Editions 441 - 445

Home   Telecom Answers Associates   Telecommunications Training/
THE CYBERSCHUUL
  Telecom Gallery   Contact Us
 


 

Cyberschuulnews 444

 

Government forces Airtel to recall sacked workers
 
 
 
An attempt by Airtel, Nigeria’s third largest telephone operator by subscriber base, to disengage workers was halted on the intervention of the National Assembly.
 
It was a ding dong between the Central labour Union, NLC, and the image makers of the firm but it became clear to the Indians they would not prevail this time around. Matters were escalated to the attention of a radical politician who in turn raised the subject on the floor of the House of Representatives calling for the core issue of ‘sacking Nigerian  workers’ to be discussed. The government was urged to caution the telephone operator and rescind its decision that led to the crisis.
 
 
NCC parleys with consumers, media, operators and legislators
 

 
 
The Nigerian Communications Commission used the opportunity of the 8th anniversary of its Telecom Consumer Parliament to reassure Nigerians on its commitment to good service midweek. The Industry regulator held a special edition of the Consumer Parliament in Lagos during which an assembly of Federal legislators, Telephone Operators, Consumer Advocacies and all sectors of telecom consumers discussed the status of the industry.
 
The lead speech at the Event was given by Mr Ernest Ndukwe, a former Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC under whose watch the Consumer Parliament Initiative was conceived and who led what industry watchers say had been a decade of telecommunications revolution.
 
Using a report of ATCONNEWS THIS WEEK as lead, it was a joyous event in which all stakeholders gave a thumbs up for the telecom industry regardless of notable problems in quality of service.
 
NCC’s management also had an outing with senior media practitioners in a separate session.
 
Read more >>>>>
 
Blackberry Outage: It was a sneeze
 

 
 
RIM eventually spoke on the outage of its services which lasted  4 days without a clear explanation of the cause except to say ‘a switch failure’’  was responsible.  Users of the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) — comprising Blackberry Messenger (BBM), email and web services   in Europe, Middle East and Africa, later part of North America had to sleep with.
 
Perhaps it was one case in which the media cried louder than users and the conclusion could be that Blackberry sneezed and the world caught cold.
 
Who knows? BB’s popularity might have just been tested again. Suffice to say staff at Apple had been following events with keen attention. 
 
Skype is the limit for Microsoft


 
It is reported this week that Microsoft is expected to win EU approval for its $8.5bn acquisition of internet telephony services company, Skype, despite claims the deal is anti-competitive due to the absence of any other serious bidders for the provider of free online video and voice chats.
To stem its flagging standing in the market, Microsoft stole a march on its fierce rivals Facebook and Google announcing its plans back in May and was granted approval by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in June. The EU’s late approval is perhaps an indication of its fractious relationship with Microsoft in which it had accused the latter of an abuse of its dominant position.
However Joaquín Almunia, the EU competition commissioner is to give the go-ahead for the deal after Microsoft gave assurances Skype will be available across multiple operating systems, not just Windows.
 
Microsoft plans to use Skype to provide Skype support for its Xbox, Kinect and Windows Phone devices. Microsoft said it will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities, as well as investing in Skype on non-Microsoft platforms.

Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer announcing the acquisition, said: ‘Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world.’
Analysts contend that Microsoft has paid over the odds for Skype (3 times what it fetched 18 months ago) and is taking a huge gamble but the acquisition is a mark of its desperation to make in-roads in the mobile and internet market particularly when its core market in software is on the wane and further missed opportunities is bound to get investors even more jittery.
 
 
Dennis Ritchie the Software Pioneer dies at 70 
 
 
The global ICT industry once more mourns the loss of another colossal figure - another American - and one of the co-inventors of the Unix operating system and the C programme, Dennis Ritchie who died this week aged 70 after a long illness.
 
As part of a quintet which included Ken Thompson, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy and Joe Ossanna during the 1960s and 70s, Ritchie created the Unix operating system, which was the foundation of many of today’s key software engineering principles.
 
The late Steve Jobs used Unix as the basis for his NeXT computer workstation and later introduced it to Apple where it became the foundation for the company's current products. It is also the founding component of today's open-source software movement, mainly due to the development of a free version called Linux by Finnish computer scientist Linus Torvalds in the 1980s.
 
Ritchie was also the principal designer of C, which he created while working at Bell Labs in the early 1970s. C introduced a number of features that today are standard parts of almost every computer system, including common input/output libraries. C became, and still is, an incredibly popular computing language influencing many other popular programming languages such as C++ and Java.
 
He was the US National Medal of Technology in 1999 in recognition of his influence and outstanding contribution which has profoundly changed our lives.
 
Jeong Kim, president of Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, in a statement said, ‘He was truly an inspiration to all of us, not just for his many accomplishments, but because of who he was as a friend, an inventor, and a humble and gracious man.’
 
May his soul rest in peace.
 
 
It is neither the iPhone4 nor 5: Apple launches the 4S

 
 
 
In what is slightly more than a coincidence, Apple began its post- Steve Jobs era with a creation unlike anything it had produced in years: disappointment. Apple enthusiasts gathered in California expecting to see the launch of iPhone5 but their enthusiasm was quickly dampened when instead of a major new product, the electronics giant unveiled an updated version of the iPhone4 that it released 16 months ago.
 
