21st > September > 1998 Archive
The latest counts for Internet domain names by Network Wizards show that in July, the UK (with 1,190,663 hosts) had overtaken Germany, and moved to seventh place. Of the domain suffixes, .com was first with more than 10 million, then .net with 7 million, then .edu with 4 million. The surprise at number four position is the US military, with 1.359 million, just ahead of Japan. That must mean that every US military person has a domain name. Since the business of the military is making or stopping war, it makes you wonder what would happen to the Web in times of a major war. At number six position is .us, which is a little surprising as the USA is mostly .com land. After .uk and .de, there is .ca, .au, .org and .gov. There's good ammunition for anarchists here: there are apparently around 650,000 .gov hosts registered -- and no doubt the taxpayers are paying to train Webmasters and Webmistresses to get better paid jobs in the private sector. There were 37,739,000 hosts worldwide at the end of July, up 24 per cent from January 1998. The fastest increases were in .net (growing at 34 per cent in this period, and com up 26 per cent), with .australia and .education being the slowest growers, at 13 per cent in the period. ®
Portal and telecom convergence has taken a step forwards and backwards this week. Netscape announced a three-year strategic deal with Qwest to provide communication services for its portal, while Yahoo announced that it was stopping its own deal with MCI, inked in March, because of the sale of MCI to Cable & Wireless. The AT&T deals with Excite, Infoseek and Lycos stay in place. Denver-based Qwest (the number four US long-distance carrier) is paying Netscape $25 million for the privilege of a spot on Netscape's crowded portal. At least Netscape's Web sites should soon render faster, as a 622 megabits a second fibre will join Netscape to Qwest. Qwest is building an 18,500-mile fibre network to blanket around 80 per cent of US data and voice traffic, and has a submarine cable link to a country called "Europe". There will be instantaneous re-routing in the event of the fibre being cut, without service interruption they say. The new service will be called Netscape Contact, and is starting this month. An "Access Card" is planned (we suspect the name may have to be changed) to allow self-service management of billing, access services and third party calls on the road. US long distance call costs will be nine cents a minute, charged by the second, or even five cents for heavier users. Netscape is arranging a single In Box for email, voice and fax, with worldwide access. Qwest, which paid $185 million in stock for ISP CMT of New Jersey this week, expects a lower cost of gaining customers, and Netscape is hoping that the deal will bring more surfers to its portal, which is already looking successful. ®
Gartner Group has pulled a study from its Web site following the discovery of a screw-up in the calculations. The study, Workgroup and Intranet Computing: Cost of Ownership, was commissioned by IBM, Microsoft, NetScape, Novell and Oracle, and detailed costs and usage profiles of 338 enterprises using workgroup and intranet software. Unfortunately, Gartner confesses, "During a quality audit, GartnerGroup has discovered an incorrect formula in the cost calculation of the operations component of this study." The full study has already gone to the clients, and a summary was posted on the Web site. "The planning and implementation components of the study remain valid," Gartner pleads in mitigation. Still, it's not ideal. "GartnerGroup is asking users to review their use of the management summary of the study. Operations costs should not be used, and direct comparisons based on these costs are not valid. However, the planning and implementation costs are valid, and comparisons between sponsors' products based on these costs are meaningful where the products are used in similar ways." A new study, Workgroup and Intranet Computing: Costs of Operations, is being produced for the clients for free. ®
US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has moved to add some meat to its proposed global network services operations with a $2.7 billion bid for Comsat Corp. Lockheed Martin formed a subsidiary. Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications, in April in order to cater for the satellite data, video and voice telephony markets. Global Telecommunications intends to sell these services to major international corporation, and the acquisition of Comsat, which provides access to international satellite networks, would give it a flying start. But there are special considerations. Comsat was established by Congress in the 60s to act as the US representative within the international Intelsat system. More recently Congress has agreed to privatise it, and intends to remove the rule that will stop other parties buying more than 49 per cent of Comsat. At the moment, however, Lockheed Martin is limited to that 49 per cent, and is bidding $1.3 billion for it in the first phase of its offer. It then proposes a $1.4 billion stock deal for the remainder, but this will require legislation. Comsat's competitors may however have a hand in forming the bill that will free the outfit from the state, and might even try to derail the merger. Lockheed Martin could be seen (especially from a UK perspective, as we know about such things) to be attempting to pre-empt the privatisation process, while Comsat's monopoly on Intelsat access from the US (which it wants to retain) seems anti-competitive. So this deal could get messy. ®
