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25 Jun

Microsoft and Oracle nowadays declared that they are putting their distinctions aside to strike a strategic partnership during the cloud enterprise place. The offer handles equally the non-public cloud and the public cloud, encompassing multiple new solutions.

Firstly, Oracle will certify and assist buyers who previously run its application on Home windows Server to run that same program on Windows Server Hyper-V or in Windows Azure. Oracle customers also obtain the benefit to run their Oracle software program licenses in Home windows Azure “with new license mobility.”

Hyper-V and Azure assist starts immediately, although the partnership doesn’t close there. Microsoft and Oracle have agreed to work together to “add effectively certified, and totally supported Java into Windows Azure.”

Microsoft may also add Infrastructure Companies occasions with preconfigured versions of Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic Server for customers who do not need Oracle licenses whilst Oracle will permit customers to get and launch Oracle Linux images on Home windows Azure. Particulars concerning when exactly this integration are going to be available were not shared.

In the course of a convention simply call right now, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked of the “tipping point” in regards into the partnership. “A large amount has transpired and we’re intending to continue to contend in areas,” he said. “I believe both firms have generally, at the least several many years, have had regard for one another.”

Oracle President Mark Hurd agreed: “I consider it just makes sense for us to carry on to boost our own abilities but in addition allow for buyers to leverage both of those of our capabilities with each other,” he mentioned to the exact same contact. “I believe this tends to make a great deal of sense for both equally of us…because it tends to make a great deal of perception for our shoppers.”

Oracle 1st hinted at today’s information for the duration of an earnings get in touch with on Friday. The business company said it experienced ideas to announce new technology partnerships with not merely Microsoft, but Salesforce and Netsuite as well.


IT security in India under scrutiny after $45m cash machine heists

16 May

A breach of security at two payment card-processing companies in India that led to heists at cash machines around the world has reopened questions on the risks of outsourcing sensitive financial services to the country.

Global banks that ship work to be processed in India, either in-house or to large IT services vendors, were already under pressure to step up oversight of back-office functions after a series of scandals last year.

Last week, prosecutors in the United States said a global criminal gang stole $45m (£29.5m) from two Middle Eastern banks by breaking into the two card-processing companies based in India and raising balances and withdrawal limits.

“India is exposed in two ways: the threat that the same theft could happen in India and the fact that the outsourcing industry will also get affected,” said Arpinder Singh, partner and national director for fraud investigation and dispute services at consultancy Ernst & Young.

The episode is reopening debate on banks sending work requiring a high degree of confidentiality to offshore locations. “It is the weakest link,” said Shane Shook, an expert with US cyber-security firm Cylance Inc who has helped financial firms conduct investigations into some major cybercrimes.

“I think the lesson is they need to pull back on what they’ve outsourced. When you’re giving a third party, the outsourced entity, the ability to access credit limits or cash limits of the consumers you’re managing the finances for, you’re giving up control that is your fundamental responsibility.”

India’s $108bn IT services industry is the world’s favoured destination for outsourcing. Over 40% of exports by the industry are support services for the global financial sector, ranging from investment bank back-office functions to research, risk-management and processing of insurance claims.

Lured by a tech-savvy, English-speaking population and wages that can be one-fifth those in the west, more than three-quarters of global banks have a direct or third-party offshore presence in India.

Indian IT firms, led by outsourcers such as Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys, argue that security breaches are rare. “I think if you look at the nature of the work we do and how much we do, we’ve actually had very, very few incidents,” said Som Mittal, president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies, the industry lobby.

Still, any perception that data may be less safe in India is unwelcome for an industry that faces an undercurrent of hostility for taking away jobs in the west, where most of its clients are based.

“The threat ([to security] is for real, that’s for sure,” said Parag Deodhar, chief risk officer at Bharti AXA General Insurance, the local joint venture of France’s AXA. “When people don’t take it seriously, it doesn’t help. People still take information security quite lightly, and they don’t address the weakest link, which is the people aspect.”

There has been no suggestion that anyone employed at the two card-processing firms, ElectraCard Services and EnStage, is involved. EnStage, incorporated in California but with operations based in Bangalore, handled card payments for the Bank of Muscat of Oman, sources have said.

Bank of Muscat lost $40m in a co-ordinated heist on 19 February.

