IN BRIEF: Calling all BlackBerry developers

The BlackBerry Partners Fund is looking for innovative and compelling new mobile apps as it officially kicks off the second annual BlackBerry Developers Challenge this week.

The contest is open for submissions from app developers until Sept. 25, 2009, with the grand prize winner expected to take home US$75,000 and a one-year Elite BlackBerry Alliance membership. The top prize will also receive a one-day workshop session at Research In Motion Ltd.’s Waterloo, Ont., headquarters and two weeks on the App World Featured Application Carousel.

A total of 16 finalist prize packages will be awarded, with all the winners announced on stage at the BlackBerry Developers Conference in November.

More contest details are available at and a rundown of last year’s three finalists can be found at

Half of IT spend in the clouds by 2019: Analyst

A British research firm is predicting that half the money spent on IT will go into cloud services by 2019.

Coda Research Consultancy Ltd. believes by that time, the current generation of IT decision-makers will have left the workforce and been replaced by people for whom cloud computing is the norm, according to a press release.

The Coda report Cloud Computing: An Assessment also suggests that by 2015, there will be consolidation in the cloud market, with players like, Google Inc., IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp. dominating. Also:

* Vertical market specialization will start to take place from about 2011, particularly in manufacturing, health, finance and media.

* By 2013, cloud computing will be entrenched within companies that have been using it since before 2010.

* By 2015, 17 per cent of IT spend will be on cloud services. That number will rise to 45 to 50 per cent by 2019.

Canuck pill-pushers were first to jump on swine flu bandwagon

In a recent bout of headline spam, Canadian generic pharmaceutical Web sites took advantage of the news of a spreading swine flu pandemic to push pills, according to McAfee Inc.’s Avert Labs.

The fact that the bout of spam was hooked to swine flu was “almost coincidental,” according to the lab’s June 2009 Spam Report. Pharmacy spam was already the largest contributor to the headline spam phenomenon.

Headline spam is only one theme Avert described iin the report.

Spam and phishing campaigns have developed successful branding techniques to mimic banks and spoof Classmates and Facebook, according to the report. Image spam messages, which can be harder to detect, are larger in size and campaigns roll out more slowly, according to the report.

Q9 CEO wins Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) announced Osama Arafat, CEO of Q9 Networks Inc., as the recipient of this year’s Enterpreneur of the Year Award.

The annual CVCA competition, which began in 1992, celebrates the achievements of Canadian entrepreneurs who lead private equity or venture-backed companies. The announcement was made at CVCA’s 2009 Annual Conference in Calgary last week.

Arafat’s prior accomplishments include co-founding ISP InfoRamp, which was sold to iSTAR in 1995, and co-managing VPN manufacturer Isolation Systems. In 2000, Arafat established ISP Myna Communications. With a base of $1 million, he re-focused Myna, which became Q9 Networks. The company was sold to ABRY Partners in 2008 for $361 million.

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