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November 24, 1995

MINIGRAMS

By CBR Staff Writer

David Barnes, regarded as IBM Corp’s number one OS/2 evangelist, is leaving IBM to join RightSource Inc, a Wilton, Connecticut computer-based training company: IBM was unable to confirm that he was off, but the story, which was broken by PC Week, was hardened up by Reuters and it is seen as hammering another whole row of nails into OS/2’s coffin; within the past two weeks, PC Week says, IBM laid off Vicci Conway and Janet Gobielle, responsible for co-ordinating the activities of the Team OS/2 cheerleaders.

Separately, IBM Corp’s Personal Computer Co named long-time executive Anthony Santelli general manager for product and brand management, succeeding Bruce Claflin, who, as reported, resigned last month to head the personal computer division at Digital Equipment Corp; Santelli had been general manager for the IBM Power Personal Systems unit before it was folded into the Personal Computer Co the other day.

Some 200 IBMers in Austin lost their jobs when IBM Corp crushed the Power Personal Systems arm and lost it in the RS/6000 division.

Richardson, Texas-based Convex Computer Corp celebrated Thanksgiving by cutting prices on its Exemplar Scalable Parallel Processors: pricing for the Exemplar series now begins at under $147,000 for an entry-level compact and $350,000 for an extended architecture system.

US Senators and Representatives in committee are hopeful of having a harmonised telecommunications reform bill ready by early next month.

Santa Clara-based High Level Design Systems Inc has had to pull its proposed public offering of shares because of dirty work at the crossroads: the company says that last week it became aware of allegations contained in a letter that a broker in a New York-based brokerage had engaged in improper trading in the securities of the company, allegedly including trading while in possession of material non-public information; Alex Brown & Sons Inc, the lead underwriter for the proposed offering, advised the company that it would not be prudent to go ahead with the offer at present; the allegations do not involve the lead underwriter, High Level added.

Persistence Software Inc, San Mateo, California has won a US patent on its Persistence 3.0 code generation technology that maps business objects to relational tables.

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Having sounded out users for their preferences, Novell Inc is said to favour selling Wordperfect Corp to an investor group or similar party that would maintain the group as an independent company, rather than sell it to another software firm.

Japanese computer enthusiasts have the Windows95 bug and queued for hours before midnight in chilly rains for the release early on Thursday of the Japanese version of Microsoft Corp’s new operating system: in a frenzy of consumer zeal rarely seen in recent years in recession-weary Japan, reports Reuter, some 13,000 dealers nationwide saw customers storm their stores for release of the software – and customers sipped champagne in Osaka’s electronics district and knocked back hot sake in Sapporo, as sales began at midnight; IDC Japan expects shipments of Windows95 between November 23 and December 31 to exceed 1.75m units.

Philippe Kahn is so busy with his new Starfish Software Inc, which got off the ground by taking on Borland International Inc’s utilities, that he has decided to resign as chairman of his previous creation, Borland, on January 1; he plans to remain a director of Borland.

Deutsche Telekom AG expects pre-tax profit of just under $7,150m this year, finance chief Joachim Krske was quoted by Handelsblatt as saying in a speech to the German Stock Institute: flotation of the company is planned for one year from now; Krske also criticised the German banks (everyone in Germany hates the banks these days) for not doing more to encourage small shareholders, and said that Germany was extremely backward in this respect.

Brian Smith, new non-executive chairman of Cable & Wireless Plc told the Financial Times that it could take at least a year to find replacements for the departed chairman and chief executive; his ideal candidate for the chief executive post would be somebody with an understanding of the industry, clear ideas and focus and the ability to act today, he declared.

VisiCom Labs Inc, San Diego, California, is offering a real-time graphics library it says supports embedded and real-time graphics when a full X Window system can’t be used because of memory, processor or file input-output constraints; prices go from $2,000.

The people that gave the Boulder, Colorado shared logic word processor pioneer the name NBI Inc – said to stand for Nothing But Initials – were very prescient: the company now has interests in manufacturers of novelty toys, glass giftware and lighting fixtures; and while it does still have its cabling infrastructure firm it also has a Holiday Inn property in Pennsylvania.

Complainant that spurred the European Commission to loose the jackboots on Digital Equipment Corp in the UK, France and Germany (CI No 2,799) was reportedly Granada Group Plc’s Granada Computer Services.

According to Brazil’s Invest News agency the Communications Ministry says new regulations to open the country’s telecommunications sector to private investment will not go to Congress until 1996, though officials will push for prompt opening of market segments such as cellular service: the Ministry would neither confirm nor deny the report; the reason for the delay was the government’s conclusion that the regulations would be complicated; the Ministry will launch a so-called minimal telecommunications law on November 28 to open up cellular phones, data communications, satellite links and value-added services, it reported; foreign investors and equipment suppliers have rushed into Brazil or are expanding their presence to get a piece of the coming telecommunications action.

Daewoo Telecom Ltd has taken a 49% stake in Sejin Computer Land, the country’s largest domestic personal computer distributor for $1.2m: it said the buy would help it to sharpen its domestic competitiveness.

The object-relational database from Illustra Information Technologies Inc, Oakland is now up under HP-UX.

IBM Corp Storage Systems Division vice-president Steve Fitzgerald said at the opening of the new disk plant in Hungary that IBM should see a profit in the fourth quarter after reporting a loss in the third quarter: IBM’s IBM Storage Products Kft is investing $28m in the joint venture with Hungary’s Videoton, which will provide plant facilities and half the 350 strong workforce; the factory is in Szekesfehervar, 45 miles southwest of Budapest; Fitzgerald said part of the reason for the third quarter loss was also due to problems with the Ramac disk array – Some of the problem could have been created by me – we had to put the Ramac disk on hold because we had a quality problem so the revenues we should have bought in the third quarter had a slip, he confessed to Reuter, adding that the problems had now been resolved and prospects were now very good; the plant is expected to produce over one million drives in 1996.

IBM Corp’s Lotus Development Corp is looking to attract more WordPerfect and PerfectOffice users to its SmartSuite business software suite: it’s offering SmartSuite 96 for Windows95 and SmartSuite 4.0 for Windows 3.1 products to existing WordPerfect and PerfectOffice users for only $200 until December 31.

Once a monopolist, always a… Deutsche Telekom AG has proposed the introduction of steep rebates for major customers of up to 43%, a plan aimed at securing long term custom but one that will worry the company’s competitors, when services in Germany are liberalised, according to Handelsblatt: existing legislation gives the company big advantages, such as a monopoly of standard voice telephone services, and corporate network competitors have to pay Deutsche Telekom high rents to use its lines until July 1996, when they will be able to use their own networks; the Postal Ministry said that 90% of the monopoly’s proposed 1996 fee schedule is all right but the proposed rebates are contentious; the ministry will submit its views at the meeting of the government’s telecommunications regulatory council on December 4.

Britain’s mobile telephone industry association, the Federation of Communication Services, will press Members of Parliament to toughen the law to fight mobile phone fraud which, mainly through electronic cloning of numbers, costs the industry and consumers about ú100m a year: the organisation said that only an amendment to the UK’s 1984 Telecommunications Act would be able to close a loophole that allows unhindered use of cloning equipment; it aims to get a bill launched in Parliament later this week outlawing the posession and supply of cloning equipment and introducing a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment, it said.

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