ElectraCard Services, based in Pune, processed prepaid travel cards for National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah (RakBank), according to sources. RakBank suffered a $5m co-ordinated heist at cash machines around the world on 21 December last year, the US indictment said.

Several industry watchers have said payment card fraud is a global problem and is not unique to India. Two previous cases of hacking into processors of pre-paid debit cards occurred at RBS WorldPay and Fidelity National Information Services Inc, both in the US.

The amounts involved however were less than the losses suffered by the Middle East banks. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has said many cases of cybercrime involving credit cards and bank fraud are not publicised.

“The notion that this will affect outsourcing to India is wrong. There is no relation. There have been bigger frauds at BPOs in the United States,” Ravi Sundaram, ElectraCard’s head of strategy and corporate services, said on Monday.

Nevertheless, the breach comes after a series of other events have tarnished the IT industry in India. Last year, the New York state banking regulator accused London-based Standard Chartered of hiding $250bn in transactions with Iran and not giving proper oversight to its back-office operation in Chennai, India. Standard Chartered settled with the regulator.

That had followed a backlash in Britain after customers of Royal Bank of Scotland and its NatWest unit were left locked out of their accounts for a week due to an inexperienced IT operator in Hyderabad, media reports said.

A US Senate probe last year criticising anti-money laundering controls at HSBC identified deficiencies in work done by its “offshore reviewers” in India, according to media reports.

While plenty of global companies are moving more functions to India, either to outsourcers or wholly-owned “captive” operations, some are moving work back home. Costs, however, remain an over-riding factor.

“Most banks in US are trying to cut costs because of recession. So they will try to outsource, not just to India, but to any other country or any other company,” said Nishanth Chandran, co-founder and CEO of E-Billing Solutions, a Chennai-based company that helps merchants process payments. “For banks, it is completely a balance between security and costs.”

Why Aren’t Android Users Actually Using Their Handsets?

4 Apr

When it comes to market share, Android is crushing iOS. But if you look at usage, the relationship is flipped on its head. And that’s weird.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, Android made up 70 percent of the smartphone market according to IDC’s numbers. iOS held a mere 21 percent. Gartner’s estimates for the same period show the same breakdown.

Let’s contrast that with some mobile web-browsing stats. The latest from Net Applications, which tracked 160 million visits to over 40,000 websites last month, found Safari for iOS captured more than 61 percent of mobile web traffic. Android’s browser made up a third.

The numbers look similar for inflight Wi-Fi usage, with iOS devices making up 84 percent of the mobile devices used during flights, according to Gogo. Ooyala, a company that sees 200 million unique video viewers worldwide, similarly found that iOS users watch twice as much mobile video than their Android compatriots.

With a third of the devices in users’ hands, iOS is used two to five times more than Android. What gives?

There are a few factors at play.

iOS users skew slightly younger than Android device owners. 19 percent of iOS owners fall in the 18-24 year old age bracket; 16 percent of Android owners do. Perhaps culturally, these folks tend to be obsessively glued to their touchscreens every waking and non-waking moment of the day more so than older mobile device users.

Android owners also seem to use their devices more on the go, while iOS users will settle in for long sessions on their smartphone. Two-thirds of online activity on Android phones is conducted over a cellular connection, Comscore found, while more than half of all time spent online on iPhones happens over WiFi.

Unsurprisingly then, Android users regularly consume more data than their iOS-using peers. With this in mind, it makes particular sense that Android users would watch less high-bandwidth video than iOS device owners.

As for inflight WiFi usage, iOS has an advantage in two respects. First, it dominates the tablet space: Half of in-flight Wi-Fi traffic comes from iPads alone. Second, its users trend towards being more affluent. According to Comscore, 41 percent of iOS users fall within the $100k or higher income bracket compared with only 24 percent of Android users. They can afford to pay for inflight WiFi, and take flights that offer inflight Wi-Fi in the first place.

This odd usage discrepancy between iOS and Android could be disappearing though. A survey published in March questioning Galaxy S III owners and iPhone owners found very little difference in the way they use their mobile devices.

Google Inc (GOOG) Takes On Apple Inc. (AAPL) In Smart Watches

24 Mar

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is reportedly working on a smart watch — just like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung. It was announced earlier this week that Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) was likely going to take on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the quest to create a smart watch, so it certainly seems natural that Google would want to join the party as well.

