News Briefs

Shareholders of Compaq Computer Corp. approved the company’s planned acquisition by Hewlett-Packard Co. by a nine-to-one margin, Compaq announced March 20 following a special shareholder’s meeting in Houston. HP said preliminary results show the merger has been approved by HP voters in what Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina termed a “slim but sufficient” margin. Opposition leader Walter Hewlett, an HP board member and son of a company founder, said the results are too close to call and that he remained “optimistic” the acquisition will be defeated.

Getting to the geeks

In more upbeat news for HP, the firm last month joined forces with a number of scientific bodies around the globe to examine how Linux running on HP’s servers can serve as a key platform for research. HP is looking for its Itanium processor-based servers to play a big role in the scientific community, and researchers seem to think HP has something to contribute. The group, formally known as the Gelato Federation, is made up of HP, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the University of Illinois, the BioInformatics Institute in Singapore, Groupe ESIEE in France, China’s Tsinghua University, Australia’s University of New South Wales and the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ont.

Gen X’ers want telework, study shows

What do Generation-X professionals want? Flextime, telecommuting, compressed work weeks – policies and programs that make balancing their work and personal lives easier. And they expect their employers to provide them, according to a recent report by research firm Catalyst Inc. The outfit, with offices in New York and Toronto, recently surveyed 1,263 professionals born between 1964 and 1975, working in 10 firms in the United States and Canada. Twenty-nine per cent of respondents reported that the interference of their jobs in their personal lives is “severe” or “very severe”; 43 per cent describe this interference as “moderate.” This suggests either companies aren’t offering the policies and programs needed to support personal and family goals or that such policies and programs aren’t working, Catalyst said. More info is at

Lucent’s woes continue

Looks like Lucent Technologies Inc. will not turn a profit this year after all. Lucent last month warned that its second-quarter results would be disappointing, pushing its profit plans back to 2003. The company hoped to be profitable this year after two years of sinking fortunes, underscored by massive losses and layoffs. Lucent now expects second-quarter revenue to show pro forma improvement of 10 per cent or less instead of the expected 10 per cent to 15 per cent sequential gain. It attributed the lower forecast to a sudden, more pronounced slowdown in capital spending among the large carriers the company covets. Analysts attribute the shortfall mostly to the U.S. wireline market, and to a lesser degree international wireline. Wireless sales are likely to be up 10 per cent to 20 per cent sequentially, according to UBS Warburg. Warburg believes CDMA 1xRT sales in the U.S. are strong. The downcast quarter is also delaying Lucent’s plans to spin off its Agere Systems component operations. Although the company’s losses will narrow in the second quarter, they will not narrow enough to satisfy the bank covenants required under its loan agreements to spin Agere.

Copy cats?

Compuware Corp. last month filed a lawsuit against IBM Corp. alleging that Big Blue copied Compuware source code and relied on anti-competitive business practices. Compuware President Joe Nathan said IBM copied from Compuware code to build IBM’s File Manager and Fault Analyzer products. “It’s simply unacceptable to see any company enter the market by copying other companies’ software,” Nathan says. IBM had no comment on the lawsuit. No trial date has been set.