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Archive for November, 2012

Electronics companies Sony and Panasonic credit ratings cut by Fitch

November 30, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Dr Search, Search Clinic, Technology Companies, Televisions, Uncategorized

Electronics companies Sony and Panasonic have had their credit ratings cut to the level of junk status for the first time.Electronics companies Sony and Panasonic credit ratings cut by FitchThe Fitch ratings agency pointed to their weak balance sheets and declining position in the global electronics sector, where both are struggling to compete with the likes of Samsung.

Fitch cut Sony’s rating by three notches to BB- and Panasonic’s by two notches to BB.

The rating means that it believes that both firms will default on their debt.

It gave both firms a negative outlook, confirming their debt was no longer considered safe and investment-grade. The ratings mean that Sony and Panasonic will have to pay much more to borrow now.

Fitch said its downgrade of Panasonic was due to its “weakened competitiveness in its core businesses, particularly in TVs and panels, as well as weak cash generation from operations”.

It also cast doubt on Sony’s prospects, saying a “meaningful recovery will be slow, given the company’s loss of technology leadership in key products, high competition, weak economic conditions in developed markets and the strong yen”.

Earlier this month, Fitch followed Standard & Poor’s by cutting rival electronics giant Sharp’s rating to junk.

Panasonic has warned it is on track for an annual loss of almost £6.3 billion, while Sony expects a small profit after four years of losses.

Autonomy misled HP about finances Hewlett Packard claims

November 28, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Ecommerce, Search Clinic, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

A row between Autonomy and HP is brewing overthe value of the company when it was taken over.Autonomy misled HP about finances Hewlett Packard claimsHewlett-Packard has asked US and UK authorities to investigate alleged misrepresentations of Autonomy’s finances before HP took over the UK software group last year.

HP said Autonomy appeared to have “inflated” the value of the company prior to the takeover as part of a “wilful effort to mislead”.

This led to a $5 billion (£3.1 billion) charge in its latest quarterly accounts.

The former management team of Autonomy “flatly rejected” the allegations. Three former senior members of staff, including former chief executive Mike Lynch, said they were “shocked” to see the statement.

“HP’s due diligence review was intensive,” Autonomy’s former chief executive, chief financial officer and chief operating officer said, referring to the process of investigating a firm prior to purchase.

“It took 10 years to build Autonomy’s industry-leading technology and it is sad to see how it has been mismanaged since its acquisition by HP,” the statement from the former management team said.

During a conference call following the announcement, HP chief executive Meg Whitman said: “We did a whole host of due diligence but when you’re lied to, it’s hard to find.

“Autonomy was smaller and less profitable that we had thought,” she said, adding that HP’s investigations suggested that the UK firm had misstated its revenues and growth rate.

Taking into account recent falls in HP’s share value and lower-than-anticipated returns from the merger, the total one-off charge recorded in HP’s accounts for the three months to the end of October was $8.8 billion, pushing the company to a $6.85 billion net loss.

Mike Lynch said” HP’s managed the company very badly,” he said. “It lost around half the staff before I left and the whole of the management team, and the value of the company has now fallen and they’ve been forced to write it off.”

“Today is the day they’re announcing the worst results in the 70 year history of the business and I think there’s a little bit of distraction going on here.”

Ms Whitman said HP had discovered a number of irregularities, including hardware sales that had been reported as software revenues, which inflated both overall revenues and profit margins. She said margins of between 40% and 45% had been reported, whereas HP now believed them to be between 20% and 28%.

As well as referring the matter to the regulatory authorities, the company would be “aggressively pursuing individuals responsible for this wrongdoing”, she added.

HP completed the takeover of Autonomy for $12 billion in October last year.

HP’s decision to buy the company was part of the US firm’s long-term plan to move away from making computers into the more profitable software business.

Waste management recycling Cheltenham company wins award

November 26, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Dr Search, Messaging, Online Marketing, Search Clinic, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

A Cheltenham waste management recycling company Printwaste has won a prestigueous National Award – the Document Destruction Company of the Year!Waste management recycling Cheltenham company wins awardThe Document Manager Awards has added value to both our image, and industry credibility. To achieve this award shows that our customers recognise the standard of service we are able to offer and differentiates us from the competitors.

Since 2007, the Document Manager Awards has been the UK’s Document and Content Management’s most prestigious, and enjoyable awards evening.

