Industry Watch

a Bell's

Northern Exposure

AT&T is buying Alascom Inc., Alaska's long-distance carrier, for a cool $290 million in cash. The purchase reportedly marks the first time the world's largest phone company has ever purchased another long-distance carrier. AT&T, which had been subsidizing the carrier at more than $75 million annually, said it decided it would be cheaper to just buy Alascom than continue the subsidies.

Ericsson Beaten

on Home Turf

Ericsson, the Swedish telecommunications giant, was dealt a defeat at the hands of the Swedish patent office. The office accepted a patent application for a base-station wireless digital telephone system by InterDigital Communications Corp.'s subsidiary, InterDigital Technology Corp., despite a formal protest by Ericsson.

The Swedish patent office ruling consolidates two of the King of Prussia, Pa.-based InterDigital's U.S. patents. InterDigital, in turn, has accused two of Ericsson's American subsidiaries with infringement of one of the wireless patents and seven others in a suit pending in U.S. district court in Texas. Regardless of who prevails in Texas, it sounds like the real winners will be the lawyers.

Newbridge Rejects

Unfavorable Analysis

The First Boston brokerage firm recently downgraded Newbridge Networks Corp.'s stock, switching recommendations from "buy" to "hold." In a prepared statement, Newbridge says it "entirely disagrees" with the First Boston's conclusion, pointing out that it is the "acknowledged leader" in ATM technology.

Northern Telecom Posts a Profit

Northern Telecom reported net earnings of $56 million for the third quarter, or 22 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $35 million, or 13 cents per share, for the third quarter of 1993. Revenues for the third quarter totaled $2 billion, seven percent higher than the $1.88 billion a year earlier. However, order input for the quarter was $1.95 billion, versus $2.34 billion a last year, reflecting reduced U.S. sales that were partially offset by gains in international markets. For the first nine months of 1994, NT's revenues reached $6.13 billion, eight percent higher than last year.

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