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WillSmith456 IF-Rockerz

Joined: 27 September 2006
Posts: 6442

Posted: 31 January 2007 at 5:23am | IP Logged
All business or commerce articles will be here!


WillSmith456 IF-Rockerz

Joined: 27 September 2006
Posts: 6442

Posted: 31 January 2007 at 5:35am | IP Logged
India's Tata wins race for Corus
Steel tubes
The deal will affect thousands of Corus workers in Europe
Indian firm Tata Steel has won the battle to take over Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus.

Tata's bid for the European steelmaker, which was created from the merger of British Steel and Hoogovens, beat that of its Brazilian rival CSN.

Britain's Takeover Panel said Tata had won after offering 608p per share, valuing Corus at 5.75bn ($11.3bn).

Corus employs 47,300 people worldwide, including 24,000 in the UK at plants at Port Talbot, Sc**thorpe and Rotherham.

Shares in Corus jumped nearly 7% on the news in early trading in London.

It is a two-way street now. Not only India is seeking foreign investment, but Indian companies are emerging investors in other countries
Kamal Nath
India's Commerce Minister

Yet shares in Tata Steel closed down 11% on Wednesday, as investors worried about the deal's short term financial impact on the Indian firm.

Tata, which is based in Mumbai (Bombay), previously said its takeover would not lead to job losses in the first phase.

The takeover will create the world's fifth-largest steel group.

'Big player'

Tata Steel's owner Ratan Tata hailed the takeover as "a moment of great fulfilment for all in India".

"When we first bid for Corus, many thought it was an audacious move," he said at a press conference in India.

"Tata has a global scale now.

"This is the first step in showing that Indian industry can step outside its shores into an international market place as a global player."

India's Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath welcomed the deal and said: "It is a two-way street now. Not only India is seeking foreign investment, but Indian companies are emerging investors in other countries."

Ratan Tatath one of the companys cars
Analysts say the deal is a gamble by Tata chairman Ratan Tata

The two-way battle for the firm began in October when Tata tabled a 4.1bn bid for the group and, in December, the Corus board recommended a revised 4.7bn offer from Tata.

But, just hours later the board confirmed it had approved a 4.9bn, offer from Rio de Janeiro-based CSN.

Tata eventually outbid its Brazilian rivals.

Wider Indian group

Last year Corus was the ninth-largest steel producer in the world with 18.2 million tonnes of output.

It banked pre-tax profits of 580m on turnover of 10.14bn.

Tata Steel, part of the Indian conglomerate Tata Group, was last year ranked 56th in the list of steelmakers around the world with output of 5.3 million tonnes.

The Tata Group - which owns Tetley tea and Daewoo cars - has operations in more than 50 countries.


Edited by Pensacola.S_02 - 31 January 2007 at 5:37am
WillSmith456 IF-Rockerz

Joined: 27 September 2006
Posts: 6442

Posted: 31 January 2007 at 5:38am | IP Logged


FTSE 100 6219.9 down -22.10
Dax 6774.3 down -13.98
Cac 40 5616.5 down -29.09
Dow Jones 12523.3 up 32.53
Nasdaq 2448.6 up 7.55
S&P 500 1428.8 up 8.20
BBC Global 30 5768.7 up 13.96

Edited by Pensacola.S_02 - 31 January 2007 at 5:40am
WillSmith456 IF-Rockerz

Joined: 27 September 2006
Posts: 6442

Posted: 31 January 2007 at 5:56am | IP Logged
Can Microsoft's Vista inspire consumers?
By Tim Weber
Business editor, BBC News website

Vista advert
Easier, safer, more entertaining, better connected, says Microsoft

Microsoft has launched the latest version of its Windows operating system, called Vista. But can it inspire consumers?

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is passionate about Vista: "For the technology industry, it's a huge milestone."

The president of Microsoft International, Jean-Philippe Courtois, is equally impressed: "Vista is the biggest launch ever" in Microsoft's history, more important than Windows 95.

Considering the hype, it must be worrying for Microsoft that many technology experts believe that Vista is at best accomplished but not really a breakthrough.

Vista, they say, is not any better than OS X, the operating system of rival Apple.

800MHz processor
512Mb memory
DirectX9 capable graphics processor
1Ghz processor
1Gb memory
128Mb graphics memory
40Gb hard drive
Internet access

Corporate IT bosses are not impressed either, surveys suggest. Some will move to Vista for security reasons, says George Colony, chief executive of technology consulting firm Forrester, but most will do so because Microsoft is forcing them.

While corporate users may have little choice, it's with consumers where Vista will have to prove its mettle. Here Microsoft has not just to capture the market, but also inspire it.

Only if Vista delivers its promise of managing the digital lifestyle will it become the central hub of consumers' connected world.

Success by default?

Let's make no mistake: Windows Vista will be a success. But it will happen almost by default.

Corporate IT administrators are tied into Microsoft's network architecture, while consumers will probably pick a PC because they trust brands such as HP, Dell or Sony and because PC manufacturers simply take up more shelf space than Apple's narrow product range.

"Very few consumers will choose to upgrade to Vista," says Mr Colony. "Nobody is choosing to install it, they will upgrade only by buying a new machine."

Forrester estimates that by the end of this year, Vista will have a 15% share of the North American consumer market, which amounts to about 12.2 million units. By 2011 it expects Vista to have 70% of the market, or just over 73 million installations.

