Bill Zhang

Friday, May 19, 2006

Google Goes on Asian Phones

Google signed a deal Thursday with the Japanese phone company KDDI to put its search engine into KDDI’s EZ Web Internet service for its “au” mobile phones.

The search king is also in talks with China Mobile about introducing a similar service in China.

Google has been expanding its presence in the Asian market, introducing a Chinese version of its search engine, Google.cn, and buying a stake in Baidu.com.

The Mountain View, California-based company also faces competition in Asia from its rival Yahoo, which already enjoys a strong presence in Japan, as well as having many users in China. Both companies have run into controversy from their dealings with the Chinese government, however.

The KDDI service will be available in July. It will combine search results for content aimed at both mobile phones and PCs. KDDI said it will also provide users with more direct access to information.

For example, when users search for information about an artist, KDDI used to turn up links to content in different categories and then users would have to perform further searches to turn up the information they were seeking.

Now with the Google engine, the search will give users direct access to music, applications, books, magazines, and shopping information that’s relevant to the artist.

Shares of Google rose $4.51 to $379.01 in recent trading.

Google and KDDI could not be immediately reached for comment.

Tokyo-based KDDI also plans to take advantage of Google’s vaunted advertising skills. Text ads based on search terms will appear alongside related search results. The two companies also plan to refine the mobile search features going forward.

In September, Yahoo was reported to have begun testing the display of ads with Internet search results on cell phones in Japan. That may have helped encourage Google to make a deal with KDDI.

“To lead in wireless today, you must lead in Japan,” said Gerhard Fasol, chief executive of the consulting Eurotechnology Japan. “Google is nowhere yet in wireless in Japan. KDDI is the top wireless company globally, so Google has a lot to learn from KDDI. But KDDI also has a lot to learn from Google, so if the chemistry works out, it looks like an ideal partnership.”

He noted that the KDDI-Google partnership leaves KDDI rival NTT DoCoMo isolated.

“Yahoo is fixed up with Softbank, and there aren’t that many search companies left after that for DoCoMo to partner up with,” said Mr. Fasol. “The only one I know after that is FAST, and they are quite active in Japan.”

China Mobile also said Thursday it is in talks with Google to provide its search engine on mobile phones in China. Chairman and CEO Wang Jianzhou of China Mobile (Hong Kong) told the Associated Press he has met twice with Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

“We both share the same idea: how to turn cell phones into a new kind of Internet search engine,” he said.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Google Maps Europe

The search engine introduces a test version of its map product in four Eurozone countries.

Every war plan begins with the unfurling of a map. Google’s designs on Europe are a little clearer now that the search engine has released test versions of Google Maps for France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

The map products of Google and its rivals, Yahoo and Microsoft, are an important part of the burgeoning local search business, which the search engines regard as one of the last untapped reservoirs of ad revenue.

The Kelsey Group predicts that the U.S. local advertising market will hit $124.8 billion in 2010. In 2005, it grossed $96.8 billion. U.S. local search and classifieds revenue is seen jumping 25 percent to $9.9 billion in 2010 from $3.3 billion in 2005.

Matt Booth, an analyst with the Kelsey Group, says that maps are the shock troops in a campaign to win advertising dollars from the local market.

“Mapping is the forefront of a local strategy,” he said.

‘The real revenue opportunity comes when there is rich content underneath all of the pins on the map.’

Google’s improving of its map product in Europe, announced late Wednesday, follows Yahoo’s debut of satellite images on its beta map site on April 11. In October, Google announced the launch of Google Local, which blended mapping data with local information such as restaurant reviews, addresses, and movie times.

The move also came one day after French President Jacques Chirac said his country would spend $2.5 billion on six technology projects including a search engine designed to compete with Google (see France’s $2.5B Tech Foray).

Like Google Maps and Yahoo Maps, the beta version of Google Maps in the four European countries comes with an API (application programming interface) that allows programmers to incorporate Google Maps into web pages not connected with Google.

While Google doesn’t allow developers to profit from using its map API, the API has generated a cottage industry of mashups that combine Google Maps with content that ranges from real estate to fast food finders.



Mr. Booth said that the power of maps and local advertising has not been fully exploited.

“The real revenue opportunity comes when there is rich content underneath all of the pins on the map,” he said

France’s $2.5B Tech Foray

France plans six tech projects, including one aimed at Google; observers raise doubts.

