Cap Gemini Sogeti SA, Compaq Computer Corp, Microsoft Corp and SAP AG have decided to combine their talents to offer integrated information systems to small and medium-sized French firms: these will be based on Windows NT Server, Compaq’s Proliant servers and R/3; the quartet projects 1996 revenues of some $40m or about 10% of the […]
Cap Gemini Sogeti SA, Compaq Computer Corp, Microsoft Corp and SAP AG have decided to combine their talents to offer integrated information systems to small and medium-sized French firms: these will be based on Windows NT Server, Compaq’s Proliant servers and R/3; the quartet projects 1996 revenues of some $40m or about 10% of the market for modernising small business systems. – o – Motorola Inc’s Motorola Electronics is investing some $35m in its corporate research and technology centre in Singapore to develop software and technology for telecommunication products and services and support other Motorola business groups worldwide: the $35m inv estment will be spread over five years and about half will be spent on equipment, the firm said; the centre currently has 15 researchers and should grow to 25 by year-end and eventually to 100 researchers. – o – J D Edwards & Co will launch its AS/400 Windows front end to enable users to access Unix applications from its AS/400 financial software in November in the US with a version for its manufacturing suite to follow next year: both manufacturing and financial packages will interface to Windows NT by mid-1996.
Just three months after announcing plans to work together on a standard for secure credit card purchases on the Internet (CI No 2,692), the two credit card giants, Visa International Inc and MasterCard International are now at odds, with Visa and its partner Microsoft Corp announcing specifications for software developers and others to secure electronic purchases over the Internet (CI No 2,759): Mastercard said it had decided not to support the Visa-Microsoft standard because it was contrary to what it said it would do in June – it believes all such standards should be available equally to all potential vendors where this specification, a road-map for software firms and others to follow in creating applications for secure transactions on the Internet called Secure Transaction Technology, is all Microsoft; Visa and Microsoft said they are making the specifications available for no charge to all credit card brands, financial institutions, software developers and the Internet community; before the two companies joined forces, MasterCard had been working with Netscape Communications Corp and Visa-Microsoft and MasterCard-Netscape were each developing their own secure transaction systems but came to work together in hopes of avoiding confusion; there is now concern that Microsoft wants to set the standard for Internet security and will dictate what electronic commerce is going to be. – o – AT&T Corp’s AT&T Canada unit has ridden to the rescue of Unitel Communications Inc, Toronto, and will invest additional capital and boost its voting stake, although it will stay below the 25% allowed by Canadian law; Unitel expects that at the end of the transaction, Canadian Pacific Ltd and Rogers Communications Inc will no longer have any stake; the new shareholders agreed to invest up to $186m in the recapitalised company and Bank of Nova Scotia, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Royal Bank of Canada agreed in principle to the recapitalisation, including the restructuring of existing debt and the investment; AT&T Canada said that the banks will invest $93m with AT&T investing the balance; Unitel expects to complete the transaction by the end of 1995. – o – Nokia Oy built a dominant business out of nothing on the back of emerging portable telephone technology, and ceramic chip packages specialist Kyocera Corp, which made a strenuous but ultimately doomed effort to diversify with its pioneering handheld computers (best known outside Japan as the Tandy Corp Model 100), looks set to follow suit on the back of Japan’s Personal Handy Phone enhanced Telepoint system: it says it is in a cycle of rising profits, with healthy sales in each of three core activities but it is telecommunications that the firm sees as its most promising business, helped by the yen’s recent fall against the dollar; the company said sales of cellular phones are booming after the start-up of the Personal Handy Phone syst
em; Kyocera is a major shareholder in telecommunications firm DDI Corp which is competing in the Handy Phone market and one of Kyocera’s top customers for handsets; the company said sales of more expensive cellular phones were also going well, and it is working with Motorola Inc on its Iridium Inc project to build a global portable phone service by 1998; for the year to March 1996, Kyocera originally expected its sales of Handy Phone handsets and cellular phones to be worth around $655m but it says they could now reach $1,000m. – o – GFI SA, recreated eight months ago after it acquired a division of Electronic Data Systems Corp, acquired two subsidiaries of Anglo-French software house Sema Group Plc – MetraPack and its Belgian parent company Sema Group Enterprise Products, which sell a line of accounting and financial software called Easy, says Les Echos: it also took control of Soft Progress, a Reims-based company specialising in transport and logistics, and IES, a company in Grenoble with a personal computer management package; GFI, with revenues of some $8m, looks for other acquisitions of software product companies in order to build a group with revenues of some $200m by the year-end. – o – Bruce Harreld was in no hurry to leave the joys of Boston Chicken Inc and had to be strenuously wooed by IBM Corp for the chief of strategy post: I said I have a fair degree of scepticism about where the company is headed and what kind of role it’s going to be, he told the Wall Street Journal, adding that at one of the half dozen meetings over the past few months with IBM chairman Louis Gerstner, he wore the most outrageous tie I could find to test out the company’s new, relaxed dress code.