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ACS Week in Review: 5 September 2014

Friday, 05 Sep 2014

News Corp CTO Tom Quinn in the CXO Challenge

After a decade of trying to ignore the turbulence, News Corp has tied its future to the cloud.

Tom Quinn is a man in a big hurry. 

Ever since he declared a ‘cloud first’ strategy for News Corp in 2011, the company’s chief technology and information officer has hacked away at hundreds of applications residing in the company’s data centres, signing News up for cloud alternatives.

Today, everything from the media company’s websites to its financial systems are hosted in public clouds offered by the likes of Amazon Web Services. Desktop productivity is delivered as a service by Google, as are CRM and sales automation by Salesforce, and HR systems by Workday.

Queensland puts CITEC sale on hold

Initially insistent it would be sold within two years, the Queensland government has put the disposal of its IT services bureau CITEC into the too-hard basket indefinitely.

A spokesperson for the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts said an external scoping study in July had indicated neither of CITEC's business lines – information brokerage and ICT services – were ready for sale.

"The government remains committed to divesting CITEC and agreed for the department to continue preparation towards divestment into 2015," the spokesperson said.

The bureau employs around 400 staff and turns over $170 million from the supply of storage, networking and software development to government agencies.

Hockey chases IT firms for tax

JOE Hockey has directed the tax office to crack down on global information technology companies in Australia, suggesting they are avoiding tax.

The Treasurer told parliament yesterday that while Australia welcomed foreign investment, multinational companies had to pay tax on their earnings in Australia.

“There is a small proportion of multinational businesses that set up sophisticated arrangements to avoid Australian tax,” he said. “This is patently unfair — unfair on the Australian taxpayer and unfair on competitors doing the right thing.”

Mr Hockey said his particular concern was the information technology sector, where Australian consumers were paying higher prices for software, hardware, music and games.

He pointed to media reports that “some companies selling these products pay little tax in Australia, despite their products selling for much higher prices here than elsewhere”.

“The government is examining whether these are location-specific profits being generated and then shifted out of Australia,’’ he said.