Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Trai recommends cut in base price for 3G spectrum

The telecom regulator on Wednesday recommended a base price of Rs 2,720 crore per megahertz (MHz) for pan India 2,100MHz or 3G spectrum, which is 22% lower than the previous auction.

"Furthermore, the 15MHz of spectrum in the 2,100MHz spectrum being vacated by Ministry of Defence (MoD), in lieu of spectrum in the 1,900MHz spectrum, should be auctioned in view of the in-principle agreement reached with the MoD, even if it is not available immediately," the Telecom regulatory Authority of India said in a statement here.

This can be done as "actual assignments do not have to be made immediately", it said. The actual date of assignment may be given in the notice inviting application.

The government in 2010 had auctioned 3G spectrum at pan-India reserve price of Rs 3,500 crore per MHz.

The regulator has recommended that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) should take all measures to ensure that the 2,100MHz spectrum which was earlier assigned to STEL in three service areas — Bihar, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh — is also put to auction.

STel had shut its business in India after the Supreme Court cancelled 122 licences in February 2012 in the 2G spectrum case.

The auction for 800, 900 and 1,800 megahertz bands is expected to be held in February. The department of telecom is also thinking of auctioning 3G airwaves along with these three bands.

"The roll-out obligations that were mandated in the 2010 auctions for spectrum in the 2,100MHz band should be applicable for the upcoming auction of 2,100MHz band; however, a period of three years (instead of five years) should be prescribed to meet these obligations," it added.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Best Ways to get your Blog Ranked at Google

Backlinks and SEO optimized articles are the only gateways that can get your blog ranked high at Google searches. There is no denying that Google is the most popular search engine and as per research and SEO technical terms, Google has Alexa Rank: 11 and Page Rank: 7. Let me tell you something about both these terms, Alexa Rank in SEO is defined as popularity of a site. Lesser the Alexa Rank, more popular your site is. Page Rank on the other hand has to be more. It is rated 1-10 and as you see, the page rank of site is 7, i.e. it’s quite a popular site and used by millions of users. You can install “Web Rank” SEO tool from Firefox add-ons and check the details about Google Search engine. For Google Chrome users, they can use tool named “MOZ Rank” to check the popularity of site.
Now, as you know the popularity of site, then you might also know the significance of getting ranked best at Google searches. In Blogging business, it’s all about climbing at the top position in Google searches and retaining your position. This is possible with the help of backlinks that you have with your site, plus by writing SEO optimized articles.
Before I explain you the concepts of getting your blog ranked best in Google searches, you need to know something about how Google conduct the whole scenario: Googlebot to shortlist newly arrived pages, crawling right pages and indexing them.
There are three components:
Googlebot is bot software by Google that is sent to collect information about fresh and newly arrived pages. These documents are then indexed in the searches of Google.


As Googlebot collects information about new or updated pages, Crawlers are then sent to visit and crawl those pages. The process of crawling takes place with the help of links that are used in the content.

Lastly, it is Indexing. Google after crawling the pages of your site extracts out some quality web pages withBest Ways to get your Blog Ranked at Google quality links and index them in its searches. Indexing is done with the help of keywords that further gives backlinks to your site, and whenever those keywords are searched at Google searches, your site is displayed.

So this is the whole process. All these three steps are followed by Google to display your pages at a top rank in its searches.
First of all, before beginning the marketing campaign of your blogging site, it is important to get discovered. There are few steps that are followed in Search Engine Optimization to get your Blog discovered in Google searches:

Creating Sitemap: Sitemap is a XML document file. It is created to get crawled by Googlebot. You can create it by visiting to site, add your site’s URL and a XML file will be created automatically. You just have to download the file and submit the sitemap in Google Webmaster Tool. You can find the option of “Add Sitemap” in crawl tab. If you are a wordpress user you can install xml sitemap plugin.

Aamir Khan: I'd love to do 'PK' sequel

Actor Aamir Khan is not sure if a part two of his latest release 'PK' will be made or not, but he says he'd love to be a part of it.
Asked if a sequel to 'PK' is underway, he said: "Let's see. You all have to ask Raju Hirani (director Rajkumar Hirani) if he is interested in making a sequel. If they make it, it's good. I would like to do it."
The film's climax has actor Ranbir Kapoor along with Aamir, and several people have conjectured that it's a hint for a sequel.

