Global Dispatches

An International IT News Digest

Court Puts T-Online Acquisition on Hold

BONN -- A German court last week dealt Deutsche Telekom AG a setback in its effort to reacquire the piece of T-Online International AG that it doesn't already own.

The Darmstadt District Court rejected the Bonn-based firm's purchase of the remaining 26% of T-Online until pending shareholder lawsuits are cleared.

Darmstadt-based T-Online was spun out of Deutsche Telekom in 1996 under its former Online Pro Dienste moniker. Deutsche Telekom remained the major shareholder of the firm, which changed its name to T-Online in 2000.

Just over a year ago, Deutsche Telekom mounted an effort to buy the remaining stake in T-Online for 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion U.S.). A group of minority shareholders contested the move, filing more than 25 lawsuits earlier this year.

If the merger is completed, T-Online will remain a separate organization responsible for developing IP services and applications. Last month, Deutsche Telekom Chief Financial Officer Karl-Gerhard Eick said he expects to complete the acquisition in early 2006.

John Blau, IDG News Service

Fujitsu Execs Lose Pay Over Exchange Failure

TOKYO -- Top managers at Fujitsu Ltd. will see their pay cut as punishment for a major computer failure at the Tokyo Stock Exchange that delayed trading on Nov. 1.

Fujitsu was blamed by the exchange for problems that delayed the start of trading for about four and a half hours that day.

The pay of President Hiroaki Kurokawa will be cut in half for six months while the salary of two vice presidents, Michiyoshi Mazuka and Koichi Hironishi, will be cut by a quarter for the same period, the company said.

The computer glitch was traced back to the incorrect patching of a file in mid-October during an upgrade to the trading system. A bug was found in an existing program, but Tokyo-based Fujitsu provided incorrect instructions on how to patch it, according to the exchange.

The punishments dished out by Fujitsu closely mirror those imposed earlier on senior executives at the stock exchange.

Martyn Williams, IDG News Service

Consortium to Build $3B Indian Chip Plant

BANGALORE, India -- A consortium of investors is planning to raise up to $3 billion to build a semiconductor fabrication plant in India in collaboration with the Indian government and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. The consortium, called SemIndia Inc., hopes to tap into a growing Indian demand for semiconductors, which officials said could be worth up to $15 billion for logic chips alone in 10 years. The group last week said it has yet to decide on a location for the plant. SemIndia officials also declined to identify its investors, but sources have indicated that they will include private investors, the Indian government and possibly Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD. SemIndia also said last week that it has signed an agreement to license AMD's process technology for use in the plant. The agreement also calls for AMD and SemIndia to jointly develop and market semiconductor products for India. The new plant will make microprocessors for PCs and logic chips for mobile phones, set-top boxes and other devices.

John Ribeiro, IDG News Service

Samsung May Face Probe for Apple Deal

SEOUL -- South Korea's Fair Trade Commission is reviewing whether to launch an investigation into Samsung Electronics Co. following press reports that it sold NAND flash memory chips to Apple Computer Inc. at below-market prices.

A commission official said he expects a decision on whether to investigate the matter to come early next year.

Yi Seuk-joon, who heads the Competition Policy Division of the commission, said there have been no complaints yet from competitors. The review was prompted by reports in the local South Korean press that alleged unfair pricing of chips, which could hurt smaller rivals.

Yi said that it was too early to discuss possible penalties facing Samsung.

A Samsung spokesman said that the company is cooperating with authorities but would not comment further.

Samsung began supplying NAND flash memory chips to Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple in the third quarter. The chips are used in some of Apple's iPod music players, such as the Nano and Shuffle, which store data on flash memory.

Andrew Salmon, IDG News Service

Dutch Firm Launches Net Address System

AMSTERDAM -- A Dutch company has launched a new Internet addressing service that does away with common top-level domains (TLD), such as .com and .edu, and allows Internet addresses to end with the name of a business or virtually any other word.

Amsterdam-based UnifiedRoot S&M BV said it has set up 13 master root servers around the world to run its Domain Name System, which will run "in parallel" with the principal Internet DNS run by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

UnifiedRoot said it doesn't plan to register domains that are already registered by Marina Del Rey, Calif.-based ICANN.

The effort requires cooperation from Internet service providers, which must update DNS server directories in order for them to include UnifiedRoot's DNS servers. Without that service provider help, end users would have to reconfigure individual PCs to recognize the UnifiedRoot TLDs.

UnifiedRoot won't register TLDs that infringe on another company's intellectual property, such as a trademark, it said. Amsterdam-based TMF Group will oversee the effort's registrations and financial management.

James Niccolai, IDG News Service

Briefly Noted

China.com Inc. has promoted Albert Lam to CEO, replacing Rudy Chan, who is leaving the company. Lam had been China.com's president and chief operating officer and was CEO of its Newpalm (China) Information Technology Co. unit. China.com, a subsidiary of CDC Corp., sells multimedia message services and wireless application protocol products.

Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service

Achievo Corp. in Dublin Calif., has agreed to acquire Chinese outsourcing provider Jeyo Computer Technology Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. Achievo, also an outsourcing service provider, said the purchase of Guangzhou-based Jeyo will help expand its technical resources in China, where it already has operations in Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian and Shenzhen.

Two former presidents of Sanyo Electric Co., Sadao Kondo and Yukinori Kuwano, have resigned from the Osaka, Japan-based company's board of directors. Sanyo has been restructuring in the wake of widening losses. Its plans call for cutting Sanyo's workforce by 15%, or 14,400 workers, over the next three years.

ANZ Banking Group Ltd. in Sydney, Australia, has confirmed plans to increase its offshore workforce in India from 650 to 1,000 over the next 18 months. ANZ said the bank plans to shift an undetermined number of IT back-office positions to the Bangalore operation as part of the move.

Sandra Rossi, Computerworld Australia

Elitegroup Computer Systems Co., a Taipei, Taiwan-based contract electronics manufacturer, has completed the purchase of Tatung Co.'s desktop computer division. Elitegroup said the NT$6.7 billion ($200 million U.S.) acquisition will increase its manufacturing capacity of notebook and desktop PCs for resellers such as Hewlett-Packard Co. Tatung is also based in Taipei.

Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service

Page compiled by Mike Bucken.

Global Fact

31%

Level of online retail sales growth in the U.K. in August 2005 compared with August 2004. Total sales were 1.54 billion ($2.7 billion U.S.) in August 2005.

Source: Interactive Media in Retail Group

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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