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Oracle’s Next Steps – What is next for Oracle now that PeopleSoft’s Board is still complaining the offer is too low. Essentially, it sounds like they are asking only $2 more (but that translates into about $800M) and are trying to stall until they can report better earnings and are able to demand the additional amount. Oracle has started its court action to throw out PeopleSoft’s “poison pill”, which is the last major barrier to a takeover. It seems unlikely that a judge will rule in their favor. If not, then Oracle must wage a proxy fight at the next PeopleSoft annual meeting, which will take place in the spring.

Chemical Vertical: Eastman’s China Plant Goes Into Operation - Eastman Chemical Company announced today that Qilu Eastman Specialty Chemical Ltd. (QESCL) has begun operations in Zibo, Shandong Province, People's Republic of China. QESCL is a joint venture between Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical Company and Eastman Chemical Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Eastman Chemical Company. The new plant produces Texanol ester alcohol and TXIB plasticizer and is able to meet the total demand of Eastman's current customers for these products in China. Construction of the plant began in September 2003.

In the third quarter and first nine months of 2004, the Company's sales volume increased, primarily attributed to the strengthening economy, new applications of some products and increased substitutions of PET polymers for other materials. Additionally, increased selling prices, particularly in the Performance Chemicals and Intermediates ("PCI") and Polymers segments, were the result of continued efforts to offset historically high raw materials and energy costs. Operating earnings were positively impacted by a continued focus on more profitable businesses and product lines, particularly in the Company's Eastman Division, ongoing labor and benefits cost reduction measures and process improvement technologies.

In the third quarter and first nine months 2004, operating earnings were $73 million and $129 million, respectively. Operating earnings for these periods were negatively impacted by asset impairments and restructuring charges of $42 million and $188 million, respectively, primarily related to the Eastman Division's business segments, as well as historically high raw materials and energy costs and the costs of the Company's employee separation programs.

Webcom, Inc. Announces European Expansion - Webcom, Inc., a provider of simplified quote-to-order enablement for the selling of complex products and services, announced the opening of Webcom’s European Headquarters in Amsterdam. The establishing of the international operation is a response to the increased demand by global companies to streamline the Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) process. As an independent company, Webcom Europe B.V., a subsidiary of CyberStream Holdings B.V., will serve as the exclusive distributor within Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Webcom’s CallidusCloud CPQ. Webcom, Inc. retains a minority interest in Webcom Europe. In addition to marketing and distributing CallidusCloud CPQ to end users in the territory, Webcom Europe will pursue the appointment of value-added resellers and solution partners.

U.S. Government Is Expected To Invest More Than $8B In Homeland Security In 2005 - There is a lot of work to go around. The U.S. government is expected to invest more than $8 billion on homeland security in 2005. To prepare, dozens of top U.S. security officials and business leaders will meet in Charleston on December 2nd for the ThinkTEC Homeland Security Innovation Conference. The event is set aboard an icon of security, the U.S.S. Yorktown, and will showcase the companies, agencies and economic potential of this technology market. Keeping America safe in the global war on terror is now focused on innovative U.S. entrepreneurs sharing information with each other. Emerging Homeland Security technology need to be built on platforms that can work together. There is also a need to recruit innovative entrepreneurs into the security industry. The conference will feature live demonstrations of security technology, much of which has been developed by Charleston, S.C. companies working as U.S. government contractors.

A&D/SCM: Catalyst International To Implement Mandated RFID At Aviall - Catalyst is a leader in SAP R/3 focusing on SAP’s Logistics Execution System, Warehouse Management, and Task and Resource Management. Catalyst has begun to promote its wireless capabilities for SAP applications, and is the only software provider who has extended the functionality of SAPConsole throughout the enterprise. All of Catalyst’s proprietary supply chain execution (SCE) components integrate into SAP’s supply chain infrastructure and provide additional industry vertical functionality. Generically, Catalyst is a global provider of SCE solutions and is now implementing its CatalystCommand iRFID solution set for Aviall Services, Inc., a provider of new aerospace parts and related aftermarket services, to meet the Department of Defense's newly mandated Radio Frequency Identification requirements.

Retail: Surprise, A New Wal-Mart Is In The Making - The discounter Kmart Holding Corp. is acquiring one of the most venerable names in U.S. retailing, the department store operator Sears, Roebuck and Co., in a surprise $11 billion deal that will create the nation's third largest retailer. The combined company will be known as Sears Holdings Corp. Kmart chairman and Sears’ shareholder Edward Lampert, who will lead a new Board that will be dominated by Kmart directors, coordinated this deal. Shares of both companies surged on news of the deal. Kmart shares climbed $16.08, or 16 percent, to $117.30 in late morning trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market, while Sears’ shares soared $9.42, or 21 percent, to $54.62 on the New York Stock Exchange. The new company will have about $55 billion in annual revenues and 3,500 outlets. That will mean it will trail only Wal-Mart and Home Depot among the biggest U.S. retailers.

New Customer Specific MRO/SCM Product - Goodrich Corporation's Singapore-based “nacelle/thrust reverser” maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operation has developed and implemented a supply chain management program with the Boeing Company to reduce turnaround time for Asian airline customers. Under this new software program, Boeing will provide Goodrich with technical support/certification in servicing Boeing-designed and manufactured nacelle systems, as well as greater access to inventory that will be forward deployed in Singapore. This will allow Goodrich to reduce repair and overhaul turnaround times that will benefit airline customers in Singapore and the greater Asia region. According to a report, Bob Gustafson, Vice President/General Manager of Goodrich Aftermarket Services said, "This supply chain management effort is the result of extensive collaboration with Boeing and our key Asian airline customers. As part of this new program, our Singapore MRO facility, known as Rohr Aero Services - Asia, or RASA, will be able to offer improved turnaround times for repair services of Boeing aircraft nacelle systems, and position our facility for further product line expansion in the region."

