Indian It Outsourcers Want A Bigger Byte Out Of Europe

Sony’s smartphone focus shifts to Japan, Europe, says CEO

Puglia, Getty Images) SHARE 82 CONNECT 38 TWEET 8 COMMENTEMAILMORE Egypt’s state news agency says a boat has capsized off the coast of the city of Alexandria, killing 12 migrants and leaving 116 survivors. Meanwhile, Italy’s coast guard says many of the 200 migrants aboard a boat that capsized off Lampedusa have survived and helicopters are taking the injured to the Sicilian island. Coast guard spokesman Marco Di Milla says “a good number” of the estimated 200 people have been rescued. He says the coast guard received a satellite phone call from the boat and was able to locate it based on the satellite coordinates. A Maltese armed forces statement says that since the boat was in Maltese search and rescue waters, a Maltese aircraft was sent up and reported that the boat had capsized and that “numerous” people were in the water. The aircraft dropped a life raft and a patrol boat soon arrived at the scene. ALSO THIS WEEK: Italy detains suspected boat captain as death toll hits 275 Egypt’s state news agency says the coast guard received a call for help Friday from a boat carrying the migrants and naval forces went out to the rescue. It said the survivors were 72 Palestinians, 40 Syrians, and four Egyptians. The nationalities of those who drowned were not immediately available. Officials said rescue efforts continued. At least 70,000 Syrians are registered in Egypt as refugees.

IMF and Europe Part Ways Over Bailouts

“Europe has been a very conservative market compared with the U.S.,” said Sharat Kumar, head of delivery for Europe at No. 5 Indian player Tech Mahindra, whose European clients include food giant Nestle SA and aerospace firm EADS . “The customers are conservative in starting the initiative, but once they do, these are the customers that don’t just go back and forth or drop it, so what we’ve seen is that there is a lot more stability in the European customer,” he said. For European companies, many of them battered by a prolonged economic slowdown, Indian IT firms offer cost advantages to using local vendors or doing the work in-house. Global rivals such as IBM and Capgemini also have big operations in India that can take advantage of lower costs. Indian vendors are also taking on increasingly complex work. “To a certain extent, the skills shortage in continental Europe is driving the growth for offshore openness,” said Katharina Grimme, a principal consultant with outsourcing advisory Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC) in Cologne, Germany. LOCAL CHALLENGES Indian IT’s progress in Europe comes at the expense of local vendors, which according to NelsonHall are seeing flat sales. In 2009, India’s TCS ranked just 21st in IT services revenue from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but rose to 11th at the end of 2012, according to PAC. Indian rivals Wipro and Infosys ranked 18 and 23, respectively, in 2012, after not cracking the top 25 in 2009. To address labour issues and speed growth in Europe, Indian companies have been acquiring local firms. To win client trust, they hire locally for senior client-facing roles, but most of the grunt work can be done from India. Jef Loos, head of sourcing research at Whitelane Research in Brussels, said Indian vendors moving into Germany, France, Spain and Italy will use acquisitions given language barriers, a “limited” outsourcing culture, and stronger unions. Works councils are “very” influential in markets such as Germany and France, said Tech Mahindra’s Sharat Kumar, which is reflected in the makeup of project staff.

He later dismissed the controversy as “a storm in a teacup.” Mr. Rehn supports the idea of an independent European crisis mechanism to tackle future crises, without IMF involvement, as do top officials such as the ECB’s powerful German executive-board member, Jorg Asmussen, and Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble. For its part, the fund is reluctant to see its credibility continue to erode in Europe, officials say. To prevent that, it has been contributing less and less over time to new bailouts, while retaining a de facto veto over policiesmuch to the irritation of European officials. European policy-making institutions are also emerging more confident as the crisis has waned, making them feel less dependent on the IMF. Klaus Regling , the head of the European Stability Mechanism, the euro zone’s permanent bailout fund, reflected this new boldness when he dismissed as “meaningless” the debt ratio used by the fund as a lending benchmark. The ratio, he said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, failed to account for the very low interest rates and long maturities on Greece’s debts to its Euro-zone neighbors. It was a none-too-subtle hint that Euro-zone governments are rethinking a late-2012 pledge to the fund that they will forgive some of that debt. Christine Lagarde , the fund’s chief, pushed back Thursday, in comments at the IMF meeting in Washington. “I have no reason to doubt [the governments] will honor and, if needed, they will reiterate their commitments,” she said. One thing that has kept the fund involved in Europe is its relationship with the German government. The German parliament has conditioned its support for bailouts on IMF involvement. The Berlin-Washington axis held while their interests remained aligned, as in 2012 when the IMF pushed for Greece’s private creditors to take losses and Germany was seeking to minimize its contribution to the second Greek bailout. Now, officials say Ms. Merkel is loath to go to her voterseven after being re-elected last monthand announce that the country’s loans to Greece won’t be repaid in full, as the IMF has urged.

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Sony’s smartphone focus shifts to Japan, Europe, says CEO Kazuo Hirai says that, for now, his company will attempt to appeal to customers in Japan and Europe rather than in the US and China. October 11, 2013 6:43 AM PDT Sony chief Kazuo Hirai holding one of his company’s smartphones. (Credit: CBS Interactive) Sony’s attempt to reassert itself in the smartphone market will start outside the US. Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai told reporters on Friday that his company’s smartphone-related resources will be dedicated to Europe and Japan. According to Reuters , which was in attendance at the talk, Sony’s smartphone division has no big plans for the US and China. Related stories Game console updates will come faster, GameStop CEO predicts “It’s not realistic to try to do everything at once,” he said, according to Reuters. “In the US, we’ll start gradually.” Hirai’s decision is not necessarily surprising. Sony has little market share in the US or China, but has been able to at least make a dent in Europe and Japan, its home country. Mobile was cited earlier this year by Hirai as one of the keys to reviving the slumping Sony, but so far, the effort has been slow going. Just about every other major smartphone maker is trying to establish a foothold in the US and the increasingly lucrative Chinese market. Hirai ostensibly hopes his mobile plans could help Sony gain ground in area his competitors might be overlooking. Topics: