Friday, April 17, 2009

Tidal-Power System Hits Record Output

Tidal-Power System Hits Record Output

Marine Current Turbines' SeaGen system quadruples the world tidal-turbine power record.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
By Peter Fairley

Tidal-power developments by British firms show this renewable power technology achieving impressive scale and continued design innovation. Bristol-based Marine Current Turbines (MCT) revealed last month that its SeaGen dual-turbine system achieved full power operation of 1.2 megawatts. MCT's power peak is four times the global record for a tidal-stream system set by the company in 2004, according to U.K.-based renewables journal REFocus, and 30 times more than the output from the tidal turbines pumping electricity in New York's East River.

An artist's impression of MCT's SeaGen.

Meanwhile, the U.K. Guardian reported yesterday that more large-scale demonstrations are on the way as Cardiff-based Tidal Energy prepares to test a one-megawatt version of its triple-rotor design off the coast of Wales by next year.

Hitting full power clears a major hurdle for MCT. As Technology Review reported last July, the company suffered a setback early on when the powerful tidal streams of Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough damaged one of its blades shortly after installation. In an odd way, it's an affirmation of MCT's design, which enables the dual rotors to be lifted clear up out of the water for easy maintenance and repair.

While at a considerably earlier phase of development, MCT rival Tidal Energy's triple-rotor concept provides an equally innovative means of ready repair. Tidal Energy's rotors sit at the corners of a three-legged platform that can be deposited on the seabed and held in place by the system's 250-ton heft. That should not only ease recovery of the system for maintenance, but also simplify installation by eliminating the need for a fixed foundation in the seabed.

To see these concepts in action, check out the MCT animation below and Tidal Energy's animation.

Robots Get Down to Business

Robots Get Down to Business

At a conference in Boston, companies demonstrate robots for education, bomb disposal, agriculture, and more.
Friday, April 17, 2009
By Kristina Grifantini

Yesterday, at the RoboBusiness conference in Boston, companies demonstrated a number of robots designed for use in offices, the military, even down on the farm. While plenty of very cool, cutting-edge research is going on in robotics labs across the world, RoboBusiness focuses on those companies looking to turn that research into a profit. Here are some of the most promising robots on show at the event.

Segway's Firefighter: Aside from the zippy personal transporter that most people have seen out and about, Segway has an extensive line of robots based on a versatile and robust wheeled platform. At the conference, Segway premiered a rugged, new, wheeled firefighting robot. It has a powerful, rotating spray nozzle, which could also be used for crowd control, according to Will Pong, director of robotics at Segway. The robotic firefighter can move at 18 miles per hour for 10-12 miles without stopping, and can carry up to 400 lbs. The finished product is currently being tested and is already available for a few customers.

CCS Robotics' Receptionist: A secretary and tour guide by day, security guard by night: that's the role of a four-foot tall wheeled robot called Guiabot, designed by CCS Robotics and Mobile Robots. With lasers and sonar sensors in its base, CCS can autonomously navigate a random or pre-decided path, successfully maneuvering around people and objects in its way. First introduced last year as a guest-greeting robotic butler, Guiabot is now in beta testing and is targeted toward offices and hospitals. A visitor can use the touch screen on Guiabot's front to request the robot to show her around. A high definition camera on its head also lets remote users interact with people via the robot. CCS Robotics envisions a human security guard using several Guiabots to efficiently patrol a large area.

Harvest Automation's Gardener: Founded by former iRobot employees and announced last summer, Harvest Automation is developing small, wheeled robots that can pick up and move potted plants, filling a surprisingly big need in the nursery and greenhouse industries. When cultivating plants, suppliers must hire workers to move and space out pots in large fields. These small robots use local sensing to navigate, identify pots, and measure and maintain the correct distance between them. By automating this task, Harvest Automation aims to save suppliers millions a year.

RE2's Handyman: A company based out of Pittsburg, called Robotics Engineering Excellence (RE2), is retrofitting bomb-disposal robots with different tools on their arms, for less dangerous industrial tasks. The company is currently designing a tool belt that a robot will carry around so that it can automatically attach different tools to the end of its own arm, without needing a human's help. So far they have prototypes of a gripper, knife, scooper and a rotating gripper, and are planning to make drill, wire cutter, and more, according to Patrick Rowe, vice president of research and development of the company.

Hijacking Mobile-Phone Data

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hijacking Mobile-Phone Data

Researchers claim to be able to hijack cell-phone data connections.

