That’s the way they do things outre Manche: the chairman of France Telecom, Marcel Roulet, is expected to resign shortly because the new French government does not agree with his plans to reorganise the company, French newspapers said: Roulet believes it is necessary for the company to have a quick change in its statutes which […]
That’s the way they do things outre Manche: the chairman of France Telecom, Marcel Roulet, is expected to resign shortly because the new French government does not agree with his plans to reorganise the company, French newspapers said: Roulet believes it is necessary for the company to have a quick change in its statutes which would enable it to have its own share capital and to sell stakes in itself to strategic partners, the French telecommunication minister Francois Fillon wants to go slow, and Liberation said Roulet would resign yesterday to be replaced by Noel Forgeard, currently head of Lagardere Groupe’s Matra defence unit; Le Monde said that apart from Forgeard, who was a technical councillor to Jacques Chirac in 1986 and 1987 when the latter was Prime Minister, there were also other names on a short-list – Jean-Pierre Chamoux is close to Finance Minister Alain Madelin and industry ministry director general for industrial strategy Didier Lombard is also mentioned; even Roulet wanted to play a Canute role, with the state keeping a majority holding and employees retaining their status as civil servants – all of which is terrible news for Sprint Corp, making it well-nigh impossible for the US to approve the France Telecom-Deutsche Telekom investment, and even making it harder for an already sceptical Brussels to nod through the Franco-German alliance.
Unisource NV has now finalised its Uniworld venture with AT&T Corp.
John Bentley, the UK entrepreneur who made a his last fortune in the booming video rental market of the early 1980s, has been revealing a few more details of his Viewcall Europe Ltd television-based home-shopping service that will now start next year: the unique feature is a black box that links up existing television sets to a standard telephone socket – from Online Media Ltd; the Viewcall system will enable viewers to buy goods from any retailers that sign up to the service and will offer a range of local information services; the Viewcall service is due to be tried out in 1,000 homes later this year, and it will cost ú1.50 a week, inclusive of the black box receiver unit and access to the Internet; Viewcall already trades in London under the Rule 4.2 matched-bargain market but is hoping to get a listing under the newly-launched Alternative Investment Market; it raised ú770,000 in its offer for subscription back in March (CI No 2,612).
Microsoft Corp has acquired the intellectual property rights of Guildford, Surrey-based Network Managers (UK) Ltd’s network management systems and applications based on Simple Network Management Protocol on undisclosed terms, and will integrate Network Managers’ NMC Vision technology into the BackOffice integrated server software suite.
Sacramento, California-based Packard Bell Electronics Inc duly beat all its rivals to the punch by unveiling its Christmas collection of personal computers in July when it showed off its new line of home computers and said they will begin shipping this month: the new line is designed not to replace existing personal computers but to increase the overall size of the home computer market by providing small, easy to use computers that will fit easily in the home; the collection includes a wedge-shaped computer designed to slide into the corner of a room or desk, a Slim Line model, and a Designer Tower model to fit beneath or alongside a desk; they offer pre-installed software for the three leading on-line services and direct Internet access and have a remote control unit that enables users to operate the machine like a television or stereo.
Nokia Oy, Helsinki says it expects its developing multimedia business to start contributing in three years: If you look at multimedia for companies like Nokia, the products that really do converge picture, data and speech in an interactive way will start to have an impact on revenue and earnings for ourselves and other people in the industry in 1998, chief executive Jorma Ollila said: Ollila said Nokia’s investment in multimedia – which he defined as a
much broader interactive combination than the current Hollywood and CD-ROM packages – would be significant, but he declined to specify any numbers.
Computer Sciences Corp reports a $60m 10-year UK facilities management deal with John Menzies Retail.
Out of the frying pan, into the fire: Chatsworth, California-based Micropolis Corp, which is having a far from happy time in the disk business, has elected Larry Smart to the posts of president and chief executive officer, succeeding Stuart Mabon; Smart was most recently president and chief executive of Maxtor Corp, where South Korean management is in effective control.
IBM Corp is returning to the Lebanon after a 20-year absence, saying it will provide technology to help the country recover its status as a big business and financial centre: IBM had its Middle East headquarters in Lebanon before the 1975-90 civil war, and has returned in the form of QanTech, a representative company owned by IBM and Lebanese partners, something the company would never have done in the past.
Cellular phone operator Pilipino Telephone Corp is bidding for a cellular project in India in alliance with a local company, a Piltel official told Reuters in Manila: it says it will give more details as soon as the Indian government announces the results of the bidding.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has had to extend its cash tender offer to acquire up to 5.82m shares of AST Research Inc at $22.00 per share to July 28, to give it and AST time to finalise arrangements for the closing of Samsung’s investment in AST, which is expected to be on July 31: it has far more acceptances than it needs, but if AST’s shares suddenly soared, accepters could withdraw at any time up to the new close date.
There has been a big automation conference in Singapore this week and Autodesk Inc said mechanical computer-aided design products it plans to introduce later this year will include a new, unnamed technology that will enable users to build models and assemblies in the AutoCAD environment used today for design and drafting applications.
Joe Tex once wrote a splendid song about a girl who strongly disapproved of kissing because It ain’t sanitary, you might get germs (it’s so good that it’s almost worth buying the Coasters compilation that is mainly dreadful 1970s re-recordings of their wonderful late 1950s and early 1960s hits just for the sake of that one, then new, song), but in Japan, while the song might hit the spot, the point would be missed completely: the Japanese obsession with cleanliness does not begin and end with ludicrously over-engineered lavatory and underclothes-washing technology, they strongly disapprove of banknotes that are less than pristine, so Hitachi Ltd has come up with the Clean ATM, an automatic teller machine that gives a whole new meaning to the concept of money laundering, for it delivers freshly pressed, sanitised bills, achieved by passing the bills through a roller that heats them to 200¦C for a tenth of a second, and while it cannot clean the bills quite to the standard of new bills, they are clean enough to be used as gifts on celebratory occasions, an important feature as far as Japanese users are concerned, Hitachi explains.