Briefs: October 11, 2004

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IBM this week is launching a massive ISV initiative aimed at providing as many as 10,000 more ISVs with assistance generating leads and closing sales.

The new offering includes an IBM Sales Connection Service aimed at connecting ISVs working on a qualified sales opportunity with an IBM sales rep or IBM Business Partner to help close the deal. The program is accessed via the Web and is supported by IBM business development representatives who will respond to the ISV within 72 hours.

The program also opens up the door for thousands of additional VARs to qualify for IBM's Advanced PartnerWorld ISV level, giving them access to IBM Sales Connections and co-marketing assistance, said Scott Hebner, vice president of marketing and strategy for ISV and Developer Relations for IBM.

"One of the things ISVs have been asking us for is, when they have opportunities, they would like to get access to the IBM sales team or an IBM Business Partner," he said. "If we can jointly qualify that opportunity, we will help point them to the appropriate sales resource to close the opportunity."

Oracle on Thursday again extended its $7.7 billion offer to PeopleSoft common stockholders, making the $21 per-share price available until midnight Eastern time on Oct. 22, an offer previously set to expire at midnight on Oct. 8. This is the 13th time Oracle has delayed the offer's expiration date.

During the past 16 months, Oracle has changed its offer price several times. The initial bid in June 2003 was $16 per share, and was raised shortly after to $19.50 per share. In February, the offer shot up to $26 per share, but has since been reduced to $21 per share.

IBM late last week enhanced its Power-based blade servers with the capability to run AIX, making them suitable for Unix users.

The company also modified its blade servers with the ability to add two SCSI hard drives directly on a blade rather than in an external "sidecar." Now BladeCenter chassis can accommodate 14 SCSI-based blades rather than seven blades with the sidecar for what the company calls an 85 percent jump in SCSI capacity.

Unisys plans to cut 1,400 jobs, or nearly 4 percent of its work force, and consolidate some facility space to help it yield annualized savings of about $70 million a year by 2005.

The computer services company, which employed 37,000 workers worldwide as of July, said the cuts would result in an after-tax charge to earnings of about $63 million, or 19 cents per share, in this year's third quarter. Unisys declined to comment on where the cuts will be made.

The company also said it would have an after-tax benefit in the third quarter of about $70 million, or 21 cents per share, related to the settlement of audit issues dating from the mid-1980s.

Edgewater Technology is expanding its business intelligence expertise by acquiring Ranzal and Associates, a provider of business intelligence and business performance management systems.

Edgewater said it will pay $5.2 million up front for Ranzal, plus additional cash contingent upon the combined companies meeting performance objectives over the next 18 months. The deal is expected to add approximately $7.2 million in annual revenue to Edgewater's top line.

Ranzal has expertise in the use of business intelligence software such as Hyperion Essbase, Analyzer and Planning, IBM's DB2 OLAP online analytical processing software and Microsoft Excel, and related development tools. Its clients include major corporations in banking, finance, insurance, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, utility, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing and retail industries.

Citrix Systems last month rehired former channel executive Bill Burley to serve as U.S. channel chief, the company said. Burley left Citrix in February after a seven-year stint, but has rejoined and serves as American area vice president of Citrix's North American channel. He reports to Al Monserrat, who heads up Citrix's worldwide consulting and education services.

In his new role, Burley runs day-to-day partner relationships and execution while Citrix's current top channel exec, Ross Brown, continues to serve as a key strategist as vice president of worldwide channels and operations.

Chip maker PMC-Sierra says the time is right for network computing and has launched a Linux-based reference design that system builders can use to develop thin clients for the enterprise, government, retail and digital home markets.

PMC-Sierra, a MIPS licensee that manufactures the CPUs for use in networking devices and printers, said its design offers system builders a low-power unit that will initially cost about $150 or less to build. The development unit includes a PMC-Sierra 64-bit MIPS CPU, 128 Mbytes of memory, ATI Rage XL graphics controller with 8 Mbytes of memory and traditional computer connectors such as Ethernet, USB and parallel ports. PMC-Sierra executives said the system uses 90 percent less power than a typical Wintel configuration and requires no fan and no heat sink for the CPU.

The company is marketing the thin-client system under the name Xiao Hu, which is a Chinese word that means "little tiger." The device was co-developed with China's Tsinghau University.

PMC-Sierra is hoping it will attract the attention of manufacturers of smart displays, interactive TVs and kiosks, as well as those serving the traditional corporate, government and educational organizations.

Eastman Kodak accepted a $92 million offer by Sun Microsystems to settle a $1 billion patent-infringement lawsuit over the Silicon Valley company's Java programming language.

A federal jury decided two weeks ago after a three-week trial that Java infringes on patents Kodak acquired when it bought Wang Laboratories' imaging software business for $260 million in 1997.

The night before the trial's damages phase, which was to begin Thursday, the companies ended their two-year-old battle in an out-of-court settlement.

Without admitting or denying the allegations, Sun said it will pay Kodak $92 million to settle all claims in the dispute. In exchange, Sun said it receives a license under all Kodak patents for the benefit of the Java technology.

"We are eager to put this punitive litigation behind us," said Sun President and COO Jonathan Schwartz.
"The settlement assures customers worldwide that Sun will stand behind its products and intellectual property, and eliminates any uncertainty that could result from a protracted lawsuit and appeal," Sun said in a statement.

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