6th > April > 2004 Archive

VMware tweaks Workstation for Linux and Windows

VMware - the partitioning arm of EMC - has rolled out a new version of its workstation product, building in new tools for the latest versions of Windows and Linux. VMware Workstation 4.5 is truly ahead of its time, as it includes support for builds of Microsoft's delayed and distant "Longhorn" version of Windows. A bit nearer reality, the new release also supports versions of Linux using the 2.6 kernel. As always, VMware bills the Workstation product as a nice tool for testing software, since it allows developers to run multiple operating systems on a single system. Or as VMware enthusiastically puts it, "With its powerful networking capabilities, VMware Workstation users can build and test server-class applications running in Microsoft Windows, Linux or Novell NetWare operating environments, all on a single desktop. Essential features such as virtual networking, live snapshots, integration with Windows Performance Monitor, and PXE (pre-boot execution environment) support make VMware Workstation an indispensable tool for the enterprise IT developer." Also new to the 4.5 release is a Pre-boot Execution Environment (PXE) which lets users boot and install operating systems into a new partition - or virtual machine - over the network. VMware has added another Windows tool as well, tying Workstation into the Windows Performance Monitor software. Plug-and-play USB devices will now work with virtual machines and a new automatic update tool has been added in too. Windows and Linux users can pick up the latest release for $189 a pop. Existing VMware customers of version 4.0 and higher receive the upgrade at no charge. Just in case your weren't paying attention, EMC closed its $635 million acquisition of VMware earlier this year. ® Related stories Dell deepens ties to VMware Rise of the virtual machine EMC eyes the server with $635 million VMware buy
Ashlee Vance, 06 Apr 2004

New workaround for Apple DRM

Jon Lech Johansen's code that circumvents iTunes DRM has been given a fresh workout. A project named 'playfair' allows users with an iTunes key to create unencrypted AAC files. Apple uses the AAC format in combination with FairPlay DRM to lock down the music bought from its iTunes Music Store. "The playfair program is quite simple," according to the README. "It takes one of the iTMS Protected AAC Audio Files, decodes it using a key obtained from your iPod or Microsoft Windows system and then writes the new, decoded version to disk as a regular AAC Audio File. It then optionally copies the metadata tags that describe the song, including the cover art, to the new file." The restriction doesn't allow wholesale decryption: you must own a key and the files must be associated with that key. On the Macintosh, you'll also need an iPod to generate the key. Jon Johansen first published his circumvent ion in November, and in January worked it into the open source VideoLAN project. Despite Steve Jobs comments to Rolling Stone magazine - "we don't believe it's possible to protect digital content" - Apple continues to lead the industry in attempting protecting digital content. It promises to keep the hackers busy: a patent application published last July indicates that Apple is brewing its own DRM, which it may or may not share with the industry. The author co-chaired the secretive Copy Protection Technology Working Group - which bars journalists from attending its sessions - with representatives from Sony Corporation and Warner Brothers. ® Related Circumvention iTunes DRM cracked wide open for GNU/Linux. Seriously DVD Jon unlocks iTunes locked music Lock Up DVD Jon - or we all lose our jobs Lock up the copyright cartel - not Johansen Related Stories There's a noose in the hoose iTunes shoppers discover DRM HP agrees to be Apple DRM dealer DRM: who needs it? UK label stands up for its customers Free legal downloads for $6 a month. DRM free. The artists get paid. We explain how Why wireless will end piracy and doom DRM and TCPA Jim Griffin Mickey Mouse blesses Microsoft DRM DVD Forum denies AAC for DVD Audio approval
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Apr 2004

Judge OKs Microsoft Lin---s offensive

A Seattle district court judge has dashed Lin---s hopes ofo halting Microsoft's trademark litigation outside the United States. Lin---s, which markets a Linux distribution for consumers, had asked the court to suspend seven Microsoft suits pending the outcome of a US case. In Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg Lin---s has been planning to market its desktop OS under the name Lindash. Pending an appeal against an adverse decision in January, the product can't go on sale at all in Benelux countries. In Sweden and Finland Microsoft has prevented the company from using the name Lin---s, Lin---s.com or Lin---sOS. In response to the setback, Lin---s said it would henceforth use the name 'Lindash'. However in court Microsoft argued that Lindash "bears an auditive resemblance to Windows", and that users of Microsoft's Win---s operating system would become hopelessly confused. ® Related Stories MS legal case: Dash is 'dows, 'dows means Windows, which we own Lindows plans US gov backed global assault on Windows trademark Wal-Mart and Sun share Linux desktop lust Lindows asks US court to halt MS worldwide assault MS drives Lindows from Benelux MS moves to purge Lindash from Benelux Lindows now Lindash Lindows can use its trademark (for now) Microsoft wins Lindows fight in the Netherlands Dump Lindows name or we'll take all your money, says MS Microsoft takes Lindows fight to Sweden MS takes $1.1bn hostage to freeze Lindows out of California case Microsoft plays hardball with Dutch Lindows resellers
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Apr 2004

Ireland gov calls for cheaper broadband

Broadband prices are still too high in Ireland, and must be cut if the country is to make the most of the technology's potential, according to Dermot Ahern, Ireland's communications minister. Speaking yesterday at Knowledge-based Regions in the Information Society, an international conference in Killarney, Ahern said "the dramatic growth in demand for broadband has not been matched by the level of investment that is required to satisfy that demand." "There is, quite simply, a market failure. The supply side is not meeting the demand. There is no meaningful competition. The price of broadband is still too high, particularly for ADSL, and must be brought down further if we are to realise the potential offered by the technology." His comments follow a hive of activity in the past few months that have seen broadband prices drop to around €30 per month, which has been the target price of consumer groups for years. When converted to sterling, the price is comparable to that of similar services in the UK. Competition in the Irish broadband market has also stepped up a notch. In March, Digiweb became the country's fourth supplier of ADSL broadband services. With a connection fee of €89 and a monthly charge of €38.99, Digiweb's HomeJet residential ADSL service is cheaper than Eircom's. but pricier than UTV Internet, which has a service that costs €29.99 per month, plus €99 for installation. Under the Irish government's six-year National Development Plan, which began in 2000, around €200m has been set aside for broadband infastructure. Much of this has been in co-funded projects such as the Metropolitan Area Networks in 90 towns and cities, which uses European and regional development funds and government funding to kick-start the rollout of ADSL to many areas of the country. Another initiative is the creation of a 1,300 kilometre fibre trunk along the national power transmission grid. "Broadband is the enabler of prosperity, education and social inclusion in the knowledge economy of the future," Ahern said yesterday. "The different platforms for delivery of broadband will all have a part to play in the lives of each and every citizen. I have consistently held that the key ingredients for success in broadband are the 'three Cs' of cost, choice and competition and I will continue driving home that message." © ENN Related stories BT wins NI blanket broadband deal 100 rural areas in Europe to get subsidised broadband Cheaper broadband for Ireland Ryanair, Stelios in telecoms departure
ElectricNews.net, 06 Apr 2004

