|Monday, May 1, 2000,
Microsoft breakup: what it means
Ritu Beri to launch website on
700 crore for Punjab project
Australia cuts visa processing
FII investments fail to
Early separation plan by Voltas
Inflation shoots up to 5.55 pc
Netlink Info plans to enter
Microsoft breakup: what it means
WASHINGTON, April 30 Make no mistake: The U.S. Department of Justices recommendation on Friday that Microsoft be broken up into two distinct companies one devoted to operating systems and the other to application software could become a reality. If it does, consumers will face a host of questions and uncertainties, as the computing landscape would forever be changed.
Exactly how would it change? The best way to answer that question is to look point-by-point at the Justice Departments assertions about the proposed break-up of the worlds largest software company.
Itll stimulate competition
Assertion 1: Breaking up Microsoft will stimulate competition, according to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
The Justice Department believes that splitting up Microsoft into an applications company and a separate operating system company will be reasonable, but will former Microsoft developers ever do this? The folks that make programmes such as the popular office suite of productivity applications to develop their software for other, competing operating systems.
Joel Klein, Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice, said as much when he suggested in a news conference that as a result of the proposed break-up, office developers will be able to develop for Unix, a competing operating system.
This sounds reasonable, but will former Microsoft developers ever do this? The question is very debatable. Currently, as Microsofts famous chief software architect and former chief executive officer Bill Gates would point out, Microsoft already develops applications for competing operating systems, including the Macintosh OS and Unix.
It is true, however, that currently no one can seriously consider moving to a more untested operating system such as Linux if certain mainstream applications such as office programs will not run under Linux. So to the degree that Microsofts developers would begin coding for other operating systems, the breakup could, eventually, have the effect that the Justice Department is after -and consumers would, eventually, benefit.
Assertion 2: The breakup will promote innovation, according to Reno.
The reasoning behind this statement is that because Microsofts operating system and applications businesses are so inextricably entwined, there is little incentive within the company to innovate in ways that would lead the marketplace away from the Windows-centred universe we all find ourselves in.
What are some of these innovations that arent being explored? Office developers could, for example, be more heavily involved in developing their software for web-based computers that do not use the Windows operating system, or for computers that use Suns competing solaris operating system. Currently, there is actually an incentive within Microsoft not to push too heavily in either direction, since doing so could arguably detract from the Windows hegemony.
Microsofts applications programmers could even, as Joel Klein suggested, evolve the office suite of programs into its own operating system, which would compete with Windows. In this case its important to remember Wordperfect couldnt read Wordstar files well at all, and of course Xywrite couldnt touch Word Files. Were we better off then, or now?
Assertion 3: Breaking up Microsoft will give consumers new and better choices in the marketplace, Janet Reno insists.
Theres little doubt that a breakup of the software behemoth would give consumers new choices, as outlined above. Would the choices be better though? Only time will tell. Its clear that now, in a Microsoft-dominated computer world, we have fewer choices in word processors, spreadsheets, databases, and many other applications than we had five or 10 years ago.
Whats less clear is whether our having fewer choices now is truly the result of one company snuffing out others or a simple case of the best eventually rising to the top and consumers making their voices heard.
So Microsoft stole market share. And the companys resulting size and power have clearly given it a lasting advantage in the software marketplace. It has been able to hire the best programmers, use its installed base to discourage other companies from entering Microsoft-dominated areas, and dictate the direction of an entire industry as much by decree as by example.
Finally, a break-up of the software giant may actually be the best thing that ever happened to Microsoft. After all, few in the business world will argue with the idea that its often more difficult for huge companies to stay focused on a single mission. A smaller Microsoft focused solely on operating systems could find itself free of the burden of coordinating with Microsofts other businesses, and thus become more nimble.
Similarly, a smaller
Microsoft applications business could indeed innovate in
ways now impossible because of its ties to Windows. That
could very well be good for consumers and, once
Gates and company get over the sting of having been
beaten down to size good for Microsoft as well.
