Fast Breaks Newsfront: March 5, 2001

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-03-05

Red Hat Grows

Red Hat, a leading Linux distributor, last week acquired Planning Technologies Inc., an Atlanta infrastructure consulting service, for $47 million. PTI employs 200 engineers and consultants to advise AT&T, BellSouth, Delta Air Lines and Home Depot on building and managing their networks. Red Hat provides services for Linux-based infrastructures, noted Red Hat Chief Executive Matthew Szulik.

A First for WorldCom

WorldCom has sent layoff notices to 6,000 of its 90,000 workers as part of its restructuring. Deeper cuts had been anticipated over sliding revenue growth from consumer long-distance. WorldCom plans to separate those operations from its faster-growing data services for businesses. The layoffs, more than 6 percent of its work force, were said to be the first in the companys history.

Fraud Indictments

Former Cendant Chairman Walter Forbes and Vice Chairman Kirk Shelton were indicted by federal prosecutors and sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission on charges of directing an accounting fraud that cost the company and investors billions of dollars. Forbes and Shelton headed CUC International, which merged with HFS in 1997 to form Cendant — a car, hotel and real estate franchising firm with online operations.

No More Free DSL

Winfire, the only provider that tried the free model with broadband, is closing its doors to new customers. Steel Enterprise Holdings, its parent company, is trying to sell the business, preferring to focus on its broadband infrastructure company, Octive Technology. Winfire will try to minimize service interruptions for its 57,000 DSL customers.

AT&T Cable Sales

AT&T Broadband is selling off cable systems to reduce debt and cluster its operations. The company last week agreed to sell some systems to Charter Communications for $1.8 billion in cash and stock, and to sell others to Mediacom Communications for $2.2 billion. AT&T also said it would sell its 10 percent stake in Japan telecom to Vodafone Group.

Naming Control

VeriSign has reached an agreement with the Internets domain name management body that ensures the company will maintain control over the Nets most popular category of names, dot-com, for the foreseeable future. VeriSign will maintain its role in the retail end of registering domain names. The agreement, announced by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and VeriSign, has been greeted by mixed reactions.

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