Milking the Internet surveillance cash cow

Pundits and policy-makers are arguing over the legal implications of the FBI's recent petition to the FCC about how to implement the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. But the Bureau's push to get broadband providers covered under CALEA, which currently applies only to telecom carriers, stands to benefit more than just government spies: a domestic eavesdropping industry stands waiting to sell Internet wiretapping tools and services to cable and DSL companies.
Annalee Newitz, 06 Apr 2004

Skype to mobilise the PDA

Skype, the Internet telephony outfit, is going mobile by offering punters the chance to make calls using handheld computers. The company has launched the beta version of PocketSkype, a stripped-down version of its VoIP software that lets punters make Skype voice calls using WiFi-enabled handheld gizmos running Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003. Developed specifically for PDAs, Skype reckons this will "massively expand the universe of people who can now make free, unlimited and unmetered calls to their friends, family and colleagues around the world". Said Skype CEO and co-founder Niklas Zennström: "Expanding Skype to new platforms and giving our users more choice and flexibility is our priority. "Making Skype available to the PDA market is an important step for Skype to deliver the 'always on' promise allowing our users to make Skype calls on the road away from the home and office," he said. Since its launch in August 2003, Skype software has been downloaded more than 9.5 million times. Skype Technologies is a privately-held outfit backed by venture capital firms including Bessemer Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Index Ventures. Its HQ is in Luxembourg and it has offices in Copenhagen, London, Stockholm, and Tallinn,® Related Stories SA telco says VoIP is illegal UK VoIP sector gets trade body VoIP set to generate megabucks
Tim Richardson, 06 Apr 2004

Security budgets soared in 2003

The combined revenues of 22 of the largest publicly listed pure-play IT security vendors grew 14 per cent last year. The heavy hitters of the security market posted combined revenues of $5.33bn last year compared to $4.67bn in 2002, according to a study by analysts Datamonitor published today. "A steady rise in security revenues in 2003 indicates that corporate budgets are becoming less constrained and that security remains top of CIOs' agenda. This indicates strong growth in the overall security market. As viruses and worms continue their rampage, more weight is added to the arguments for vulnerability management and more proactive security solutions," said Ian Williams, managing analyst of Datamonitor's enterprise security program. Q4 2003 revenues for security bigwigs were 22 per cent up on Q4 2002, compared to an industry average of 6 per cent. Q4 2003 sales were 15 per cent up on Q3 Winners and... bigger winners Q4 turned out to be a good quarter for most vendors with none of them recording revenues lower than Q3 2003 (although Trend Micro's revenues were flat). Overall, revenues were 15 per cent higher than in Q3 2003. Whilst the biggest deal of the quarter was NetScreen's acquisition by Juniper, Datamonitor says the ISS/Cobion, HP/TruLogica and SafeNet/Rainbow deals are also highly significant. Datamonitor predicts further acquisitions ahead. SafeNet ou- performed the overall market with 2003 revenues an amazing 134 per cent higher than 2002 (although growing from a small base). NetScreen also continued to grow at an impressive rate, recording 71 per cent growth in 2003. Both companies were the subject of M&A activity in recent months with Juniper Networks announcing the acquisition of NetScreen in February and the merger between SafeNet and Rainbow being completed in March. AV market benefits from viral epidemics The anti-virus (AV) market continued to benefit from the latest worms and viruses; with revenues of the three leading AV vendors rising by an average of 13 per cent in 2003. Another area of sustained growth was in the firewall and virtual private network (VPN) market, which continued to defy predictions that it has reached saturation. Revenues of the seven largest stand-alone vendors in this market grew by 20 per cent in 2003 and Q4 revenues were 22 per cent higher than in Q4 2002. Authentication market heats up The security authentication space has heated up as other vendors look to take RSA's "token crown". Struggling rival ActivCard Corp puts RSA's market share outside of financial services at about 80 per cent. VeriSign, however, aims to erode this share by introducing the Open Authentication Reference Architecture (OATH), and by selling authentication tokens later this year to drive adoption of the architecture. ActivCard is also looking to break RSA's stranglehold on the market with dramatic price reductions. ActivCard tokens will retail at $15 per token compared to the $85 charged by RSA. Meanwhile, RSA looks to break into the enterprise access market in a tie up with Microsoft, allowing SecurID token users to replace the PC Windows login with SecurID logins, further reducing the need for passwords. Datamonitor comments that the Microsoft deal will "almost certainly gives RSA an edge over the competition" but that this advantage will be eroded if competitors also do deals with Microsoft and if price competition heats up. The revenues of seven of the leading pure play identity management vendors grew by 12 per cent in 2003, with Q4 revenues 33 per cent higher than the same period in 2002. Williams concludes: "While 2003 was better for technology vendors compared to previous years, the spending habits of CIOs have permanently changed. Organisations now require a much clearer explanation of the benefits a solution can bring to their productivity and cost-base than ever before. The relatively strong growth in the security space shows that many vendors have been successful in this regard and that security remains a priority for many organizations." ® Related Stories Enterprise security spend to hit $6bn Microsoft's high-risk security strategy Cisco tops 2003 VPN sales league Juniper security push VeriSign takes token stance
Datamonitor, 06 Apr 2004

Telstra services buy could harm Oz services scene

Aussie giant Telstra has confirmed acquisition talks with services provider Kaz Group in a move that could be bad news for IT-hungry businesses here. Media reports claim Telstra has offered up to AU$400m to buy Kaz, but a company spokesman said Telstra has made no decision as of yet with regard to the transaction. Rumors of the deal Tuesday forced a halt in the trading of Kaz shares. Kaz specializes in providing a wide variety of services to corporate and government customers. Business process outsourcing, document and image processing and call centers are particular areas of strength. Telstra would clearly be looking for Kaz to boost its own services efforts. One close industry watcher here, who preferred not be named, warned that Telstra could ruin a good thing if it bought Kaz. The relatively small services firm has a solid reputation for keeping a close eye on customers. Telstra, by contrast, does not enjoy the best of reputations for either consumer of business services. The telco is majority-owned by the Australian government and its size and slow moving ways could harm smaller Australian firms in need of services help, according to the Aussie pundit. ® Related stories Telcos muscle in on IT Telstra backs down in BB pricing row
Ashlee Vance, 06 Apr 2004

