Tag: Budget

Indian government to spend billions on IT

Indian flagA Gartner research document estimates that the Indian government will spend as much as $6.8 billion this year on information technology.

The spend is a rise of 5.7 percent compared to last year – and the sectors it will spend in include internal services, software, IT services, data centres, devices and telecoms.

Gartner includes both state and federal spending in its estimates.

Software spend is set to grow by 10.2 percent this year and will be worth around $860 million, with growth in vertical software being the chief mover and shaker

Internal services IT spend will be worth $1.6 billion this year. Gartner defines this sector as including salaries paid to the IT staff of organisations

As for IT services – which includes consulting, implementation and outsourcing – that will be worth $1.7 billion this year. The business process outsourcing segment will grow by 21.2 percent, year on year.

Intel's Haswell will kill off Windows RT

One of the side effects of Intel starting to ship fourth generation Haswell chips for tablets is that it could kill off Windows RT.

If the Haswell spec pans out in the real world, it totally removes the need for Microsoft to try running Windows on ARM. In fact there are some compelling reasons why it shouldn’t.

Haswell, Chipzilla’s fourth-generation Core i3 processors, use as little as 4.5 watts of power in specific usage scenarios. This puts it into fanless tablets and laptop-tablet hybrids, bringing longer battery life to the devices.

This cures the Microsoft Surface Pro which offers good performance but poor battery life which negated the basic use of a tablet. It also means that the Surface RT, which had better battery life, but which needed to run the cut down version of Windows to organise its ARM chip is surplus to requirements.

Windows RT tablets were awful anyway. Asus, Samsung and HP withdrew completely from Windows RT based products. But until Haswell, Microsoft still needed ARM chips to provide something where battery life was longer than five minutes.

Haswell is supposed to have 50 percent better battery life as promised by Intel for Windows tablets. Microsoft would be hard pressed to find an OEM which would want to come out with Windows RT based tablets and hybrids anymore.

Last week Nick Reynolds, the marketing chief for Lenovo in Australia, admitted that low-power Haswell chips have removed the choice between long battery life and high performance for Windows 8 based portable devices.

If Windows RT had come out soon after the tablet craze started, it would have made sense. It would have given Microsoft a way of getting into the mobile market. However, the Vole was late and by the time RT appeared, Intel was not that far from putting Haswell into the shops.

Windows RT is a heavily dumbed down version of Windows 8, with only a handful of applications being available. This takes away any point in using a Windows device, namely that there is a lot of software available.

Haswell promises a day-long battery life and that a full spec version of Windows 8 will run on it. Why on earth would there be any point propping up Windows RT?

It does explain to us why Chipzilla did not really moan that much about Microsoft breaking the Wintel alliance by moving to ARM. Intel knew that once Haswell was released, Microsoft would be sheepishly back and never mention ARM ever again. 

Intel to release budget Haswell range

Fashion bag maker  Intel is going to release seven new Haswell chips into the budget market.

The chips have a lower performance in comparison with what we have seen from the company so far.

According to CPU World, the chips are appearing for the first time on Intel’s price list and should be available any day.

There will be three new dual-core Pentium processors the first G3220 which will have a clock speed of 3GHz. The G3420 will have a speed of 3.2GHz, and the G3430 3.3GHz.

Each ships with 3MB of on-board cache and HD Graphics as standard.

Where Chipzilla appears to have saved its cash is that none of the chips have Turbo Boost or Hyper-Threading and all have a TDP of 54W.

As for pricing, the G3220 will cost $70. The G3420 will set you back $90 and the G3430 $100. They will replace Ivy Bridge CPUs in that price range.

Meanwhile, Intel is releasing dual-core Core i3 processors, the first G3220 which will have a clock speed of 3.4GHz. The G3420 will have a speed of 3.5 GHz, and the G3430 3.6 GHz.

They are rated at 54W TDP, but unlike the Pentiums they have Hyper Threading. The 4130 includes 3MB of cache and a HD 4400 GPU. The 4330 and 4340 both have 4MB of cache and a HD 4600 GPU but have different clockspeeds. Pricing for the three chips is around $137, $155, and $166 respectively.

The last chip in the budget range is the new quad-core Core i5-4440. For $197 the chip has a 3.1GHz processor with Turbo Boost taking that up to 3.3GHz. There’s 6MB of on-board cache and a HD 4600 GPU. The TDP for this chip increases to 84W, but there’s no Hyper Threading. 

