Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California on February 22, 1984 · Page 17
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California · Page 17

Publication:
Location:
Santa Cruz, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, February 22, 1984
Page:
Page 17
Start Free Trial
Cancel

IBM's PCjr a cool rece By JOHN MARCOM JR. Wall Street Journal All the hoopla preceding last fall's announcement of International Business Machines Corp.'s new home computer PCjr prompted Scott Prussing to wait. But once the hotly touted machine reached the stores. Prussing, a writer in Orange, wasn't impressed. "I can't stand the keyboard." Prussing says. Worse, after adding the accessories he wanted, expanded-memory PCjr "wasn't that much cheaper than the Macintosh," Apple Computer Inc.'s new $2,499 model. Prussing settled instead on a Sanyo MBC500. which delivers all he needs for $1,395. $126 more than the list price of the PCjr. Maybe expectations were impossibly high, but to this point the takeoff of IBM's little computer has been slow. Dealers, many of whom have received only about 25 PCjr's so far. report that some are still sitting on the shelves. They wish IBM could rekindle the excitement that surrounded the Nov. 1 introduction. "A Cabbage Patch doll it isn't," says Edward Ramos, president of Future Information Systems Inc., a New York dealer. This cooler-than-expected reception for the PCjr could be an important break for IBM's smaller rivals, especially Apple. IBM's Personal Computer is by far the most successful product in the office desktop computer market, but dealers and software writers are beginning to hedge earlier projections that the industry giant would walk away with this year's $2.7 billion home computer market. "I've been surprised" by the PCjr's takeoff, says Ruthann Quindlen. an analyst at Alex Brown & Sons Inc. in Baltimore. "But it's way too early-I'm never ever going to say IBM won't come through." Of course, plenty of products have overcome slow starts. Fans and critics alike describe the PCjr. which retails for $669, or $1,269 in a version with expanded memory as solid, reliable and, most important, able to run most of the same programs as the PC. "That's the major plus," says Joe Juhasz. president of PCsoftware of San Diego, a publisher of software for both IBM machines. . The major minus appears to be the keyboard. Many who have used the machine complain that the keys are too far apart for touch-typing, and that the labels, placed above the keys, are hard to see. Some others find that the PCjr is expensive for a home computer but isn't very powerful for an expensive computer. Dealers wonder whether the obvious market, executives who use the PC at the office and want to take work home, will be receptive. The computer purchasing manager at a big New York investment bank that has 300 IBM PCs says he has advised the firm's executives against buying the PCjr. "When it comes to number-crunching, it really can't do it," he says. Dealers say IBM's timing was off in Texas drilling decision helps California's cause By The Wall Street Journal A federal judge's decision to award Texas $300 million of revenue from federal offshore oil leases is expected to sharply enhance coastal states' efforts to get a much bigger share of such revenue. At stake are millions of dollars in leases and royalties from the three-mile band of federal water abutting state-controlled waters in Texas, Louisiana and California. At issue is the interpretation of current law, which mandates a "fair and equitable" split between the states and the federal government of the money the federal government receives from leases in the three-mile band. Judge Robert M. Parker ruled that the Interior Department must split evenly with Texas $430 million of a total $1.2 billion the U.S. earned from leasing four tracts in federal water, near previously developed tracts in state waters. Texas also received about $85 million in interest. Judge Parker ruled that, by performing geological work and leasing the tracts in its waters, the state increased the value of the federal tracts and therefore deserved a share of the federal revenue. The Interior Department, which argued that it should be required to pay the state only for the actual amount of oil that is drained from state territory by wells on federally leased land, hasn't decided if it will appeal. But given the amount of money involved and the precedent the Texas case is expected to establish for other coastal states, an appeal seems certain. The decision was cheered in other states with lare offshore oil deposits, most notably Louisiana. Louisiana also sued the Interior Department in 1979 over seven offshore tracts that generated some $2 billion in lease revenue. "This undoubtedly will help move ahead the case of Louisiana and other coastal states, which have never been compensated fairly by the federal government for their work offshore," said Louisiana Attorney General William J. Guste Jr. In the wake of the Texas ruling, states will be far more likely to take the federal government to court for a bigger share of lease money, according to Edward M. Miller, a Rice University professor of public affairs. Miller predicts the Texas ruling also will encourage states to develop and lease more of their offshore Eagle agrees to SAN JOSE (AP) - Eagle Computer Inc. says it does not expect "any significant business interruption" from a settlement with International Business Machines Corp. concerning allegations of copyright infringement. Eagle agreed Tuesday to a permanent injunction and judgment agains, it result receives ption announcing the product months before delivery. "Interest was at a fever pitch" after the introduction, says Patricia Vaughan. co-owner of the ComputerLand store in Ithaca. N Y. "Once we had a demonstration model (in January), the only thing I can say is that the response was underwhelming." she