Metronomy delays free-PC giveaway

London-based Metronomy has postponed plans to hand out free PCs because it's been flooded with bogus applications. The free PCs - which are subsidised by people watching three-minutes of ads an hour - were due to be dished out to punters this month but it now seems that has been delayed until the autumn. However, in an email to customers yesterday, Jacco Van Seventer, Metronomy's customer operations director, wrote: "We regret to inform you that we are unable to fulfil your application at this time." "As you may know, Metronomy's launch generated considerable media interest, and we received an excellent response from households wishing to take part in the scheme. However, we have also received information to suggest that a minority of applicants do not intend to operate within our standard terms and conditions, resulting in the potential theft of the computer. "Whilst we have invested considerable resources into developing highly secure business processes and technology, the high cost of each PC means that we must control our exposure at this stage. "As such, we have reluctantly decided to release only a limited number of PCs in the first instance, in order to fully test our security procedures and technical infrastructure before a wider roll-out in the Autumn. Unfortunately, we will be unable to progress your application until then. "We recognise that our concerns apply to only a minority of applications, and regret any inconvenience that this may cause to bona-fide customers, but feel this is the best course of action to protect the long-term interests of the business and ensure that the offer can be available to all who want it in future." No one at the company was available for comment at the time of writing. However, Metronomy's customer support line was available. An operator confirmed that the company had issued an email yesterday warning of delays after Metronomy received a number of "bogus registrations" with people supplying false addresses. Since the PCs were due to be picked up at depots rather than delivered to homes, there were fears that the machines were just gonna get nicked. No-one has received a free PC yet, we were told but a few would be sent out soon. Details of the Metronomy scheme were unveiled late last year. At the time, it was reported that 200,000 IBM PCs would be up for grabs as part of phase one of the scheme, with up to two million being dished out within three years. ® Related Stories Some points missed in Return of the free PC The return of the free PC
Tim Richardson, 06 Apr 2004

Germans unleash electronic guide dog

German company Papermeier has introduced an electronic "guide dog" for the blind called Trekker which uses GPS to navigate. Trekker is a PDA with a route map and GPS receiver which calls out its current location: "You are at 6 Leopold-Ahrends-Strasse", for example. The company stresses that the PDA is not a replacement or a substitute for a cane or a guide dog. With its 10m accuracy it won't be able to avoid major obstacles, for instance. What's more, current GPS route maps can't offer such detail. Neither is the Trekker the first such aid for the visually impaired. Recently, an invention called VoiceNote GPS attracted a lot of publicity. This device comes with 5GB hard drive and costs around $2000. The Trekker, however, runs on a regular GPS-enabled Compaq IPAQ and comes with a 64MB flash card. The company's website (in German only) doesn't yet mention a price. ® Related stories Top UK websites diss disabled Old people need computers too Disabled users struggle to access FTSE 100 sites EC talks up tech for the disabled
Jan Libbenga, 06 Apr 2004
Broken CD with wrench

Microsoft finds Fibre Channel tool

Microsoft continues to look more and more like a mature storage player with the release this week of new tools for SANs (storage area networks) and better support for its own Exchange Server 2003 software. Microsoft has already claimed a nice chunk of the NAS (network attached storage) market and has even been a firm backer of the emerging iSCSI protocol. However, the engineers in Redmond have tended to balk when higher-end Fibre Channel-based SANs come up. But Microsoft has now released a new Fibre Channel Information Tool, designed to let customers see SAN systems from a server running Windows Server 2003. The tool basically looks out over a SAN and gathers relevant hardware configuration information. It will ship as a free download in May with companies such as Emulex, LSI Logic and QLogic lining up behind it. Customers will also find new Windows Server 2003 software for "tracing" communications between storage and server systems in a SAN. This tool will arrive with Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003. Exchange customers should be pleased by the latest upgrade to Windows Storage Server 2003. Microsoft's storage OS can now store data from Exchange Server 2003. The usual suspects such as Dell and HP will likely provide support for this software in the coming months. Lastly, Microsoft has now included iSCSI support with Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition - the last version of Microsoft's new server operating system to receive such support. Related stories Build your own iSCSI SAN server iSCSI is fully baked CA does what Microsoft wants with BrightStor update Veritas ships Bare Metal boost for Linux, AIX and Windows
Ashlee Vance, 06 Apr 2004
Cat 5 cable

UK firms must monitor staff IMs

UK firms could be falling foul of corporate accountability regulations by failing to track and archive instant messaging (IM) conversations among workers. Only 22 per cent of medium-to-large UK organisations monitor IM and just nine per cent say they archive IM data, according to a survey of European IT directors commissioned by storage vendor Hitachi Data Systems. IM was originally intended as a consumer tool but it has also caught on big time in the workplace. Many employees are using IM - whether or not their bosses are aware of it. Analyst firm Gartner expects IM to surpass email in worldwide traffic by 2006. Growing use of IM - combined with low levels of monitoring - means that firms could fall foul of US regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act which requires auditing of all electronic communications, HDS warns. European Sarbanes-Oxley likely US regulators voted through Sarbanes-Oxley, hoping to avoid embarrassing accounting scandals such as Enron and WorldCom. This legislation applies to European companies which trade in the US. Tony Reid, marketing director at Hitachi Data Systems, said the collapse of Parmalat in Italy could spur European regulators to enact similar regulations. "While the figures in our research show few UK companies are currently scrutinizing IM, we expect the numbers to rise as they try to keep up with regulations," he added. All this is great news for vendor of traffic management products to control IM and secure IM vendors. It's less fun for employees who cherish privacy in the workplace, always a shaky concept. Mind the gap HDS' survey shows the UK lags behind many European counterparts in tracking instant messaging. In France 60 per cent of IT directors quizzed said they monitor IM traffic, with 40 per cent saying they archive IM data. For Germany the figures are 41 per cent for monitoring and 18 per cent for archiving. Spain returns the highest figures - 70 per cent for monitoring and 63 per cent for archiving. On average 36 per cent of companies surveyed across EMEA monitor IM and 26 per cent archive IM data. "Part of the reason why companies have been slow to monitor IM may be that it was originally intended as a consumer tool. It has unexpectedly caught on among business users," said Tony Reid, a marketing director at Hitachi Data Systems. ® Related Stories McNealy slams Sarbanes-Oxley Blue Coat clamps down on rogue IM use Merrill Lynch shackles employee Net access Privacy in the workplace is a myth
John Leyden, 06 Apr 2004

