FRAMINGHAM (04/10/2000) - The scramble for IT talent continues to get ever more intense . . . and creative. Nortel Networks Corp. recently hired 34 soon-to-be graduates of Santa Clara University's computer engineering school - one-third of this year's class - en masse to tackle an upcoming project as a ready-made team.

The 18 women and 16 men were among those invited - and in some cases bused - to what the students believed would be a routine recruiting event. Everyone who attended was offered a job, with salaries ranging from $53,000 to $72,000.

There were reportedly tears and hugs all around as the new hires celebrated their good fortune. Nortel was pleased as punch too.

Learning the facts of post-IPO life

What goes up, must come down. That's the lesson employees at Net2000 Communications learned last week, when their stock dropped from the mid-20s to $15 per share. Net2000 is a Herndon, Virginia, competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) that went public March 6.

The company's stock decline prompted Chief Financial Officer Don Clarke to issue a memo to its 600 employees educating them about the financial markets and pointing out that the entire CLEC market was suffering. "The memo said our job was to focus on building our business and that the day-to-day volatility in the market was always going to be there," Clarke says. "Everyone had the stock price up on their computer screens. There was a lot of hallway talk. We thought [the memo] was the prudent thing to do."

FBI wants Net war chest

According to its budget request being pondered on Capitol Hill, the U.S.

Federal Bureau of Investigation wants $375 million to improve its electronic surveillance capabilities. That money includes $75 million to create a Web-based repository to let FBI agents gain access to archived audio and data reports on surveillance wiretaps and Internet targets. Acknowledging it could end up archiving massive amounts of information on people, the FBI said it intends to install special software with any new system to keep an audit trail of accessed files.

Microsoft fixes Office 2000 fix

Microsoft last week issued a hotfix for the just-released Office 2000 Service Release 1, which is the first service pack for the productivity suite. Users who installed SR-1 complained of problems with lost mail and hyperlinks in Outlook 2000. Users also had problems with search features. The SR-1 Update should be installed by users running Office 2000 on Windows 2000, 98, 95 or NT 4. Users who upgraded to 2000 from NT should not load the upgrade, as Microsoft will issue a separate hotfix for those users.

Peregrine to buy Harbinger

Peregrine Systems last week announced it intends to buy Harbinger in a stock-based acquisition valued at $2.1 billion. The companies, both involved in providing e-commerce software and services, will have a total of 44,000 customers. The merger is subject to approval by shareholders and regulatory authorities.

Sun, BroadVision to collaborate

Sun and BroadVision will collaborate on incorporating the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) server specification into a future version of BroadVision's One-to-One Enterprise e-commerce application, which costs $500,000 or more. The fifth version of One-to-One Enterprise, which will ship this month, adds support for XML, but is not J2EE-compliant.

CTO Estrin leaving Cisco

Last week Cisco Chief Technology Officer Judith Estrin said she's calling it quits after a two-year stint with the mammoth network company. Estrin, 45, and her husband, Bill Carrico, plan to launch an Internet startup whose exact mission is somewhat vague but will address Web scalability. Cisco picked up Estrin when it acquired her third startup, Precept Software, a multimedia network company. Estrin was a major player in pushing Cisco into the voice-video-data convergence field. Cisco's Michelangelo Volpi, 33, will now become head of strategy, which will include CTO duties. Volpi has had a hand in 54 of the company's 55 acquisitions.

More find filing online less taxing

According to the Internal Revenue Service, 27 percent of taxpayers who have managed to already file their 1999 returns have done so over the Internet. That rate already surpasses last year's online filings, which totaled 23 percent.

This year's final tally won't be known until after the April 17 filing deadline, of course. The IRS has said it hopes to have half of all taxpayers filing online by 2008.

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