Continuing coverage of recent WT stories
P> Canada Speeds Up
The latest company to jump on the high-speed modem bandwagon, (WT, Dec. 7) Shaw Communications, Canada, said it will start buying 100,000 cable modems from Motorola Inc., Schaumburg, Ill., later this year.
Cable modems allow users to access the Internet and download information 1,000 times faster than traditional modems.
The deal is expected to give high-speed modems visibility in Canada, where Shaw is the second largest cable television company with about 1.5 million subscribers.
PSINet Goes Dutch
PSINet Inc., Herndon, Va., has added to its international Internet presence by purchasing an interest in World Online B.V., an on-line service provider in Holland (WT, Nov. 23).
PSINet said it targeted World Online in part because of its association with NS Telecom, the telecommunications arm of the Dutch government-owned railway. The alliance is expected to give PSINet a leg up in the European market.
In addition to serving the corporate market, World Online plans to introduce an on-line entertainment network by the end of February.
Merisel An Attractive Takeover Target
Get a load of this: Even though Merisel Inc., El Segundo, Calif., is the second-largest distributor at $5.8 billion in annual revenues, its stock is worth far less than the third-biggest distributor, Tech Data Corp. of Clearwater, Fla., a $3.1 billion company. Based on the closing prices on Wall Street for Dec. 28, Tech Data's stock valuation was $591 million, while Merisel had a value of only $124 million. Analysts say that Merisel has not recovered from its Feb. 1, 1994, purchase of Datago Inc., an aggregator, and the franchising and distribution division of ComputerLand Inc. (WT, Dec. 21). But that was two years ago, and given the fact that Merisel's stock has hovered between $4 and $5 a share, the company may be a ripe acquisition target.
ASRET Accounting "Sloppy and Sporadic"
After only one short review of the accounts maintained by the Association of Small Research, Engineering and Technical Services Companies (ASRET), "we have [found] very sloppy and very sporadic accounting information," said Ed Robertson, chief of Neurosystems Inc., Bethesda, Md., which has a court order permitting it to check the association's accounts and membership lists.
Robertson, a former director of the association, also said that new information shows that the association has only 100 members, far less than claimed by Dan Arnold, ASRET's chief, he said. Arnold is president of First Custom Electronics Consultants Inc., Severna Park, Md.
Phoning Home Via the Internet
VocalTec, an Internet phone company in Israel with headquarters in Northvale, N.J., (WT, Dec. 21) has launched a new version of its voice communications software.
The new product gives users point-and-click access to conversations via the World Wide Web. With this version, VocalTec will start offering free licenses to software developers that would include links to Internet phone from other products. This capacity is expected to increase VocalTec's market share and to give other software makers, such as game manufacturers, the ability to add voice to their products.
The upgrade is free to current Internet phone customers and costs $99 for new users.