Increasing the pressure on the US authorities to make up their minds whether to do anything about the Microsoft Network, Microsoft Corp says Microsoft Office for Windows95 operating will be available in the reseller channel in the US and Canada at the same time as Windows95, which is on target to go on August 24; […]
Increasing the pressure on the US authorities to make up their minds whether to do anything about the Microsoft Network, Microsoft Corp says Microsoft Office for Windows95 operating will be available in the reseller channel in the US and Canada at the same time as Windows95, which is on target to go on August 24; Microsoft Office for Windows95, standard edition, will be available for about $500 and the professional edition, will be available at $600; the news was good for a $3.875 jump in the Microsoft share price to $99.50, a new all-time high – and Microsoft traditionally splits its shares when they are close to $100, which for strange psychological reasons is bullish for the price.
The confirmation that Ing C Olivetti & Co SpA is putting its personal computer business into a separate company under a new Olivetti holding company energised the shares for all the wrong reasons: they jumped 2% because analysets are convinced, despite protestations, that it will be selling the business to major on its embryonic telecommunications interests: Olivetti looks a good company the moment you cut out the computer problems, a trader at a major Italian securities firm commented to Reuters; Despite the fact they’re denying it, they would sell the computer business if they could get a good offer, said Carlo Barontini, analyst with Banca Commerciale Italiana; it also makes it easier to put the personal computers into a joint venture, with Hewlett-Packard Co the only name that anyone has so far put into the frame.
Barclays Bank Plc and Visa International are developing home banking software for customers to pay bills, update statements and transfer cash without having to move from their home computers: pilot tests involving 2,000 customers are due in the autumn with system becoming generally available to Barclays customers only by mid-1996; Barclays says it has not yet worked out whether to charge for the system and if so how much, but in any case you need Windows on your machine and the system uses Microsoft Corp’s personal accounts software.
And Bank of Boston Corp entered an alliance with Microsoft Corp to offer on-line home banking using Money for Windows95 in the autumn.
Cray Research Inc announced that Andrew Scott, 67, one of the supercomputer company’s founders and a board member, retired yesterday.
IBM Corp has completed its acquisition of the assets of General Electric Co Inc’s GE Capital Systems Support Services, saying it wants to enhance its ability to offer technical support and services in open client-server environments.
And IBM Corp has completed the sale of Brazilian manufacturing equipment and other assets to Tampa, Florida-based Group Technologies Corp on undisclosed terms: Group Technologies plans to use the kit to establish its own centre for manufacturing circuit boards and produceing other electronic assemblies for IBM and other customers; it gets off to a good start with a contract to serve as the exclusive supplier of surface mount circuit boards for IBM’s Brazilian operations for the next four years – Brazilian law now allows foreign companies to sell personal computers and related electronics at a significant tax advantage if the motherboard and computer are produced in Brazil; the plant will be in Hortolandia, Sao Paulo State and will initially employ 120 people.
British Telecommunications Plc and British Gas Plc are this week expected to sign an agreement that will enable gas companies to use telephone lines to read gas meters, the Times reported: it said the market would at first be limited to around 20,000 commercial and industrial customers but could expand when the residential gas market is deregulated in 1998, and that British Telecom’s Syntegra systems integrations business, and TransCo, British Gas’s monopoly transmission arm, had exchanged draft contracts.
Santa Cruz Operation Inc warns that it expects to report third quarter sales and profits below analysts’ expections, and is cutting expenses by restructuring some
businesses – thereby incurring a related fourth quarter charge: it expects net profit to fall to between $0.04 and $0 .06 per share in the third quarter to June 30, against the $0.14 per share it earned a year earlier, and sales will be $50m to $51m, compared with last year’s $48.1m; the company blamed the results primarily on a slowdown in the buying cycle as a result of the May launch of version five of its OpenServer product, but also on slowdown in the US government buying cycle and the state of the South American economy; the company ackowledged that shake-up would involve lay-offs but did not say how many jobs would go.
