1. “IT Execs See Higher Spending Because Of Sarb-Ox,” Computerworld, 10/20. Most companies complying with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have had to raise IT spending particularly to beef up computer security and records management. However, firms that have invested in establishing frameworks to deal with SOX regulation should be well placed to deal with the demands of any future state or federal compliance.
2. “Microsoft Assesses Linux, Google,” PC World, 10/20. Gates Inc.’s CEO Steve Ballmer admitted the company has had to scale back its ambitious plans for its Vista operating system to include a new file system and presentation surface. Instead, the new components will appear after Vista launches in the second half of next year in order to ensure they are fully secure. Microsoft hopes to leapfrog what Google and Yahoo are doing on the Internet through the development of new search technologies, he said, stressing the software giant’s commitment to innovation.
3. “The Tech Party Isn’t Over,” BusinessWeek, 10/19. The week was dominated by IT vendors announcing their financial results, and, for the most part it was good news all round with the likes of Intel, IBM and Motorola all reporting continued strong demand for their products. However, analysts are predicting a likely slowdown in sales growth for the fourth quarter in part due to the impact of rising energy costs on consumers.
4. “As Nortel Appoints New CEO, Users Hope For Growth,” Computerworld, 10/20. This week’s big surprise was the announcement of a new man at the top of troubled telecom equipment company Nortel. Mike Zafirovski, Motorola’s former president and chief operating officer, replaced incumbent Bill Owens after only 19 months in the job. Customers are hoping Zafirovski will continue Owens’ work on reforming and stabilizing a company rocked by financial restatements and executive reshuffles. The only potential fly in the ointment is a suit Motorola filed to stop Zafirovski from working for Nortel for two years claiming he’d breached noncompete agreements he’d signed with the firm before leaving in January 2005.
5. “Livermore: HP To Stay The Course,” Computerworld, 10/17. Despite many rumors to the contrary, Hewlett-Packard intends to stay intact with no plans to spin off any businesses or radically change its strategy, according to company executive Ann Livermore. Instead, HP will carry on acquiring businesses to expand its IT architectural strategy known as Adaptive Enterprise. Customers welcomed the downbeat message from Livermore and CEO Mark Hurd, saying they’d undergone enough change under the reign of HP’s previous CEO Carly Fiorina.
6. “Legislation Would Nearly Double H-1B Visa Limit,” InfoWorld, 10/19. Draft U.S. legislation would enable companies including IT firms to recapture unused worker visas from past years so they could employ 60,000 more skilled foreign workers this fiscal year. The 65,000 cap for H-1B visa in fiscal 2006 was reached two months before the new fiscal year begun on Oct. 1. Although the U.S. economy has upturned, the visa cap hasn’t been lifted, according to IT trade groups, which claim they urgently require more skilled workers to grow their businesses. IT worker groups oppose the proposed increase saying it will take jobs away from U.S. workers.
7. “Cisco Plans To Make $1 Billion Bet In India,” San Jose Mercury News, 10/20. The networking giant is to make its largest R&D investment outside of the U.S. in India to the tune of $1.1 billion over the next three years. Cisco will triple its workforce in India from 1,400 to 4,000 by 2008 to make products for the emerging domestic market. Cisco is the latest IT company following Oracle, Intel, Microsoft and SAP to ramp up its presence in India.
8. “Tempted By Blogs, Spam Becomes ’Splog,’ ” CNET News.com, 10/20. It turns out blogs aren’t immune from the bane of e-mail, spam, with experts coining the term ’splog’ to define attacks that manipulate blog creation and hosting services to create thousands of fake blogs loaded with web links. The fake blogs can doctor search results and boost traffic to the sites they link to as well as clogging up services. Last weekend saw the largest attack to date with a hacker using Google’s blogging software to perpetrate what Sun executive Tim Bray dubbed a “splogsplosion.”
9. “Chip Start-up’s Big Payoff Comes In, At Last,” CNET News.com, 10/20. Proof that patent infringement cases can be worth their weight in gold for small companies. Forgotten eight-person media processor pioneer MicroUnity is to receive US$300 million from Intel to settle a patent lawsuit. Back in the late 1980s, MicroUnity was tipped by analysts to dominate the chip industry. However, media processors didn’t catch on as predicted and were superseded by general-purpose PC chips. MicroUnity has yet to disclose what it will do with the money, but with 66 patents and patent applications to its name, more lawsuits could be in the pipeline.
10. “Gartner: Workers Highly Individualistic IT Users,” Computerworld Australia, 10/18. If you’re looking for the killer application for 2015, look no further than the nearest mirror. Analyst Gartner believes humans and the innovative ways in which individuals use technology will be the future differentiator for companies. Users will take what they need from a company’s IT department, not having technology foisted upon them.