Even the name and looks, iPhone4S resembled the iPhone4. It appears that without Jobs who epitomises the company, Apple, seems to have lost its knack for wowing crowds with stunning new devices. Unlike Jobs, who immerses himself in the product staying on the stage for most of a product unveiling, Apple's new chief executive Tim Cook spoke for only a small part of the nearly two-hour presentation.
 
‘It's kind of unfortunate timing that the first post-Jobs product is not the most exciting in the world,’ said Alex Spektor, a wireless analyst at Strategy Analytics, who called the new phone an ‘incremental’ improvement over the iPhone4. By choosing not to call the device the iPhone5, he said, ‘Apple is admitting that it's basically the same phone but with some souped-up specifications.’
 
The iphone 4S has a dual-core A5 processor; a battery life of eight hours of 3G talktime; a new 8 megapixel camera with still images and full 1080p HD resolution video recording. The ‘wow’ factor lies in what is called Siri, an intelligent assistant that helps you send text messages or e-mails, make calls or notes, search the internet and get directions, all through voice recognition. It also understands context, and uses data it has access to on your phone, such as location services, to answer questions.
 
The markets were unimpressed either. Immediately after the company showed off the iPhone4S, shares of Apple stock temporarily plunged nearly 5% recovering by close of business.
 
 
HP gets its Autonomy 
 
Hewlett Packard whose Board is said to have ‘made its mark in the annals of corporate government’ lurching from one crisis to another, has dropped a bombshell announcing that it has completed its acquisition of the UK software company Autonomy the UK's second-largest software company, was founded in 1996 by CEO Mike Lynch, for £7.1billion.
 
The acquisition which was announced back in August was the brainchild of its CEO Leo Apotheker who, on taking the hot seat quickly realised HP's product pipeline was lacking and consequently sought a new and radical strategy of transforming HP into a company focused on supplying complex hardware and software for enterprise clients instead. In Autonomy, HP believes it has found a company that offers solutions across its enterprise offerings and strengthens its data analytics, cloud, industry and workflow management capabilities
 
Leo Apotheker who was in the job less than a year and carried the can for a collapse in the share price and a fall in sales has since been replaced by Meg Whitman, the former head of eBay – a move some analysts say shows that HP has neither nerves nor vision
 
In a release today, Meg Whitman, said, ‘We are committed to helping our customers solve their toughest IT challenges. The exploding growth of unstructured and structured data and unlocking its value is the single largest opportunity for consumers, businesses and governments.’

 

Cyberschuulnews 443
 
 
Steve Jobs – an in-house Tribute
 
 
 
Apple's co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs - an innovative genius and one of the most influential people of our time – who died last week aged 56 after a long battle against pancreatic cancer.
As a forthright and demanding leader with a formidable reputation, his greatness was his ability to transcend himself. With his vision and his product, he became what he dreamt of being. His immersion into and unwavering belief in his work meant that more than almost any other business leader, he was indistinguishable from his company, which he co-founded in the 1970s.
As both a successful entrepreneur and a man, Steve Jobs is revered by the general public because he epitomises the ‘dream’ – a local boy from humble beginnings who ‘made good’. He was born in San Francisco in Feb 1955 to students Joanne Schieble and Syrian-born Abdulfattah Jandali but adopted by a Californian working class couple. Dropping out of college after six months, he went travelling in India but later went on to launch Apple with school friend Steve Wozniak in 1976 – when the first Apple computer was sold.
He also epitomises a fighting spirit with dignity both in his business and personal life. Ousted from his own company in 1985, his indispensability saw him return in 1996 and became CEO in 1997 after which the company went on to launch the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad with phenomenal success. Diagnosed with a rare neuroendocrine tumour in his pancreas in 2004, but continued to work despite his diagnosis. Uniquely in an era where people disgracefully hold on to power, he stepped down when in his words, he ‘could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO’.
Above all, Steve Jobs was inspiring and inspirational. In a momentous speech at Stanford University in 2005, he said: ‘Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.’
He told his audience of graduating students: ‘Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.’
Tributes flooded in from all corners of the globe from Presidents, media moguls and fellow CEOs for the way Steve Jobs changed the technological landscape but the best came from an input from Twitter which said:
‘3 Apples changed the World, 1st one seduced Eve, 2nd fell on Newton and the 3rd was offered to the World half bitten by Steve Jobs.’
How true.




It is neither the iPhone4 nor 5: Apple launches the 4S




In what is slightly more than a coincidence, Apple began its post- Steve Jobs era with a creation unlike anything it had produced in years: disappointment. Apple enthusiasts gathered in California expecting to see the launch of iPhone5 but their enthusiasm was quickly dampened when instead of a major new product, the electronics giant unveiled an updated version of the iPhone4 that it released 16 months ago.

Even the name and looks, iPhone4S resembled the iPhone4. It appears that without Jobs who epitomises the company, Apple, seems to have lost its knack for wowing crowds with stunning new devices. Unlike Jobs, who immerses himself in the product staying on the stage for most of a product unveiling, Apple's new chief executive Tim Cook spoke for only a small part of the nearly two-hour presentation.

‘It's kind of unfortunate timing that the first post-Jobs product is not the most exciting in the world,’ said Alex Spektor, a wireless analyst at Strategy Analytics, who called the new phone an ‘incremental’ improvement over the iPhone4. By choosing not to call the device the iPhone5, he said, ‘Apple is admitting that it's basically the same phone but with some souped-up specifications.’

