Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Big money can be made with a merger or acquisition, and one of the biggest may be taking place if Oracle wins the bid for Lawson Software. Traders that profit from mergers and acquisitions are betting the $1.8 billion takeover of Lawson Software Inc. will get trumped by a higher offer, with Oracle Corp. the most likely bidder.

Lawson Software, which counts billionaire investor Carl Icahn as one of its biggest shareholders, has risen 4.4 percent above the offer of
$11.25 a share from Infor and Golden Gate Capital disclosed March 11, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s more than any U.S.
deal over $500 million. Oracle, the second-biggest seller of business applications software, may buy Lawson.

Oracle stands to profit from Lawson Software’s electronic medical records and software for task management, which analysts estimate will help push the St. Paul, Minnesota-based company’s earnings to a record this year. A bidding contest would also increase Icahn’s windfall from his 10.9 percent stake in Lawson Software, which currently represents a 51 percent gain.

Lawson Software, which jumped 15 percent in the week ended March 11 on speculation it was putting itself up for sale, closed at $11.75 yesterday. That’s higher than the all-cash offer of $11.25 a share from Alpharetta, Georgia-based Infor and buyout fund Golden Gate Capital of San Francisco.

The bid represented an 8.4 percent premium to Lawson Software’s average price in the 20 days prior to the offer. Including net debt, the takeover valued Lawson Software at 14.8 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

By both measures, the price for Lawson Software is lower than other acquisitions in the industry. The average premium for so-called enterprise software and services takeovers of more than $500 million equaled 41 percent. The median Ebitda multiple for deals in the industry has been 20.2 times.

Oracle, with $24.4 billion in cash and equivalents, has historically offered a median 22.3 times Ebitda in takeovers and only paid less than 20 times once -- when it agreed to buy Sun Microsystems Inc. for 8.3 times Ebitda in April 2009.

Oracle may bid for Lawson Software because of a U.S. law that now requires hospitals and other providers to adopt electronic medical records and billing systems in order to receive higher payments for patients enrolled in federal health care programs. Lawson sells the software that providers need to make the switch.

Lawson Software’s unit that targets customers in the health-care industry and used cisco switches, had an operating margin of 23.8 percent in the three months ended November, its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed. That compares with 7.4 percent for the division that sells software to manufacturers.

Analysts estimate that Lawson Software will earn $85.3 million in net income before abnormal items in its fiscal year ending May, an increase of 24 percent. Earnings may top $100 million next fiscal year before jumping 38 percent in 2013.

Shares of Lawson Software have climbed 77 percent in the past year, bringing its market value to $1.92 billion.

Oracle finds that attractive because that’s a very big area in terms of money. Hospitals are in the process of becoming more and more high tech. Medical care in America is a hundreds of billions of dollars a year proposition.

While speculation of an Oracle bid has lifted shares of Lawson Software, it’s no guarantee one will materialize, and it is unclear if there are any other buyers

Even without a competing offer, Icahn still stands to gain from his stake in Lawson Software. The 75-year-old investor, who made millions in the 1980s pressuring companies from USX Corp. to Texaco Inc. to split up or boost dividends and buybacks, reported an 8.54 percent stake in Lawson Software in May and said he intended to seek talks with management to boost shareholder value.

He owned 17.85 million shares as of March 14, which he acquired for about $139 million, or $7.79 a share. Icahn said in the filing that he supports Lawson Software’s strategic process and that the company should be sold at the highest price.

Based on the original $11.25 offer price, Icahn would make $62 million, or a profit of about 44 percent, from his Lawson Software stake. At yesterday’s closing price, his windfall would increase to about 51 percent.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hewlett-Packard and Oracle In Battle Again

