MYOB buys Hong Kong distributor

Australian software developer MYOB has expanded its presence in Asia by acquiring its distributor in Hong Kong, Rorquals Business Solutions. In the wake of the acquisition MYOB will take over the operations, staff and customers of Rorquals. Sheila Lee will become general manager of MYOB Hong Kong.

Craig Winkler, CEO of MYOB, said the deal would allow the company to enhance its presence in Asia, which is an important growth market for MYOB. "Following on from our recent acquisition in Malaysia (Deal Makers section of The Rust Report, October 13 2000) the establishment of our own operations in Hong Kong provides us with the direct presence and resources needed to further tackle the Asian markets," Winkler explained.

"The acquisition of Rorquals provides us with greater potential to tailor our product and service offerings in the discrete Hong Kong market and to serve as a base for future expansion in the region."

Upstart Needa forges deal with MicrosoftNeeda Solutions, a small Australian developer that has created an Internet-based system for procuring legal and professional services, has entered an alliance agreement with Microsoft. Bob Annells, chairman of Needa, said the two companies share a similar vision of the next generation of the Internet. "In the future, we believe that a B2B marketplace will only succeed if it is a one-stop shop offering a complete solution for business," Annells said. "For this to work, different technologies need to interact and communicate with each other in a seamless fashion. That is what both .NET and Needa are all about."

Andrew Clark, CEO of Needa, said the alliance will allow the newly launched Australian company to draw on Microsoft's technical expertise and experience to develop further products and services, particularly as Microsoft's NET program gains momentum. "We are already a long way ahead of our competitors in this respect as our system is designed to snap in to other market places," Clark added.

Needa plans to release services for accounting, IT, marketing and human resources over the next few months.

Entellect and Motorola form alliance

Entellect, the Australian developer of the Mobile Office WAP technology that was recently adopted by Telstra, has formed an alliance with Motorola to develop and promote advanced wireless applications for consumer and corporate markets around the world. The first efforts of the pair will be in combining Mobile Office with Motorola's WAP-enabled handsets. Motorola is the only handset manufacturer with rights to sell the product and has made a "significant investment" in the pre-purchase of licences to Mobile Office.

"As more and more Motorola customers conduct business away from the office, they find it essential to stay in touch," noted David McKelt, Motorola's managing director of personal communications for Australia and NZ. "When you combine the innovative applications such as Mobile Office from Entellect with the advanced WAP technologies we are releasing, you have a truly complete solution which provides untethered access for both voice and data communications."

With the assistance of Motorola in Taiwan and Singapore, Entellect has developed a Chinese version of Mobile Office, which is available in both simple and traditional Chinese.

KeyTrust wins support of Entrust

Melbourne company KNX (KeyTrust) has entered a partnership with US company Entrust, which seems likely to take a stake in the Australian trust solutions supplier. Under the terms of the deal KNX (KeyTrust) will distribute Entrust's PKI solutions and will act as a certificate authority in Australia.

"We believe that public-key infrastructure is the foundation on which to build trust solutions now and in the future," explained Charles Greatrex, CEO of KNX (KeyTrust).

Entrust also plans to create a direct presence in Hong Kong as part of its response to increasing demand for e-business infrastructure solutions in the Asia/Pacific markets, a spokesman explained.

Business briefs

Cable & Wireless Optus and NEC Australia have agreed to work together to develop integrated solutions that will allow businesses and government agencies to embrace the next generation of communications networks, including IP telephony and voice over IP (VoIP).

Ericsson Australia plans to boost the number of scientists undertaking research and related work in the field of advanced mobile and data applications by 200 over the next 12 months.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has asked Solution 6 to clarify a financial statement it had released in October. ASIC had been concerned that the statement's use of the word "forecast" when discussing 2000/2001 results could have been misleading. Solution 6 has now issued an explanatory statement noting that figures released showing annualised revenues of between $A320 million and $A330 million were not a forecast but a "target". The clarification also notes that the company will not be able to issue a forecast for the current financial year until it has undertaken a review, which is not expected to be completed before the end of December.

IT Integrator Diverse Data Communications, which is a member of the Tyco International group of companies, has signed a channel partnership agreement with SkyNetGlobal, which provides mobile computer users with high-speed wireless access to the Internet, e-mail and office networks from airports, hotels and conference centres. Under the terms of the deal Diverse will market SkyNetGlobal's wireless remote service to existing and new customers. SkyNetGlobal has also released its client software, which allows users to set up laptop computers to access the company's broadband wireless network. A consumer launch is planned for February 2001.

Market research company ACNielsen has snapped up pioneer Australian Internet research company, which was founded in 1995 by Ramin Marzbani. When the cash deal is completed Marzbani will continue to head the business.

Red Sheriff, a global Internet measurement company with its roots firmly in Australia, has raised more than $A30 million from Deutsche European Partners. Earlier this year Red Sheriff entered a multi-million dollar strategic partnership with British communication services company WPP Group, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and on NASDAQ.eGlobal International, a software developer that is being acquired by Coms21, has been awarded the Australian distribution rights to the WebGain Java development tools that allow the rapid construction of Web applications. A spokesman said eGlobal has already sold the products to a number of corporate clients and government departments.

Corporate quarters

In its fourth quarter to October 31 Novell's revenue slumped from $US345 million a year ago to $US273 million and after accounting for a restructuring charge of $US48 million the company lost $US34.9 million. For the full year the company made a net profit of $US49.5 million on revenue of $US1.16 billion. A year earlier Novell made a net profit of $US191 million on revenue of $US1.27 billion. "Fiscal 2000 has been a very difficult year for Novell following dramatic declines in traditional packaged software sales," explained Eric Schmidt, CEO and chairman. For the full year the company's packaged software sales fell by 47 per cent to $US243 million.

Nortel has moved to reassure investors by declaring that it is on track to make previously stated profit targets for its fourth quarter. The company issued a statement claiming that revenue growth will be about 40 per cent, placing sales between $US8.5 billion and $US8.8 billion. One of the big movers for the company is the optical Internet, which is expected to grow 125 per cent to revenue of about $US10 billion for the full year.

Lucent Technologies' shares plummeted last week when the company adjusted its revenue downwards by $US125 million with a consequent restating of its profit for the fourth quarter of its 1999/2000 financial year. The restatement of the result was made because the company had discovered a "revenue recognition issue" in the quarter to September 30, 2000. The company has altered its growth forecasts several times this year and last month sacked its CEO Rich McGinn.

Hewlett-Packard measurement spin-off Agilent Technologies lifted revenue 29 per cent to $US10.8 billion in its 1999/2000 financial year. A statement released by the company (but later inaccessible from its Web site) claimed that net profit increased 48 per cent for the year.

Personal finance management software developer Intuit lifted first quarter revenue six per cent from $US176.9 million to $US187.5 million in the first quarter of its 2000/2001 financial year. The company's loss was cut from $US65.9 million a year ago to $US33.8 million.

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