Venture capitalists in Europe said Wednesday they are skeptical about French President Jacques Chirac’s plan to spend $2.5 billion on six technology projects, including a search engine to rival Google.

Mr. Chirac said technology and innovation are key to the future of France. In his announcement Tuesday, the president noted there is only one French company among the 30 global firms that spend the most on research. The United States and Japan dominate in new technologies, and Europe needs to forge ahead, he said.

The huge growth of the search engine sector, for example, makes it imperative that France, along with European partners, develop a global product to rival Google and Yahoo, the French president said.

The programs that will receive funding through the French Agency for Industrial Innovation include Quaero, a multimedia search engine that would be used both on computers and mobile phones. Quaero, which is Latin for “I search,” is being spearheaded by French multimedia company Thomson, France Telecom, French search engine developer Exalead, and French universities.

‘We are at war economically with the U.S., India, and China—and Europe is today the big loser.’

France had hoped the German government would also contribute economically to Quaero, but no announcement has been forthcoming. However, German companies, research centers, and universities are involved.

They include media company Bertelsmann’s Arvatis unit, Siemens, MediaSec Technologies, Deutsche Telecom, Thomson-Brandt, Lycos Europe, Grass Valley Germany, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, and the Universities of Karlsruhe and Aachen.

The other five projects being funded by France include:

• an effort led by Alcatel and French research labs INRIA, CNRS, and CEA, to develop a European standard for delivering television over mobile phones;

• the development of a hybrid diesel car led by French companies Michelin, Valeo, and PSA Peugeot-Citroen;

• a project called Homes, proposed by Schneider Electric and Somfy, which aims to use a new system of heating and lighting to reduce energy consumption within buildings by up to 20 percent;

• an automated subway system called NeoVal, proposed by Siemens and Lohr; and

• a plan to develop plastics from cereals proposed by Roquette and Metabolic Explorer.

Thirty other projects will be considered by year’s end, Mr. Chirac said. He said the French agency for Industrial Innovation should serve as the foundation for a new European industrial policy.

Most European venture capitalists believe that a top-down approach to innovation doesn’t work. Instead of funding giant projects, most venture capitalists argue European governments should instead change employment laws and tax and stock option rules to make it easier for entrepreneurs to set up and run companies.

Still, “being totally sarcastic about it is easy,” said Geneva-based venture capitalist Sven Lingjaerde, founder and president of the European Tech Tour, which promotes investment in European technology startups. “The good thing is that it is a wake-up call; politicians are recognizing we are hitting a wall. We are at war economically with the U.S., India, and China—and Europe is today the big loser.”

Despite many attempts by various governments, Europe still “has no Silicon Valley,” said Mr. Lingjaerde. So, “rather than taking the typical French attitude of ‘we will conquer the world’ the French should concentrate on one project and try to take it to a pan-European level and then, if that works, move on to another area, always concentrating on areas where Europe has competence.”

European Competition

Mr. Lingjaerde argued that one of Europe’s biggest weaknesses is that European countries compete with each other, each funding national projects. A better approach would be for different countries and regions to choose a particular area of competence and the others agree to cede that area and instead concentrate on something else, he said.

And in areas like alternative energy and materials sciences, a unified European approach with government funding could be helpful in setting standards and boosting certain technologies, said Mr. Lingjaerde.



Eric Archambeau, a French venture capitalist working for Munich-based Wellington Partners, believes the top-down approach does work when the project involves local infrastructure projects, such as France’s high-speed trains.

“But when you want to create a market standard, it is very difficult to do it through government,” he said.

Mr. Chirac though, seems convinced the government is taking the right direction.

“At a time when [some] question the dynamism of Europe and of France, and where in the minds of certain people [France’s] future is as a museum country, France is resolutely making the choice of science, innovation, and industry,” Mr. Chirac said in his speech. “It is essential to conserving the ranking of our country in the world and for collectively rediscovering a taste for risk-taking and the pride of innovating.”