The proposed merger of the semiconductor arms of Hyundai and LG is on the point of falling apart, said Korean sources yesterday. According to the The Korea Herald, the deal is running aground on the rock of control - both sides, as was to be expected, want to run the merged company and neither will give in. Also predictable (and incidentally, predicted right here) were shrieks of outrage from the US and EU. The Korean government's plans to rationalise the chaebols by merging the groups' weaker operations into the stronger raise antitrust issues, and regulators in Europe and the US will inevitably focus on any Korean mergers that actually happen. Washington meanwhile, The Herald reports, is keeping a close eye on the Korean government, and is ready to cry foul if any of the IMF loan funds are diverted to finance mergers. Some Korean business leaders remain optimistic that the LG-Hyundai deal will go through, and the nightmare suggestion of the two groups taking turns to run the company, changing over every three to four years, has been mooted. But much of their enthusiasm for seeing the deal go through no doubt stems from their need for the government to be able to rescue something from its so far abortive strategy, while avoiding having to sacrifice any of their own units. LG Semicon has meanwhile been thrown a small lifebelt by Philips Electronics, which today gavee it a three year contract to supply $700 million worth of LCDs. The deal is for TFTs in 12.1in, 15.1in and 18.1in sizes - given these dimensions we can presume the Dutch company is up to something on the home entertainment front. Deliveries start in January. ®
ARM has joined the 'Bluetooth' wireless technology initiative and says it will start to design intellectual property that implements the Bluetooth specification, which is currently under development. What this might be is an interesting topic; when Bluetooth started up the founders divvied-up the responsibilities between them, with Intel "contributing its advanced chip and software expertise." So Bluetooth already has a lead member in ARM's department. Intel is however now, after a slow start, a strong supporter of StrongARM. It took over Digital's ARM licence, and now promises new products for 1999 - so we figure deals within deals, and increased ARM-Intel co-operation behind the scenes. The Bluetooth initiative was kicked off earlier this year by Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba and is intended to develop standards for seamless voice and data transmission via short-range wireless links. This is going to be particularly useful for the exchange of data between mobile devices and appliances, and as a the company is leader in this area ARM's support is important. Around 90 companies are now members of Bluetooth. Said Pete Magowan, who we believe is vice president of ARM Europe and not Vice President of Europe, as claimed in the ARM release: "The global standard for wireless connectivity that Bluetooth provides will dramatically change the way wireless information devices and other computing devices communicate with each other. ARM believes the Bluetooth initiative is a significant milestone in the mobile communications industry." Bluetooth will operate on the 2.45 GHz ISM 'free band,' which is available globally and which therefore will (at least in theory) allow Bluetooth-enabled equipment to be used world-wide. ®
Another major Japanese company has fallen victim to the worldwide slump in semiconductor prices. NEC, which is the biggest semiconductor manufacturer in Japan, said that it will make a loss of 20 billion yen. It will lay off 6,000 people worldwide and there are certain to be job losses at its plants in Scotland and Ireland. Unlike other Japanese semiconductor companies, NEC had taken no previous action to restructure its activities. Now it will be forced to. In the same period last year, NEC turned in a profit of 35.7 billion yen. NEC said that the 6,000 jobs will be lost through a combination of natural wastage and not recruiting staff to replace them. ®
Ciena, the optical telecoms equipment manufacturer, has repriced employee share options, following the recent 85 per cent collapse in its share price. The company, spurned last week by suitor Tellab, has approved a new exercise price of $12.375, CIENA’s closing price as of September 16,1998. The repricing applies to all employee stock options which had an exercise price above $12.375. It justifies the option repricing as a “critical element in in helping us retain and re-incentivize our team, which is an important step toward maintaining and enhancing shareholder value over the long term." So much for rebuilding shareholder value. Repricing share options means that management are in a no-lose situation: employees take the gain in a bull market, while shareholders take the pain in a bear market, or when stock values fall. Another shareholder suit is the last thing CIENA needs right now. So the company has at least been