Monday, November 30, 2009

L&T, Nuclear Power Corp in $370-mn venture

Engineering major Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and state-run Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) Monday announced a $370-million (Rs.1,665-crore) joint venture to manufacture ultra-heavy forging and special steels used in nuclear power reactors.

L&T will hold a 74 percent in the joint venture while NPCIL will be the minority partner, L&T chairman and managing direct A.M. Naik told reporters here.

The state-of-the-art facility will be set up in Hazira in Gujarat, said a joint media release by the two companies.

"Indigenous manufacture of forgings will close a critical gap in India's ability to produce equipment for nuclear, thermal power and hydrocarbon plants and also enable significant reduction in cycle times," said the statement.

NPCIL operates 17 nuclear reactors, with a total power generating capacity of 4,120 MW with three more under construction with about 2,660 MW capacity.

'Paa' to release in 20 countries with 700 prints

Amitabh Bachchan's much-awaited "Paa", in which Big B plays a 13-year-old boy suffering from progeria that accelerates the ageing process, will release Friday in 20 countries with 700 prints, including digital.

"Paa" is an AB Corp Ltd. presentation in association with Reliance BIG Pictures, which will release it simultaneously in India as well as other countries like Britain, Canada, US, UAE, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

Directed by R. Balakrishnan, the film will see Abhishek and Vidya Balan as Amitabh's parents. Ahead of its release, it is having extensive marketing and promotion campaigns.

Idea Cellular had tied up with "Paa" for "Talk to Auro" activity - it will allow callers to leave messages for Auro and in return receive calls from Auro on a pre-determined date. Apart from this, ring back tones in Auro's voice and other value added services too will be available on Idea network.

Also, Bajaj Allianz has tied up for an integrated TV ad on Child Plans that has been interspersed with the film's promos and is currently on air.

BIG FM is on board as the film's radio partner.

World's Costiest Mobile Phone Unveiled

A British company has unveiled the world's most expensive mobile phone - a gold iPhone encrusted with nearly 200 diamonds that retails at a hefty 1.92 million pounds, or Rs.14.7 crore.

The phone, designed by Stuart Hughes for the Liverpool-based Goldstriker International, is made from 22-carat gold.

It has 136 diamonds in the front bezel and an Apple logo made out of no fewer than 53 diamonds.

The phone's front navigation button comprises a rare diamond of 7.1 carats.

The phone, which took over ten months to make, ships with a seven kg chest crafted from a single block of granite, offset with Kashmir gold and lined with Nubuck leather on the inside.

Called the iPhone 3G Supreme, it was reportedly commissioned by an anonymous Australian businessman.

Pressmart & The Wall Street Journal Asia to Launch Electronic Edition

Worldwide print-to-online publisher Pressmart Media Ltd. ( formally announces the launch of their latest newspaper eEdition for The Wall Street Journal Asia, the leader for global business news in Asia. With clients in 49 countries and 24 languages, Pressmart provides digital publishing solutions for publications across the globe.

Accessed online at,The Wall Street Journal Asia eEdition will now provide the same news analysis, Pulitzer-winning articles and content as in its paper edition. Unlike its subscription website,, which is updated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the ePaper content is identical to the print paper, with content flowing in the same order with cutting-edge rich media features that make Pressmart's Web 2.0 interface a dynamic interactive experience for readers.

"We're proud to have a brand as The Wall Street Journal Asia as our client," states Sanjiv Gupta, Founder and CEO, Pressmart. "As we continue to grow and expand content usage to new audiences, a powerhouse publication like The Wall Street Journal Asia allows our process, and the end product to reach more people and gain more exposure for the industry of digital publishing."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday shoppers keen on deals, online spending up

A focus on bargains pulled U.S. shoppers into stores and onto websites over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, but many said they would stick to their budgets and avoid purchases if they couldn't find a good deal.

Shoppers turned out in force on Black Friday, the day after U.S. Thanksgiving, and returned on Saturday for more.

Dubai World refused distress-asset sale -rep

Dubai World has refused to offload assets at fire-sale prices to repay obligations, forcing it to seek a debt standstill, a newspaper report on Sunday quoted an unnamed source at the government-controlled firm as saying.

Stocks from Tokyo to New York have been haunted by concern that banks were exposed to state companies in Dubai, though world leaders expressed confidence in the global economic recovery on Friday despite the fears.

The world is the market for e-book readers

The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is a novelty, a fad. These were the words uttered famously by a president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford's lawyer Horace Reckham not to invest in the Ford Motor Co. in 1903. Blame it on the Theory of Technological Evolution or call it the Survival of the Fastest (with due respects to Mr. Darwin) but for a majority of people, travelling in an automobile is as much a part of normal activity as may be bushing their teeth. The day also is not far, oh you lover-of-the-scent-of-paper, when e-book readers will fall in the same bracket.

Coming back to the story, Rackham ignored the advice and bought $5,000 worth of stock and eventually made a fortune by selling it for $12.5 million. The natural question here is: in whose position would you like to be? Horace Rackham's or the banker's? If that's not already easy to answer, let me make it easier for you.

Kindle, the popular e-book reader was the #1 bestselling, #1 most wished for and #1 most gifted item on Amazon. Nook, the brand new e-reader unveiled by Barnes & Noble (who claim it to be the world's most advanced e-book reader), is already out of stock because of unexpected demand.

Click here to Buy your own Amazon Kindle now in India

This is when e-book readers today are priced a bit uncomfortably around $250 and are in a nascent stage in terms of features, much like the first Ford car, if I may carry forward the analogy. By the end of 2010, it is expected that 10 million people will be using e-readers. And if by any chance they break the $100 barrier, which I believe they will eventually, the floodgates will really open.

There are reports that we already have an enterprising Indian publishing industry representative planning to bring in an economical e-reader for the Indian market with Chinese collaboration. And Apple, of course, is rumoured to have a real ace up its sleeve. So, apparently, there is a lot waiting to happen in the near future which could turn things completely around for electronic reading.

