Technology

IBM Disk Drive Breaks Speed Limit

PC Slump spreads to Europe, Infinium lines up ASP deals, and more.
Joseph RadiganFebruary 2, 2001

High-Speed Driving

IBM unveiled a hard disk drive for servers with a speed that rivals the 15,000 revolutions per minute of a drive made by Seagate Technology. But, according to a Reuters report, IBM’s drive is actually faster than Seagate’s in retrieving information.

Seagate and IBM are the two largest disk drive manufacturers, and the demand for their products has exploded as Internet usage has soared over the last several years. The total market for hard drives used in network servers reached $21.9 billion in annual sales by 1999, although there was virtually no growth last year as the global economy weakened.

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As drives get faster, they allow Web surfers, retailers, Internet service providers, and any business involved in E-commerce to retrieve data more quickly. With each product release, IBM and Seagate are leapfrogging one another with faster drives. Reuters quoted a Seagate spokeswoman who said the company expected to unveil a faster drive itself in the first quarter.

Even Europe’s Not Safe

In the fourth quarter of 2000, European PC shipments reached 11 million units, up 2 percent from the fourth quarter of 1999. But the consumer PC segment declined 4.7 percent during the fourth quarter of 2000, a clear sign that the European market is also being dragged into the global slowdown in PC demand. The figures were released in a recent survey from Gartner Group’s Dataquest unit.

For the year as a whole, European PC shipments totaled 35.3 million units in 2000, an increase of 6 percent over 1999.

The market research firm blamed part of the sales slowdown on the euro’s weakness against the dollar. Compaq still led the European market, but its share shrank to 14.8 percent from 15.2 percent. Hewlett-Packard was the only vendor to gain market share, rising to 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter from 6.2 percent a year earlier.

ASP Partnerships

Infinium has reached application service provider agreements with Acom Solutions, Knosys Inc., and Trilog Group. The three companies will make their software available through Infinium’s Web hosting center.

Infinium’s server-based software programs are used for financial, human resources, and supply management applications. Acom’s applications are used to support sales, purchasing, and shipping and handling, while Knosys’ products are used for decision support and business analytics. Trilog’s software packages specialize in workflow management.

Bits and Bytes

  • B2B software developer Clarus signed a deal with Whitehouse Consultants of the UK to sell its products to mid-sized companies, and Clarus says 10-year-old Whitehouse is its first reseller in Britain. Whitehouse has been a reseller for JD Edwards’ enterprise resource planning systems since 1992.
  • Walker Interactive Systems says it is working with IBM to provide an integrated, Internet-based financial analytic system running on IBM’s DB2 database and E-commerce servers. The two companies will jointly market the system.
  • Deltek Systems plans to increase its sales force by 25 percent to 30 percent. The extra salespeople will push products that include Web-based versions of its Costpoint project-oriented software and an upcoming release of an automation system for professional services firms.
  • Epicor Software reported that its fourth quarter loss narrowed to $5.4 million on $53.7 million in sales, compared to a loss of $43.4 million on $62 million in sales during the fourth quarter of 1999. For all of 2000, the company lost $40.7 million on sales of $219.8 million. In 1999, Epicor lost $50.6 million on sales of $258 million.

Epicor is a systems integrator that specializes in linking customer relationship management systems with ERP applications. During the fourth quarter, the company slashed its sales and marketing costs by $8 million from the prior year to $18.8 million.