Business Briefs

SAN MATEO (07/21/2000) - E-business services company Digital Island Inc. this week announced that it will acquire Net distributed-hosting services provider SoftAware Networks Inc. in a transaction currently valued at US$450 million.

Should the deal go through, it will provide Digital Island with additional customers and will help the company move further into the media and entertainment markets, officials said. The completion of the transaction, involving 9.37 million shares of Digital Island common stock and $20 million in cash, is subject to regulatory approval. Once merged, Digital Island hopes to integrate SoftAware's content-delivery nodes and data centers into its operations in a relatively short period of time, officials said.

Microsoft Corp. beat Wall Street expectations this week by posting revenues of $5.8 billion, or 44 cents per share, for the last quarter of its fiscal year, which ended June 30.

First Call, which polls financial analysts, predicted that Microsoft would report earnings of 42 cents per share.

For the fiscal year, Microsoft's revenues totaled $22.96 billion, an increase over the previous year's $19.75 billion. Net income totaled $9.42 billion.

Many industry observers were looking to Microsoft's earnings statement to gauge the acceptance of Windows 2000, which was released in February.

During the quarter, sales of Windows 2000 Advanced Server doubled the sales of its predecessor, Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition, in the previous year, according to Microsoft. Microsoft officials added that the release of Service Pack 1 for Windows 2000 -- expected by the end of the month -- would speed up adoption of the operating system.

Sales for the company's entire line of Windows products increased to $2.37 billion in the quarter, up from $2.25 billion in the same period the previous year.

The Desktop Applications Group, which produces server software and the Office desktop applications suite, posted sales of $2.64 billion, down from $2.93 billion in the previous year.

Microsoft officials were upbeat about future earnings, pointing to gains made by its consumer offerings, including the recently announced .NET platform initiative and the planned release of Windows 2000 server applications.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Cisco Systems Inc. this week announced an online training partnership to help small businesses incorporate the Internet into their day-to-day business operations.

SBA and Cisco are offering free online courses covering the use of the Internet, doing business via the Internet, marketing via the Web, and building an integrated business and technology plan.

SBA officials said an estimated 1 million small businesses tapped in to existing SBA online training programs last year, and the number grows every year. Small businesses can access the courses at classroom.sba.gov or at www.ciscowebseminars.com/sba.

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