The iphone 4S has a dual-core A5 processor; a battery life of eight hours of 3G talktime; a new 8 megapixel camera with still images and full 1080p HD resolution video recording. The ‘wow’ factor lies in what is called Siri, an intelligent assistant that helps you send text messages or e-mails, make calls or notes, search the internet and get directions, all through voice recognition. It also understands context, and uses data it has access to on your phone, such as location services, to answer questions.

The markets were unimpressed either. Immediately after the company showed off the iPhone4S, shares of Apple stock temporarily plunged nearly 5% recovering by close of business.



HP gets its Autonomy




Hewlett Packard whose Board is said to have ‘made its mark in the annals of corporate government’ lurching from one crisis to another, has dropped a bombshell announcing that it has completed its acquisition of the UK software company Autonomy the UK's second-largest software company, was founded in 1996 by CEO Mike Lynch, for £7.1billion.

The acquisition which was announced back in August was the brainchild of its CEO Leo Apotheker who, on taking the hot seat quickly realised HP's product pipeline was lacking and consequently sought a new and radical strategy of transforming HP into a company focused on supplying complex hardware and software for enterprise clients instead. In Autonomy, HP believes it has found a company that offers solutions across its enterprise offerings and strengthens its data analytics, cloud, industry and workflow management capabilities.

Leo Apotheker who was in the job less than a year and carried the can for a collapse in the share price and a fall in sales has since been replaced by Meg Whitman, the former head of eBay – a move some analysts say shows that HP has neither nerves nor vision
In a release today, Meg Whitman, said, ‘We are committed to helping our customers solve their toughest IT challenges. The exploding growth of unstructured and structured data and unlocking its value is the single largest opportunity for consumers, businesses and governments.’


NCC and CBN fine-tune consultation on Mobile Money



On-going collaboration work between the Nigerian Communications Commission and Central Bank Nigeria on intervention requirements of mobile money transactions was brought into the public domain on Friday when the two federal agencies hosted stakeholders to a public forum in Lagos.

The forum put forward a number of solutions on the dichotomy of banked and the un-banked consumers; issues of inter and intra competition between mobile money and network providers; security, cybercrime as well as interoperability.
ATCON’s President, Mr Titi Omo-Ettu speaking after the Forum, commended the consultation process as it helps the agencies canvass the different sectors of the market for quality intervention which will the basis of policy formulation and legislation. ‘For us, regardless that it is coming a bit late, this is a welcome forum because we are busy now in the Association stimulating demand and bringing in new and young entrepreneurs whose participation in the market is very important. Things are changing courtesy of technology and we have to change with the times to remain relevant and compliant’, he said.


ISP has ‘its collar felt’ by NCC in Lagos



Cobranet - one of the few notable Internet Service Providers in Nigeria - had its operation interrupted and its offices sealed this weekend on the order of the Nigerian Communications Commission which says it has run out of patience with the firm’s consistent flouting of its rules on frequency use.



Nokia to axe 3500 jobs ……




The troubled handset maker Nokia – once the market leader – has announced that it is to axe 3,500 jobs as the company continues to struggle to make the transition from the feature phone to smartphone market and sales of its handsets continue to plummet – a situation that is unlikely to improve any time soon despite announcing a partnership with Microsoft earlier this year to use the Windows 7 platform on its smartphones.

Though it plans to close its manufacturing facility in Cluj, Romania by the end of 2011, Nokia says the plans will start to affect staff numbers from next year when the company will also review the long-term role of its manufacturing operations in Salo, Finland; Komarom, Hungary; and Reynosa, Mexico.
"We must take painful, yet necessary, steps to align our workforce and operations with our path forward," said Nokia CEO Stephen Elop.
Nokia has had a torrid year with share price plummeting by 18 per cent in a 24hr period in June and has dropped over 70 per cent since mid-2006.


….but also invests €500m in joint network venture

Paradoxically Nokia and Siemens are each investing €500m into Nokia Siemens Networks in a bid to strengthen the joint venture's financial position.
In a statement, the companies said the injection of capital investment will ‘further strengthen the company's financial position and set the stage for strategic flexibility, productivity and innovation in areas such as mobile broadband and related services.’
To establish its credentials, the telecoms equipment provider revealed plans to open a global operations centre in Brazil last year to support the firm's operations worldwide and recently completed its acquisition of the wireless network infrastructure equipment division of Motorola.

Back in June2006, Nokia then the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones and the information and communication division of Siemens agreed to merge their mobile and fixed-line phone network equipment business to create Nokia Siemens Networks -one of the world’s largest networks. Since those heady days, it is no secret that Nokia has struggling to stay relevant in its core market which is increasingly dominated by the iPhone and Android.
Nokia’s continued woes has meant that it has failed to sell a controlling stake in NSN which it tried to do back in June and has necessitated this capital injection to stem it cash flow haemorrhage.


Microsoft falls down the pecking order as IBM reaches lofty heights



Research analysts at Bloomberg as at close of business this week confirm that IBM’s market value has exceeded Microsoft's for the first time in 15 years.

IBM's closing price on 29 September was $214bn (£137.4bn) a shade higher than Microsoft's at $213.2bn (£136.8bn) with Apple still holding the top slot with a value of $362bn (£232bn).