Coming soon: the Wi-Fi PSP and PS2

Wireless networking is set to form a key part of Sony's grand plan for its next-generation hardware, gi.biz has learned, with the company's vision of the future banking heavily on the proliferation of high-speed wireless hotspots in the home and in public places. It's already well known that the PlayStation Portable will feature hardware supporting the 802.11 wireless networking system, but new details of Sony's future vision reveal that this will not only be used for multiplayer between PSP devices - and explain why the company opted for the more expensive and power-hungry 802.11 standard rather than the seemingly more logical Bluetooth wireless system. Well-placed sources have informed us that Sony plans to use wireless networking not only for multiplayer between PSP devices, but also to link the PSP with the next-generation home console, PS3, and with wireless Internet "hot spots" to enable online multiplayer and Internet communication functionality. The company has been talking in private about its aims of speeding up the roll-out of wireless network hardware to individual homes so that the PSP can be used to its full advantage - with the obvious implication being that the PS3 will be wireless LAN enabled in some form, allowing users to easily connect a PSP to the next-generation console and access a full range of media, including games, movies, music and online media, using the PSP as a wires-free terminal for the system. Even more intriguing than Sony's vision for the home, however, is the company's ambition for the PSP on the move - and the steps that it is taking to realise its goals. Wireless hot spots, offering Internet access at speeds of up to 10mb/sec (20 times faster than the average home broadband connection) are springing up rapidly in towns and cities around the world, and Sony plans to take advantage of this new form of connectivity to offer a range of media services, multiplayer games and online functionality to PSP. However, one of the biggest problems with wireless hotspots at the moment is that they are operated by a wide range of providers, and an individual subscription is required for each network of hot spots. For example, in the UK, hotspots located at Starbucks outlets are operated by T-Mobile, while those at McDonalds and at airport departure lounges are operated by BT Openzone - and a subscription to one service is no good when in a service location belonging to the other provider. To get around this problem, Sony is planning to negotiate with a wide range of hotspot providers to create a unified "PSP Wireless Service", which would see users of the console paying a single subscription fee which gives them access to hotspots operated by a number of different providers, as well as a range of Sony services. At present we are only aware of plans to create this service in Japan - but given that the exact same range of challenges and opportunities exist in the wireless market in Europe and North America, we would be very surprised if SCEE and SCEA weren't working on implementing the same model. Sony has previously talked about the possibility of releasing add-ons for the PSP which would allow it to use more traditional GSM and GPRS mobile phone networks, but the company's real focus is obviously on the 802.11 technology, which offers far higher speeds (albeit at the expense of far more restricted coverage) and opens up possibilities for media streaming and gameplay which would simply be untenable on the traditional mobile systems. The company's vision for a connected world is also known to extend well beyond the realms of its game devices - and includes concepts such as televisions, cable and satellite boxes, DVD players and other home media appliances which would be equipped with Cell processors and Bluetooth short range networking systems, and communicated with each other wirelessly on a constant basis. Copyright © 2004,
gamesindustry.biz, 06 Apr 2004

Intel launches Wi-Fi brokering service

Intel, unhappy with the fragmented nature of the wireless Internet market, has brokered the launch of a new company - RoamPoint - which aims to bring GSM-style roaming to Wi-Fi hotspots. The typical notebook user will never see the name RoamPoint, said Andy Greenhalgh, Intel's marketing director for mobile solutions in Europe. Instead, it will be an invisible payment broker for all Wi-Fi and mobile phone providers. "It's been a lot of work, but today's announcement with RoamPoint is a breakthrough - a brokering service, which will let the industry get away from multiple bilateral roaming agreements, to the traditional GSM centric roaming model," said Greenhalgh. Intel's corporate vision of wireless simply didn't match what was going on in the market, he said. "One of the key issues is single sign on, single bill. We want to log in, enter ID and password and find that 'it just works' - we don't want to have to know our way around networking protocols, and creating new subscriptions every time," he told the WLAN Event keynote audience today. The announcement is likely to put several noses badly out of joint. Companies like Gric and iPass and Broadreach, a partner of Intel, have expressed clear ambitions in this area, and iPass has been boasting of several deals with phone service providers, as has Gric. Intel today dismissed these ambitions as ineffective: "The industry, alone, wasn't going to get there," said Greenhalgh. "We had a lot of small startups grabbing territory; it was appealing only to cognoscenti. But hotspot services can't be healthy if they are all fragmented and difficult to use." Intel has been "moving away from the current scenario," which Greenhalgh classified as "bilateral roaming agreements between every hotspot operator, and multiple service providers." Intel simply didn't see this working. "It gets too complex; they can probably mop up only 40-50 per cent of the hotspots with that model. We need the GSM model; a roaming provider model, where each operator signs up to the roaming provider. It's Purely a wholesale model, and a modest transaction charge is taken and agreed." That way, Intel believes, we end up in a situation which scales; "We get up to the single log in which Intel feels is what we need, and where the complexity is hidden from the end-user. That's made possible by today's launch of RoamPoint. It's fully VC funded, and has started cutting deals." And, he added: "It's what the industry needs, and will be successful. And in an ideal world, we'd want to see two or three of these... this is a traditional intermediary; they don't aggregate minutes, they don't own hotspots, and they don't act as a service provider, and they don't target end users." Intel quoted Allan Jakobsen, Dan Net CEO: "This initiative taken by RoamPoint is a major step forward to allow inter operator roaming, which will enable our worldwide customer base of GSM operators to take part in the expanding Wi-Fi market." Consultant Peter Kingsland at BWCS welcomed the news. "If it works the way Intel hopes, it can only help the market," he said. © Newswireless.net Related stories A sunny future for European hotspots? Starbucks brings Wi-Fi to 154 UK stores Broadreach to bring major mobile telcos to Wi-Fi market TeliaSonera expands Euro hotspot roaming range US players to shake up Europe's pricey WiFi scene
Guy Kewney, 06 Apr 2004

OFT offers guidelines for online auctions

As of today, the Office of Fair Trading's (OFT) website has a handy guide to the dos-and-don'ts of Internet auctions. The OFT has identified some common complaints about such auctions, namely: Late or non-delivery of items to buyers or non-payment to sellers Goods of lesser value or substantially different from the description sent to the buyer Failure to disclose relevant information about a product or terms of sale Accordingly, it is warning buyers to: Make sure they understand how feedback facilities work. Feedback, when available, provides users with information about recent transactions by other users Check an item's description Ask questions of the seller Read the terms and conditions including those relating to any dispute resolution procedures offered by the site Do not be tempted to trade off-site if approached and offered a similar item to one that they have bid on unsuccessfully More of this good, solid advice can be found here. ® Related stories UK probes too good to be true Internet offers OFT to clamp down on misleading online travel deals OFT cracks down on dodgy domain sellers
Lester Haines, 06 Apr 2004