This really brings us to the all-important question -- what's the whole song and dance about? We are pretty happy reading our books, why do we need an electronic reader?

For one, it weighs approximately the same as a paperback but can store about 1,500 books; so that's like your personal library moving around with you -- to the conference, on a flight, in the waiting lounge, just about everywhere.

And then, you don't have to desperately keep looking for that elusive copy of the book you have been looking forward to read because it's just a click away -- log on to a supporting website like and you have the book downloaded in less than a minute in almost any part of the world.

Click here to Buy your own Amazon Kindle now in India

Mind you, there is no extra fee, apart from paying for the book. If that's not all, your e-book reader also remembers the last page read for each book and has a zoom feature with various levels of text size among a lot of other features like letting you take notes on a page and saving them, MP3 playback and basic browsing to check your e-mail (where available) as also working like a GPS.

Still not excited? All right, the biggest bonus is that an e-book already sells at a lower price than a physical book and soon we should see a dramatic lowering on that -- you can expect the price to be actually lower than half of what it is now.

Do I finally see your eyes lighting up?

Let me confess I am no techno-freak. Actually, I just about manage to use my phone for sending and receiving calls and messages. Also, I quite love the look and feel of a book. In fact, my wife perennially complains that she married someone who was already married -- to books. But at the same time, I can see that the future of reading is beckoning us and there is no use closing our eyes to it.

I am planning to switch sides. From a love marriage with books, I plan to get into an arranged marriage with an e-book reader. I am sure love will follow, because I could feel it at first sight.

Let me invite you to join the party too, unless you want to be in the company of the legendary Thomas J. Watson, the former president of IBM and one of the richest men of his times, who had famously remarked in 1943: "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers".

For the whole world is a market for e-book readers.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Reliance Communications unveils one paisa per SMS

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications Friday unveiled new text messaging tariffs -- one paiss per message and unlimited messages at Re.1 per day -- for its GSM and CDMA services.

The new tariffs are add-on plans and applicable to both pre-paid and post-paid customers.

"On account of significant tariff disparity in recent months, it has lost its due share of attention. Considering this, we aim to revitalise the SMS usage in the country," company president Mahesh Prasad said.

All Reliance mobile customers can avail of the one paiss per SMS plan by subscribing to a standard tariff voucher of Rs.11 per month.

To prevent these tariffs being misused by telemarketers, a fair usage cap of 15,000 SMSes per month has been placed on the plan.

KPMG named 'indirect tax firm' of the year

Global tax and audit firm KPMG's Indian arm has been named the country's "Indirect Tax Firm of the Year" at an international tax forum.

KPMG is bagging the award for the second time in a row.

Delhi Metro: a billion passengers and counting

The Delhi Metro has achieved another feat. The mass transport system has in the seven years of its existence ferried one billion passengers, which is virtually India's population.

"The Delhi Metro achieved a historic milestone when it crossed the one billion mark for the passengers who have travelled by the Metro since it became operational, which is almost equivalent to the population of the country," Delhi Metro Spokesman Anuj Dayal said Friday.

ArcelorMittal to pursue steel projects in Orissa, Jharkhand

World's largest steel maker ArcelorMittal would continue to pursue its plans to set up integrated steel plants in Orissa and Jharkhand despite delays in land acquisition, a senior company official said Friday.

"Our plans to set up 12 million tonnes per annum each steel plants in Orissa and Jharkhand are on and we are pursuing the land acquisition issue with the respective state governments," ArcelorMittal's chief executive for India-China region Vijay Kumar Bhatnagar told IANS here.

Call of Duty racks up $3 bn in sales

Video game franchise Call of Duty has racked up over $3 billion in global sales thanks to the record-breaking release of its latest installment Modern Warfare 2, publisher Activision Blizzard said Friday.

The company said that over 55 million copies of Call of Duty have been sold since the launch of the franchise in 2003.

Reliance Capital to buyout Quant Capital

Financial services company Reliance Capital, part of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), plans to acquire a majority stake in city-based brokerage and equity research firm Quant Capital.

"Reliance Capital proposes to take a majority equity stake in Quant Capital group," the company said in a regulatory statement Friday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Related Links Widget for Bloggers by Google

ages and searches to your site. Unlike the homonymous service released by Google in 2006, the new Related Links restricts the results to your site.

"Related Links is a tool to help webmasters increase page views on their sites. Given a page on your site, Related Links can choose the most related pages from your site and show them in a gadget. You can embed this gadget in your page to help your users reach other pages easily. Related Links also suggests searches that users can run within your site to find even more related pages."

The service is not publicly available, but you can try a demo and ask for an invitation. "To apply for an invitation, please send an email to stating your Gmail address, website domains and approximate pageviews per day."

Once you get the invitation, log in using your Google account and click on "Manage Related Links". You'll be able to configure the gadget, customize the look and feel and enable some advanced features: highlighting the keywords from the page for visitors that come from a search engine, blacklisting web pages from the list of related links and removing prefixes or suffixes from titles.

After configuring the gadget, paste the code in one of your sites and test if it works well. If you edit the gadget's configuration, the changes are reflected instantly and you don't need to change the code.

The results are relevant, but there are some issues which show that the service is still in an early phase: there's an encoding bug when displaying page titles and links are only opened in a new window.

VIA Googlesystem Blog

JSW Steel partners with Japanese firm

Indian steel major JSW Steel Thursday announced an agreement with Japan's second largest steelmaker JFE Holdings to set up a greenfield project in West Bengal and an automotive steel manufacturing unit in the country.

"JFE and JSW will collaborate on a planned plant in West Bengal," said JSW Steel managing director Sajjan Jindal.

"We are discussing ways and means through which JSW and JFE can collaborate in our upcoming project in West Bengal. We are interested in partnering each other to take forward the proposed steel project at Salboni," Jindal said at a media briefing in Mumbai Thursday.

JSW Bengal Steel, a joint venture between JSW Steel and the state government, is setting up the West Bengal project.

The company is constructing a 10-million-tonne steel plant in the state at an investment of Rs.35,000 crore (about $7 billion) in Salboni.