For IBM, now the second largest technology company by market value, the growth figures represent the culmination of the over the aforementioned period in which it has undergone a remarkable transformation based on a combination of concerted and foresighted strategy in a changing marketplace, precise execution and good acquisition which has seen it change from an ailing merchant of hardware at the verge of collapse to a successful broad range solutions provider precipitating a steady upswing its share price. Knowing when to change course and tact is paramount in business and the sale of its core PC business to Lenovo, China's biggest PC brand, for $1.75bn (£900m) in 2005 epitomises the company’s foresight.

‘IBM went beyond technology,’ Ted Schadler, a Forrester Research analyst told Bloomberg. ‘They were early to recognise that computing was moving way beyond these boxes on our desks.’

In contrast, the opposite has happened to Microsoft which has endured a slow decline particularly in recent years. As far back as 2009, research in the US revealed that 91% of retail computer sales over $1000 had gone to Apple. At the same time Microsoft’s quarterly financial results showed revenue projections fall 17% year on year

Since the beginning of 2011, IBM's share price has made steady gains and is now 22% higher than at the start of the year, according to Bloomberg figures. By contrast, Microsoft's value has dropped 8.8% over the same time period.

As the majority of Microsoft's revenue comes from sales of Windows and Office software used on PCs, the twin factors the company is between releases (Windows 7 was released in 2009 and Windows 8 is not expected to be released until late 2012 at the earliest) coupled with the rise of the web, mobile computing and tablets at the expense of the PC era, signify a long fallow period for Microsoft.

 

Cyberschuulnews 442

FG targets 1.3million jobs from ICT





Nigeria's Communication Technology Minister, Mrs. Omobola Johnson told an assembly of stakeholders in Lagos last week that the direct job yield from ICT industry should be a minimum of 1.3 million by 2015. Locally assembled personal computers whose production figure, according to government, is less than 500,000 now would raise to 1million.
 

The Minister asked her audience to work together and with her Ministry to attain the set targets. She got the nod of industry players as one speaker after another rose to respond to her presentation.


President ATCON, Mr Titi Omo-Ettu, who fielded email questions and follow-ups after the event said ‘we are on the same page with the Honourable Minister and her targets for 4 years largely synch with ours for 10 years as we said in our Broadband investment plans. The Honourable Minister has understandably projected for 4 years, we have projected for 10. These are technical estimations which are not mere arithmetic nor the usual wishful thinking. Go through the analytics if you have the skills and you will see that we are on the same page’.



The phone is now a wallet



It is now one week since Google opened its Google Wallet service – a tool which ultimately will let users with Android phones use their handheld to pay for goods at pay counters.

The Wallet which uses near field communications (NFC) allows consumers to tap and pay using a PIN number in the same way as credit cards. Google says it is rolling out the service across all Android-operated Sprint Nexus S 4G phones which will contain an NFC chip recognized by a scanning device used by merchants to complete a sale as well as the transmission of coupons or loyalty cards.

Google is renowned for using existing technology and improving on it. Just as it has on internet search, the wallet itself functions similarly to eBay and PayPal, letting users link a credit card to their Google Wallet to provide funds. Within a Google Wallet app, users can set up different virtual credit cards to use before paying with their phone, including a prepaid Google Wallet card with a set amount of money in the account, or a virtual credit card from a bank or credit company. Citi and MasterCard, it is reported, are both backing the service,
With its dominance in people’s communications, and the Android operating system taking more than half global smartphone market, Google once again steals a march on its rivals without compromising its core business. From all indication such a march is all it needs to crush its competitors who customarily arrive at the party late.


Nigerian Universities self-help on broadband access


 
A balancing-act Africa report which said that countries like Nigeria, which will soon have access to 5 international submarine cables (SAT3, Glo 1, Main One, WACS and ACE), competition between the various providers has already pushed down prices and forecasting that this trend is likely to continue, has triggered a web chat on the march towards a widespread broadband access to universities in Nigeria.
 
Motivated by the campaign that tertiary institutions constitute themselves into cluster/consortium of users, facts have emerged that beside University of Lagos and the Eko-connect, institutions like Benin, Zaria, Ife, and Ibadan are now working towards local clusters for both bandwidth savings and research collaboration. And there are probably other efforts that have not yet come to the fore.
 
The major strategy of those who champion the broadband campaign in Nigeria is that the orientation should change from wishing things happen to making things happen. It has already been realised that a little effort and the will to work together makes things happen rather than the tradition of waiting for Government for God knows when.
 
One far-north chat-member revealed that it ‘is really very exciting to us as we continue to make efforts towards forming Sokoto Research and Education Network (SokREN). We have already identified 3 universities, 4 polytechnics, 3 colleges of education, a teaching hospital and a school of nursing in the first instance. Interestingly, except UDUS (Uthman DanFodio University Sokoto) and one polytechnic, all institutions have fiber within 2km of the campuses. I also gathered that Kano IXP is either on or will be shortly, making it possible for the SokREN cluster to connect to others in the country. Already UDUS is in partnership with one college of education and one polytechnic leveraging on STEP-B funds building virtual library contents’.
Those who said 50million users of telecommunications will be served from broadband access in 10 years may just know that they are talking about.