Games industry welcomes Budget tax breaks

After a lengthy appeal from the games industry, the government has finally agreed to tax credits in a bid to make Britain Europe’s “technology centre”.

In today’s Budget, Chancellor George Osborne signalled that he would be giving the games industry a boost with much needed tax credits.

In the announcement he declared that tax credits would “support our video games and animations industries”.  He claimed that that it was the government’s aim to “turn Britain into Europe’s technology centre”.

Calls by the industry, and among MPs, to help one of the shining lights of UK business have been growing for some time.  In areas such as Dundee the games industry has seen strong development, but has been crying out for tax breaks to allow further growth.

While there have been success stories such as RockStar, the industry has faced stiff competition form other countries where it has been cheaper and easier to produce games.

Industry trade body TIGA has been campaigning for four years to get tax breaks to boost the video games sector, and CEO Richard Wilson told TechEye that this is a “colossal victory”.

“What this victory shows is that we have demonstrated that he video games industry is world leading, world beating, and has huge potential to grow,” he said in response to today’s announcement. “It puts it on the same level as the film industry.  Governmental policy makers are recognising that we are not just good at making films in this country, we are also brilliant at making video games.”

As well as the financial benefits, Wilson believes that the decision is indicative of a wider acceptance that the games industry is gaining throughout society.

“It also confirms the cultural value of video games and puts it on a par with film and TV,” he said.

The video game market globally is expected to grow by about eight percent every year until 2016, Wilson said, and by putting vital tax breaks in place this will be making game development cheaper.

Consequently, this means it will be easier to hire staff, to make investments, and to ultimately develop more games.

“Because our sector will grow, we will be contributing to wider economic growth, so it is all part of the wider picture of rebalancing the UK economy,” Wilson said. “It is a massive achievement.”

Intel plans new budget chips

It seems that Intel wants to milk as much as it can from Sandy Bridge before it is consigned to the tar pit of evolution.

According to CPU World,  just before the launch of Ivy Bridge mobile microprocessors in April 2012, Intel is going to release several new budget and mid-class models based on almost year old Sandy Bridge.

It will be presented as an update to the mobile Celeron family and will be seen as two mainstream and two ultra-low-voltage CPUs.

The word on the street had been that they will be in the shops in the quarter 2012 – however it looks like they will be out next week.

Also coming are new Core i3-2370M and i5-2450M SKUs these have been spotted in the HP Pavilion dv6 Notebook and will probably also come out on December 11.

It looks like each new mobile CPU will have boosted clock speed by 100MHz while keeping all other features.

Take for example the dual-core Pentium B970,  it seems it will have a 2MB level 3 cache and 2.3 GHz core frequency, which is 100 MHz higher than on the so-called Pentium B960. Other B970 features will be the sa,e as the currently produced microprocessors from B9xx series. CPU World is expecting to see on-chip HD graphics, no hyper threading, SSE4 support, and it will fit into a 35 watt power envelope which will not not need a stamp or a tracking number.

The B970, along with Core i3-2370M and Core i5-2450M, will be available in dv6 notebooks from December 11.

The product numbers are Core i3-2370M, Core i5-2450M, Mobile Celeron 797, Mobile Celeron 867, BGA1023, Mobile Celeron B720, Mobile Celeron B815 and the Pentium B970. 

TIGA unhappy at UK tax relief for the games industry

The games industry has been given the tax relief it so wanted, but the sector trade association has described the announcements in the budget today as a “decisive victory” for its members.

TIGA has said the changes in the UK  budget today, which will give the games industry around £7 million, will allow studios to put more financial backing into the research and development. Smaller companies will also be able to plough this dough into hiring more staff and thus developing talent.

However, Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA chief executive, told Aunty Beeb that although the R&D tax credits would deliver 60 to 70 percent more value to games studios than the current tax credit regime, the government hadn’t gone far enough

But he was unhappy that the government had not gone further. He said that the choice was a “dismal decision” and showed the Government showed a “complete lack of imagination and one which will leave the UK video games industry swimming against the tide internationally.”

TIGA has been very vocal about this issue and Dr Wilson has always maintained that the UK video games industry can play a part in rebalancing the UK economy away from an over-dependence upon financial services and the public sector. He said back in February that the UK game development sector provides high skilled employment, is R&D intensive and is an export oriented industry.

