Year Two of GLITR Retrospective: Sept. 2002 – Aug. 2003

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This was the year that was… Here is the second of our 10 retrospectives on the 10 years of the Great Lakes and Innovation and Technology Report, offering the news highlights for a very interesting year, from Sept. 1, 2002 to Aug. 1, 2003.

September 2002: ‘Learning Without Limits,’ an effort to equip all Michigan students with laptops, gets off the ground with a $10 million pilot… Kalamazoo’s I/Net gets a NASA grant to develop a voice computer interface… Automation Alley reported 43 percent membership growth over the past year, close to 500 corporate  and institutional members… In an exclusive GLITR interview, Compuware CEO Peter Karmanos Jr. predicts that by 2012, Compuware will be a $3 billion to $5 billion a year company with 20,000 to 40,000 employees… NextEnergy, the state’s alternative energy accelerator, abandons a proposed location in Washtenaw County’s York Township for a new building a mile north of Wayne State University’s campus in Detroit… The Michigan Public Service Commission denies SBC Ameritech’s proposal to more than double its wholesale phone rates in Michigan…

October 2002: Quicken Loans introduces the online mortgage industry’s first true electronic signature technology… Michigan reports only four venture capital deals in the third quarter… The Michigan Economic Development Corp. issues grants to help colleges and universities create new alternative energy curricula… Rubicon Genomics of Ann Arbor gets $3.5 million in funding… The Sloan brothers’ Digital Detroit 2002 draws a nice crowd of 400 and attracts 70 sponsors… University of Michigan seeks $5 million to develop new software tracking nurses’ tasks… Ann Arbor’s Interlink Networks gets $7.5 million in capital… The Sterling Heights software developer Nexiq files for Chapter 11 after cutting 35 percent of its work force… MIG Email Marketing of Royal Oak gets $1.9 million in capital…

November 2002: The Information Technology Association of Michigan farms out its Michigan IT Summit event to the MEDC… EDS moving 1,500 employees to Tower 500 of the Renaissance Center… Five Detroit hotels get high-speed Internet access… The Michigan Strategic Fund board designates the Woodward Technology SmartZone Corridor in Detroit as a state Renaissance Zone, meaning businesses locating in the corridor — bounded by I-94, M-10, Woodward Ave. and the Grand Trunk Railroad tracks — are free of virtually all state and local taxation for 20 years… Great Lakes Technologies Group, a Southfield IT shop, is bought by England’s Logica for $21.5 million… A state analysis of occupations shows Michigan is No. 4 in the nation in tech workers — not No. 17 as reported by the American Electronic Association, which counts only businesses it defines as high-tech (excluding computer techs working at automakers, for instance)… Comcast rolls out its first HDTV programming — HBO, Showtime, WDIV, WXYZ and WTVS… SBC Ameritech issued a new wholesale rate proposal, its competitors bitterly denounced it while releasing a harshly critical report on SBC service quality, which SBC ripped…

December 2002: MPSC delays ruling on SBC Ameritech’s proposal to sell long distance service in Michigan… Netarx wins a contract to install Voice Over Internet Protocol technology at Lansing Community College… Michigan Virtual University and SBC Ameritech launch a new Michigan IT career site, www.itcareercenter.org…. Xede Consulting moves to larger space in Detroit’s Penobscot Building… The first Compuware Corp. staff moves into its new downtown Detroit headquarters… Seneca Partners, a new Detroit venture capital fund, announces it has raised $30 million…Warren-based Computer Builders Warehouse opens its ninth retail location… The first high-speed Internet line is planned across the Mackinac Bridge, meaning the Upper Peninsula will get Internet from two directions…

