Tuesday 28 September: VNU Newswire's roundup of the IT news from the national and international press.
The Financial Times writes that GE Equity, the private equity arm of GE Capital, will set up an Internet fund with 50 million euro (£32 million) for early stage financings. In the past two years GE has invested $350 million (£216 million) in 40 US Internet businesses and had made 10 investments in Europe.
Barclays is to give laptops to 550 managers enabling them to visit customers at their workplace, reports The Guardian. The managers will be able to communicate with their offices through the bank's Intranet and can also dial into the bank's software to make lending decisions. The service is targeted at the corporate and agricultural sectors with turnovers of £500,000 and above.
There are increasing concerns that doctors, hospitals and other medical health insurance providers will not be prepared to handle the Y2K computer problem, writes the Wall Street Journal. In the US less than two per cent of the 230,000 hospitals, nursing homes, doctors and other health care providers that submit claims to Medicare had tested their computer systems with Medicare contractors.
The New York Times writes that astronauts on the International Space Station may get help from tiny robots. Engineers at NASA are developing small robot friends that could follow astronauts around acting as personal assistants by responding to voice commands. The robots will be equipped with cameras, speakers, microphones and sensors and will provide additional sets of eyes, ears and noses for the crew in space and the support staff on the ground.
The Wall Street Journal writes that the US trend of giving legal advice in return for clients paying part of their fees in shares, could soon catch on in Britain. On Monday Field Fisher Waterhouse, a London law firm, launched a special legal advice service for ecommerce projects, aimed at businesses that cannot afford the full costs of legal advice.
Newsweek magazine writes that Masayoshi Son, a Japanese billionaire and president of Softbank, believes the Internet culture is now fast growing in Japan. Son, who owns seven per cent of all publicly traded Web companies, said that Japan had too many government regulations which needed to be broken. The billionaire said he was encouraged that many young companies were being born as part of Japan's Internet revolution, the paper reports.
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