open about its plan. Unlike Ascend Communication, which has come in for bitter criticism for shareholders, following a similar move which "shifted $1 billion in equity from investors to staff", the Sunday Times reports. "After its shares fell from $80 to $36 last October its board quietly slashed the price at which workers could vest options. A month later, as shareholder values fell below $23, it cut the price again". This wizard wheeze was announced six months later in the "12th foothnote to a series of financial tables announced with the Securities and Exchange Commission". Ascend's share price is of course on the march upwards again, on the back of persistent bid speculation linking it with telecoms equipment giant Lucent. Last week shares closed at $46.75. Shareholders are powerless to stop companies from repricing share options without consulting them if "20 per cent or more of the workforce is eligible for options and senior executives get no more than half the options", the Sunday Times reveals. But a proposed change in US accounting regulations could bring the practice to an end. The US Financial Accountings Standards Board last month ruled that companies must "report the difference between a repriced option and any share price as an operating expense".®
Dixons Store Group, the UK's biggest computer retailer, is venturing into the Internet access provider market, according to the Mail on Sunday. The company accounts for 12 per cent of all PCs sold in the UK, and 35 per cent of sales in the consumer sector. By capturing Internet customers at the point of PC purchase, Dixons will help hasten the demise of the UK's smaller ISPs. There are currently more than 200 ISPs operating in the UK, of which only six owning backbone connections. Smaller ISPs are being squeezed on all fronts, with big retailers and direct market PC assemblers muscling in on their territory. In the UK, Tesco, the giant food retailer, and Nationwide Building Society, are offering Internet access, as part of their electronic commerce services.®
Almost a third of the IT industry's 100 wealthiest players work in Internet-related ventures, according to Forbes magazine's annual listing. Many of them are way ahead of better-known executives like Eckhard Ffeiffer (chart position: 42), Lou Gerstner (50) and Craig Barrett (55). There's no great surprise who heads the list: Microsoft's Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer, in the first, second and third slots, respectively. Forbes estimates Gates' wealth at $58.7 billion, though it's worth noting that this was calculated at the start of August before the summer's stock market plummets wiped an estimated $1.9 billion off Gates' worth. Still, what's a few billion among friends? In fact, many of the names listed made significant losses over the last month or so, largely because so much of their worth is solely based stock options at arguably inflated prices. Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, for instance, saw his fortune grow to $2.1 billion -- making him number eight in the chart -- even though his company has yet to make a cent in profit and is unlikely to do so for some time. Yahoo co-founders David Filo and Jerry Yang, on the other hand, can at least say their company makes money, and it brought them $1 billion and $993.2 million, respectively, putting them at 15 and 16 in the chart. You can view the full top-100 here. ®
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has undertaken to provide a standard to allow IP and the address resolution protocol to run over fibre channel. The initiative, promped by industry association, the Fibre Channel Association (FCA), wants a standard to solve problems caused by multiple implementations. This problem also dogs interoperability between different fibre channel solutions on the same network. This has caused IT managers to have to implement SCSI on fast connections as it does offer a standard. According to the FCA, an IP implementation over fibre channel is an important move for the industry and will aid the move toward implementing storage area networks (SANs). The FCA has now set up a working group to provide a specification intended to support the different fibre channel topologies including point-to-point, loop and fabric and other services. The benefit of developing an IP based solution would lead to SNMP based network management of storage area networks and allow their integration with local area networks, said the FCA. The association -- which has seventy members -- was unable to give any date for the ratification and then the implementation of the IP based solution. ®
PC sales have shrunk to 15 percent annual growth from 25 percent in 1994, with margins at 1.3 percent compared with 30.1 percent in 1995. Average selling prices in the US have dropped 10 percent so far in 1998. However, the top four PC makers -- Dell, Compaq, HP and IBM -- still only account for 37 percent of the market, which confounds theories that markets shake out to one dominant player. The reason? Let's call it competition. The big four will get bigger, according to Mark Specker, a financial analyst with SoundView. He said that IBM is growing at 150 percent of the market rate, and Dell at 400 to 600 percent. Compaq should be OK since half its income is from server sales. He also sees Packard Bell NEC, Acer, AST and most European vendors (with the possible exception of Siemens) declining. The emphasis now is the server and workstation market where there are still profits to be made. Nobody seems to be mentioning that in their haste to compete with the anticipated $500 NC, the PC industry rendered itself unprofitable in the consumer market. Now falling prices will wipe out any profit from growth. ®
