IT in December 2008


  • Bad news continues to pour on the economic front with US economy shrinking by 0.3% in 3Q08 (July – September 2008); even SONY talks of axing 16,000 jobs; 3M to phase out 1,800; Dow chemicals to cut 500 jobs; IIP (Index of Industrial Production) in India has the steepest fall in 15 years; advanced tax collection (Dec 15) down by 22%


  • Government announces excise duty cuts; PC prices are down by 4%; interest rates slacken; with a move to boost affordable housing, house interest loans become much cheaper for ‘low cost’ housing;


  • Oil price drops to $ 37/barrel (from a record high $146 in mid 2008); petrol, diesel prices in India are cut


  • Delhi, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh elect new governments


  • Sheik Hasina becomes Prime Minister of Bangladesh


  • Reliance Oil Refinery goes on stream (Dec 25)


  • Reliance Communication launches national GSM service (Dec 28)


  • Indian Institute of   Science Centenary celebrations see many Nobel Laureates in Bangalore


  • Pan IIT meet in Chennai


  • The controversial decision of Satyam to acquire Maytas and a quick retreat opened up issues of Corporate Governance in IT industry that had held a high moral ground  for years


  • Maruti 800 celebrates 25 years; in a way it is India’s Model T


  • HP-UX completes 25 years (unusual for a tech product)



  • PC Magazine stops “Print” edition (goes ‘online only’)





  • Douglas Engelbart (Stanford Research Institute) designed “Computer Mouse” completes 40 years on December 9, 2008




  • HP-UX (HP implementation of Unix across workstations, servers and data center) operating system survives 25 years, and HP has plans to grow it for several years more!


  • Intel Wi-Max products proliferate


  • NVIDIA launches its Personal Super Computer in India (demonstrated in London in November)




  • Wipro buys Citi’s Tech arm for $127 million


  • Satyam announces its plan to acquire infrastructure company “Maytas” for $ 1.2 billion on December 15, 2008; retreats on the same night (within 10 hours) due to violent stock-holder reaction; there was general feeling of over valuation, nepotism (Mayas is promoted by chairman Ramalinga Raju’s sons) showing Satyam in poor light in terms of corporate governance; four independent directors quit; Satyam stock prices tumble; quite unprecedented in the Indian IT industry that has set high record of corporate governance


  • posts best ever online sales of 6.3 million items on December 15, 2008 (the day with highest sales every year) compared to 5.6 million in 2007 and 3.9 million in 2006


  • Panasonic to buy Sanyo for $ 2 billion


  • Madoff fraud in US causes further damage to market sentiment


Indian IT companies


  • Trivandrum-based Nest expands Europe operations by starting an office in Munich


  • Tata Elxsi starts “Design Studio” in London


  • Blackstone buys majority stake in CMS computers


  • Infosys gets 5-year outsourcing contract from Aztra-Zeneca


  • Infosys starts 2nd centre in Hangzhou China


MNC Companies in India


  • GE buys Bombay–based transformer company “Indo Tech”


  • AT & T starts first data center in India


  • Altos Origin to double headcount at 6,500




  • STD (Subscriber Trunk Dialing) is 60 years old; on December 5, 1958 British Queen dialed Edinburgh from Bristol without an operator


  • First 3G call rings on December 11, 2008


Education & Research


  • Parliament approves Science & Engineering Research council


  • INSPIRE Scholarship (nearly 100,000) for top 1% in 10th class and 12th class (nationally) announced


  • IISc centenary year and Pan IIT meet gets many distinguished researchers to India in December 2008




  • Former Yahoo employee Qu Li to head ‘search division” of Microsoft



Interesting Numbers


  • Foreign exchange reserves after going down to $ 243 billion from a high of $ 340 billion over the year move up marginally to $ 248 billion in December


  • US job loss estimated to be 533,000 in the year 2008


  • Job-seekers registered with Indian employment exchange reduces to 3.99 million in December 2007 from the earlier 4.14 million in December 2006


  • Commercial built-up space in India in the year 2008 continues to keep Bangalore (10.4 million) at No 1; Delhi (8.6 million), Mumbai (8.5 million), Chennai (4.1 million) and Hyderabad (4 million) follow

(Monthly Column of forthcoming issue of “IT Magazine” pp 12 to 13)

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