IT firms lack 'customer respect'

The Customer Respect Group, an international research and consulting firm which examines how firms treat their punters online, has studied how the IT industry interacts with consumers. The good news is that most websites examined in the IT sector were easy to navigate and did a "fair job" of explaining their privacy policies "fully and clearly". The bad news is that three in ten companies in the sector shared private information with "unaffiliated third parties" without permission, said the report. A third of companies failed to respond to any customer enquiries, while a quarter only managed answer half of the questions put to them. Of those outfits using automatic replies saying that queries would be dealt with, almost half failed to follow up their promise. "High-tech firms need to wake up to the fact that sharing information without permission is bad for business," said Roger Fairchild, president of The Customer Respect Group. "Moreover, since, on average, users abandon 20 per cent of websites they visit due to an unsatisfactory experience, you have to wonder why more than half of high-tech firms aren't responding to questions directly posed to them. "Clearly, being technologically savvy doesn't correlate directly to providing a high-quality website experience," he said. Top dogs in The Customer Respect Group's IT industry study were Hewlett-Packard and research outfit Science Applications International, which both scored 9.5 out of 10, while wireless outfit Brightpoint, served up a dog's breakfast with its score of 2.6. Last month, the Customer Respect Group carried out research on the UK's top 100 companies concluding that UK firms just don't have the same respect among consumers as their US counterparts. However, the study was savaged attacked by UK electrical retailer Dixons, which suffered badly in the study, claiming the research was deeply flawed. ® Related Story Dixons bottom of customer respect index
Tim Richardson, 06 Apr 2004

Wi-Fi biz gears up for roaming offensive

Wi-Fi roaming enabler RoamPoint is set to announce its first mobile phone network and hotspot operator partners next week when its so-called 'global roaming hub' goes live. According to RoamPoint CEO, Leon de Beer, the company will announce partnerships with three major GSM networks and sufficient WISPs to offer roaming across 5000 hotspots. Formed at the beginning of the year, RoamPoint was officially launched at the WLAN Event in London, today. The company essentially mediates between the mobile phone service providers and the hotspot network operators, handling authentication and billing. Its goal is to make it as easy for public hotspot users to roam from site to site as it is for, say, UK mobile phone customers to make and receive calls when they're overseas. Wi-Fi providers are increasingly looking to attract the attention of large-scale customer 'owners', such as mobile phone companies, traditional ISPs and fixed-line telcos, rather than target punters directly. The theory goes that, rather than roll-out their own Wi-Fi hotspots, companies like these will partner with WISPs. The service providers get to offer their customers a branded access solution, while the WISPs' hotspots are exposed to a volume of users they could never hope to attract on their own. And since service providers are likely to want to partner with a number of WLAN operators, in order to offer their own customers more comprehensive Wi-Fi network coverage, they will need to put in place systems that can make roaming across those networks seamless for the user and for the network partners' billing systems. RoamPoint isn't the only company operating in this space. Deutsche Telekom's carrier-level T-Systems is currently touting its Wireless Roaming Platform - it recently signed up Boeing's in-flight WISP, Connexion - to both WISPs and GSM providers, and Swiss company WeRoam is pitching for the same business. Taking a less 'clearing house' style approach, UK-based WISP Broadreach Networks today launched its 'white box' Network access offer, as anticipated. It utilises virtual access point technology to provide a set of branded SSIDs. According to CEO Magnus McEwen-King, the arrangement will allow, say, Vodafone to offer its customers a network of hotspots revealed by a common SSID named after the provider. All four companies - Broadreach, RoamPoint, WeRoam and T-Services - are essentially allowing service providers to aggregate various WISPs' hotspot infrastructure under their own access packages. With the focus of such service providers' Wi-Fi efforts on enterprise customers, that will line them up against established remote connectivity providers like iPass and Gric - which, not surprisingly, are already busily aggregating networks themselves. Broadreach's USP centres on offering service providers unique SSIDs to allow their customers to find 'compatible' hotspots more easily. Its approach utilises technology from Colubris, so it's unlikely to remain unique for long. RoamPoint, meanwhile, touts its special billing system, which calculates the cost to service providers and their WISP partners on the basis of the number of authentication requests routed through its roaming hub. That, claims de Beer, makes for "very modest" costs to the service provider and, crucially, costs that are separate from whatever commercial arrangement a given service provider has with a WLAN operator. "We don't interfere with the commercial relationships between WLANs and SPs," he said. RoamPoint is an independently run spin-off from UK WISP The Cloud, and comes with Intel's recommendation - though not, admitted de Beer, the chip giant's investment dollars. Intel does, however, have a stake in Broadreach. Presumably The Cloud will be one of the WISPs RoamPoint will next week announce a partnership with, though we note that The Cloud already has a deal with WeRoam. However, such efforts should soon provide an alternative to all the individual deals and system connectivity projects WISPs need to do now to enable roaming across each others' sites. RoamPoint hopes to support all their various billing and authentication systems, translating one WISP's protocols to another's, in a way that's transparent to the user. ® Related Stories Broadreach to bring major mobile telcos to Wi-Fi market Boeing to offer roaming via in-flight WLANs T-Mobile to offer seamless 3G, Wi-Fi data service The Cloud enables SIM-based hotspot access The Cloud drifts into Europe with Wi-Fi deals
Tony Smith, 06 Apr 2004

NHS chief mooted as UK's IT 'CIO'