Marc Andreessen of Netscape (who didn't invent browsers, despite the many claims that he did in the US media -- by Bloomberg most recently) has been going on again about how PCs will soon be free. He takes as his model the evolution of cell phones. He also predicted the "death of the consumer software industry" but his vision of most software being free via the Internet is perhaps a little clouded by being beaten up by Microsoft. He lamented that there was "no new software taking advantage of the next generation of microprocessors". Clayton Christensen of the Harvard Business School, also speaking at George Gilder's Telecosm conference recently, predicted that the Palm III was a dirsruptive technology, and drew analogies with the PC in the 1980s replacing minicomputers. He could be right -- except that the disruptive technology seems more likely to come from the Symbian-Psion stable, the Palm being the stalking horse. Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch has been saying in a recent report that the industry is moving away from PCs as the driver of the industry. The shift will be from general-purpose computing to specialised computing, apparently -- a bit like NCs, perhaps. Merrill Lynch also see the future of the semiconductor industry moving from PC-centric chips to chips powering communication devices. Appliances will be the next hardware sector to show strong growth, it suggests. Dell and Intel didn't get a mention, presumably because the report is looking at megatrends rather than such unsexy things as growth. ®
The strangest thing about Friday's trading was that both bonds and stocks rose in US markets. The Nasdaq rose 1.1 percent to 7896 (up 1.1 percent for the week) and the Dow up 0.3 percent to 7896 (up 1.3 percent for the week). The Nikkei rose nearly 1 percent on news that something was being done about the perilous banking sector in Japan. The Japanese PM will see Clinton this week. Adam Lashinsky in the San Jose Mercury was surprisingly surprised that the results of the top PC makers showed that market share and consistency in results was more important than the economy and overall industry trends. Adaptec was not punished by the Street for announcing preliminary Q2 earnings of around $145 million -- half that of the year-earlier quarter. The official result will be out in the third week of October. Xylan -- thought to be too dependant on Alcatel -- dropped 18 percent on Friday. Platinum Software fell 38 percent on concern about its Q1 expectations. Micron nudged up 5 percent when it said it was putting up DRAM prices because of demand. Citrix, for no reason connected with its products for management, suddenly put on $3 to $65 1/8 because it was entering the Standard & Poor's MidCap 400. Data services provider Acxion was up 11 percent after it completed its acquisition of May & Speh for $625 million in a stock swap. Other losers included Seagate (down 3 percent), Intuit & NCD (down 4 percent). Gainers included Varian (up 7 percent); Informix (up 6 percent); Boole & Babbage (up 5 percent); Adobe & SCO (up 4 percent). NEC spelt out the steps it will take to return to profitability: its 6 to 10 percent off top salaries, farewell to 6,000 employees (by attrition); reduced spending generally and a reduction in R&D. Packard Bell NEC reduced NEC's half-year's profit by $76 million, after NEC invested another $225 million in July to bring it 52.81 percent of the company. ®
It was all part of a tit-for-tat when Salon Magazine, an online Ziff Davis publication, received a bomb threat, abusive emails and black faxes, resulting in the evacuation of its San Francisco offices on Friday afternoon. Salon has been more forthright than the print media in questioning Starr's motives and defending Clinton. On Wednesday, Salon's website published a story about a 1965 affair by Henry Hyde in 1966 with a Cherie Soskin -- it's only news because Hyde is chairman of the House judiciary committee (Hatch heads the Senate judiciary committee) that is involved in approving the public release of the Clinton tapes, and deciding whether Clinton should be impeached. Both Hyde and his former mistress have been eligible for bus passes for some time. Needless to say, Hyde is a Republican, which is where the tit for tat comes in. Republican leaders asked the FBI to investigate if the White House had leaked further details of the ancient affair to Salon. The email threats to Salon called the staff "left-wing pussies" and other nasty names not suitable for mentioning in The Register. There were also photographic illustrations in emails of certain activities that Clinton has admitted. When a message came that "a bomb is on the way, maggots", the evacuation took place. Elsewhere, ZDTV said it would be Webcasting the Clinton video as soon as it became available, using streaming video. It looks like being the ultimate beta test for the scalability of streaming, according to Ron Rappaport of Zona Research. RealNetworks -- the market leader -- will host the web sites of ABC, AP, CBS, CNN, FedNet, Fox, NPR, and the Washington Post. Mark Hall Of RealNetworks said that Real Broadcast Network can sustain 50,000 concurrent media streams. The problem for the Internet will be that streaming requires continuous packets rather than the intermittent packets for text transfer. ®
