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IN ORBIT: News snippets

IN ORBIT: News snippets

B2B poised for strong growth

Australian e-business spending will grow from $205 million in 1999 to $1.135 billion in 2006 as more businesses assess ways to adopt the rapidly evolving and increasingly Internet-centric business models, according to a report by research organisation IDC.

"The Australian eBusiness Services Market: Analysis and Forecast, 1999-2004" claims the business to business (B2B) sector is poised to experience the strongest growth. However, given the market is still at early stages of development, it is difficult to quantify the impact that market inhibitors and accelerators such as skills shortage, technological complexity or changing business processes will have on the B2B sector, the report says.

The biggest shift in e-biz spending is likely to reflect the higher uptake and management of B2B applications over the next three years, which will see the management/ outsourcing sector increase to 15 per cent of all e-biz services spending by 2004 while implementation falls to 69 per cent.www.idc.com.auSpam costs 10 billion Euros a yearReceiving junk e-mail is costing Internet subscribers across the globe approximately 10 billion Euros ($A17.4 bn) annually in connection costs, a European Commission study on data protection has found.

The study looked at the "spam" phenomenon in the US and EU in order to assess the effectiveness of Internet privacy and data protection laws of EU member states, plus their varying approaches to implementing EU data protection directives.

"The exponential growth of junk e-mail in recent years is a fact of life," says EU's internal market commissioner Frits Bolkestein. "Current technology allows a single cyber-marketing company to send half-a-billion personalised ad mails via the World Wide Web every day. Consumer information gleaned from individual Web transactions/ consultations can be sold for large sums of money, and yet many individual subscribers are unaware of the scale and implications of these developments," Bolkenstein says.

The study, which focused on the US as the most active e-mail marketing market, found that reconciling consumer privacy with the e-commerce and e-marketing boom could be as simple as legislating an opt-in system where users would have to formally request to receive unsolicited e-mails from e-marketers.

Opt-ins are currently required in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Germany. However, the Commission is proposing an update to its Data Protection law that would see all EU members apply opt-ins as a method of privacy and data protection.

Talking Point at Cannes

Only a year after winning the SIMagine competition Gold at the GSM World Congress in Cannes, Australian WAP developer Talking Point (formerly CardVentures) last month returned to the French Riviera to test carrier demand for its mobile cartoon characters known as Morphens.

Interactive and intelligent, Morphens are delivered to users using Chatterbox, Talking Point's wireless agent infrastructure, via SMS, WAP and e-mail. According to Talking Point, preliminary tests with a number of carriers have shown that live characters on customers' mobile phones increases loyalty to the network operator and significantly reduces the industry's churn rate (currently between 25 and 35 per cent).

"Our wireless agents, known as Morphens, give the subscriber a single interface to content available on the wireless Internet," says Leon Koutsovasilis, Talking Point's VP, Business Development. "Moreover, subscribers develop a relationship and attachment to their Morphen - it's their friend."

Over the next 12 months, the company expects to put Morphens on handsets across Europe and Asia Pacific. Stay tuned.www.mytalkingpoint.com IBM faces suit over Nazi-era tiesFive Holocaust survivors are filing a class-action suit against IBM Corporation charging that the technology company "aided and abetted crimes against humanity" by providing the punch-card systems used to catalogue and process victims of the Nazi German genocide against Jews and other groups during World War II.

The plaintiffs, from the US, Czech Republic and Ukraine, claim that IBM not only profited from the use of its products in the Holocaust, but that it has refused historians and others access to archival evidence of its "complicit role in the Holocaust", the law firm Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll PLLC said in a statement. The plaintiffs are demanding that the records be made public, and that IBM "disgorge all profits made from their service to the Nazis during World War II to a Holocaust relief fund".

Carol Makovich, IBM's vice-president of worldwide media relations, says that IBM's archives for the period were donated to two universities in September 1999, where they are available to scholars. "I would like to make it very clear that IBM has been very open with its records," says MakovichThe sensational lawsuit was made public at the same time as the publication of a new book, IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black, which was released worldwide last month.

The plaintiffs are not seeking personal compensation.


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