CALCUTTA, April 30 (PTI) The Internet can be the perfect medium for spreading awareness about fashion designing and how it can be best used, fashion designer Ritu Beri has said. Fashion consciousness on the Internet can gradually be evolved, apart from the conventional boutiques and fashion shows, she said here while releasing her book 101 Ways to Look Your Best.
Modelling sites like hi.funda.com and WDC.com prove how popular the Internet has become in the field of modelling and fashion designing, said Beri, who plans to launch her own website.
Her website, to be hosted in six months, will be one of the first of its kind by a fashion celebrity.
Ritu Beri, whose work was featured in the latest edition of international fashion magazine Acustyl, the first time on an Indian designer, said she believed the USP for Indian fashion should be to bring out the best of the ethnic tradition and blend it with the contemporary global trend.
The purpose of fashion is not just to make an individual look and feel good, it is also to make clothing an instrument of awareness, Beri, called Indias answer to Donna Karan in the West, said.
And there is
nowhere a more visible manifestation of the way we are
than the way we dress, she said, adding
Indian fashion designing has come of age only
during the last 10 years, but the fashion has already
moved away from being a mere diversion of a few select
members of the elite to being an extension of
create IT infrastructure
NEW DELHI, April 30 A strong institutional support, increased application of information technology in old economy sectors like agriculture and creation of local language portals are among the various measures the PHDCCI has suggested for the growth of the IT sector in the northern region.
The study said the first step at a successful level IT development strategy is the creation of an institutional infrastructure that supports the establishment of an IT industry.
There is need of both hard infrastructure such as transport and communications, and soft or institutional infrastructure such as effective legal, financial and educational systems.
The hard infrastructure facilities would be in the form of improving and providing strong basic internet to support infrastructure, creating high speed telecom links, creation of earth stations, provision of multi-purpose information centres, development of WAN for connecting various organisations like universities, colleges and schools for providing reliable and cheap distant education facility for human resource development.
The Soft infrastructure would also need to be upgraded by creation of district-level committees, formation of a steering committee, empowered committee on computerisation, task forces/groups, single window clearance system, creation of the post of Chief Information Technology Officer or Chief Information Officer in every department for guiding the process of information, the study said.
The State governments may also consider participation in the Government On Line project (originally launched in 1995 by the ministers of G-7 countries in which the Government of India was also asked to participate.
The Governments should
consider identifying major economic nodes in the States
Gurgaon, Noida, Mohali, Baddi and Jaipur as
locations for IT perks for IT Enabled Services as skilled
and semi-skilled manpower could be readily available at
these locations and the cost of living is very low.
NEW DELHI, April 30 (PTI) The CII has criticised the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for voicing differences over economic reforms and asked the Government to unitedly pursue liberalisation policies to attain over 7 per cent economic growth.
Different partners of the ruling NDA are talking in different languages. It is necessary for them to understand that economic issues and reforms should be carried forward, CII President Arun Bharat Ram told PTI yesterday.
Bharat ram vowed to embark on a campaign among political parties and MPs to bring about a consensus on reforms from next month, saying the country could not afford any laxity in this direction.
Members of the ruling alliance were giving contradictory signals on privatisation and subsidies and regretted that pace of privatisation was too slow and many companies should have been privatised by now instead of just Modern Foods.
Asked if Congress President Sonia Gandhis recent comments that reforms had not benefited the poor and there was a need for a relook at the policies, implied a reversal of its policies, he said, We may not call on Sonia Gandhi but will certainly meet Congress leaders to emphasise the need for continuation of reform policies.
No platform sharing: The (CII) has said that it will never share a common platform with rival chambers FICCI and Assocham to host a visiting Head of State or a foreign dignitary.
We have never shared a platform with other apex bodies. It is our policy to organise our own shows, newly elected CII President Arun Bharat Ram said yesterday, clarifying that the CII and FICCI were never in competition to host a meeting with the visiting US President Bill Clinton in Delhi.