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Gifts to the US on the eve of President Hu Jintao's trip to Washington

News from US:The Runaway Trade Giant

As its impact on the U.S. economy expands, China is also growing less vulnerable to American pressure on key issues

Nucor Chief Executive Daniel R. DiMicco sees a train wreck coming. True, Charlotte (N.C.)-based Nucor Corp., America's top steelmaker, had a banner year in 2005. But China now churns out more steel than the U.S., Japan, and Europe combined. Despite its own voracious demand, China has become a net steel exporter. More mills are in the pipeline that DiMicco complains are "massively subsidized" by interest-free loans, an undervalued currency, and export tax breaks. "If China decides to export significant amounts of steel," he warns, "there will be no such thing as competition." Advertisement

DiMicco would love to see the U.S. file a complaint with the World Trade Organization to block a flood of Chinese imports. Trouble is, it's not clear that China's help to steel producers violates WTO rules. Besides, Washington does not want to bring cases it is unlikely to win. How about getting the Feds to file an anti-dumping suit in U.S. court? To succeed, Nucor would have to prove it was already damaged by cheap Chinese imports.

CHINA'S GIFTS. DiMicco's angst highlights a dilemma for Washington: No one quite knows what to do about a China that is growing into a trade giant but in many ways still plays by its own rules. True, China has liberalized greatly since entering the WTO in 2001. And it came bearing gifts on the eve of President Hu Jintao's trip to Washington.

China has agreed to import U.S. beef and medical devices, load all PCs sold in the mainland with legal software, and buy $16.2 billion worth of Boeing jets, Motorola networking gear, and other goods. Another cause for cheer: America's February trade deficit with China shrank by 22.7% to its lowest monthly level in a year. The moves, declared Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi, show Beijing's intent to cut the trade gap and "observe the spirit of equality, mutual benefit, and win-win."

Yet worried execs like DiMicco see few signs of progress on the really big issues. They include China's refusal to significantly revalue its currency, its weak enforcement of rampant piracy, and its continued use of cheap credit, subsidies, and nontariff barriers to boost favored industries and companies.

U.S. officials are being more aggressive in bringing antidumping suits and WTO cases when China violates the rules, but they also say it's time for China to go beyond the agreements it made in 2001 and basically grow up. "We need a more balanced relationship," says U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, "based on the fact that China is a mature trading partner and a full-fledged WTO member."

WEAK CLOUT. Balancing the relationship, though, takes clout -- clout the U.S. may not have. The U.S. lost its ability to impose unilateral sanctions once China joined the WTO. Even if the U.S. hauled China to Geneva on issues like currency, intellectual property rights, and industry policies, its chances of winning under WTO rules are slight.

U.S. efforts to get China to beef up enforcement of intellectual-property-rights laws are a case in point. For more than a decade, Washington has demanded that Beijing halt the piracy of software, music CDs, and movies. China's laws are fine, and it can crack down when it wants: Witness the scarcity of knockoffs of mascot dolls for the Beijing Olympics.

But due to weak enforcement, trade groups claim U.S. software, entertainment, and publishing companies lose billions in China due to illegal copies. While Beijing announced a 14-point plan on Apr. 11 to crack down on pirates, skeptics say the U.S. shouldn't back off until it sees results. Says Dan Glickman, CEO of the Motion Picture Assn., which leads Hollywood's antipiracy fight: "On these issues where China really has not responded, I think the best leverage is the WTO."

Is it? Even if the U.S. does file a case alleging inadequate enforcement, there's no guarantee it will win. That's because the WTO lacks clear standards defining adequate progress toward enforcement, says China trade expert Nicholas R. Lardy of Washington's Institute for International Economics: "The elephant in the room nobody wants to talk about is that we don't have much leverage." If a suit fails, Beijing could ease the pressure on pirates. "To bring a case and lose it is detrimental," Portman says.

MISSING DATA. Another problem, U.S. trade officials complain, is that many U.S. software companies have been unwilling to gather and supply the hard data needed to mount a successful case. "Our bigger challenge isn't the law," says one official. "It's getting the evidence you need from companies who don't want to be seen as cooperating with the U.S. government."

Besides risking retaliation against their mainland operations, executives aren't sure a successful WTO ruling will solve anything, given China's weak rule of law. "Even if you won, would it really change the way business is done at the provincial level, or change the business environment?" asks Heather Clark, assistant vice-president for Asia of Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America.

The U.S. has been just as stymied in its efforts to force a revaluation of the yuan. American manufacturers claim the yuan is undervalued by as much as 40%, giving mainland exports a huge price edge. In response to Washington pressure, Beijing last year finally let the yuan fluctuate slightly, but it hasn't gained enough to make a big difference.

News from China: Trade deals reflect resolve to cut surplus

Major commercial deals China has signed with the United States reflect its sincerity to reduce the huge trade surplus, Vice-Premier Wu Yi said in Washington on Tuesday after fruitful high-level negotiations.