Talking about it, Aamir said: "May be, Rajkumar Hirani is thinking of getting both Ranbir and me in the sequel."
'PK', which features Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma and Sanjay Dutt, has received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.
The actor is happy with the response and says the movie leaves the audience with a message that humanity is the biggest thing.
"The message of this film is that the biggest thing is humanity. That's the biggest message of this film...that we all are equal. There is no difference between Hindus and Muslims....that trust and faith is the important aspect of our life. This is the main message," he said.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Apple suppliers accused of poor treatment of workers

Workers in Chinese factories making Apple products are poorly treated, with exhausted employees falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts, British broadcaster the BBC found in an investigation broadcast Thursday.

Reporters who took jobs undercover at the Pegatron factories found workers regularly exceeded 60 hours a week -- more than the company's guidance -- and that standards on ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were also breached.

The broadcaster said promises made by Apple to protect workers in the wake of a spate of suicides at supplier Foxconn in 2010 were "routinely broken".

Apple said that it disagreed with the BBC's conclusions.
"We are aware of no other company doing as much as Apple to ensure fair and safe working conditions," the US consumer electronics giant told the BBC.

"We work with suppliers to address shortfalls, and we see continuous and significant improvement, but we know our work is never done."

The company said that it was common for workers to sleep during breaks, but that it would investigate whether they were falling asleep while working.

It also said it monitored the hours worked by over one million workers, and that staff at Taiwanese-owned Pegatron averaged 55 hours a week.

The BBC filmed a health and safety exam at a Pegatron factory in which workers chanted out answers in unison, meaning there was little chance of failing.

The footage also appeared to show workers had no choice to opt out of working nights or while standing.

One reporter had to work 18 days in a row despite repeated requests for a day off, the BBC reported.

The investigation by BBC flagship programme Panorama also found that tin from illegal mines in Indonesia where children work in dangerous conditions could be entering Apple's supple chain.

Apple, which promotes ethically sourced minerals, told the BBC it was attempting to drive changes, and that withdrawing from Indonesian mines altogether would be "the lazy and cowardly path, since it would do nothing to improve the situation."

Telecom imports rise to Rs 69,516.37 crore in FY14

The country imported telecom products worth Rs 69,516.37 crore in 2013-14 while exports of such items were at Rs 20,475.17 crore during the year, leaving a significant deficit of Rs 49,041.20 crore.

In the previous 2012-13 fiscal, imports of telecom products were Rs 57,208.78 crore and exports were at Rs 21,716.76 crore, communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply.

In 2011-12, the import figure stood at Rs 55,466.54 crore while exports were at Rs 20,775.57 crore.

In a separate reply, Prasad said the production of mobile handsets in the country is projected to be down by more than half even as import of handsets is expected to rise by over 18% in 2014.

Giving details about the production and import of mobile phones in India, Prasad said that 130 million units were produced in 2013 and it is projected to be 60 million units in 2014 whereas the import figures stood at 185 million in 2013 and it is estimated to be 220 million in 2014.

The value of mobile phones produced in the country is expected to be down to Rs 18,900 crore in 2014 as compared to Rs 26,650 crore in 2013.

However, the value of imported mobile phones is estimated to rise to Rs 58,550 crore in 2014 as compared to Rs 42,200 crore in 2013.

The minister said smartphone market in India is likely to be around 200 million units by 2020 with an average annual rate of growth around 26%.

Sharing details, Prasad said smartphone market in the country in 2012 was 20 million units, which grew to 32 million units in 2013 and is estimated to be 70 million units in 2014.

The minister said government has taken various initiatives which will have a direct bearing on the promotion of mobile manufacturing in the country.

The government has imposed education cess on imported electronic products to provide parity between domestically produced goods and imported goods.

Government has approved setting up of two semiconductor wafer fabrication manufacturing facilities which would create necessary ecosystem for design and manufacturing of telecom equipments.