Every year has been a sell-out attracting up to a 200 guests to its black-tie dinner.

The event offers your organisation an unequalled opportunity to imprint its brand and corporate power on the entire senior level of UK document management gathered in one location.

The Document Manager Awards are run by the Document Manager Magazine- which is published bi-monthly and has a circulation of 14,560 in the UK

The total waste management recycling service means you only need to deal with one waste management company. The service is recycling-led and builds in incentives to reduce your business’ general waste. They provide a combination of services, including all of the below:

  •     Confidential waste destruction
  •     Duty of Care compliance
  •     Full management information reporting
  •     General waste disposal
  •     Hazardous waste disposal
  •     Recycling of all materials
  •     Waste audits

You can be assured that Printwaste’s audit will always go the extra mile, to ensure you receive the best possible waste management programme. We understand the need to reduce costs and our job is to achieve best recycling value from your material by reducing your landfill costs.

Since its birth 18 years ago, DM Magazine has covered applications that overlap with its central tenet of Document Management, including Knowledge & Content Management, E-mail, Records and Archive Management, as well as ‘peripheral’ technologies such as security, storage systems and networking.  Included in our broad definition of Document Management would be scanning & imaging, data capture, recognition, archiving and retrieval, workflow & business process automation and intra/internet solutions.   In recent years there has been a shift in emphasis towards Enterprise Content Management, and therefore integration with line-of-business applications, ROI and similar strategic issues are also covered regularly.

Hardware coverage includes document scanners and multifunction devices, as well as other related products such as display technologies, storage devices, network printing solutions etc.  DM also occasionally reviews more peripheral product offerings such as fax servers, email management/archival software etc.

DM includes regular ‘focus’ looks at specific vertical markets where these technologies are having a major impact: foremost among these continue to be government, health, and the finance sector, and we will also feature construction, manufacturing, utilities, distribution, professional services, logistics, education and more.

As with any title in a fast moving IT sector, all planned features are subject to change at short notice, whether due to last-minute withdrawal of an article or just someone pitching us an idea that we can’t resist!  Document Manager welcomes submissions from vendors/PR’s, especially by-lined Opinion articles and case studies/Case Studies. This features list is also available at www.document-manager.com where you can view the full media pack and other information relating to the magazine.

UK’s last typewriter produced as last factory is closed

November 23, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Dr Search, Search Clinic, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The last typewriter- which was built in the UK has been produced at a north Wales factory.UK's last typewriter produced as last factory is closedManufacturer Brother, which says it has made 5.9 million typewriters since its factory in Wrexham opened in 1985, has donated the last machine to London’s Science Museum.

The museum said the piece represented the end of a technology which had been “important to so many lives”.

Brother said it had stopped making typewriters in the UK because demand had fallen sharply in this country. It said that it still had significant sales in the US but its factory in the Far East produces enough typewriters to serve this market.

The company will continue to use the factory to run a recycling scheme for printer cartridges as well as to make other office technology.

UK boss Phil Jones said the typewriter still held “a special place in the hearts” of members of the public.

“Because of this, and the typewriter’s importance in the history of business communication, we felt that giving it a home at the Science Museum would be a fitting tribute,” he said.

The first known typewriter was invented in the US in 1830 by William Burt.

But typewriters did not become a commercial success until the 1870s when inventors Christopher Sholes – who also invented the Qwerty keyboard – and Carlos Glidden made a deal with the Remington company to mass produce their machines.

The typewriter is widely regarded as being instrumental in helping many women to enter paid work for the first time.

Typing classes became popular in the late 19th Century, and by 1901 there were 166,000 female clerks in Britain – up from 2,000 half a century before.

Vodafone’s Italy and Spain businesses written off

November 21, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Broadband, Customer Service, Dr Search, internet, mobile phones, Search Clinic, smart phones, Technology Companies, Telecommunications Companies, Uncategorized, WiFi

Vodafone has written down the value of its units in Spain and Italy by £5.9 billion which the firm has blamed on the tough market conditions in the two countries.Vodafone's Italy and Spain businesses written offThe news came as the mobile phone firm reported a pre-tax loss of £492 million for the six months to 30 September, against an £8 billion profit a year earlier.

But there was better news from Verizon Wireless, a US business of which Vodafone owns 45% as it said on Monday that it would pay an $8.5 billion (£5.4 billion) dividend.