Considering that Windows is one of Microsoft's two big profit engines (the other is the productivity software Office), executives at the company headquarters in Redmond, Washington, can probably relax.

But these numbers do not secure Microsoft's future in a rapidly evolving tech landscape.

The problem, says Mr Colony, is Microsoft's brand perception: A Forrester survey of 50,000 consumers suggests that Microsoft is the consumer brand with the highest number of installations, but also the company with the second-lowest approval rating among its customers, says Mr Colony.

'Vista is user-centric'

Vista is supposed to change that perception and "wow" computer users.

Bill Gates in Davos
Bill Gates promises to "wow" consumers

When you use Vista, "it's just not like using software anymore... it's more user-centric, less systems-centric," says Mr Gates, who is also the firm's chief software architect.

To make the right first impression, Microsoft has scheduled big launch events in 50 countries. In Paris, for example, fireworks will light the sky that will be larger than those at the start of the new millennium.

"This is about capturing the minds of the people," says Mr Courtois. "They have problems [with their computers], need help" and Vista is going to provide it.

The boss of Microsoft International tries to explain:

  • Looks: Vista looks much prettier than XP, with a 3D feel to it and see-through windows.
  • Security: "The company has learned its lessons, and Bill Gates was leading the work to make security central to Vista." The software will be secure by design and by default, he says, with all security options switched on straight out of the box. Better back-up software will protect your digital memories, parental controls will safeguard your children, and strong encryption software will ensure that a stolen laptop or PC will not give up your personal secrets (although this part of Vista is available only in Vista's most expensive version).
  • Connectivity: Whatever kind of device you want to connect to, eg using Wifi or Bluetooth, Vista will make it easier; and a new "meeting room" allows users to share a virtual workspace between computers in the same area.
  • Fun and entertainment: The gaming technology in Vista has "increased significantly". Better graphics boost the quality of game play, and the popular Flight Simulator, for example, now integrates real-time weather conditions. Watching and working with photos, music and videos has been improved, Mr Courtois says, and Vista comes integrated with Microsoft's Media Centre, which is optimised to watch media on a television.
  • Search: A fully integrated search function makes it easy to find the needles in the rapidly growing haystacks of our digital lives.

Microsoft has not left much to chance. To iron out bugs, some five million people have tested Vista over the past year or two.

In your living room

Microsoft's biggest challenge, however, will be for Windows to make the jump from the study into our living rooms.

Vista desktop - aero interface
Home Basic - improved search and security but no Aero interface (pictured)
Home Premium - As above but with Aero, Media Center options, back-up tools, DVD burning software
Vista Ultimate - All home and business features, plus a series of downloadable Ultimate Extras

Irritatingly for Microsoft executives, this make-or-break move is out of the company's control.

Windows is a platform; Microsoft's partners build on it by providing hardware and software.

If the industry develops and sells products with the right form factor, combining the beauty and simplicity of hi-fi equipment with the Vista operating system, Microsoft will sit at the top of our digital world.

Forrester's George Colony is dubious about Microsoft's chances of success: "Operating systems crash, they don't give you any pleasure," he says. "It's still too difficult to install and administer computers."

'Two sets of idiots'

So what about the long-awaited convergence between PCs and consumer electronics?

Niklas Zennstroem, the co-founder of internet telephony success Skype and backer of video-on-demand service, believes that the "computerisation of television sets" is just a few years away.

Mr Colony is more sceptical: "You have two sets of idiots here, the PC idiots and the TV idiots," he says, and neither understands yet how to make convergence work.

So if Microsoft's hardware partners fail to deliver, the company has a problem.

Mr Courtois for his part points to "an incredible variety of form factors" in the pipeline, from media centres to what he calls "ultra-mobile PCs".

Why the rivals don't deliver

Microsoft's weakness, however, is also its biggest strength.

Microsoft performance to advertise Vista in New York
Microsoft hopes to capture people's minds

Rival Apple may grab the headlines (and the biggest share of the MP3 player market), but in the computer space it is puny.

The reason: Apple insists on controlling the whole package, from the operating system to the central hardware.

As a result, Apple lacks the breadth of hard- and software that attracts customers.

Apple may glow in the halo of its iconic iPods and gain kudos from the tech-savvy crowd. But so far, the shallowness of Apple's industrial ecosystem has made the firm's offering pricey and limited its success in the market place.

Microsoft's other rival, the open-source Linux operating system, has a similar problem.

Even though products like Ubuntu and Suse Linux show great promise, there are still issues with compatibility and ease of use.

Beyond Vista

But as Microsoft celebrates Vista, the company is already thinking about what comes next.

Consumers had to wait five years for the new operating system. A gap that long won't be allowed again, promises Mr Courtois.

But as it works on the next incarnation of Windows, Microsoft will have to face a profound shift in the world of software.

More and more companies are offering software online as a service. All that users need is a good browser.

And that could make operating systems somewhat irrelevant.

Last chance

So why is Vista so important?

I'll run Linux on most of my machines, it does everything I need much more easily than windows
John, UK

Well, it may be Microsoft's last chance to confound the critics who say the company is not capable of developing a secure and user-friendly operating system.

One of Vista's new features is that it shuts down in just two seconds.

Microsoft is hoping that its customers won't shut down Windows for good.

Edited by Pensacola.S_02 - 31 January 2007 at 5:59am
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