- By Dan Berkes -
VA wants to be the company formerly known as Linux, Sun tells reporters
that it's built to last, and Caldera ships 64-bit distribution. Also:
Apple hit with more lawsuits, IBM pays up.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended Friday at 9,323.61, down 222
points from the close of business for October 26. Nasdaq's composite
index closed out the week at 1,745.73, down 23 points from last Friday.
The market took some sharp plunges during the middle of this week as
investors seemed to once again realize that no quick turnaround was in
sight for the ailing economy.
Part of that reality check came from the U.S. Department of Labor's monthly
jobless report, showing the unemployment rate rising from 4.9 percent
in September to 5.4 percent in October. American employers slashed
415,000 jobs during the month of October, the most job cuts the country
has seen since 1980.
"It wasn't anything we hadn't been expecting. These numbers are showing
the effect of the Sept. 11 attacks on the economy," said analyst Kim
"[Employment numbers] are a lagging indicator," said Dahowski, "and
even if the economy does a turnaround as planned by the middle of 2002,
we may still see an 8 percent unemployment rate by next June."
The jobless numbers may have actually helped the market this week. U.S. Federal Reserve policy makers are meeting this Tuesday and they are expected to
make a 10th cut to short-term interest rates in an effort to keep
consumers spending money.
VA taking Linux out of name
NewsForge parent company VA Linux wants
to take the "L" word out of its name. The company will ask its Board of Directors to approve changing the name of the company to VA Software
Corp., according to paperwork filed Tuesday with the Securities and
The official company line is that the name VA Software is more in line
with the company's core business of developing its SourceForge
collaborative software development program. Critics have charged that
VA merely took advantage of the Linux "buzz factor" of the late '90s,
and now wants to distance itself as far away as possible from the Linux
IBM: Buybacks, dividends, and self-healing computers
Big Blue was given the go-ahead by its board of directors to buy up to
$3.5 billion of the company's public shares. With a similar buyback
arrangement approved in April, the company has so far repurchased $4.3
billion of its shares. IBM said it would make the purchases on the open
Also on Wednesday, the IBM board declared a regular quarterly cash
dividend of 14 cents per common share. The dividend will be paid out on
December 10 to all stockholders of record listed no later than November
On the technology side of IBM's business, the company announced a new service that offers the promise of a computer that can heal itself when something goes wrong.
While the goal is to let machines manage themselves, the IBM package
comes in a services offering that will require about 20 weeks of
initial consulting and $30,000 to $100,000 per month in ongoing
maintenance from the company's Global Services division.
Sun: We're built to last
"We've got $6 billion in cash, no debt. Short of a multibillion dollar
embezzlement, I think we are in pretty good shape to ride out, you
know, a two or three year economic storm," Sun Microsystems CEO Scott
McNealy told reporters on Wednesday. The news will, hopefully for Sun's
sake, reassure nervous investors bitten by two quarters of downturns
after almost a decade of profits.
Apple: No buyback and a tale of two lawsuits
Investors waiting to offload AAPL during an aggressive company buyback
plan can keep holding their breaths. At a technology conference in New
York on Wednesday, Apple v.p. of finance Peter Oppenheimer told the
audience that his company needs its $4 billion cash reserve to retain
employees and reassure customers of the company's viability.
As Apple found out when consumers didn't flock to its now discontinued
G4 Cube, the computer-buying public can be very fickle. That's nothing
compared to a disgruntled shareholder, however, and that leads us to
the recently-announced class action lawsuits against the Cupertino,
The suits allege that Apple lied to its investors when it promised a
bumper crop of fourth-quarter 2000 profits thanks to new products based
on the G4 PowerPC processor, including the G4 Cube and Power Mac G4
Dual Processor. Just a few weeks later, the company announced record
losses for the fourth quarter. (Schiffrin &
Barroway announcement) (Cauley Geller
Bowman & Coates announcement)
Caldera ships new OpenLinux
On Wednesday, Caldera
International announced the release of OpenLinux 64 3.1, a
distribution of Linux server and workstation software designed for use
on Intel's 64-bit Itanium processors. According to the official
announcement, this is the first version of OpenLinux from the
Utah-based software company that supports Intel's new 64-bit processor
HP sends Tux to Seattle
In an SEC filing made Tuesday afternoon, Internet retailer Amazon said
it was able to cut technology costs by nearly 25 percent last quarter,
in large part because it adopted Linux. Company executives wouldn't
mention the specific role Linux played in the Amazon system, but did
credit Hewlett-Packard for helping them make the move.
Here's how Open Source and selected technology stocks ended this week:
|Company Name||Symbol||11/02 Close||10/26 Close|
|Borland Software Int'l||BORL||11.16||12.09|
|VA Linux Systems||LNUX||1.26||1.45|
|Wind River Systems||WIND||14.23||15.70|