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October 12, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

Well that little love affair didn’t last long: Jim Manzi resigned as chief executive of Lotus Development Corp and senior vice-president of IBM Corp, saying I have concluded over the past couple of weeks that I’m not the right person to be leading Lotus at this juncture in its history – the attributes that I believe made me an effective chief executive of a nearly billion-dollar independent company, aren’t necessarily the attributes required of an executive leading a division within a much larger organisation, and the challenges that excited me previously aren’t necessarily the same challenges we face today; no successor had been named last night but there are still plenty more people at RJR Nabisco and American Express Co for IBM to choose from.

IBM Corp’s Lotus Development Corp is offering a $30 rebate on any upgrade of its 1-2-3 Release 5 for Windows 3.1 spreadsheet program: the rebate applies to any previous release of 1-2-3, or other qualifying spreadsheet; there is still no date for 1-2-3 for Windows95.

Sybase Inc shares were pulled from their highs after bearish comments from pundit Dan Dorfman on Cable NBC, who said that some people think the company’s earnings, set for release today, may disappoint – and even if they do not, he said the stock will still be pressured since the company faces sharply rising competition and said Sybase had told at least one analyst that it is not in any takeover talks.

IBM Corp appears to be breaking up management consultancy FinExc Group LLC: it has hired no fewer than 11 consultants from the firm, and wants them to create technical systems for IBM’s financial clients: the consultants include Jeffrey Lynn, formerly president of FinExc, and other senior members of staff.

The European Commission is ready to use its dictatorial competition powers granted it in the Treaty of Rome to order governments to allow cable television networks to carry some telecommunications services by next January: the services include home banking, interactive video gam es, home alarms and mobile communications – but it will not guarantee cable operators the right to carry basic phone service to the public before the 1998 deadline; the Commission turned down that amendment put forward by the European Parliament that would bave given telephone companies the right to offer broadcast cablee services.

Microsoft Corp has taken a minority stake in Individual Inc, the company that customises press releases and press reports to a subscriber’s specific requirements: Microsoft and Individual will collaborate in product development, initially to offer Individual’s iNews personalised news on the Microsoft Network; no financial details were given.

The Mpact media engine from Mountain View, California-based Chromatic Research Inc, designed to support video, two- and three-dimensional graphics acceleration, audio, facsimile modem, telephony and videophone functions (CI No 2,767), consists of a single ultra-high-bandwidth, highly parallel media processor and mediaware software modules that enable the seven functions and provide various levels of capabilities within each function, the company says: the Mpact is a vector processor combining Very Long Instruction Word – it’s not the instructions that are long, you simply gang a string of compatible ones together and execute them all at the same time – and Single Instruction Multiple Data parallel processing, and is designed to work as a co-processor to an iAPX-86.

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NexGen Inc has been describing the second generation of its iAPX-86 clone family, and claims that the Nx686 offers up to twice the performance of Intel Corp’s Pentium Pro on 16-bit applications and up to 33% higher performance on 32-bit code: the superscalar processor integrates about 6m transistors and the initial version will run at 180MHz; the part, which is not pin-compatible with Pentium or Pro, decodes multiple instructions per clock cycle into seven execution units – two integer execution, one floating point, one multimedia, one memor

y load, one memory store, and one branch execution; it has a 16Kb instruction and a 32Kb data cache on chip, and ships by the year-end.

Japanese market leader NEC Corp says that sales of its personal computers in the April-to-September period totalled 1.56m units, or $4,121m and it expects sales for this fiscal year to total 3.56m units or $9,334m: it therefore plans to increase its annual production capacity to 5m units from 3m; NEC said its strong sales reflect a general Japanese personal computer boom and Windows95 launch also stimulated sales although the Japanese version of is not due to be released until later this year.

Embarrassing, that: turns out that as well as the Atlanta-based Image Technology Inc bought by MCI Communications Corp (CI No 2,765), there is an Image Technology International Inc in nearby Norcross, Georgia, which is the privately held corporate parent of 3D Image Technology Inc , which has had to deny a published report that it is the company MCI has agreed to buy.

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp promised it will cut the rates it charges its rivals to use its local call networks considerably and is currently reviewing those rates with three rivals, DDI Corp, Japan Telecom Co Ltd and Teleway Japan Corp: currently the three firms pay about $0.12 per three-minute call in access charges to use Nippon’s local phone networks and said in business year ended in March 1995, they paid a combined $2,979m, or about half of their sales revenues, to Nippon; industry analysts say a cut in access charges of $0.001 could boost the three companies’ combined profits by $199m a year; Nippon hopes to conclude the talks with the three firms by October 20.

Shares in VMark Software Inc plunged $4.75 or 40% to $7.25 after the Westborough, Massachusetts-based company said it estimates turnover for its third quarter ended October 1 to be between about $15.8m and $16m about 10% down on second quarter and it expects to report a loss of about $0.02 to $0.05 per share compared with a profit of $0.09 per share, excluding one-time charges, for the second quarter of 1995; the company, which bought Easel Corp in June (CI No 2,686) said in its first full quarter as a merged company, consolidation diverted attention from its core operating business.

Reading-based Axon Networks Inc has signed IBM Corp to market and support Axon’s LANServant family of RMON-based network and monitoring and troubleshooting offerings: IBM will start shipping this quarter.

Seems the call will be going out soon for loquacious mice, but they should have a slightly better time than the poor creatures that over the years have been forced to inhale vast amounts of tobacco smoke in the cause of trying to prove the link between smoking and cancer: fears of potential threat have resurfaced and the new laboratory specimens will be needed to test whether there’s a link between frying your brain with microwaves from cellular phones and brain tumours; unfortunately, political correctness extends even to mice these days, otherwise, as a by-product, they could test whether there is a sex-linked gene that makes females talk on the telephone for much longer than most men do.

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