NHS IT chief Richard Granger is set for a new role as 'IT CIO' for the UK government, according to Computer Weekly. Granger is seen as having been highly successful in dealing with the NHS' IT renewal programme, and has a reputation for talking tough with suppliers. These skills are already being deployed to some extent outside the NHS, and sources close to the government have been floating him as the ideal candidate to bring some coherence to general IT procurement and strategy. Currently the Office of Government Commerce and the Office of the E-Envoy both have some influence on IT, but the former is largely bogged down in pricing negotiations, neither having real influence nor giving direction on the projects themselves, while the latter was something of a duff dotcom era idea anyway, and has been pretty much a busted flush since it became apparent that Andrew Pinder would not be continuing as E-Envoy, and that the office itself was due for extensive revision. At the very least. Peter Gershon relinquished the reins at the OGC recently, and it does rather look like now would be a good time for the government to do something decisive. Weekly quotes Granger at last month's Healthcare Computing conference as saying that the NHS procurement programme "set the standard against which the Office of Government Commerce is going to establish new contract terms and conditions, and procurement arrangements nationally." Which is possibly the polite way to put it. The OGC's efforts have been fairly limited in effect, because it doesn't directly control the tanks, and can merely arrange framework agreements which arms of government can choose to work within, or not. Granger, who does control the NHS tanks, did better than the OGC would have, and although he's presenting himself as having broken ground for the OGC, you could reasonably question which order the chicken and the egg came in. Not that this matters greatly - the OGC is now working with the NHS to draw on the experience of the procurement programme, and it seems inevitable that this will result in central government taking a broader-based approach to procurement and strategy. This would surely require someone of Granger's experience to run it. The NHS is currently running a desktop trial in conjunction with Sun, and funnily enough, the OGC's framework agreement with Microsoft expires next year. Which could represent an interesting early challenge for Granger to deal with in a new, expanded role. ® Related stories EDS to sue NHS over nixed email deal UK NHS trials Sun Linux, threatens 800k user defection from MS
John Lettice, 06 Apr 2004

UK.biz ignores money laundering rules

Two in three of UK businesses are failing to comply with new money laundering regulations. As a result, company directors are leaving themselves open to legal action and a possible two-year jail sentence, a BT-commissioned study warns. The Money Laundering Regulations, which came into effect last month, require UK businesses to prove the identity of their customers when handling cash transactions for goods of £15,000 or more. Companies also need to log these checks. Although the majority of businesses claim to be aware of the new legislation (64 per cent), nearly half of 150 execs quizzed by market research firm Coleman Parkes Research admit they do not have a defined and documented process in place for checking individuals’ identities. There are marked variations in levels of compliance across different market sectors. Compliance is highest amongst financial services companies, with 62 per cent of stockbrokers and 55 per cent of Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) already compliant. By comparison only three per cent of car dealers and 23 per cent of luxury good companies have checks in place. More than one in four companies feel that the cost of compliance will mean certain transactions will have to be refused, and 13 per cent see it as a cost that will have to be passed on to customers. Peter Gandy, head of Web Services at BT Global Services, said: "Our research clearly highlights that organisations are confused about how to achieve compliance, and that there is a worrying lack of confidence in identity verification systems that are already in place." Even some of those who have implemented identity authentication processes (40 per cent) feel they could still be victims of money laundering. But never fear - BT has the answer. Its online authentication service, called URU, is designed to help companies achieve compliance with money laundering legislation by establishing people are who they claim to be and logging checks. BT developed URU in partnership with GB Group. Although the issue BT raises is more than a little self-serving it still bears consideration especially when money laundering allegations have been the subject of numerous police and customs investigations into IT resellers. ® Related Stories Two arrested in £80m money laundering probe Computer dealers charged in £100m money laundering case Dealers win High Court VAT action against Customs Online fraud, ID theft soars E-crime costs UK business billions Fraudsters prey on apathetic Brits
John Leyden, 06 Apr 2004

Tiscali is UK's 'fastest-growing' broadband ISP

Tiscali reckons it's the fastest growing broadband operator in the UK. The ISP says it's getting between 30 and 40 per cent of all new sign-ups to ADSL in the UK, beating-off the likes of BT, AOL and Wanadoo UK. Overall, Tiscali has 1.24m broadband punters, the pan-European ISP reported yesterday, Much of Tiscali's success is coming from its 150k service, which retails at £15.99 a month. News of Tiscali UK's progress coincided with Bulldog's decision to launch a similarly-priced capped 512k service. Bulldog's PrimeTime 500 service costs £15.99 a month and provides downstream speeds up to 512 kbps during peak times and 256 kbps during off-peak hours. Available to punters in the South East and major city centres including Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Cambridge and aimed at light users, PrimeTime 500 has a 2GB download limit per month. Anyone overstepping the limit can expect a "£5 fee for exceeding the monthly limit". Other charges also apply. Oh, and BT has cut the cost of getting into online gaming for new users of Xbox Live and PlayStation 2 Network Gaming. The cost of the router needed to connect a gamer's broadband line to their games console has fallen from £99 to £20 when purchased online or £45 if purchased offline. ® Related stories Freeserve to sell capped, cut-price broadband Tiscali UK unveils PAYG broadband Rival ISPs rubbish BT Broadband Basic BT touts £20 capped broadband
Tim Richardson, 06 Apr 2004

EMC and Brocade profess their love for standards

In a sign of changing times, EMC and Brocade rushed on Tuesday to inform customers about their compliance with the storage industry's latest management software standard. For years, leading storage vendors such as EMC, IBM and Hitachi fought to maintain their lock on the storage market, in part, by protecting proprietary software interfaces. Recently, however, all of the major vendors have given in and decided to progress with the SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification) promoted by one of the leading industry trade groups - Storage Network Industry Association (SNIA). EMC last year went through the biggest role reversal of all, abandoning a vigorous go-it-alone strategy dubbed WideSky in favor of SMI-S. Now the company is making the most of its crow-eating exercise by announcing Tuesday that both Symmetrix and Clariion storage systems have passed SNIA's tests for SMI-S compliance. All Symmetrix boxes shipped since 1997 and all Clariions moved since 2000 can now be managed with software that adheres to SMI-S, EMC said. Dell - EMC's partner in disk - piggybacked the announcement, reminding customers that EMC's Dell-badged gear is compliant too. Imagine that. Brocade also announced compliance with version 1.0.2 of SMI-S. Its Open Fabric Management Services software is now open systems ready. Brocade's Silkworm family of switches passed SNIA's tests as well. Storage vendors are pushing a pretty optimistic story for SMI-S in 2004. Most of the big boys have now shown either hardware, software or both that are up to SNIA's snuff. The days of an EMC or a Brocade trying to block out the competition on interfaces alone appear to be fading, and end users are sure to benefit from this trend. ® Related stories Cisco's SAN biz bores McData CEO Brocade's cheaper entry level switches EMC floods market with new hardware EMC drops WideSky, swallows pride
Ashlee Vance, 06 Apr 2004

