Ericsson, Sony confirm cell phone venture

L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co. and Sony Corp. have announced a joint venture for the mobile telephone handset business, a company spokeswoman said.

Recently the two companies confirmed they were in talks to establish the joint venture. Local media reported Sony and Ericsson, which is the world’s number three cellular telephone handset maker, were in the final stages of talks to set up a U.K.-based joint venture that will cover aspects of the business ranging from development to sales.

Toshiba, Matsushita form LCD plant

Toshiba Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., better known by its Panasonic brand name, have incorporated a new joint venture company that will operate a planned liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturing plant in Singapore.

AFPD Pte. Ltd. started operating on May 1 and construction of the plant is expected to begin in the same month, said Kenichi Sugiyama, a spokesman for Toshiba. Most of the 123 billion yen (US$1 billion) investment in the new plant, some 67 per cent, will come from Toshiba with Matsushita contributing the remaining 33 per cent. By coming together to construct the plant and operate it, both companies are expecting benefits, Sugiyama said. Most importantly the new factory will ensure each company a constant and stable supply of LCDs, which are increasingly in demand for products from cell phones to flat-panel televisions and notebook computers. Additionally, Toshiba will gain access to Matsushita’s LCD driver semiconductor technology while Matsushita will benefit from Toshiba’s leading polysilicon TFT technology.

Intel sells out of China portal

Beijing-based Beida Jade Bird Ltd., a technology company affiliated with China’s prestigious Beijing University, has closed a deal to buy Intel Corp.’s 8.6 per cent stake in Chinese Web portal through its Hong Kong-based subsidiary, Hong Kong Jade Bird Science and Technology Ltd., according to a filing with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

Hong Kong Jade Bird Science and Technology plans to buy Intel’s 3,073,750 shares in at US$1.18 per share, the SEC filing said. The sale price is worth a total of more than US$3.6 million. The deal does not come as a surprise. Intel, which has sold shares in seven times since January 29, 2001, announced plans to sell its remaining stake in on April 13 and named Jade Bird as a possible buyer.

DoCoMo to delay 3G rollout

NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan’s largest cellular telecommunications carrier and one of the biggest supporters of third generation (3G) wireless services, is delaying the commercial launch of its 3G service by five months until October this year and will instead focus on limited trials from May, the company said

The delay will prove embarrassing for DoCoMo, which has been promising a roll out in late May and had launched a publicity campaign surrounding the service, pegged as the world’s first commercial 3G service. Under the company’s new plan, it will launch a 3G trial service, under the label of an “introductory service,” in the Tokyo area on May 30. The service will be limited to around 4,000 customers, said Pat Kuwahata, a spokesman for NTT DoCoMo, and will be switched to a full commercial service on Oct. 1. “The service type will be changed from a real commercial service to an introductory service,” he said of the May launch. “We will charge the (normal) communications fees to customers except for the basic (monthly) fee and handset charge.” Handsets will be lent to customers during the introductory period, he added

Australia fails to develop industry: survey

Australia is failing to develop its own software industry and is not positioning itself to take advantage of a global industry which will be worth US$541 billion by 2004.

In a detailed report on the state of the local software industry, the Boston Consulting Group found Australia is lagging behind Israel, India and Ireland. Last year Australia consumed A$4.2 billion (US$2.12 billion) in packaged software but figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show the nation actually produced less than A$1 billion of software products, creating a A$3 billion-plus trade deficit. “If Australian software exports were comparable to the middle stages of industry development in Israel and India (5 per cent of total merchandise exports) Australia would be exporting around A$9 billion of software products and services in 2005,” the report said. “Israel is reported to have exported US$3 billion worth of software in 2000; up from US$135 million in 1992

Eminem escapade an internal error

The error on New Zealand Post’s (NZ Post) Web site at the end of April was not a hack, but a failure of the site’s internal user acceptance test (UAT), says the organization.

The glitch saw queries to the search facility on NZ Post’s Web site bring up a page dedicated to the rapper Eminem. NZ Post’s chief technology officer Kerry Dukie said the state-owned enterprise uses the Wellington-based developer Hyperactive for Web development. “When we receive content from Hyperactive it is placed on internal UAT machines for sign off by the various business groups. When the content is signed off as production-ready it is migrated to the Internet facing live servers,” Dukie said. “We made a promotion of new content to the live servers after it was signed off as production ready. There was however one error not found during UAT. That was a reference to a Hyperactive internal development server eminem:9999. This resulted in the observed situation where all search attempts were directed to Eminem on port 9999. tightens up deliveries

On-line hosiery retailer has started delivering its products in plain brown envelopes after getting dozens of complaints from its male customers.

The company had to cover up its logo to prevent embarrassment for its large base of male clients. “Many men are buying [tights] as presents and others are buying for themselves,” said Laura Godsal, managing director of The company admitted it had not expected to be so popular with men but has now set up a special help section to give men advice on choosing the right pair. “We have a very wide range of products and sizes,” Godsal said. “The site gives men anonymity and cuts down the embarrassment of going to a store.”

Dot-com celebs left with nasty taste

Celebrity cook Delia Smith is reported to have lost a whopping