"According to the pact with JFE, we will collaborate with the company in 10 fields, one of which is our Bengal project," Biswadip Gupta, joint managing director and chief executive officer of JSW Bengal, told IANS in Kolkata.

JSW Steel has formed two core committees, which will make agreements for each of these 10 fields where the two companies will collaborate, he said.

"They will make agreement for Salboni project also," Gupta said, adding that no time frame had been fixed for the agreements.

The two companies will also cooperate in manufacturing automotive steel.

Added Hajime Bada, JFE steel president and chief executive: "JFE, with this agreement, is determined to intensify its relationship with JSW to serve the request of its automotive customers."

"This agreement shall also provide JFE an avenue to look into the future possibilities of development in India," Bada said in a statement.

According to a source close to the company, JFE has agreed to acquire 10 percent stake in JSW Steel for 50 billion yen ($561 million) which the Indian Steel major will spend on greenfield projects.

JSW has plans to expand its annual capacity to 32 million tonnes by 2020 by setting up greenfield projects in Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Information officers in India most focused globally: IBM study

Seventy percent of chief information officers (CIOs) in India integrate business and technology to promote innovation for their organisation against 47 percent overseas, a study conducted by global IT major IBM has revealed.

Additionally, 64 percent of Indian CIOs proactively push IT as an innovation element and push low-cost business processes for their organisations against 55 percent abroad.

The study is based on a global survey of more than 2,500 CIOs including 100 from India.

"Indian CIOs are more focused than their counterparts anywhere in the world," said IBM India-South Asia's chief technologist Guruduth Banavar.

According to the study, 56 percent of Indian CIOs decide on business strategy as a member of a senior management team, while globally this was 33 percent.

"Over 70 percent Indian CIOs expect to explore newer channls for end-customer interactions and greater transparency with customers in the next five years," Banavar told reporters here.

Global responses rank between 56 and 64 percent, he added.

The study also said over 40 percent of CIOs in India have direct access to their chief executives.

"In India, it appears to be that CIOs are more progressive as compared to their global counterparts. Indian CIOs are looking to make innovation real and expand business impact," said Nipun Mehrotra, vice president of general business, IBM Asia Pacific.

According to him, Indian CIOs want to lead their organisations into the league of the most successful companies worldwide.

"Due to intense competition across every industry, CIOs are compelled to do things very differently and they think out of box more often than many of their average global counterparts," Mehrotra added.

Katrina Barbie arrives in India

Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif's look-alike Barbie doll has arrived in the country. It was designed to mark Barbie's 50 years.

Katrina also walked the ramp as the showstopper for the "All Doll'd Up" special show dedicated to Barbie at the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai earlier this year. She sported a small pink dress designed by well-known designer Neeta Lulla's daughter Nishka. The 'Katrina Barbie' will be wearing the same design.

"I've been a part of the entire process of doll making and it's been quite fascinating. Since, I've been travelling out of Mumbai for the promotions of my movies; unfortunately I've not been able to see it yet. I'm really looking forward to see the doll as soon as I get back," Katrina said in a statement.

A product of Mattel Toys, the Katrina Barbie -- a commemorative product -- is not for sale.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rs 1000 discount on domestic hotel booking on, India's leading online travel company, today announced yet another unique scheme for the customers making their travel bookings on Under this offer, a customer can avail a discount of Rs. 1000 on any domestic hotel of his choice by booking his air or rail travel on This promotional offer will be rolled out on November 10, 2009 in 21 key cities of the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad.

Speaking on this promotional offer, Dhruv Shringi, CEO and Co founder, Yatra,com said, "At, we are constantly looking at ways to add more value to our customers and this offer will help them in getting maximum mileage from their travel booking on Yatra by giving them a special value benefit on their hotel stays. With this new promotional offer, we plan to reach out to the customers who are currently engaged in business travel be it SME's, Corporates or individuals." is known to be a frontrunner of changing clime of the dynamic travel industry, striving to introduce better and convenient deals and services for its customers, keeping in mind their budget and needs. Presently it is offering the Fair Deal Promise scheme on international flights where one who books an international ticket with and gets a lower price elsewhere, can ask to match the fare, and avail a lower airfare. It also renders its customers free visa assistance facility wherein a team of experts help the customer with the procedures of applying for his Visa without charging any additional service fees. Payment convenience is another value added service by Yatra wherein customers are given the flexibility of paying only 25% of the international air ticket fare and balance can be paid at a later date. With such value added deals and offers, aims to continue being a pioneer in bringing innovative applications and services in the travel business.

Twitter & Facebook now on Xbox 360

* Xbox 360 Continues to deliver the Leading Games and Entertainment Experiences
* Connect to Facebook and Twitter with your Xbox 360
* Great value addition for 20 million users on Xbox Live
* Tweet and Update your status while playing your favourite game
* Compare your Xbox LIVE and Facebook friends' lists to see which of your friends are on LIVE

For people who are addicted to Social networking and can't seem to get enough of it, here is breaking news! Microsoft now gives its ardent Xbox 360 fans an opportunity to go Live and enjoy social networking along with games right on the gaming console! This next wave of Social Networking will be available on Xbox LIVE
from the 17th November, 2009, and transform the Xbox LIVE into the most entertaining connected experience ever!

Jaspreet Bindra, Regional Director, Entertainment and Devices Division, Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd. shared the excitement around the launch by saying "Since the time of the launch of Xbox 360 and XBOX Live, we have always heard our customers and continuously worked to enhance their interactive entertainment experience. The addition of Facebook and Twitter brings an altogether different level of excitement and action for 20 million Xbox LIVE users across the globe. Only on Xbox 360 can you find the best in movies, music, games and now social networking tailor-made to suit your needs and demands."

Keeping up with its promise of providing the best in entertainment, Xbox 360 will now become your complete source of social entertainment experience by enabling you to enjoy a lot more! So, here's what you can do:

Facebook - Update your status to share what movie, game or entertainment you're enjoying, connect with friends and view their Facebook stream, status updates and photos on the big screen - all seamlessly integrated and custom-built for Xbox 360. You can even compare your Xbox LIVE and Facebook friends' lists to see which of your friends are on LIVE.

