Briefs: May 16, 2005


"There are things my wife and I have talked about trying to do. The timing is right," he said. "I consider myself luckier than most. I was given an opportunity to participate in the building of a world-class powerhouse corporation. I got to work with the best minds in the business, learning, growing and sharing. I should do a MasterCard commercial. My career here at Tech Data has been priceless."

A popular executive with vendors and solution providers, Serra described his departure as an emotional roller coaster.

"I look back with a lot of pride at the accomplishments we've been able to post," he said. "It's been fun, brick by brick. It's time to order a new load of bricks and start building something else."

Serra was vice president of Tech Data's systems business before taking over the networking unit. He helped grow Tech Data's IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Compaq PC sales.

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Bob O'Malley, senior vice president of marketing at Tech Data, e-mailed employees that Serra's last day will be May 20.

"He's been a real positive influence on not just Tech Data, but also on the industry. Joe has a real positive attitude with any challenge he's presented with—and there are a lot of challenges in this industry," O'Malley said.

Cisco Systems reported third-quarter earnings of $1.41 billion, or 21 cents per share, up from $1.21 billion, or 17 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Excluding special items, Cisco reported earnings of $1.50 billion, or 23 cents per share, compared with $1.36 billion, or 19 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue climbed more than 10 percent to $6.19 billion, up from $5.62 billion a year ago.

Financial analysts expected the company to report earnings of 22 cents per share before items on revenue of $6.16 billion, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Microsoft has invested an undisclosed sum in Laplink Software and licensed technology from the company. Laplink made the announcement last week.

Laplink, formerly known as Traveling Software, is a pioneer in PC remote control and management technologies. The most recent Laplink Everywhere 4 product offers browser-based remote access that competes with Citrix Systems' GoToMyPC and other offerings.

Over the years, Microsoft has built and offered its own remote PC management capabilities in its WIndows franchise.

"We anticipate a rewarding relationship with Microsoft," said Laplink CEO Thomas Koll in a statement. Before joining Laplink, Koll had been a Microsoft vice president.

The investment firm that manages the private fortune of Dell founder Michael Dell reported that it invested almost $100 million in leading Linux distributor Red Hat.

According to regulatory filings posted on April 27, MSD Capital invested $99.5 million, the largest investment by a single company following a $600 million bond issued to Red Hat in early 2004. Meanwhile, Red Hat said it is preparing to launch its Directory Server and a line of security products in the near future.

Sun Microsystems said it is acquiring valuable intellectual property rights to NAS technology.

Sun is acquiring the IP assets from Procom Technology for about $50 million. Procom has been a pioneer in NAS since the late 1980s. The two firms have had a software licensing agreement covering aspects of NAS since April 2004.

"The entire storage marketplace is moving toward industry-standard platforms and operating systems," said Sun President and COO Jonathan Schwartz in a statement. "Sun is uniquely positioned to leverage Procom's technology to drive down the cost of NAS appliances for customers, while driving margin opportunities for Sun."

Richard Seibt, former CEO of Suse and most recently a top Novell sales executive, has left Novell, the company said last week.

Seibt had been president of the Novell subsidiary covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He joined Novell when it bought Suse and its Linux expertise in November 2003.

The departure of Seibt, who is respected in the Linux world, raised some eyebrows. Novell's CTO, Alan Nugent, left earlier this year and Novell vice chairman Chris Stone left the company last fall.

Markus Rex, vice president and general manger for Suse, still runs that business and is relocating from Germany to Novell's headquarters, a Novell spokesman said.

Ron Hovsepian, recently promoted to president of worldwide field operations, will assume Seibt's duties, Novell said.

The Mozilla Foundation posted a release candidate of a security update to Firefox that patches a pair of recently leaked vulnerabilities. The Windows, Mac and Linux versions of Firefox 1.0.4 can be downloaded from the Firefox FTP server.