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COMPUSERVE CEO TAKES OFF

CompuServe President and CEO Robert Massey has resigned from the No. 2 online service provider.

The company said Massey, who had been CEO since 1995, left "to pursue other interests." Until a successor is named, Frank L. Salizzoni, chairman of CompuServe, will run the company. Salizzoni is also president and CEO of H&R Block, which owns CompuServe.

IDT MUST ISSUE REFUNDS, PAY FEES TO STATES

Under an agreement reached last week with attorneys general in six states, IDT Corp., Hackensack, N.J., must give refunds to customers who were charged for the company's Internet service after they cancelled their accounts.

Refunds must also be given to customers who were charged long distance fees for calls to IDT's technical support, customer service or billing departments, or to those who experienced unexpected long distance charges.

IDT, which has about 150,000 customers, also must pay the state governments a total of $250,000 in penalties.

In addition, IDT announced it laid off 140 employees, which amounts to one-quarter of its work force. The company attributed the firings to a shift away from Internet service to traditional telecommunications.

SCHOOLS AND IT COMPANIES LACK TIES

One-third of high-tech companies in the greater Washington area do not have partnerships with a local college or university, according to a study released Feb. 19 by Colleges & Corporations, a consulting firm in Alexandria, Va.

The study found that 31 percent of local high-tech companies have no relationship at all with a local university or college, and 50 percent had nothing more than an internship program. The goal of such partnerships is to improve company performance, enhance faculty and student skills, and support regional economic competitiveness.

Other results showed that 24 percent of high-tech companies use higher education for work force training, 15 percent use higher education for cooperative research programs and 11 percent use faculty as consultants. The survey included 2,351 area high-tech companies.

CANADA GETS GLOBALSTAR

AirTouch Communications, Loral Space & Communications Ltd. and Canadian Satellite Communications Inc. (Cancom) have formed an agreement to sell fixed and mobile wireless services in Canada using the Globalstar satellite-based communications system.

Cancom owns the majority interest in Globalstar Canada, which plans to begin selling services in 1998.

San Jose-based Globalstar, which is a partnership led by Loral, is building a $2.5 billion low earth-orbit satellite telecommunications system to provide global mobile communications.

AMS INTRODUCES CYBERLENDING

Mortgage approvals as quick as your modem speed might become a reality as the Bank of Montreal and American Management Systems, Fairfax, Va., launch an interactive lending system over the World Wide Web.

Customers can complete a mortgage application online and receive approval within seconds, AMS officials said.

All applications pass through several security checks to protect against fraud and loss of confidential information.

Applications are analyzed by Strata, a credit scoring system which AMS and the Bank of Montreal developed. A decision by the bank is made based on the score.

PATENT OFFICE TO MODERNIZE

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is looking to information technology to streamline its operations.

Lockheed Martin, Bethesda, Md., and Computer Sciences Corp., El Segundo, Calif., won contracts totaling more than $500 million to modernize the patent office's business systems.

The business systems are crucial to evaluating patent and trademark applications.

"A healthy patent and trademark system will enable the nation to build for the future and promote U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace," said Bruce Lehman, patent office commissioner, in a statement.

THE YEAR OF THE GREEN

Venture capital investment in the United States hit an all-time high last year, according to a Feb. 14 study by Coopers & Lybrand LLP.

National venture capital investment deals reached $10.1 billion in 1996, a 52 percent increase over 1995. Surveyed firms participated in 2,163 deals during 1996, a 40 percent increase over 1995.

High-tech companies received approximately 60 percent of total venture capital investment. The survey also found that California received more than any other state in 1996 at $3.2 billion, a 49 percent increase over 1995. California was followed by Massachusetts, Texas, Colorado and Florida.


U.S GOVERNMENT BUDGET:
Total 1998 R&D Request $75.5 billion (%)


The White House managed to nudge upward its budget request for R&D spending by 2 percent, while cutting the Pentagon's R&D accounts to pay for a 4 percent boost in civilian R&D. Some administration officials insist that the White House will ask for extra R&D money over the next few years, despite the need to pay hefty bills for Medicaid and other government programs.


© 1997, Washington Technology. All rights reserved.

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