Global Dispatches

An international IT news digest

Germans Assess Linux Deployment Costs

FRANKFURT — Tough economic times in Germany have made Linux operating systems and other open-source products tantalizing to local businesses. Yet many remain hesitant to dump their Microsoft Corp. software completely, if only because it performs relatively well and nearly everyone in corporate Germany uses it.

That was the consensus of speakers at the LinuxWorld conference in Frankfurt last week. IDC analyst Wafa Moussavi-Amin warned users that although Linux software is basically free to acquire, it can be costly to deploy. "Businesses can see costs pile up quickly for support, maintenance and, in particular, training if they lack in-house knowledge," he said. "Each enterprise should carefully study whether the low fee to acquire the software will offset these other costs."

Among server operating systems in Europe, Linux grew from a 1% market share in 1999 to 9% in this year's third quarter, IDC said. — John Blau, IDG News Service

Cable & Wireless Continues Fire Sale

LONDON — London-based network operator Cable & Wireless PLC agreed last week to sell its Japanese business, Cable & Wireless IDC Inc., to Softbank Corp. for $133.3 million. But C&W will retain two international data nodes so it can continue to provide network services to and from Japan.

The sale of the Japanese unit continues C&W's retreat from an earlier plan to develop a $3.5 billion global IP network. The company's fortunes plummeted in 2001, triggering a series of asset sales, thousands of layoffs, the dismantling of its global data services division and an exit from the U.S. and continental Europe except for continued support of multinational customers. In January, C&W sold its U.S. Web hosting and IP services units to Savvis Communications Corp. in Herndon, Va., for $155 million. — Laura Rohde, IDG News Service

N.Z. Regulator Blocks Westpac Outsourcing

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Westpac Banking Corp.'s plan to move its New Zealand mainframe processing to Australia has been scuttled by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. A cutover to an IBM Global Services facility in Sydney was scheduled for earlier this month, but just a day before the move, the Reserve Bank pulled the plug.

Westpac's New Zealand division, based in Auckland, agreed to hold off on the move until the Reserve Bank finishes developing an outsourcing policy. The Reserve Bank said that it's concerned about outsourcing's potential effect on the bank's ability to continue operating in a crisis and that Westpac's proposal wasn't "sufficiently robust" to address that concern. — Randal Jackson, Computerworld New Zealand Online

Briefly Noted

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. last week unveiled a $249 PC for the developing world. The Personal Internet Communicator is a bare-bones PC with basic software, AMD's Geode GX500 embedded processor, 128MB of RAM and a 10GB hard drive. — Tom Krazit, IDG News Service

The government of Ghana recently signed an agreement with Data Centa Ghana Ltd. and Lexis Nexis Butterworths (Pty) Ltd. that will make the country's laws accessible online. Durban, South Africa-based Lexis Nexis Butterworths has similar projects under way in Uganda, Kenya, Tunisia and Nigeria. — John Yarney, IDG News Service

Sybase Inc.'s Financial Fusion Inc. subsidiary in Concord, Mass., has won a multimillion-dollar contract to set up an online banking system for Bank of China, one of China's largest banks. — Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service

Spain’s PC market leaders:

1. Hewlett-Packard Co.

2. Acer Inc.

3. Dell Inc.

4. Airis Computer

IDC, London, October 2004

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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