Twitter - Stay in the know by discovering, posting and replying to Tweets right on you're Xbox 360. You can even view friend profiles, trends and conversations, or search to see who's tweeting about your favorite game.

With these updates, Xbox 360 is bound to become the one-stop shop for everything. You can now connect with your friend's online, show them your cool new victory in that favourite game that you play and proudly upload those pictures on your Facebook profile. All this and much more while you are still busy fighting the devils in the game. Sounds exciting? It sure is the best.

So, what are you waiting for? Make sure that you are right in front of your Xbox 360 on the 17th of November. Go LIVE and experience Social Networking like never before. Upload the picture of the cool new car you buy while playing Forza Motorsport 3 on your Facebook profile and make sure that your most recent tweet does talk about your victory on Halo 3: ODST.

There's tons more to experience with Gold subscription as well. Play the latest game titles like "Halo 3: ODST" and "Forza Motorsport 3″ online multiplayer, participate in "1 vs. 100," host an Xbox LIVE Party or even video chat with friends. All of these Gold-only features will be available all weekend long for anyone to try.

Block your schedule accordingly, as November 17th is here! Partners with NDTV to Launch

Powered by, will provide information, transaction and services to the large SME segment

-- Brand and reach of NDTV with the strong B2B recall and content strength of shall make the portal first choice for SMEs, India's largest online B2B marketplace, today announced its partnership with NDTV to launch an SME portal - Powered by, this new portal will address the need for a destination portal providing information, transaction and services to the large SME segment. The portal currently provides trade news, leads, tenders and other relevant information along with an HP Smartbiz section.

The portal caters to the needs and requirements of smaller businesses and a partnership with NDTV offers perfect opportunity to provide users with business news supplemented by B2B marketplace services. The website offers a rich user experience and the ability to offer global exposure and focused business enquiries for members. " is a perfect marriage of the brand and reach of NDTV with the strong B2B recall and content strength of, which makes it a formidable property. Given the way the SMEs taking center stage in India's post-recession economy, we are bullish that will become a destination of first choice very soon for India's upwardly mobile SMEs," says Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO,

Vikram Chandra, CEO, NDTV Networks, said, "We are very excited about reaching out to the SME community, which forms the backbone of the Indian industry, through this portal. NDTV has always focused on this space with its business channel and now we plan to address the various needs of this huge segment through, as we keep adding more products and services. Partnering with market leaders like and HP also shows our commitment to always provide the best information and solutions to our users."

Speaking on the occasion, Deepti Dang, Head, Marketing Commercial & SMB, Personal Systems Group, Hewlett-Packard India, said, "The SMBs contribute largely to the overall PC shipments in the commercial segment. Hence, we at HP are geared to help this major vertical manage, protect and grow their businesses." She further added, "Association with further reiterates our commitment to India as the SMEs form the backbone of the country. HP India is best equipped in empowering them by providing technology that is relevant, reliable, secure, affordable and easily available."

This portal will be a ready reckoner of information that will help business leaders, CEOs/owners, CIOs/CTOs and CMOs at every stage of their business marketing process. Right from explanatory and contextual information on how to plan for, implement, and manage new technologies for business enhancement, this portal will be a one stop shop for solutions that customers can rely on for better business outcomes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Airbus sells first A380 aircraft configured to carry 840 passengers

European aircraft maker Airbus said Tuesday it had sold its first A380 airliners configured to carry a maximum of 840 passengers in a single class.

French carrier Air Austral, based in the overseas territory of La Reunion, ordered two of the aircraft to serve its high-density route from La Reunion to Paris.

The standard three-class configuration for the A380, the largest commercial airliner ever built, has room for 525 passengers.

"With the Air Austral configuration, fuel consumption levels below two litres per passenger per 100 kilometres can be expected," Airbus said.

Currently, 20 A380s are in service with four carriers, serving 13 international routes. A total of 202 of the so-called superjumbos were ordered by 17 airlines.

However, production problems have caused significant delays in the delivery of the plane to its customers.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Vodafone offers ALL local and STD calls at 1paise/sec for prepaid customers

Vodafone Essar, one of India's leading cellular service providers, today enhanced its 1p per sec tariff offering in Karnataka. Customers can now make calls to any phone, any network in India at just 1p/sec. Priced at Rs 66/-, this recharge is bundled with a free SIM card with lifelong validity and comes with a tariff validity of one year from the date of recharge.
Vodafone Essar, one of India's leading cellular service providers, today enhanced its 1p per sec tariff offering in Karnataka. Customers can now make calls to any phone, any network in India at just 1p/sec.

Cyberoam launches Endpoint Data Protection

Cyberoam, the vendor of Identity-based Unified Threat Management Solutions, announced the launch of its End Point Data Protection suite to secure corporate data and manage IT assets. This suite extends Cyberoam's security protection from the gateway to the endpoint, reinforcing its presence as a complete security provider.

The extensive use of removable storage devices and file sharing applications makes end points the most vulnerable areas with research statistics showing more than 50% data loss incidents originating at end points. The average total cost of a corporate data breach stands at $6.3 million and lost business accounts for 65% of breach costs, according to a study by the Ponemon Institute. End point data protection is thus increasingly being recognized as the critical immediate step in cutting data losses and delivering immediate ROI.

Thursday, November 12, 2009 to Increase Focus on the Affiliate Marketing Programme, India's leading online travel company, has decided to focus more on the Affiliate Marketing programme in future. The Yatra Affiliate Program, which gives business opportunity to companies and individual website owners to generate revenue by promoting Yatra products and services on their website, projects to contribute 20% to the revenues of the company in less than a year through the programme. Currently the affiliate program is run through Shoogloo Network (OMG UK) and dgm India, which are pay for performance marketing companies.