GNER to roll out ten Wi-Fi locos

UK train operator GNER today said it will roll-out Wi-Fi across its fleet following the successful trial service the company has been running since December. The programme will see GNER initially provide the service on its Mallard trains - the company's renamed, refitted electric rolling stock that will operate on the UK's East Coast main line. The updated carriages will also sport power sockets for notebook computers and other devices. Ten trains have been targeted for Wi-Fi access in the first instance, and will be in service by the end of the year, operating between London Kings Cross, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland. GNER plans to upgrade its 302-strong fleet of Mark 4 carriages to Mallard standard over time. The company also said it intends to equip its other trains with Wi-Fi in due course. The service itself - dubbed GNER Mobile Office - uses a satellite link to connect a carriage's Wi-Fi access point to the Internet. Multiple GSM/GPRS connections are used when the train passes through a tunnel or moves inside a station where the satellite's line-of-sight is blocked. Mobile Office is based on technology from Swedish railway Wi-Fi specialist Icomera. GNER began trialling the service on 1 December 2003, initially for a 19-day period which was subsequently extended through to the summer, when the full service will begin. The company currently runs two Diesel trains with Wi-Fi on board, providing Internet access as a bonus for First Class ticket holders. Recently it added Wi-Fi to one of the three Mallards currently in service. The full service will be offered throughout the train. Like the trial, it will be free to GNER's First Class passengers, and will be available in Standard accommodation at a cost of £4.95 ($9) per hour. Virgin Trains is currently equipping its Pendolino locomotives and carriages with Wi-Fi, in partnership with Broadreach Networks. Virgin will offer the service to both First and Second Class ticket holders, and is expected to have access enabled on all its trains by the Autumn. Wi-Fi access is already available in Virgin's First Class lounges at London Euston, Coventry, Birmingham New Street, Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester Piccadilly. GNER CEO Christopher Garnett said: "We are confident that the new service will encourage more people to take the train instead of driving or flying." Indeed, preliminary research conducted on behalf of Broadreach shows that 72 per cent of passengers would choose rail over other forms of transport if they could use on-board Wi-Fi. Broadreach's survey covered both long-distance travellers and commuters, and both First and Second Class passengers. Some 80 per cent of business rail users said they were interested in accessing the Internet while travelling. ® Related Stories GNER to spend £1m on Wi-Fi trains Delayed GNER Wi-Fi train trial steams out Eurostar preps Wi-Fi train trial France to roll out Wi-Fi on high-speed train lines Silicon Valley to get US' first Wi-Fi train
Tony Smith, 06 Apr 2004

Union Fenosa: broadening horizons

Union Fenosa has joined Endesa and Iberdrola in entering the rapidly-expanding Spanish broadband market. All three have chosen to target niche customer groupings through alternative platforms in a bid to differentiate themselves from conventional broadband providers. Yet, notable market failures suggest that Union Fenosa will struggle for sustained commercial success with its venture. Union Fenosa is launching a broadband service through its telecommunications subsidiary, Ufinet. Using satellite broadband technology, the company is looking to sell to rural customers, taking advantage of Spain's fragmented broadband infrastructure and subsequent limited penetration. It is initially trialing its product with 1,000 rural users and has a 10,000 users expansion target. By taking a cautious, targeted, approach to expansion, Union Fenosa is learning from the mistakes made by other European utilities. In 2002, RWE set a 300,000 take-up target for its Powerline Communications broadband venture. This looked to offer consumers telephony, Internet and security products centered around the home and was in direct competition to the package offered by Deutsche Telekom (DT), which could utilize its telecoms network to promote conventional ADSL technology. As a result RWE signed up only 2,000 customers citing severe competitive pressures as one reason for exiting the market. Union Fenosa should take note of some of the other reasons responsible for RWE's demise. Problems with the technology and exorbitant manufacturing costs prevented RWE from competing with the rates offered by DT. The satellite broadband platform used to deliver Union Fenosa's offering is inherently linked with high fixed manufacturing and delivery costs. Although designed to target niche groupings that are willing to pay above the odds for their broadband, Union Fenosa has significantly lost first mover advantage in this area. Afitel, a network communications company, looked to target rural consumers with satellite broadband in 2000, but found that this approach was not economically viable. In 2004, Endesa and Iberdrola are already active within the niche market that Union Fenosa is targeting. Indeed, Endesa has already recorded a 19 per cent penetration rate through its Powerline Communications offering. Therefore, although Spain offers an advantageous market opportunity for utilities to develop broadband products, Union Fenosa may already have missed the boat. Source: Datamonitor Related Research: Datamonitor, "Bundled Services Review" (DMEN0265)
Datamonitor, 06 Apr 2004

Are fingerprints really infallible, unique ID?

How unique are your fingerprints? It's general held (and as er, The Register confidently stated just yesterday) that your fingerprints being found at the scene of the crime tied you up with it pretty conclusively, but a report published earlier this year by New Scientist claims that there is little scientific basis for the infallibility of fingerprints, and that the only research indicating that there is, is fatally flawed. This could have major implications for the criminal justice system, and could undermine the basic premise of planned ID sytems in the UK, US and Europe. The report notes that the only known study, commissioned b y the US Department of Justice and only made public in summary form, was challenged in December. The study involved matching up 50,000 fingerprint images, and concluded from this that the probability of a false match was effectively zero. However, says New Scientist, "Although this produced an impressive-sounding 2.5 billion comparisons, critics point out that it is hardly surprising that a specific image should turn out to be more like itself than 49,999 other images." The study wasn't designed to test matches between two or more different prints from the same finger, and it was even discovered that it originally included three instances of fingerprints being listed as similar but different, when they were actually different prints from the same finger. One pair was even found to be as dissimilar as prints from different people. And the sample size is seen by many critics as being too small to be seen as valid. Despite the apparently shaky foundations of the little 'proof' that exists, there seems to be no government enthusiasm for further research. The DoJ has refused to sanction further research, and a Department of Defense and National Institute of Justice programme fell apart last year after arguments over dissemination and review of the material. New Scientist points out that fingerprint evidence still has a value, but that it's such a long-standing technique that it has never been subjected to rigorous scientific scrutiny. This could well be its undoing, as ID systems' need to match up prints from millions of people takes fingerprinting into entirely uncharted territory. It would surely be just a little bit embarrassing if a few years down the line governments' deployment of fingerprints in the war on terror resulted in the near overthrow of the criminal justice system, wouldn't it? ® Related stories ID cards: a guide for technically-challenged PMs
John Lettice, 06 Apr 2004

