Today in Tech: Polaris boss Arun Jain faces insider trading charges; Ballmer chants devices mantra

NS Ramnath
Updated: Oct 10, 2012 09:40:08 AM UTC

Polaris boss Arun Jain faces insider trading charges logo-polarisLast evening, India's stock market regulator SEBI passed an order banning Polaris Financial Technology chairman and managing director Arun Jain from trading in secondary market, accusing him of trading on inside information back in 2000. Sebi said Jain knew about an acquisition that was being called off, and sold 15,080 of Polaris shares before the information was made public. When Polaris finally made the announcement that it was not buying Data Inc, its share price fell from Rs 595 to Rs 390 . By selling early, Jain averted a loss of about Rs 30 lakhs.


Jain was battling this for some time with Sebi, and in 2005, he settled the case by paying a consent charge of Rs 7 lakhs. He did not admit to guilt, saying the number of shares were insignificant as a percentage of his holding, and that it should not be deemed as insider trading. But, Rajeev Kumar Agarwal, Sebi's whole time member, who issued the order yesterday said  the number of shares was immaterial.


"We would like to point out that the current Order does not take into consideration the detailed legal arguments that were presented challenging the re-opening of the Consent Order. We are reviewing the Order and considering filing an appeal before the Securities Appellate Tribunal," Polaris said in a press statement issued late last night. It also said that Mr Jain has purchased over 3,000,000 shares in Polaris, since the company went public in August 1999. In the last 10 years, since March 2002, he has not sold a single share.


This was not the only issue that came out of the aborted attempt to buy Data Inc. The company founder took Polaris to court for not completing the acquisition as promised. It was founded by an Army major Arun Verma who took an early retirement from the service to try his hand in technology entrepreneurship in the US. He was not too happy when Polaris, after coming so close to buy the company for $21 million, decided to call it off at the last moment. Here's a statement by Mr Verma from those times.



Steve Ballmer chants devices mantra
logo-polaris"I think that in a back-looking view, people would say we were a software company. That's kind of how we were born.
I think when you look forward, our core capability will be software, (but) you'll probably think of us more as a devices-and-services company. Which is a little different."

That was Steve Ballmer in an interview  to Seattle Times last month.


In his letter to shareholders, that's exactly how he defined Microsoft (devices and services company), but this time with a lot more certainty and giving it much more importance. It represents a significant shift, he said. "It impacts how we run the company, how we develop new experiences, and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses. The work we have accomplished in the past year and the roadmap in front of us brings this to life."


Reuters points out how this description sounds so much like Apple. Given the stock market performance of Apple - and the lacklusture performace of Microsoft all these years (Ballmer's bonus was slashed again) -  should we be surprised?



Also of interest

  • Lenovo shows off new Windows 8 convertible tablets with a Twist: Digital Trends
  • Indian IT services may see uptick in client spending: Reuters
  • Quantum scientists win Nobel physics prize FT
  • Satellite images appear to reveal CIA's secret bin Laden training ground: NBC
  • MIT pencil draws sensors directly onto paper: NBC
  • The Great Tech War Of 2012: On The Mobile Pay Front: Fast Company



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