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Technology / AI and automation


A group of 14 US banks and financial institutions will form a for-profit company to provide the first debit card that can be used US-wide: the new company, SmartCash Inc, will speed the implementation of Smart Card technology and the stored-value application throughout the US, the companies said; Reuter did not identify the protagonists.

Fujitsu Ltd says it is on track for significantly higher unconsolidated pretax profits in the first half of fiscal 1996, than for the same period last year: it said sales of semiconductors, personal computers and telecommunications equipment, as well a favourable turn in the dollar-yen exchange rate, should help the company come close to the 36% increase in pre-tax profit, to the equivalent of $321m, predicted in the Nippon Keizai newspaper.

Motorola Inc’s PCMCIA Products Division has launched the Marquis, a 28.8Kbps modem and facsimile card with a local area network adaptor for personal computers with Type II PC Card slots: the product enables mobile computer users to add local net adaptor and facsimile modem capabilities; list price is $600.

Microsoft Corp says that more than 280 major personal computer manufacturers have committed to pre-install its Windows95 operating system for availability on or soon after the August 24 official launch date: will those 280 have to de-install it if the US Justice Department judgement (CI No 2,725) goes the wrong way for Microsoft?

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Swedish telecommunications equipment distributor Doro AB has done a deal with Motorola Inc and Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG to distribute digital mobile telephones in Scandinavia: the company says it plans to distribute the phones through 2,000 retail outlets in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

Telebit Corp, maker of switched local network products, and some of its officers and directors, have been named in two securities lawsuits seeking class-action status alleging fraudulent statements: the firm will defend them vigorously.

Spectrum Information Technologies Inc said it will sell its Dallas facility for about $780,000: it gave no details, but the sale issubject to bankruptcy court approval.

Newbridge Networks Corp has enhanced versions of its 3600/3645 Mainstreet Bandwidth Manager switches, which work with Switched Services and Integrated Services Digital Network: release 6 enhancements will provide scalability on multi-vendor hardware, the company said.

Remember the 80386? Mid to late 1980s vintage microprocessor? First 32-bit iAPX-86? In the most shaming indictment of the smug, self-satisfied, bloated and overfed software industry, as we come in to the fourth generation of 32-bit chips with the P6, although there is plenty of 32-bit Unix software, there is still almost no 32-bit desktop software – and unfortunately, even Intel Corp didn’t believe its software allies would be that incompetent, and has optimised the P6 for 32-bit working in the expectation that the software industry would have finally left the horse and buggy age and embraced the automobile – so P6 machines will be slower than Pentium systems when running 16-bit software – and that means most of what’s out there now.

A consortium of Jasmine International Plc of Thailand, state-owned Telephone Organisation of Thailand Ltd, Sweden’s national phone operator Telia AB, and three Indian firms, Sanmar Electronics Pvt Ltd, United Telecom Ltd and Parasrampuria Credit & Investment won a 15-year contract from India to install three cellular phone systems, in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and the Punjab, for a total of more than $600m; each system could attract 300,000 subscribers, the team said.

ACC TelEnterprises Ltd has bought Metrowide Communications, a Toronto-based provider of local and long distance phone services in Ontario, for an undisclosed sum: the purchase is expected to add over $7.4m to ACC’s annual revenues, and the company said it will enable it to offer such services as Centrex resale and wide-area local calling.

Systems integration speci

alist Cambridge Technology Partners Inc has bought Miami-based software implementation and consulting firm Systems Consulting Group, for 758,000 new Cambridge shares: it says Systems Consulting, whose customers include Ryder System Inc, Blockbuster Entertainment Corp and Nynex Corp, brings a strong presence in the southeast and midwest of the US and also the opportunity to expand into the Caribbean and Latin America.

Telecommunications and information services company US Long Distance Corp announced that it is to expand by acquiring ITC Inc, Salt Lake City direct-dial, long-distance services firm, for $12m in shares.

Compaq Computer Corp has signed former Toshiba Corp executive Michael Winkler as senior vice-president and general manager of its portables division from November: Winkler, former vice-president of Toshiba America Information systems and general manager of the computer systems division since 1991, succeeds Hugh Barnes, who is assigned to assume new responsibilities in the are of corporate technology.

Mick and Keith have plenty to celebrate in Microsoft Corp’s choice of their song to promote Windows95 – and unless Bill Gates has an unsuspectedly well-developed sense of irony, they get the last laugh too, because although the title of the song is Start Me Up, the hook line in the song is actually the one all those foolhardy enough to wrestle with early versions of Windows95 will be repeating – the one that goes You make a grown man cry.
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CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.