Wu, who is heading a 200-strong delegation of business people, told a press conference that Chinese companies had signed 107 contracts with US firms worth $16.2 billion.

The agreements cover sectors ranging from airplanes, electronics, auto parts, heavy equipment and software to cotton and soybeans.

Chinese airlines will buy 80 next-generation Boeing 737 planes, valued at $4.6 billion, in addition to the 70 Boeing 737s ordered in November during US President George W. Bush's visit to Beijing.

The latest agreements were signed at the conclusion of the annual US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) meeting in Washington.

The talks on Tuesday were attended by Wu Yi, US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Trade Representative Rob Portman, both of whom praised China for its commitments.

"In our discussions today, which were very frank and positive, we were able to solve some problems," Portman said at a joint news conference.

To ease trade frictions with the United States, China promised at the meeting that it would reopen its market to US beef, reduce piracy of American goods and begin talks by the end of next year to open its huge government procurement market to foreign firms.

Beef imports were suspended in December 2003 after mad-cow disease was found in Washington State. Other countries including South Korea and Japan have also banned US beef imports since then. China bought $28.4 million worth of US beef in 2003.

On copyright piracy, China requires all computers sold in the country be loaded with legal operating software and to increase enforcement efforts against all forms of copyright piracy.

China also made commitments to streamline the sale approval of American medical devices; to adjust capital requirements that American telecommunications companies see as a major barrier to setting up Chinese operations; and to make sure new rules do not discriminate against US express delivery firms.

Wu reiterated that the United States could also help itself by lifting security restrictions on exports of high technology to China. At the JCCT talks, Washington agreed to explore that issue through top-level talks.

The large purchases in the United States could not fully eradicate the trade deficit, but they delivered a very important message to the US Congress, the public and the media, said Zhou Shijian, a researcher with the Institute of American Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "It shows the sincerity and goodwill of the Chinese Government and enterprises to redress the bilateral trade imbalance," Zhou said.

US-China Business Council President John Frisbie welcomed the outcome of the JCCT talks.

"A comprehensive, step-by-step approach that includes carrots, not only sticks, to develop mutually beneficial trade ties and resolve differences is the best way for the United States and China to make measurable, lasting progress in the commercial relationship," he said.

The US Commerce Department announced yesterday that the bilateral trade gap with China shrank 22.7 percent in February as the country's deficit narrowed 4.1 percent to $65.7 billion.

The trade deficit with China narrowed significantly to $13.8 billion the lowest level since March 2005 reflecting a 16.2 percent drop in imports and a 17 percent rise in exports, it said.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

China commited to pushing foward IPR protection

China has actively pushed forward intellectual property protection in a responsible way and deal with IPR disputes with relevant parties in a cooperative manner, said China's Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday.

The Chinese government is moving on a range of IPR steps and requires computer producers to pre-install legal software programs, said Deputy Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei, who is also director of the State Office of Intellectual Property Protection.

Local governments and departments in 330 cities nationwide have purchased and installed legal software programs, and 123 district and county governments are dealing with the installation of legal software programs, the official said.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce issued a circular in February demanding rectification of the wholesale and retail markets in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces to crash down on fake goods.

Jiang said China has strictly abided by the WTO obligations in terms of IPR protection and deal with IPR disputes with the United States, the EU and Japan in a cooperative way.

Friday, April 07, 2006

PayPal Goes Mobile

The online payment system PayPal officially announced “PayPal Mobile,” the company’s text-based cell phone service, at a wireless convention Thursday.

PayPal’s interest in a cell phone service has been anticipated by industry watchers, as the U.S. wireless industry tests the idea of one day turning the cell phone into an “m-wallet” to replace cash, credit cards, and even apartment keys.

While U.S. consumers and wireless operators have been eyeing the m-wallet and pilot-testing various systems, Japanese wireless operators like NTT DoCoMo have already run successful services that use the phone for a credit card, ATM card, apartment key, and train ticket.

For now, PayPal’s cell phone service is based on text messaging that users can employ to “Text to Buy” products like CDs, DVDs, shoes, and apparel from stores that have signed up for the service.

PayPal, owned by the Internet auction company eBay, has already signed on 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Bravo, MTV, and the NBA Store.





Shares of eBay fell $0.03 to $38.50 in recent trading.

San Jose, California-based PayPal will also enable users to “Text to Give” to charities such as Amnesty International, Starlight Starbright, and UNICEF.

