The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Strong prospects in software to spy on bank staff

Sat May 17, 2008 8:13pm EDT

By Olesya Dmitracova and Jim Finkle

LONDON/BOSTON (Reuters) - If you work for a bank, a computer may be reading your e-mails, listening to your phone calls or analyzing chat conversations as you type.

Even banking workers used to the idea of surveillance might balk at the thought of a computer doing the job.

But there are strong prospects for the software niche, as banks try to keep a much closer eye on staff in the wake of scandals such as Jerome Kerviel's rogue trading at Societe Generale, or the aggressive rumor-mill that undermined banks including HBOS and Bear Stearns.

"With the credit crisis and so on, people started to be much more careful," said Ruggero Contu, principal research analyst at information technology consultants Gartner.

Known collectively as e-discovery, these technologies are booming despite a slowdown in other areas. Gartner forecasts the segment will generate $760.5 million in revenues this year, up from $524.5 million in 2007.

The systems to record and monitor employee activity can help companies collect huge amounts of internal information -- which they may increasingly need in the face of lawsuits spawned by the subprime crisis, or to meet rising regulatory demands.

U.S. politicians are demanding tougher rules in the wake of the collapse of the once red-hot housing market, while the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act on corporate accounting and investor protection has already spawned hefty legal requirements.

"The overall tech base is under pressure on the back of the credit crunch but there are a few niches, for example the e-discovery space, which may benefit from the regulation," said Josep Bori, technology sector analyst at Deutsche Bank.  

Read More ....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

HP in talks to buy EDS in deal reportedly worth $12B to $13B

Yahoo Finance, Monday May 12, 7:01 pm ET

By Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writer

Hewlett-Packard negotiating to buy Electronic Data Systems, reportedly for $12B to $13B

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. is negotiating to buy technology services provider Electronic Data Systems Corp. in a deal that could help the world's largest personal computer maker snap up more consulting and data management contracts.

Palo Alto-based HP and Plano, Texas-based EDS confirmed the talks Monday shortly after The Wall Street Journal reported a deal could be reached as early as Tuesday. Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, the Journal said HP will pay $12 billion to $13 billion -- a price that translates to $24 to $26 per share.

The two companies declined to comment beyond their confirmation of the talks.

EDS shares soared $5.27,or nearly 28 percent, to finish Monday at $24.13. HP shares dropped $2.49, more than 5 percent, to close at $46.64 as investors fretted over the deal's logistics.

HP ended January with nearly $10 billion in cash. With a market value of about $115 billion, HP could easily use its own stock to finance the purchase.

Like many corporate marriages, bringing together HP and EDS could trigger cultural clashes that ruin the union, said AMR Research analyst Dana Stiffler. "Palo Alto versus Plano wrangling will destroy any short-medium term benefit unless there's a strong integration roadmap," she predicted.

If the deal is completed, it would be HP's biggest acquisition since it bought Compaq Computer Corp. for $19 billion in 2002.

HP has been trying to expand its technology consulting and data management business for years, hoping to challenge rival IBM Corp.'s leadership in the lucrative field. In 2000, HP attempted to buy PricewaterhouseCoopers' consulting division before those discussions unraveled. IBM wound up buying PricewaterhouseCoopers' consulting arm instead.

The demand for technology consulting and customer support services have steadily grown during the past two decades the automation of corporate America and the rise of the Internet prompted more businesses to hire outside help to help ensure all the computer software and hardware runs smoothly.

IBM's technology services division brought in $54 billion in revenue last year, accounting for half of the company's total revenue. Combined, EDS and HP's technology services division had about $39 billion in revenue last year.

Acquiring EDS also could yield more government work for HP, which had about $500 million in prime federal contracts in fiscal 2007. EDS is far better connected, with deals worth about $2.5 billion -- putting it among the top 10 among government technology contractors.

Combined, HP and EDS still would lag significantly behind government contractors like Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co.

HP and EDS would "not create enough of a market concentration to raise any red flags," said Ray Bjorklund, a senior vice president at market research firm Federal Sources Inc.

