News Briefs

SAN MATEO (03/10/2000) - FCC approves US West-Qwest mergerThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) late this week approved the merger between US West Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc., just as Qwest declared that its ongoing talks with a "major telecommunications company" had ceased. Widely rumored to be Deutsche Telekom, the prospective buyer was reportedly willing to bid as much as $100 billion for Qwest but decided to pull out of the deal largely because of US West comments. US West executives said US West would be a party to the new negotiations only if specific financial terms were met. Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio expressed disappointment over the failed merger, stating "We regret that US West apparently wouldn't even consider an alternative transaction involving a major telecommunications company and Qwest -- despite the possibility of greater value for US West shareholders." Several states also must approve the US West-Qwest merger.

Novell sets sights on Linux

Novell next week will release NDS eDirectory for Linux and outline its plans to port a set of directory-enabled solutions to the Linux platform during the next year. With the support of Linux vendors such as Caldera, Red Hat, and TurboLinux, as well as backing from Intel and e-business vendors, Novell this summer will release an eDirectory-based user management solution for Linux, allowing single-point administration of Linux users and groups across multiple systems. Also this summer, Novell will port its DirXML metadirectory solution to Linux.

Intel jumps on free-PC trend

With Ford Motor, Delta Air Lines, and other companies giving free computers to employees, Intel this week decided it would join the crowd. The chip maker will issue a free "high-performance" Pentium III PC -- along with unlimited free Internet access, a printer, and other add-ons -- to each of its 70,000 employees, helping to create a more Net-savvy workforce and encourage participation in the Internet economy, officials said. Intel will also periodically refresh the systems to make sure their employees stay up to date.

The computer dole-out is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Security problems for e-commerce sites

Authorities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Thailand late this week were on the lookout for a computer hacker who posted thousands of credit card numbers on the Internet after downloading the card numbers from e-commerce sites by using a 2-year-old security hole in Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) software. A Microsoft representative said a patch to secure the hole has been available for 18 months.

MarketSoft readies eOffers system

E-market software and services provider MarketSoft, based in Lexington, Mass., will debut next week its eOffers system for helping businesses alert customers via the Web of special sales and marketing promotions. Developed originally for Fidelity Investments, eOffers works closely with MarketSoft's Web-based eLeads lead management system. Fidelity gets more than 10 million hits on its Web site every hour and needed a way to link the right offers to the right Web visitors, said Mike Grandinetti, vice president of marketing and business development at MarketSoft. "They're trying to get a higher share of the Web visitors' wallets," he said.

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