says. Despite the limited quantities sent to stores, PCjrs appear to be available in parts of the Midwest and East. IBM. as usual, won't say how many machines it has shipped or sold, but many of IBM's 1,400 dealers are understood to have received about 25 machines so far. In contrast to the PCjr, dealers, say the IBM PC remains scarce. The picture is made cloudy by conflicting statements. Chuck Kinch, vice president at ComputerLand Corp.'s Hayward head office, says the chain's 473 stores are short by thousands of PCjrs. But some of the concern's franchised dealers around the country, including Mrs, Vaughan in Ithaca, say PCjrs either are in stock or are easily available from other dealers. IBM's second-largest retailer, Entre Computer Centers, says salesmen at its 150 outlets have been able to move their PCjr allotments by selling to executives and professionals who have already bought the IBM PC. However, "demand for the product as a walk-in off-the-shelf item has been slow," says James Edgette, vice president of the Vienna, Va. -based company. Still, most dealers say they are waiting to see how the PCjr fares in the months ahead, particularly against the Apple He, a well-established product with a declining price. "You get more for the buck with the Apple He," saysEri Golembo, marketing vice president for Prodigy Systems Inc., a northern New Jersey dealer. Apple will sell at least 750.000 "lies in the U.S. this year, up from an estimated 600,000 in 1983, Future Computing estimates. Portable and expanded versions expected later this year would add to Apple's total. On the other hand, a portable version of the IBM Personal Computer is coming March 1, adding further to the value of having an IBM-compatible product. Like Prussing, some dealers are also pitting the PCjr against the Macintosh, although the two machines appear to be in altogether different classes. The cost of options for the PCjr quickly narrows the price difference, and the PCjr doesn't share the Macintosh's graphics capability or "mouse" device. Moreover, the Macintosh uses a 32-bit microprocessor chip, a first for a machine in its price range; the PCjr, with a. 16 bit chip, operates more slowly. The PCjr, however, has at least three invaluable assets: the letters I, B and M. Many dealers, software marketers and analysts believe the brand name and the compatibility with PC accessories and software guarantee a market. waters. "The lesson of this ruling for states like California, which have been relatively slow to develop their offshore holdings, is to lease and drill now, so they can have some basis for a claim to the money the federal government gets when it leases in the same area later," Miller said. The Texas ruling is the first case tried under a 1978 amendment to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which says money the federal government receives from leases in the three-mile band adjacent to state waters must be divided with the state on a "fair and equitable" basis. Under the amendment, revenue from leases in the first three miles of federal water is put into escrow until the state and federal government reach an agreement on sharing it. If agreement can't be reached between the two sides, the matter can be submitted to a federal district court; as was the Texas case. In California, there currently is about $1 billion of lease revenue in escrow, awaiting division. Alsaka, Mississippi and Alabama also have millions of dollars of federal lease revenue in escrow. The Texas case is the latest skirmish in a long battle between mineral rights. Coastal states had control of all offshore resources until 1945. when President Harry Trurnan issued an executive order that gave the federal government exclusive control. California, Texas and Louisiana each took claims for the right to offshore resources to the Supreme Court. The states lost their battle before the. high court, but received some concessions from Congress under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Submerged Lands Act, both passed in the early 1950s. Under these laws, the states were given control over mineral resources within three miles of the coastline while' the federal government was given control of all resources beyond that. Under federal law, in Texas and on the west coast of Florida, the limit of state control extends three marine leagues, or 10,5 miles, rather than three miles. . There wasn't any significant change in the division of offshore mineral rights until the 1978 amendment, which was intended to encourage development of offshore lands by giving the states and the federal government a stake in lease revenue. injunction ing from a U.S. District Court suit brought by IBM. However, Eagle did not concede or admit any liability and did not have to pay any damages IBM alleged that Eagle had copied substantial portions of IBM s Basic Input-Output System, a software program which enables the hardware elements of a computer to comminicate with one another St i 6 JS Whirlogigs TEMPE, Ariz, surface flaws after Grace Garcia removal from a Pneumatic Systems plant. The wheels are part of ATS100 air-turbine starter used on various commercial and military aircraft. Nation's bankruptcy court to be dissolved March 31 By MARGUARET PETERSON McClatchy News Service SACRAMENTO - The nation's bankruptcy court system could be dissolved in less than two months, affecting half a million bankruptcy cases involving $100 billion in assets and hundreds of thousands of jobs. If that happens, problems could be especially acute in California, whose bankruptcy courts handle 18 percent of the caseload nationally. The Golden State also is home to large employers such as Wickes and Continental Airlines that have filed Chapter 11 business-reorganization plans. Such plans depend on continued bank financing, which some warn may dry up because of uncertainties about the court system's future. If Congress