3Com subject of takeover speculation
Struggling NICs-to-handhelds vendor, 3Com, could be on the brink of being taken over, if latest industry rumours are to be believed. Computer Reseller News (CRN) is reporting speculation that Nokia, Ericsson, Lucent, Siemens and even Apple are in the frame and ready to swoop. In fact, it cites "any company interested in gaining a foothold in the data-communications market" as being potential suitors. 3Com’s stock rose yesterday off the back of these rumours - the third Friday in a row when take-over talk boosted its stock. Even so, 3Com still looks like a bargain. Its stock’s 52-week high of $51 1/8 is still a long way off from yesterday’s closing price of $26 7/16. CRN reported Giga Information Group analyst Jim Slaby as saying: "The rumors (sic) are very credible. I think now is the right time to do it." Earlier this month, 3Com shed 150 jobs and restructured its business units in an attempt to limit the damage being done by its low-margin product sets. ®
Wanted: buyer for Mitsubishi PC plant
Mitsubishi is hawking its Japanese notebook PC production plant to rival vendors, according to a Taiwanese trade magazine. The company is likely to retain its PC design team but will contract out manufacturing - probably to a Taiwanese or Japanese competitor, Eurotrade reports. Mitsubishi PC unit shipments in the year to March 1999 were 30,000 units, compared with a target of 100,000 units, according to Eurotrade. Presumably, the numbers apply just for notebooks, for if desktops and servers are included, Mitsubishi's PC performance would then be truly catastrophic. How long can the Japanese giant remain in the PC business? In March, the company ended its involvement in Europe, by announcing the closure of the company's UK Apricot subsidiary with the loss of 400 jobs. Just two months earlier, Mitsubishi shut down its PC sales operations in Germany, the only other European country, where it registered a presence. So that leaves Japan, where -- you would imagine -- Mitsubishi commands a useful presence. But still the company can't meet fairly modest sales targets. The numbers don't stack up on the sales side, and that translates into under-used factories. So why then, does Mitsubishi, now a strictly local PC player, want to retain expensive, in-house R&D? Call it pride, stubbornness or even optimism, Mitsubishi's decision to stay in the PC business looks misplaced. ®:
AMD K7 500 trounces Pentium III/500
An engineer at AMD has leaked details of internal FPU (floating point unit) Winmarks on the up and coming K7 to The Register. But at the same time he has said he is disappointed at the management and production problems at the firm. The engineer, who insists on strict anonymity, said that the K7 running at 500MHz has an FPU Winmark of 2767. That compares to a Pentium III/500 which, he says, has an FPU Winmark of around 2562. He said that he wanted to make clear that while AMD's technology is impressive, management "always give an optimistic outlook but then turn around and execute poorly." He also said that he will tell us the shipping frequencies of the K7 when it ships in July, and the top frequency achieved so far. Watch out for updates. ®
VIA prepares for PC-266 memory
Japanese site PC Watch is reporting that chipset company VIA is ready to ship its Apollo Pro Plus 693A family. And that will support not only the PC-133 memory standard but also AGP4x. According to the site, there will be a version of the Apollo Pro Plus supporting PC 266 DDR synchronous memory later in the year. Intel has claimed throughout most of this year that it will not support PC-133, but VIA executives insisted earlier this year that yields on Direct Rambus memory, which the chip giant is supporting, were not sufficient and parts were too expensive for it to be a viable option. PC Watch has pictures of the VIA 693A here. ® See also VIA to debut 133MHz FSB This story contains info about PC-133 and links to earlier VIA stories.