By Erica Naone

In a presentation today at Black Hat Europe, a computer-security conference in Amsterdam, a group of researchers claimed to have found a way to hijack the data sent to and from mobile phones. The researchers say that the attack might be used to glean passwords or to inject malicious software onto a device.

Mobile phones are becoming ever more useful for transmitting data in addition to making voice calls, and they're increasingly being used for sensitive activities such as online banking, as well as for searching the Internet and downloading mobile games.

The new attack relies on a protocol that allows mobile operators to give a device the proper settings for sending data via text message, according to Roberto Gassira, Cristofaro Mune, and Roberto Piccirillo, security researchers for Mobile Security Lab, a consulting firm based in Italy. By faking this type of text message, according to the protocol an attacker can create his own settings for the victim's device. This would allow him to, for example, reroute data sent from the phone via a server that he controls. The researchers say that the technique should work on any handset that supports the protocol, as long as the attacker knows which network the victim belongs to and the network does not block this kind of message.

Some trickery is required to make the attack work, however. Ordinarily, to transfer settings to a device remotely, a mobile operator will first send a text message containing a PIN code. The operator will then send the message to reconfigure the phone. In order to install the new settings, the user must first enter the PIN.

So an attacker would need to convince a victim to enter a PIN and accept the malicious settings sent to the phone. But Gassira, Mune and Piccirillo believe that this shouldn't be too difficult. The attacker could send text messages from a name such as "service provider" or "message configuration," suggesting that changes to the device's settings are needed due to a network error. For many handsets, they say, the results of the configuration aren't shown to the user, giving the victim little chance to notice that anything is amiss.

Once a phone has been configured to route data through the attacker's server, this could reveal the user's login credentials or cookies. The researchers say that it may also be possible for an attacker to add unwanted content, such as unsolicited advertisements, to the Web pages that a user views on her phone. By combining this technique with other vulnerabilities, they say that an attacker might even be able to use the mobile device to target resources normally protected within the carrier's network.

David Wagner, an associate professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, who has studied wireless security, cautions that more work needs to be done to identify what conditions are required to exploit the vulnerability and how widespread the problem may be. "I did see in the paper a number of caveats that raised questions in my mind about the degree to which this vulnerability would affect consumers, even if the vulnerability can be exploited," Wagner says. In particular, he notes, it is unclear whether some cell-phone providers may block fake messages or if others would stop an attacker from redirecting Internet traffic. Also, many users may not be fooled by the attack. "If any of these conditions are not met, the attack might be blocked," Wagner says.

The researchers concede that mobile operators could prevent the attack by implementing proper security measures. For example, operators could watch for text messages that show telltale signs of a configuration protocol and check that they originate from an authorized source. Other measures, such as showing the user how her device has been adjusted or monitoring Internet traffic that's being directed out of the carrier's network, might also help.

Mune says that the attack "could be feasible on quite a large number of networks and handsets," and that his team has successfully tested it with a variety of common handsets on large networks in Europe. Although the researchers aren't working with any mobile operators to resolve the vulnerability, they say that they have given notice to relevant parties and are open to helping with the issue if needed.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kaiser‘s Tengelmann nutzt in allen Filialen Mobilcomputer

Kaiser‘s Tengelmann nutzt in allen Filialen Mobilcomputer

Herford. Die Supermarktkette Kaiser’s Tengelmann hat sich für die „PL3000“ Mobilcomputer vom Auto-ID-Anbieter Nordic ID entschieden. Kaiser’s Tengelmann war anlässlich der Einführung eines neuen Warenwirtschaftssystems, das durch artikelgenaue Echtzeit-Bestandsführung für transparente Geschäftsprozesse sorgt, auf der Suche nach onlinefähigen Mobilcomputern.

„Unser Ziel ist es, Geschäftsprozesse wie zum Beispiel Disposition, Wareneingang, Warenausgang oder Inventuren papierlos und in Echtzeit durchzuführen – und das unmittelbar an und mit der Ware“, erklärt Lutz Endrikat, Bereichsleiter Organisation bei Kaiser’s Tengelmann. Eine hohe Verfügbarkeit und ein stabiles W-Lan-Roaming-Verhalten des Handhelds seien darum wichtige Kriterien bei der Entscheidung für die Geräte gewesen. „An dem PL3000 haben uns neben dem ausgezeichneten W-Lan-Roaming vor allem die Möglichkeiten zur Fernwartung und Softwareverteilung und das Standard-Betriebssystem Windows CE 6.0 überzeugt“, begründet Endrikat. Testnutzer hätten sich positiv über die Einhandbedienung, Nutzerfreundlichkeit und das große Display der Mobilcomputer PL3000 geäußert.

