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It’s been a week of shake-ups at tech companies. Michael Sinneck, lured to Microsoft from IBM Global Services in January 2002, is returning to the East Coast for “personal reasons.” Replacing him as vice president of worldwide services will be Rick Devenuti, who is also worldwide CIO and will assume internal IT responsibilities.

Sinneck is at least the third high-profile exec recruited from other companies to leave Microsoft after a short time: Richard Belluzzo became Microsoft president within two years of leaving Hewlett-Packard, but left a year later. And Joe Eschbach, who joined Microsoft after leaving Adobe Systems in August 2002, was gone less than a year and a half later.

At CompUSA, Hal Compton will retire from the CEO spot. COO Lawrence Mondry, who has been credited with turning the company around in 1995, will take his place.

At HP, Jeff Clarke resigned as executive vice president of global operations.

And at Acer, CEO and co-founder Stan Shih said he will step down at the end of next year. Shih plans to spin off a venture capital firm, Dragon Soft Capital, which will provide post-incubation and re-engineering consulting services.

Coming in the door is Michael Ragusa. NetIQ brought him onto its channel team as its vice president of worldwide channel sales. His role: To improve relationships with systems integrators, VARs and distributors; monitor the expansion of NetIQ’s channel-only offerings; and oversee the company’s growth into the SMB market.

Prices, Policies and Spifs
Tech Data and IBM’s new WebSphere Integration Center will offer free testing services to solution providers developing e-business, messaging and other solutions. Service providers can analyze sophisticated applications and infrastructures at the 1,800-square-foot facility in Clearwater, Fla.

This week, Microsoft partners will converge in Seattle for a briefing on BizTalk Server 2004 and SharePoint Portal Server 2003. The training will demonstrate how the two packages can work together to build Web sites and how to use SharePointPortal 2003 with Content Management Server 2002.

Saying other IT companies are erring by selling direct, Acer executives plan to capitalize on the resulting confusion by relying solely on a channel business model.

Mergers & Acquisitions
Siebel Systems Inc., which earlier this month acquired UpShot, will merge UpShot’s hosted customer relationship management service with Siebel’s CRM OnDemand by the second quarter of 2004. Siebel has announced it will continue to support UpShot customers.

The U.S. Senate last week approved landmark anti-spam legislation. The law would take precedence over all state laws, restrict marketing email that companies can send and set fines and jail terms for offenders. The FTC would also be required to create a “do-not-spam” list. The CAN SPAM Act awaits President Bush’s signature.

Meanwhile, the Senate couldn’t agree on a bill that would have extended a ban on state and local government Internet access taxes. A ban on such taxes expired Nov. 1, and the Senate’s inaction means the ban is dead for this year. But it is expected to be debated again when Congress returns next year.

Elsewhere in the News
HP announced lower entry prices for storage networks for small and medium-sized companies. The MSA1000 will cost $19,999 plus approximately $3,000 for the drives. The MSA500 would cost $10,000 less.

EMC will offer new versions of its Clarion midrange storage products at lower prices.

Twingo has become the latest firm to join Aventail’s Technology Partner programs. Twingo’s software now operates with Aventail’s EX-1500 SSL VPN appliance to offer secure, clientless VPN access to file shares, as well as client and Web applications.

After saying it would place 1,000 hotspots in New York’s telephone booths, Verizon announced last week that it would actually install only 500. A company executive said sometimes other hotspots were nearby, or people would prefer to go to a location other than a phone booth with their laptops. In addition, getting electricity to the booths proved problematic.

Intel Corp. announced it has built a 65-nanometer chip. The company says it will be first to market such a chip, in 2005. But an IBM executive says Big Blue expects to introduce a 65-nanometer chip late in 2005 as well. Intel’s first 90-nanometer chip may reach the market this quarter.

Apple computer will open its first retail store in Tokyo. The five-floor store in the city’s Ginza shopping district is the first outside the U.S.