Under the electronics hardware technology park scheme, approved units are allowed duty free import of goods required by them for carrying on export activities, CST reimbursement and excise duty exemption on procurement of indigenously available goods, as per the foreign trade policy.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

FCC to slap $105 million fine on Sprint

US wireless carrier Sprint is expected to face a $105 million fine from the Federal Communications Commission in coming weeks over unauthorized charges on customers' cellphone bills, a practice known as cramming, according to FCC officials.

FCC commissioners are reviewing and will soon vote on the proposed fine over charges Sprint's consumers faced for services they never requested, FCC sources said.

A $105 million fine would tie as the agency's largest. In October, AT&T agreed to pay $105 million to settle similar cramming allegations in a case negotiated by the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission.

FCC officials spoke on a condition of anonymity because the proposed fine has not been made public.

FCC spokesman Neil Grace declined comment. Sprint spokeswoman Stephanie Vinge Walsh said the company does not comment on rumor and speculation.

The FCC has also been investigating cramming complaints against T-Mobile US Inc. The FTC in July filed a cramming complaint against T-Mobile in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Prodded by state attorneys general, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon Communications Inc agreed in November to stop billing customers for third-party services.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, in announcing AT&T's settlement in October, estimated that 20 million consumers a year are crammed.

The National Journal was first to report the news of the planned fine for Sprint.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Chipmaker TSMC optimistic for 2015, looks at mainland for growth

Taiwan's Morris Chang, the founder of the world's largest contract chipmaker, said on Monday he is upbeat about the global semiconductor outlook for 2015 and that his firm could play a helpful role as China develops its own chip industry.
"We expect to be able to play a supportive role in the recent mainland semiconductor plan," the chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd told a Taiwan-China business conference in Taipei attended by senior Chinese officials.
China wants to champion its own semiconductor industry and catch up with more advanced rivals like Taiwan. Taiwan allows for restricted investments by its semiconductor industry into the mainland, but requires its most sophisticated technology to develop outside of China.
Chang cited new applications for semiconductors and economic growth in the United States, China, Japan and Taiwan as reasons to be optimistic on the chip industry next year. He did not give specifics.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding founder and executive chairman Jack Ma, speaking at the same event, said he wanted to see more Taiwanese goods sold in the mainland and more Taiwanese entrepreneurs in China.
"I hope Alibaba can play a productive role in bringing more Taiwanese young people to the mainland to learn and discover," Ma said.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Google Glass set to enter space station next week

The wearable eye device from Google is all set to enter the International Space Station (ISS) for a flatworm study next week.

Part of the package to be sent to the space station onboard the SpaceX launch from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on December 16, Google Glass will be tested as an augmented reality tool in the pre-flight integration and post-flight operations, the magazine Glass Almanac reported.

The mission will take a team from the Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology, in partnership with the non-profit Kentucky Space, to the ISS.

The team will "analyse the regeneration mechanisms of flatworms in the microgravity environment of space".

Google Glass will not be part of the actual mission but rather work as an augmented reality assistant during pre-flight and post-flight that will also allow workers to transmit images and communicate with the lab. This small experiment will help scientists utilize Google Glass as a human interface with Kentucky Space experiments on the ISS in 2015.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Google to donate $2 million to San Francisco homeless groups

Google, which has been criticized for exacerbating income inequality in San Francisco, on Thursday said it will donate $2 million to help the city's large homeless population.

The internet search company, which is making the grant commitments through its philanthropic arm, said it would support three local homeless groups: HandUp, Hamilton Family Center and Larkin Street Youth Services.

The most recent 2013 tally of San Francisco's homeless population found that 6,436 adults were living on the streets and in shelters. The actual number is thought to be higher, despite the city's $165 million budget to make a dent in the homeless population through supportive housing and other efforts.

Hamilton Family Center will receive $1 million to reduce the waiting list for homeless families at shelters in San Francisco. Larkin Street said it will use its $500,000 grant for its college and career preparation programs.