660 Mobilcomputer von Nordic ID sind im November 2008 zunächst in 300 Supermärkten von Kaiser’s Tengelmann eingeführt worden, in den restlichen 400 Filialen werden in den nächsten Monaten weitere 840 PL3000 ausgerollt. Zurzeit arbeiten 1500 Mitarbeiter mit den MDE-Geräten (mobile Datenerfassung). In der Endausbaustufe werden es rund 5000 sein.

Genutzt werden die Handhelds im gesamten Filialumfeld – von der Verkaufsfläche über das Lager bis hin zum Tiefkühlhaus. Auf den MDE-Geräten ist eine Standard-Webapplikation installiert, über die die Mitarbeiter per W-Lan und VPN mit dem Warenwirtschaftssystem im zentralen Rechenzentrum von Kaiser’s Tengelmann kommunizieren. Die Geräte sind für die Mitarbeiter die multifunktionale Schnittstelle zum Warenwirtschaftssystem – die Mobilcomputer ermöglichen es ihnen, mehr auf der Verkaufsfläche zu sein, dort per Scanprozess und über die Webapplikation zu disponieren, Warenein- und -ausgänge abzuwickeln, permanente Inventur durchzuführen oder Bestandsumbuchungen vorzunehmen. Durch die Handhelds sind die Mitarbeiter jederzeit über den aktuellen Filialbestand informiert. (sv)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On the ball

On the ball

Apr 14th 2009

An IT giant's management style scores in German football

IT IS now quite unlikely that TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, an upstart football club from a small town near Heidelberg, will achieve the ultimate goal of winning Germany’s football championship this year. Having led the country’s premier division, the Bundesliga, for many weeks this winter, it has now slipped to sixth place. And much to the dismay of its growing community of fans, it does not look like Hoffenheim will be able to stage a comeback.

Even so, the club is a football sensation by any measure—and one for which it is hard to find a parallel, at least in recent sporting history. In three years it has advanced relentlessly from a lowly regional league to the glamour of the Bundesliga. What is Hoffenheim’s secret?

 Management goals

The easy answer is cash. The club is sponsored by Dietmar Hopp, one of the founders of SAP, the world’s third-biggest software firm, whose headquarters is in nearby Walldorf. Before the economic crash Mr Hopp, who played for Hoffenheim in his youth, was worth €6.2 billion ($8.2 billion). He has poured at least €180m into the club. Much of the money has been spent on a new stadium and training facilities but it has also allowed Hoffenheim to buy more than a dozen promising young players.

Yet cash is not the only ingredient in Hoffenheim’s success. A hands-off management style, the extensive use of technology and smart recruitment techniques have also been important elements in the club’s winning recipe. All these set it apart from other German clubs, which in many respects are set in old-fashioned ways.

Mr Hopp is quite unlike Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch who has spent hundreds of millions of pounds on Chelsea, an English football club. SAP made it into the top league of the information-technology (IT) industry, which is dominated by American firms, not least because of Mr Hopp’s management skills. As the firm’s chief executive from its incorporation in 1972 until 1998, he created an organisation more reminiscent of a software commune than a hierarchical IT giant in the mould of Oracle or IBM. Mr Hopp hired good people and let them take charge, largely limiting his role to giving advice and intervening only when things went terribly wrong.

In applying this approach to Hoffenheim, Mr Hopp hired a group of noted football experts, above all Ralf Rangnick, one of Germany’s best coaches, and gave them more autonomy than they would normally enjoy. “I’m not just someone who runs the training sessions and doesn’t stay long, like at most other German clubs,” says Mr Rangnick. “For each season, for instance, I have a budget. And I can do whatever I want with it.”

Just as important, Hoffenheim—like SAP—is about IT. Much more than his German colleagues, Mr Rangnick makes use of technology to show his players how they are doing and how they can improve. Video plays a big role, of course. But Mr Rangnick has gone further and enrolled SAP’s help to build a social network of sorts for his players, where they can, for instance, check their fitness results, get information on the diet they should follow and analyse videos of teams they will play against next. “I’m trying to minimise that factor, ‘chance’, as much as possible,” explains Mr Rangnick.

