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Nov 182008

Some things in life should be rejected outright even when offered free – like free tickets to Ajith’s Aegan or Abhishek Bachchan’s Drona or a free copy of Microsoft’s Windows Live OneCare PC security suite.

Dei gratia, Microsoft has now decided to kill its Live OneCare product, one of the worst PC security services ever put out, and in its place offer a free anti-malware product code-named Morro.

Given Microsoft’s disgraceful track record on security, we think a more apt name for the upcoming product should be Moron. After all, only a moron would entrust the security of his PC to Microsoft.

Here’s what a PC Magazine story on a review of Live OneCare said last year: 

In each of three categories – viruses, macros, worms and scripts; backdoors, trojans, and other malware; and a third category, combining the results of the first two – OneCare received the worst score out of seventeen products tested, according to, a group of IT graduate students who have published formal analyses of antivirus tools since Feb. 2004. The effort is led by Andreas Clementi, the project tester and a graduate student at the University of Innsbruck.

The Live OneCare non-security product had non-security features like Continue reading »

Nov 182008

Egyptian coolies have thrown down the gauntlet to our desi coolies on handling the White Man’s IT chores and back-office operations.

Egypt, a country ruled with an iron fist by U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak, says it’s leading the charge to make Africa an attractive market for outsourcing. (Although American media and movies routinely caricature Egypt as a torture destination, we like Mubarak for the tough way in which he has countered the Islamic fundamentalists in his country.)

Since outsourcing (particularly BPO) is a labor intensive activity, Egypt’s recent focus on tapping this sector is understandable given the need to hold the lid on the seething cauldron of educated unemployed youth, who would otherwise be ready fodder for fundamentalist and violent outfits like the Muslim Brotherhood.

* Like India, Egypt is a poor country (GDP per capita of $1,739 source: Wiki) with a huge population (75.5 million). And just like Shakespeare’s Yond Cassius in Julius Caesar (or our own desis), they all have a lean and hungry look.

* Like India, Egypt has a large annual graduating pool of 300,000 with a significant engineering, science and commerce base.

* Like India, Egypt is said to have a fairly decent English speaking talent pool (some 20,000 fluent English speakers are supposed to graduate anually).

* Like India (or Phillipines), Egypt is a low cost country with low salaries and low international telecommunications rates.

* Like India, Egypt has a vast chunk of its population in the young age-group (41% of its 75 million are between 15 and 39), who are eschewing the jobs of their parents and exploring new opportunities.

Outsourcing Advantages
Egypt is touting advantages like a multilingual workforce (fluent in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and Arabic); lower labor costs than in surrounding low-cost regions; time zone proximity with the West; relative familiarity with Western culture;  and lower staff attrition rates as factors that make it a more compelling destination over traditional outsourcing locations like India and China.

Egypt’s IT sector is projected to grow from $889 million in 2006 to $1.3 billion in 2011, according to the country’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), which is striving to grow the country’s information and communications technology industry with a thrust  on business process outsourcing (BPO).

Hazem Abdelazim

To lure international companies to set up call/service center and BPO operations in the country, the Egyptian government provides tax breaks, Continue reading »