Target ICT indices for 2015

 
Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, told a Stakeholders Assembly in Lagos during the week that the Nigerian administration would accelerate a rollout of broadband infrastructure, articulate e-government requirements, create ICT cadres in all Ministries, harmonize all relevant policies, increase online presence of Nigerian businesses, and refocus government agencies within the Communication Technology Ministry in the space of 2011 - 2015.
This according to her will upgrade the various ICT industry indices to new target levels. These include:
Broadband penetration 12%
 ICT Contribution to GDP 5%
 Internet penetration            34% 
 Mobile penetration 80 per 100
 Internet users 70million
She also announced 7 mandate issues and five major challenges which presently confront the industry and which the government’s reform agenda will attain in 2015.

Telcos celebrate Victor Haffner at 92

 

Mr Akintola Williams, Doyen of accountancy practice in Nigeria has counselled Nigerian professionals to work with such discipline that would make it severely punishable for any of them to be involved in failure of their professional work. According to him, 'my only worry is that I am yet to see engineers or architects being prosecuted in court of law or having imposed on them punitive damages for collapsed buildings’. 
 
Mr. Williams spoke as Guest Speaker at a breakfast which CEO’s of member companies of ATCON ate with Mr Victor Adetunji Haffner, a telecommunications engineer who, now 92, was the first indigenous Chief Executive Officer of the first Telecommunications Company in Nigeria. 
 
Engr Haffner as CEO of the erstwhile Nigerian External Telecommunications Ltd, NET participated in the launch of an experimental powerful rocket which sent a satellite into space from the United States Naval Ship, Kingsport, which moored outside Lagos harbour opposite 15 Marina, the headquarters of Nigerian External Telecommunications Ltd in 1963.
 
This remarkable feat called the Syncom Project of National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, USA, counted on Engr Haffner along with his erstwhile deputy and Chief Engineer late Alfred Adebayo Bodede, as the duo led a team of Nigerian engineers and technicians to provide a communication link from Kingsport in Lagos to the Goddard Space Flight centre in the USA via the NET’s network allowing the transmission of telemetry signals for command and control of the Syncom Satellite which were then relayed to the UNS Kingsport in USA.
 
He went ahead to conceive and construct the 37-story NECOM House and joined his compatriots in the Nigerian Society of Engineers to canvas for the establishment of COREN. He was pioneer President of COREN in 1972.
 
President ATCON, Mr Titi Omo-Ettu, said the purpose of the Breakfast meeting was to celebrate excellence if only to make a point against the rabid celebration of mediocrity which has ravaged the land. He made reference to ‘the NECOM House which Engr Haffner toiled to build in 1972  was now a subject of controversial sale when apparently very young men of today, hardly in their forties may have conspired to sell the edifice to themselves for a pittance 4 billion of today’s Naira’.

Nigeria, Ghana, now Uganda, and still counting
Computer Warehouse Group is set for Africa



 
A pan African aspiration may have condensed from various business plans emanating from the boardroom of Computer Warehouse, Nigeria’s leading systems integrator and ICT conglomerate.
 
This much was heavily demonstrated by the various corporate reports and stories which feature in the first edition of digital EDGE, a corporate communication initiative of the firm.
 
At the launch of its Uganda operation last October, Ambassador Christopher Onyanga Apar the Uganda High Commissioner to Nigeria said ‘…..It becomes very interesting and encouraging when one see a fully indigenous organisation like CWG not only think within its confines but think African and indeed global too. The Columbia case study done on CWG after it was identified during a rigorous research by the Columbia Business School in the US, further gives absolute credence to this Company’


It’s the silly season at Yahoo


No doubt these are troubled times for Yahoo. Having been the pioneer internet search firm, it has for considerable length of time (coinciding with the advent of Google) struggled to not only to establish its market credentials but its identity. This has been compounded by the publicity it has attracted this week in the revelation that it is in the hunt for a new chief executive after dramatically ditching Carol Bartz - by phone!
It looks brutal (more knee jerk) but it would seem chairman Roy Bostock finally lost patience with Bartz, who was given her marching orders having been in the job for just over two and a half years. She was made to pay the price for a failure to revitalise Yahoo which continues to lag behind tech rivals such as Google which dominates the UK internet search market, with 89.7% of traffic with Yahoo has just 3.4% even Microsoft Bing has 3.7% and in the US, Yahoo at 18% seriously lags behind Google which has 65%.
Bostock will feel vindicated at least in the short term as shares rose 6% in after-hours trading on the shock news.
Bartz in a terse two-sentence email said, ‘I am very sad to tell you that I've just been fired over the phone by Yahoo's chairman of the board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best.’
Chief financial officer Tim Morse is said to be the interim chief executive. His appointment, hardly a ringing endorsement, had some analysts voice their feelings that Morse "is worse than Bartz". Yahoo, it is said, will now conduct "a comprehensive strategic review".
The executive musical chairs would offer no respite for Yahoo. As far back 2005 students from Harvard Business School and MIT's Sloan School of Management, in a comparative analysis between internet portals—delivered a brutally honest analysis of Yahoo's position saying that it is is doing so many different things that it may have neglected to figure out what it wants to be. Six years on, Justin Pearse, editor of New Media Age said, ‘Yahoo hasn't innovated fast enough. Although it has gigantic amounts of traffic, it doesn't know what to do with it. Asian operations aside, which are doing well, it does not really know what it is for. Facebook has been very focused on what it does and doing it brilliantly and focusing on the user experience. That's where Yahoo has fallen down.’ Advertising revenues at Facebook are set to overtake those at Yahoo this year.
Thanking Bartz, Bostock said, ‘the Board sees enormous growth opportunities on which Yahoo can capitalise’ but in the real world and for Yahoo - a darling of Silicon Valley during the first dot-com boom, the struggle continues.
 

