Briefs: August 9, 2004


Most recently, Zisman was vice president of corporate strategy. He has also headed up the company's storage software effort and IBM's Lotus Software subsidiary, after IBM purchased Lotus in 1995.

McAfee has dealt what could be a fatal blow to one of its distributors.

The security software vendor terminated its distribution agreement with Merisel, which disclosed the move in a statement the distributor released last week.

McAfee products were very much the lifeblood of Merisel, accounting for about 94 percent of its net sales in 2003 and 84 percent of its net sales in the first three months of 2004, according to the distributor.

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Merisel acknowledged that McAfee's move clouds its future. "[Merisel] believes this event will have a substantial impact on the company's revenue and operating performance, but the company believes it can significantly reduce its operating expenses over time to reduce the long-term impact on the company's operating performance," company officials said in the statement. "However, there are no assurances that the company will be successful in doing so."

David Roberts, McAfee's newly appointed senior vice president of North American channels, said the decision to sever ties with Merisel was part of a larger plan to shift the vendor's distribution strategy from volume dealing to a more value-added approach.

"Merisel is a volume player, and we are moving away from a volume play to be able to go in and work better with distributors like GE Access, Tech Data and Ingram Micro," he said.

Roberts said McAfee also plans to toughen itself against competitors and polish its overall channel-sales operation for an October launch of a revamped channel program.

Belkin said it plans to ship two new pre-802.11n wireless networking products, based on chip technology from Airgo Networks, in mid-October.

A peripherals vendor focused on the consumer and SOHO markets, Belkin said it would release a new pre-802.11n router (F5D8230-4) and notebook network card, priced at an estimated MSRP of $179.99 and $129.99, respectively.

At the heart of Belkin's new pre-802.11n products is True MIMO (Multiple Input Mutiple Output) technology from wireless chipmaker Airgo. Airgo's True MIMO is one of the underlying technologies being considered for the 802.11n standard, expected to be ratified sometime in 2005.

Jonathan Bettino, product line manager for Belkin, said while the initial product releases are geared toward consumers and the smallest offices, they represent the first in a series of pre-n wireless networking products aimed at offering customers and partners broader pre-n solutions.

Users of Pocket PCs have a new reason not to open files from unknown sources.

A backdoor Trojan horse program dubbed Backdoor.Bardor.a has been spotted positioning itself to take control of the Windows CE operating systems of Pocket PCs, security experts said.

Backdoor.Bardor.a's threat level is low, but the scenario the Trojan sets the stage for is quite sophisticated, according to Symantec.

If a user is tricked by the Trojan's file name and opens or executes the attachment, Backdoor.Bardor.a "allows full control of the handheld system when it is restarted. When the infected handheld is connected to the Internet, the backdoor sends the attacker the IP address of the handheld device. It then opens port 44299 and waits for further instructions from the attacker," according to a Symantec security alert.

Backdoor.Bardor.a gives an attacker so much control of a device--including the ability to install other applications--that Symantec recommends that infected systems have their operating systems completely reinstalled. Files with the name /Windows/StartUp/svchost.exe should be deleted.

The Trojan only affects Pocket PCs powered by ARM processors, according to Symantec. Devices running XScale chips appear to be immune.

Samsung Electronics America's Information Technology Division has signed a pact with GE Commercial Finance to offer a new leasing program for business customers that will be offered through the channel.

The Samsung Lease Program will let resellers provide financing to customers who purchase displays, laser printers and multifunction devices offered by the peripherals vendor. Samsung does not sell products directly.

In addition, any other IT products or commercial A/V equipment on the same end-user invoice with the Samsung products also could be eligible under the financing program.