Hewlett-Packard continues to battle with their corporate rival Oracle Corporation. The current rant comes about from Hewlett-Packard’s claim that Oracle is planning on dropping support for a server chip that would cause Hewlett-Packard millions of dollars in lost productivity. Oracle plans on stopping development on software for Itanium-based servers that is used by Intel Corporation for server chips because the technology is phasing out.
The corporate battle began when ousted Hewlett-Packard CEO was hired by Oracle, the largest maker of database software and other corporate applications. Oracle claims that Hewlett-Packard is aware on Intel starting to slow production of the chip that was initially developed jointly by Intel and Hewlett-Packard. Oracle is also stating that is will continue to support existing Itanium customers. Hewlett-Packard is the biggest producer of server computers that use Itanium.
Oracle became a competitor to Hewlett-Packard last year through an acquisition in which Oracle acquired servers that run on Itanium rival called Sparc. Hewlett-Packard feels Oracle is taking shots at Itanium because Hewlett-Packard systems based on the processor are winning orders, while Sparc- based servers are losing market share. Hewlett-Packard also argues that this is Oracles attempt to force customers into their Sun-server products. Customers are said to use refurbished cisco switches which does not use Itanium.
Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, said it will continue to produce Itanium and has plans for future versions. Oracle maintains -- despite Intel’s denial -- that Hewlett-Packard knows that Intel plans to shift away from Itanium.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

3-D Phone Screens to Premier

Soon after a 3-D Screen premiered on the Nintendo 3DS game system, AT&T gets ready to launch a smartphone with a 3-D screen and a dual-lens camera for 3-D snapshots.
AT&T said Monday that the LG Thrill 4G will be released within in the next few months. It didn't say what the touch screen phone would cost.
The Thrill will run Google's Android software and will be able to play games and YouTube clips in 3-D, and you will not even need 3-D glasses.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Enery Star Label to Appear on Laptops

Star Ratings are on the way for computers

After making star ratings mandatory for refrigerators and air conditioners, the government is mulling making manufacturers put the efficiency indicator on personal computers (PCs), laptops, photocopiers, printers, fax machines and set top boxes to reflect the energy consumption by these products.

The government is currently compiling a list as to which products would be included in this process and that should comply with star ratings to show the energy consumption. A few of these products includes desktops, laptops and office products like photocopiers, fax machines and printers. These items are being considered because they consume a lot of energy as users keep them on for more than six to eight hours per day, both at homes and in offices. By rating these products the government will ensure better energy efficiency for these products.

According to the proposal, the government will initially put these products in the voluntary list. After six months, it will be mandatory for these products to sport the star ratings. Older computer models such as Dells top quality products liked the Used Dell Inspiron and Refurbished Dell Vostro will not be required to have the star rating.

The labeling program for energy efficiency, popularly known as star labeling, is an initiative undertaken by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) under the ministry of power. Star ratings determine the amount of power used by consumer durable items.

With every rise in the number of stars, energy efficiency improves by 20 percent.

At present, star labeling is mandatory for four products - frost-free refrigerators, , tubular fluorescent lights and distribution transformers. It had come into effect from January, 2010.

According to an official at the power ministry, by 2012-end the government plans to take the number of mandatory products to 11 while adding 21 more products to the voluntary list. It is expected that this new procedure will impact used equipment such as Cheap Laptops which are expected to remain cost effective as more products hit the market.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Value for homes diminishes, increasing mortgage applications

While current homeowners continuously face drops in their home's equity, large numbers of new homebuyers took advantage of attractive mortgage rates and applied for mortgage loans last week.

The latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association, displays mortgage application volume for the week ending March 4 rose 15.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week. Rising to its highest level this year was volumes for purchase loan applications at a seasonally adjusted 12.5%. Also increasing to near peak levels since January 11 was Refinance loan volume at 17.2%.

"An improving job market is beginning to pave the way for an improving housing market." said MBA's vice president of research and economics, Michael Fratantoni. In addition to progressing job market, he also attributed the growth to lowering interest rates"...mortgage interest rates remained below 5 percent for a second week, maintaining affordability for buyers and leading to an increase in refinance applications." he added.

The exceeding growth in mortgage lending has ignited the interests among software developers who create programs for portfolio management. Banking professionals and lenders are beginning to demand for better financial risk management software to improve control and enhance client relations.

Yesterday, a report by CoreLogic stated that in the final quarter of 2010, 23.1%, of all residential properties were valued at less than the outstanding balance on their mortgages. That reflects a 2.7% rise from the previous quarter.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Eye-Tracking Laptop Out of Lab

Electronic News Article
By Associated Press

New Eye-Tracking Laptop Out of Lab

NEW YORK (AP) - Ever wish your eyes were lasers? A laptop prototype brings that wish closer to reality.

It tracks your gaze and figures out where you're looking on the screen. That means, among other things, that you can play a game where you burn up incoming asteroids with a laser that hits where you look.

