Briefs: August 22, 2005


Brown&'s resignation will be announced by Citrix this week, company sources confirmed. John Burris, senior vice president of sales, services and field marketing for Citrix, said Brown is credited with building a strong channel team at Citrix and strong channel programs.

“The programs he has championed are fully up and running and will continue to be improved and refined,” Burris said, adding that Citrix is closing in on a number of candidates to replace Brown but a final decision has not yet been made. “In terms of replacing Ross, we have a couple of really strong internal candidates, but we will also look externally as appropriate,” Burris told CRN.

Apple released and then rereleased a massive Mac OS X security update last week.

The first upgrade released last Monday would not run native 64-bit applications. Apple fixed the problem, which was caused by the omission of a 64-bit version of the LibSystem component, last Thursday.

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The latter update, dubbed “2005-007 v1.1,” replaces the first and can be downloaded from Apple&'s site or from within the 10.4.2 (Tiger) operating system.

Both the client and server editions of 10.4.2 should be updated to 1.1 if the earlier security fixes have been applied, Apple said. Mac OS X 10.3.9, which was also updated Monday, was not affected by the flaw.

The security update issued this week was Apple&'s largest ever, and patched more than 40 vulnerabilities, according to the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker.

The flaws include cross-site scripting, system access, denial-of-service, data exposure and data manipulation vulnerabilities.

The security advisory accompanying the updates has been posted on the Apple support site, with the fixes retrievable manually from the Apple Downloads site or using the operating systems&' internal Software Update mechanism.

Network security software maker Secure Computing has agreed to acquire rival CyberGuard in a cash and stock deal worth $295 million, according to the companies.

Secure Computing, San Jose, Calif., said the acquisition would strengthen its presence in unified threat and secure content management, which it called two of the security industry&'s fastest-growing markets. Both companies make firewalls, VPNs, and Web filtering applications that allow businesses to securely manage and maintain network access for employees and customers.

Secure Computing will issue half a share of its own common stock and $2.73 in cash for each outstanding share of common stock of CyberGuard, Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Private equity firm Warburg Pincus will finance the cash portion of the deal through a $70 million investment in Secure Computing in the form of convertible preferred stock with warrants. Secure Computing will distribute about 16.5 million shares to CyberGuard shareholders, representing about 28 percent of the combined company&'s outstanding stock.

Apple customers are the most satisfied of any PC manufacturer for the second consecutive year, while Dell&'s customer rating fell significantly, according to a survey released last week.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), an annual survey of U.S. consumers&' opinions of various industries and brand-name companies, gave Apple an 81 rating, significantly above the industry average of 74.

Dell&'s rating of 74 is a 5-point drop from last year, the lowest score for the Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker since 1998. Other PC makers, such as Hewlett-Packard and Gateway, also saw their scores slip in 2005.

HP&'s Compaq brand, for example, dropped 2 points to 67, while Gateway fell 2 points to end up at 72. HP&'s own HP-branded PCs had a 2-point jump in customer satisfaction to a rating of 73. ACSI tracks HP and Compaq separately because they are separate brands and to provide historical comparisons to data compiled before the companies merged.

“Customer service [at Dell] in particular has become a problem, and service quality lags not only Apple but also the rest of the industry,” said Professor Claes Fornell of the University of Michigan, which compiles the ACSI data, in a statement. “Customer complaints are up significantly, with long wait times and difficulties with Dell&'s call center abounding.”

Google plans to sell another 14.2 million shares, raising about $4 billion, but the Mountain View, Calif.-based company isn&'t providing many clues about how it will spend the money. Some analysts speculated that Google might be devising a bid for the Chinese search firm or the digital video recorder pioneer TiVo. Others suggested the money will help finance an Internet telephony service.

In its filing last Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Google said it will use the proceeds for “general corporate purposes,” including acquisitions. It added that it currently has no agreements to make a material purchase.

It&'s also possible that Google CEO Eric Schmidt just sees an opportunity to raise some money to bolster its current balance of about $3 billion. Its stock price has more than tripled since the August 2004 IPO that was priced at $85—well below its original target range of between $108 and $135 a share. In its most recently reported quarter, Google&'s earnings more than quadrupled to $342.8 million. Revenue doubled to $1.38 billion.

Sun Microsystems has delayed the release of the next version of StarOffice suite for a second time, now forecasting that the Microsoft Office alternative will launch in mid-September.

Sun executives have pegged Sept. 12 as the new release date for the long-awaited suite, according to reports in the U.K.

StarOffice 8.0 will include a word processor, spreadsheet, database and presentation maker. A beta of the suite was first released in February and the test was closed down in late April. In May, Sun, Santa Clara, Calif., said it was shooting for a July launch of the final.

The free OpenOffice 2.0, which is based on the same code as StarOffice 8, will also be delayed. The open-source suite is in beta testing. A second beta of OpenOffice 2.0 will appear this month, a release candidate possibly in September and a final sometime after that.