Contents | < Browse | Browse >

/// CPU Status Report                     Late Breaking Industry-Wide News


CAMPBELL, CALIFORNIA -- Apple Computer is again announcing price cuts of
29 to 24 percent on its Macintosh Quadra, Apple Workgroup Server, and
Powerbook notebook computer line. The company is also offering rebates of
$100 to $200 on selected products in its Performa computer line.

The Macintosh Quadra 950 systems have been reduced up to 29 percent,
the Apple Workgroup Server 95 computers have been reduced up to 20
percent, and the Powerbooks have come down 7 percent to 34 percent.
The company has set up toll-free lines to answer consumer questions
about pricing and availability.

This is the second round of price cuts Apple has announced in less
than a month. In June, Apple announced price reductions selected
Macintosh Centris 610 models, Macintosh IIvx models, Powerbook 180s,
Apple Onescanners, and the Applecds compact disc read-only memory
(CD-ROM) drives.

Turmoil at Apple has been in the headlines. The company lost its
lawsuit against Microsoft over Windows, replaced its chief executive
officer (CEO) John Sculley with chief operating officer (COO)
Michael Spindler, who promptly announced lay offs of 2,500
employees, has frozen employee wages while cutting the pay of top
management, and there have been hints Apple is for sale.

Bob Puette, president of Apple USA said concerning the current round
of price cuts: "The price reductions, and the Performa rebates, are
part of our overall company strategy to take aggressive actions in
order to increase our market share."

Apple said it expects lower earnings for this half of the year and
industry analysts say pricing pressures from the IBM and compatible
personal computer (PC) market coupled with the success of Microsoft
Windows are the cause. The company's earnings statement is on track
for release the middle of this month, company officials added.



CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA -- Apple Computer representatives have confirmed
reports that the company has frozen all employees salaries, except top
management, who will receive a five percent pay cut. This
announcement was made to company employees on Monday when Apple
announced a reorganization that included cutting of 2,500, or
about 15 percent, of its workforce.

The company has been in turmoil beginning early last month with
hints that it was for sale from Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
John Sculley. Sculley stepped down as CEO later in June to
become the company's traveling search-light for new technology
opportunities. But now there are hints Sculley will not return
to Apple when his sabbatical ends in August.

Analysts say intense pressure from the IBM and compatible
personal computer industry, in the form of the graphical
Microsoft Windows 3.1 and the PC price wars, is what is
squeezing Apple. June was also the month Apple officially lost
the suit it brought for $5.5 billion against Microsoft over the
Windows user interface. Apple did say it plans to appeal, but
no word of any further action has been forthcoming.

In June, Apple said stockholders could expect lower earnings
for the second half of its current fiscal year due to profit-
cutting price wars. Apple's stock has dropped one-third in
value overall since the beginning of the year. Many analysts,
however, including those at California Technology Stock Letter,
are seeing Apple's stock drop as an opportunity for investors.
Confidence in the company is high, they say, and they are
urging their readers to buy as much of the stock as they can.

The wait now is for the company's second quarter earnings
statement, which company officials say is on track for about
the 15th of this month.



TOKYO, JAPAN -- Sanyo Electric recorded a major sales slump in May. The
loss is estimated around 12.5 billion yen ($114 million), and is expected
to grow to 20 billion yen ($180 million) by November.

Sanyo Electric's mid-term 1993 sales were 500 billion yen ($4.5
billion), which was down 9 percent from the same term last year.
Air conditioners, VCRs, and audio visual equipment did not
sell well and sales of these products were 5 to 8 percent
lower from the previous year.

Another reason for Sanyo's sales loss was the rapid appreciation of
the Japanese yen. The yen went up by about 20 yen (20 cents) over
the previous year, causing Sanyo a sales loss overseas.

Sanyo has sold equity to save 8 billion yen ($70 million)
but the loss was bigger than expected.

The firm has been trying to reduce expenses and labor costs
in order to ride out this situation. It will cut 3,000
employees by the end of 1995 and has switched to cheaper
overseas manufacturing.



WASHINGTON, DC -- National Semiconductor, Toshiba, and Motorola have
jointly announced plans to form an alliance to produce the next
generation of low voltage CMOS or complimentary metal oxide semiconductor
microchips for laptop computers.

The goal of the alliance is to jointly develop electrical and
physical compatibility standards.

The new three-volt microchips are intended for use in both high-
performance "green" (environmentally friendly) desktop computers
and workstations where heat generation is a constant problem, and
in laptop, notebook, and palmtop computers which used to operate
at the five-volt standard, but are rapidly moving to the lower
power-consumption and lighter batteries possible when using
three-volt components.

The projected market for low voltage logic chips is $500 per year
by 1997, according to information supplied by the companies.



TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA -- The first COMDEX/Canada show and conference
started its three-day run today at the Metropolitan Toronto Convention

An edition of the huge COMDEX show whose fall version dominates the
computer trade show calendar in the United States, COMDEX/Canada is
already a major event on the Canadian scene. Its main competition
will be the Canadian Computer Show, an established event that takes
place each fall in Mississauga, Ontario, a Toronto suburb.

Some in the industry speculate that the marketing might of the
US-based Interface Group, which runs COMDEX, could threaten the
venerable Canadian Computer Show.

The Interface Group claimed more than 300 exhibitors and projected
some 20,000 attendees at COMDEX/Canada this year. That is up
significantly from last year's total of about 120 exhibitors and
roughly 9,500 visitors at the PC Expo and LAN Expo shows that
Interface Group combined to create COMDEX/Canada.