In another demonstration this week, the computer scrolled a text on the screen in response to eye movements, sensing when the reader reached the end of the visible text.

In the future, a laptop like this could make the mouse cursor appear where you're looking, or make a game character maintain eye contact with you, according to Tobii Technology Inc., the Swedish firm that's behind the tracking technology. Many small firms including an IT consulting Frederick company have been watching developments very closely.

The eye tracker works by shining two invisible infrared lights at you. Two hidden cameras then look for the "glints" off your eyeballs and reflections from each retina. It needs to be calibrated for each person. It works for people with or without eyeglasses. Laptops with eye-tracking technology are among many recent workplace management tools that are close to hitting the market.

Rather than a replacement for the traditional mouse and keyboard or the newer touch screen, the eye-tracking could be a complement, making a computer faster and more efficient to use.

Tobii has been making eye-tracking devices for researchers and the disabled for nearly a decade. The laptop is its way of showing that eye-tracking could expand beyond those niches.
The laptop is made by Lenovo Corp., and incorporates Tobii's eye-tracking cameras in a "hump" on the cover, making the entire laptop computer package about twice as thick as a regular laptop. But future, commercial versions can be slimmer and are reported to be years away.

One of Lenovo's biggest computers with eye-track and laptops is Dell. Dell is running tests on eye-tracking technology on some of it's used dell laptops.

Lenovo and Tobii made 20 of the laptops and planned to demonstrate them at the CeBIT technology trade show in Hanover, Germany.

Tobii's current, standalone eye-trackers cost tens of thousands of dollars, but Barclay said the cost of adding consumer-level eye-tracking to a commercial laptop or refurbished desktops for workplace applications could be much less.

New ways to use computers have been proliferating in recent years. Touch screens are becoming popular on smart phones and tablet computers such as the iPad. Nintendo Corp.'s Wii game console brought motion-sensing technology to the masses. Microsoft Corp. released an accessory for its Xbox games console that incorporates used Cisco switches that tie into an infrared camera to sense the movement of bodies in three dimensions.

New Software From SAP Rivals Salesforce.com And Microsoft CRM Online

At today's Cebit show, software giant SAP will unveil a new application called Sales OnDemand. The program is has the potential to rival comparable software applications such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft CRM Online.

SAP's Sales OnDemand is among of a series of software applications in which the company is positioning as program extensions to its in-house ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems. The strategy behind the application is to preserve revenue streams from on-premises software while handling the needs of those same users who want to expand and innovate their IT services through SaaS (software as a service).

The software company is designing the applications to include the platform that underlies SAP's Business ByDesign ERP software suite. According to a statement by SAP, Sales OnDemand will be released this year in addition to specialized applications for expense management and human resources.

SAP's vice president of product management and head of co-innovation Sven Denecken said that the company is focusing on new approaches to its platforms and will emphasize a "person-centric" design principle. That means a more user friendly, Facebook-like design for Sales OnDemand. In addition, the new software contains core SFA (salesforce automation) capabilities, Denecken added.

The cost of the new application has not been released, but according to Denecken it will be "very competitive" with comparable products on the market.. But the application's seamless integration with SAP's ERP systems will give Sales OnDemand an attractive edge, he added.

SAP is also planning to release at the launch of the new application mobile support capabilities for iPhones, BlackBerries and Android devices, he said.

Sales OnDemand is not yet a complete replacement for SAP's existing CRM (customer relationship management) software, said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research.

"At the beginning, I would say it will have 20 percent of the full suite. But that 20 percent is what people use 80 percent of the time," he said. For now, much of the value derives from financial software tools as well as the tracking and management consumer relations.

"This is a sales tool for sales people," he added. "Part of the problems most people face in terms of (CRM software applications) is they've been designed for managers, (who) want things tracked and reported. This does that in a much more natural way. ... It's a very sexy product."

SAP hopes to attract the interests of many businesses in a number of industries with Sales OnDemand. The product can be applied to commercial retailers to consulting firms specializing in financial risk management software.

Other leaders in the CRM software industry are adapting to the computing habits of end users. For instance, Salesforce.com has added a feature of social networking and collaboration with the release of a tool called Chatter. Another example is Microsoft's CRM Online, as this platform now applies a "role-based" user interface while offering a native Outlook client.