News Briefs

Microsoft-DOJ nearing a deal?

Reports last week by The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post said settlement talks in the antitrust case between Microsoft and the Department of Justice have heated up and appear to be reaching a conclusion. The reports said a breakup of the company is not being considered. Microsoft was reportedly ready to pitch a settlement offer last Friday, which could lead to a conclusion in the case this week. Spokesmen for Microsoft and the Justice Department would not comment, calling the stories premature. Both papers said the new round of talks is centered on conduct remedies that would restrict Microsoft's business practices.

3Com customers catch break

No sooner did 3Com Corp. pull the plug on its big backbone LAN switch, than did Enterasys Networks, the Cabletron enterprise spinoff, unveil a program to power up affected customers. The Enterasys program provides rebates of up to $100 for 3Com's CoreBuilder 10/100 Ethernet ports and up to $1,000 for 3Com's CoreBuilder Gigabit Ethernet ports. The trade-in program started last Friday and runs until June 30, the day 3Com will cease shipment of CoreBuilder products.

Cidera prepping for an IPO

Here's a busy week for you: Cidera Inc. - formerly SkyCache - landed a CEO, $36 million in funding and a new advisory board, one week after the company filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. Richard Hanna, formerly president of Teligent International, last week was named CEO of the Laurel, Md., satellite content distribution service provider. Cidera's founder and now former president and CEO Doug Humphrey will still play an active role in the company as chairman. Cidera's newfound cash comes from venture funds at Dell, PSINet and MCI WorldCom.

Nortel buys third optical company

Continuing its high-profile buying spree, Nortel Networks Inc. has agreed to acquire optical component manufacturer CoreTek for $1.43 billion in common stock. This marks Nortel's third large purchase in the field of optical networking. Two weeks ago, Nortel bought California optical switch maker Xros in a stock deal worth $3.25 billion. Last year, Nortel acquired Qtera Ultra technology, also for $3.25 billion in Nortel stock. The transaction is expected to close this quarter and is subject to standard regulatory approvals. CoreTek, a private company based in Wilmington, Mass., has 120 employees. The company will ship its next-generation components in the fourth quarter.

FTC targets online fraud

The Federal Trade Commission last week said a multinational effort to scour the Web for illegal get-rich-quick schemes identified more than 1,600 sites suspected of trying to lure people into participating in bogus business propositions. The FTC's "GetRichQuickCon" project involved 150 organizations in 28 countries, says Jodie Bernstein, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC. Bernstein described GetRichQuick. Con as the largest-ever international law enforcement project to fight fraud on the Internet. Examples of the types of sites found were those offering people money for surfing the Internet, those promising millions of dollars through pyramid schemes and those that used chain letters to draw people into fraudulent offshore investment clubs, officials said.

Office 2000 fix-it kit available

Microsoft Corp. last week delivered Service Release 1 for Office 2000, its first set of patches and fixes for the productivity suite. The software, which is available as a free download, includes patches and fixes for Word, Outlook, Access, Excel, PowerPoint, FrontPage and Publisher. The release also includes a file security update for Excel and the Worm.Explore.Zip virus update.

System-level components to support Windows 2000, such as Windows Installer 1.1, also are included. Microsoft also posted SQL Server Service Pack 2, which patches a number of bugs in SQL Server 7.0 and its Microsoft Data Engine 1.0.

'Project Angel' takes flight

AT&T Wireless Services is launching its Digital Broadband fixed wireless service, originally dubbed "Project Angel," in Fort Worth, Texas. The service is a consumer offering that supports voice and Internet access; a business service is in the works. Customers can sign up for a single voice line with caller ID, call waiting and three-way calling for $26 per month. Users get unlimited local calling and 7-cents-per-minute long-distance. AT&T's Digital Broadband also supports Internet access services at up to 512K bit/sec for $35 per month.

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More about 3Com AustraliaAT&TAT&T WirelessCideraCoreTekDepartment of JusticeDOJEnterasys NetworksFederal Trade CommissionFTCMCIMCI WorldComMicrosoftNortel NetworksPSINetQteraSECSecurities and Exchange CommissionTeligentWall StreetWorldComXros

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