WASHINGTON WEIGHS IN ON MICROSOFT
Microsoft Corp. lobbyists will likely work overtime to head off damaging hearings scheduled this fall by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate's Committee on the Judiciary.
These hearings, which are slated to discuss a variety of antitrust issues including Microsoft's treatment of its resellers, come as the courts hear the Justice Department's new claim that Microsoft is using its dominance of the operating system business to win control over the new Internet browser industry. Microsoft officials claim that they have added the Internet Explorer browser to their operating systems as part of a routine upgrade and that they are not trying to use their market position in operating systems to dominate the new Internet browser market.
BEYER, GILMORE RACE FOR FUNDS
In the frantic dash toward the Nov. 4 election, both of Virginia's gubernatorial candidates are furiously raising money from the high-tech community to fund their multimillion dollar TV advertising campaigns.
On Oct. 15, Republican candidate Jim Gilmore raised roughly $44,000 from a group called Technology Leaders for Gilmore, said organizer Don Upson, vice president for strategic communications at Litton-PRC, McLean, Va. Another $60,000 was collected at a fund-raiser hosted by Sprint at the Oct. 13 Redskins-Dallas Cowboys football game.
On Oct. 11, a rival group called Technology Leaders for Don Beyer sent out a letter backing Beyer and asking for contributions. The letter was signed by local luminaries David Lucien, Ed Bersoff, Vint Cerf, Harris Miller and Valerie Perlowitz. Beyer garnered $650,000 from a recent Northern Virginia fund-raising event and has already won wide support from the technology community.
GTSI THROWS IN THE TOWEL
Rather than continue to fight a two-year-old lawsuit with the federal government, Government Technology Services Inc. of Chantilly, Va., opted to settle Oct. 10. The cost to the company: $400,000.
The qui tam suit - filed on behalf of the U.S. government by an individual - was initiated by a former Novell Inc. employee. The employee alleged that GTSI neglected to pass along manufacturer rebates on computer equipment it resold to government customers. GTSI is the largest reseller of information systems to the federal government.
Dendy Young, GTSI's chief executive officer, said that the settlement is not an admission of guilt, but a way of putting the issue aside to move on.
"This settlement removes a great deal of uncertainty surrounding GTSI's outlook and eliminates the substantial workload associated with responding to the related government audit," Young said.
Because the government has changed the way it buys products over the past several years, competition in that reselling market has tightened while profit margins have narrowed. From 1994 to 1996, GTSI's annual revenue fell from $617 million to $492 million, while earnings of almost $3 million have turned into a loss of $18 million.
The same Novell employee that filed the suit against GTSI also filed a similar suit against Novell in 1992. Novell, based in Orem, Utah, settled that suit for $1.7 million
WASHINGTON SPEEDS ALONG
Thirty-five technology companies from the Washington metropolitan area were named to Inc. magazine's list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States.
The region's technology companies outweighed nontechnology companies on the list by more than 2-to-1. And, technology boosted Washington's prominence on the list as a whole.
Virginia and Maryland increased their tally to a combined 56 companies, 14 more than the two states turned in last year. If the two states can sustain that 33-percent rate of growth per year for five years (the measurement period for growth of companies on Inc.'s list), they will claim home to 233 of the companies by 2002.
NORTHROP GRUMMAN LANDS WHITE HOUSE GIG
While it won't include a stay in the Lincoln bedroom, Northrop Grumman Corp., Los Angeles, won a potential $50 million contract from the White House to provide professional services including Internet development, PC desktop support, network management, business process re-engineering and software development. The company won the contract through its Department of Transportation Information Technology Omnibus Procurement vehicle. The White House contract has a one-year base worth $9.8 million but there also are four one-year options that could bring in another $40 million.
BIOMETRICS MARKET GROWS IN FIGHT AGAINST FRAUD
The market for biometrics such as thumbprint identification systems will grow in the coming years as both the government and private industry battle rising levels of fraud, according to a study by Frost & Sullivan, a marketing consulting firm in Mountain View, Calif.
Governments are increasingly looking toward biometrics for welfare program beneficiary identification, driver's licenses, national ID cards, and automated fingerprint identification systems for law enforcement. Frost & Sullivan said the 1996 market was worth $103 million. That figure will rise to $170 million in 2003, a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 percent.
DYNCORP PARTNERS WITH MANAGED CARE PROVIDER
As part of a move to increase its business in the health care market, DynCorp, Reston, Va., has formed an alliance with UniHealth Ventures Systems, Chatsworth, Calif., to provide health maintenance organizations with a seamless, fully integrated methodology for managing patient claims and medical data.
The two companies will integrate DynCorp's KeyImage workflow and document imaging system with UniHealth Ventures Systems' MC/400, a managed care administrative support system for HMOs, independent physicians, preferred provider organizations and Medicaid plans, DynCorp said.
FREE HACKER DEFENSES
Victims of hacker attacks can use free software to stalk their assailant through the Internet with the aid of Denial of Service Tracker, being freely distributed by Washington-based MCI Communications Corp.
The software, which can be downloaded from www.security.mci.net/dostracker, was created to help MCI's Internet business and to help the burgeoning online commerce industry suppress the growing number of expensive "denial of service" attacks, in which a hacker disrupts an Internet site.
The software works on MCI's communications networks and can help fend off attack techniques known as SYN, ICMP Flood, Bandwidth Saturation and Concentrated Source, and is currently being modified to detect other attacks, including one called Smurf.
UPSIDE MEDIA, TECHNEWS FORM ALLIANCE
Upside Media Inc., San Mateo, Calif., and TechNews Inc., Vienna, Va., the publisher of Washington Technology, have formed a cooperative publishing alliance. The arrangement will include the joint sponsorship of industry conferences, circulation development support as well as collaboration on advertising sales projects and online-World Wide Web activities.
Upside, the monthly business magazine covering the people, technology and capital shaping the digital industry, has been published by Upside Media since 1989. TechNews, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Washington Post Co., also publishes Integration Management, which covers the commercial systems integration market, and TechCapital magazine, which covers technology industry finance and investment issues.
The Washington Post Co. made an undisclosed investment in Upside Media Inc.