In Brief

In Brief

Gates says PC will overshadow phone and TVMicrosoft chairman and chief executive officer Bill Gates is raising the Internet hype bar to new heights, saying that the global network will make the PC the most powerful communications tool ever.

"I would go as far as to say that this revolution of the PC and the Internet is more important than the invention of the telephone; more important than the invention of the television," said Gates, addressing some 2,000 Acer Group officials, partners and distributors, at the Taiwanese PC vendor's 20th anniversary celebration here.

Gates says the Internet will allow PC users to access information anywhere at any time, changing just about all aspects of people's lives. "It will reach out to every sphere of life - the way we do business, the way we entertain, the way we elect political officials and even the way we learn," he said.

Apple stock hits 10-year low

Apple Computer's stock dipped 15/8 last week to close at a 10-year low of 205/8. The tumble came on the heels of news that two of Apple's key software developers were defecting to work on Internet-related projects at rival Microsoft. Apple's stock was at 50 before the downward slide began. Late in the week, the stock was at 20, up 125.

It is a significant milestone when a company's shares drop to a 10-year low, but this doesn't mean Apple has reached a critical state, said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner Group.

Apple's new management team, led by chief executive officer Gilbert Amelio, is providing leadership and focusing on profits, but results will not come overnight, Gartenberg said. Amelio and his team deserve credit for having a deep sense of accountability, he said.

IBM grows big with local manufacturing

Senior executives at IBM's manufacturing plant in Wangaratta expect its burgeoning contract outsourcing business to grow throughout 1996.

Contract outsourcing at the plant has grown to $63 million, and accounted for 10 per cent of the plant's annual output in 1995, the executives said. Barry Sullivan, IBM's site general manager at Wangaratta, says the number of units produced under contract to other vendors has escalated from 4,000 in 1992 to 270,000 in 1995.

Sullivan says that more than 80 per cent of outsourced business at the plant comes from the card manufacturing area. IBM Wangaratta's clients to date include Apple, Canon and Ericsson.

According to IBM, export revenue from the 5,200-square-metre plant had risen 920 per cent since 1988. Launching IBM's new Aptiva range, brand manager Australia and New Zealand Michael Green said research indicates around 30 per cent of home PC buyers are repeat buyers.

Green says IBM has identified a marketplace of retirees and redundancies looking to establish their own businesses. "When they set up their own business, the first thing they need is a computer," he said.

The Aptiva range features Pentium processors, ranging from 100MHz to 166MHz for the premium model, 12 to 16Mb RAM, 1.2 to 2.5G hard drive, a choice of 14, 15, or 17in display, 6x CD-ROM drive and come pre-installed with Windows 95. The two topline models also feature ATI 3D Graphics Iain FergusonIBM Tel: 13 2426New company from AMS Australian-owned Applied Micro Systems has launched a new company, AMS Communications. The new company, according to Dan Downs, general manager of AMS Communications, aims to provide solutions for companies moving from a mainframe discipline to a client/server environment.

"AMS Communications is the first of a new generation of Australian IT&T professional service companies," Downs said. "We're very much in the space where data, voice and video are converging - where customers want open systems and client/server technology."

AMS will focus on networking and database solutions for servers, along with workflow and imaging applications. The new company will have offices in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Richard MainApplied Micro SystemsTel: (07) 3246 7700ÊFax: (07) 3369 6822Scitec sells off to NEC Scitec has sold the rights for its wholly-owned network management systems software, InSight, to NEC Australia. The agreement is worth in excess of $2 million, according to Scitec. The decision allows Scitec to offer enhanced services, with the full backing of a blue-chip company, said a company source.

"The move delivers to NEC a first-class working product that has already been sold into a number of NEC major PABX network customers in the past few months," said Philip Nakhla, group chief engineer at NEC Australia.

Even home users are BSAA targets

The Business Software Association of Australia (BSAA) has commenced its first legal proceedings against a home user for alleged illegal copying of software.

On 28 July 1995, Wodonga police seized hundreds of computer disks containing copies of software from the home of the accused, who was arrested on suspicion of theft and unlawful possession of stolen goods. Maurice Gonsalves, legal counsel for the BSAA, said that although the disks themselves were not considered to be stolen, the information contained was believed to be unlicensed copies of software programs owned by Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk, Symantec, Lotus Development and Novell.

Programs seized by police included: Microsoft DOS and Windows for Workgroups; Microsoft applications including Office, Word, Excel, Access, Works, Money, and Scenes; Autodesk Animator; Adobe PageMaker and Photoshop; Symantec Norton Commander; Symantec on Target; Xtree Gold and Xtree Allsafe.

Proceedings against the defendant commenced on 23 April this year, by Microsoft, Autodesk and Symantec in the federal court of Australia. Proceedings have since been adjourned until 15 July 1996.

BSAA chairman Jim Macnamara says that while the BSAA had focused primarily on businesses and organisations in its campaign against illegal software copying, the industry could not condone illegal software used by individual home users and such a case "had to happen sooner or later".

Macnamara says that the software industry is losing more than $200 million a year through illegal software and serious breaches of copyright would be combated with the "full force of the law - whether they occur at work or at home".

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