Briefs: November 8, 2004


"Our $24 price is final and non-negotiable," Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Chairman Jeff Henley wrote to PeopleSoft's board. When factoring in acquisition expenses, the new offer is expected to cost Oracle $9.2 billion, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

To appease PeopleSoft customers, Oracle's new offer also included a pledge to continue to develop PeopleSoft's enterprise applications. Previously, Oracle had said it would support the acquired applications for a decade.

Gateway this week plans to unveil its first PCs based on Intel's BTX motherboards. The BTX motherboards are designed to enable a PC's fans to pull air over the components, especially the CPU, in such a way as to reduce heat while cutting down on the noise level by lowering the number of fans needed. The BTX platform is also aimed at designing PCs with shapes other than the rectangular boxes common today.

E-mail security vendor MailFrontier last week unveiled several moves marking the expansion of its channel program, including new partners and a new executive to lead the charge.

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The company named Bobbi Frioli vice president of channel sales. Prior to joining MailFrontier, Frioli was vice president of sales and alliances at Clearswift, where she was responsible for the Americas. She has held several channel posts at companies including Epicentric (now Vignette), Autonomy and Shaman.

"Bobbi brings new force to the team with a long history of channel expertise," said Ed McGinnis, senior vice president of worldwide sales at MailFrontier. "With Bobbi on board leading a strong channel sales team, we're firmly positioned to leverage the partnerships that make channel programs successful."

MailFrontier also welcomed a handful of new partners. The company has doubled its channel partnerships in the past 90 days and now has more than 20 solution providers in the fold.

Toshiba issued a recall for faulty memory modules that were used in more than two dozen of its laptop models. The recall potentially affects some 600,000 notebook computers. Toshiba will swap out the defective third-party memory modules free of charge.

"Under certain conditions, the subject component in combination with certain other components might cause notebook PCs to experience blue screens, intermittent lockups or undetected memory data corruption," said Toshiba in a statement. The company also noted that there is no risk of injury from the malfunctioning memory.

Although Toshiba claimed that the possibility of such symptoms was "extremely slight," it posted a free utility for download that, once run, tells owners of Tecra, Satellite, Portege or Dynabook notebooks whether their system contains one of the suspect memory modules.

In some cases, Toshiba said, swapping out memory modules is easy enough for the end user to do alone; in other instances, however, the laptop must be returned to an authorized dealer for repair.

Toshiba will cover all costs, including shipping of laptops and parts, in the recall, which runs through April 30, 2005. Toshiba has posted information about the recall and a complete list of the systems that may contain the faulty memory on its Web site.

Notebook makers have been plagued with recalls as of late. In June, Hewlett-Packard recalled defective memory modules used in 900,000 Compaq and HP notebooks last year. And in early October, Dell said it was recalling almost a million power adapters it said could overheat, start fires or shock users.

SALESFORCE.COM UNLEASHES SLEW OF UPGRADES, PRODUCTS used its second annual customer conference last week in San Francisco to introduce a host of upgrades, products and services. Geared around its traditional seasonal update, the new Winter '05 software-as-a-service (SaaS) product line now comprises updates to its CRM software, sforce 5.0 integration and development platform, and customer service software. In addition, the company unveiled a customization toolkit, called, and a catalog of third-party SaaS software certified to work with the Salesforce line of products. CEO Marc Benioff said the customization toolkit was the highlight of the new products. Using, nonprogrammers can point and click their way toward adding new business processes outside of CRM, such as those for human resources or the supply chain, he said.

"Customers have been telling us for a long time they want to build applications like the ones we are delivering," Benioff told CRN. "They have all kinds of very specific things they want to do within our framework that's more than just adding tabs and fields. With, they can build a whole new application."