'What do we stand for now?' ask Sun staff

LettersLetters Sun Microsystems made peace with Microsoft last week. But if Sun doesn't stand for not being Microsoft, then what does it stand for? "As a nine-year Sun veteran, I need to thank you for putting my thoughts and feelings into words," writes one reader. "Since Thursday I have been wrestling with why this whole thing has my gut in knots. It wasn't the Scott & Steve Handshake, It wasn't that we didn't get enough money. It wasn't even that we never got MSFT to admit to wrong doing." "It was exactly what you said 'What does Sun Stand for????'. I used to know. I used to follow Scott blindly because he told us every day that we were doing necessary work. We were gonna keep the world safe for innovation. I believed in Scott. I believed in a guy who made no excuses for doing things different. I believed in a guy who lead us even though he didn't need the money." But it wasn't typical of sentiments this week. Defining yourself as being against something isn't very healthy. Sun Labs veteran Geoff Arnold writes: " I'm sure that psychologists have a term (and a DSM IV category) for people who define themselves by what they are against rather than what they are for, by who they are not rather than who they are. Anyway, it became an institutionalized thing, much like the Red Sox and the Yankees, or Glasgow Celtics and Glasgow Rangers." Long-time Sun watcher and financial analyst Mark Stahlmann offered us this yesterday. "There's room for a Green Team that isn't the Red Team, Microsoft and Intel, or the Blue Team, IBM. Sun can be an independent power supply for service providers. It's ground zero now. These pieces must interact in a secure and reliable fashion." Security and reliability are two qualities the Red Team doesn't do very well. And in terms of security, Red's best is getting worse: it almost seems cute now that people used to mention Windows NT in the same breath as VMS. This doesn't happen very often nowadays. "I remember the anguish when Andy Becholsteim [Sun co-founder who recently rejoined] introduced SPARC, and a $15,000 computer could do what a $50,000 computer did. Sun is doing this again," says Stahlmann. So perhaps McNealy doesn't need to change the tune very drastically. The biggest orthodoxy that he'll need to challenge is that customers will pay for quality. ® Related Stories Why Sun threw in the towel in Mankind vs. Microsoft Sun-Apple rumors set markets jangling The old DEC, the New HP, the price of The Right Thing
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Apr 2004

The Joe Job DoS attack

A problem with the way that non-delivery notifications are sent by many mail servers could be exploited to launch "mail bomb" denial of service attacks. Incorrectly configured mail servers may respond to mail delivery failure with as many non-delivery reports as there are undeliverable cc: and bcc: addresses contained in the original email. By forging the source of an email, hackers could bombard systems with spurious emails. Security researchers have now demonstrated how easy it might be to turn such 'Joe Jobs' into deliberate denial of service attacks. Hackers could use badly set-up mail servers as multipliers (every bogus message could generate dozens) and flood any target email system or account. Non-delivery notification emails generated by these systems often include a full copy of the original email sent in addition to any file attachments. Platform-independent DoS risk The vulnerability is dependant on the configuration of SMTP servers, rather than software platform. Tests suggest the vulnerability works across the board, independent of mail server package or version. Gunter Ollmann, professional services director at Next Generation Security Software (NGSSoftware), warns that the problem is easy to exploit. Ollmann, along with consultant Ivo Silvestri began looking at the problem on the instigation of Stefan Frei, a colleague who runs a number of Swiss webmail operations. These services were straining under the load ofbounced messages. Looking at how these messages were generated established the potential basis for deliberate attacks, rather than the accidental bombardment experienced by Frei's services. Tests suggest that larger organisations tend to be more vulnerable to the "mail bombing" attack. "This vulnerability appears to affect around 30 per cent of our main study group (the Fortune 500), and has significance to all essential email communications," Ollmann warns. "We have proved that this vulnerability can be easily exploited and can be used to DoS almost any SMTP service on the Internet. By utilising multiple vulnerable STMP servers, a distributed DoS is possible, and can be used to cause the loss of mail services (and in extreme cases all Internet connectivity) to any organisation." Action stations The three researchers had originally intended to publish their analysis of the problem after the Easter break. But talk of the issue on a popular vulnerability discussion forum has prompted them to release their guidance ahead of schedule. Ollmann isn't aware of any instances where the attack mechanism has been used in anger. But this is no reason for complacency. Developers and mail administrators are urged to secure their SMTP mail services, as explained here (PDF). The fix is simple enough: don't send the attachment part of non-delivery receipt; and send one email in response to every mail failure, rather than one for every intended recipient. ® Related Stories Sendmail suffers second major flaw Outlook Express becomes attack platform, of sorts Beware the Habeas Joe Job
John Leyden, 06 Apr 2004

Nokia warns of handset sales slip

Nokia warned that this quarter's results will be less rosy than it hoped, as a result of lower than expected handset sales. The company said today that it hadn't kept pace with the booming mobile phone market, blaming the lack of a successful mid-market offering. Last year Nokia warned that the market was increasingly favoring cheaper models, and has adjusted its product mix accordingly. Although sales of Nokia handsets boomed, up 19 per cent, the market as a whole grew 25 per cent. As a result, earnings will be two per cent lower than previously forecast, at €6.6bn. By contrast, Nokia said its Networks division performed better than expected. The full earnings will be disclosed in ten days. ® Related Stories Siemens' phone biz profits, sales jump Phone sales drive Nokia Q4 profitability Motorola beats the Street with profits surge Nokia held back by falling prices
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Apr 2004
cable

Dude, you're getting a Dell - Oracle bundle

Oracle and Dell forged closer ties on Tuesday, courtesy of a bundling agreement that will place Oracle's database on low-end Dell servers. Dell owns a top position among x86 server vendors with Oracle as the two companies combine from time to time with "special" deals. Their latest agreement will have Oracle's Standard Edition One database preloaded on Dell's two processor PowerEdge 2600 and 2650 servers. The two companies are billing the software/hardware combination as an exclusive arrangement. Earlier this year, Oracle cut the price of its Standard Edition One 10g database to $4,995. The product is a low-end version of Oracle's database aimed at smaller customers with tight budgets. But the Oracle/Dell combination comes in well below that price. The two companies have agreed on a starting price of $4,108 for the pairing running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Detailed pricing, however, is tough to come by on Dell's website. Later this year, Dell plans to roll out a similar combo package for Windows. Over the past couple of years, Oracle and Dell have mainly focused on selling small computer clusters. The companies bill Linux clusters running Oracle as a low-cost alternative to running a database on a single multiprocessor Unix system. This strategy has helped Dell unseat Sun Microsystems as Oracle's closest ally. Oracle and Sun have similar promotions for Unix systems, but Dell is the clear Oracle chum in the x86 server market. ® Related stories This is how Dell will become a $60bn company Dell and UT team for Texas-sized cluster Sun baits Dell as OracleWorld focuses on grid Dell promotes Linux clusters again
Ashlee Vance, 06 Apr 2004