A&D: Air Force Awards $500M Contract To Microsoft - The U.S. Air Force has awarded a multi-year contract that calls for Microsoft to consolidate 38 various software license agreements and tighten security features. Part of the service's One Air Force One Network initiative, the agreement could amount to more than $500 million over six years, Microsoft said Friday. The contract is part of an overall agreement, which will supply more than 525,000 software licenses for desktop computers and servers. Microsoft will provide core server software including Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Systems Management Server, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server. By consolidating 38 previously-established software license agreements, the Air Force will be able to implement standard software configurations across the service's global operations.

PLM: Agile Software Almost Breaks Even in Quarter - Agile Software Corp. reported that it nearly broke even for the second quarter despite a tough pricing environment marked by software and consulting discounts. The company narrowed its quarterly loss to -$92,000, from $15.7 million, last year. Excluding amortization and stock compensation charges, the company posted earnings of $672,000, or $0.01 per share. Revenue for the quarter rose 14 percent to $28.2 million from $24.7 million last year, the company said. Results reflect rise in license and service revenues, offset by increase in restructuring and amortization.

CRM: Firstwave Revenue Drops Sharply - Firstwave Technologies, a provider of CRM solutions, has announced its financial results for the third quarter of 2004. The basic net loss per share was $0.29 for the third quarter of 2004 compared with basic net loss of $0.44 per share for the third quarter of 2003. Software license revenues for the third quarter of 2004 decreased 36 percent to $408,000 from $640,000 in the third quarter of 2003. Services revenues for the third quarter of 2004 decreased to $582,000 from $1,045,000 in the third quarter of 2003, representing a 44 percent decrease. The Company's maintenance revenues for the third quarter of 2004 decreased 3 percent to $651,000 as compared to $668,000 for the third quarter of 2003. Total revenues for the third quarter of 2004 were $1,666,000 representing a 30 percent decrease as compared with $2,369,000 for the third quarter of 2003. Total expenses for the third quarter of 2004 were $2,378,000, a decrease of $1,119,000, or 32 percent, from the third quarter of 2003, primarily due to a decrease in personnel and personnel- related expenses as well as a decrease in sales and marketing expenses. Net loss for the third quarter of 2004 was $788,000 compared to $1,175,000 in the third quarter of 2003. The Company had a cash balance of $1.27 million as of September 30, 2004.

MES: AspenTech Signs DSM To Multi-Year Contract - Aspen Technology, Inc., a manufacturing execution system (MES) vendor has announced that DSM, a global producer of life science and nutritional products, performance materials and industrial chemicals, has signed a new multi-year software license agreement for AspenTech's engineering solutions. Through the agreement, DSM extends its contract for the modeling platform for the design and optimization of its manufacturing processes. The solutions are designed to enable DSM to improve the design and operational performance of its plant assets and helping to maximize the return on investment.

Auto Vertical: Canadian Steel Supplier Stelco Loses GM Contract - Stelco Inc. recently reported that it has lost a contract to supply steel to its biggest customer General Motors, after the insolvent Canadian steel maker failed to strike a deal with its workers. GM said, “The contract is no longer available." Michael Barrack, one of Stelco's lawyers, told the Ontario Superior Court, "We worked hard to get there but we couldn’t.” The deal with GM was critical to the refinancing plan Stelco has worked out with Deutsche Bank, which requires the steel maker to supply GM with steel from April to December next year and in 2006. Stelco was apparently still looking to get court approval on Monday for a C$900 million ($756 million USD) bailout from Deutsche Bank, even though the union has rejected the plan, saying it offers no long-term commitment to Stelco's future. Stelco blamed its unionized workers for the collapse of the GM steel supply contract, saying the United Steelworkers of America had set "unrealistic" demands. "The union made it clear that it wanted to tie a large number of unrelated issues to the simple provision of security of supply General Motors required by this morning," Stelco Chief Executive Officer Courtney Pratt said in a release. He gave no details of the impact losing the contract would have on Stelco or the Deutsche Bank plan, but said the Company and its stakeholders were in "a very difficult situation."

Healthcare Vertical: IDX Acquires PointDX - IDX Systems Corporation, a provider of healthcare information systems, has just announced that it has acquired PointDx, Inc., a developer of structured medical reporting technology based in Winston-Salem, NC. PointDx structured reporting technology will be directly integrated into the IDX Imagecast RIS/PACS, resulting in a completely new paradigm for diagnostic reporting, procedure coding and outcomes monitoring. For IDX customers, ”structured reporting in RIS/PACS is expected to drive improvements to revenue cycle management and the efficiency of clinical staff, reduce medical errors, and concurrently deliver a clear, high-quality diagnostic report to the referring provider base.” With structured reporting, Imagecast will enable healthcare providers to create a concise, properly structured report that leverages a common medical vocabulary and incorporates key images, which can be used to launch the full image set electronically. The improved diagnostic report is designed to enable improved outcomes monitoring and better position the referring provider to deliver enhanced patient care. Furthermore, Imagecast with structured reporting is designed to help automate or remove steps in the coding and billing process, yielding shorter turnaround times and an improved revenue cycle.

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