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November 14, 1995

MINIGRAMS EXTRA

By CBR Staff Writer

Sales of personal computers in China are forecast to reach 1.4m in 1996, up 40% from the 1m sold in 1995, and the output value will rise to $7,836m from $6,027m in 1995, the Ministry of Electronics Industry said: Compaq Computer Corp, IBM Corp, AST Research Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co, Apple Computer Inc and other companies are expected to see sales and market share increase, it said; in 1996, computers based on Intel Corp’s Pentium processors are expected to account for 25% of China’s market, which conflicts with Intel’s own forecast that Pentium units sold would exceed 80486 units early in 1996; it is not clear whether the centre’s figures included the many tens of thousands of smuggled computers or microprocessors used in no-name clones built to order by storefront hackers in most of China’s cities.

Sematech has formed the 300 Millimeter Initiative to design equipment needed to fabricate chips on 12 wafers, and this time around is throwing membership open to foreigners provided they have plants planned for the US or are already present; despite that, the Japanese have said thanks but no thanks and are forming their own local team.

Toronto-based Newbridge Networks Corp stock is expected to shake off the blues that have dogged its steps for months, cheered by an expanding market for wide-area Asynchronous Transfer Mode products, says an Alex Brown & Sons analyst who has upgraded his rating: he went to buy from neutral after Newbridge rival StrataCom Inc won an order from CompuServe Inc; Newbridge has recently won orders from regional Bell operating companies Ameritech Corp and US West for Asynchronous Transfer products, which helped convince analysts that the market for the wide-area packet system is expanding; the Alex Brown analyst says he sees Newbridge as an extraordinarily well-positioned company with visionary management.

Kuwaiti company GulfSat has inaugurated what it called the Gulf’s first privately-owned satellite communications station on Wednesday and said it would seek data-carrying agreements with multinationals around the world: Hughes Network Systems International Inc, which supplied the VSAT Very Small Aperture Terminal station, said the unit could become a crossroads of worldwide satellite traffic by routing communications from users in both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions; GulfSat was granted Kuwait’s first commercial satellite station operating licence and says that the government will play no role in operation or management but it will take a share of GulfSat’s revenue.

Where Hewlett-Packard Co only tied for first place in customer satisfaction among desktop computer users in the latest J D Power & Associates customer satisfaction poll, in the 1995 Notebook Computer End-User Satisfaction Study, it is way out in front on 117, with Dell Computer Corp recovering so emphatically from its embarrassing setback of a couple of years ago that it came second with 112, Apple Computer Inc is still doing a good job and scored 110, Toshiba Corp managed 107, but Compaq Computer Corp only just managed an above average score with 102; the ones whose blushes are spared by their below average scores being kept a deep dark secret this time are Digital Equipment Corp, IBM Corp (yet again) and Texas Instruments Inc; Power did turn up some AST Research Inc users too, but they are not included because the sample was too slim to be reliably representative; the study was based on telephone interviews with 1,239 office-based business users; Power is headquartered in Agoura Hills, California.

Farmington Hills, Michigan-based Compuware Corp has bought Los Altos, California-based CoroNet Systems for $30m: the company said the acquisition of the firm, which develops management systems for networked applications, would add to its capabilities in the application and network performance arena; its CoroNet Management System, which automatically discovers, measures and tracks client-server applicaion conversations end-to-end, across enterprise networks, will be renamed EcoNet and will be developed further and expanded as part of the Compuware’s EcoTools product line.

China’s vast planned investment of $43,000m on telecommunications over the next five years will help national defence, the Liberation Army Daily said, and quoted the Posts & Telecommunications vice-minister as saying emphasis should be placed on a network with combat readiness: priority would be given to defence of China’s extensive perimeter, including thousands of miles of rugged inland frontier and the long eastern coast; satellite communications would comprise the main body of the defence system with supplemental emergency devices such as mobile satellite ground receivers digital microwave and program-controlled switching systems; the minister said construction of defence telecommunications had to go hand in hand with development of the public system, which he said would have 114m phone lines by the year 2000; under the recently approved Ninth Five-Year Plan spanning 1996 to 2000, China will invest $43,400m in national telecommunications; the network will include 125,000 miles of first-grade optical fibre trunk lines, 31,000 miles of microwave circuit and 156 satellite ground stations according to the minister.

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Tchotchke schmotchke! First we’ve heard of it, but according to the Wall Street Journal, tacky knicknacks like the plastic grapes just sent out on behalf of Attachmate Corp are known in the computer industry as tchotchkes, which is Yiddish for cheap trinkets.

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