Commenting on the program, Bharat Malik, Head Online Marketing for said, "Yatra Affiliate program started as an open business invitation to all the websites owners, giving an opportunity to monetize their website traffic with The lucrative commission structure, which is Rs 270 to Rs 400 for domestic flight bookings, Rs 500/- for domestic hotels and Rs 600 to Rs 1000 for international flights and Rs 1000/- for holidays, has resulted in better overall conversions and return on investment in just less than two years."

He further added, "Having the first mover's advantage, understood that competition led to the increase in CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), which Yatra gets from Search Engine Marketing. For companies like us, where 90% of the transactions happen online, it was important to keep the CPA to the lower side, which we have implemented successfully. Our target would be to make affiliate marketing an integral part of our overall marketing strategy."

Dhruv Shringi, Co-Founder and CEO of said, "Today we realise that affiliate marketing, if well managed, is the most cost effective online marketing tool because there are millions of travel related domains / potential websites who can give highly qualified traffic to us based on pre-defined CPA. We are going to focus on this in the next six months and would like this channel to become one of the largest contributors to our topline."

LD Sharma, Founder & MD of Shoogloo Network said, "Merchants in India are still taking time to understand the concept and importance of affiliate marketing but is one of those few companies, who have tried, tested and benefitted from this. There are hundreds and thousands of website owners who have travel related websites and through affiliate marketing, they get a chance to earn unlimited commissions from players like"

Websites owners can become an affiliate simply by clicking provides many tools to affiliates including dynamic booking engine, latest creatives, and lots more. Soon, will also be providing web services to the affiliates, which will allow them to create dynamic websites within minutes.

Siemens Gigaset enters into Indian market with the launch of new cordless phones

Gigaset Communications, one of the world's largest manufacturers of cordless telephones under the brand Siemens Gigaset, has entered the Indian market with the launch of new premium cordless phones. The European market leader with its headquarters in Munich and its primary production site in Bocholt (Germany) brings stylish cordless phones with broad functionality to Indian households. The new office is based at Mumbai and it will cater to the growing needs of Indian consumers.

Gigaset Communications brings stylish cordless phones with great functionality to Indian households. The new Siemens Gigaset phones are of superior quality and easy-to-use. These multi-talents also prove their value for everyday use in households and small offices with their convenient features. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, the new models from Gigaset Communications are elegant and energy-efficient. for India?

Perfios, a Bangalore based technology start-up has introduced a Personal finance management portal targeting the Indian audience. It is similar to in that it allows for automatic updates from financial institutions. However, unlike US where there are standards for information extraction from Financial Institutions, the India financial sector is vastly unorganized and presents a monumental challenge.

Perfios is a pioneer in this space by providing a method to aggregate information from hundreds of financial institutions and provides tools for analysis for spend patterns, computation of capital gains, taxation etc.

The portal is entirely developed using Adobe Flex framework.

Google unveils first ever 'Made in India' Doodle

It took 90 days, over 4,000 entries and 60,000 votes for India to get its first 'made in India' Doodle. Dennis Hwang - the Master Doodler chose the first-ever young doodler for India on the basis of 'innovation and creativity'.

So what is a Google Doodle? "Doodles" are creative Google logos that appear on some special days, to commemorate scientific and artistic achievements, historic or seasonal events, and other local occasions. Their eye-catching designs also often teach you something new about a day, event or occasion whenever you happen to stumble upon them. For over a decade, Google has been designing innovative logos called 'Doodles' for its homepage and Dennis Hwang - the master doodler - has been driving this innovation. In August 2009, Google India decided to unleash the creativity of thousands of children in India as we announced India's first ever doodling competition called Doodle4Google™.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Private labels - Increased threat to FMCG companies

According to a new consumer insight report published by Datamonitor titled "The Impact of Private Labels on FMCG Companies in India", private labels are increasingly posing threat for FMCG companies in India.

This report, based on a consumer survey, reveals that while the adoption of private labels began with its value proposition, consumers perceive these store brands are offering quality at par with other national brands.

"The increased scale of operations of retailers is shifting the bargaining power from FMCG companies to retailers. The growing adoption of private labels can compel FMCG companies to reassess their trade margins or relationship with retailers." explains Vaibhav Khera, Director, India Consumer Markets Research at Datamonitor.

Indian retailers are laying a strong emphasis on the growth of their private label brands which is bringing in greater margins and is helping them gain greater bargaining power with FMCG companies. Retailers, which started launching their private labels as a value alternative to national brands are now mirroring these national brands with respect to product packaging and claims and are offering these products at a lower price. Retailers are also launching products with tiered pricing to cater to a wider set of audience while holding on to their store positioning.

The adoption of private label brands has been rapid in the household care segment, and the increased satisfaction level of consumers buying products in this segment has helped in building retailers' credibility. Datamonitor expects that a customer satisfied with a private label brand in a low involvement category such as household care will have a greater propensity of trial in other categories such as food and beverages and personal care.

To highlight this threat, Datamonitor has analysed several product categories on the basis of their private label penetration and attractiveness where attractiveness is defined with respect to category involvement, brand loyalty, and price sensitivity, and through this Datamonitor has highlighted the product categories which are current and potential threat to FMCG companies in the near future.

The report analyses survey results and insights on consumer shopping behaviour and preferences while making purchase decisions. It also reveals the strategies which FMCG companies can adopt to avoid competition from private labels and highlights the consumer dynamics which will be relevant for FMCG companies in framing their product strategy.

Though private labels are increasingly gaining a strong foothold in the organized retail segment, FMCG companies can avoid this competition by investing in innovation and product differentiation. Vaibhav believes that "FMCG companies should play on their strengths and monetize opportunities emerging due changing consumer behaviour."

Colston Concepts Launches The 'Colston European Star Spa'

A brand known since 2000 for providing exceptional bathing products and services, Colston Concepts launched the 'COLSTON EUROPEAN STAR SPA' for the first time in the World, in Mumbai. This is the Largest Free Standing Bath Tub: Verified By Guinness World Record UK. From giving your body a soothing and sensual massage to giving your eyes a visual treat, the Colston De Banos - European Star leaves one spoiled for choices.

