|Volume 1: No. 31|
Sensors (and signal interpretation?) are a larger market than had been realized. Market Intelligence Research Corp. (MIRC; Mountain View, CA) has raised its estimate from $5B to $18.1B in annual world-wide product value. MIRC also expects a 7.3% per year increase in demand for analytical instrumentation related to process monitoring for pollution control. [Design News, 9/23.]
Eastman Kodak (Rochester, NY) is moving away from electronic imaging technologies and digital cameras, although it will still support hybrid systems that use electronic storage. The return to its traditional businesses will eliminate 3,000 jobs. [Design News, 9/23.] I presume that many of these are research-related jobs, which increases competition throughout the sensor industry.
HP has had 1,500 people more than expected respond to its voluntary termination incentives. [SF Chronicle, 10/19.] This may create some openings.
Apple is selling a lot of low-end computers, but profits are slim. Profit margins will continue to decline as sales shift to notebook computers. [Ken Siegmann, SF Chronicle, 10/18.]
IBM is cutting the price of some of its PS/2 models by 40%. AST Research Inc. (Irvine, CA) is cutting its notebook computer by 30%. [Tom Schmitz, SJM, 10/18.]
Although the new PS/1 models are still a bit underpowered, Peter H. Lewis (NYT) reports that they are exceedingly easy to set up and use. (Peter even won his first deal of the built-in Solitaire game.) [SJM, 10/20.]
PC software sales (2nd quarter) are up 15% over last year, according to the Software Publishers Association (Washington, DC). Education software is the fastest-growing category, although spreadsheets bring in about four times as much revenue. [Jon Kennedy, High Technology Careers, 10/91.]
A survey of 214 high-tech companies with fewer than 1,000 employees showed that 31.7% expanded their workforces during the past year, creating 2,184 new jobs. Another 55.1% were stable and only 11.7% were shrinking. (1.4% had failed.) [CorpTech (Woburn, MA). High Technology Careers, 10/91.] Industry analysts monitor chiefly the few largest companies, but smaller companies may offer better career options.
Silicon Valley convention attendance has increased 9% this year, but the area has lost 2% of its jobs according to the San Jose Office of Economic Development. A positive sign is Sony's purchase of 38 acres for a 1993 R&D center. Utah-based Novell has also purchased 48 acres to consolidate its Northern California operations. [SF Chronicle, 10/18.]
The ACE consortium is having trouble. Not only is MIPS' RISC production and continuing design capability in doubt, but the group has had to admit AT&T UNIX System V Version 4 as a third accepted operating system -- with VMS and two other systems also vying for acceptance. (Microsoft's unreleased NT operating system and SCO's UNIX were the original standards.) SunSoft's extension of the Solaris Sparc operating system to Intel platforms is also going to cut into ACE's planned advantage. Intel and Microsoft are likely to be the big winners. "The lesson is that technology innovations still come from small groups of motivated engineers -- not from industry committees." [John Markoff, NYT. SJM, 10/20.]
A consortium of more than 60 Taiwanese high-tech companies will spend at least $10M over three years for multimedia research. Software, hardware, and audio-visual companies are included. C.S. Ho of Mitac Inc. and head of the Taipei Computer Association is a spokesman. [Valerie Rice, SJM, 10/16.] (I'm not sure, but I think the consortium is centered at the Hsinchu Science-based Park in Taipei. Valerie describes it as an Eastern Silicon Valley with most of the services of a full city (incl. bad traffic). Government hand-picked the 100 electronics companies there, and has made business services easily available. Business growth has been so rapid that the government is considering a second complex in southern Taiwan.)
Atek Information Services (Canton, OH) is merging with Redlake Corp. (Morgan Hill, CA). Atek makes information systems for state and local governments. Redlake makes imaging systems, among other products, and is attempting to acquire Photobase (Los Gatos, CA), a software developer and integrator for image database systems. [SJM, 10/19.]
Warren Bare (email@example.com) of Progress Software Corp. is forming a working group of volunteers to build a multiple neural- network system for economic forecasting. Initial projections will be for the S&P 500 index. [comp.ai.neural-nets, 10/18.] (Warren's initial posting drew 150 responses, from which he's picked 20 serious volunteers.)
Expert Edge (Palo Alto, CA) has named Felix L. Lam to be VP of Engineering, including software development. [SJM, 10/17.]
Jan Aikins (Aion Corp., Palo Alto) has a new column in IEEE Expert. It's called Out of the Lab, and deals with difficulties and successes in moving AI technology into industry. Jan is also heading IEEE Expert's new Industry Advisory Board (with Joe Carter, Paul Harmon, Phil Hayes, Philip Klahr, and Nancy Martin). [IEEE Expert, 10/91.]
Stephen Cross, DARPA's AI director, spoke at CAIA about the importance of software engineering and reusable system components. He expects method libraries (for object-oriented code) to play a critical role in DoD systems. [Jan Aikins, IEEE Expert, 10/91.]