The SCSI Trade Association has announced the release of Ultra 160/M SCSI, an implementation based on Ultra 3 SCSI and intended to provide speeds of 160Mbps. The announcement received broad support from a number of vendors including Quantum, Adaptec, Fujitsu, HP, Mylex, Qlogic, IBM, Seagate, Western Digital and others. Quantum said earlier this year that it was delaying an implementation it had for fibre channel in favour of SCSI because it believed that the latter offered a more standard interface. Products using Ultra 3 SCSI will begin to appear next year and will, according to the association, offer more bandwidth and better reliability. Features of Ultra 3 SCSI will include double transition clocking, which will give the higher speeds, domain validation, packetisation, cyclic redundancy check (CRC) and quick arbitration check. The last of these allows for better arbitration performance to reduce disconnect and reconnect time on the bus. See The SCSI Trade Association Web site. ®
Intel's major rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has claimed that the paucity of games developers at last week's Intel Developer Forum is because Katmai samples are not available and will be expensive. At last week's developer forum, Intel admitted there were very few games developers present. AMD North European director, Richard Baker, said: "I suspect they [the games developers] are working so hard on the 3Dnow! Platform that they did not have the time to go." Baker, however, admitted that Katmai was intended as a games platform. "It will be a games part but their roadmap did not fit in with consumers' need in the market," he claimed. "It's going to be a $600 part and that's probably too expensive for the games market," he said. "They should have put MMX2 onto the Celeron part. They can't have both Celeron and PII in the same space." ®
AMD will tomorrow release a 300MHz mobile K6 part aimed at the notebook market. At the same time, sources said that the K7, which was taped out four weeks ago, as reported here, will be interchangeable with Alpha devices. The company refused to give pricing details of its low power part for the notebook market but said it already had scored several OEM wins.
IBM is expected to announce a range of ThinkPads in the next few days which will turn its former channel policy on its head. The notebooks, dubbed iThinkPads, according to sources close to the company, will be sold direct rather than through the channel. During this year, IBM has steadily reduced its dependence on the channel in Europe. It started by competing with Compaq to sell desktops direct, then announced it would sell NetFinity's through a similar scheme. The arrival of the direct iThinkPad is the latest demonstration that Lou Gerstner, IBM's CEO and chairman, has realised that two tier distribution might not be the best route for his company. ®
Creative Labs has changed its European marketing and channel programmes in a bid to cosy up to its channel. The company said that its Creative Assembler Programme (CAP) would allow the assembler communities to maximise their profits by pushing the Creative name. Creative will also promote its distributors and major resellers by helping them advertise their channel wares through joint advertising schemes. According to Creative, it is now cutting forthwith the cost of their products for all system integrators, assemblers and dealers which buy product from authorised distributors. Creative is not limiting the scheme to big integrators only. Evesham Micro, for example, is taking advantage of the scheme. But Creative made clear it will offer CAP to assemblers of any size. ®
Labour Party Minister Dr Kim Howells said today that the UK will abolish fees for patent applications and cut down on the cost of services by 20 per cent. Dr Howells is the UK minister of competition and consumer affairs, succeeding Nigel Griffiths after the latest Cabinet reshuffle in midsummer. On a visit to the HQ of the Patent Office, based in Wales, Howells said he wanted to bring "patents to the people" by cutting costs. That, he said, was because the Labour government was committed to innovation and creativity as a source of new wealth in society. Patent rights cover everything from performing rights to bio-technology, he continued. He said the UK Patent Office had the "vital task" of making intellectual property more accessible. "These rights are business rights and it is important businesses secure their assets by identifying and asserting their copyright and registering patents, designs and trade marks," he added. The Patent Office is an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, whose minister is Peter Mandelson. * TradeMarkOid 001: ® is a ™ trade mark of The Register, which is © The Register 1994-1998. All rights reserved. No copies, blah blah blah...