UK IT workers to go on strike





 
In another imminent bloodletting and tangible sign of a fight back against the prevailing policy of cutbacks, Unite –the UK’s largest trade union and the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) unions, have announced joint strike action over unfair pay for Fujitsu workers
In a dispute which is of and about IT, more than 1,000 Fujitsu workers have voted to go on strike on Monday 19 September, following disputes over pay. a breakdown in industrial relations in a bid to put maximum pressure on Fujitsu.
Both unions have separate disputes. PCS claims that pay rises of between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent which the union deems derisory despite workers meeting or exceeding their performance targets. Union involvement comes from the fact that the Fujitsu workers support essential public services Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Ministry of Defence (MOD) who will go on strike if it goes ahead.
 
For UNITE the dispute centres on what it perceives to be a breakdown in industrial relations, breaches of agreements covering issues such as benefits and redundancy, and redeployment. Its General Secretary Len McCluskey, said, ‘This dispute can only be resolved through negotiations and coming to an agreement with the workforce. We remain available to talk at any time and urge management to get around the table so we can have a negotiated settlement.’
Fujitsu said it was still in talks with the unions to avoid strike action.
 
A Tale of Two Countries



Paradoxically at a time when there is a call for strategies to grow broadband internet business awareness on infrastructure, content and value- added services in Nigeria, there are fears that the UK could fall behind other countries in delivering superfast broadband.

The palpable fear was expressed by the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt in a speech to the Royal Television Society where the said that with consumer bandwidth is rising by 60% each year and  today’s average speeds of 7.5Mbps, the UK will achieve 1Gbit by 2020. Were that to be the case, he said the UK will lag behind other parts of the world like Singapore whose government is already planning universal access to 1Gbit.

Mr. Hunt expressed disquiet about the proper functioning of the market. In suggesting how to bridge the potential divide between the UK and its competitors, he re-iterated his unwavering belief in competition as the biggest driver of investment, both at the retail and infrastructure level. 

In his speech, Mr Hunt singled out BT for criticism over its broadband provision. ‘The process to reach a satisfactory conclusion on PIA [physical infrastructure access] prices for the use of BT's ducts and poles is taking too long. PIA has to be sorted out - and quickly - in a way that allows fair competition with different providers able to invest in our broadband infrastructure. It's also important that we have a properly competitive market in retail fibre,’ he said.

In the same speech Hunt urged for the 4G spectrum auction which OFCOM had delayed due to technical and competition reasons, to press ahead as quickly as possible, as the growth in tablets and smartphones suggest mobile will be the primary devices used to access the internet in the future. A comparative analysis shows that Sweden completed this in 2009, Germany in 2010, while France and Italy will do so this year. "Mobile phone operators must put aside competitive differences and work together in their common - and our national - interest to make this happen.

In response to criticism, a BT spokesman said the company was keen to announce new PIA pricing earlier this summer but the trials were delayed due to some companies being slow to sign up.


Personality interview from another journal

‘We need to rally round Minister to deliver on mandate’
- Titi Omo-Ettu
.........taken from eWorld Magazine, Volume 7, September 2011 Edition 
 

The President of Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) Engr. Titi Omo-Ettu in his reaction to the new Minister of Communication Technology’s mandate as she recently unveiled called on the industry to rally around her to ensure that she succeeds in the task ahead.

 

What is your take on the appointment of the new Minister of Communications Technology?

 
To the extent that Government has realised the need for a restructuring of our industry and responded, I think the creation of the Ministry of Communications Technology is good for our industry. My attention is more on the Ministry, not on the Minister if I must clarify. If by appointment you mean the pedigree of the new Minister, I think it is very good. She strikes me as cerebral and intellectually ready. And from what I have read in the media about her first outing with news people, it seems she has hit the ground running. I read that she has done a few things in the short time she has been in office. I would not have asked for more.


Did the appointment meet your Association's expectation?

 
As industry players, Government appointment needs not satisfy us. It only needs to be good. It behoves us to assist government to make our industry strive and progress in the belief that government has chosen who it thinks can deliver its mandate to the people. In this particular case the appointment is good because someone who knows the subject has been appointed and the remaining is for us to work with her. My take is that our attitude of having mindsets and thinking government must only be right if it does our mindset needs a fine-tuning. 


What do you think the new Ministry and minister should concentrate on to move the industry and the country forward?

 
 
From what I read in the media recently she has articulated them, and very nicely too. She might not have used the popular words we are familiar with, but that is what makes her intellectually ready and compliant. A Minister needs not be a conformist or an activist. He is more of a politician. If he is a politician that knows the subject and compliant, we say it is a round peg in a round hole and that is the best model but by no means the only model. 


The minister recently said she would focus mainly on access and use ICT to enhance productivity. How would you score her focus?

 
Excellent If that is what she said. What better thing would a Minister of Communications Technology have said? Our attitude is to hold her to that mandate and help her to succeed so that we can succeed and our industry and our investments can flourish. We would be wrong to be putting a Minister on a scale and dissecting her every word to pick holes when we should be spending time supporting her to take us to the place we have prescribed for our industry. Let me tell you this, it was not a particular government that took our industry to where it is, it is the attitude of players in the industry who adopted the ‘must work’ attitude. 


Both NITDA, NCC will still operate separately in the new structure. NBC will be under the Information Ministry and not under Communication Technology. What is your take on this structure in the era of convergence?