"Innovation is a youthful state of mind and spiritual courage to accept challenge. At Colston we constantly strive for excellence and optimization of designs through strong commitment to R&D and deliver reliable and premium products. It is the result of our innovative and creative enterprise culture that we are able to launch the COLSTON EUROPEAN STAR SPA, the biggest Spa in the wellness history", said Mr. Ahuja Anil, MD, Colston Concepts, on the occasion of the launch.

The largest free standing bath tub: verified by Guinness World Record UK, COLSTON EUROPEAN STAR SPA provides an ultimate bathing experience which combines comfort with fun. Its Jacuzzi digitally controlled systems; feature transforms you in to another world; watch 32 inch LED television or listen to music, just program it and let yourself loose!

Latest collection of interior for Spa with fully loaded features, shower enclosures & latest range of shower panels with elite range of bright vanities, COLSTON EUROPEAN STAR SPA is a perfect blend of contemporary luxury and sheer richness. The multifunction steam rooms provide you the most comfortable sauna effect. Steam Box produces steam quickly and provides the best sauna effect with your favourite herbs and perfumes like pine, lime or eucalyptus.The Computer Control System with back light can show operating status of the steam room, monitor its functions and reflect its operation procedures on LCD. You can fully control & set up the steam, water massage, ozone sterilization for cleanliness, time, temperature, saving your favourite music channels, turner/CD, telephone, alarm regulation of nozzle for massage. The diversified preventive and curative functions in European Star give you a feeling of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Indulge in sublime experience of enjoyment and relaxation of whole body and mind with the best hydraulic massage in the bathtubs specially designed to allow your body turn and adjust freely in it.

All functions and procedures are shown on LCD screen and can be controlled. The inbuilt music system makes bathing rhythmic and soothes your senses and nerves. The Swimming pool, VIP Room with air condition - European Star is a world of luxury and lavishness.

The Colston De Banos range also includes individual multi functions sauna & steam room, swimming pool, VIP rooms, massage bath tubs, bathroom furniture & high quality toilets. COLSTON EUROPEAN STAR SPA can be custom designed as per the preference of the customer. The prices are as per the sizes & specifications of Pool / SPA; it starts from Rs. 55 Lakhs onwards.

"The expected turnover of our company this year should be targeted Rs. 50 crores. During last few years there is a consistent increase in our import graph. This has influenced our growth factors & made us a new entity as a trend setter in this industry. We plan to further expand the number of distributors and set bigger marketing operations in India and invest in this market. We are targeting SPA Centres, hotels, resorts, farm houses (Hospitality Division) & big bungalows as our clients", said Mr. Ahuja Anil, MD, Colston concepts talking of the expansion plans. "Currently we manufacture and import from Spain & China. Our USP is Quality with widest range of products to suit all, from low to high end users. We are prepared to serve you with assurance of quality, durability, dependability & quantity", he added.

Walmart and CARE Launch New Initiative to Empower Marginalized Women in India

As a part of their commitment to women's empowerment, Walmart and CARE announced the launch of a Cashew Value Chain Initiative. As part of the Walmart Foundation's $1 million grant to CARE, a leading humanitarian organization, this project marks the first of a series of initiatives to elevate women from poverty worldwide. Over the next year, Walmart and CARE will create a women owned-and-operated community-based institution to provide more equitable and consistent incomes for approximately 750 women in the cashew farming and processing sector in the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu State in Southern India, Cuddalore and Nagapattinam.

"This project will improve economic opportunities for socially and economically marginalized women and girls in southern India through the promotion of women-owned and -managed cashew enterprises," said Raj Jain, managing director and CEO, Bharti Walmart. "We are excited about the difference we will make in the lives of these women as we are confident the project will improve their entrepreneurial skills and capacity to directly link to the retail market."

Through the partnership, Walmart and CARE aim to improve overall livelihoods for women involved in the cashew processing sector: enhancing income earning opportunities by 20 percent, improving participants' literacy and business skills, and ensuring greater awareness about health and nutrition. The benefits of this initiative will reach beyond the women themselves, impacting the lives of nearly 4,000 people.

"CARE is eager to work with Walmart on an issue that is of critical importance in Tamil Nadu, and throughout so many communities in India - the elevation of women from poverty," said Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE. "Our work together is particularly important in this area as families in Tamil Nadu continue to rebuild their lives after the 2004 tsunami. Walmart's investment will ensure increased income security, which we know leads to greater health and education opportunities for these women and their families."

Over the next year, the program will help to set up three women-owned and managed cashew processing units and 15 literacy centers. Training programs will be conducted for participating women and their daughters on basic social services, rights and entitlement issues. The program will also establish direct links between cashew producers, the women-owned processing units, and the global marketplace.

"This initiative falls in line with Walmart's overarching strategy to support girls, women and the organizations and issues of importance to them," said Margaret McKenna, president, Walmart Foundation. "We are listening to our female customers around the world and want to further demonstrate our commitment to them and their economic empowerment." Cashew is one of the important cash crops of India. There are more than 700 small- scale cashew processing units in southern India, and the sector provides employment to 500,000 people, mostly women.

Data Robotics Corporation Launches HOTSwap Offsite Data Backup Suit

Backup Solutions provider Data Robotics Corporation has announced the launch of its new HOTSwap offsite data backup suit. The solution has been developed to offer SMBs the level of business data protection traditionally only enjoyed by large enterprises, without enterprise size costs. HOTSwap provides SMBs with a zero touch tapeless data backup and recovery solution that uses continuous data protection to securely replicate both server and workstation data on and offsite to the HOTSwap backup server. In the event of a system failure or data loss, customers can either recover individual files themselves.

HOTSwap Backup Software simplifies data protection across networks, including remote offices. You manage and monitor your backups through a secure centralized interface, accessible from anywhere with a web browser. Wizards ease setup and administration, and a dashboard confirms that backups occur as expected. Customizable views make it easy to manage agents, and role-based user access lets you delegate backup tasks. For customers that require a greater level of protection, the Data Robotics Corporation offers a range of services from hosted business servers, allowing access to business systems online within minutes, to a full disaster recovery replacement workplace, which in the event of a disaster provides customers with an alternate place of work with all business services in place, ready to go.