fails to meet a March 31 deadline for action to maintain the 1978 Bankruptcy Reform Act, "nobody quite knows where we're going," said William Davis, circuit executive of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which oversees bankruptcy courts in nine Western states. If Congress does not act, the nation would be without a bankruptcy law for the first time since 1898. "This time, I think Chicken Little is right," said Richard Heltzel, clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento. "If nothing is done, then there is going to be total chaos because there will be no bankruptcy law. There will be no bankruptcy court." Heltzel said. "We know the existing bankruptcy courts would not continue to function," said Richard Herr, an assistant general counsel with the Bank of America. "Under a ruling by the General Accounting Office, those judges and court personnel cannot be paid after March 31. And they're obviously not going to operate as volunteers." Still, some say the bankruptcy courts will "limp along" somehow even without enabling legislation. Others believe the courts will shut down, though perhaps not immediately, but that federal district courts could move to fill the gap. Congress still could act on any of several pending bills if partisan impasses could be overcome. It also could pass a simple extension of the deadline and take up the issue in a less politically charged atmosphere after the November elections, they say. Most of the apparent optimists, however, sound a bit wistful. They remember that Congress failed to act on a similar urgent matter by a December 1982 deadline. Bankruptcy court actions since then are subject to legal challenge. "We've been operating under a cloud since then." said Sacramento bankruptcy attorney Melvyn Coben. "Now we could be operating under two clouds." The latest deadline was set in the 1978 Bankruptcy Act, which gave bankruptcy judges new status and responsibilities. The law established a transition period ending March 31. 1984. during which Congress was to decide how many judges should be appointed to new 14-year terms, and which judicial districts would get how many judges. Congress not only has not made those decisions, it cannot handle them until it deals with a June 1982 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that the 1978 law gave bankruptcy judges more powers than permitted under the Constitution. Congress had a choice of raising AP Laserphoto checks jet engine starters wheels for paint curing furnace at the Garrett bankruptcy judges to equal status with federal district-court judges including lifetime appointments or transferring much of their work into other courts, including state courts. But Congress did nothing. After a second deadline passed Dec. 24, 1982, the high court refused further extensions. Cries of "chaos" followed. Then the nation's federal circuit courts of appeal stepped in with an emergency rule that permitted the bankruptcy courts to keep functioning by assigning some authority in bankruptcy cases to district judges. But any such rescue is unlikely this time, observers say. "Conceivably, the emergency rule could be extended, but also on March 31, the terms of all existing bankruptcy judges expire," said Vern Countryman, a Harvard law professor and bankruptcy authority. "There will be no more bankruptcy judges; hence there will be nothing for an extended rule to work on." When talk turns to blame, fingers point in all directions at Congress and the Supreme Court generally, and at some of their individual members. Some observers blame the district court judges, who have lobbied heavily to keep bankruptcy judges from being elevated to their status even though, ironically, the result may be more work for the already-clogged district courts. Congress, of course, COULD act by March 31, although pending bills have bogged down in one partisan quagmire or another. "There's a lot of politicking," said Countryman. "And a lot of it is for some very petty purposes." A major partisan issue has been the timing of appointments or reappointments of the nation's 240 bankruptcy judges, because they are appointed by the president and this is an election year. The current appointments would be extended until Jan. 21, 1985 - the day after Inauguration Day under a bill introduced by Rep. Peter Rodino, D-N.J., and co-sponsored by Rep. Robert Matsui. D-Sacfamento. The Rodino bill would elevate bankruptcy judges to full-fledged federal judges. Senate Republicans have a broader, reform-oriented bill combining efforts by Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Robert Dole of Kansas. Thurmond's bill proposes to keep bankruptcy judges in their current standing. A Dole spokesman said the Kansan's proposals in the bill aim at making the 1978 bankruptcy law "less pro-debtor (by) requiring the court to take a little closer scrutiny at some debtor petitions to make sure there were no abuses of the law." Whatever happens if Congress fails to act by March 31, the first shocks according to a number of predictions will be felt in Chapter 11 business-reorganization cases involving large firms. At the Bank of America, assistant general counsel Herr said that if Congress fails to act, "I think we are going to be in a no-man's land in terms of whether the bank would be willing to finance businesses that were in Chapter 11. "We would really have to look at what the situation was at that time because there are arguments the U.S. district courts may not have the power to just start hearing bankruptcies on their own," Herr said. "Frankly." he said, "the thought of not having Congress act by March 31 just scares the daylights out of us because it would take you into totally unchartered legal waters It's scary " Wednesday, Feb. 22, 1984 Santa Cruz Sentinel-B-5 Who owns the ideas, prof or university? By ROGER GILLOTT LOS ANGELES (AP) - A professor of computer sciences has been working