About the media reports
that clash of interests between the two chambers had cost
the Indian Industry a meeting with Clinton in the
national Capital, Ram said that CII and FICCI had not
asked for a joint meeting.
MUMBAI, April 30 (PTI) IDBI has sanctioned loans totalling Rs 800 crore to independent power producer GVK Power Ltd and Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd.
Hyderabad-based GVK has been sanctioned Rs 700 crore by the financial institution towards its proposed 562 MW coal based power project to be set up in Punjab.
IDBI has approved a Rs 700 crore loan to GVK Power for setting up the 2x281 MW thermal power project at Goindwal Sahib in Amritsar district, IDBI sources told PTI here today.
GVK Power is to set up the power project on a build-own-operate basis and the estimated cost of the project is about Rs 2000 crore.
As per the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by GVK with the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) the cost of the power project would be borne by GVK while the latter would only pay for the electricity it purchases from the company.
CHANDIGARH, April 30 Australia has reduced the visa processing time for immigrants from around 36 months to an average 8 months under the changed immigration laws, Mr Naresh Gulati, Director, Oceanic Consultants, said at a seminar here today. He said the processing time is even less for skilled professionals like teachers, engineers, IT professionals, managers, chefs & cooks, ITI trained technicians, etc.
One can even have a
short term visa for three months to access the business
potential.Anyone applying for migration
through an agent should first refer to the official site
www.mia.aust.com which has the details of all registered
agents and thus avoid problems later, he said.
MUMBAI, April 30 (PTI) Investments of foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and mututal funds (MFs), together amounting to Rs 450.12 crore in equities during the last five trading sessions, could not lift market sentiment as represented by the benchmark BSE sensex, which went up by a meagre 13.82 points.
the FIIs remained net buyers in the equities market to the tune of Rs 319.4 crore ($ 73.2 million) during the five sessions, when the benchmark BSE sensex was up only 13.82 points from 4665.81 points on April 19 to 4679.63 points on April 27.
But they unwound positions in the debt market by Rs 108 crore ($ 24.7 m), bringing the total inflow of FII funds into the country during the period down to Rs 211.5 crore ($ 48.5 m), according to the latest figures provided by SEBI.
The FIIs have supported the market by pumping in Rs 370.9 crore ($ 85.1mn) into the equities even as mutual funds have unwound their positions by Rs 249.18 crore during the week ended April 19.
Mutual funds have invested Rs 140.72 crore in equities and Rs 240.06 crore in debt market during the five sessions.
The FII investments during the month till April 27 touched Rs 2586.7 crore ($ 593.4 m), while their total investment during the year, so far, was Rs 7,066.2 crore ($ 1620.8 m).
MUMBAI, April 30 (PTI) Voltas Limited, a Tata group company, has introduced the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for its 6,500 odd employees with an assurance of a fixed monthly income till the date of their retirement with immediate effect.
Known as Early Separation Scheme 2000, the VRS is for the companys general staff and workmen, who would like to opt for an early retirement, a company spokesperson said said here today.
The offer, which is open from April 28 to May 20 2000, is a measure to help Voltas reduce escalating and disproportionate costs and make the company more competitive, he said.
Under the scheme, Voltas would pay its general staff 75 per cent of the April, 2000 salary, including basic salary and dearness allowance till the actual date of retirement or for a maximum period of 10 years, he stated.
The staff would be given post-dated cheques at the beginning of each financial year (before April 10 every year).
Voltas has also
initiated certain benefit measures under the scheme like
employees between 55 and 59 years would be given Rs
40-50,000 as one-time payment, thus enabling them to be
covered under a medical insurance scheme, he said.
NEW DELHI, April 30 (PTI) The annual rate of inflation shot up to a 58-week high of 5.55 per cent for the week ended April 15, mainly on account of a sharp 10 per cent increase in the mineral oil prices.
