Mincom strikes happy pact with IBM

Queensland software developer Mincom has entered a potentially highly lucrative alliance with IBM covering the delivery of asset management solutions to large companies in the transportation industry. Under the terms of the agreement IBM will develop a services delivery practice for Mincom's Ellipse Enterprise Asset Management application, and complete systems will be built on IBM's application framework for e-business. IBM will also become a partner in Mincom's Transportation Competency Centre in Denver.

For its part, Mincom will adopt a variety of IBM technologies and will enable Ellipse for WebSphere Application Server.

"Joining forces with IBM has created a powerful combination that will deliver significant benefits to our clients," noted Frank Berger, managing director of Mincom. "The combination of Mincom software and IBM hardware, along with the world class expertise available in both companies, will enhance our ability to provide a total solution to our customers," he added.

The alliance is part of a broad developer initiative through which IBM plans to form strategic relationships with independent software vendors. Deals with five such developers, including Mincom, are expected to boost IBM's revenue by more than $US1 billion over the next three years, according to US observers.

A spokesman for IBM acknowledged that Big Blue had not traditionally been good at working with ISVs. "We used to write our own software. We decided last year that wasn't a good idea and we decided to partner with the industry," the spokesman said.

NetComm turns to Alcatel for DSL expertiseAs it moves to establish itself as a fully-fledged broadband carrier, NetComm has forged an alliance with Alcatel in order to build a digital subscriber loop (DSL) network. Under the terms of the deal Alcatel will provide a turnkey solution, to begin rolling out in Sydney and Melbourne before being extended to other capital cities and regional centres. The network is scheduled to reach more than 180 exchanges nationally within three years, a spokesman claimed.

The NetComm DSL network is expected to open for service in the first quarter, and the company has its sights set on the unbundling of Telstra's local loop next month. "DSL is a modem technology and the extensive reach of DSL makes it a very attractive solution," noted David Steward, managing director of NetComm. "We believe it will be the broadband access technology of choice for SMEs and we see it as having distinct advantages over the competing broadband technologies," he added.

Praxa divisions snapped up by Geac

Australian systems integration company Praxa has sold its Australia and New Zealand local government divisions to Canadian company Geac Computer Corporation. The deal includes Praxa's GEMS (Government Enterprise Management System) and LGIS (Local Government Information System) packages, covers about 50 customer sites and involves some 40 staff.

"GEMS is a product of excellence and has been very successful in winning new business in the last 18 months," noted a Geac spokesman.

In the wake of the sale the Praxa divisions will be integrated into Geac's own local government business. "Furthermore, we plan to integrate a number of the Praxa and Geac products . . . so that we can provide our new and existing customers with a more complete solution", the spokesman added.

George Sutherland, COO of Praxa, justified the sale by claiming that a consolidation of suppliers to the local government market would be beneficial to both clients and vendors.

Business briefs

CCK Financial Solutions formed an alliance with a German developer to sell and distribute CCK's suite of treasury management software. A joint venture with Projekt Consult I+B Unternehmensberatung will initially market the software in Germany before turning its sights to other European countries.

Tennyson Networks has won two agreements for the distribution in Italy of its Small Office Exchange (SOX) computer-telephony integration system. The deals are with national company EDSLan, which claims to have already received orders for the system from Bridgestone, and reseller FastTelecom-Plus. The deals were negotiated from Tennyson's newly opened office in Milan, which is headed by vice president, Franco Dradi.

Australian B2B Internet player Peakhour has joined Microsoft's Application Services Licensing Pilot Program and will offer Office 2000 to its SME customers. Only four other companies have been selected for the program in Australia, a Microsoft spokesman explained.

Unisys and Clear Communications have joined forces to set up an ASP offering for the New Zealand market. A spokesman said the service is complete with infrastructure, applications, application and network partners, a Web site, and customers. It will use Clear's fibre-optic network for delivery to and from Unisys data centres in Auckland and Wellington.

Don't forget the 2000 Compuware-AIIA Australian Software Showcase is on this Tuesday, July 11, at Sydney's Darling harbour. Now in its fifth year, the showcase has attracted some 130 developers.

Money matters

Shareholders in Cable & Wireless HKT have approved the sale of the company to Doncaster Group, which is a subsidiary of Pacific Century CyberWorks. The deal clears the way for Telstra to proceed with its giant deal with PCCW.

Through the ANZ Investment Bank, AAPT has established financing to the tune of $A600 million to be used to fund the roll out of CDMA and LMDS networks.

Recently listed developer Objectif Telecommunications has decided to undertake a six-for-one share split in an effort to encourage greater trading in its shares.

VisibleVoice Unit Trust has arranged finance of $A2.6 million to fund the commercialisation of its VisibleVoice products. A spokesman said that initial orders for the product had been received following the ATUG exhibition in April and the company plans to introduce the products to the US before the end of this year.

Born again miner Julia Corporation has exercised its option to lift its stake in Australian smart card company Smart Silicon Systems to 100 per cent. The transaction will be financed by the issuing of shares to Smart Silicon founders Andy Jusuf and Simon Buchwald. Following the takeover, Buchwald will join the board of Julia Corporation.

Corporate quarters

Computer Associates International sent shivers through the world's technology investment community this week when it warned that it would not perform as well as expected in the first quarter of its 2000/01 financial year. The company expects total contract sales to reach between $US1.25 billion and $US1.3 billion, which is only a marginal improvement on the $US1.22 billion it generated a year ago. At the same time, net profit is expected to be cut by a factor of four or five. COO Sanjay Kumar said the company's problems stemmed, in part, from its inability to nail down several large contracts.

BMC joined in the chorus of gloom when it warned that profits for its first quarter to June 30 would not meet expectations. Net profit of between $US47 million and $US51 million will be well short of the $US105.3 million profit in the previous first quarter. Revenue for the quarter will slip from $US400.7 million a year ago to $US375 or $US365 million, the company warned.

Duck for more bad news as Informix has also issued a profit warning. After outperforming analysts' forecasts in the two previous quarters, the company now expects its second quarter revenue to be flat at about $US250 million, while profit will be halved instead of doubled as some analysts had predicted.

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