It is still small, however, compared to the Las Vegas COMDEX, which
attracts more than 100,000 exhibitors most years.

In his introductory remarks, a pep talk that has become standard
fare at COMDEX shows, Interface Group Chairman Sheldon Adelson said
his company plans to launch further international COMDEX shows, in
Europe and the Pacific Rim, quite soon. At present the only other
COMDEX outside the United States is in Brazil.

The company has previously run COMDEX shows in Europe and Japan,
but dropped them.



TAIPEI, TAIWAN -- Taiwan's biggest electronic financial crime ever has
revealed a number of weaknesses within the island's financial industry
and led to intensified calls for more secure financial facilities.

Cheng Chin-lung, a 34-year-old programmer who developed computer
programs for five financial institutions' ATM networks in Taiwan, is
alleged to have used his inside knowledge to hack the networks to
produce a total of 7,174 forged cards from 64 card issuers.

The losses involved are unknown, but officials have frozen US$1.9
million "petty cash" in Chin-lung's current account, as well as a
similar amount in his sister-in-law Hsiao Mei-yun's account.

Cheng was a software programmer with Universal Electronics and
Computer (UE&C) between 1989 and 1992. He was also in charge of the
company's hardware maintenance operations during that period.

According to officials with UE&C, Cheng is alleged to have acquired
all the ATM card numbers and their associated PINs which were used
during October of last year.

Officials say that the fraud has brought a number of potential
problem areas to light, primarily the contracting out of computer
programming work to outside companies by local banks.

The problem cannot be solved overnight. According to the Ministry of
Finance, only about 30 percent of all local financial institutions
have the expertise and resources required to design computer
programs themselves; the rest entrust programming either partly or
completely to external companies.

On the Taiwanese ATM system, which is thought to be similar to
systems used in the US and Europe, when a card is inserted into a
cash machine and its PIN entered, the PIN is validated by decoding
the PIN and account details recorded on the card's magnetic stripe.

If the details are incorrect, the card is retained. Only if the PIN
is validated are the details of the transaction, together with the
PIN, transferred over a secure data line to the Taiwanese Financial
Information System Centre (FISC). Data transferred between the ATM
and FISC is scrambled.

Experts are suggesting that Cheng intercepted the data streaming
into the FISC, but after the data had been unscrambled. Banking
officials claim that in the absence of a confession from Cheng,
they cannot discover at what point he intercepted the card and PIN
data, nor how he did it.

As a result of the fraud, the Taiwanese Ministry of Finance has
requested all card issuers in the country to re-issue new cards to
their cardholders, and add special verification codes to the
magnetic stripe on the cards. While this will prevent Cheng's
information from being used again, it may not stop the fraud from
happening again if the data stream is intercepted at the FISC.

The Ministry of Finance has also taken the unusual step of
requesting that card issuers revise their conditions of use to
take account of a fraud occurring in their own operation and admit
liability for any losses, as well as provide compensation in such
cases. Experts suggest that this precedent could result in similar
variations in agreements on a world-wide basis.

Taiwanese card issuers have also stated they intend to greatly
accelerate the speed with which they plan to transfer to smart card
technology with their ATM cards. The card issuers are currently
working with Bull Taiwan on developing a smart ATM and credit card
for issue some time next year.



TORONTO, ONTARIO -- Multimedia technology has real applications in areas
such as desktop videoconferencing, news distribution, and various kinds
of retailing, Robert Carberry, president of IBM's Fireworks Partners,
told a large audience at the opening of the first COMDEX/Canada show and

"The applications of multimedia technology are not a Field of
Dreams -- build it and they will come," Carberry said, referring to
a widely quoted line from a popular American movie -- "but you can
apply it to very real business problems today."

Carberry illustrated his points with video clips, some of which
were reminiscent of Apple Computer Chairman John Sculley's
Knowledge Navigator video, a staple of trade show keynotes, and
press conferences.

He showed an executive using a personal computer to conduct a
desktop videoconference with a colleague, sending and receiving
electronic mail from a personal digital assistant in an airport,
and checking news and travel information on a screen in an airplane
seat back.

The screen in the airplane seat back is a limited reality today, he
said: IBM has already installed "flying local-area networks" in six
commercial jets.

Carberry also pointed out that with telecommunication networks now
acquiring the ability to transmit data at 1.5 megabits per second
-- the same speed at which data can be retrieved from a compact disc
read-only memory (CD-ROM) -- new openings for real-time information
delivery are appearing.

He cited as an example the creation of audio compact discs on
demand, using writable CD technology. IBM is already involved in a
pilot project with an audio retailer. This system would let a music
store download any title a customer wanted from a central server,
making available more titles than the store could keep in stock

Video on demand, making movies available to the home when you want
to watch them, is another possibility, Carberry said.

Fireworks Partners is investing in a variety of such areas,
including multimedia content creation, distribution, implementation
services, and retail applications, he said.

Launched in January, Fireworks Partners took in IBM's multimedia
systems and integration business, its Person-to-Person
multimedia videoconferencing group, and its Atlanta-based
Multimedia Publishing Studio.

The company, a unit of IBM's Personal Systems business, is
responsible for worldwide marketing of IBM multimedia products and
services. It will also back promising multimedia development by
entrepreneurs outside IBM, and form joint ventures with other
companies, officials said.

The previous stories are © 1993 NewsBytes.  Reprinted with permission.