EDS earned $716 million on $22.1 billion in revenue last year.

The Texas company has been linked with possible deals previously, including a reported interest by Deutsche Telekom late last year and Dell Inc. before that. None of the companies ever confirmed reports that they were talking.

Former IBM salesman H. Ross Perot left IBM to start EDS in 1962 and practically invented the business of running other companies' computer systems, now called information-technology or IT services. Perot sold EDS to General Motors Corp. for $2.5 billion in 1984 and eventually became so disillusioned with how that deal worked out that he sold his remaining EDS shares to the car maker so he could start a rival service bearing his name.

An outspoken billionaire, Perot became even more famous for running for U.S. president in 1992 and 1996. GM spun off EDS as an independent company in 1996 and remained its largest customer.

EDS was riding high at the start of the decade, despite the dot-com bubble's bursting. But in late 2002, earnings shortfalls led to investor lawsuits, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, the ouster of the chief executive, and a sharp drop in the stock price.

The company lost $1.7 billion in 2003, but it gradually righted itself under CEO Michael Jordan, a retired CBS and Westinghouse CEO who was hired to lead a turnaround. Jordan fixed some money-losing contracts, including a multibillion-dollar deal to build a communications network for the Navy and Marine Corps, and began cutting costs by sending thousands of jobs to low-cost countries such as India.

HP has been on a roll since it hired Mark Hurd as chief executive three years ago. Since then, it has surpassed IBM as the world's largest technology company, based on revenue and supplanted Dell as world's the top seller of personal computers.

The success has helped HP consistently deliver profits that top analyst estimates, which has helped to more than double the company's stock price since Hurd's arrival.

Under Hurd's leadership, HP bought business software maker Mercury Interactive Corp. for $4.9 billion in 2006 and last year paid $1.7 billion for data management provider Opsware Inc., which sold a large chunk of its operations to EDS in 2002.

AP Business Writers David Koenig in Dallas and Dibya Sarkar in Washington, D.C., contributed to this story.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Google software lets any Web site add social networking

Google Inc. on Monday plans a preview release of Google Friend Connect, a service that enables any site on the Web to provide social networking features for its visitors.

Mountain View-based Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) said Friend Connect lets any Web site owner add a snippet of code to get social features up and running immediately without programming.

Among features that can be added are user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, and reviews, as well as third-party applications built by the OpenSocial developer community.

Visitors to any site using Google Friend Connect will be able to see, invite, and interact with new friends, or, using secure authorization APIs, with existing friends from social sites on the Web, including Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo, and more.

Related Articles :

RIM BlackBerry Bold/BlackBerry 9000 makes official debut

Crave,, May 11, 2008

World: Say hello to the RIM BlackBerry Bold. *Cue dramatic music* You may know it as the RIM BlackBerry 9000, but today, Research in Motion officially took the wraps off the highly anticipated and much-rumored smartphone, complete with a new name. The "Bold" is in reference to the smartphone's gorgeous display, but it's also bold in that it represents a number of new moves for the company. Oh, BlackBerry Bold, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways.

The bold and the beautiful

As we just mentioned, the device gets its name from its screen. The BlackBerry Bold features a half-VGA (480x320 pixel resolution), 65,000-color display, and during some initial product testing, research group participants repeatedly called the screen "bold" and "brilliant." The Brilliant moniker didn't really jive with the company, thus the BlackBerry Bold was born.

So just how bold is it? Well, RIM stopped by our office late last week to show us the device, and let me just tell you, I was absolutely blown away. I can pretty much say I've never seen a better-looking display on a smartphone. Colors pop off the screen, and it's really amazing how sharp and crisp everything looks on the display. We watched a couple of videos, and for the first time, we didn't notice any of that pixelation or blurriness that you typically get with phones. In addition, the menu interface has been revamped with a much more modern look and icons.

