B>MICROSOFT WINS FIRST ANTITRUST SKIRMISH
Amid a Justice Department antitrust investigation, Microsoft Corp. put the kibosh on a public hearing intended to air industry concerns over Microsoft's buyout of Intuit Inc., a leading player in the financial-software business.
The hearing was scheduled for Dec. 5 by the Information Technology Association of America's committee on information technology industry consolidation. But at the behest of Microsoft executive Mike Maples, the association's board reorganized the subcommittee and canceled the hearing.
Antitrust officials in the Justice Department are reviewing the proposed merger because of concerns it would give Microsoft a lock on the burgeoning financial-service software market. Microsoft's last antitrust battle ended with only a slap on the wrist for the giant firm, its rivals complain.
YOU'VE GOT YOUR PLO, IRA, AND NOW...ILF?
Formed to protest the increasing commercialization of the Internet, the Internet Liberation Front announced over the Net that its fearless hackers would soon be launching cyber-raids against money-grubbing capitalist computers everywhere!
But the politically motivated ILF has not had much of an impact yet. It is not even clear whether the ILF is a joke or anything more than an irritating threat. If they're for real, the FBI's gumshoes will likely track them down before they can send out another press release.
LOBBYING VIA COMPUTER
LatinoNet, a non-profit advocacy group based in San Francisco, has created a service on America Online to help Latino organizations cooperate and lobby government officials. The open service, called LatinoNet, was praised by Reed Hundt, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
With LatinoNet up and running, we may soon see additional networks for ethnic-lobbyists, such as Serbo-CroatNet, SlovakNet or BelarusNet.
PCS MORE PERSONAL THAN YOU THINK
An 18-month study conducted by Bell Atlantic Mobile and Carnegie Mellon University to examine consumer perceptions of personal communications services, or PCS, turned up some disturbing nuggets.
According to the study, users of PCS prototypes became quite attached to their portable phones, and apparently a little confused by them as well. One respondent described his PCS as "a wallet," which makes one wonder how he fared on shopping trips.
Another went even further, declaring the PCS phone had become "a part of my anatomy." Exactly which part wasn't disclosed, but it appears likely a dropped PCS phone could result in brain damage for that participant.
A BELL BY ANY OTHER NAME . . .
There seems to be a new trend among the Baby Bells. After the breakup of Ma Bell, some dropped the Bell reference immediately. Witness names like US West, Ameritech, NYNEX and Pacific Telesis. Now, however, others appear to be following the acronym trend set by American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) and Microwave Communications Inc. (MCI). Southwestern Bell Corp. recently began referring to itself as SBC Communications Inc. Meanwhile, BellSouth Telecommunications Inc. now prefers to be called BST. That means Bell Atlantic alone is still willing to toll a bell in its name.
A Trade group by any other name...
CBEMA, the Computer and Business Equipment Manufacturers Association, is an acronym you no longer have to remember. The new acronym is ITI, or the Information Technology Industry Council. The Washington-based industry association changed its name to reflect the changing focus of its member companies, according to the Dick Bodman, the chairman of ITI's board.
A PENTAGON CACHE FOR FUTURE PAIN
The number crunchers at the Washington, D.C.-based Defense Budget Project estimate there is $2.6 billion tucked away in the Pentagon's 1995 budget for defense transition programs. The total was arrived at by combining the numerous transition-related line-items, including $1.5 billion for dual-use technology, of which $550 million is for the Technology Reinvestment Project.
INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION ATTRACTS FIRM TO REGION
A small, but rapidly expanding, computer software firm is moving its international headquarters to Columbia, Md., to take advantage of the Washington region's growing reputation for international business.
XDB, a privately held corporation that reported $13 million in sales in 1993, will manage its subsidiaries in Germany, the UK and California from Columbia.
"Columbia offered us an environment where we could attract high quality personnel and still have relatively easy access to Europe and our international subsidiaries," said Dr. S. Bing Yao, XDB's president and CEO. Yao also cites Maryland's healthy economy as a reason he decided to base his 128-employee company in Columbia.