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By | Billy MacInnes 13th September 2007 12:34

If you think the IT industry is grey and colourless, wait until you get a load of this

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Some people complain that the IT industry can be a bit colourless and grey, but we can't agree. There's quite a bit of colour around. Let's start with Orange. Nice colour on the whole, unless you happen to be Jem Telecom, a Lancashire-based reseller specialising in BlackBerrys, which went into the red and administration, blaming an outstanding debt from Orange of several hundred thousand pounds - enough, according to the administrator, to keep the company solvent. Orange recently terminated relationships with 150 resellers following an investigation into data leakage from the Orange extranet, stating it had decided not to deal with many resellers, preferring to deal with customers directly. It declined to comment when asked if the policy included refusing to pay money owed to existing resellers.

Orange goes pink, women see red

Orange is also flirting with a number of other colours, most notably, pink. The company showed off its pink LG Shine on Monday along with a rose-tinted Samsung F210 and salmon-hued Sony Erricsson W580i and W200i. The company claimed the pink Shine was "sure to appeal to the 85 per cent of young women out there who want a pink handset for Christmas". This probably didn't go down too well with the significant numbers of women in a Saatchi & Saatchi survey who reported they were turned off by the large numbers of pink products. According to the survey, only nine per cent of the women thought it was important their gadgets looked feminine. Others found pink products "patronising and offensive".

Firefox in the pink

Sticking to pink, we can report that Firefox seems to be in it right now after announcing it had passed the landmark of 400 million downloads of the web browser on Friday, three years after its launch. While that doesn't mean there are 400 million users of Firefox, figures from US consultancy firm Janco and the IT Productivity Center show it represents 17.4 per cent of the browser market, up 5.6 percentage points from September 2006. Microsoft's Internet Explorer has fallen by 9.6 percentage points in the same period to 63.9 per cent.

Green Apple recycles tunes for cash

Meanwhile, Apple was going for the green in more ways than one. First, iTunes is offering close to a million ringtones for the iPhone, which can be created from songs purchased from the Apple music store. Admirable recycling, you might think. Then, there's the green as in dollar, because to convert a purchased song to a ringtone, customers have to pay another 99 cents. I suppose we should be used to it - after all, we've all had to shell out for the same music on CD that we'd already bought on LP.

Big Blue for OpenOffice.org

Clinging to our colour theme for slightly longer than is healthy, amusing or even vaguely interesting, we do our tenuous best to drag in blue, as in big blue (aka IBM), with the news that said extremely large computer company is joining the OpenOffice.org development community. IBM has started by donating code developed for Lotus Notes and plans to include OpenOffice in its own suite of products.

Computacenter figures in black and white

Okay, that's enough colour for now. We could perhaps try to crowbar something about black into Computacenter's better-than-expected interim results, which contained a mixture of things up (revenues increased 4.1 per cent to £1.16bn and operating profits grew 12.1 per cent to £12.8m) and things down (pre-tax profits fell 11.8 per cent to £12.8m and UK revenues - excluding acquisitions - were down 1.8 per cent to £649.2m, while operating profit in the UK dropped 27.9 per cent to £11.9m). But we won't.

Sage opts for blue, white and red

Then again, there's always the lure of the tricolour. It certainly appealed to UK-based business management software maker Sage, which acquired a majority stake in French treasury management and payment software specialist XRT. The French company has about 6,000 customers worldwide, mainly in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Latin America.

BT chooses black, yellow and red

For its part, BT was more interested in the black, yellow and red tricolour belonging to Belgium, buying Belgian-based network systems integrator INS Group S.A, as part of the telecoms giant's plans to increase its presence in the global LAN and IP telephony services market. INS employs 225 people in Benelux, France, Germany, US, India and Australia and had revenues of €27.9m for the year ended 31 December 2006.

Dell sticks to red, green, yellow and blue...

Meanwhile, despite Dell's high-profile adoption of Linux - signified by offering select machines pre-installed with Ubuntu - the UK arm of the direct vendor was demonstrating its abiding loyalty to the red, green, yellow and blue. That's the Microsoft Windows flag for those of you who haven't already twigged. Users trying to order an Ubuntu machine from the Dell UK website have been redirected to the US website. When El Reg contacted the company's customer support helpdesk, the support person said it was very unusual to order a machine without Vista or XP already loaded. After failing to get the Reg hack to buy a Windows-based machine, the Dell support person offered one pre-installed with Red Hat for £20 more than the Vista version.

...but Cap Gemini isn't so sure

Although Dell UK is sticking firm to the Microsoft standard, Cap Gemini made a surprising announcement earlier this week when it revealed plans to start selling Google Apps to big corporate customers. The package of office applications, Google Apps Premier Edition, includes spreadsheets, documents, calendar, Gmail, instant messenger and VoIP and is delivered as a service over the internet. The deal is a boost for Google's ambitions for the corporate market. Cap Gemini's backing helps Google be seen as a viable partner for large businesses - online applications have been seen as more attractive for small businesses which are focussed on costs and lack large IT departments. Cap Gemini, which claims to support more than one million desktops around the world, will charge an annual licence fee for the package of applications as well as make money from integration and support.

EU runs up the white flag

Speaking of flags, the EU has opted for a sparkling new white one by giving up on its attempts to force the UK to adopt metric measurements after many years of trying. From now on, people will be able to sup pints, buy pounds of potatoes and drive for miles in peace, safe from the threat of being forced someday in the future to drink litres, buy kilos and drive kilometres. European Commission industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen admitted "the EU had been making itself unpopular on an issue that didn't really matter".

A black day for a brown bear

Famous Peruvian marmalade-sandwich-munching bear Paddington has been recruited to advertise Marmite. According to The Guardian, advertising agency DDB London has produced an advert where Paddington decides to try a Marmite-and-cheese sandwich instead of his usual fare. He throws a piece of the butty to a bird, who recoils and flies off, causing a chain reaction that ends with a taxi crashing into a shop and a policeman being hit with a watermelon. Paddington is then led off by the policeman.

A black and blue day for a burglar

A Colombian armed robber made an elementary error when he decided to target a karate school and is now recovering in hospital. According to local police commander, Colonel Julio Cesar Santoyo, the students "managed to react, put their knowledge to use and disarmed [the robber]".

Not so colourful please, we're losing money

One thing you can say about Australia is that it can definitely get quite colourful, especially given the pride it takes as a country in being plain-speaking to the point of bluntness, but accounting software developer 2Clix has taken a dim view, blaming a "severe downturn in sales" on people bad-mouthing its products in online user forums. The company claims at least 35 comments on forums hosted by the Whirlpool site are "false, malicious and causing financial harm to [2Clix's] trade and business". It is seeking about $125,000 in damages from the operator of the website that hosted the forums.

All talk

On the subject of talk, My Little Secret has released a mp3 vibrator that comes in two colours, pink and blue (although colour is not what we're focusing on here), but promotes its main selling point of allowing women to download and listen to erotic audio fantasies or record their own. It's great that the Talking Head can talk, but will the ladies ever really be satisfied if it doesn't listen, too?

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