January 2003: SBC wins a six-year, $238.5 million contract to provide telecom services to the state of Michigan… Detroit-based Rootlevel said it’s in buyout talks with Dearborn-based Carriersnet Group Inc., with Rootlevel becoming the Web development arm of Carriersnet, a privately held e-logistics company… The American unit of the British auto engineering firm Ricardo opens a 77,000-square-foot, $12 million office and engineering expansion… VentureWire reports four Michigan venture capital deals in the fourth quarter vs. zero in the fourth quarter of 2001, and 14 deals in 2002 vs. 22 in 2001… Michigan.org attracts 2.3 million user sessions in 2002, up from 1.5 million in 2001… The Troy retail category manager Handleman Co. exits the online fulfillment business… The North American International Auto Show features the Ford Model U, a hydrogen-burning electric hybrid with voice activated controls… Compuware stock tumbles nearly 10 percent after warning of an earnings disappointment… the MPSC approves SBC Ameritech’s entry into the long distance phone business in Michigan… Comcast reports an e-mail outage in Michigan… former Michigan Gov. John Engler is appointed President of State and Local Government and Vice President of Government Solutions for North America by Electronic Data Systems Corp. … the MEDC announces that at least 18 new life sciences companies were established or moved to Michigan in 2002… Compuware sues Moody’s Investors Service for libel for downgrading Compuware debt to junk bond level…

February 2003: EDS and IBM tussle over product design software at Ford Motor Co… the Michigan Small Business Development Centers add ‘technology’ to their name… Visteon awards a $2 billion IT outsourcing deal to IBM… Syneptics LLC, a venture capital firm for small startups, is established in Ann Arbor… Fry Inc. rolls out Flagship, an application distilling its nine years of e-retailing experience, designed to enable retailers to develop a high-quality online store quickly and economically…  The Michigan Broadband Authority opts to take free office space in Lansing vs. expensive space in Ann Arbor in view of the state’s budget woes… The MEDC says Michigan’s seven SmartZone business accelerators have helped more than 70 companies raise more than $165 million in capital…

March 2003: Glima, the association for technology professionals owned by Automation Alley, opens a chapter in Flint… The Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems laboratories at the Wayne State University College of Engineering opens an advanced “clean room” fabrication area… Automation Alley sends a trade mission to the huge German tech trade show CeBIT… LDMI Telecommunications moves its headquarters from Hamtramck to Southfield and buys an upstate New York competitor… William Rosenberg is out at the Michigan Broadband Development Authority after resisting the new agency being headquartered in Lansing rather than Ann Arbor and apparently agreeing to work in Michigan only three days a week while maintaining his  home in North Carolina… Bright House Networks of Michigan, which took over the former Time Warner networks in Michigan, experiences an email outage…

April 2003: Michigan reports just two venture capital deals in the first quarter, vs. three deals a year earlier… Broadband use hits 33.5 percent of Internet households, up from 32.6 percent in January… Big Net Holdings Inc., formerly one of the area’s fastest growing telecom providers, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy… Ann Arbor’s Cybernet Medical gets an FDA clearance for remote diabetes monitoring… MichBio names Michael Witt executive director, succeeding Jan Gensheimer… Gov. Jennifer Granholm cuts to $20 million the research funding under the Michigan Life Science Corridor, from $45 million in the last year of the Engler administration and the originally promised $50 million a year… TechTeam Global gets a $5 million investment… GM takes its EV1 electric vehicles back from customers who leased them… GigaTrans, a new wireless Web provider, is open for business in southeast Michigan, as GLITR tours its rooftop antennas on the Fisher building, with other towers on the Top of Troy and Fairlane office buildings… SBC Ameritech withdraws its application to offer long distance service in Michigan from the FCC… A medical smart card company, Conduit Health, moves its headquarters from Florida to Grand Rapids… Compuware begins moving the biggest share of its workers from Farmington Hills to its new downtown Detroit headquarters… Entrepreneur Mark Bennett reopens his Entrepreneur Sandbox in Royal Oak after a two-year hiatus… Covisint LLC moves to a new home on Lahser Road in Southfield…

