Microsoft Corp. has quietly tweaked its software licensing program for application service providers (ASPs) in an effort to make it cheaper and more predictable for hosting companies to rent its products and run them for corporate users.

The changes, which took effect Nov. 1, include price cuts on key Microsoft products, such as Exchange and SQL Server, as well as modified terms of use on the software. Microsoft also committed to change the ASP licence fees only once each year, with the next revision not scheduled to take place until January 2003. In addition, the company said there will no longer be any difference between the fees charged to ASPs and those charged to users who license software directly from Microsoft and then have it hosted by a service provider. Previously, ASPs paid a higher price than such users did.

ASICs to enable mobile connectivity in the works

Philips Semiconductors, a division of Royal Philips will design and manufacture Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) that support mobile data rates of up to 3Mbps to devices supporting Flarion’s innovative flash-OFDM mobile communications system.

Laptop computers, PDAs, and smart telephones incorporating these low-power ASICs will bring true broadband mobile services to mass-market users, at prices comparable to those of today’s standard cable modem Internet connections. The ASICs, which handle transmit-signal and receive-signal processing, will be available in early 2002, with availability of flash-OFDM mobile PC cards in the fourth quarter of 2002. The ASICs will help drive down power requirements, size, and cost for end-user devices supporting Flarion’s flash-OFDM mobile communications. The flash-OFDM technology, which originated in Bell Labs, enables mobile users to achieve the same broadband experience they already enjoy in business or at home, even in moving vehicles, and at communication speeds surpassing those of wired broadband services such as DSL or cable modems.

Burntsand to acquire the U.S. assets of Primix

Vancouver-based Burntsand Inc. has announced that it will acquire the operations of Primix New England for a cash payment of U.S.$7 million. Burntsand will also receive the assets used in the business totalling U.S.$3 million and assume liabilities of U.S.$3 million.

The acquisition, which is subject to certain closing conditions including the approval of Primix’s stockholders, is expected to close by the end of December 2001. Located in Boston, Primix New England has 80 employees, 60 focused on eSolutions delivery, and anticipated 2001 revenues of approximately U.S.$14 million. Based on Primix New England’s market position, staff metrics and historical margins, it is anticipated that the acquisition will have a positive accretive impact on Burntsand’s financial results. “Burntsand’s objective is to continue to build and grow a world-class organization capable of generating significant value for clients, employees and shareholders,” said Paul Bertin, president and CEO of Burntsand. “This is a another major step in realizing our objectives. We anticipate transitioning the management team at Primix New England to Burntsand as part of the acquisition. “