all day on a knotty problem. He goes home, frustrated, and at the dinner table the answer suddenly hits him. He's elated; he's found his solution. But is it his? Or does it belong to his university? Millions of dollars are riding on questions like this, and the issue of "intellectual property" has led to skirmishing between universities and faculty. As rapid changes in technology offer to shower riches on those who can stay one step ahead, some universities and researchers are taking a close look at updating long-standing rules on their professors' involvement in businesses. The nine-campus University of California hopes to have a new Council on Intellectual Property composed of faculty and administrators operating within the next few months. The council, which replaces the university's Board of Patents, will try to sort out such issues as when a professor's time is his own and when it is the university's, as well as how much involvement professors can have with businesses. Among the other institutions reviewing or revising policies toward intellectual property are Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology, Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technolo gy. "When a professor comes up with an idea at the dinner table, is it his or his employer's?" said Jack Brown, a Phoenix, Ariz., attorney who is an authority on "intellectual property." "Perhaps a convention will be worked out to split the baby," he said, "and everybody will be happy." At Yale University in New Haven, Conn., Roger C. Schank, chairman of the computer sciences department, said attempts by some universities to restrict professors' business involvement may be short-sighted. "When you are sitting on a new technology like computers, you don't want to force brilliant professors to make a choice between teaching and business," said Schank. In general, universities permit professors to be consultants to businesses or to serve on boards of businesses, but prohibit them from holding operating positions(8P0grounds thaTe-consuming and distract professors from their academic roles. Computer scientists, like professors who write books, find their work falls under copyright law, instead of federal patent regulations that have traditionally guided ownership of scientific inventions, including those coming from genetic engineering research. "Someone can write a book, and that's his," said Dennis Meredith, spokesman for the California Institute Classified JustDial426-8000 Home m& Come to Monterey Savings for your home loan. We haw a variety of adjustable mortgage loans ( the interest rate is subject to adjustment periodically ) to help you purchase your home. All are fully assuma hie. All have rates and loan fees thai in ite eompari son. We also have fixed rate loans and refinancing pians avaiiaoie. .so come m LOAN OFFICES Monterey (408) 3 7 3-1500 Carmel (408) 625-2400 Gilroy (408) 842-3181 Salinas (408) 754-1943 Sanla Cruz (408) 426-4100 ! km iej of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. "But if he writes a book and puts a floppy (computer) disc in it, then it's another matter." Stephen Wolfram, a 24-year-old physicist, and Brian K. Reid, a computer scientist, represent different ends in the dispute. Wolfram defected two years ago from the California Institute of Technology to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., after a bitter dispute with Caltech over ownership of a computer program that Caltech spokesman Tom Branigan said is designed to manipulate very complicated algebraic expressions. Because of its speed, the program was believed to have commercial as well as scientific applications. The company that is using Wolfram's program is paying royalties both to Caltech and Wolfram, but the matter is unresolved and may go to litigation, Wolfram said. Before signing on in Princeton, Wolfram worked out an agreement. "It's very simple, really," he said. "I own anything I do, but I will give a share to the institute." Reid, now a computer scientist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, is still embittered about the whole idea of profit-making academics after a clash at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he used his spare time while a graduate student to develop a text-formatting computer program called Scribe. Reid said he didn't consider marketing the program until a professor suggested it might be valuable, bought the rights from Reid and started a company to sell it. The university also claimed the program. "I got sucked to the tar-pit of business," said Reid, who has received about $120,000 in royalties from the program since 1980. "It is really a nightmare to have all this commercialization of my work so close to me," Reid said from the Palo Alto home he shares with his wife and their 6-month-old daughter. "I won't say it warps the way I think, but I am offended at the licensing people always hovering like vultures." The guidelines adopted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for coping with the situation are typical. "Any inventions by the faculty or reserach staff under sponsored research programns ownership, but professors are given an option of receiving 15 percent of the profit for themselves or designating 50 percent of the profit to further research in their field. Stanford spokesman Bob Beyers says the university earns about $2.5 million a year licensing its professors' work. "In a way, the Silicon Valley is just the long shadow of Stanford," Beyers said, referring to the region where California's high-technology industries are concentrated. Loans. and see us tod, a. Monterey Savings A DIVISION OF COAST SAVINGS AND I OAN COAST SAVINGS AND LOAN Site and Sound Si rue lrTs at M HU- m-ii fll 'l '

What members have found on this page

Get access to Newspapers.com

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 19,600+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free