May 2003: The Michigan Broadband Development Authority makes its first loan, to ISP Wireless Inc., a fixed wireless broadband Internet service provider based in Alma… SBC Ameritech refiles with the state PSC to raise wholesale prices… Arbortext releases version 5 of its document management software… Compuware reports higher profit despite lower sales… a Bloomfield Hills firm, Self Guided Systems, introduces a self guided lawn mower… Veridian Corp breaks ground for its $38 million, 245,000-square-foot Michigan Research and Development Center in Ypsilanti Township… United Solar expands its line of solar energy roofing and gets an Air Force contract for advanced solar panels… the 2003 Michigan IT Summit draws a crowd of only 300, down sharply from prior years, signaling the end of the event after four years…

June 2003: The Michigan Venture Capital Association announces at the Detroit Chamber’s Mackinac conference that it is working with the state legislature to establish a $150 million venture capital fund that would be invested in Michigan companies… The Mackinac conference also features information on more state and local government services offered online… Ann Arbor-based Enlighten says it’s picked up a good-sized chunk of the business of now-defunct Rootlevel Inc. in Detroit and has hired five former Rootlevel staff… Bruce Swift quits as CEO of Covisint LLC after only six weeks on the job to take a post as president of the driveline and transmission group at Plymouth-based Metaldyne. He’s replaced by Robert Paul, who had been senior vice president of sales and marketing… Automation Alley hires Thomas Anderson as the first director of the Automation Alley Technology Center, the business incubator and accelerator that the tech trade promotion group plans to develop in Troy… QuatRx Pharmaceuticals of Ann Arbor gets $28 million in funding… Future Three Software Inc. of Northville is acquired by Atlanta, Ga.-based Agilisys International… Ann Arbor-based Comshare Inc., which develops corporate performance management software, is purchased by Markham, Ontario-based Geac Computer Corp…. Grand Rapids-based US Signal expands its fiber optic network in the Detroit area… Ann Arbor’s Esperion Therapeutics announces still more positive test results from ApoA-1 Milano heart drug… NextEnergy’s initial conference draws a crowd of 300 to learn of state subsidies for renewable energy companies…

July 2003: Esperion Therapeutics begins trials of another drug with the potential to unclog arteries… Ann Arbor-based New Eagle Software L.L.C. has been purchased by Oshkosh, Wis.-based MotoTron, a unit of Brunswick New Technologies, which is in turn a unit of Brunswick Corp…. The Ann Arbor-based University Consortium for Advanced Internet Development, better known as Internet2, released version 1.0 of its Shibboleth software, which it says contains major advances in authentication — the practice of getting Web surfers the information they seek… Wayne State University’s medical school goes wireless for its Web connections in a pioneering deal… VentureWire shows four venture capital deals in Michigan in the second quarter, up from just one in the second quarter of 2002… Grand Rapids-based Iserv Co., an independent Internet service provider, buys Allegan-based DataWise Inc., a smaller ISP serving 1,500 residential and business customers… A computer recycling company, Re.Source Partners, is in the market for its own headquarters after spending two years in rented space in Canton Township… Macomb County joins Automation AlleyAastrom Biosciences raises $9.5 million in a stock sale… Grand Rapids-based BestNet Communications launches new software for integration of its voice control products… Wayne State University breaks ground on TechTown, formerly known as the “Wayne State University Research and Technology Park”… Ann Arbor’s HandyLab wins a $2 million grant for a portable DNA analysis device… Ford Motor and DTE Energy build a system to turn paint fumes into electricity…

August 2003: Delphi rolls out the Roady, a complete satellite radio system for under $120… GLITR email is knocked out along with the rest of CBS by the Love San virus… GLITR publishes on Friday, Aug. 15 despite a power outage that affected 50 million in the Northeast and Midwest… Email accounts across the country are clogged by the Sobig.F virus… Toronto-based Thomson Corp. buys Techstreet Inc., a six-year-old Ann Arbor start-up that provides full-text industry standards to engineers, researchers and technical information professionals both online and offline… GLITR Editor Matt Roush gets to ride a Segway at the Auto-Tech conference and decides they aren’t so stupid after all… Bill Gates addresses the Detroit Economic Club and says Microsoft bears much of the responsibility for stopping spam and viruses… Ann Arbor’s Gyricon Media replaces its president and CEO…

Tomorrow: September 2003 to August 2004

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