Google said it has reserved the remaining $500,000 for San Francisco-based HandUp, an application for direct giving to homeless people. HandUp has received backing from such high-profile technology investors as Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff and 'Lean Startup' founder Eric Ries, among others. Through the month of December, HandUp said Google will match new recurring donations made to its San Francisco fund.

Technology companies have come under fire in recent years for adding to the problem of growing income inequality, with buses that ferry workers the 40 miles from San Francisco to its offices in Mountain View, California, becoming symbols of gentrification.

San Francisco has the second highest gap between rich and poor in the United States, second only to Atlanta, Georgia, according to a Brookings Institution report. And evictions in the city are at their highest levels since 2001-2, according to the latest report from the San Francisco Rent Board.

Google said it has given $100 million to Bay Area non-profit organizations since 2010.'s portfolio manager for the Bay Area, Justin Steele, said the storm that has been raging in San Francisco serves as a reminder of the important role of local non-profits to help vulnerable populations.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Apple-1 sold by Steve Jobs auctioned for $365,000

A fully operational Apple computer that company co-founder Steve Jobs sold out of his parents' garage in 1976 for $600 sold for $365,000 at Christie's on Thursday.

The Ricketts Apple-1 Personal Computer, named after its original owner Charles Ricketts, is the only known surviving Apple-1 documented as having been sold directly by Jobs to an individual from the Los Altos, California family home, according to the auction house.

The price fell shy of Christie's estimate of $400,000 to $600,000 and was far less than the $905,000 paid by the Henry Ford organization in October for one of the computers. Fewer than 50 original Apple-1s are believed to be in existence of the few hundred originally produced.

Also at the sale, Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, with the help of various foundations and private donors, bought a Bacchic figure supporting the globe by 17th-century artist Adrien de Vries for $27.9 million, well in excess of the sculpture's pre-sale estimate of $15 million to $25 million.

The Rembrandt Society, the BankGiro Loterij, VSB fund, Mondriaan Fund and others helped fund the purchase.

"It follows the trend of masterpieces achieving outstanding prices," said Jussi Pylkkanen, global president of Christie's and the auctioneer for the sale.

One of the expected highlights of the auction, which Christie's dubbed the Exceptional Sale, was withdrawn at the 11th hour when the estate of Joan Fontaine, who died aged 96 a year ago, pulled her best actress Oscar for the Alfred Hitchcock film 'Suspicion' from the sale of her

Proposed spectrum prices get a mixed response

The telecom industry has given a mixed reaction to the Telecom Commission's decision to augment the supply of airwaves in the 900MHz band as well as increasing the reserve price of both the 900 and the 800MHz airwaves.

The GSM industry body, COAI, welcomed the decision to expand the supply of 900MHz airwaves for commercial use by private operators but added a word of concern.

"It is critical that the telecom department increases the quantum of 900MHz to be auctioned in the upcoming February auctions," Rajan Mathews, director-general of COAI, told ET. He reiterated that the government must also auction 3G airwaves (2100MHz) along with the 800, 900 and 1800MHz in the upcoming auctions.

However, in its meeting on December 8, the Telecom Commission had specifically said while the supply of 900MHz must be increased by exploring various measures as suggested by the telecom regulator, it must be delinked from the issue of the upcoming spectrum auctions.

The government has scheduled a sale of airwaves in the 800, 900 and the 1800MHz in February . It hopes to mop up at least Rs 9,355 crore from these auctions. The Telecom Commission on Monday suggested a hike of 23% in the reserve price of 900MHz band and another 17% in the price of the 800MHz band over the Trai's recommendations.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

A wristband that turns your arm into a smartphone

A tiny new wristband can project a tablet interface onto your arm, effectively turning it into a smartphone every time you twist your wrist.

The Cicret Bracelet, designed over the course of 6 months, comprises a pico projector and a row of eight proximity sensors that point towards the user's forearm.

It operates as a standalone device and, when activated with a twist of the wrist, projects an Android interface onto the user's arm. The proximity sensors detect where the user's finger or fingers are and allow them to interact with the interface as they would any other Android device,'Gizmag' reported.

The device will also allow the users to send and receive emails, browse the web and play games.

It will also be possible for users to pair it with an existing smartphone, answer incoming phone calls and activate the speakerphone functionality on their smartphone.