So what should King Louis’ wonderful consumer emporium be called? IBM Corp is putting together a consumer division but does not have a name for it yet (CI No 2,702): the company is likely to be saddled with the usual po-faced soubriquet the IBM Consumer Co, but it is going to need a snazzy brand to capture the consumer’s attention and Aptiva, the current name of the home computers, doesn’t really cut it; IBM is going to have to do better than PCjr, which was a demeaning name for a product that treated the customer with ill-concealed contempt – these days, home computers are typically even more powerful than office ones, and the way things are going, there will be 500,000 P6 machines in homes before 1,000 P6 servers have been installed with companies; Lotus is a good brand name now owned by IBM, but that might be a bit too obvious for anyone to think of it; IBMporium is perhaps a little tricksy, but the IBM brand does still have enough value that it ought to be in there somewhere, so has anyone got any ideas? Please send any suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put IBMname in the subject line.
Stet SpA condemned the Belgian government’s decision to strike it off the list of bidders for a stake in the state phone monopoly Belgacom NV because it did not bring enough synergy to ensure Belgacom’s future (CI No 2,702): The reasons given by the Belgian government seem to be totally unfounded, the Italian state company said angrily.
Telecom Corp of New Zealand Ltd is to increase the reliability and capacity of its network over the next two years with a $38m investment in new fibre optic rings to link main centres put fibre into the business districts in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch: next year, six more rings and five new diverse fibre optic cable routes will be built to improve network reliability; it also said it had chosen L M Ericsson Telefon AB to work with it to develop delivery systems for its planned home entertainment and information service.
Roxboro Group Plc is to pay a final ú10m tranche of performance-based consideration for its recent Solartron acquisition, bringing the total paid for the company to ú65.5m: it will pay ú5.75m in cash, and the balance by the issue of new shares.
South African telecommunications Minister Pallo Jordan has ruled out allowing competition for Telkom, saying foreign companies would wipe out the domestic utility within a week: he was speaking at the launch of a discussion document on future telecommunications policy in South Africa, and he said letting in international competition would be subversive – I would not even think about it, he said, adding that Telkom stands on very narrow, unstable stilts, and these narrow, unstable stilts are the whites of Gauteng; if you allow in AT&T or any of the big hitters they will do cherry picking – they’ll snatch the whites of Gauteng just like that; the major proportion of South Africa’s telecommunications is based in the prosperous Gauteng region around Johannesburg and Pretoria, with relatively few resources in other provinces; Frank Coleman, president of AT&T South Africa, was present at the launch and he described Jordan’s perception of his company’s plans as unfortunate.
There is no agreement over what is behind the turmoil atop Apple Computer Inc’s Japanese operation – one of its most successful in the world with a sturdy 15% of the loc
al market and annual sales running at $2,000m – or even whether Seiji Sanda, whom Apple recruited from the Japan arm of Motorola Inc about a year ago, resigned or was asked to leave: Sanda told Dow Jones & Co that he quit after his plan for resolving the problem that with only 250 employees, the company is spread too thin, was rejected by the company, while John Floisand, vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region, said the board had asked Sanda to leave and that Sanda wanted to set a course that was significantly independent of the new overall strategy Apple intends to unveil in three to four weeks – but both sides seem to be suggesting that instead of being all things to all users, Apple should do more to a ddress key local vertical markets.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has begun building a $100m plant to assemble logic semiconductors in Suzhou, China: Samsung Electronics (Suzhou) Semiconductor Co Ltd will be able to assemble 20,000 each of transistors and non-memory integrated circuits a year from July 1996, and capacity will double the following year; the company also confirmed that it is planning a new $1,500m memory chip plant for 16M-bit and 64M parts, and that it will be in either Austin or Portland.
In the UK, Kingfisher Group Plc’s Woolworths Stores has kicked out its AS/400s in favour of a 10-way Tandem Computers Inc Himalaya K20010 running NonStop due to handle 200Gb data: Tandem says it beat AT&T Corp Teradata and Sequent Computer Systems Inc bids, and claims 48 Himalayas in eight UK sites now.