Finally, although Mr Hopp is deeply rooted in his region and does not like to travel, he has always been open to the world—which goes a long way toward explaining why SAP became an international success very early in its history. It is also a reason why SAP is one of the most globally integrated among big IT firms. Most of its 50,000-plus employees now work outside of Germany, for instance in Bangalore and Silicon Valley. What is more, the firm is trying to make use of cultural differences when deciding where to develop which part of a program: much of the core engineering and planning is still German; interface design often comes from California; and a lot of the programming is done in India.

Similarly, most of Hoffenheim’s players do not hold a German passport. “Without them, we couldn’t hold our own in the Bundesliga,” says Mr Rangnick. But he does not do this just by waving big cheques at foreign star players, as other wealthy clubs have done. He aims to have at least two players from any one region, because otherwise they might get homesick. On the other hand, he also does not want to have more than five from the same region, because then they might form cliques. “In a global team”, says Mr Rangnick, “you have to watch out for these things.”

What is the lesson from all this? One should be cautious in drawing general conclusions from such unique cases. Yet it is safe to say that Hoffenheim’s success is about more than just the depth of Mr Hopp’s pockets. The right mixture of hands-off management, clever use of technology and balanced globalisation can be a recipe for success, in sport as in any other business. All this, it has to be said, is no protection against bad luck, as Hoffenheim’s story also shows. The team’s recent slippage in the Bundesliga is due to a spate of injuries, which have put some of its best players out of action.

Face to Facebook

Face to Facebook

April 14, 2009 by Rick Zabel

There is nothing better than face to face meetings. Unfortunately, face to face meetings are not always possible, especially if the participants live in different parts of the country or world. Social networking tools have become a defacto standard of communication for many people and the trend is spreading from younger generations to older generations.

Take my own family, for example. It seems that Facebook has spread like a virus among my family members. I personally created a profile on Facebook well over a year ago, but I was never very active. Then, my sister-in-law joined and somehow found me and requested to be my “friend.” My wife actually resisted for a while, but eventually broke down and joined. Now she’s addicted. Before I knew it, virtually every member of my wife’s family was on Facebook, within a matter of days. Even my Mother-in-law (who is 70) and her sisters have joined – and they are all very active. My side of the family, however, has been harder to penetrate.

Facebook has turned out to be a great way to stay connected with friends and family. But you have to set boundaries or it could easily consume you. And that’s not good for anyone. My wife loves to browse her page and see what all her friends and family members are doing on a regular basis. I guess I just don’t care what everyone is doing on a daily basis. I’m social when I choose to be. After all, I am an engineer. I tend to use Facebook as more of a tool to communicate with people who are not readily available via phone or e-mail.

So what’s my point in all this? The use of social networking tools is becoming more widespread. Not only are they penetrating all generations, but they are also penetrating more niche industry segments. I believe it’s just a matter a time before the automation industry (more specifically engineers) fully embraces these social mediums. Come on, I’ve seen you guys and gals at some of those user conference parties, so I know you can be social. The challenge is convincing you of the value of participating.

The value of social networking is similar to the value of most user conferences in our industry; i.e. learning strategies and best practices from your peers. Your social networking options continue to increase, so now you can choose the best option(s) for you. Here are four sites for your consideration.

Of course, many of you already know about’s own professional networking site, which we started more than two years ago. Today, the site has nearly 2000 members.

LinkedIn is a professional networking tool with an original premise of networking for job or career changes. LinkedIn has expanded the site to offer topic specific groups, news feeds and discussions. A few months ago, I created the Automation Group on LinkedIn that now has more than 1850 members.

Twitter is a text-based social media outlet that allows members to follow other members and communicate via short, 140 character messages. If you are into “twittering,” check out Profile so you can follow our activities.

Just last week, I created the Automation, Process Control & Instrumentation Group on Facebook, primarily because Facebook has a huge user base and more people are probably more comfortable with using it, as opposed to any other medium. I have reserved my personal profile on Facebook for just my close friends and family, but I welcome all of you to join the Automation, Process Control & Instrumentation Group.

Each of these web sites (or groups) has a different look and feel, but all of them have one purpose – to allow automation professionals to network with other automation professionals. I encourage you to check them all out and join (and participate) in one or more. I’ll do my best to stay active on them all, but I may slip a little now and then, depending on my work load and “social mindset.” I hope to see more of you online.