The Cicret Bracelet features an accelerometer and a vibration module, along with an LED for notifications.

Fake impressions cost online ad firms $6.3 billion annually: Study

Almost one-fourth of video ads and 11% of display ads are viewed by fake consumers created by cybercrime networks seeking to take a chunk of the billions of dollars spent on digital advertising, according to a new research report released on Tuesday.

The study, by digital security firm White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers, is one of the most comprehensive looks to date at the persistent criminal activity involving online advertising. Specifically, it addresses "bots," automated entities that mimic the behaviour of humans by clicking on ads and watching videos.

These bots siphon money away from brands by setting up fake websites or delivering fake audiences to websites that make use of third-party traffic. The report estimates that advertisers will lose $6.3 billion to bots next year.

"We have long suspected and have long known there was fraud in our industry," said Bob Liodice, the president and chief executive of the ANA, an organization that represents thousands of brands. "We didn't know the exact amount or the reasons why it was happening."

The study included 36 ANA member companies, including Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, Ford Motor, Verizon Communications and Pfizer.

White Ops monitored 181 online advertising campaigns by the brands from August to October to determine fraud activity.

Bot fraud has long been part of the ecosystem of low-price ads that cost a few dollars or less. This study revealed, however, that many premium websites and publishers, which charge roughly 10 times more for an ad, are just as vulnerable.

"We found a lot of bots suddenly inflating the audience of websites we recognize that are clearly not being run by international organized crime," said Michael Tiffany, the CEO and co-founder of White Ops.

In one instance, White Ops found that 98% of video ads at a premium lifestyle site were viewed by bots. The report does not name the websites where the fraud was found.

"The ad industry was treating the bots as a faceless swarm," said Tiffany. "What no one was anticipating is that the bots are extremely effective of looking like a high value consumer."

Liodice said the report will help the industry develop an action plan to combat fraud.

"We have been less than fully active largely because we didn't understand the problem and because we were enamored by the success of digital to the marketing industry," he said. "We want to ensure that everyone has accountability."

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Great Google mystery: The missing Nexus

This tale from a technology sector CEO illustrates an unusual thing about an iconic global technology giant. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of Paytm, is a devoted fan of Google's Nexus smartphone. Sharma is waiting to upgrade to Nexus 6 and has to wait patiently till it's available online on Flipkart, which is the only Indian outlet, online or offline, for the phone.

The Paytm CEO's frustrating experience is shared by many, many Nexus smartphone fans. Google, as formidable a marketing machine as any globally, has put its weight behind low-cost Android One phones in India, spending Rs 100 crore in the project. Nexus, on the other hand, is not marketed by Google and is rarely marketed by its hardware partners LG, Motorola and HTC either.

Even as Android One had a tepid start, market analysts and retailers say Google is missing a trick by not promoting the pricier Nexus phone more. "Instead of focusing on Android One, it would be a good call for Google to sell Nexus offline as it is a flagship product that has a good pull," says Satish Babu, founder of Chennai-based retail store chain UniverCell Mobiles, one of several large format chains willing to stock Nexus 6.

"There are takers for Nexus even at the high price," Babu said. He compared this with cheaper Android One phones, which have had a not-so-impressive run since their launch a few weeks back.

Other mobile brick and mortar retailers — for example, Himangshu Chakravarti of MobileStore — agree with UniverCell Mobiles' Babu. They say there's a lot of latent demand for the high performing Nexus phone but supply is a problem, and Google can tap that by selling offline.

Some Nexus fans are switching loyalty, not wanting to wait long for an upgrade to arrive. Paytm CEO Sharma says Xiaomi is one of the favourite options of those abandoning Nexus. "I've been waiting for it for some time now, but many Nexus 5 users waiting to upgrade to Nexus 6 have moved to Xiaomi's Mi 3 which offers almost the same specifications at roughly half the cost," Sharma says.