The inflation rate, calculated on the basis of Wholesale Price Index (WPI), rose by 0.91 percentage during the week to 5.55 per cent (provisional) from 4.64 per cent (P) a week ago. The rate was at 3.42 per cent during the corresponding week of last year.
This is the highest inflation rate since March 6, 1999, when it touched 5.59 per cent.
The index for All Commodities (Base 1993-94=100) also rose sharply by 0.9 per cent during the week to 150.2 (P) from 148.9 (P) in the previous week.
Netlink Info plans to enter
NEW DELHI, April 30 Netlink Ranve Infotech Limited (NRIL) has unveiled its plans to make foray into e-commerce business with portals and payment gateways.
According to company sources, NRILs strategy to enter into e-commerce is to facilitate its one point agenda to go global in a short span.
by R.N. Lakhotia
Q: I am a little confused about the formalities of HUF and its assessment and its partition.
I shall be thankful to you for this kind help.
Divan Kumar Verma, Kasauli.
Ans: As per the existing tax laws HUF should not be formed by gift by the Karta or the members. Even today the HUF can be formed by receiving the gift from any other person. File the return of HUF regularly after it has taxable income. If you want to make partition of the HUF, the same should be done with reference to the full partition only and not partial partition because partial partition of the HUF is now de-recognised.
Q: My total salary during the 1999-2000 is Rs 1,31,492 which includes Rs 15807 as balance of pay for the year 1997-98. Does this additional salary be counted for income tax? does the arrears of the previous years are also counted for income tax.
N.N Saini, Jalandhar.
Ans: The additional salary received by you which is also known as arrear salary will be liable to be included in your previous year and thus it will be counted for the purposes of tax calculation.
Q: I deposited 500 grams gold under Gold Bond Scheme in June 1993 and on redemption of the bond, I have received 500 grams gold. Now I want to sell this gold. Please let me know
1. Whether this gold will be treated as capital asset.
2. Which date will be taken as the date of acquisition. (i) Date on which I deposited the gold. (II) The date on which I received back the gold. (iii) The actual date of acquiring the gold This is not known but it is prior to 1.4.81.
3. The source from which the gold rates of 10.6.93 and 10.6.98 can be ascertained.
Man Mohan Lal, Ludhiana
gold will be treated as a capital asset. The acquisition
date will be the date when you purchased it. It is your
duty to prove the date of purchase. The gold rates can be
known by looking at the newspaper of a particular date or
it can also be enquired from the Bullion Association.
by J.C. Anand
Sensex ignores good results
THE stock market has again ignored good first quarter results announced by the corporate sector. The Sensitive Index declined by 223.16 points (4.57 per cent) and Nifty by 36.94 points (2.55 per cent) during last fortnight. There is still a great deal of uncertainty about the behaviour of the stock market during this fortnight.
The erratic behaviour of the market can be ascribed to a number of factors. First, the drought in Gujarat, Rajasthan and some parts of Madhya Pradesh, covering about 5 per cent population, has affected the market sentiment.
Again, a research institute at Bangalore, which has been making dependable forecasts about the possible behaviour of the monsoons has warned that this year the monsoons may be deficient in many parts of India. The Department of Meteorology has not given any comments but it has otherwise indicated that monsoons are likely to be late this year.
There are also reports that SEBI will place all specified shares into the rolling mode stock category under pressure from the Ministry of Finance. This has added to the unease and uncertainty of the traders. There are also reports that the banks may revise the margins on the loans and advances granted on pledged shares and cut down the advance limit from 70-65 per cent to 50 per cent of the prevailing market price of the stock.
On the positive side, the first quarter results are very good. In general the infotech scrips are doing exceedingly well. Apart from the results declared by Infosys Tech and Satyam two weeks back, results declared by Global Tele, Wipro, DSQ Software, HCL Technologies, Polaris are very good.
