News Briefs

FRAMINGHAM (06/30/2000) - Union leader blasts AT&TThe Communications Workers of America (CWA) is lobbing verbal grenades at AT&T Corp. as the two organizations squabble over unionization of AT&T's newer business units. CWA says AT&T CEO C. Michael Armstrong and other executives are breaking a 1998 promise to remain neutral while CWA tries to organize nonunionized parts of the company, notably AT&T's cable, wireless and business local services divisions.

"Today's [AT&T] management seems bent on destroying any goodwill with its workforce and sowing the seeds of bad morale and labor turmoil," says CWA President Morton Bahr. Along with Bell companies, AT&T's traditional long-distance division is one of the key outposts of union membership in the telecom industry.

EMC points finger at StorageNetworks

As StorageNetworks Inc. prepared for its initial public stock offering last week, rival EMC Corp. was firing a volley from its legal department. SNI, a storage service provider, purchased as much as 90% of its storage equipment from EMC in 1999, and 40% of the company's revenue was derived from services it provided to EMC. SNI maintains that its agreement with EMC was never exclusive and has started including equipment from at least 15 other vendors, including Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc., in its managed service offerings. Meanwhile, EMC has alleged in a letter to SNI that SNI misappropriated confidential EMC information and targeted EMC workers for employment in violation of contractual commitments. EMC also accused SNI of adopting advertising slogans that are similar to EMC's and interfering with EMC customer relationships. No lawsuit was filed, but the letter indicated one might be coming, SNI said in an amended filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Nortel, Juniper plan joint venture

As expected, Nortel Networks Corp. and Juniper Networks Inc. have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly plan, market and implement optical core routing infrastructures for service providers. The alliance is tantamount to an admission by Nortel that its core IP routing products - namely, the Versalar 25000 - are significantly behind schedule. The two companies will ensure interoperability between Nortel's OPTera optical switching and transport systems and Juniper's M-series Internet core routers. The companies will also propose Nortel's Preside software platform for service provisioning and management. Juniper will benefit from Nortel's installed base of customers, the companies say.

Calling all XML schema

Oasis, the Billerica, Massachusetts, organization founded to further standardized use of XML, last week made available a repository at www.xml.org for registering XML schema and making them available for download. XML schema are document types used in e-commerce to express content in a way that recipients with XML processing capability can process the data without error because the XML-based content is unambiguously defined. Laura Walker, Oasis executive director, said each XML schema will have to be validated against the Apache XML parser to check conformance. She notes that users wishing to register their XML schema will also be required to present proof of identity and verify ownership of the XML schema in question. Oasis believes the repository of XML schema will be helpful because trading partners will be able to easily download a particular XML schema from each other for use in online procurement.

Larry Ellison, P.I.

Oracle Corp. last week acknowledged it paid a Washington, D.C., investigation firm to dig into the relationships between archrival Microsoft and several advocacy groups and think tanks that have been sympathetic to Microsoft during its legal woes.

At a raucous press conference, Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison told reporters he authorized the year-long investigation but knew nothing about the company that was hired or its tactics, which reportedly included trying to bribe janitors for access to the groups' trash. Ellison accused the groups of claiming to be independent when he says they were "bought and paid for" by Microsoft to influence public opinion.

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