NEWS IN BRIEF: Chinese PCs, ECI, BT mobile, US VoIP, Intel, Wikipedia, Microsoft, VeriSign

As the global financial crisis takes hold on China's economy, the government is hoping to boost consumption and help the crisis-hit IT industry by subsidizing the purchase of computers in rural households by 13%, China Daily  says.

Based on the present rural PC market, Lenovo estimates the policy will stimulate about 10 billion yuan ($1.46 billion) in sales, 5% up on the total market volume.

ECI Telecom has been selected by RTE, company in charge of the transport of electricity in France, for a multi-million dollar project to transport mission-critical applications in the carrier's high-voltage infrastructure.

ECI's BroadGate platform will provide high quality of service and carrier-class capabilities in the provisioning of real-time and mission-critical services throughout the network. RTE runs approximately 100,000 km of high and extra-high voltage lines and 36 cross-border lines.

UK fixed-line incumbent BT may return to the mobile sector as part of a joint venture with UK operators T-Mobile and 3The Observer newspaper reported. The report claimed the three companies have held 'informal talks' around areas such as branding, costs and revenue, but noted that discussions are at an early stage. BT demerged its mobile business in mobile arm (Cellnet, now O2 UK), to pay off colossal debts accrued under Sir Peter Bonfield's leadership.

3 has been struggling to make a profit and has long been viewed as a possible takeover target, the report said. 3 and T-Mobile already have a relationship in the form of Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL) set up jointly so the two can share their combined 3G network resources.

In-Stat research estimates North American voice over cable service revenues will be under $10 billion during 2009, from an installed base of 23 million cable telephony households. Bundling carrier-grade voice service along with video and high speed data has been one of the industry's major success stories in recent years, the report said.

Intel Chairman Craig Barrett, the former academic credited with building the company into the world's foremost chip maker, will retire in May after 35 years at the company, Reuters  reports.

Wikipedia faces a revolt among thousands of its contributors over proposals to change the way the online encyclopaedia is run, according to The Guardian.

Until now, Wikipedia has allowed anybody to make instant changes to almost all of its 2.7m entries, with only a handful of entries protected from being altered.

On the day of Barack Obama's inauguration, the site reported the deaths of West Virginia's Robert Byrd - the longest-serving senator in American history - and Ted Kennedy, who has been diagnosed with a brain tumour and collapsed during the inaugural lunch.

Co-founder Jimmy Wales now proposes many changes to the site would need to be approved by a group of editors before going live in future.

The BBC  reports Microsoft has stepped up the battle of the browsers with Internet Explorer 8.

Not surprisingly, the US software giant says IE 8 is faster, easier to use and more secure than its competitors.


'Microsoft needs to say these things because it continues to lose market share to Firefox, Chrome and Safari,' Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald was quoted by the BBC saying.

VeriSign has agreed to acquire Certicom for C$92 million ($75.11 million). The transaction price represents a premium of approximately 26% over the closing price of Certicom's common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange on 22 January. It also represents a premium of approximately 40% over an unsolicited takeover bid from Research in Motion, which was blocked in court.