Also, as you can see from the images, the BlackBerry Bold boasts a new design. It's more elegant than models past, with curvier edges and a silver trim that complements the black casing. If you turn it over, you'll also notice that the back has a leatherette texture. No more slick plastic and RIM will sell replaceable backplates in different colors, including blue, gray, and red, if you want to spruce up your phone a bit. Sizewise, the BlackBerry Bold measures 4.5 inches tall by 2.6 inches wide by 0.5 inch deep and weighs 4.7 ounces. Kevin Michaluk over at took a gamble, bought one off eBay, and posted a hands-on review. He made a good comparison and likened the device to the Motorola Q9h.

Finally, the BlackBerry Bold has a new QWERTY keyboard that RIM likened to a modernized Curve keyboard, but I'm not really seeing it. Instead it reminded me more of the BlackBerry 8830. Now, I know some of you 8800 series users had issue with the keyboard, but I tried it out and it's pretty easy to use--large-ish buttons with some spacing between the keys.

Wireless smorgasbord

There's a heaping of wireless options on the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) BlackBerry Bold, but the most appetizing and notable item is the HSDPA/UMTS (850/1900/2100) support. It's the first such-equipped BlackBerry, and we all know it's been a long time coming. RIM says the delay for bringing such a device to the market is that it wanted to make sure battery life wouldn't be sacrificed at the expense of including the 3.5G technology. Hey, whatever the reason, we're just finally happy to have it. You also get integrated Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g), Bluetooth 2.0 with full A2DP support, and built-in GPS (enhanced and assisted).


The RIM BlackBerry Bold is equipped with a 624MHz Intel PXA270 processor whereas previous BlackBerrys had 312MHz processors, so technically, you should enjoy smoother and faster performance. During our briefing, there were a few hiccups in performance, but we're going to keep our fingers crossed and chalk it up to the fact that it wasn't a final unit. There's also 128MB flash memory and 1GB of onboard memory, which is all supplemented by the microSD/SDHC expansion slot (supports up to 16GB cards).

Multimedia, Web, and other good stuff

You still with me? I know this post is getting a bit lengthy, but just a few more highlights to note. First, the Bold includes an improved Web browser (thank goodness) with the option to view pages in a full desktop HTML style or a mobile version, and you can now more easily navigate pages with the trackball, which acts like a mouse cursor, and zoom in/out.

As for multimedia, the smartphone is equipped with a 2-megapixel camera with video-recording capabilities and up to 5X zoom. The media player also continues to support numerous audio and video formats, including MP3, WMA, AAC, DivX4, and WMV3 files, and the phone is equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack. By the way, the Bold has got some pretty powerful speakers--none of that weak, tinny junk.

Oh, and hey, what's this? It's makes calls and sends and receives e-mails you say? Yes, you'll still get all of the voice and messaging features of previous BlackBerrys, and the handset will also come preloaded with Dataviz's Documents to Go suite for document viewing and editing.

"When and where can I get one?"

Now, that we've totally built up the device and you're ready to run out and buy one, here's the letdown. The RIM BlackBerry Bold isn't available quite yet. It's currently going through carrier certification, and though RIM wouldn't officially name the service provider, based on the 3G bands, you can pretty much guess who it will be (hint: starts with an A and ends with a T&T). And while pricing will also depend on the carrier, RIM is guessing it will be in the $300 to $400 range and expected worldwide availability is "this summer."

OK, that's it! My fingers are tired from all the typing, so now it's your turn. Clearly, I'm pretty amped about the smartphone. Of course, the true test will come when we finally get it in for real-world testing, but from everything I've seen so far, the RIM BlackBerry Bold has huge potential. But what do you think? Hot or not? The commenting floodgates are open, so have at it.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Gates offers free software to Indonesian students

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 05/09/2008 12:28 PM

During a meeting here with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Gates, one of the world's richest men, expressed his commitment to supporting the government's efforts to improve education quality by providing Internet-based national education. 

"He (Gates) told the President that Microsoft will continue to train teachers and students throughout Indonesia in software, computer and information and communication technology," Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Aburizal Bakrie told a press briefing after the meeting.

