MicroScope's top stories, August 2010

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MicroScope's top stories, August 2010

Alex Scroxton

A look back at the top 10 most read stories on MicroScope.co.uk for the month of August:

Phoenix accounts put on notice

On August 13, infrastructure and managed services provider Phoenix IT said it had received notice from two key customers with accounts worth a total of £12.5m that they have made plans to in-house some of the services provided by the company.

In an interim management statement, Phoenix IT said the two contracts would terminate in September and November of this year, but the board insisted that it did not expect a material impact on its results for the full-year, which runs until March.

eBuyer parts company with whistleblower

On August 3, we reported that eBuyer had split with the whistleblower who made allegations that members of the purchasing team took backhanders less than three months after he joined the firm.

Mark Wilson joined the East-Yorkshire-based etailer from CCI Distribution in May and made claims to management that members of its buying department were guaranteeing orders in return for kick backs from a number of distributors.

HP CEO Hurd resigns following sexual harrassment probe

Late on August 6, the news broke that HP CEO Mark Hurd had quit following a probe into allegations of sexual harassment made by a former contractor.

The world's largest IT firm said an investigation by outside legal counsel and HP's General Counsel, presided over by the board, found no violation of HP's sexual harassment policy but unearthed serious wrong doings related to its Standard of Business Conduct.

Calyx considering options to cut unsustainable debts

At the start of the month systems integrator Calyx appointed corporate finance advisor Livingstone Partners to explore the potential options to reduce its unsustainable debts levels.

The UK and Irish business has expanded rapidly since its formation in 2002, acquiring nine firms including Matrix Group and Service Tec UK, but it owes principal backer Anglo Irish Bank between €60m (£49.7m) to €70m (£58m).

US pension fund launches lawsuit against HP board and Hurd

The news of Mark Hurd's resignation continued to rumble on throughout the month, and on August 12 a US pension fund filed a complaint in Santa Clara County Court against both named members of the HP board and Hurd.

The shareholder derivative complaint revealed by CourtHouse News Service, named Hurd, interim CEO Catherine Lesjak and HP officers and directors and sought to remedy what it claims are "breaches of fiduciary duties, waste of corporate assets, unjust enrichment and insider trading occasioned by the HP Board's dereliction of duty."

Market cannot support current reseller population

On August 23, analysts at Plimsoll made the contentious claim that the UK IT market can no longer support the number of resellers operating in it, with a more aggressive M&A scene is the only conceivable result.

The latest report on the dealer community by the analyst firm revealed a deeply fragmented industry, with 388 companies rated as strong, 144 companies thought to be in serious trouble, and up to 177 potential acquisition targets.

Epson settles with eBuyer in patent spat

On August 25, Epson wrapped up a settlement with Ebuyer over the sale of ink cartridges that it is claiming infringe its patents with the vendor now targeting the manufacturer.

Ebuyer had been selling Inkrite cartridges supplied by Medea International but in face of Epson's assertion that the product infringes its patents the online retailer agreed to stop selling the products and paid an undisclosed sum to the vendor.

Former soft porn actress implicated in Hurd's downfall

A whiff of scandal gathered around HP when a former soft-core porn actress and reality game show contestant wasidentified as the one-time marketing contractor at HP whose relationship with CEO Mark Hurd led to his downfall.

Fifty-year old Jodie Fisher revealed she was "surprised and saddened" that Hurd lost his job, following an investigation into sexual harassment claims she made in June, which were found to be unproved but revealed a series of falsified expense claims.

Bell Micro brand to be history by October

Avnet Technology Solutions put a timetable in place to axe the Bell brand and have all front office staff in place by the end of September.

The acquisition of Bell Microproducts was completed by Avnet TS in June when it named the executive team in Europe: Graeme Watt picked up the top job in the region and John Toal assumed control of the UK.

DSG Retail slammed for dumping credit card data in a skip

DSG Retail became the latest corporation to have its knuckles rapped over losing customer data after a number of customer credit agreements were found in a skip.

Eight agreements, which the retailer asks customers to fill in if they want to get finance for a purchase, were found in a skip near one of DSG Retail's PC World stores and earned a reprimand from the Information Commissioner's Office.

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