  
It is not exactly as we had canvassed. That should not be a headache for us to move on. It is no different from the situation we had in 1992 when an NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) was established in response for our request for an NTRA (Nigerian Telecommunications Regulation Authority). But we accepted it and made it work for us. We kept fine tuning it until we got a fine Act in 2003. We are already asking for a further fine-tuning now if you listen to us very well. 
From media reports I noticed that the Minister has identified the divergence of the current scenario from the popular expectation and she has prescribed how she would work to achieve the common good even in spite of the imbalances in expectations and reality. What else can we be asking for!
 

It seems that in totality, you are satisfied.

 
To be satisfied is to drop dead. My take is that I call for a cling to the attitude of making things work rather than finding reasons why they do not work and spend our time quarrelling. I am saying that we should be less stereotyped and more pragmatic and embrace change with a view to managing it rather than fighting ourselves over it. In my 38 years of practice in the industry, we have had over 20 Ministers and Ministers of State and only about 7 of them have been cerebral, and compliant in my estimation. But we have worked with them and it has been better for our industry. It is that ‘must-work’ attitude that I will ask my members and colleagues to let us continue to adopt. Ministers usually come and go but we, you and I, and our investments remain.
 
If you want to know what my fears are, I will tell you. 


Please tell me.

 
Public Electricity system!


 

 

Cyberschuulnews 441


High stakes for investment into Broadband in Nigeria




Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, said in Lagos that a report on the Broadband Investment Summit which it held in July is ready complete with recommendations and an implementation plan. Highlights of the report include a clamour for broadband policy for Nigeria, opting for an open model and pushing for an industry-wide stimulation agenda that can breed broadband retailer service providers.



ATCON Secretariat indicates that indeed a document may well be on its way to government on matters which the Association says will bring relief to service providers if attention is focused and real.



The Association is certainly uncomfortable with the public electricity reform agenda which it views with great skepticism and bereft of good strategy. It calls for true program of liberalisation of the energy sector rather than paying it lip service. It objects to a narrow definition of privatisation where government resources are used to subsidize the few businesses who are willing to buy public utilities at bargain basement prices and give nothing back to the public.


NiRA to meet in Lagos



The Nigeria Internet Registration Association will hold its 4th Annual General Meeting Thursday, September 15, 2011 at MUSON Centre in Lagos to review its operations and make further plans towards improved sign up to the dotng tLd. The day before the AGM it will also host a workshop through which it plans to drum up support for the ‘dotng’ top level domain.



NCC, police nab SIM Card registration fraudsters


The Monitoring and Compliance Department of the Nigerian Communications Commission, with the collaboration of the security agencies, arrested persons who they said engaged in the fraudulent sale of pre-registered new SIM cards to subscribers.



The suspects were arrested from two locations after they sold such cards to undercover agents - in the areas surrounding the offices of one of the operators, in Maitama district, and the GSM Village in Area 1, Abuja.



Phone users are expected to register their phones and not to buy phones registered with biometric identification data of people they do not know as this is capable of creating a multiple layer of criminal activities.



NCC said those arrested will be handed over to the police for immediate prosecution.




ATCON thumbs down FG’s Electricity Trading Board



The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria is nailing its colours to the mast in declaring its opposition to the type of reform that is going on in country’s energy sector. Responding to questions on the recently established Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Board for energy, its President Mr Titi Omo-Ettu said, ‘the fact that the craftsmen of the reform have identified the need for that Board is an admission of the dangers that the entire concept portends for that all important sector’. He also contends that the initiative is tantamount to establishing a bureaucracy to solve a problem which needs a private sector orientation and solution.



Posing a counter question, Mr Omo-Ettu asked ‘How can they be breeding another bureaucracy after the establishment of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, which from all readings and inferences does not have a focus as things stand now? They want to use an illegal body to confuse a legal but impotent body. We need private sector initiatives to run in parallel with government bodies if they insist on perpetuating government companies to provide electricity and allow our people have a choice to make. We cannot and should not keep breeding bureaucracies which are fundamentally sluggish enterprises and put civil servants in charge of businesses that mean much to our economy.



By privatising Generating Plants, they are merely going to dash away our commonwealth and also discourage private initiatives from providing alternatives that are needed. In the telecommunication sector, what we did was to allow the private sector to compete with government bureaucracies and you can see that when they killed NITEL we still have alternatives to fall back to.



‘What is amazing is that the whole thing is made to look like everything is about finance and about Okonjo-Iweala who only needs to be frustrated and once she vacates, then they leave us in the cold. The only good thing about that Board is the fine qualities of Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala and nothing more’. Sorry we do not support it. In any case Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala is an international civil servant, she does no know business’.



European Commission blocks scrutiny of wasteful €500m IT spend



Despite the benefits of European integration, irrefutable criticisms of the project as exemplifying a democratic deficit and wastage persist. The criticism gives succour to opponents of integration who use them to buttress their narrow isolationist credentials but criticism are justified when, as was the case this week, it was revealed that European Commission lawyers have blocked the publication of proposals to tackle extraordinary levels of waste in its €500m IT budget.



Such obfuscation is even more remarkable when the Commission itself made startling revelations about the state of its IT, including the admission that more than half its IT costs go unaccounted. It also admitted to having 2,498 different business systems performing just 15 different business functions supporting revelations about wastage in the European Commission’s IT spending.