Projekt „Compass“: China startet Satelliten für Navigationssystem

Projekt „Compass“: China startet Satelliten für Navigationssystem


Peking. China hat am Mittwoch erfolgreich einen Satelliten für den Aufbau eines eigenen globalen Navigationssystems ins All gebracht. Eine Rakete vom Typ „Langer Marsch 3C“ startete vom Raumfahrtzentrum Xichang in der Südwestprovinz Sichuan, wie die amtliche Nachrichtenagentur Xinhua berichtete. An Bord war der zweite Satellit für das chinesische Navigationsprojekt „Compass“, das auf Chinesisch nach dem Sternbild des Großen Wagens „Beidou“ genannt wird. Allein 2009 und 2010 sollen insgesamt zehn solcher Satelliten ins All gebracht werden. Das aus insgesamt 30 Orbitern bestehende System soll bis 2015 fertiggestellt werden.

Chinas System konkurriert mit den Plänen für das immer wieder verzögerte europäische Navigationsvorhaben „Galileo“, da die Chinesen dafür die gleiche Radiofrequenz reserviert haben wie die Europäer. Dadurch könnte der sicherheitsrelevante Teil von „Galileo“ nach Expertenangaben praktisch unbrauchbar werden. Die Verhandlungen der Europäischen Union mit China über das Problem sind bisher erfolglos geblieben. Wer die Frequenz zuerst nutzt, gelangt in ihren Besitz.

Ursprünglich sollte auch China an „Galileo“ beteiligt werden, wurde dann aber von wichtigen Entscheidungsgremien ausgeschlossen und verfolgt seit 2007 die Entwicklung eines eigenen Navigationssystems. (dpa/pi)

Volkswagen China sales may top Germany's in '09

Volkswagen China sales may top Germany's in '09
By Li Fangfang (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-04-15 08:02

olkswagen expects China to overtake Germany as its biggest market this year, the company's chief executive said yesterday.

"I take the Chinese market as our second home market. My estimation is that Volkswagen's sales in China will overtake that of Germany's this year," said Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen AG.

Last month, the German carmaker sold 112,466 cars in China, breaching for the first time the 100,000-unit mark for single month sales.

All three locally produced brands - Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda - recorded their strongest sales in March. The company said it sold 92,969 Volkswagens, 11,848 Audis and 7,610 Skodas in the country last month.

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The spurt in numbers came at a time when China's monthly automobile sales touched a record 1.11 million vehicles in March, exceeding US sales for the third month in a row, as tax cuts and rebates for small car purchases lured buyers back into showrooms.

"The development of the total passenger car market in the first quarter has exceeded our expectations and we benefited successfully from this growth trend," said Winfried Vahland, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group China.

"With our performance, we have created a respectable base for future growth. We have corrected our forecast for 2009 and have raised our production planning by an additional 50,000 units."

Volkswagen will invest $1 billion in China in 2009-10. The money will be used for new technologies, introduction of new products, brand building and sales channel upgrades, said Winterkorn.

Volkswagen Group China, along with its two joint ventures, Shanghai Volkswagen and FAW-Volkswagen, delivered 284,143 cars in total in the first quarter to buyers on the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, 6 percent more than the 268,204 cars it sold in the first three months of 2008.

China has halved purchase taxes on cars with engines of or less than 1.6 liters and planned a 5-billion yuan subsidy program to boost vehicle sales in rural regions.

"Volkswagen Group fully supports the Chinese government's policy to encourage production of vehicles under 1.6-liter engine displacement as well as other measures to boost automobile sales," Winterkorn said, indicating that Volkswagen would also benefit from the measures.

"Volkswagen's product strategy, which always caters to local requirements, has been proved to be effective," said Zhong Shi, an independent auto analyst.

Volkswagen in late February announced an ambitious plan to double its annual vehicle sales in China to 2 million units by 2018, promising to add four models to its lineup each year.

This month, its US rival General Motors, also said that it aimed to double its China annual sales to 2 million units, with more than 30 new or upgraded models to be launched over the next five years.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

VW feiert Rekordabsatz in China

Markt der Zukunft:

VW feiert Rekordabsatz in China

Markt der Zukunft: VW feiert Rekordabsatz in China
© Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
VW hat im März 112.466 Autos in China verkauft - so viele Fahrzeuge wie in keinem Monat zuvor

Europas größter Autobauer hat in China mehr als 110.000 Fahrzeuge in einem Monat verkauft. Der Absatzrekord macht den Wolfsburgern doppelt Mut, denn in Zeiten weltweit dramatischer Absatzeinbrüche wirkt Chinas Automarkt wie eine Insel der Seligen.