First pictures of the all-new Volvo S60

"The all-new Volvo S60 is sculpted to move you. It looks and drives like no other Volvo before and the car's technology will help you to be safer and more confident behind the wheel," says Stephen Odell, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.

The Volvo S60 can be equipped with Pedestrian Detection - a groundbreaking safety feature that can detect pedestrians in front of the car and brake automatically if the driver does not react in time.

The all-new Volvo S60 is being unveiled to the public for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show in early March next year. Production of the sporty sedan model will start in early summer 2010 at the Volvo Cars plant in Ghent, Belgium.

"Customers in this segment want emotional appeal, sporty design and dynamic driving properties. The S60 has it all. We are convinced that it will be one of the strongest contenders around," says Stephen Odell.

FXLabs' Ghajini-The Game bags 24FPS Animation Award

FXLabs Studios today announced that Ghajini- The Game, based on the Bollywood blockbuster movie Ghajini, has been conferred the prestigious 24 FPS Animation Award for the Best Game Design by Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC).

Reflecting on the award, Sashi Reddi, Founder and Chairman, FXLabs said, "We are delighted to get this award which is a noteworthy recognition of our efforts to develop a game which is now the best selling game in India, better than any international titles"

'Ghajini' is a Third Person Action game, which provides a fantastic opportunity to all 'Ghajini' fans to experience the movie through this exciting game. The game features recreated movie locations and scenes in the 3D world so as to provide the gamers with the actual movie sets to make the game playing experience as authentic and adventures as the movie. The players get a firsthand experience of the main protagonist and character Sanjay (played by Aamir Khan) and experience the challenges and trails faced by him.

The 24FPS Animation Award, instituted and Organized by Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics in 2003, the 24FPS Animation Awards has grown to become a premier event celebrating animation talent and high quality computer generated content from India and abroad. The 24FPS Animation Awards is a celebration of animation and gaming talent across India and beyond. Initiated by MAAC in 2003, this event has grown over the years by leaps and bounds and is in its sixth year.

Sahara felicitates Indian sportspersons at 'Sahara Indian Sports Award'

Sahara India  hosted its newest sports initiative 'SAHARA INDIAN SPORTS AWARDS'. The comprehensive glittering awards ceremony was held with a view to felicitate the achievement and efforts of Indian sportspersons in their respective fields. The awards ceremony was initiated to also provide recognition to the upcoming young talents as well as to recognize the contribution of coaches, sports officials and administrators. The gala awards ceremony was held on November 9, 2009 at Taj Lands End amidst sporting legends and icons from various sports disciplines.

Sahara Indian Sports Awards 2008-09


Best Young Achiever - Female - Saina Nehwal

Best Young Achiever - Male - Yuki Bhambri

Coach of the Year - Pullela Gopichand

Outstanding Performance - Vijender Singh - Boxing

                                          Gaganjeet Bhullar - Golf

                                          Jayanta Talukdar - Archery

                                          Sushil Kumar - Wrestling

Best Cricketer - Female -  Mitali Raj

Best Cricketer - Male - Gautam Gambhir

Most Memorable Moment - Abhinav Bindra
Legend Honor - Prakash Padukone

Sportswoman of the Year - Mary Kom

Sportsman of the Year - Abhinav Bindra

Team of the Year - Indian Cricket Team

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Citi employees celebrate global community day

Over 1,000 Citi India employees from across 27 towns and cities joined thousands of their colleagues worldwide to observe the company’s fourth annual 'Global Community Day' today by dedicating their time, talent, skill and effort to a wide spectrum of community development initiatives ranging from climate change, literacy, housing and sports.

In the metropolis, a team of over 150 Citi employee-volunteers carried out variety of activities at the community development project of Anand Niketan. Activities ranged from planting a vegetable garden, puppet show for cancer patients, musical session for the elderly.

Canara Bank to open 104 branches

The Canara Bank will open 104 new branches in the country on November 19, commemorating the birth anniversaries of its founder Ammembal Subba Rao and late Prime Minister Ms Indira Gandhi, according to bank Chairman and Managing Director A C Mahajan.

Talking to newspersons after the bank's board meeting here last night, he said the bank had already opened 128 new branches, including three overseas branches in London, Hong Kong, Shanghai (China) and an offshore banking unit at Noida in Uttar Pradesh, reaching its total number of braches to 2806 as on September this year.

Apollo Tyres to soon raise product prices

With the prices of raw materials moving up, especially rubber, tyre manufacturer Apollo Tyres Ltd today said it will soon increase the prices of its products.

''In October, we had raised prices by about 2.5 per cent and we will be going for another price correction soon,'' company Vice Chairman and Managing Director Neeraj Kanwar told reporters here on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, being organised by CII.

Rubber prices are moving up beyond Rs 120 per kg, ''which is unreasonable'', he said, adding that the company will pass on the rise in commodity prices to customers.

BlueLabs opens development centre at Infopark

BlueLabs Technology Sloutions, an IT service provider based in Australia, has opened its second development centre at Thrissur Infopark.

The new facility, which could accomodate 150 people, has the state-of-the-art facilities like high bandwidth internet connectivity, multiple backbone links, client-specific secure VPN connections and the latest tele/video conferencing equipment.

Renault bullish on India; committed to launching low cost car

Despite having hit troubled waters, French carmaker Renault today reiterated its commitment to driving its low-cost small car into India.

The car manufacturer which has partnered with the country's second largest two-wheeler maker, Bajaj Auto, is reportedly involved in tussle over a number of issues, including the price point and branding.

The company had initially planned to launch the low cost car at 2,500 dollars in 2011.

New long-life battery laptops from Dell

Dell has released two new laptops from the nascent ULV class. The 13z and 15z are members of the Inspiron series and cost $550 and $580 respectively. ULV stands for Ultra Low Voltage and refers to processors designed to work at lower voltages and use less power.