PayPal Mobile will also extend PayPal’s current online payment service to the cell phone, leveraging PayPal’s customer base of 100 million accounts.

"With the overwhelming popularity of mobile phones, the time has never been better for the merging of e-commerce and wireless devices," said PayPal President Jeff Jordan in a statement.

PayPal Mobile will face competition from startups such as Obopay, which has raised money from VC backers Redpoint Ventures, Onset Ventures, and Richmond Capital (see Obopay Gets $10M for M-Wallet).

Secure Cell Phones
With the emergence of the cell phone as a wallet, companies will spend significant time and expenses on assuring customers their finances will be safe on mobiles.

Mr. Jordan pointed out that eBay and PayPal’s already established customer relationships would give the company an edge in the mobile payment industry, which relies on the security of a customer’s finances.

“Our customers have already entrusted their personal and financial information to PayPal,” said Mr. Jordan. “Now, making payments is as easy as sending a text message anytime, from anywhere, for the millions of customers that prefer to use PayPal.”

Users register their cell phone numbers with PayPal, and when purchasing items from the PayPal Mobile service, PayPal will call the customer back to confirm the purchase.

PayPal said it will store customer information on secure servers, not on the mobile telephone, so even if the phone is lost or stolen, the user’s PayPal account remains secure.

M-Wallet
On Wednesday, NTT DoCoMo CEO Masao Nakamura said in a presentation that 10 million subscribers had mobile-wallet-enabled phones, 30 percent of whom are active users, and 60,000 stores are participating.

Mr. Nakamura dazzled conference goers at CTIA, the largest wireless convention in the United States, with a video of “future service developments.”

The video showed a subscriber paying for apartment utilities in a building lobby with a cell phone, and using a motion-sensor-based wireless network to automatically unlock doors.

“We showed the demo of the [motion sensor] service to Prime Minister Koizumi and he loved it,” said Mr. Nakamura.

NTT DoCoMo shares rose $0.02 to $15.01 in recent trading.

But the U.S. is just starting to test text-based cellular commerce systems like PayPal’s, and so far the infrastructure for a mobile wallet world is far from complete in the U.S.

Such a system needs chips in cell phones, ubiquitous wireless networks, and the cooperation of stores, financial services, customers, and wireless operators.

Companies like semiconductor maker Philips and the financial service company Visa found some success with a trial of a technology called NFC (near field communications) for cell phones.

NFC is a short-range wireless technology of several centimeters, which is already being used with “touchless credit cards.” The cards don’t have to be swiped through a magnetic stripe reader, just placed within centimeters of the scanner.

Philips and Visa said a study based in Atlanta included 20 participants who ordered coffee, Wi-Fi services, and movie tickets with an NFC-embedded cell phone.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Alcatel Effect

There has been a lot of news in recent months on communications equipment, much of about conaolidation. In October, 2005, corporate networking powerhouse Cisco Systems (CSCO) bought set-top box maker Scientific Atlanta. In November, phone giant SBC closed its acquisition of AT&T (T), and within a matter months announced plans to buy BellSouth (T). Then, on Apr. 2, telecom-equipment giant Alcatel (ALA) bought Lucent (LU).

Even as decades-old brands disappear, a new crop of communications-equipment startups is emerging. Within days, Force 10 Networks, a maker of networking switches used by Google (GOOG) and other Net high-fliers, is expected to file documents announcing its intention to sell shares to the public, sources say. Riverbed Technology, which makes gear to speed data between corporate locations around the world, is also on the verge of filing its so-called S-1, say industry sources. Neither company would comment for this story.

If they pan out, the IPOs would be the first among communications-equipment makers since 2001, analysts say. Others probably won't be far behind. Take Shoretel, which makes new-fangled Net-based phone systems that are catching on with the corporate set due to their sound clarity and extra features. "Shoretel customers talk about their office phones the way people talk about their iPods!" notes JMP Securities analyst Sam Wilson. That enthusiasm could eventually translate to a winning IPO.

NO 1999. Something else that makes these fledglings stand out: They aren't really startups. Many were founded before the telecom crash, but survived -- and now boast impressive customer lists, proven technologies, and solid customer-support operations. "You now have a whole crew of companies that are ready to go, and who have VCs that want to start paying the mortgage," says Wilson.

