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Channel Reg Weekly

By | Billy MacInnes 26th April 2007 11:20

Ass kickings abound as angry mob vents spleen

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A feel good moment

We'll start with an obligatory pat on the back for the channel. Let's face it, if we don't tell you guys you're great, who will? And so we go to the news that worldwide PC shipments grew nine per cent in the first quarter of 2007. Dell held on to number one spot but HP shipments were up 28.7 per cent and Gartner said the company was "benefiting from a strong position in the channel". You could never say that about Dell.

Resellers cloud Sun with Ofcom complaint

But if one part of the channel was basking in the glow of reflected glory from one vendor, another part was busy directing its ire at another manufacturer, Sun in this case. An alliance of resellers has filed an official complaint with the UK's Office of Fair Trading alleging Sun is unfairly stifling trade in used Sun parts. They claim Sun is refusing to provide information on where products come from, making it difficult for resellers to find out whether the kit they are reselling is legitimate or not.

Mad as hell? Must be (French) Swiss

Speaking of angry groups, a Francophone Swiss woman has launched an online petition protesting that Adobe is forcing European customers to pay between 89 and 106 per cent more for Creative Suite 3 than their US counterparts. Danielle Libine is also calling on the European Union to take action.

Kicking ass the channel way

While Danielle is hoping to kick some Adobe ass, AMD has been busy taking a few size 10s to the derriere from the channel. AMD channel vice president John Byrne admitted its focus on OEMs had alienated traditional partners. "We've had our arse kicked," he said. AMD is hoping to prevent further kickings by working closer with partners.

It gets worse

In a bad few days for AMD, the company reported a first quarter loss of $611m and a decline in sales to $1.23bn. Analysts also claimed AMD's market share had fallen from 25 per cent of the x86 market in the fourth quarter to 19 per cent in the first three months of 2007.

Bad news doesn't come in trees

But there's one piece of good news among the gloom: AMD has given Dell $16,000 to plant trees. That's a dollar for each of its employees.

Caught in a web of confusion

Another bunch of people having difficulty seeing the wood from the trees are senior executives who have admitted they don't understand Web 2.0 technology enough to use it properly. They can see the potential for boosting revenues and reducing costs but not how to get there. More than a quarter said their IT departments weren't competent enough to implement Web 2.0 applications properly.

Milton Keynes, hard core!

But one group of people who should have no difficulty getting wood are the good citizens of Milton Keynes. Their town has come top of the global porn/sex rankings, according to Google Trends. UK towns hold the top five spots.

To protect and serve

Given their very active sex ranking, the people of Milton Keynes will probably need some good protection, especially if they're using their cards. One place they could go is the Payment Card industry Security Standards Council which is doing everything to ensure personal details are locked down against abuse.

But perhaps Google still had the Trends survey on its mind last week because when one Reg reader did an image search for the PCI DSS logo, the search engine came back with a picture of a box of Durex extra safe condoms.

Ghouls catch a virus

Somehow, we don't think Google's answer would do much to protect users against virus writers who used a link to a supposed Brazilian website carrying camera phone footage of the shootings at Virginia Tech University to launch a malware attack. Anyone visiting the site ran the risk of falling prey to a banking spyware Trojan horse. Of course, virus writers are bad people, but perhaps we should ask ourselves why anyone would want to visit such a site in the first place.

How do you fit a Trojan horse in a car park?

Not only are purveyors of malware bad, they're cunning too. One of their wheezes was to leave a load of USB sticks loaded with Trojan banking software in a London car park. Will they stop at nothing?

A reasonable price to charge

Which brings us to next to nothing, the price Microsoft plans to charge in emerging markets for its Student Innovation Suite bundle. For $3, primary and secondary school students in selected countries where governments pay for students' PCs will get a suite that includes Windows XP Starter Edition and Office Home and Student. Microsoft called it "affordable and reliable" - so it's not Windows Vista.

What's a reasonable price to charge?

In hot water with the EC for the less than charitable pricing it applies to rivals seeking to license its Work Group Server technology, Microsoft has asked the commission for a better idea of what it considers a reasonable price to charge. Microsoft wants to charge 5.95 per cent, but a monitoring trustee hired by the commission has recommended Microsoft charges royalty payments of zero to one per cent.

I'd rather be in Iowa

Microsoft was more charitable in deciding that $180m was a reasonable amount to pay to settle a class action lawsuit in Iowa that claimed it had abused its monopoly position to overcharge consumers between 1994 and 2006.

Charity begins at XP Home

We're not sure how charitable Microsoft was feeling towards Dell after the PC vendor announced it would begin offering Windows XP again on business and consumer PCs. Dell was reacting to online complaints at its recently-launched Ideastorm website from people who didn't want to see XP dropped so swiftly in favour of Vista.

Vulnerable after all

If Microsoft was in the wars, Apple was also having a difficult week. Its security credentials took a dent when a hacker found a zero day vulnerability in QuickTime that enabled him to commandeer a brand new MacBook Pro and win $10,000. Apple fans were quick to point out the rules of the competition had to be relaxed before the machine could be successfully hacked and it had to visit a booby-trapped website for the exploit to work.

Lawsuit turns GUI for Apple

The good news for Apple was that CEO Steve Jobs seemed to be off the hook in the SEC investigation into the granting of stock options at the company, but then it emerged the fruity vendor could face a jury trial over allegations it ripped off a US patent filed by Xerox in 1987. The plaintiffs want a jury trial, damages in excess of $20m, and a ban on sales of current and future versions of Mac OS X. They're not asking for much then.

Bought and not sold

Northgate HR continued splashing the cash by acquiring Confidential Payroll and said there could be more to come.

Public sector services giant Serco tabled an offer to buy AIM-listed Cornwell Management Consultants Plc for £7m. In a statement, Serco said Cornwell had a good profile with the Identity and Passport Service as an IT and management consulting firm.

Meanwhile, Morse took the decision to demerge from Monitise, its mobile banking and payments solution division, founded four years ago. Monitise will be listed on AIM.

Things we could have left out

There were load of results last week. Sun reported a $67m profit for its third fiscal quarter, compared to a loss of $217m the previous year. Sales were up slightly at $3.28bn.

Juniper Networks' first quarter income fell 12 per cent because of the costs and charges associated with a stock options probe, but sales increased 11 per cent to $626.9m.

Distributor Bell Microproducts claimed it could report record revenue of up to $1bn for the first quarter.

Lenovo announced plans to axe five per cent of its global workforce, and Overland Storage said it would cut 14 per cent of its staff to reduce costs.

Things we wish we had time for

CA had some good news for partners at CA World. It had set a target for 30 per cent of new business to come from indirect partners. But there was some bad news too. CA plans to weed out those who aren't doing much business and replace them with new resellers.

A study has found that talking to passengers in a car is more dangerous than driving on your own, but less perilous than talking to a handsfree phone. Unless the passengers have got a gun.

The head of European operations at HP's printer division revealed it was planning to sell low-cost ink cartridges which will cost around €10.

We couldn't go without mentioning the story about Society Service, a Dutch escort agency that specialises in helping virgins, many of them from the IT sector, with their first sexual encounter. Sociology student Zoe Vialet, who set up the agency last year, has a team of five specially trained girls to help shy geeks. But it's not quite plug and play. Every booking lasts a minimum of three hours, but there are no figures for the average uptime. ®

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