Roundup: ICT ministry, Microsoft, Citrix, HP

- Friday, December 2, 2011

Roundup: ICT ministry, Microsoft, Citrix, HP

Colombia's IT and communications ministry (Mintic) has signed a collaboration agreement with the comptroller, audit, attorney general's and national accounting offices to pool efforts to strengthen mechanisms for citizen control using ICT, the ministry said on its website.

The initiative, under the country's Vive Digital plan, looks to promote projects aiming to boost tax and government auditing processes.

The online control initiative will provide a single-counter service for online complaints regarding fiscal and disciplinary issues, which will enable more efficient control processes.

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Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has launched in Argentina the trial version of its cloud-based productivity software, Office 365, the company said on its website.

Office 365 targets large companies, SMEs and professionals, with services including corporate email, portals, instant messaging, video and voice applications.

The solution will be offered on a pay-per-use basis, cutting down infrastructure costs. It will have a monthly cost from US$6 to US$27 a user.

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US enterprise access solutions provider Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS) has appointed Mike Fouts as Americas channel chief, the executive announced in his inaugural blog.

Fouts replaces Craig Stilwell, who after eight years in the position now becomes sales VP in the southeast US.

The executive will be responsible for carrying out the go-to-market strategy for the Americas. He will also lead the marketing teams for the region and work with the company's channels to enable virtualization and cloud computing.

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Standard & Poor's (S&P) has lowered its corporate credit and senior unsecured ratings on HP (NYSE: HPQ) to BBB+ from A, and removed it from CreditWatch, where it was placed with negative implications on August 18, the ratings agency reported.

Additionally, S&P lowered its short-term rating on HP to A-2 from A-1. The outlook is stable.

"The downgrade reflects liquidity and financial flexibility that have been reduced by more aggressive financial policies, including the use of leverage to fund the recent US$10.2bn Autonomy acquisition," said S&P credit analyst Martha Toll-Reed.

In addition, the rating action indicates the concern that HP's inconsistent growth strategies and high levels of turnover with the board of directors and senior management have elevated operational and execution risks in the near term.