Tech Briefs for 8/31


Thursday, August 31st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


Ratings: Microtune shares rise on analysts' advice


Plano-based Microtune Inc. continued to rise on the radar screens of Wall Street equity analysts Wednesday as Bear Stearns weighed in with a "buy" rating. The brokerage and investment bank said the stock could go as high as $65 in 12 months, citing demand for broadband access over cable modems, digital TV set-top boxes and other next-generation devices. Microtune went public this month at $16 a share. Shares traded up $14, or 33.3 percent, to $56. They closed at $42 on Tuesday, when two other investment banks initiated coverage on the stock. Microtune is first to the market with a radio frequency tuner on a chip, which improves reception of video signals by electronic devices.


Litigation: Class-action suit against Microsoft to proceed


A judge has allowed the first class-action suit to proceed against Microsoft Corp. on allegations that the software giant's monopoly harmed California consumers. Dozens of similar suits linger nationwide. In a 21-page opinion released late Tuesday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stuart R. Pollak said an untold number of California consumers could be represented in one trial to determine whether they were forced to pay unreasonably high costs for Microsoft products. Microsoft spokesman James W. Cullinan said the Redmond, Wash., company is reviewing the ruling. Courts in Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island and Texas have dismissed similar class-action lawsuits, saying laws in those states don't allow them.


Contract: IBM, NASCO sign services agreement


National Account Service Co. and IBM Global Services said Wednesday they have agreed to a 10-year services contract valued at about $300 million. Under the agreement, IBM will provide information technology services to NASCO, which processes health claims for Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. The contract was previously held by Electronic Data Systems Corp. of Plano.


Stock movers: Shares of i2 continue to rise; EXE gains also


Shares of Farmers Branch-based i2 Technologies Inc. broke $167 on Wednesday, continuing a price run-up that started at about $100 a share in early July. The company announced a deal with Sears, Roebuck & Co., which will use i2 software to manage its product repair and home improvement businesses. The stock closed up $10.88, or 7.1 percent, at $168.50. Also gaining Wednesday was EXE Technologies Inc., which makes inventory-management software. Salomon Smith Barney Inc. added the Dallas company to its "buy" list, saying the stock could reach $25 a share in 12 months. EXE was up $4.25 to $14.75 a share. Some analysts said in research notes published Wednesday that they expect strong third-quarter earnings from several B2B software companies.


E-retailer: Analyst praises Amazon.com


Amazon.com Inc. shares rose 8.4 percent Wednesday after a Goldman, Sachs & Co. analyst said the Internet retailer is cutting costs and will benefit from overseas expansion and partnerships with companies such as Microsoft Corp. The stock rose $3.31 to $42.94 after reaching $43.97, its highest price since July 20. It remains below its December high of $113, dogged by concern about slowing sales growth and the viability of start-up Web companies supported by Amazon.com.


Wireless: Ericsson recruits partners in venture fund


Ericsson AB, the largest maker of equipment for cellular networks, said Wednesday that it teamed up with Merrill Lynch & Co., Investor AB and Industrivaerden AB to plow $300 million into a venture fund focused on wireless Internet. Each partner will invest $75 million in the fund, to be called Ericsson Venture Partners. It will mainly invest in companies selling software or services that enable cell phone users to browse the Web on the go.