However, others may argue that this is a small victory for the games industry, which has been fighting for this right for a good few years. It’s also faced a number of backtracking from Governments.

Back in February the Coalition hinted that it was considering with the idea of tax breaks for the gaming industry after knocking the scheme when it was introduced by
Labour MP Alistair Darling in the Labour government’s last budget in March 2010.

At the time George Osbourne called the plans “poorly targeted,” but then made a U Turn with the media hinting that he could have been planning to include £30 million of tax relief for the video games industry. Again, TIGA had its say claiming this would be slightly short of the £100 million mark it had requested.

He also pointed out at the time that in 2009, the video games industry generated £2 billion of sales, added approximately £1 billion to the UK’s GDP, raised over £400 million for HM Treasury in tax revenues, and employed more than 28,000 people.

UK's Coalition considers gaming tax break U-turn

The Coalition is toying with the idea of tax breaks for the gaming industry.

After knocking the scheme, which was first introduced by Labour MP Alistair Darling in the Labour government’s last budget in March 2010, and describing it as “poorly targeted,” it seems George Osbourne is reconsidering.

The news follows a report in the Sunday Times which claims George Osbourne is preparing an “eye-catching” measure for the next budget report. It could be scrapping the NHS entirely and roping in amateur surgeons from garden centres. Or he could be planning to include £30 million of tax relief for the video games industry.

This would be slightly short of the £100 million mark the trade association representing the UK video games industry, TIGA, has long requested.

TIGA has plenty to say. It plans to intensify its campaign to persuade the government to introduce a range of measures to give the UK video games industry at least a 1-up.

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, told TechEye: “Given the economic contraction in the last quarter of 2010, we need a budget for growth in March.

“The UK video games industry can play a part in rebalancing the UK economy away from an over-dependence upon financial services and the public sector. The UK game development sector provides high skilled employment, is R&D intensive and is an export oriented industry.

“It is just the kind of sector that the Government should be supporting if it is serious about strengthening the economic recovery.”

According to TIGA, over five years, Games Tax Relief will create or safeguard 9,519 direct and indirect jobs (including 3,366 jobs in the games industry), £431 million investment in development expenditure, £394 million in tax receipts to HM Treasury, at a cost of £194 million in tax relief to HM Treasury.

“TIGA is the only trade association to have consistently argued for Video Games Tax Relief – in public and in private,” Wilson tells us. “TIGA will continue to campaign aggressively for Video Games Tax Relief in the run up to the Budget.

“We will also urge the government to enhance the existing R&D tax breaks and to consider a series of other measures to power our industry forward. TIGA’s mission is to fight for the interests of the UK games industry and to make the UK the best place in the world to do games businesses.

“We urge game developers and publishers to join TIGA and to actively support our campaign in the weeks leading up to the Budget,” he added.

In 2009, the video games industry reportedly generated £2 billion of sales, added approximately £1 billion to the UK’s GDP, raised over £400 million for HM Treasury in tax revenues, and employed more than 28,000 people.

The news will be a welcome surprise to those disappointed with the Chancellor’s earlier decision. Back in June last year, Luciana Berger, a Labour MP for Wavertree, Liverpool called the lack of a gaming tax break “short-sighted.”

She added that the UK could be left without gaming talent as the best developers were leaving the UK and flocking to Canada and the USA.

The UK lost 700 jobs in the sector from 2008-09; a full seven percent of its work force, she added.

Mr Osbourne has reportedly been in touch with head honchos at games companies and offering his support. He’s due to report back with the budget review on the 23rd of March.

Apple rumoured to be working on entry-level iPhone 5

Rumours are abound that Apple is working on a budget version of the iPhone 5, which would have the potential for some serious competition to the lower end of the Android market.

Unnamed sources, cited by Bloomberg, suggested that a “nano” version of the next iPhone is in the works and that a prototype is already available.

The model is said to be a third smaller than the current iPhone 4 and lacks a Home button, a move which is widely expected for Apple’s next iteration of devices.

The device is expected to retail for around $200, significantly less than the the $600 or $700 you’d pay for a contract-free iPhone 4. Consumers can get the price of the current iPhone down to around this level, but only if they sign a two-year contract and part with their soul.

The entry-level iPhone 5 may never see the light of day, however, as the sources indicated that the plans may be delayed or scrapped altogether. They also suggested that very few people in the company know about the intention to hit the lower end of the market.

