Heidi Roizen, former head liaison to Apple's developer community, has been appointed to the board of directors at Great Plains Software. As vice president of world-wide developer relations at Apple Roizen, who caused a stir last month when she resigned from the struggling PC maker to spend more time with her children, was in charge of Apple's evangelism, technology services, marketing, business development and international developer relations. Meanwhile, Ellen Hancock, Apple's executive vice president and former chief technical officer, denied she has any plans to leave. Hancock said she will stay with Apple as long as she can help in its recovery. Rumours of her departure began circulating following a restructuring early last month, when Hancock took on the position of executive vice president, a move widely interpreted as a demotion.
Microsoft has laid off 200 workers. The staff were contract workers in the MSN (Microsoft Network) division. The company has also announced it is axing several online comedies, news shows and soap operas.
Toshiba will make its debut in the business desktop PC market next week. The corporate desktops will hit the US first, with UK availability later in the year, probably autumn. According to company officials, the desktop PCs are just the tip of the iceberg, and will be followed by servers early in 1998. Toshiba launched its first desktops, the Infinia range, in the consumer arena late last year.
Lotus has posted a demonstration of its forthcoming Java productivity suite, codenamed Kona, on its Web site (www.kona.lotus.com). The posting is a demo version of a presentation graphics applet. Eventually, the suite will consist of a cutdown Java version of a word processor, spreadsheet and graphics package. The applet is not available for download; visitors can only play with the software on the site. Lotus hopes to have a downloadable beta ready in April.
BT is offering a new service for companies who want to build intranets. Called the BT Intranet Builder Portfolio, the service is the result of an alliance between BT, Microsoft and Digital and will allow customers to source all their intranet components from a single source. BT provides the initial consultancy and connectivity to the Internet through BTNet, and as a reseller of both Microsoft and Digital products can also sell companies everything from Web browsers to firewalls. According to Rupert Gavin, BT's Director of Internet and Multimedia Services, the aim is to offer a "hassle-free solution".
A group of 28 computer and telecommunications companies are teaming up to support the 56Kb/sec modem. Called the Open 56K forum, the coalition will be led by Compaq, Lucent, Motorolla and Rockwell. The Open 56Kb forum will, according to an official statement "establish the 56Kb/sec modem as a standard for end users and ISPs alike regardless of the manufacturer." The forum has also won the support of several manufacturers who have not yet announced product but plan to do so and include 3Com, Bay Networks, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, and Shiva.
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