In Brief-April 2006

KPMG pegs Canada as most cost-competitive nation
TORONTO – Low labour and facility costs coupled with favourable tax rates make Canada the most cost-competitive nation to do business among the G-7 countries, according to a new study. Canada’s lead over other countries, however, has lessened with the rising value of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar in the last couple of years, the annual KPMG study, Competitive Alternatives: KPMG’s Guide to International Business Costs, found. The study uses an exchange rate of $US0.852 to the Canadian dollar. The report covered 128 cities in nine industrialized countries over an eight-month period, comparing 27 cost differentials, including labour, taxes and industrial facility, against the U.S., which was used as a benchmark. Singapore, a new entrant to this year’s report, had the greatest cost advantage over the U.S. at 22.3 per cent. Canada has a cost advantage of 5.5 per cent down from nine per cent two years ago, due to a strong Canadian dollar, which has risen 13.6 per cent in the last couple of years. The highest cost countries include Germany and Japan with a cost advantage relative to the U.S. of 7.4 per cent and 6.9 per cent respectively.
– Sarah Lysecki

RIM STRENGTHENS ties with Novell
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Research In Motion used its space on Novell’s BrainShare show floor to tell customers about its plans to bring more presence awareness and improved collaboration capabilities to Novell GroupWise Messenger software that runs on its BlackBerry service and devices. RIM, which handed out complimentary BlackBerry handhelds to attendees for the duration of their stay at Novell’s customer conference, was one of the event’s biggest sponsors this year. The two firms first announced their intention to further instant messaging (IM) in the enterprise last year at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium in Orlando. Novell also announced a QuickStart bundle for GroupWise e-mail software on BlackBerries in a keynote.

Aaron Stuart, a product manager at Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM, conducted demonstrations at the company’s booth, linking back to a server in Toronto. He said GroupWise Collaboration Suite users running version 6.51 would soon be able to take advantage of integration with BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) version 4.1, which was scheduled to be released to manufacturing on March 31.
– Shane Schick

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