The dividend is due to be paid to its owners – Verizon Communications and Vodafone – by the end of the year.

It is the second dividend that Verizon Wireless has paid this year-  following a $10 billion one in January.

For several years before that, Verizon Wireless had been using its spare cash to pay off it’s debts instead of paying dividends.

Vodafone said it expected to receive £2.4 billion of the Verizon dividend and plans to use part of it to start a £1.5 billion share buyback programme.

Under such a programme a company buys its own shares and cancels them which increases the value of the remaining shares.

Announcing its latest results, Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao said: “Our results reflect tougher market conditions, mainly in southern Europe.”

But he added that he was positive about longer term opportunities, partly as a result of the group’s “attractive and growing exposure to emerging markets”, such as India and Turkey.

Revenue in southern Europe fell 17.5%, including an 8.2% decline due to the euro weakening against the pound.

Vodafone said the pressure from price competition and continuing economic problems in the eurozone had been partially offset by improved revenue from data services, as more people had smartphones.

It said customers in Italy and Spain had been reducing their spending on mobile phone tariffs because of economic weakness in those countries.

Dell’s profits plunge by 47% on weak sales

November 19, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Dr Search, internet, Search Clinic, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Dell has seen its quarterly profit plunge by 47% after it was hit by falling sales to both consumers and large companies.Dell's profits plunge by 47% on weak salesThe US group made a net profit of $475 million (£300 million) in July to September, compared with $893 million a year earlier.

Dell’s consumer revenues fell 23% to $2.5 billion, while those from sales to big corporations declined by 8% to $4.2 billion.

The company- the world’s third largest maker of personal computers, saw overall revenues drop 11%.

Despite the poor results, Dell said it was more confident about the October to December period, which includes Christmas sales.

It expects group wide revenues to rise by as much as 5% in the last three months of the year, despite the continuing “challenging” global economic environment.

It is also struggling to compete with Asian rivals such as Lenovo and is focusing on selling products and services to businesses rather than individuals.

But the state of the economy means that many customers are delaying making big purchases.

“It’s not clear what’s going to cause them to increase their spending in the short term, given the uncertainty in the economy,” said Dell’s chief financial officer Brian Gladden.

But he added that the launch of Windows 8 was improving demand in the consumer market.

Cyber thieves target smartphones and mobiles for future profits

November 14, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Android, Apple, Apps, Computers, Customer Service, Cyber Security, data security, Dr Search, Ecommerce, Google, internet, mobile phones, Online Marketing, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

As more people around the world are using smartphones and downloading apps, bank, and conduct business, there’s more and more of an incentive for criminals to attack phones- as they used to attack PCs in the past.Cyber thieves target smartphones and mobiles for future profitsCrimeware kits, which let novice cyber thieves create their own viruses with a few mouse clicks, have been behind the huge rise in the number of malicious programs that plague PCs.

Now, such kits are starting to be made for mobile malware.

What criminals like about mobiles is their intrinsic connection to a payment plan. This made it far easier to siphon off cash than with PC viruses.

All phones that have access to SMS are able to charge money to their phone bill via premium rate SMS processes.

Almost 70% of the millions of scams try to steal cash by surreptitiously racking up premium-rate charges.

Malicious apps made it hard for people to realise they were being scammed, because they could work surreptitiously while phone owners used a different application.

Alongside the growth in mobile malware is a rise in junk or spam text messages being sent to phones – many involving fake offers in an attempt to sucker the recipient into revealing their credit card number.

The ways to keep your mobile phone safe are:

  • Stick to official marketplaces and app stores
  • Be suspicious of offers that look too good to be true
  • Check your bill for rogue charges
  • Be wary of sites offering for free apps that cost money elsewhere
  • Be extra wary of Android apps as Google’s vetting is not as strict as Apple’s.

Groupon shares plunge 30% after revenues disappoint

November 12, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, Online Marketing, Search Clinic, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Shares in the controversial discount voucher firm Groupon have plunged 30% after its third quarter revenues fell short of analysts’ forecasts.Groupon shares plunge 30% after revenues disappointRevenues for the July to September quarter were $569 million (£356 million), up 32% from a year earlier, but still below Wall Street expectations of about $590 million.

The company even reported a net loss of $3 million (£1.9 million) for the quarter.