In the case of the new Dell laptops, that translates into respective battery lives of 11 hours (13z with a 13.3 inch monitor) and 10 hours (15z with 15.6 inch monitor).

Windows 7 and Vista offer best file search

Ever wonder where you stored a certain file on your computer? If you have the new Windows 7 or even Windows Vista on your computer, you won't need any extra software to answer that question. The functionality already built into Windows 7 and Vista beats the performance offered by four free search programmes, the experts at Germany's Computer Bild magazine found.

Both Windows 7 and Vista scored above the best add-on programme. Windows 7 rated 2.84 on a scale of 1 to 5, with lower scores better than higher ones, and Vista rated 2.97. The best add-on programme was rated 3.03.

Idea Cellular booked for not keeping records of GPRS users

Telecom company Idea Cellular has been booked for not keeping records of customers using its GPRS service after a woman accused an unidentified client of creating an objectionable profile of her and posting it on the net, police said Sunday.

The firm was providing GPRS connections to various clients through a single Internet Protocol (IP) address.

"We registered a case against Idea telecom company late Saturday. We had sought their help in solving a case and asked for the details of one of their accused customers," Chandigarh Superintendent of Police (crime) Madhur Verma said here.

Renault Nissan to open Chennai factory early next year

Despite his Indian alliance not going as smoothly as expected, the head of Japan's Nissan Motors and France's Renault SA, Carlos Ghosn said their venture will be opening their factory in south India early next year.

"We will be starting our new plant in Chennai by the end of first quarter of next year," Ghosn told reporters on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Microsoft India to start unique on-ground Branding exercise

Even been tapped on the shoulder by Microsoft Word when shopping? Or seen kids playing with Internet Explorer in the middle of a mall? From today you just might at a mall near you, as Microsoft India initiated a unique on ground activation to showcase the magic of next-generation Windows across the phone & PC in a consumer's life.

Windows Phones (powered by the latest Windows Mobile 6.5) and Windows 7 on the PC allow consumers to do all that they want simply & magically. They further allow consumers to carry the familiar, powerful functionality of Windows from the PC into the Phone, so that they can carry Windows with them all the time and continue doing all that they love!

With the launch of next-generation Windows, the brand is extending beyond its well accepted strength in a consumer's work-life and highlighting the 'fun' aspect that it allows the consumer to indulge in. This is represented in the latest TV/ Digital creative's from Crispin that can be seen here: International advertisement (

Infosys offers multi-function human resource solutions

Infosys Technologies, in association with Oracle, will offer managed services platform that will help companies streamline their human resource (HR) operations and reduce costs.

"The platform enables us to offer the next generation of multi-process HR transformational outsourcing to our global clients cost-effectively," the company said in a statement.

Built on Oracle's PeopleSoft enterprise human capital management suite, the offering will help companies streamline their HR operations and reduce costs, as it includes hire-to-retire processes and functions such as HR administration, payroll and talent management.

"Clients can take advantage of the scalable IT infrastructure to achieve economies of scale, best practices and variable cost models," Infosys vice-president Anantha Radhakrishnan said.

"Offshore teams will provide integrated technology, process and language support from multiple offshore and near-shore delivery centers."

The global software major has teamed with Oracle to promote the offering in Australia and New Zealand and extend it to Asia, Europe and the Americas.

Oracle vice-president Tibor Beles said the combination of Oracle's platform and Infosys' IT and HR capabilities can help global organisations achieve HR process transformation and cost reduction using a "pay-as-you-go" variable pricing model.

Airtel brings service tax operations under one roof

Telecom service provider Bharti Airtel Friday launched a centre where functions relating to human resource, supply chain, finance and service taxes would be undertaken under one roof.

The unit, Centre for Shared Services for Taxation, was inaugurated by Central Board of Excise and Customs chairman V. Sridhar.

"The shared services initiative is part of an overall transformation programme undertaken by us to improve the efficiency, speed and quality of service," said Bharti Airtel chief executive and joint managing director Manoj Kohli.

"The shared services will deliver all taxation compliances, and also prepare the company for the new GST (goods and services tax) regime which is expected in 2010," Kohli added.

Airtel also said its contribution to the exchequer on account of service tax was Rs.4,108 crore in 2008-09.

eBay settles Skype software suit

E-commerce giant eBay has settled its long-running legal feud with the founders of Skype, clearing the way for a $2-billion sale of the internet telephony pioneer, the company announced Friday.

Under the terms of the settlement, Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis will get a 14 percent stake in the consortium buying Sykpe from eBay in return for an undisclosed cash investment and the withdrawal of their lawsuits.

Private-equity firm Silver Lake, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board will together own 56 percent of Skype, while eBay will retain 30 percent.

Zennstrom and Friis will also contribute Joltid software that is critical to the operation of Skype.

The pair had sued eBay for allegedly violating terms of a licensing agreement of Joltid, which they retained when they sold Skype to eBay in 2005 for about $2.6 billion in cash and stock.

"Skype will be well positioned to move forward under new owners with ownership and control over its core technology," said eBay chief executive John Donahoe in a statement. "We look forward to closing the deal and focusing on growing our core e-commerce and payments businesses."

Head of GM Europe may join Tata motors: Report

The European chief of General Motors (GM), Carl-Peter Forster, may switch to Indian car manufacturer Tata, German media reported Saturday.

Forster, 55, is quitting GM after strongly criticising the Detroit-based car giant's surprise U-turn in deciding not to sell European subsidiary Opel.

Tata is reportedly eyeing the GM manager to take charge of its global sales division. A decision was due shortly, sources told German Focus news magazine.

The role would involve launching Tata's budget Nano car in Europe, due in 2011.

Tata also owns the prestigious British Jaguar and Land Rover brands.

GM confirmed Friday that Forster was quitting. The former Opel boss had been highly critical of GM's last-minute decision not to sell the German carmaker to Canadian-Austrian car parts manufacturer Magna and their Russian backer, state-owned Sberbank.
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