The Buzz: May 26, 2003

NEC announced in New York last week what it calls the world's first water-cooled PC system-which also promises to be one of the quietest.

NEC Desktop: Cool and Quiet

NEC announced in New York last week what it calls the worlds first water-cooled PC system—which also promises to be one of the quietest.

The desktop PCs water-cooling system uses liquid to cool off the CPU, enabling operating noise to be suppressed to about half that of a conventional PC that uses a cooling fan, or about 30 db, according to company officials.

The machines, due this week, come in two models: the Valuestar TX server and the Valuestar FZ desktop.

PC Group Fuels HPs Second Quarter

Hewlett-Packard earned $659 million on $18 billion in revenue for the second quarter, fueled in large part by its PC group and printing division.

The numbers represent a $100 million jump in revenue over the previous quarter.

Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina said the companys focus is on building the business rather than absorbing Compaq Computer.

"We still have a lot to do, but I feel confident that HP is no longer an integration story," Fiorina said during a conference call with analysts and reporters.

For the quarter ended April 30, HPs Personal Systems Group—which includes such devices as desktop PCs and laptops—made $21 million in profit on $5.1 billion in revenue. Fiorina said the gains made on the commercial side of the ledger were offset by seasonal weakness in the consumer business.

Does IT Matter Anymore?

A May Harvard Business Review article by Nicholas Carr claims that, due to technology commoditization, "IT doesnt matter" as a strategic advantage.

"By now, the core functions of IT—data storage, data processing and data transport—have become available and affordable to all," the report said. Turning expenditures on technology into the costs of doing business is an evolution similar to that of the steam engine, the telegraph, the telephone and the internal combustion engine. Similarly, the report said, overinvestment in technology in the 1990s echoes overinvestment in railroads in the 1860s.

The scary question is whether "people have already bought most of the stuff they want to own," said Bill Joy, chief scientist and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, who was quoted in the article. Vendors that are evolving to survive in this commoditized environment include Microsoft, which turned its Office software suite into an annual subscription service. That is a "tacit acknowledgement that companies are losing their need—and their appetite—for constant upgrades," the report said.

Oracle Turns to Wall Street Analyst

Oracle is plugging Morgan stanley analyst Charles Phillips into one of the companys top positions, the company announced this month.

Phillips will become executive vice president in the office of the CEO and will report directly to Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison. The analyst, whos reported on the software industry for Morgan Stanley since 1994, will focus on customer-facing activities, partners, corporate strategy and business development, officials said.

Phillips has been ranked the No. 1 enterprise software industry analyst by Institutional Investor magazine each year since 1994, Oracle officials said. He has also been recognized as one of the Top 50 black professionals on Wall Street by Black Enterprise Magazine.