News Briefs

Modest recovery on the way for IT spending

At a recent SG Cowen Fall Technology Conference, the securities company highlighted its 31st annual event with a comprehensive survey of 675 sites, which indicated their IT spending will increase by an average of 3.5 per cent next year. While that’s the good news for the IT industry, the bad news is that when surveyed in March, companies told SG Cowen they anticipated IT spending to rise six per cent next year. Also, 30 per cent of companies contacted for the new survey said their 2003 IT budgets had recently been cut. Still, four in 10 respondents said their organizations are more optimistic now than at the start of the year.

Romanian nabbed for launching Blaster-F

A 24 year-old Romanian student has been arrested for authoring another variant of the Blaster Internet worm, according to a statement released by Softwin SRL, a computer security company based in Bucharest, Romania. Romanian law enforcement officials and the FBI could not immediately be reached for comment on the arrest. Dan Dumitru Ciobanu was arrested after Romanian authorities traced the Blaster-F worm back to him. Ciobanu’s decision to use his online nickname, enbiei, for the virus file was integral to his capture. His version of Blaster also included a caustic message in the body of the worm that named a local university, as well as one of his teachers, Softwin said.

Virginia Tech chooses Apple for cluster

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will build an Infiniband cluster using Apple Computer Inc.’s new dual-processor Power Mac computer with the 64-bit G5 processor, Virginia Tech said recently. When it is completed, the cluster of 1,100 nodes is expected to rank among the most powerful in the world. The Apple cluster will reside within Virginia Tech’s Computing Center, and will be used by the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at the university, Virginia Tech said.

PeopleSoft announces layoffs, product lines

PeopleSoft Inc. recently unveiled a strategy that bolsters the companies’ existing product lines, but involves laying off between 750 to 1,000 employees. Implemented to get rid of duplication in middle management, marketing and administration, the layoffs will save PeopleSoft about US$10 to US$15 million in 2004 said Kevin Parker, executive vice-president and CFO during a Webcast earlier this month. In the next 30 to 180 days, PeopleSoft said it plans to integrate some J.D. Edwards products with its own offerings. For example in Q4 2003 PeopleSoft plans to integrate its Supplier Relationship Management tools into J.D. Edwards’ offerings, the company said.

Oracle extends PeopleSoft deadline

Oracle Corp. has once again extended the deadline for PeopleSoft Inc. shareholders to accept its US$19.50 per share takeover offer, Oracle said in a recent statement. The extension now runs until Oct. 17. The extension comes as Oracle revealed that the take-up of its offer had effectively stalled over the past month. By the close of business on Sept. 4, figure had inched upward to 38,718,737, Oracle said in its statement. But that number represents only slightly over 10 per cent of PeopleSoft’s shares, leaving Oracle nowhere near its majority control target. Oracle has previously said it will continue to extend the acceptance deadline until it reaches its goal of acquiring a majority of PeopleSoft’s outstanding shares.

Verizon inks US$1-billion deal with Nortel

Verizon Wireless Inc. recently announced that it has signed a multi-year deal with Nortel Networks Corp., which will allow the wireless communication provider to upgrade its equipment and allow for a new third generation (3G) voice and data network. The US$1 billion agreement will span just over three years, according to Bruce Gustafson, director of market relations for wireless at Nortel. The deal will give Verizon additional network capacity allowing it to provide services including Web browsing, streaming audio and virtual private networking. Nortel Network’s solutions will also support Verizon Wireless’ attack of the hot spot market by offering Wi-Fi or 802.11b service.