IBM Corp has named one of its faceless insiders, Robert Stephenson to be senior vice-president and group executive with primary responsibility for the Personal Computer Co and the consumer and printing systems units in succession to Richard Thoman, now chief fi nancial officer: Stephenson was formerly general manager of IBM North America; he joined IBM […]
IBM Corp has named one of its faceless insiders, Robert Stephenson to be senior vice-president and group executive with primary responsibility for the Personal Computer Co and the consumer and printing systems units in succession to Richard Thoman, now chief fi nancial officer: Stephenson was formerly general manager of IBM North America; he joined IBM in 1961, and has a thankless task trying to turn the personal computer business around – a task that Thoman confesses is far from complete; we have been questioning for at least five years whether it makes sense for IBM to be in the iAPX-86 personal computer market any more, and we find that view is now echoed on Wall Street.
Koninklijke PTT Nederland NV hotly denied a Belgian newspaper report that Ameritech Inc had joined its consortium to bid for the stake on offer in Belgacom NV: It’s not true, said a PTT spokeswoman of the report in De Standaard – We haven’t got the faintest idea where this story comes from; the paper said Ameritech had joined the team of Koninklijke PTT and Swiss Telecom, leaving British Telecommunications Plc with Bell Atlantic Corp as the only other contender.
Control Data Systems Inc says it has now completed the sale of those five major international subsidiaries to AmeriData Technologies Inc.
The Belgian government is expected to announce the winner of the widely sought-after licence to operate country’s second cellular telephone network, at the end of the week: the favourite for the licence is the Vodatel consortium led by Vodafone Group Plc and Belgian industrial group Tractebel SA, which is said to have bid $298m for the 15-year licence; the other main contender, Mobilis, a consortium led by BellSouth Europe, bid about $231m; analysts estimate that 20% of Belgians will have cellular telephones by the year 2000, about 2m subscribers, up from about 100,000 at the beginning of 1995; other consortia bidding include one led by Telecom Finland International SA and a joint venture between France Telecom Mobiles International and Telinfo SA, a Belgian company that helped build the first mobile telephone network; licence fees will depend on the government, whose objective is to find additional income or savings of about $3,478m to satisfy the Maastricht criteria for economic and monetary union limiting budget deficits to a maxmium 3% of gross domestic product.
Apple Computer Inc has added the Power Macintosh 5300/100 LC to its schools line-up: the multimedia workstation for the education market features 16Mb of RAM, expandable to 64Mb, and a 1.2Gb hard disk drive; the product is available immediately at a cost of $2,400.
IBM Corp’s $80m investment in its hard disk and magnetic head assembly project in China (CI No 2,743) is reportedly a joint venture with the Great Wall Computer Co, one of China’s leading computer builders.
MicroTouch Systems Inc warns that due to reduced shipments of touch-screen products to both the European and US markets, it anticipates a shortfall in turnover and profits against analysts’ estimates for its third quarter ending September 30: the company says it expects sales growth in 1996, but several unexpected things have contributed to the third quarter shortfall, including what it calls seasonal impact in Europe; OEM sales have decreased more than forecast, it said, and several large US projects were recently deferred until later in the year, although Japan, Australia and the Far East continue to show sales increases; the company announced that it will be buying in its own shares over the coming year for its employee stock option plans, and also for possible acquisitions.
IBM Corp’s Lotus Development Corp, said it will begin shipments of its new SmartSuite 96 package for Windows95 to customers worldwide in November; SmartSuite 96 includes redesigned 32-bit versions of its Word Pro word processor, Freelance Graphics, Approach database and SmartCenter suite command centre; the package will also include updated 16-bit versions of the 1-2-3 spreadsheet, Orga
nizer personal and group scheduler, and ScreenCam multimedia tool, the company said.
Motorola Inc’s MPC860 communications-specific variants of the PowerPC RISC (CI No 2,743) come in 40MHz and 25MHz versions: the basic part costs $105 for the fast, $70 for the slow, when you order 10,000 or more; the MPC860EN, which adds Ethernet support is $112.50 and $77.50; the MPC860DC, with only two communications channels rather than four is $102 or $68, the 860DE with Ethernet support and two channels is $109.50 or $75.50; and the 860MH – four channels, Ethernet support and 32-channel HDLC support costs $122.50 or $87.50 for 10,000-up.
Looks as if it might be reasonably safe to buy a MiniDisk recorder and start putting the one or two gems among the abject dross on the last four to six Beach Boys albums onto a single MiniDisk: reason it should be safe is that Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd blinked in the Digital Compact Cassette battle with MiniDisk, which, unusually, pitted Sony Corp and Philips Electronics NV against one another, and says it will introduce a portable MiniDisk player on September 10; the Matsushita toy, the SL-MR10, uses high-capacity lithium ion batteries and can play continuously for three hours and 40 minutes or record for up to three hours, but it will cost a hefty $727 in Japan.
In another demonstration of IBM Corp’s abject failure in the industry it invented – Microsoft Corp software on iAPX-86 processors – for which it did at least develop the original BIOS, instead of making the building block chip sets that encircle the processor and hold the BIOS, and selling them to everyone else as well as using them in its own machines, it is now buying the things for its late model Aptiva home computers from Santa Clara, California-based OPTi Inc, saying that the Viper-M core logic chip set, IBM is able to integrate graphics, audio and storage control directly onto the motherboard.
Personal computer maker Acer Inc, said it is developing a new class of low-cost computers priced at about $500 each and aimed at users in developing nations: the company said the high costs of computers in developed countries pose a major barrier to wider computer use in less-favoured nations; it is also studying how software titles often considered outdated within 18 months of their release in the US, Europe and Japan, could be recycled for further use in the third world.
STM Wireless Inc has bought TelecomMultimedia Systems Inc, a provider of signal processing systems for wireless communications applications, for an undisclosed mix of cash and shares, complemented by a formula relating to royalties; the deal will have no impact on earnings at STM Wireless, which is 21%-owned by Berjaya Group Bhd of Malaysia, but it does get the company into the terrestrial market; TelecomMultimedia’s founder, Ramin Sadr, is to become the company’s president.
You make a grown man cry: the US PC Week gossip column polled readers on which Rolling Stones song Microsoft Corp should have used to promoted Windows95, and, eschewing Come on, 19th Nervous Breakdown, The Last Time and As Tears Go By, they voted overwhelmingly for Under My Thumb, with Paint It Black and Sympathy for the Devil tied second.