FRAMINGHAM (03/21/2000) - Two privately held companies will join the fold at Cisco Systems Inc., following acquisition deals worth more than $500 million in stock. Cisco announced this week it has reached an agreement to buy InfoGear Technology of Redwood City, Calif., for $301 million worth of Cisco stock.

Cisco also said it plans to buy JetCell of Menlo Park, Calif. InfoGear makes Internet appliances and software used to manage such devices. JetCell develops in-building wireless telephony products for corporate networks. Cisco will pay $200 million in stock for JetCell, whose products, currently in trials, give enterprise customers' employees the ability to use a standard cellular phone to access their corporate voice system and roam from their private corporate network and the public cellular network.

One of the first commercial ISPs, Agis, is also now among the first to file for bankruptcy protection. Late last month the Bethesda, Md., ISP filed under Chapter 11 rules. Agis shared the limelight as one of "the" ISPs with BBN Planet, MCI, Sprint, NetCom OnLine, ANS, PSINet and UUNET at the dawn of the Internet's commercialization. While most of these ISPs were acquired, PSINet and Agis were the only two that remained independent. CEO Phillip Lawlor says the ISP is reorganizing, but it's not clear what the future holds. Most experts believe Agis' remaining assets will be bought by another ISP.

SAP AG, headquartered in Germany, has formed a new subsidiary, SAPMarkets, to develop technology and industry interest related to business-to-business trading exchanges on the Internet. SAPMarkets, to be based in Palo Alto, will consolidate SAP's previous efforts marketed as Marketplace. Hasso Plattner, co-chair and CEO of SAP, will serve as interim CEO of the new company until an executive is appointed to fill that role. SAPMarkets is expected to open for business in May.

Microsoft Corp. joined with mortgage lenders Freddie Mac, Chase Manhattan, Bank of America, GMAC Residential Funding and Norwest Mortgage last week to announce an online joint venture to provide mortgage loans. The venture, called HomeAdvisor Technologies, intends to devise a way to automate credit checks, appraisals and underwriting, the processes involved in approving a home loan application.

White Pine Software last weekend announced a new software developers kit (SDK) that allows companies to add video chat to their Web sites that users can access via a standard browser. The Video Chat Your Site kit is based on White Pine's CU-SeeMe videoconferencing software and works with the company's MeetingPoint server on the back end. MeetingPoint allows multiple users to participate in the same conference. Pricing starts at $24,000 for the SDK and a MeetingPoint server license. A revenue-sharing model is in place for distribution of the browser plug-in.

The Data Interchange Standards Association (DISA) in Alexandria, Va., has picked as its new organizational head Kerry Stackpole, president of the Electronic Messaging Association. Stackpole will step into his new position next month, replacing DISA interim acting president Jerry Connors, appointed after the departure last October of Judy Kilpatrick, DISA's former president and CEO. DISA, the organization that pioneered the U.S. versions of Electronic Data Interchange standards, has been struggling with defining its role in technologies such as XML.

Scientists from IBM Research laboratories have discovered chemical reactions that eventually could allow computer hard disks and other data-storage systems to store more than 100 times the data of current products, the company says.

The chemical reaction causes tiny magnetic materials to automatically arrange themselves into well-ordered arrays, allowing for large data- storage possibilities. The reactions allow precise control over the size of each 'nanoparticle,' as well as the separate distance between them, according to IBM. The nanoparticles are about half the average size of the grains IBM used to store its record density of 35.3 billion bits per square inch in 1999.

However, these new particles are also 10 times more uniform in size. The smaller size allows smaller data bits, and uniform particle size permits smaller data bits to be detected easily and accurately.

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