The lack of both political will and a sense of urgency in addressing the issue of waste is also on show given that initial proposals were put before president José Manuel Barroso in October last year, and that almost a year on, the Commission is yet to come up with an adequate streamlining strategy or indeed curtail runaway IT support costs epitomised by its prevarication over upgrading 36,000 of its PCs with €50m of Microsoft software; a workable strategy which harmonises working procedures across all 54 European institutions before proceeding with plans for a cost-cutting European cloud; or its open source software strategy; and how to eradicate conflicts of interest over the allocation of its €500m budget.



Catherine Day, secretary general of the European Commission’s assertion that it would not release draft proposals, because ‘no final decisions have been taken on these specific issues’ and that deliberations must remain secret until the EC has made its decisions, simply confirms the negative perception of the EC.



"Disclosure of these parts could lead to external interferences which would be highly detrimental to the decision-making process of the Commission, on a subject which has significant security and budgetary implications," she said. But to think that those considerations trump the dire need to put in place a workable strategy of addressing the aforementioned issues – particularly costs - is lamentable. There however is the perception that the slow pace of reform is in part due to intense lobbying from the software industry who are delaying the propagation and review of policy. While that may well be the case, it offers little or no explanation of why the Commission suppressed publication of a report which it conducted behind closed doors where it deliberated a decision to upgrade to Microsoft Windows7 software without an open competition for the €50m of public money allocated.


It’s all about Spectrum Management


In what is deemed a first of its kind in Europe, Ofcom, the U.K. government's communications regulator said that it is to give the go-ahead for internet providers to employ unused TV spectrum to enhance the delivery of its Wi-Fi and broadband services.



The technology which Ofcom expects to be launched in the UK in 2013, works by searching for unused areas of the airwaves or gaps called "white spaces" that exist in frequency bands and have been reserved for TV broadcasts which are then used to transmit and receive wireless signals.



Ofcom said the white space spectrum provides a considerable unused resource, comparable to the amount of spectrum currently used for 3G cellular communications. This spectrum which typically lie between 470- and 790MHz. is not used in all locations at all times in the U.K. but its signal’s ability to travel large distances and its permeability through walls makes it suitable for a wide range of consumer applications that could include rural broadband and Wi-Fi with up to twice the range of today's technology.





Ofcom said it was also considering the extension of the scheme to white spaces in the bands used by FM radio services particularly utilising bands which have been freed up from the switchover from analogue to digital. Following the completion of its preliminary consultation process, it is now seeking Parliamentary approval to make white space devices licence exempt, which will involve a change to The Communications Act 2003. This will mean providers will not need an Ofcom licence to use the technology, as long as it does do not interfere with existing spectrum usage.





Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said, ‘The solution we have devised creates the opportunity to maximise the efficient use of spectrum and opens the door to the development of a new and exciting range of consumer and business applications.’





Tales from the confused


These are indeed confusing times. As battle rages on between Keynesians who believe in increased government spending to boost demand and those who saw our woes are down to fiscal irresponsibility and call for swingeing cuts. From a plethora of conflicting stories, it is hard to tell who to turn to or indeed to believe. There is a mirror reflection of what is going on in the global IT industry. In June Ovum revealed its latest predictions for IT services spending, with annual global growth expected to be 4.4% between 2010 and 2015 anticipating healthy spending growth of over 4.5% to return in 2013. However, events in the last month i.e. the decline of the U.S. economy despite the rescue package, market volatility and the re-ignition of crisis in the Eurozone corroborate Ovum’s new revelation that he value of global IT services sales plummeted 40% in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.



Ovum analyst Ed Thomas revealed there were no deals worth more than $1bn signed in the three-month period which, according to him is a clear indication of a lack of buoyancy. Customarily and contrary to the claims of the fiscal conservatives, it is the public sector that has always shored up privates sector aversion and caution. However in austere times like these when government spending takes a big hit, inevitably IT services projects are bound to suffer hence a conspicuous lack of large-scale projects on offer. The net effect is that the number of deals slumped 20% compared to the previous year.



‘After a disappointing start to the year, things went from bad to worse in the second quarter of 2011 with this very weak performance in contract signings….The distinct lack of large deals on offer was a major contributing factor,’ said Thomas.



The total value of deals was just over $19bn in the quarter, with a lack of big deals in the public sector exacerbating a drop in private sector contracts.





 

 
CyberschuulNews
Previous Editions
 
     
441 - 445

436 - 440

431 - 435

426 - 430

421 - 425

416 - 420

411 - 415

406 - 410

401 - 405

396 - 400

391 - 395

386 - 390

381-385

376 - 380

370 - 375

366 - 369

361 - 365

356 - 360

351 - 355

346 - 350

341 - 345

 336 - 340

 331 - 335

326 - 330 

321 - 325

316 - 320

311 - 315

306 - 310

301 - 305

296 - 300

291 - 295

286 - 290

281 - 285

276 - 280

271 - 275

266 - 270

261 - 265

231 - 260

201 - 230

171 - 200

151 - 170

141 - 149

130 - 140

1 - 129

 

   

 

To subscribe to CyberschuulNews, send request to subscribe@cyberschuulnews.com
CyberschuulNews.com Group is published in Abuja, Manchester & Long Island.
Letters to Editor: cyberschuulnews@yahoo.co.uk 
Editor: abi@cyberschuulnews.com