Jewish World Review May 8, 2002 / 26 Iyar, 5762




On the 'Net

By Chris H. Sieroty

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | (UPI)

HP/COMPAQ BECOME ONE

Compaq Computer Corp. shareholders have become Hewlett-Packard Co. shareholders, now that the controversial $20.5 billion merger has formally closed, following a lengthy battle for approval of investors. On Monday, the merged company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange as HPQ. Houston-based Compaq also no longer exists as an independent entity, though H-P will still use the Compaq brand on some products. The company, with headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., will have combined annual revenue of $78.7 billion. H-P has said it may lay off 15,000 workers over the next two years as the companies reorganize operations.

DOT.COM DEATH RATE SLOWED IN APRIL

The number of Web sites shutting down continued to slow in April amid signs the so-called "cyberphobia" is beginning to ease, a survey released Monday said. Internet shutdowns and bankruptcies totaled 12 in April, compared to 56 shutdowns in April of last year, Webmergers.com reported. The San Francisco-based research firm also found that April marked the fifth consecutive month in which the number of dot.com failures has declined from the previous month. So far this year, 66 Internet companies have shut down, compared with 220 in the first four months of last year.

PEREGRINE CHAIRMAN AND CFO RESIGNS

The chairman and chief financial officer of Peregrine Systems Inc. resigned after the software company's new auditor questioned as much as $100 million in transactions. The San Diego-based company said the potential problems were discovered by independent auditor KPMG, which was hired in April to replace Arthur Andersen LLP. Steve Gardner resigned as board chairman and chief executive, Peregrine said in a statement. Also resigning was Matt Glass, chief financial officer and executive vice president of finance.

REPORT: INTERNET FILE-SHARE INCREASES MUSIC SALES

Internet users who download songs for free from unauthorized "peer-to-peer" services are more likely to increase their music purchases than regular Internet users, a report by research firm Jupiter Media Metrix said. The report found 34 percent of all peer-to-peer users said they spent more money on music before they used such services. While 15 percent said they spent less, and almost 50 percent said the amount of money they spent remained the same. Other technologies, such as recordable CD drives and high-speed Internet connections, had no impact on consumer spending, the report said.

'MELISSA' VIRUS CREATOR SENTENCED

David Smith, whose "Melissa" computer virus caused $1.2 billion in damage, will serve 20 months in prison, despite receiving a 10-year sentence from a New Jersey state court. According to a plea agreement, Smith cannot do more time in jail on state charges than he would under the federal sentence he was given last week. Smith pleaded guilty in 1999 to one count of disrupting public communications, a charge falling under the state's Computer Theft statute. He is the first person in New Jersey convicted under the law for spreading a virus, the Newark Star-Ledger reported.

OIL AND GAS INFO OFFERED ONLINE

Drillinginfo.com, an Austin, Texas-based company that monitors oil and gas activity, has created a research division to help its customers more quickly retrieve information. The site allows customers to view land title updates, well files, directional surveys and pre-1970 production histories of the company's lease coverage area, which includes nearly 1,000 companies in the country. Len Tesoro, director of Drillinginfo.com, said the division would replace customers going to a courthouse for the same information. The division's 15 employees will gather oil and gas data from country courthouses in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Wyoming.

CALIF. GOV. DAVIS TOP TECH AIDE QUITS

Gov. Gray Davis, D-Calif., has accepted the resignation of his top assistant for technology, Arun Baheti, and the California Highway Patrol has started an investigation into possible shredding of key paperwork that may deal with a controversial state contract with Oracle Corp. for software. Davis also suspended Elias Cortez, director of the Department of Information Technology, amid allegations the department gave only a cursory review to the Oracle $95 million contract.

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