GATE TO HIGH TECH: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) meets with Microsoft founder Bill Gates in Jakarta on Thursday. During his two-day visit, Gates is scheduled to attend the Asian Government Leaders Forum 2008 and to speak at a presidential lecture in Jakarta on Friday. (JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)


Yudhoyono told Gates that Indonesia and Microsoft should continue to work together as the cooperation would mutually benefit both parties. 

The government is seeking to obtain software from Microsoft for a million computers for educational purposes in an effort to cut the ratio of computers to students from the current 1:1000 to 1:20, Aburizal said. 

Gates said he was ready to help Indonesia get high-quality personal computers for a price of less than US$200 per unit, plus free software if Indonesia could make a deal with Intel chairman Craig Barrett, who will meet Yudhoyono in Jakarta next week. 

"We will make a deal with Barrett to acquire cheap or even free processors for the computers to be distributed to the students. As a result, we will get a much lower price than $200," minister of communication and information Muhammad Nuh said.

He expressed optimism that Indonesia could strike a deal with Barrett, who is known as a leading advocate for education improvement in the United States and around the world, and a vocal spokesman for the value of technology. 

Gates also praised Indonesia's progress in fighting software piracy, pointing to fact the country had moved out from a priority ranking on a world piracy watch list. 

"Gates' visit shows that he trusts we are making progress in fighting piracy. We are now checking government offices and big businesses to make sure they don't use pirated software. We want to get out from the watch list as soon as possible," Nuh said. 

Indonesia ranks as the fourth-worst offender of software piracy in the Asia Pacific after Vietnam, Pakistan and China. 

Gates also expressed commitment to expanding the Microsoft Innovation Center program, which now runs at the University of Indonesia, the Bandung Institute of Technology, Gadjah Mada University and the Surabaya Institute of Technology. The center helps students conduct research in the information technology field. 

Gates is in Indonesia as a key speaker at the presidential lecture to be held as part of Microsoft's annual Government Leadership Forum, which started Thursday. He will address about 1,500 government officials and business representatives and 1,000 students on Friday.

Related Story:

RI, S. Korea jointly setting up ICT training center in Cikarang

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Opinion: Why 'no Macs' is no longer a defensible IT strategy

Supporting users' appetite for Apple is now a straightforward option

Computerworld    /   By Galen Gruman - Infoworld

April 22, 2008 (InfoWorld) Once confined to marketing departments and media companies, the Mac is spilling over into a wider array of business environments, thanks to the confluence of a number of computing trends, not the least among them a rising tide of end-user affinity for the Apple experience.

Luckily for IT, many of those same trends are making it easier for tech departments to say yes to the Mac by facilitating IT's ability to provide enterprise-grade Mac management and support.

"We're seeing more requests outside of creative services to switch to Macs from PCs," notes David Plavin, operations manager for Mac systems engineering at the U.S. IT division of Publicis Groupe, a global advertising conglomerate. There are so many requests that Plavin now supports 2,500 Macs across the U.S. -- nearly a quarter of all Publicis' U.S. PCs.

And Plavin is less of an anomaly than you might think. Buoyed by increased interest in the consumer arena, Macs are cropping up in more and more organizations, in large part because end users are pushing for them.

According to NPD Research, Apple's share of the retail market had climbed to 14% as of February 2008. Gartner and IDC report that the Mac's share in the U.S. as of March 31 was 6.6%. Alongside that home-based shift from PC to Mac is a significant uptake for Apple among businesses, as Forrester estimates organizational Mac adoption tripled last year to 4.2%, mainly on the backs of enthusiasts seeking approval for Apple's silver boxes in small workgroups.

Perhaps a better barometer of the trend is the effect increased Mac sales are having at outsourcing firms, which have traditionally been reluctant to support the platform because of a perceived lack of a market in the past.

Centerbeam, a Windows management outsourcer for midsize businesses, is one outsourcer eyeing the possibility of extending its services to cover the Mac, says Karen Hayward, Centerbeam's executive vice president. Security firm Kapersky Labs has already created a Mac version of its antivirus software that's ready for release if Mac growth continues (and the Mac falls prey to more hackers). And Boingo Wireless, a Wi-Fi hot spot federator, is developing a Mac client to allow Mac users to tap into the Boingo network.

