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Atmel's one saving grace in ASICs has been the upgrading of industrial-control and military networks, where designs are moving up to native 32-bit applications and OEMs are paying attention to ARM-7 and ARM-9 cores. As with every other realm in 2002, however, the lowest implementation cost is what matters.

20021311-00016T4LF_Datasheet PDF

Atmel's one saving grace in ASICs has been the upgrading of industrial-control and military networks, where designs are moving up to native 32-bit applications and OEMs are paying attention to ARM-7 and ARM-9 cores. As with every other realm in 2002, however, the lowest implementation cost is what matters.

Crum manages Midas' consumer relations department in Itasca, IL, which he describes as a low-volume call center. Five reps answer about 20,000 calls a year from customers who have questions related to repairs or about their dealings with Midas' car repair franchises. This department usually fields calls that have first come through Midas' primary consumer call center in Winnipeg. When we get them, they're escalated,” he says.

What information is he most interested in? As someone who is researching support software, he would like to use a system that lets reps look up customers' demographic information; information about the Midas franchises where customers go for repairs; and reasons for calls. He would also prefer that the software include a free-form text field to capture customers' comments (because people tend to talk,” he says) and have the ability to generate letters and e-mail messages.

20021311-00016T4LF_Datasheet PDF

E-mail is one area where Crum is looking for greater efficiency. The reps in his department have to cut and paste the text of e-mail messages into their current support tracking system.

Automated e-mail would be a huge help,” he says.

He would also like to enable reps to view customers' support records on their screens as calls come in. Plus, he wants to let customers and reps view support requests on-line, as well as allow customers to complete on-line satisfaction surveys.

20021311-00016T4LF_Datasheet PDF

It would be nice if we had some integration with the back office,” adds Crum, explaining that he would like, for example, to be able to use a support tracking system to look up what parts are available in Midas' warehouses.

Crum knows that identifying the right software can be daunting. What I've found is that you don't even know what questions to ask,” he says.

20021311-00016T4LF_Datasheet PDF

So how does one begin? You really need to get out and talk to people who are using the

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The company said communications IC sales are still expected to show the strongest growth, while demand for chips that go into PCs will remain stagnant. Chartered expects revenue in the third quarter to be sequentially flat to up by 5 percent, slightly down from its earlier projection of a 5 percent increase.

Chartered also said funds from the new shares will help bring its debt-to-equity ratio down to 60 percent from 80 percent. Its target is 50 percent. Currently, the company has $831 million in cash on hand and $620 million more available in credit.

Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd.'s decision last week to tap shareholders for $633 million is not sitting well with analysts and investors.

On Monday, the same day that the Singapore contractor cut its third-quarter revenue estimate, it also asked stockholders to dole out the extra funds, spooking investors already concerned about the chipmaker's performance.

Several analysts questioned the timing of the transaction and expressed surprise that Chartered needed the money to maintain its strong existing financial position,” as the company said in a statement.

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