporated into its software.

IMEs allow users to type Chinese characters using their Pinyin Romanization equivalents and are found on most computers in China.

Google released the Pinyin IME on April 4. Within hours, Sohu engineers noted similarities between the Google tool and Sohu’s Sogou Pinyin IME.

Google released an updated version of the software on April 6, but the questions continued and Sohu demanded that distribution of Pinyin IME cease.

-- Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service

National Grid Sells U.K. Wireless Business

WARWICK, England -- National Grid has agreed to sell its U.K. wireless business to Arqiva Ltd., a subsidiary of Sydney, Australia-based Macquarie Bank Ltd., for £2.5 billion ($5 billion U.S.).

National Grid Wireless, which is based here, is a major provider of turnkey wireless infrastructures to mobile operators in the U.K. Its products are used by the British Broadcasting Corp., Vodafone Group PLC, T-Mobile USA Inc., O2 Ltd., Orange SA, British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC and others.

National Grid CEO Steve Holliday said the sale is part of the company’s effort to focus on its core U.K. and U.S. electricity and gas markets. The company also expects to offload its U.S. wireless business, he said.

The deal is expected to require approval by the U.K. Competition Commission because Arqiva and National Grid each own around half the transmission masts used by TV and radio stations in England.

-- Tash Shifrin, Computerworld U.K.

Indian Firm to Buy Agilent Services Unit

BANGALORE, India -- Sobha Renaissance Information Technology Ltd., which is based here, has agreed to purchase Folsom, Calif.-based Objective Systems Integrators Inc. (OSI), the telecommunications support systems business of Agilent Technologies Inc.

The deal is expected to close in June; terms were not disclosed.

N.J. Joseph, Sobha’s director of marketing and sales, said the acquisition will help the company expand the services portfolio it sells in its primary markets: telecommunications, health care and corporate systems.

OSI will become an independent subsidiary of Sobha and will be based in San Francisco, Joseph said. “We want [acquired] companies to run as independent operations focused on their products business,” he said.

Agilent officials were not available for comment, though Joseph said the Santa Clara, Calif.-based firm sold the unit to focus on its test and measurement business.

-- John Ribeiro, IDG News Service

French News Service, Google Settle Lawsuit

PARIS -- Agence France-Presse has settled its two-year-old lawsuit against Google, a move that defuses the news service’s allegations that inclusion of its content in the Google News site amounts to copyright infringement.

The news service said that it has signed a licensing agreement granting Google permission to use AFP news and photos.

AFP filed the lawsuit against Google in March 2005, alleging that the search engine maker offered, without permission, AFP material in Google News, which aggregates links, text snippets and thumbnail photos from thousands of media outlets.

Google argued that the site is protected by the fair-use principle, which allows for limited use of copyrighted material, such as headlines, text snippets and thumbnail images.

AFP would not disclose details of the licensing agreement, except to say that it would let Google use its material “in innovative, new ways.”

In its lawsuit, filed in both the U.S. and France, AFP sought damages of at least $17.5 million (U.S.) as well as a court order barring Google from including its material in Google News.

Google didn’t respond to a request for comment.

-- Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service

Briefly Noted

Uschi Schreiber, director general of the Queensland Department of Health, has been appointed chairwoman of the National E-Health Transition Authority. The authority is charged with creating standards and with developing processes for electronically collecting and securely exchanging health information across Australia.

-- Sandra Rossi, Computerworld Australia

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative last week said that it plans to file two complaints against China with the World Trade Organization, including one accusing the country of being lax in enforcing copyrights. Under WTO rules, the two countries must try to negotiate a settlement over the next 60 days. If unsuccessful, the U.S. can then request that a WTO panel resolve the dispute.

-- Grant Gross, IDG News Service

ASUSTeK Computer Inc. in Taipei reported this month that its Web site was hacked and used to distribute attack code that exploited a critical Windows vulnerability. The malware exploits a flaw, patched last week, in the way Windows processes so-called ANI animated cursor files. The exploit was hidden in an HTML element on the front page of ASUSTeK’s Web site.

-- Robert McMillan, IDG News Service

Sony Corp. has unveiled a new version of its lightweight Vaio Type-G laptop. The Type-G is the first Sony laptop to include a new type of drive that uses flash memory to store data instead of writing it onto a magnetic disk. The company said that a Type-G laptop with a 32GB flash drive costs about ¥65,000 ($545 U.S.) more than a similar system with a 40GB hard disk drive.

-- Martyn Williams, IDG News Service

Dell Inc. this month opened an application solution center in Hong Kong that will let customers evaluate products before final implementation in a production environment. The facility will also showcase products from Dell and its partners, as well as host workshops on products and technologies such as storage, system management and virtualization.

-- Teresa Leung, Computerworld Hong Kong

Global Fact

$41B


Amount spent by small and midsize Japanese firms on UT related products and services in 2006, up 7% from $38 billion in 2005.

Source: AMI Partners Inc.

Compiled by Mike Bucken.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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