It is quite possible that the ICE shares recover some part of the losses suffered earlier on the stock market but it is also quite unlikely that these scrips can soar to the heights recorded by them before the present market decline. For one, the ICE market is getting overcrowded and there is a fierce struggle for survival among them. Only the fittest will survive. Even in the case of the top ICE scrips, the P/E ratios have to be reasonable to attract genuine investors. Even a majority of mutual funds have added ICE scrips to their portfolios at market rates which were very high and unlikely to be repeated.
In the old economy sector, most of the blue-chip companies have done very well. Grasim, Sterlite, Hindustan Lever, Panacea Biotec have announced encouraging results. According to an analysis made by a financial daily, the performance of the corporate sector has been very good in terms of the results announced for the first quarter. The net profits of 221 companies included in this analysis has risen by 63.2 per cent and the gross profit margin has increased to 15.3 per cent from 12.8 per cent. Of these companies, nearly 30 reported a net loss while 191 companies reported a net profit. Even among these 30 companies which reported loss, 15 of them reduced their net loss compared to the same period in the previous year.
There is also a near consensus among analysts that the industry and the economy are expected to do well during the current financial year and the GDP growth rate would be between 6.5 to 7 per cent. It would, however, depend on the normal performance of the monsoons.
The market price of many
good scrips is so low that it is tempting to pick them up
for a long term basis. Larsen and Toubro scrip at Rs 234,
Colour Chem at Rs 2350, Novartis at Rs 742, Global Tele
around Rs 1200, Electro Casting at Rs 655 have very
little scope for any further downward drift but can
appreciate even in a weak market.
I sent my FDR No SUD 0335/101789 to JCT Ltd along with application for its renewal on 22.9.99. In reply I was intimated that they were not renewing the FDRs but refunding the matured ones. Though my FDR matured over seven months back on 6.9.99, yet I have not received the refund so far.
I invested Rs 10,000 (10 No bonds of Rs 1,000 each) in IDBI Super Deposit Bond, 1997 @24.5 per cent interest payable w.e.f 31.1.99 and interest for the period 31.1.99 to 31.3.99 was to be paid on 2.4.99. In spite of repeated reminders to the IDBI, I have not received the interest warrants. Karvi Consultant, Hyderabad, informed that the cheque of Rs 403 for the bonds had been despatched on 27.3.99. I informed the consultant regarding non receipt of any cheque.
I applied for 500 equity shares of APL Industries on 6.3.1996 and deposited the money in Canara Bank, Chandigarh, for the same. Till date although more than four years have elapsed, neither the shares nor refund have been received by me in spite of several letters to APL Industrial Ltd.
I hold 200 equity shares of Grintec India Ltd., (formerly Agro Tech India Ltd), Dhillon Complex, Manimajra, Chandigarh. Following reduction in the net worth of the company by orders of BIFR, it was to allot one share for every 10 shares held. I lodged my certificate Nos. 25641 dated 9.1.90 and 113319 dated 5.1.93 with the Registrar of the company i.e. In-House Share Registry, 3, Community Centre, Naraina Industrial Area, New Delhi-28. I went to know the fate of my shares. My folio No is 034119.
I have sent 500 shares of Reliance Industries Ltd for transferring these shares into my name on 8.12.98. Even after one and a half year and 10 reminders I have not received the same. Details are: Certificate No: 58048367, 58452212, 58005467, 58452584, 58452583, 55937742, 55937741, 58452582, 58005488, 58005488 each for 50 shares.
I and my wife had deposited Rs 20,000 each for one year with Euro Cotspin, Mumbai, vide FDR-FGOI/DEL-000078 and FGOI/ DEL-000079, respectively, dated January 28, 1999 post dated cheques for the interest value vide cheque No 026135, Centurion Bank Ltd, Nariman Point, Mumbai-400021 for Rs 2736.97 and Cheque No 026136, Centurion Bank Ltd, Nariman point Mumbai-400021 for Rs 2736.97 were issued along with the FD receipts, respectively. These cheques have been returned from Centurion Bank, New Delhi, with the remark Arrangement cancelled. The FDRs duly discharged were submitted and for principal amount i.e. Rs 20,000 each is still awaited.
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