1. “Microsoft Whispers Origami Details,”
CNET News.com, 3/2. Taking a page out of rival Apple’s play book, Gates Inc. spent the week generating a buzz around its Origami project. Due to be fully revealed next week, Origami appears to be a Windows XP-based mini-tablet PC. Microsoft has previously talked up plans to develop a one-pound tablet costing US$800 with all-day battery life in conjunction with hardware manufacturers.
2. “Customer Upgrades to Vista No Sure Thing,”
InfoWorld, 2/28. Among the obstacles likely to deter users from migrating to the next version of Microsoft’s operating system, Vista, is the number of versions planned. Microsoft is on track to ship six versions of its Vista toward the end of this year. Another issue is what Gates Inc. terms “good enough” customers who are happy with their current Windows OS and see no compelling reason to move to Vista.
3. “Bush: No Offshoring Protectionism,”
CIO.com, 3/3. U.S. President George W. Bush told business school students in India that the United States doesn’t fear competition. The president said his country won’t adopt protectionism as its response to offshore outsourcing which has led to job losses at home. Bush also said that he’d like to see the current limit raised on H1-B visas issued to Indian engineers and scientists.
4. “Schwartz: Security To Blame For Sun Grid Stumble,”
Network World, 2/27. After first promising a rollout in early 2005 and consistently failing to deliver on subsequent reannouncements of the service, Sun’s massive computer grid is finally set to go live imminently. Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s president, blames the delay on logistical problems including security concerns raised by the U.S. Department of State. The grid will no longer be global in scope, with its usage in certain countries prohibited.
5. “OpenDocument Format Alliance Formed,”CIO.com, 3/3. A group of more than 35 IT vendors and other organizations announced the formation of the OpenDocument Format Alliance, a body to help push the adoption of the electronic file format. Had the body been in existence last year, several of the leading individuals behind the alliance believe it might have been able to provide additional support to the embattled chief information officer of Massachusetts, Peter Quinn, who was spearheading a migration to OpenDocument.
6. “Open Source Needs Big Vendors,”
CIO.com, 3/2. As Oracle announced its move into the stand-alone enterprise search market, the company’s chief executive officer also laid claim to some of the success of open-source movement. Larry Ellison said that the support and investment in open-source software by Oracle, IBM and other commercial IT heavyweights is a major factor driving its rapid adoption. For instance, Oracle has more developers working on Linux than the leading distributor of the operating system, he said.
7. “Report Sparks Fears China May Split Net,”CIO.com, 3/2. For a while this week, speculation was rife that China was planning to create a set of Chinese-language domain names in a bid to split off the country from the Internet and ruling body ICANN. The rumors were fueled by an incorrect story in English on the website of China’s official People’s Daily newspaper. There are no new additions to the available Chinese-character domain names, which will remain inside the Internet system managed by ICANN.
8. “Sky’s the Limit for Google, Execs Say,”InfoWorld, 3/2. No limits on revenue growth potential was the message from Google’s top managers presenting a united front for Wall Street analysts. The executives were looking to counter earlier comments from Google’s chief financial officer that he saw the company’s growth rates slowing with each passing quarter so the vendor has to look outside its existing operations for extra revenue. However, Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt maintains that untapped opportunities still exist in most pieces of the advertising market, notably around online advertising both in the United States and abroad.
9. “FEMA Updates IT Systems to Better Respond to Disasters,”Network World, 2/28. The CIO at the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said this week that his organization’s IT systems are being significantly retooled. Changes include updating the agency’s client/server claim-processing system and migrating it to a Web services platform as well as potentially contracting out call center support to large insurance or financial institutions. FEMA is also looking to bring in a radio frequency identification (RFID) system to track assets in real-time which would replace the existing global positioning satellite (GPS) technology.
10. “Wal-Mart Details Its RFID Journey,”Computerworld, 3/2. FEMA might do well to talk to Wal-Mart about RFID. The retailer has led the pack in customers embracing the technology and has encouraged its suppliers and partners to follow suit. More than 300 suppliers are currently feeding RFID-tagged products to 500 Wal-Mart stores, with the retailer expecting both numbers to double to 600 suppliers and 1,000 stores by January 2007. Wal-Mart is already realizing return on its investment in RFID, with out-of-stock items that are RFID-tagged being replenished three times faster than before and the number of out-of-stock items that have to be manually filled cut by 10 percent.
-China Martens, IDG News Service