Xiaomi's Mi 3 was launched in July at Rs 14,999. Nexus phones are in the Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 price band. The LG-made 4.95-inch Nexus 5 was launched in November last year, the fifth successor to Nexus 1 introduced in 2010. Nexus 5 is priced between Rs 22,000 and Rs 33,000 on e-commerce sites. Nexus 6, powered by Google's Android Lollipop operating system, has been made by Motorola.

Nexus 6 was listed for pre-orders in the US late in October and all variants were reported to be sold out within a few hours.

The story was the same in the UK. In India, initial stocks were pre-booked within a day or two. When asked by ET, Flipkart did not share the number of pre-orders. Nexus 6 may be available in Google's 3-day online sale beginning December 10.

Hong Kong-based research firm Counterpoint Technologies estimates that around 2,00,000 Nexus 5 phones were shipped to India this year. Compare that with the 1.6-1.8 million Android-based smartphones that were sold in India this year in the same Rs 20,000-Rs 30,000 price band. Clearly, say analysts and retail traders, Google can sell far more Nexus phones than it is selling now — if it wants to.

On the other hand, in just two and a half months since mid-September, a little under 500,000 Android One phones have been shipped to India, more than double the year-long total for Nexus 5 phones.

But despite this, Android One hasn't quite taken off. In all 7 million smartphones in the Rs 6,000-Rs 8,000 price band, the range in which Android One phones are available, were sold in four months till October. With less than a half a million shipments, Google's low-cost smartphone was obviously a slow seller in this category.

That Nexus is a story of untapped potential in India is also clear from the fact that India accounts for just 3,00,000 of the 9.9 million Nexus phones sold globally since 2010, according to data from Counterpoint Technologies.

Android, both technology and mobile retail experts say, is a hugely popular operating system in India and Google's Nexus phones are ideally situated to exploit that popularity. Nexus, experts say, is the benchmark setting Android-based smartphone.

Just a showpiece?

Google responded to ET's query on undermarketing Nexus by saying: "We always introduce Nexus devices alongside our platform releases (such as Lollipop), as advances in computing are always driven at the intersection of hardware and software."

Other explanations from analysts and experts were more detailed. Google works with hardware partners to build Nexus devices, and the idea is to help push boundaries of what's possible, say analysts tracking the sector. Nexus serves as a reference for the Android ecosystem.

"Ideally, it would have been a good business case had Google entered into devices," said a Bangalore-based analyst who did not want to be named. He added that Google perhaps wants Nexus to simply serve as a reference point, a showcase for the power of hardware.

Counterpoint's telecom analyst Tarun Pathak says Google may not want to scale up Nexus distribution to "avoid stepping into its manufacturing partners' toes" and that Nexus phones "may be mostly a showcase that's meant for developers first and then consumers."

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Capgemini eyes Bengaluru to house all India operations

French IT giant Capgemini, with over 40% of its workforce in India, is looking to consolidate its Indian entities into a single holding company. Its consolidated operations are likely to be largely based in Bengaluru where the company is looking for a one-million-sqft office space.

Capgemini operates four entities in India - Capgemini Business Services, Capgemini Consulting India, Capgemini India, Capgemini Consulting India - which are headquartered in Mumbai. When TOI contacted Capgemini on its consolidation drive, the company said: "At this point in time, we've no comments on the legal structure."

The 11-billion-euro technology company has floated a request for proposal for over 1 million sqft of office space in Bengaluru. This is part of the company's consolidation and growth strategy here, said one of the sources privy to the development. The company's annual report last year said that approximately one-third of the office space absorbed by the company globally was located in India.

TOI could not ascertain how much of the new space being leased was creation of fresh capacity and how much was part of consolidation of some existing facilities.

"As part of our expansion, we're looking at expanding in several cities in India as well as in Bengaluru. We've increased our campus recruitment and we will continue to do so this year too," the company spokesperson said. Earlier this year, the company said its headcount in India had crossed 50,000. Company CEO Paul Hermelin had said on a visit to Bengaluru that the French IT firm was reporting robust growth figures of 15%-16% in India, compared with 3% in France.

Capgemini has employees in nine cities - Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Trichy, Salem and Kolkata.

