Y2K Funding Needed ... Stat!


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Disaster Contract Ready to Run

The General Services Administration expects at least 50 task orders to be in place by the time its new disaster recovery contract begins in late September.

Last week, GSA awarded the contract to Comdisco Continuity Services, Rosemont, Ill.; IBM Corp., Armonk, N.Y.; and SunGard Recovery Systems Inc., Wayne, Pa.

David Krohmal, GSA manager of the disaster services program, said more than 100 agencies are expected to use the contract over its five-year life. The contract includes extensive testing services for year 2000 compliance as well as recovery services for other disasters.

While the government does not have an estimate on the contract's value, individual task orders are expected to range from $10,000 to several hundred thousand dollars, Krohmal said.

Now That's a Warm Welcome

Three months after establishing itself in the Washington market, Qwest Communications Inc. of Denver won its first major government contract last week.

Qwest, which is buying McLean, Va.-based long-distance telephone company LCI International Corp. for $4.4 billion, was not big on specifics.

This much is known: The 10-year contract has a value of $430 million and is for development of a virtual private network for several unnamed government agencies.

Database Liberator Strikes Again

Carl Malamud, president of the Internet Multicasting Service, gave the U.S. government an ultimatum last week.

In a letter to Vice President Al Gore and Commerce Secretary William Daley, Malamud demanded the Patent and Trademark Office make its databases available free of charge on the Internet. If the demand is not met by July 1, Malamud said he will put the databases on the Internet himself.

Malamud is no stranger to such efforts. In January 1994, he put the Securities and Exchange Commission's database online against its wishes. Popularity for the information skyrocketed, but Malamud's Internet Multicasting Service was losing money with the service. The SEC, understanding the demand for the service, took over providing the data itself.

Eastman Finds Federal Partner

Eastman Software Inc. of Billerica, Mass., formed a strategic alliance this week with Radian Systems Inc. to deliver work flow and document management solutions to the federal market.

Eastman is the software arm of Eastman Kodak Co. of Rochester, N.Y. Alexandria, Va.-based Radian focuses on the Department of Defense, civilian agencies, and state and local organizations and provides consulting and installation services, customer specifications and programming, and system documentation.

"We are relying on partnerships with key developers and integrators to deliver solutions to the federal market," said Jane Forman, Eastman Software's vice president of Federal Systems.

Cisco Acquiring Israeli Company

Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., plans to acquire a privately held Israeli software company, Class Data Systems, for $50 million in cash and stock.

The network management equipment maker expects to complete the deal by early June.

Class Data, based in Ra'anana, Israel, and Cupertino, Calif., makes software that can prioritize network resources. For example, companies can use its software to focus computer resources on tallying invoices during billing periods.

Class Data, founded in 1996, has 34 employees. The company's engineering team will remain in Israel, and its Cupertino offices eventually will be moved to San Jose.

Waging R&D War

Coopers & Lybrand and the National Venture Capital Association are pushing hard for more government support of technology research and development.

James Atwell, chairman of Coopers' National Venture Capital group, has urged lawmakers for a permanent extension to the research and development federal tax credit, which expires at the end of next month.

Venture capital-backed companies would spend $40 billion more on research and development in the next 10 years if the federal tax credit were permanently extended, according to his report issued last week.

The government must provide "targeted tax incentives, broad immigration policies, freedom from abusive litigation and a core science and math education for all of America's future entrepreneurs," added Mark Heesen, NVCA's director of legislative and entrepreneurial affairs.

Worker Relief Moves Forward

Legislation to increase the number of temporary visas for high-tech workers will hit the floors of the House and Senate by the end of May.

Steve Lamar

Rep. Lamar Smith

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, is vowing that his bill, which boosts the visa limit from 65,000 to 115,000, will pass.

Support also is strong on the Senate side for a bill sponsored by Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich. Action on the bills is slated during Congress' "Technology Week," set for the third or fourth week of May.

Smith cautioned that steps must be taken to ensure temporary foreign workers do not hurt job opportunities for American workers. His bill also calls for more training for those workers.

Smith believes rising salaries for high-tech workers will draw more Americans to technology jobs, reducing the need for foreign workers, said Allen Kay, Smith's press secretary.

Internet Cable Alliance Forms

Leaders from the cable television and computer industries have formed an organization to promote using Internet services via cable.

The nonprofit organization, called the Cable Broadband Forum Inc., will seek to raise consumer awareness of Internet cable services.

Already 200,000 U.S. consumers receive Internet services via cable, generating about $100 million in revenues.

Y2K Funding Needed ... Stat!

One-third of British hospitals surveyed in a recent study have not spent any money trying to correct year 2000 software problems, according to research commissioned by Prove It 2000, a London-based company that develops year 2000 software.

The survey, sent to 1,600 British hospitals and returned by 1,024, also showed that only 50 percent of hospitals that have prepared year 2000 budgets have had those budgets approved, and that the average amount of money spent by hospitals so far is about $27,000.

Prove It 2000 plans to conduct the same survey in the United States, starting with hospitals in Colorado and several other states.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates

Gathers Support for Windows 98
Microsoft's Bill Gates gathered 50 representatives of the PC industry, including executives from some of the largest manufacturers, software developers and technology companies, in New York this week in a show of support for the release of Windows 98.

The federal government and a group of state attorneys general are threatening to block release of the new operating system because of anti-trust concerns. Gates' supporters included Eckhard Pfeiffer, president and chief executive of Compaq Computer Corp., and Jim Halpin, president and CEO of CompUSA."In America, innovation is progress, and progress means economic growth for the PC industry, for consumers and for the nation," Gates said.

Some analysts doubt the impact will be great because Windows 98 doesn't differ greatly from Windows 95.

Copyright 1998 Post-Newsweek Business Information, Inc. All rights reserved


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