Shoretel was founded in 1998, while Force 10 and BigBand Networks, another fast-growing supplier of broadband gear, came along in 1999. "We'll see another round of IPOs, but it won't be like the 1999 era," says Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Sonus Networks, a seller of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) gear to phone carriers. "These are companies that have been working for six or seven years, and have established real footholds."

Some of the small fry could get snapped up before they get a chance to go public, as bigger suppliers look to fill out their product portfolios. On Mar. 22, Lucent paid $207 million in an auction to buy the remaining assets of struggling Riverstone Technologies, a vestige of former networking highflier Cabletron Systems.

PHONE SQUEEZE. Healthier outfits can also expect more phone calls. Last December, Alcatel bought a 25% stake in 2Wire, which makes home networking gear. Indeed, rumors are swirling that public companies such as Redback Networks (RBAK), Foundry Networks (FDRY), and even Juniper Networks (JNPR) could be bought (see BW Online, 3/27/06, "What's Next for Nortel"). Within two years, predicts one top investment banker, "Juniper won't be a public company."

Even if they don't find themselves in the crosshairs of a buyer, some companies are likely to land lucrative distribution deals. Mature suppliers may give up trying to push internally-developed products in favor of more innovative fare. "The rate of discussions has gone way up for us, because all of the big guys have holes they need to fill," says Hammerhead Systems founder Rob Keil. "Everything is moving in the right direction for companies like us, who have customers and revenue."

Not all the dealmaking among big telecom bodes well for smaller players. A buying spree by Verizon (VZ) and SBC (which has since taken the name of its former parent, AT&T) means fewer phone companies to sell to, and probably less spending on gear as these behemoths focus on cutting costs. The "service-provider market will be even more unattractive than it has been in the last few years -- and it was already pretty unattractive," says Rick Tinsley, CEO of two-year-old tech startup Silver Peak Systems.

SIEMENS FOR SALE? And more consolidation among the big boys may be on the way. For example, BusinessWeek Online has learned that Siemens (SI) is actively shopping what is left of its communications division. It has already sold off a mobile phone business to Taiwan-based BenQ Corporation. One source says Siemens has been working with consultants from Booz-Allen on its strategic alternatives. While the company has hinted it wanted to keep promising pieces of the business, sources say it is now leaning towards selling off all of the $13.2 billion business -- most likely in chunks, since it's unlikely to find a buyer for the whole thing.

By buying Lucent, Alcatel solidified its position in high-end phone switches, particularly in the U.S. As a result, "Siemens has to decide whether to get bigger or smaller -- and the proponents of getting smaller are winning," says one industry insider who has been approached about buying parts of the unit.

Analysts say Siemens, like Nortel, has struggled to maintain leadership in the most important markets. The Munich-based giant recently saw Deutsche Telecom (DTE) grant a big contract to deliver Net-based TV services to Paris-based Alcatel, for example.

INTERESTED PARTIES. Who might the buyers be? Insiders say big wireless players such as Ericsson (ERICY) or Motorola (MOT) might want the Siemens unit that sells basic phone switches to phone companies. So might Cisco, though the company says it has no plans for another merger along the lines of Scientific Atlanta.

Others, including Avaya (AV), might want the Siemens unit that sells to corporations. If that doesn't pan out, there may be other options. "I've heard of some private equity interest" in some or all of the Siemens units, says Tom Nolle, president of consulting firm CIMI Corp.

However Siemens and the other established players fare, there's no shortage of entrepreneurs stepping up with dreams of becoming the Old Guard of tomorrow.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Malaysia: Formula one race last weekend



I traveled to Kualar Lumpur, Malaysia last Friday.My colleagues have arranged the F1 tickets for us.This is my first time for me to watch live formula one race,same as most of my Finnish colleagues. The race started at 15:00PM local time, we heard rumor that the traffic would be problematic because around 100K people will drive to the F1 field almost at the same time. We drove to the field starting at 11:00AM, after we arrived, we walked around, our Finnish colleagues bought few Mclaren T shirts and caps because of Kimi Räikkonen.



Kimi showed up in Mclaren exhibition booth around 13:05PM. There were so many Kimi's supporters that most of my Finnish colleagues did not have chance to see him,even we were waiting for his show up for about one hour. Lickly I took two pictures while he was just entering the booth.

There was so big noise in the live F1 race that no one can watch the race without ear plugs.

As we all know Kimi had bad luck in Kualar Lumpur F1 race,we were so disappointed about that! Anyway, it was a great experience for me! good luck Kimi!