Global Dispatches

An International IT News Digest

Intel Pledges Increase In Its India Investments

DELHI, India -- Intel Corp. last week said it plans to invest more than $1 billion in India, including $250 million that will be put into a venture capital fund to help stimulate technological innovation and drive growth for the country's IT industry.

The company said it will also spend $800 million over the next five years to expand its research and development center in Bangalore, as well as its marketing, education and community programs in India.

The announcement was made during a visit here by Intel Chairman Craig Barrett. It came less than a week after Hector Ruiz, chairman, president and CEO of rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc., said that AMD will license its process technology to an Indian consortium for use in a planned $3 billion semiconductor fabrication plant. Intel hasn't announced any chip manufacturing plans for India.

John Ribeiro, IDG News Service

Microsoft Moves to Add, Upgrade R&D Centers

NEW DELHI -- Microsoft Corp. last week outlined plans to create a network of 90 software development centers worldwide, partly to help foster the creation of local software industries in various countries.

The plan was announced during the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum Asia here. The 90 centers will include about 60 existing facilities in countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan and Malaysia. Thirty new facilities will be built in South Korea, India, South Africa and other countries.

The existing facilities will be upgraded in 2006, and the new ones are due to open during the course of the year, said John Fernandes, Microsoft's director of international business development.

Separately, Microsoft announced plans to invest $1.7 billion in India over the next four years. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates told reporters in New Delhi that the funds will be spent on Microsoft's development operations and in other areas.

Martyn Williams and John Ribeiro, IDG News Service

U.K. Tax Agency Shuts Portal Due to Cyberfraud

LONDON -- The U.K.'s tax authority shut down a tax-credits Web site earlier this month, and a criminal investigation is under way concerning possible identity theft, a spokesman for the agency confirmed last week.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said in a statement that its staffers had identified and stopped attempts to commit fraud during compliance checks on the tax-credits portal. New measures are being developed to ensure that the site is secure, the agency said.

The attempted fraud involved internal information about workers at the government's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the HMRC spokesman said.

The criminal investigation revolves around the apparent use of a number of DWP employees' identities in fraudulent tax-credit claims. Because the criminal investigation is ongoing, further details on the matter can't be released, the spokesman said.

Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service

Nokia, Supplier Trade Barbs Over Pact

ESPOO, Finland -- Nokia Corp. last week denied acting unfairly toward a Taiwan-based supplier of Digital Subscriber Line technology that has publicly berated the mobile phone maker over its contracting practices and the recent cancellation of a product order.

YCL Electronics Co. in Feng Shan City claims that its contract with Nokia is unfair because the agreement allows Nokia to cancel any order without liability two weeks prior to the delivery date. That clause leaves YCL vulnerable because it has to pay for the product materials far ahead of time, the company said.

Espoo-based Nokia responded by defending its contract language and citing quality problems with some equipment supplied by YCL. Nokia believes that the contract is a standard one and that it has acted properly, said Thomas Js

nsson, director of communications for the company's operations in Beijing.

Andy Lu, vice president of sales at YCL, said the company resolved a product quality problem with Nokia in April.

Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service

South Korea Orders Changes in Windows

SEOUL -- South Korea's antitrust regulatory body last week fined Microsoft 33 billion won ($32 million U.S.) for violations of fair trade regulations and ordered the software vendor to modify Windows.

The South Korea Fair Trade Commission is requiring Microsoft to offer two versions of Windows in the country -- one without its Windows Media Player and MSN Messenger software, and another that includes links to Web sites where users can download comparable products offered by competitors. Also, Microsoft must provide existing Windows users with CDs that will enable them to replace Media Player and MSN Messenger, the agency ruled. The commission found that tying such products to Windows constitutes "abuse of a market-dominant position and unfair trade practices," said Fair Trade Commission Chairman Kang Chul-kyu.

Tom Burt of Microsoft
Tom Burt of Microsoft
"We are very disappointed at the commission's decision," said Tom Burt, vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft. The company plans to appeal the ruling, he added. However, Microsoft officials backed away from previous hints that the company might pull Windows from the Korean market.

Unless it gets a court order staying the required remedies, Microsoft has 180 days from the date it receives the ruling to make the changes, according to the Fair Trade Commission.

Andrew Salmon and Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service
Page compiled by Mike Bucken.

Briefly Noted
Accenture Ltd.
opened a technology services center in Riga, Latvia, earlier this month, with a view to increasing its business in Russia and other countries that use the Russian language for business purposes. Accenture's Riga operation currently employs 150 staffers, who are currently working almost entirely with clients in the Nordic countries.

Juris Kaza, IDG News Service
Corizon Ltd. last week brought out a new version of its User Process Management software, which lets developers build a single user interface to link applications. The upgrade adds monitoring capabilities and includes support for Windows applications in addition to Web-based software. London-based Corizon's technology is aimed at businesses that use many applications simultaneously, such as call centers.
Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service
AMD last week announced the opening of a research and development facility in Seoul and said it hopes the center will boost its business with electronics makers in South Korea. The company said it expects to have 15 engineers working at the center by the end of 2006.
Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service
The University of Sydney in Australia has begun construction on a $42 million Australian ($31.6 million U.S.) facility to house its School of Information Technologies. Due for completion next March, the facility will be used for research activities involving information visualization, multimedia, language and knowledge management, and networks and systems.
Computerworld Today (Australia) staff
Access Providers Ltd., a wireless broadband carrier in Croydon, Australia, said it will build a WiMax network focused exclusively on business customers in Sydney. Access Providers expects to start deploying the network in February and hopes to begin connecting customers to it by mid-2006.
Rodney Gedda, Computerworld Today (Australia)
Global Fact

The percentage of Swedes who are covered by 3G wireless communications services, surpassing levels in the U.K. (75%) and Italy (60%) for the broadest coverage in Europe.
Source: Swedish telecommunications agency Post & Telestyrelsen, Stockholm

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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