Smartphones are a relatively new craze, taking off big time within the last year or two, but the sharp rise of Android has allowed for a wide range of devices that tackle all price ranges, with dozens of cheap models out there or on the way.

Juniper Research previously indicated that by 2015 smartphone prices should drop to $80, with the technology becoming standard in place of old-fashioned mobiles. ZTE and Huawei are leading the charge in China for the cheap smartphone market, but it appears that no one can rest on their laurels in this battle.

Apple has always had high prices on its products and that has not impacted on sales, but with Android stealing its market share and offering phones that are often packing more under the bonnet for a cheaper price, it may be time that Apple pushes out a budget phone.

Ministry of Justice handed HP £121 million in supplier budget

HP scooped a seven percent chunk of the Ministry of Justice’s (MOJ) 2009 – 2010 supplier budget.

According to an FOI request looking at the MOJ’s spend with its top 100 suppliers, this meant that the company managed to get £121 million out of the government, coming second to security services company G4S. Serco came sixth with £111 million worth of spending, taking nearly five percent of the MoJ’s total £2.3 billion spend.

Capgemini seems to be making a good living off the government. Not only did it bag 44 percent of the HMRC’s spending budget in 2009 -2010, but the MOJ handed it £9 million too.

Atos Origin received a £107 million payment, while Steria was paid £96 million. Logica got £87 million and BT and Fujitsu got £19 million and £13 million respectively.

IBM scooped £8 million and £5 million each went to Capita, Cable and Wireless and Oracle.

According to Kable, the figures differ in proportion to those released recently by the Cabinet Office for May to September of this year which showed that the government department  spent only £223,646 with HP and £45.8m with Serco during that period.

UK has understaffed e-Crime unit

The UK could be at risk of a major cybercrime attack due to police understaffing – so much so that the Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police has called for more cyber cops, not robocops, despite police budgets being cut.

There are currently 385 officers dealing with cybercrime, but only 60 of those deal with financial crime, such as fraud, bank account hacking, credit card stealing and so forth.

The rest focus on child abuse and people trafficking. There are 60 police dealing with bank scams in a country with over 60 million people, making it less than one officer per million – something unsustainable considering the Met workforce of over 30,000 officers not to mention other staff in their thousands.

“Some commentators argue that we should concentrate on uniformed policing and draw back from specialised work that could be done by others,” said Sir Paul Stephenson, Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police.

“Leave cybercrime to the banks and retailers to sort out, the argument runs. It’s a fundamentally misguided argument. If the debate about police cutbacks gets bogged down in arguments about ‘uniforms before specialists’ we will not serve the public well.”

The problem is that cutbacks are a very real factor in how the police move forward, and many believe that there simply isn’t enough funding for these specialised units.

The Met is facing a massive £463 million deficit and needs to cut its spending by 25 percent over the next four years, which includes staff lay-offs. It begs the question if it can really afford to take on new officers specialising in cybercrime.

If it does not, however, UK citizens may be in a lot of danger, according to one source who has worked with cybercrime units, who asked to remain anonymous. She told us that while working for virtual social world Habbo she encountered plenty of incidences of fraud, child grooming, and online stalking – most of which did warrant police involvement. 

Her experience was that the police did not know what the issues were, nor how to deal with them. It’s a worrying thought when it comes to the safety of children online. Habbo also has a virtual economy, a perfect opportunity for fraud, which is becoming increasingly common online.

A report released in 2009 by the Internet Crime Complaint Centre showed that cybercrime rose by a third between 2007 and 2008, costing £187 million in dealing with complaints during that period alone.

The total cost of cybercrime could be closer to $1 trillion, according to Dave Waller at SC Magazine, making it a very lucrative business and one that the UK cannot afford to be lax in dealing with.

Stephenson said there is some financial benefit to investing in this area, because for every £1 spent on fighting financial crime online £21 is saved on prevented theft. Even when this is coupled with the £2.75 million annual cost of the Metropolitan Police’s e-Crime unit, it still amounts to a saving. But this is Osborne’s austerity and the UK is cut-happy.

The Met has seen some success recently when it arrested 19 suspects from a cybercrime ring which utilised the ZeuS trojan to steal £6 million from UK banks.

If these criminals were to know just how understaffed the Met’s e-Crime unit really is we may see many more instances of UK citizens as victims of cybercrime.