Briefs: AT&T Bobbles Accounts Transition

FRAMINGHAM (05/05/2000) - AT&T Corp. officials admitted last week that reorganizations of the groups handling business-user accounts have been rocky and have left some network executives feeling adrift. Out of nearly 2,200 "global accounts" with dedicated account managers, some 300 were moved to Concert, AT&T's joint venture with British Telecommunications PLC, and another 1,200 shifted to what are known as "growth markets," AT&T's euphemism for the middle market with shared account management. An AT&T spokesman disputed published reports that the carrier had lost some of the Concert-bound accounts, instead asserting that AT&T might have lost some of the global accounts that stayed under its control. AT&T made the disclosures as it warned Wall Street that its 2000 revenue growth would be less than projected. Though the adjustment was slight, AT&T's stock got pounded, down 17% for the week through Thursday.

. . . But hopes to recover with offer

AT&T officials also said they're ready to roll out a new type of mid-market unified voice and data service contract. Announced last fall, AT&T Business Network (ABN) is a collection of services rolled into a single one- to three-year user contract for enterprise customers with telecom spending of up to $500,000 per month. Unlike existing service bundles from AT&T and others that merely aggregate volume for larger discounts, ABN provides a single logon to a unified Web interface for bill review and payment, order status and trouble tickets. General availability for ABN's long-distance, local and wireless telephony components is expected to be announced this week, with ATM and several flavors of frame relay added in July and dedicated Internet access in November.

New 'attack code' making rounds

A new distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) tool, called mstream, was discovered lodged on machines at the University of Washington, Indiana University and Pennsylvania State University last week. Security experts claim this DDoS tool is a modification of the previously known "stream.c" attack. Like other DDoS tools such as Trin00 and Tfn2K, mstream works by having a client "master controller" dictate activity to a "zombie" machine compromised by mstream attack code. An attacker can use the mstream client tool to direct the compromised machine to combat a computer target by means of TCP ACK packets using random ports. The attack, which would typically come from several compromised machines at once, would consume network bandwidth and use up CPU cycles on the target machine. Though mstream's author is not known, the DDoS attack code was anonymously posted to the BugTraq and VULN-DEV e-mail lists.

Microsoft to ask judge for time

Microsoft Corp. this week will ask a federal judge for more time to prepare its response to the government's proposal to break the company into two parts as a penalty in the ongoing antitrust case against the software giant. On Wednesday, Microsoft must submit to Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson its rebuttal to the government's break-up proposal and the software giant's own recommendations for penalties. But Bill Neukom, Microsoft's senior vice president of law and corporate affairs, says the company would propose a new schedule for the remedies process, which is slated to end with a hearing before Jackson on May 24. The judge, however, is not required to grant Microsoft's request.


Wall Street turmoil led Linuxcare to put off a planned initial public offering (IPO) last week. The company also said it plans to lay off an unspecified number of staff in a restructuring move to save money. On May 1, Linuxcare Inc. requested in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that its planned IPO - which was hoped to net $56.6 million - be withdrawn, citing market conditions that would not be in the company's best interest. The company had planned to go public in January, amid a hot market for companies developing products or services for the Linux operating system.

Microsoft CTO exits . . . officially

Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold, who has been digging up dinosaur bones as part of his sabbatical for the past year, has decided to leave the company permanently. Myhrvold, known for his interest in flying and French cooking, was the founder of Microsoft Research in 1991 and a right-hand man for Chairman Bill Gates. When Myhrvold took leave last July many speculated he was forced out by then-president Steve Ballmer, who has since become CEO. A replacement has not been named for Myhrvold, but Microsoft Research Senior Vice President Rick Rashid is rumored to be the frontrunner.

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