“Our solid performance in North America was offset by continued challenges in Europe,” said chief Andrew Mason.

The 30% fall in Groupon’s shares left them at a record low of $2.76 each.

The company was launched on the stock market last November at $20 a share- one of a series of dotcom flotations during 2011.

But since then, questions have been raised about the business model, while the eurozone debt crisis has been blamed for denting consumer demand for some of Groupon’s deal.

Groupon offers coupons to its subscribers- which give them discount deals that are available only for that day which are available for anything from restaurant meals to spa treatments.

Revenues from international operations, including Europe but excluding North America, rose 3% to $277 million. That compared with an 80% surge in North American revenue to $292 million.

However, Mr Mason remained optimistic about the future, saying in a statement that the forthcoming holiday season would be great for business.

Adding to the difficulties, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has been looking into Groupon’s accounting and disclosures to the stock market.

Virtual reality surgery software to help train surgeons

November 09, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Dr Search, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, Website Design

The first virtual 3D surgical program to help train surgeons has been developed by the Golden Jubilee National Hospital.Virtual reality surgery software to help train surgeonsMedical students can now practise surgical techniques on 3D models and animations instead of working on cadavers or dummies.

The interactive system allows students to repeat techniques several times, and at their own pace.

Potential future uses could include helping patients understand their diagnosis and treatment options.

Attending the launch, Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “This is a really exciting development which shows how new technology can be used to help improve care and treatment for Scottish patients.”

“I was delighted to visit the Golden Jubilee to see first-hand how this innovative technique will help to train our doctors of the future.  I look forward to seeing how it develops, and how it can be rolled out further to train more doctors in more specialties.”

The training is currently being used within the Golden Jubilee’s Enhanced Recovery Programme, for teaching on knee anatomy and regional anaesthesia.

It could potentially be used for training in other specialties.

The project was developed by Dr Robert Robi Zimmer, a consultant anaesthetist at the hospital’s orthopaedic service, and a software development consultant.

Dr Zimmer said: “As a national resource for the NHS in Scotland, with our own specialist research and clinical skills facility, it is important that we are at the forefront in delivering new and innovative training programmes.

“The 3D training programme is currently in its infancy but the opportunities are limitless and that is something which will benefit patients across Scotland.

“We hope that it will improve people’s understanding and visualisation of the body’s anatomy and in the future can be taken from the training room to the consulting room to educate our patients about their condition and treatment.”

The Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank is home to regional and national heart and lung services, a major centre for orthopaedics and is also the flagship hospital for reducing waiting times in key elective specialties.

Samsung’s Galaxy S3 outsells Apple’s iPhone 4S

November 07, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, mobile phones, Samsung, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Telecommunications Companies, Uncategorized

Samsung’s Galaxy S3 is outselling Apple’s iPhone 4S for the first time- becoming the world’s best selling smartphone.Samsung's Galaxy S3 outsells Apple's iPhone 4SSamsung sold 18 million models, compared with Apple’s 16.2 million sales, in the third quarter of 2012.

The Galaxy S3 “has proven wildly popular with consumers and operators,” said Strategy Analytics’ Neil Mawston.

However, Apple’s new iPhone 5 is widely expected to reclaim the top sales spot.

Strong Galaxy smartphone sales helped Samsung report record profits in the three months to September. Net profit was 6.5 trillion won (£3.7 billion), up 91% from a year earlier.

But analysts say that one reason Samsung’s phone was able to wrest the top sales spot from Apple’s iPhone 4 was because many customers were waiting for the iPhone 5, which was launched during the third quarter.

The Apple iPhone 5 has already got off to a solid start and “we expect the new iPhone 5 to out-ship Samsung’s Galaxy S3 in the coming fourth quarter”, said Neil Mawston.

“Apple should soon reclaim the title of the world’s most popular smartphone model,” he added.

Samsung and its rival Apple have been locked in a series of ongoing legal battles over patent infringement claims in various countries around the world.

In October, sales bans in the US on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus phone and its Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer were lifted, in a blow to Apple.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, a US court awarded Apple $1.05 billion (£652 million) in damages, after ruling several of its software and design technologies had been infringed by Samsung.

Samsung has challenged that verdict and called for a retrial.

Analysts say that given the tremendous growth potential of the sector, the two firms’ legal battle is likely to continue.