14-06-2004 • VOLUME 7 • NUMBER 23 • £2.60
25 INTERNET Mail client wins
plaudits for Opera browser
27 CLIENT A smaller,
lighter smartphone
37 NETWORK Three leading
SSL VPN systems reviewed
Tools to guard server applications 15
Web services development kits 15
SAN package offers easy control 15
Online retail sites put to the test 21
ISPs turn attention to spammers 22
AMD plans new budget processor 27
Red Hat Fedora smartens Linux 28
Preparing disaster recovery plans 28
How will DSL services develop? 31
Kit to analyse gigabit LAN traffic 31
How to design stronger networks 33
BI tools improve financial analysis 39
Blended attacks pose new threats 39
New e-government chief profiled 40
Merger moves gather pace
Martin Veitch
xperts are predicting a busy period
of mergers and acquisitions among
enterprise software vendors, which
could greatly affect IT buyers’ options, after
Microsoft admitted last week that it had
been in merger talks with SAP.
A Microsoft-SAP combination would
have been the biggest-ever IT merger, dwarfing even HP’s capture of Compaq in 2002.
It would also have marked a huge departure for Microsoft, which has never made an
investment bigger than the approximately
$1.4bn it paid for Navision in 2002.
Even though the SAP talks broke down,
they underline Microsoft’s appetite for
growth and its ambitions in enterprise
applications. Although the firm has built up
its capabilities through internal efforts such
as CRM and through the acquisitions of
Navision and Great Plains Software, it has
focused on the mid-market. The SAP talks
indicate that large firms such as CRM pioneer Siebel Systems or UK accounting software giant Sage could now be in its sights.
In a research note last
“Whenever we have sugRECENT IT MERGERS
week, Steven Milunovich of
gested that Microsoft purMarimba
finance firm Merrill Lynch
chase Sage, we have been met
suggested that HP should split
with a barrage of reasons why
into computing and printing,
this would never happen,”
or enterprise and consumer
wrote Richard Holway of anaConsera
organisations. This would alllyst Ovum Holway in a reNetscreen
ow the computing or entersearch note. “We have been
prise part to consider buying
lulled into believing that Mic- Symantec
firms such as Sun, Unisys or
rosoft would only ever do relatively small deals. Not any
BearingPoint, formerly KPMG
more. Apart from Microsoft buying IBM, we
Consulting. Sun was last year linked with a
now can’t think of a coupling where the term
sale to IBM although watchers such as Gart‘impossible’ would still apply.”
ner analyst Andy Butler have suggested FujitFinancial analysts said that an appetite
su Siemens Computers could be a better fit.
for mergers and acquisitions was returning.
At a meeting with financial analysts last
John Cromwell, managing director of investweek, HP chief executive Carly Fiorina said
ment bank SVB Alliant, said, “There are
the company would continue to invest in
something like 740 public software firms and
mergers and acquisitions in order to fill out
you have to ask whether that’s necessary.”
capabilities. HP has recently bought software
Consolidation of larger firms could force
firms Novadigm, TruLogica and Consera.
the rest to focus on integrating with them –
SAP said last week that although it was
for example, via web services. It would also
not attempting to sell itself, it remained
cut the number of IT suppliers, but Cromopen-minded about merger possibilities.
well said there would still be room for inno Comment, p5 Microsoft speech apps, p8
vation. “It won’t be an oligopoly,” he added.
Microsoft and SAP, p10 Leader, p12
IBM PC cuts
desk clutter
BT plans next network
IBM’s ThinkCentre S50 ultra
small desktop, set to ship in
August, packs a full Pentium
4 PC into a compact case
the size of a telephone directory.
The design is a
response to re- The models have
quests for small- up to 2GB memory
er desktop systems, said IBM. Prices are expected to
start below £500, excluding monitor.
IBM slims down the desktop, p4
Martin Courtney
T will start to move all telephone services onto its next-generation 21st
century converged voice/data network
(21CN) in 2006, and expects most customers’ calls to be carried on the end-toend IP-based infrastructure by 2008.
The carrier has also announced trials of
fibre-optic services in the last mile to begin
in October, with around 1,000 customers
eligible to sign up in specific areas of London and Suffolk.
Laying fibre closer, if not direct, to the
home or office should provide workers with
broadband connections able to carry voice,
data and video services at much faster
speeds than the DSL services currently
available on the analogue public switched
telephone network (PSTN), which is based
on lower-capacity copper cabling. However, it is not yet clear how much of 21CN will
be based on fibre and how much will be
based on copper.
Paul Reynolds, chief
executive of BT Wholesale, stressed that the quality of voice calls made over
21CN will either be the
Reynolds: no
drop in quality
goes faster
Bluetooth is to get a boost from an
update that pushes the wireless standard’s data rate up to 2.1Mbit/s. It will
enable devices that can support higher-bandwidth applications, and hold
simultaneous links to several other
devices. It may also speed the convergence of fixed and mobile telephones.
Bluetooth Enhanced Data Rate
(EDR) was announced last week by
the Bluetooth Special Interest Group
(SIG). UK chipmaker Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) has already said it
will support the spec in its BlueCore4
chips, sampling now and due for volume shipments this autumn.
Sales director Glenn Collinson
said that BlueCore4 uses as little as
one percent of the power needed for
a wireless LAN chip, making it better
suited to converged telephony handsets.“Converged phones will be a reality in the next few years,” he said.
Bluetooth picks up speed, p27
same as or better than PSTN, and customers
will not notice any difference in the way
they dial. The migration from PSTN should
also help reduce the average cost of phone
calls, according to analysts.
“BT has already indicated that the 21CN
[migration] will result in operational cost
savings in the long term, and providing the
market remains healthily competitive these
savings should be passed on to customers,”
said Neil Rickard of analyst firm Gartner.
The 21CN system should enable a wide
range of new IP-based broadband services.
One example is the Bluephone service,
which will let staff use a single handset both
for fixed and mobile calls at lower cost by
connecting wirelessly to a broadband link.
BT’s SDSL rollout, p4 Leader, p12
ADSL, p31 AT&T raises VoIP hopes, p31
NEWS INSIDE: HP Printers, p5 • ITANIUM Servers, p5 • OUTSOURCING Risks, p6 • SPAM Defence, p6 • MICROSOFT Speech apps, p8 • OPEN SOURCE Tips, p8