The company, which provides technology and outsourcing services across government and public sectors, energy and utilities, telecom and financial services sectors, has been one of the most aggressive among IT MNCs in using India as an offshoring location. As of the September quarter, the company had 1.41 lakh employees. The India headcount is expected to rise to 70,000 by 2016.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Flipkart’s Bansals pump Rs 6 cr in e-bike startup Ather

Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal have made an angel investment of Rs 6.1 crore in electric vehicle start-up Ather.

Incubated and supported by IIT Madras, Ather was started by Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain in 2013 with an aim to design high-speed electric two-wheelers for India. The funding will be a boost for Ather's product development efforts.

This marks the second round of funding for Ather and also includes investment from Raju Venkatraman, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Medall.

The start-up had raised its first round of capital in February this year from V Srinivas (founder of Aerospike) and the Technology Development Board of the government of India.

Ather currently employs a team of 15 engineers and designers.

Its founders are keen to develop technology to manufacture the "best electric vehicles for India".

Indian startup CEOs who have raised large funding are now turning angel investors and mentors to young entrepreneurs.

Bangalore-based Sachin, Mukesh and Binny Bansal have already invested in startups such as Zopnow and NewsInShorts in recent past.

Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal have invested in Ola Cabs while Eka CEO Manav Garg is an investor in startups such as StayZilla, social media newspaper Frrole and enterprise software maker OrangeScape.

"We are very excited about this fresh round of funding. Sachin and Binny Bansal are leaders who have put India's e-commerce industry on the global map through disruptive use of technology. Their focus on technology and reinvention aligns with that of Ather," said Tarun Mehta.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Apple shares plunge over 6%, cause unclear

Apple shares tumbled shortly after the start of trading on Monday, briefly suffering their largest price drop in at least three months on an unusual spike in volume.

Selling accelerated just before 9:51 am EST, with more than 6.7 million shares trading in a one-minute stretch, the heaviest minute of trading in Apple since October 29, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The stock lost over 3% in that minute, falling as much as 6.4% to $111.27. At mid-afternoon, it was down 3% to $115.45.

The cause of the decline was not yet clear, though traders pointed to institutions using selling programs across a wide swath of stocks. Steve Hammer, a trading educator and founder of HFT Alert in Santa Barbara, California, which monitors algorithmic trading, said about 300 different stocks showed elevated price traffic beginning about 9:50 am EST, a sign of institutions putting on sell programs.

"When you see that kind of price action that is simply algos running stocks," he said.

As of 2:05 pm EST, more than 64 million Apple shares had traded, making it the most active issue in US markets.

A sharp price move coupled with high volume often prompts speculation about the influence of high frequency trading (HFT), when computer algorithms are used to trade stocks at an extremely rapid pace. HFT has been criticized for affecting the trading of stocks by sending in numerous trade quotes that slow quote activity without filling the trades when shares fall.

"What that is called is evaporation of liquidity, liquidity that was never there in the first place and it's a typical maneuver that goes on in the fragmented stock market we have now," said Joseph Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

However, determining the cause of the decline wasn't so simple. "The fact is we don't yet know what caused the drop, and blaming it on HFT is misleading," said Bill Harts, chief executive officer of Modern Markets Initiative, an advocate of high-speed electronic markets.

Similar declines on heavy volume, though not as dramatic, were seen in other stocks, including Alibaba Group Holding, which fell 1.4% in one minute, and the S&P 500 tracking, which had its busiest minute of trading on Monday at 9:51 am, when nearly 1.5 million shares traded.

At the day's low, Apple lost more than $40 billion in market value.

The recent ructions in the oil market were also cited as a potential catalyst for the selling in Apple. Traders said the need to free liquidity as oil and energy shares fell could have had an effect on other markets.

"Funds that suffered losses on their oil investments have to get out of their liquid securities in other sectors," said Sam Ginzburg, head of trading at First New York Securities in New York.

Morgan Stanley strategists dropped Apple's weighting in their strategic portfolio to 3% from 4% in an equity outlook note released Monday, but traders said the swiftness of the decline was too dramatic to be attributed solely to the note, which was released before trading opened.

Saluzzi said "maybe it was the Morgan Stanley news that kind of stimulated the event," but not enough to cause such a decline.