Couple this increasing attention with the falling away of another knock on the Mac -- price -- and you can see why even the federal government -- which has pockets of Mac users in a diverse set of agencies, including NASA, the U.S. Army, and the National Institute for Standards and Technology -- is prepping for increased use of Macs in business environments, having put together an official guide to implementing Mac security to conform to federal requirements.

What has changed to make the Mac fit better

IT can embrace that Mac momentum, not just tolerate it, thanks to several shifts in computing that make the Mac a better enterprise fit than in the past -- first and foremost being a rising threat to Microsoft's other mainstay in the enterprise desktop environment, Internet Explorer, the Firefox browser, which has risen in popularity to the point where it accounted for 16.8% of browser use on the Web as of December 2007, according to Net Applications, has broken IE's stranglehold on Internet app delivery, which IE had maintained through ActiveX controls. Because Microsoft never released a version of IE for Mac OS X, Macs were frozen out of ActiveX-based Web sites, making many software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings and enterprise-app Web clients off-limits to Mac users.

But to ensure operability on Firefox, developers had to configure their wares to support Java instead of or in addition to ActiveX -- with Mac gaining compatibility as a client at the same time.

WebEx is one of the more notorious examples of this switch. The popular webconferencing tool became fully Mac-compatible only last month, as new owner Cisco Systems Inc. decided to abandon an ActiveX-only deployment strategy and add both Java and Mac-client options. (Until then, ReadyTalk and Adobe Connect were two of the few Mac-friendly webconferencing tools, notes Peter Lincoln, IT director at temp-staff agency Aquent.)

Read More ....

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Google, IBM Join Forces To Dominate 'Cloud Computing'

The companies plan to exploit their common technological world view and considerable talent to build a worldwide network of servers for consumer and business use.

By Paul McDougall, InformationWeek, May 1, 2008 06:37 PM

With Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) in an icy stalemate over a proposed merger, rivals IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) are ramping up efforts to jointly dominate what they believe will be the dominant software delivery model in the 21st century -- so called cloud computing.

Much of their work until now has taken place behind the scenes under a low profile, but the companies' close relationship was fully apparent Thursday when their CEOs made a rare joint appearance on stage at an IBM conference in Los Angeles.

Sam Palmisano of IBM and Google's Eric Schmidt in turn complimented each other on issues ranging from leadership to technological innovation. They also insisted that their companies share lots of similarities, despite obvious differences between a consumer Web giant that calls Silicon Valley home and a suburban New York-based centenarian of business computing.

"We're boring, they're exciting; we're slow, they're fast; we're fat, they're skinny," Palmisano joked. But the contrasts between IBM and Google are mostly skin deep, he said, noting that both vendors are "grounded in values" and share "a common technical alignment."

IBM and Google plan to exploit their common technological world view and considerable talent to build a worldwide network, or cloud, of servers from which consumers and businesses will tap everything from online soccer schedules to advanced engineering applications.

"It's the story of our lifetime," said Schmidt.

The alliance, with its grand ambitions, started a couple of years ago with a simple phone call from Palmisano to Schmidt. "Sam called and wanted to know what we thought about distributed computing," said Schmidt.

"We weren't looking to sell them anything," said Palmisano.

The call led to whiteboarding sessions and ultimately a collaborative effort under which IBM and Google built a version of their cloud and in October gave it to several top engineering universities, including MIT, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon, to poke away at.

The IBM-Google cloud, which to Microsoft might look more like an approaching thunderhead, runs on Linux, which has long been embraced by IBM as a non-Windows alternative. It also includes Xen systems virtualization and Apache Hadoop -- an open source implementation of the Google File System.

Google has already rolled out to consumers a number of free, cloud-based services such as e-mail and storage, but it's barely tapped the lucrative commercial market. With the exception of security requirements, "there's not that much difference between the enterprise cloud and the consumer cloud," Schmidt said at one point.