Europas größter Autobauer Volkswagen hat in China und Hongkong einen Rekordabsatz verzeichnet. Im März seien neun Prozent mehr Fahrzeuge verkauft worden als im Vorjahreszeitraum, gab der Konzern am Dienstag bekannt. Mit 112.466 Autos seien dort so viele Fahrzeuge wie in keinem Monat bisher abgesetzt worden.

China hatte seiner strauchelnden Autoindustrie mit einem staatlichen Maßnahmepaket unter die Arme gegriffen. Für den Kauf von Kleinwagen wurden Steueranreize geschaffen. Ähnlich wie in Deutschland erhalten die Bürger zudem Fördermittel, wenn sie sich von ihren alten Autos trennen und neue, kraftstoffsparende Fahrzeuge kaufen.

Im gesamten ersten Quartal sei mit einem Absatz von 284.143 Fahrzeugen ein Plus von 5,94 Prozent gegenüber dem Vorjahresquartal verzeichnet worden, teilte Volkswagen weiter mit. Die Wolfsburger gehen davon aus, dass in diesem Jahr insgesamt 50.000 mehr Fahrzeuge verkauft werden als bislang geplant.

Der Markt der Zukunft
China gilt bei den Autoherstellern als Markt der Zukunft. Bereits in diesem Jahr könnte das Land mit über zehn Millionen Fahrzeugen (Pkw und Lkw) die USA als weltgrößten Absatzmarkt ablösen. Die Wachablösung könnte nur verschoben werden, wenn der US-Markt doch noch anspringen sollte.

Außer Volkswagen bedienen die deutschen Hersteller in China fast nur den Premiummarkt. Dieser allerdings ist sehr attraktiv. Während in Deutschland etwa 30 Prozent des Absatzes diesem Segment zuzurechnen sind, sind es im Riesenreich bislang erst 1 bis 2 Prozent, sagte BMW-Chef Norbert Reithofer kürzlich. Entsprechend hoch dürften die Zuwachsraten ausfallen.

Vor diesem Hintergrund fliegen die deutschen Autobauer in wenigen Tagen in Topbesetzung zur Automesse nach Shanghai (20.-28.4.). Die Veranstaltung in der chinesischen Millionenmetropole gilt als wegweisend.


SAP: We've Spent Millions So Far on Waste Management Su

SAP: We've Spent Millions So Far on Waste Management Suit

SAP has engaged 25 to 30 contract attorneys and spent millions of dollars to defend itself against a lawsuit brought last year by Waste Management over an allegedly failed ERP implementation, according to a document filed April 2 in Harris County, Texas district court.

April 09, 2009 — IDG News Service — SAP has engaged 25 to 30 contract attorneys and spent millions of dollars to defend itself against a lawsuit brought last year by Waste Management over an allegedly failed ERP implementation, according to a document filed April 2 in Harris County, Texas district court.

Describing its document discovery efforts as "Herculean," SAP said that sum -- which includes more than US$1 million paid to an unnamed e-discovery software vendor -- does not include the cost of its outside counsel, which has spent "thousands of hours" reviewing documents and interviewed more than 100 SAP employees.

Waste Management sued SAP in March 2008, claiming more than $100 million in damages in connection with the ERP (enterprise resource planning) project. According to the trash-disposal company, SAP had said its software would be an "out of the box solution for Waste Management's business processes," but in reality it was not.

SAP has filed an answer to Waste Management's complaint, saying in part that the company breached its contracts with SAP by failing to "timely and accurately define its business requirements" and by not providing "sufficient, knowledgeable, decision-empowered users and managers" to work on the project.

Meanwhile, a stream of recent court filings in the case show the two sides accusing each other of slowing down the discovery process.

"SAP has consistently sought to delay the trial of this case by refusing to answer written discovery and refusing to produce fact witnesses for deposition," Waste Management charged in a document filed March 30.

But SAP fired back in the April 2 filing, claiming that Waste Management has shown "a complete lack of professionalism" and in terms of document production, is attempting to "sandbag" SAP.

"Waste Management is the one who started this lawsuit, yet it has still not substantially completed its production and just dumped over 8.6 million pages of documents on SAP in the last two weeks," it states.

Waste Management and SAP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The trial date for the case is currently set for October, although SAP is asking the court to push the date back to 2010, according to another filing. Waste Management has weighed in against such a decision.

Meanwhile, SAP is continuing another expensive legal battlein a California federal court, fending off an intellectual property suit brought in 2007 by rival enterprise software maker Oracle.

Copyright © 2008 IDG News Service. All rights reserved. IDG News Service is a trademark of International Data Group, Inc.