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November 8, 1995

MINIGRAMS

By CBR Staff Writer

MCI Communications Corp will today announce plans to enter the music retail business, and says it will demonstrate an easier way to purchase music, adding that attendees at the event would witness the unveiling of a music mega-brand and a virtual music superstore now as close as your phone; its to be held at the NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center, but the company insists that NBC has no connection with the announcement.

Donning merciless size 12 footwear with steel-tipped toecaps, the Wall Street Journal yesterday put the boot into IBM Corp’s $3,500m acquisition of Lotus Development Corp, going into great detail on how major companies are bringing Notes-type facilities to their employees by implementing incomparably cheaper World Wide Web-based Intranets.

Undaunted, Lotus Development Corp, IBM Corp and Digital Equipment Corp have announced a multifaceted pact under which Lotus will provide Lotus Notes to its customers on Alpha RISC systems: DEC’s worldwide sales force will sell Notes through its Multivendor Customer Services’ existing reseller agreement with Lotus; and Lotus will develop versions of Notes Release 4 for both Digital Unix and Windows NT for Alpha; it expects the Alpha version of Notes for Windows NT during the first half of 1996, Notes for Digital Unix during the second half.

Concurrent Computer Corp insists that it had already announced that it was switching to the PowerPC from the R-series RISC for future models in its Maxion line ahead of its proposed acquisition of Harris Computer Systems Corp (CI No 2,787) but we have to confess that it was news to us – and it seems to have been news to most of the other publications in the business, because we can find neither press release or any mention of Concurrent Computer and PowerPC in the same breath.

Yup, they really are running scared of Sony Corp’s PlayStation – and with reason, it seems: the company says it has sold 50,000 of the things in the first five weeks since it was launched in the UK, and is claiming this as a record.

The new Am5X86 runs at 133MHz and is fabricated in 0.35 micron process technology: it has 16Kb write-back cache and an integrated floating-point unit: ship start next month and it is $93 for 1,000-up.

You can’t argue with papal infallibility: we hear the Vatican has installed a six-way top-end Hitachi Data Systems Inc Skyline mainframe.

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Aluminum Co of America Inc, Pittsburgh is dumping 1,000 Macintosh desktops and 400 NetWare servers to standardise on Microsoft Corp’s Windows NT and BackOffice running on Vectra personal computers and servers from Hewlett-Packard Co: the programme is valued at $150m over five years, and includes 10,000 NT desktops and 450 BackOffice servers, and Hewlett-Packard is providing all the servers and most of the desktops and will help set up and run the system for Alcoa.

Adobe Systems Inc is shipping Adobe PageMaker 6.0 for Windows95 with more than 50 new features: the US suggested retail price is $900.

Still hot on the acquisition trail, Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based financial data and information management provider Fiserv Inc has bought Austin, Texas-based SRS Inc, provider of financial services to banks, for an undisclosed sum: Fiserv also completed the previously announced acquisition of Iowa-based Financial Information Trust, which provides data processing for banks and savings and loans institutions in the Midwest; together SRS and Financial Information Trust will bring in more than 90 clients and $8m in operating revenues, Fiserv said.

Bell Atlantic Corp is starting a voice dialling service, using Texas Instruments Inc’s speech recognition technology and its first customers will be in northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC: Bell Atlantic will charge customers $3.75 a month for the Easy Voice service and as an incentive, is offering customers the first month free and is also waiving connection charges.

Whistling in the gale force Internet wind, H&R Block Inc’s CompuServe Inc unit reports that its on-line service is attracting over 100,000 new subscribers a month, and it expects soon to unveil a new product called Wow, designed for first-time personal computer and on-line users, to provide easy navigation: it says business is very strong and it expects to have more than 700,000 subscribers in Europe by the end of April next year.

John Mashey, a research director for Silicon Graphics Inc, is unworried by the new Ultra series from Sun Microsystems Inc saying that his own range of products is much broader: You have to be careful about making comparisons, Mashey told the San Jose Mercury News in a line worthy of Sun’s Scott McNealy – sometimes people compare a 747 to a Volkswagen by racing to the end of the runway.

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