"The cloud has higher value in business, that's the secret to our collaboration" with IBM, he added at another.

Together, Google and IBM could conceivably supply computer users in the business and consumer markets with hosted offerings that range from basic productivity software like word processing and calendaring (such as Google Docs and IBM's Lotus Symphony suite) to sophisticated security and management tools (through IBM's Tivoli products and Google's Postini unit).

The partnership is solidifying at a time when Microsoft -- rivalry with which is another thing IBM and Google have in common -- is struggling to develop a coherent Web strategy of its own.

Its answer to the cloud trend is to move some applications to the Internet under a strategy it calls software plus services. But the bulk of Microsoft's profits still come from software that's either sold in boxes at retail stores or preinstalled on PCs by big manufacturers like Dell.

Microsoft is seeking to buy out Yahoo to bolster its Web presence, but CEO Steve Ballmer's aggressive tactics (he recently gave Yahoo a three-week deadline to accept the deal; it passed uneventfully last weekend) have only engendered hostility from his target. Should the merger fail to materialize, future partnerships between the two companies would seem out of the question as long as current management is in place on both sides.

Meanwhile, IBM and Google appear ready to kick their cloud out of its academic nest to start rolling out production versions.

The companies did not make specific announcements to that end on Thursday, but Schmidt and Palmisano, both dressed in LA-friendly lighter colors, left little doubt that their joint efforts are accelerating. Indeed, they might well have told their audience of several thousand IBM business partners at the Los Angeles Convention Center to "watch this space."

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Hotel chain to go high-tech in SEA

By Greg LoweZDNet Asia

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 06:12 PM

BANGKOK--Swiss-based hotel chain, Golden Tulip Hospitality Group, on Monday announced plans to pump US$1.56 billion over the next four years to expand its operations in Southeast Asia, which include building high-tech guest rooms.

The company, which currently operates 324 hotels in 54 countries, is targeting to open 50 hotels in the region by 2012 and will launch three brands: economy-business Tulip Inn, four-star Golden Tulip, and five-star Royal Tulip. Tulip Inns will represent 60 percent of the company's portfolio, with the other brands making up the remaining 35 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

The company's first Tulip Inn subsidiary in Southeast Asia will open in Bangkok this June, following the regional launch of Golden Tulip last October.

The hotels will use advanced in-room IT facilities to target tech-savvy business and leisure travelers across the region's key urban centers and secondary growth areas.

"We are very excited about the in-room IT [amenities]," said Mark van Ogtrop, managing director of Golden Tulip Southeast Asia. "It may be expensive, over 100,000 baht (US$3,156) per room [was invested on IT equipment], but from a marketing point of view, it will create a truly exceptional USP [unique selling point] for our brand."

Each room will offer voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), IP television (IPTV), game consoles, iPod music systems and computer-compatible TVs. Other facilities also include mood-responsive lighting and music, and customizable e-wallpaper.

Golden Tulip plans to open around 20 hotels in Thailand over the next four years, with most other properties launching in Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia. Singapore, the Philippines and other Asean countries will also be included in the company's expansion plan.

The hotel chain plans to target the region's biggest potential customer base: domestic Asian business travelers. Its decision to focus on economy-business hotels rose from a lack of international competition in this segment, and "saturation" at the luxury end of the market, according to van Ogtrop.

The company will also engage local service providers, and is aiming to make Tulip Inns as well recognized as Thailand's domestic brands Amari, Dusit Thani and Centara. "We see that the fastest and best way to grow is to leave the development up to the local experts," van Ogtrop said.

He added that Golden Tulip Southeast Asia is also investing heavily in e-marketing and online booking systems, such as Expedia and, due to the changing nature of how travelers source and book their accommodation.

"More consumers are selecting and booking hotels directly themselves," said van Ogtrop. "We spend a lot of resources to ensure that in any given city, our hotels have predominant positioning online with all distribution systems and third-party Web sites.

Greg Lowe is a freelance IT writer based in Thailand.