IT Journo Asia – Epitome: BizIT gives it up to HardwareZone

Singapore – 11 Oct, 2004 – At the Business Times’ BizIT today, Raju Chellam had one of those reports rarely seen in the technology media – a hands-down salute to another publishing house.

True, the ‘serious’ business-oriented BizIT could hardly be seen to compete with the ‘techie’ consumer titles of HardwareZone. But the two would still loosely compete for the odd advertising dollar, particular with BizIT’s new promise to cover both business and consumer-oriented content.

So it was nice to see Raju Chellam care nought for that, instead giving the founders of the Singapore-based HardwareZone a massive rap in a report that began:

“They’re young, ambitious, highly educated and geeky. They run a website that gets 32 million page views a month and was rated the top IT media website in Singapore in August by Hitwise. And the startup they founded now employs 45 people.”

Chellam then went on to compare the duo, Eugene Low and Jackie Lee, to the founders of Google, before filing another piece advising readers to check HardwareZone before buying a gadget.

Advising readers to read another title? That’s almost unheard of!

Advertising rivalry aside, the tech media is so traditionally competitive that it’s very rare to see one publishing house give another the thumbs up. But with tech more than ever competing with the rags of the business, consumer, and even womens’ beats, it only makes sense for opposing houses to give each other, and the industry, the odd hurrah.

Looking forward to more of it…

Elsewhere at BizIT today, Amit Roy Choudhury pushed the VoIP story down an interesting tunnel: the phones baby, the phones.

Relying heavily on research from Frost & Sullivan, Roy Choudhury nevertheless filed an interesting read on how the snowballing internet telephony trend will affect the phone.

“According to Frost & Sullivan … ‘by the end of the decade almost every other phone in a business will be an IP phone’,” Roy Choudhury wrote, adding: “[The F&A analyst] said that Singapore companies have stopped buying PBX systems and all new purchases are that of IP telephones”.

In a top BizIT read today, editor Ken James then climbed in with an animated read on how Dell’s CEO “has slammed news reports that [it] exited the low end consumer market in China”.

That’s a ‘misrepresentation’, James had the CEO claiming, reiterating that his company remains committed to both the consumer and business markets in China. Said the CEO to James: “We know what [Lenovo’s] P&L looks like, and we know what ours is like – and ours looks better.”

ACW: Datacraft raises a glass

Sng Chee Khiang led Asia Computer Weekly today with a report on how Datacraft has finally “[got] its act together”, launching a 13-nation campaign across Asia to rebrand itself from an ‘integrator firm’ to an ‘IT services company’.

Datacraft should be delighted with the piece – which was a good read and basically talked through the firm’s repositioning strategy – although one wonders if the CEO is quite so pleased with the accompanying picture (in which he stands triumphantly holding forth either a beer in a champagne glass, or some very frothy champagne).

Inside ACW, Sng had some detail on HP’s push into consumer tech, while Teresa Leung noted that the new edition of Lotus Notes should work better with instant messaging. Jorina Choy had some nice angles on a new product offering: “You get more integrated tools when you buy a new ERP software suite from SAP or Oracle … but you may actually end up with more applications than you really need…”

New/s scribe on the HK block

New arrival at The Technology Post, Stuart Biggs, began filing today with his interpretation of the PCCW/Ofta scrummage.

The telco regulator’s “compromise of granting PCCW the freedom to set its own prices has not really made anyone happy,” Biggs wrote.

PCCW “has something to grumble about”, for it will still be controlled in some part by Ofta, and the firm’s rivals aren’t smiling either, as PCCW “will now be able to lower prices to win back customers”. In a clever comment, the chairman of PCCW opponent, City Telecom, argued the proposal would be bad for the consumer.

“PCCW could now adopt a “discriminatory pricing” policy, lowering rates in neighbourhoods where there was competition among carriers and leaving rates unchanged or even raising them in areas where the company was the sole operator,” Biggs wrote.

Also at SCMP, Nicole Chan and Hui Yuk-Min reported that “Mainland internet portals are rushing to tap the US market after the successful Nasdaq debut of recruitment portal operator 51job”. Elaine Wu had a cool report about “An angry PCCW telemarketer” who “hacked into customers’ accounts and made purchases to increase their bills”. The woman has now left PCCW.

Around the news: Long breaks Thailand VoIP arrest tale

According to sources, wrote Geoff Long for CommsDay Global, “Thai authorities have begun a crackdown on illegal SIP phone services” with up to 30 people charged with offering illegal phones and telecom services, “an offence which carries a significant fine and or jail term”.

Cracker.

Added Long: “While state-owned carriers TOT and CAT Telecom offer Internet telephony it is illegal for anyone else to offer VoIP services within the country”; industry watchers are converned at the growth of a grey market.

Telecom Asia also carried an intriguing report from Asia Intelligence Wire via NewsEdge. It seems “Korea’s global leadership in the CDMA sector is under serious threat following the illegal leakage of cellphone technologies”. Hyundai Syscomm has said that, back in March, a shareholder “disposed” of CDMA source codes for a price tage of over $10 million.

Computimes’ Sharifah Kasim and Rozana Sani had good news for consumers, on the back of a Malaysian increase in petrol prices – “No hike in PC prices expected” ran their headline.

Finally, Tan Shi’An, writer at The New Paper, had a nice example today of what to do when you’re filing old news.

The results of the Far Eastern Economic Review survey – on which gadgets are beloved by which execs – must be over two weeks old now. But Tan’s version of the story was still a good read, thanks to an intriguing intro.

“Ten years ago, when I was still a pinafore-wearing schoolgirl, my secondary school decided to go ‘high-tech’,” Tan began. “For a couple of hours a week, we were taught various ways to make the words ‘Hello World’ float on a screen.” Also at The New Paper, Oo Gin Lee was less than impressed with new game Robot Wars (er.. the title of his piece was “Lame Game”).


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