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Chips hit 1000MHz

PARIS -- Engineers in IBM's research division said last week that they have demonstrated the world's first experimental Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) microprocessor operating at 1000MHz -- some three times as fast as today's fastest chip from Intel.

The processor achieves clock speeds of up to 1100MHz, IBM said, and contains one million transistors.

The micro-architecture, circuits and testing techniques resulting from this project will eventually be applied to microprocessors using IBM's recently introduced CMOS 7S "copper chip" technology, IBM said.

-- by Jeanette Borzo

Compaq enhances server and storage linesby Kathleen OhlsonBOSTON -- Compaq has announced new features for its Professional Workstation line -- new ProLiant 1600 and ProSignia 200 models -- as well as an addition to its optical storage line.

The Professional Workstation 5100 and 6000 will now include Intel's 333MHz Pentium II processor, which comes in single or dual-processor configurations, and new graphics accelerators, Elsa's Gloria Synergy and the Diamond Multimedia Fire GL 4000.

Compaq has also added new models to its ProLiant 1600 and ProSignia 200 line. The ProLiant 1600 6/300 features a 333MHz Pentium II processor with dual processor capability, 512KB second level ECC cache, and 64MB of EDO ECC DIMM memory.

The ProSignia 200/300 features a 333MHz Pentium II processor with dual processor capability, 512KB second level ECC cache, and 32MB of EDO ECC DIMM memory, Netelligent 10/100 TX UTP Controller on the PCI local bus, and a 16x MAX CD-ROM Drive IDE.

Compaq also has added the 24x MAX IDE CD-ROM to its optical storage line. It features transfer speeds up to Bay to resell ATM: company plugs WAN gapby Stephen LawsonSAN MATEO -- Battle lines are being drawn in the market for end-to-end networking as Bay Networks seeks an ATM partner to fill a critical hole in its offerings to carriers.

This week, Bay plans to announce it will resell a third-party vendor's ATM switch for enterprise backbones, according to sources. However, this deal will leave open the company's need for a carrier-class core switch.

Sources had indicated that Bay would turn to Fore Systems, but Bay officials denied the company had agreed to resell a Fore switch.

Opening doors

Such a reseller agreement would allow Bay to compete against competitors now supplying core switches for carrier and large ISP networks, including Cisco Systems, Ascend Communications and Newbridge Networks.

Networking vendors are scrambling to build product lines and partnerships that give them a presence in both the LAN and WAN markets. The promised payoff for users is guaranteed data and multimedia services that span from enterprise headquarters to branch offices, partners and customers.www.baynetworks.comAsian crisis dampens global chip market, says Dataquestby Elinor MillsSAN FRANCISCO -- Financial troubles in Asia are slowing the growth of the worldwide semiconductor market, which is expected to grow 7 per cent to $US160 billion by the end of 1998, market researcher Dataquest says.

Dataquest previously forecast the market to grow to $US175 billion or by 17 per cent during the year, but the firm re-evaluated its figures due to the Asian crisis. A formal forecast for the semiconductor market will be completed in April.

Dataquest attributed most of the predicted slowed growth to a decline in worldwide elec- tronic equipment production. The potential lower costs of DRAM manufacturing in Korea -- which would result in lower market prices -- and the devaluation of the won further lowered the semiconductor forecast.

In 1998, Dataquest predicts continued oversupply that will force manufacturers to continue efforts to keep prices low.

Additional information about the semiconductor market is available in Dataquest's report entitled "The impact of the Asian financial crisis on worldwide electronics production and the semiconductor market".www.dataquest.comWeb businesses spend big on adsby Sharon MachlisFRAMINGHAM -- In the battle to attract new Web users, the weapons are getting more and more expensive.

Besides traditional online ads and partnerships, an increasing number of Web businesses are turning to mainstream media -- including television -- to lure surfers to their sites.

And that doesn't come cheap.

Ameritrade, for example, recently shelled out $US25 million in one quarter to promote its new $US8 electronic stock trading price.

The campaign included such costly TV advertising buys such as ABC's Monday Night Football and Seinfeld. That's a lot of money, admitted Ameritrade president Michael Anderson.

"But it's critical as the industry is exploding to grow as quickly as possible. We went very aggressive on our advertising," he said. The payback was 51,000 new customers in three months, he added.

What do you want your vendor to do?

by David Moschella

FRAMINGHAM -- Compaq's purchase of Digital raises one of my favourite questions for customers: what do you actually want your vendors to do?

Do you want to get your laptops and desktops from the same vendor? How about your desktops and servers? Servers and central systems? Systems and software? Software and services? Services and outsourcing? Outsourcing and strategic consulting? Where do you draw the line?

From the 1960s through the mid-1980s, enterprise customers often bought a range of products and services from a single vendor such as IBM, Digital or Unisys. With the rise of PCs and more open systems, corporations all but junked that approach to rely on specialised providers such as Microsoft, Compaq, Sun Microsystems, Novell, and Oracle. Of the old vertically integrated US suppliers, only IBM and Hewlett-Packard now bear any resemblance to their previous form.

Despite the sweeping nature of these changes, it was never completely clear what was going on. Were customers rejecting one-stop shopping or were they merely reacting to the fact the existing vertically integrated suppliers offered a bunch of out-of-date, proprietary products? For a while, that debate seemed mostly academic. But now that products based on Wintel standards have grown to meet such a wide range of requirements, the question has dramatically resurfaced.

Some reintegration is indeed occurring. The top PC makers such as Compaq, Dell, IBM and HP are also the top server vendors. With Compaq's acquisitions of first Tandem and now Digital, three of today's Big Four are stressing the close relations among their PCs, systems and services to a degree that was almost unimaginable a few years ago.

Moreover, two of today's leaders -- HP and Compaq/Digital -- are now Microsoft's most important global partners. By combining their PCs, servers and support services with key Microsoft offerings such as Windows NT and Exchange, these next-generation systems companies can nearly match the breadth of their vertically integrated predecessors. The difference is today's systems companies, with the exception of IBM, have pretty much given up on their own software, wisely opting to rely on Microsoft and third parties.

For now, this reintegration appears to be what many customers want. The rise of both NT and network-based computing has shifted the industry back towards a more centralised, server-based model. This trend should strengthen over the next few years as network computers, server-based Windows applications and cost-of-ownership tools are added to the mix.

But don't be surprised if things eventually flow back the other way. Consumers and small businesses already make up more than half the world's PC market, and their share will steadily rise. These customers don't give a hoot about global integration capabilities. There are good reasons to question how well IBM and HP will manage to serve this critical chunk of the business.

As for Compaq, if Eckhard Pfeiffer can maintain the company's speed, focus and cost-competitiveness while absorbing a behemoth such as Digital, he will have vaulted Compaq into the industry's highest echelon.

However, history suggests the odds are heavily stacked against him. Remember HP/Apollo, AT&T/NCR, SGI/ Cray and Samsung/AST? I suspect Michael Dell still likes his long-term position.

The real question is: do you?

Cabletron finalises Digital's networking fateby Hiroko SatoBOSTON -- Cabletron has completed its acquisition of Digital Network Products Group.

Cabletron will distribute Digital's network products as well as its own products, and Digital will continue to provide technical support and warranty service for the Digital-branded products via its new division, Digital Network Business Segment. It is also committed to purchasing a certain amount of Cabletron products during the term of a reseller agreement, according to Cabletron.

By taking over Digital's internationally recognised brand name and technology, Cabletron hopes to increase the share in the global market.

"We look forward to . . . increasing our presence within the channel, as well as the international and service provider markets," said Don Reed, Cabletron's president and CEO.

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