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  1. Technology
October 30, 1995

MINIGRAMS

By CBR Staff Writer

Digital Equipment Corp has stolen Bruce Claflin away from IBM Corp to be the new vice-president and general manager of its Personal Computer Business unit: for the past 18 months, Claflin was general manager, product and brand management, responsible for worldwide personal computer product marketing and development as well as brand management, advertising and promotion at the IBM Personal Computer Co; DEC says it is confident of achieving its goal of becoming one of the top five players in personal computers but it is not hazarding just when.

Alcatel NV says it is open to an alliance with another maker of cellular telephone terminals and handsets in order to speed up its aim of conquering 20% of the world market, but it stresses that it is not actively seeking a partner; Motorola Inc, L M Ericsson Telefon AB and Nokia Oy together have some 75% of the world market, and Alcatel reckons that it has some 10%.

Quarterdeck Corp and Spyglass Inc agreed a technology-sharing pact in which Quarterdeck will license Spyglass’s World Wide Web technologies for use in its Internet products and Spyglass will license technology from Quarterdeck for inclusion in future Spyglass products; Quarterdeck also released the InternetSuite 2.0 upgrade to its integrated Internet applications suite, featuring significant enhancements to the Quarterdeck Mosaic Web browser.

IBM Corp’s Lotus Development Corp rushed to deny gossip that John Landry, chief technology officer was on the brink of resigning, saying that he is to remain and will become strategic technology consultant to IBM, reporting to John Thompson; but it had to admit that K C Branscomb, senior vice-president of business development, resigned, but it gave no reason.

Retix Inc, Santa Monica is to restructure its internetworking business, which could result in fourth-quarter charges of up to $15m or 84 cents a share: the charges will include one-time costs of facilities consolidation, employee redundnacy pay, elimination of excess manufacturing capacity, inventory reductions related to product line and distribution streamlining and other non-cash charges, it noted.

Digital Equipment Corp has reduced the prices of some of its Starion personal computers by up to $200, and also added 100MHz, 120MHz and 133MHz Pentium models to the line.

It looks as if IBM Corp has again had a prize snatched from under its nose: according to PC Week, IBM Microelectronics was sending technical staff to NexGen Inc to try to convince the folks there to use IBM’s tools to develop their processors – because part of the deal for IBM to act as a foundry for NexGen includes allowing IBM to use NexGen’s P6 competitor as the basis for IBM-enhanced derivative chips – but with the acquisition of NexGen by Advanced Micro Devices Inc, all of that now looks to be academic.

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Recreating the Bell System, huh? AT&T Corp says it plans to petition Connecticut regulators to allow it to offer local telephone service as well as long-distance communications to businesses and consumers in the state, starting early next year, as a first step to offering local phone service nationally, when local laws and regulations permit it to do so; it expects to set up alliances to help it reach customers as part of its expansion; in many states it’s illegal for companies other than selected phone monopolies to offer local service, and it says that brothels are legal in more states than local phone service – no, it didn’t, but Robert Allen, did say More states allow gambling, like lotteries than allow local phone service competition.

Claiming big success for it in the US, Sun Microsystems Computer Co has extended its Notes bundling offer to Europe, and says that from Friday it has been bundling Lotus Notes Release 3 at no charge with every Sparcserver system shipped in Europe – the offer runs out on June 30 next year; one Notes server licence will be valid for Notes Release 3 for the Solaris environment, plus a choice of one Notes client for either the Windows or for the Solaris Unix environment.

Oracle Systems Corp has opened a subsidiary in Ho Chi Minh City – or Saigon as the locals all call it.

Santa Cruz Operation Inc has put back release of results for its fourth fiscal quarter to September 30 until mid-November, but warns that net revenues and operating results for the period will be lower than analysts’ expectations and lower than its third fiscal quarter operating results; it might incur an operating loss, and the reason is increased provision for potential product exchanges mainly in its international operations.

It’s what’s called making your own arrangements: while Nynex CableComms Plc and TeleWest Communications Plc have been telling the UK Office of Telecommunications that telephone number portability is vital for a free market in telecommunications and that British Telecommunications Plc should bear most of the cost, the Financial Times points out, back home in the US, their parent companies Nynex Corp and US West Inc have been telling the Federal Communications Commission precisely the opposite; turns out that Oftel is a regulator of the world, and recognises that a company will sing one tune where it is the monopolist and quite another one wherever it is weak, so takes it all with a large pinch of salt.

Microsoft Corp chairman and chief executive Bill Gates confirmed that the company is working on a Windows NT-based server product for the Internet World Wide Web that will be available early next year, and he said that the Internet was now its number one development focus.

The opportunistic offer by Creative Technology Ltd for Woodland Hills, California multimedia hardware marketing company Reveal Computer Products Inc (CI No 2,780) is being seen as the latest manifestation of the sibling rivalry between Creative and fellow Singaporean Aztech Systems Inc, which just scored a few hits against Creative by seeing off a patent infringement allegation by Creative: Aztech has 8.2% of Reveal, which markets its products in the US, and Creative is saying that it has no obligation to continue Reveal’s orders for products made by Aztech; its plan is to use both brand names in the US, with Reveal for the cheap’n’cheerful end of the market and Creative for premium products; it also looks for orders from Packard Bell Electronics Inc, which shares common shareholders with Reveal; meantime Aztech says it had first option to buy Reveal but sat on its hands as it wasn’t optimistic about the retail multimedia market; Packard Bell is currently Aztech’s biggest OEM customer, accounting for 30%.

Seems we were right in our suspicions (CI No 2,780): the consensus is that the new Siemens AG and Motorola Inc US memory chip plant will employ some 1,200 to 1,300 people.

Computer Network Technology Corp, Minneapolis, Minnesota, said it has reached an agreement with IBM Corp that will allow an IBM unit to distribute Computer Network’s entire Channelink product line to the mainframer’s customers in Brazil.

With AT&T Corp needing a new name for the telecommunications equipment company it plans to spin off – how about Western Electric Corp?

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