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Filter - Cynthia L. Webb
Spamming for Dollars

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_____About Filter_____
Filter looks at the day's top technology news through snapshots and analysis of what the world's media outlets are covering. Washingtonpost.com's new Mon.-Fri. feature is penned by technology reporter Cynthia L. Webb. If a technology story breaks, a company falters or triumphs, or there's a new trend in technology, Filter wants you to know about it.

_____Filter Archive_____
Gmail Supply and Demand (washingtonpost.com, May 21, 2004)
HP's No Gloating Zone (washingtonpost.com, May 19, 2004)
Cisco and IBM Make 'Net Ring Tones (washingtonpost.com, May 18, 2004)
Outsourcing: Come Sail Away With IT (washingtonpost.com, May 17, 2004)
Dell Can't Get No Respect (washingtonpost.com, May 14, 2004)
More Past Issues
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Open Sesame

For many people, using a wireless phone has provided a haven from telemarketers. Not for long.

"After years of anonymity, the numbers of most of the nation's mobile phones will be compiled later this year in the first wireless directory. The database being assembled by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Assn. is expected to include about 75% of the 163 million mobile phones in the United States, making looking up a wireless number as easy as dialing 411," The Los Angeles Times reported today. "The association is pitching the directory as a boon for real estate agents and other on-the-go professionals who want people to be able to find their mobile numbers. But privacy advocates, some members of Congress and even a major cellular carrier -- Verizon Wireless -- fear that mobile phones, once immune to telemarketers and e-mail spammers, could become as vulnerable as home telephone lines and computer in-boxes."
The Los Angeles Times: Coming Soon: A Cellphone Directory (Registration required)

A Phat Telco Deal?

The telecom sector is showing new signs of life. Tellabs Inc. today said it has inked plans to buy Advanced Fibre Communications for $1.9 billion in cash and stock. The deal creates "a major player in the telecommunications-gear market as the industry switches to broadband standards," Dow Jones Newswires reported, noting that Tellabs makes data, voice and video transport and access systems.

The Associated Press said "Tellabs has been through major changes in the past few years. The company has slashed jobs, shuttered all plants and outsourced manufacturing to focus on research and development and services."
Dow Jones Newswires via The Wall Street Journal: Tellabs to Buy Advance Fibre For $1.9 Billion in Cash, Stock (Subscription required)
The Associated Press via washingtonpost.com: Tellabs Agrees To Buy Telecom Supplier AFC (Registration required)

Speaking of telecom, The New York Times today detailed Lucent Technologies's efforts to put the telecom sector's dark days behind it. An excerpt: "Patricia F. Russo has little time to exhale. As chairwoman and chief executive of Lucent Technologies, she has returned the telecommunications giant to modest profitability by eliminating tens of thousands of jobs, slashing billions of dollars in debt and settling major lawsuits with investors. This week, the company settled a suit by the Securities and Exchange Commission over its accounting practices, and agreed to pay a $25 million fine," the newspaper said. "But Ms. Russo, who took the helm at Lucent during the depths of the telecommunications collapse in 2002, is anything but sanguine. Having staved off Lucent's financial freefall, she is now in a race against time to develop new products and services that will allow Lucent to survive as the entire industry changes around it."
The New York Times: Chairwoman Pulls Lucent Back From the Brink, but Not Out of the Woods (Registration required)

Put on Your Game Face

Sammy Corp., a Japanese gaming company known for its pachinko pinball machines, is purchasing video game company Sega Corp. in a stock deal valued at $1.4 billion, the companies said.

The San Francisco Chronicle noted for "Sega, which has its U.S. headquarters in San Francisco, the acquisition closes a turbulent chapter for one of the most recognizable names in video games. The company, best known for its speedy Sonic game character, has been struggling for the last few years and has been rumored to be a takeover target. Last year, Sega reported $77 million in net income on $1.7 billion of revenue. Sammy reported profit of $285 million on $2.2 billion in sales. Combined, their revenue would exceed Konami Corp., the largest Japanese game software firm. The two firms will combine their operations to create a new subsidiary, Sega Sammy Holdings Inc., by Oct. 1, and fully integrate the businesses by March 2007, the firms said."

Reuters reported that Sega shares "soared on Wednesday after its top shareholder, Sammy, said that it would buy out Sega and merge the two companies under a holding company," but added later that "analysts expressed skepticism about a planned merger that failed last year, after the two sides disagreed on management style and other terms of an integration. In subsequent months, industry watchers speculated that Microsoft was interested in buying Sega."
The San Francisco Chronicle: Pachinko-Maker To Acquire Sega
Reuters via CNET's News.com: Sega To Be Bought By Arcade Giant

Microsoft: Corporate Coupon Cutter

Times are good for Microsoft. The company has oodles of cash in the bank and the company is making strides to beat back various legal volleys. But the company is looking for ways to save more dough in these leaner economic times and is cutting some employee benefits to slash costs, The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported today. "The company announced to workers Tuesday that it was cutting prescription-drug benefits, tightening parental-leave policies and making it more expensive for them to buy stock. It also will decrease the vacation time given to future employees. The cuts are expected to save the company at least $80 million a year, and come as part of an across-the-board effort to reduce costs. Microsoft has promised investors it will limit new spending in the coming year," the Times reported.
The Seattle Times: Microsoft Cuts Some Perks With An Eye On Bottom Line
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Microsoft Trims Benefits To Cut Costs

Filter is designed for hard-core techies, news junkies and technology professionals alike. Have suggestions, cool links or interesting tales to share? Send your tips and feedback to cindyDOTwebbATwashingtonpost.com. (Yes, those spammers have been having a lot of fun with my e-mail address lately.)

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