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October 11, 1995

MINIGRAMS EXTRA

By CBR Staff Writer

Acer Inc, Taipei, Taiwan says sales hit a monthly record high of $232m in September, up 102% from a year earlier and it attributed the rise to an increase in notebook and desktop computer sales – it sold nearly 400,000 in the month: in the first three quarters of this year, Acer’s sales soared by 80% $1,465m from $812m a year ago and Acer said 1995 sales target is $1,619m which is likely to be raised after the approval of the board, it said; the full Acer Group also saw record monthly and nine month sales and increased its 1995 sales forecast to $5,141m from $4,774m it said.

Telecom New Zealand Ltd said its Australian subsidiary, Pacific Star, is to buy Australian data services consultancy Lane Telecommunications Pty Ltd for an undisclosed sum subject to completion of due diligence, to give it an entry into the Australian data services market: Lane Telecommunications specialises in data communications and has an existing government and corporate client base mostly in South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland.

Santa Clara, California-based Rational Software Corp expects to take a $3m to $5m charge in the December quarter to integrate its acquisition of a 54% stake in Objectory AB of Stockholm, Sweden from L M Ericsson AB , and an option to buy the balance, and it therefore expects a loss in the December quarter: Rational will issue a total of 750,000 shares including its option exercise, to complete the transaction which is valued between $7.5m and $10m; Rational will have to write off a large part of the cost as purchased research and development.

Russian telecommunications giant Rostelekom will decide next month whether to merge with Moscow telephone company, AO Moskovsky Mezhdugorodni i Mezhdunarodny Telefon, MMT, but neither would say where the initiative had originated: Moskovsky said shareholders would also meet next month to vote on the merger and if approved the State Property Committee and Anti-Monopoly Committee, it would elaborate the plan; currently Moskovsky provides intercity and international phone services to Moscow customers and leases buildings and telephone lines from Rostelekom in exchange for a percentage of revenue but the two have no cross-shareholdings.

Santa Monica, California-based Retix Inc has entered the Egyptian market by signing up Computek Ltd, Egypt’s main Dell Computer Corp distributor: the agreement covers the marketing, installation and maintenance of Retix’s full product range throughout the ancient land.

I’ll do anything for love, but I won’t do that… Reacting to news that MVS bundled with a load of ancillary things that are currently options is to be named OS/390 this week – and with OS/2 and OS/400 already IBM Corp brands – Donna van Fleet, vice-president of AIX development assured us that AIX would not similarly become OS/6000 – We’ve just gone through that whole branding thing, and I’m not going to do that she declared firmly.

Atlanta, Georgia-based communications equipment company Scientific-Atlanta Inc warns that it will likely report a loss for its fiscal first quarter to September 29, after a charge of $19.5m for exiting its defence-related businesses: it blamed delays in the passage of telecommunications legislation by Congress leading to slowdowns in equipment purchases by telephone and cable companies; and citing weakness in its share price, it says it plans to buy up to 5m shares of its common stock of which it has 76.7m shares outstanding.

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According to Reuter, that $500m production line NEC Corp plans to build at its Sagamihara plant near Tokyo (CI No 2,766) is not for 64M-bit memory chips at all, but for trial fabrication of 1G-bit parts, with first samples seen in 1998.

Baring its teeth, S3 Inc says it will aggressively defend itself against the patent infringement lawsuit filed by Brooktree Corp. – o – The X3B11 Standards Committee for magneto-optical drives and platters has accepted proposals from the 14 leading firms in the business for a new 5.2Gb format that

is backwards-compatible with the current drives: it will have full read-write backward compatibility with the newly introduced 2.6Gb standard medium while maintaining full read compatibility with 1.3Gb and 650Mb disks.

Philips Electronics NV subsidiary Philips Semiconductors Philippines Inc is expanding its semiconductor packaging facility in Laguna, south of Manila: it recently opened a new $69.2m assembly and testing plant at the Laguna Light & Industry Science Park that can currently package 573m units for export to Europe and the US; Philips said it will build another assembly plant soon.

The relational database companies are gearing up for the battle to establish their parallel system offerings, and have been putting pressure on systems vendors not to issue competitive benchmarks, refusing permission for them to compare one against the other as a condition of distribution agreements: the official reason is that there are multiple ways of measuring performance depending on the precise application, and that the benchmarks won’t tell the whole story.

One of the Big Four UK clearing banks switching away from IBM Corp to Unisys Corp? Lloyds Bank Plc could be headed in that direction if its talks with TSB Group Plc lead to a takeover, because one of the attractions of the TSB is its advanced computer systems, and these all centre around Unisys 2200 mainframes – but these days, there is not much point in worrying about whether your vendor will be around in five or 10 years’ time: back in the 1980s, the TSB, settled on Sperry Corp mainframes, bought a large amount of Burroughs Corp kit because it didn’t want to put all its eggs in the Sperry basket, and it went to Timeplex Inc for its networking equipment – so Burroughs bought Sperry and created Unisys, and then Unisys bought Timeplex…

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