The Financial Times cites a source who said Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android unit is working on a smart watch. That comes out in stark difference to the company’s other wearable computing projects. The search giant has been working on its Glass project for a long time, and it is currently being developed in their XLab. The XLab handles projects that are more experimental. Earlier this month, they unveiled a pair of talking shoes, which were actually a more marketing product as opposed to something that to be sold to the public.

Foursquare gunning for Yelp

12 Mar

AUSTIN, Texas–Make no mistake: Foursquare, the New York-based social network centered around places, is chucking the check-in to take over local search, a move that pits the 4-year-old company directly against Yelp.

When asked whether Foursquare was now gunning for Yelp, co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley said during an interview with CNET at South by Southwest Interactive that “if we keep doing what we’re doing, we make the previous generation of local search products irrelevant.”

The shorter answer would have been, “yes.”

The underlying message is clear: The future of Foursquare depends on the company proving to people, investors, and local merchants that it can help folks locate the right restaurant, spa, bar, you name it, for their individual needs, and do so better than Yelp can.

If successful, which is by no means a given, the startup can shed its reputation as a check-in app, and grow out of an awkward adolescent phase during which many early adopters have abandoned the app and just don’t see the point. Foursquare has 30 million registered users, but doesn’t share the number of people who are active on the service each month.

Crowley frequently acknowledges the perception problem in interviews, as he did with me yesterday and today on stage during a featured SXSW session on the future of location. In fact, Crowley now downplays Foursquare’s gamification features, badges included, when he speaks. Though defining characteristics in the early years, badges, points, and leaderboards are no longer what Crowley wants his app to be known for.

Foursquare’s perception problem is not a new one. I wrote about the startup’s growing pains back in December 2011. Fifteen months later, the situation is far more dire. The company finds itself at a crossroads and will need to raise money or find a buyer in the near future to keep financing a team of 160 and a fancy New York office. But those are harsh realities discussed behind closed doors. Foursquare and Crowley refuse to acknowledge them in public.

Personalized local search, or Foursquare’s version of Yelp, is powered by the Explore part of the company’s applications. Explore recommends nearby places to visit, and makes sense of the more than 3 billion check-ins that Foursquare has collected over the years.

The switch to local search isn’t new, but people are still lagging behind in getting the message that Foursquare is a different application than they downloaded and stopped using a few years ago.

At a party this week, one venture capitalist, a partner at a major firm with no stake in Foursquare, joked that no uses the app anymore. Robert Leung, a 20-year-old entrepreneur who attended the SXSW talk, said he likes Foursquare but most of his friends do not, which makes the overall experience less enjoyable. And another attendee said that after listening to Crowley’s talk, he may want to use the application again.

Perhaps that explains why Crowley and team are being more aggressive about the message that Foursquare is Yelp, just better — because of billions of social data points, in their point of view.

The we-are-Yelp-but-better message isn’t just a play for more consumer attention — it’s also a way to woo would-be investors with a more colorful picture of how Foursquare could be profitable one day.

In previous off-the-record conversations, multiple venture capitalists told me that if Foursquare were to look more like Yelp, then it would be easier to model its business and predict revenue opportunities. Yelp is a proxy for a business model that makes sense, one investor told me.

Maybe, just maybe, Foursquare can play the Yelp card to finally get venture firms to take seriously its quest for new money at an $800 million valuation, as has been widely rumored.

Monitors Webserver 2008 R2 strategy posts

26 Feb

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New Office 2010 Buyers Will Get Free Upgrade To Office 2013

11 Dec

Microsoft hasn’t yet confirmed final pricing for Office 2013, but it seems to be readying for launch. New purchasers of the full version of Office 2010 are now being promised a free upgrade when the updated software ships.

The deal lets buyers of either the box copy version of Office 2010 or the subscription Office 365 release, for which global pricing has been announced. Any purchases made between October 19 2012 and April 30 2013 will be eligible to download the final version of Office 2013 at no charge when it ships.

No official word yet on when Office2013 ships, though early 2013 is widely assumed to be the target date. The promotion can’t be redeemed after May 31, 2013, which effectively sets an outer limit on the release.

The deal mimics a similar scheme where Microsoft offered cheap Windows 8 upgrades for new PCs purchased after June this year — a scheme which hasn’t been very rigorously policed.