Dutch company takes over US company Baan has acquired Caps Logistics, a supply chain software company. 4Front Technologies makes first Italian acquisition 4Front, the UK-based, NASDAQ-quoted mini-IT conglomerate, has moved into the Italian market with the acquisition of hardware maintenance firm Memorex Telex SpA. It is paying up to a maximum of $3.45 million for the company, of which $1.1 million cash was paid on completion. A profit target could see it paying up to $750,000 in cash or 4Front shares in July 1999. The company is also pumping $1.6 million directly into MT to "assist in the development of the business". Following the acquisition, 4Front claims it ranks in the top ten maintenance hardware company in the UK, France, Belgium and Italy. Ideal Hardware opens European warehouse Ideal Hardware has beefed up its overseas business, by setting up its first distribution facility in mainland Europe. Based in Rotterdam, the warehouse opens for business on 1 October 1998. The company says delivery times will speed up, and distribution costs will go down. Ideal sells its volume storage products to resellers anywhere in Europe. Schroder Ventures invests in NVision Venture capital firm Schroder Ventures has pumped £2.5 million into UK Internet business consultancy NVision. Start-up NVision will advise British businesses on reaping the maximum commercial benefits from the Internet. C2000 opens reseller push service Computer 2000 has set up a push broadcast service for its UK resellers. Using Active X-enabled Windows Internet Explorer 4, resellers can receive news of C2000's bin-ends special price promotions, as they happen. You can find out more details about the service from Computer 2000. Symantec/Platinum tie-up IT infrastructure management specialist Platinum Technology has entered into a strategic business alliance with utility software developer Symantec. The agreement will see Platinum add Symantec's Norton Antivirus to its data security software suite. Platinum will also become a preferred provider of consultancy and training for Symantec's Visual Cafe enterprise-oriented Java development environment. Further collaboration will occur in the future, said Symantec president Gordon Eubanks. TAM sets up shop Technical Asset Management(TAM), the UK's biggest IT remarketing and recycling company, has opened its first retail outlet, selling secondhand PCs direct to the public. Based at its headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, TAM will flog name brand refurbished desktops, notebooks and printers at up to 70 per cent cheaper than their new counterparts. The company will also retail new budget software. TAM handles more than 55,000 PCs a year, which it sources mostly from corporates. Dixons ISP service needs 250,000 subscribers Dixons Store Group needs 250,000 subscribers to make its free Internet service break even, according to analysts, quoted in the Daily Mail. Dixons has teamed up with Energis to offer free Internet access to "anyone who walks into [its] shops". The company will earn its money by taking a clip on the telephone charges and through advertising sales on its FreeServe Internet site. It will charge £1 per minute for technical help over the phone. Energis this month bought leading ISP Planet Online for up to £85 million. Psion shares fall on overhang An overhang of one million shares caused Psion's share price to fall Tuesday morning. Psion shares were 25p weaker at 10:03am, according to financial news service AFX. Psion chairman David Potter sold three million shares at 450p through Goldman Sachs on September 19. AFX quotes "City sources" who say Goldman "still has one million shares on its books and is trying to find a support level at which to sell the stock. Industry accolades for Evesham and Ideal Evesham Micros has won the PC Association annual award for excellence in computer retailing. More than 50 PC Association members were put through their paces by a mystery shopper. Ideal Hardware won the PC Association Award for supplier excellence. It emerged as clear winner, following a ballot of members, in which 50 distributors were named, PC Association executive director Keith Warburton said. Xerox sues rival Xerox is suing Mita Copystar America, inc., the US subsidiary of Japanese printer and copier vendor, Mita International, for alleged patent infringement. The company claims "a number" of Mita products contain Xerox-patented technology, and has asked the courts to forbid Mita from selling those products. MOTOROLA TO TAKE OVER KOREAN FIRM Motorola is to plunge nearly $11 million into the Korean economy, according to Asian reports. That will make it the second largest investor in Korea TRS after Korea Telecom. KT owns Korea TRS and eventually Motorola will acquire the Korean company, with TRS becoming privatised by the year 2000. LEXMARK TO START USING CASIO ENGINES Reports said that Lexmark, formerly a division of IBM, and specialising in the supply of laser printers these days, uses a Casio engine. As part of a joint deal, Casio will be allowed to sell Lexmark printers in its home market.