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Briefs: January 30, 2006

Hewlett-Packard late Thursday tapped Vignette CEO Thomas Hogan to head the company&'s struggling software business, replacing Nora Denzel, who resigned late last year.

HP TAPS VIGNETTE CEO FOR SOFTWARE BIZ

Hogan will report to Ann Livermore, executive vice president of HP&'s Technology Solutions Group. Prior to joining Vignette in 2001, Hogan spent two years as senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at Siebel Systems, and prior to that, 17 years in a variety of executive positions at IBM, HP said.

Hogan takes on a business unit within HP that has been struggling recently. For HP&'s fiscal-year 2005 ended Oct. 31, the company reported software revenue of $1.07 billion and an operating loss of $59 million. HP&'s overall fiscal 2005 revenue totaled $87.8 billion, and earnings from operations were $3.5 billion.

HP solution provider partners said recently that software attach rates with an HP hardware sale are often less than 10 percent. HP executives, led by CEO Mark Hurd, have made bundling more HP content into a solution a top priority this year and said they will reward HP partners that sell complete HP solutions.

IBM SET TO REFRESH ISERIES AFTER 18 PERCENT 4Q DECLINE
IBM this week plans to refresh its iSeries line with new systems following an 18 percent year-over-year decline in fourth-quarter 2005 revenue.

IBM did not reveal details of the iSeries announcement slated for Tuesday, but business partners said they expect the vendor to roll out a new generation of i5 systems.

“We had a pretty good fourth quarter… I don&'t pay too much attention to IBM numbers as a whole for iSeries,” said Peter Paleczny, president of Able-One Systems, an IBM business partner in Kitchener, Ontario. He added, however, that the new product announcements should boost iSeries business this year. “Every time IBM makes a new announcement on iSeries, that&'s another reason to go back to your customers and explore price/performance issues,” he said.

Despite reporting an 18 percent decline in iSeries sales for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared to the year-earlier period, an IBM spokeswoman said iSeries revenue for the entire year was the highest in almost 10 years.

Berbee Information Networks, an IBM business partner in Madison, Wisc., had a huge fourth quarter in 2004 for iSeries, which impacted the business in the first quarter of 2005, said Scott Severson, vice president of systems and storage.

“We did not have an increase in iSeries sales in fourth-quarter 2005 compared to &'04, and that probably echoes what you saw with IBM,” he said.

ACROBAT 3D ALLOWS ENGINEERS TO SECURE NATIVE FILES
Adobe Systems is extending its Acrobat franchise to engineering and manufacturing professionals.

Acrobat 3D, available Monday, will let engineers share 3-D designs and schematics without exposing potentially secure underlying equations and data, an Adobe executive said. The software captures OpenGL data, but not metadata.

Many manufacturing companies already use Acrobat in their human resources, IT, finance, legal and other horizontal applications. Acrobat 3D will enable technical professionals—engineers and designers—to export 3-D designs created in AutoCAD, Catia and other applications to others in the supply chain, said Rak Bhalla, product manager at Adobe.

“This is a high-level business issue. Manufacturers compete in a global market, and product lifecycles that were three years are now six months,” Bhalla said. Acrobat 3D, in theory, could ease communication of design information with often far-flung suppliers and design partners, speeding production and documentation, according to Adobe.

With Acrobat 3D, recipients using an updated Acrobat reader, due next month, can view and rotate drawings but will not have access to underlying data they are not authorized to see. The creator could expose layers of drawings that each supplier needs to see but lock down non-pertinent parts of the drawing. Individuals responsible for technical documentation will be able to see what they need to see to create schematics.

Acrobat 3D, which carries a suggested list of $995, lets engineers provide accurate information without sharing the native files or “crown jewels,” Bhalla said. Those with Acrobat 7 Professional can upgrade to the new software for $545, the company said.

INTEL DISPLAYS 45-NANOMETER MANUFACTURING PROCESS
Intel last week showed off its first fully functional SRAM chip using a 45-nanometer manufacturing process. The demonstration was intended to show that Intel is on track to manufacture PC processors with this technology in 2007 using 300-nanometer wafers.

Intel&'s 45nm process technology will allow the manufacture of chips with more than five times less leakage power than those made today. This will improve battery life for mobile devices and increase opportunities for building smaller, more powerful platforms. The smaller manufacturing process would mean more transistors can be packed into smaller CPUs, making them more efficient and powerful.

Intel currently is using a 65-nanometer process to make chips in two facilities in Arizona and Oregon. Two more centers are expected to go online this year in Ireland and Oregon.

AMD APPOINTS PROCESSOR VET MEYER AS PRESIDENT
Advanced Micro Devices last Monday appointed Dirk Meyer president.

Meyer previously was president and COO of AMD&'s Microprocessor Solutions Section. He now is responsible for leadership and management of the entire company, alongside AMD CEO Hector Ruiz. Ruiz, who relinquished the title of president, is now chairman and CEO.

“Dirk has played an essential role in AMD&'s rise to the position of technology and innovation leader in the microprocessor industry,” said Ruiz in a statement. “His leadership, operational skills and business acumen have positioned the company for long-term, sustainable growth, and I&'m very pleased that AMD now will benefit from those skills on an even grander scale.”

Meyer, 44, joined AMD in 1995 and in 1996 was promoted to director of engineering for the AMD Athlon processor development program in Austin, Texas. He later ran the chip maker&'s Computation Products Group, which produced the Opteron CPU that has helped AMD gain mind share in the corporate market.

Before joining AMD, Meyer worked at Digital Equipment Corp. for nearly a decade and was co-architect of the Alpha 21064 and 21264 microprocessors. He also has worked at Intel.

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