November 30 – December 6, 1997

from the Up-To-Date dept

Sponsored by the Technology Management Club of Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. And the “Phil Zimmermann for FBI Director” Committee

                                The not always serious, 
                                not always weekly update
                                on the Hi-Tech Industry
                                November 30th - December 6th
                Sponsored by the Technology Management Club of 
                Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management.
                And the "Phil Zimmermann for FBI Director" Committee

Say that again...
"We're not going to be a bank. If somebody handed me a certificate that
said that I could be the only bank on the Internet, though, I'd be very
tempted to be a bank, I have to say."
- Bill Gates

"I think what we're doing is right, lawful, moral, proper, and competitive.
I might even say it's the American way."
- Steve Ballmer, Microsoft #2, being positively modest

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
CDNow files for IPO... E*Trade falls as they report new accounts are
"slowing"... Ascend turns down a $35/share takeover bid from Lucent.
Didn't Lucent just buy Livingston?  Apparently that's not enough... USWeb's
IPO was a disappointment on Friday, launching well below expectations, but
then proceeded to head up... 

Changing Affiliations...
Big news in the privacy world this week as Network Associates (formerly
McAfee) bought Phil Zimmermann's Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) for $35 million.
Online security minded folks went bezerk.  McAfee is a member of the Key
Recovery Alliance that supports the government's view that they should be
able to have a "backdoor" into any encrypted data.  Zimmermann (who has
spent a good amount of time and energy fighting the government on this
point ever since his PGP was declared "munitions" for being too damn
strong) was accused of selling out to the tune of $35 million.  People
everywhere declared that they would never touch PGP again, as they feared
Network Associates would slip a hidden entrance in.  The latest on this,
though is that Network Associates has removed itself from the Alliance and
claimed it will no longer support such actions.  Also rumor has it that
Clinton is looking to get rid of Louis Freeh, the FBI head who has been the
big pain-in-the-neck pushing Key Recovery... Intel ditches the hi-tech
contingent of lobbyists in the battle for digital TV standards and says
they're just dandy with the horrible quality of interlaced television that
the broadcasters want... 

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Intel's next generation Merced microprocessor having problems.  Project
leadership has changed hands for the seventh time and HP is getting annoyed
with the entire project.  The rumor now is that Merced will look a bit more
Alpha like than was previously planned, thanks to the recent Intel
purchase... WorldCom to buy AOL... Compaq to put AMD K6s (assuming AMD
produces any) in Presarios... Lee Iacocca to become Apple CEO?... Microsoft
looking to buy Hotmail... 

Berating the obvious: (they call this news???)
Big content and online companies meet in DC this week and decide (surprise
surprise) that they'll try (really!) to control their own content... Cirrus
Logic "refocuses" to find that its graphics chips were out of focus...
European Union plans to connect "every schoolchild" to the Internet... AOL
has succumbed and will be using Microsoft Outlook as its email client
(wrapped in an AOL coating)... At the same time for a period of time this
week AOL was not accepting any email from MSN.  Neither side could figure
out the problem and (naturally) insisted it was the other's fault... @Home
to also do @Hotels apparently, though not with its own cable modem
technology:  "We have to use what works" said a senior VP at @Home.  All of
you who bought some of that overinflated @Home stock?  Now might be a good
time to sell... DejaNews to expand... Goldman's Rick Sherlund lowers rating
on Oracle and everyone flips out... Prices on flat panels to come down...
Children's Internet Summit called a "PR Event" by (nah?
Really?)... Micron opposed to bailout of Korean memory chip makers...
Microsoft Network drops European Internet Access... Headhunting firms "look
to the web"... ichat buys GlobalChat as the "chat" business begins to
consolidate... 3Com has incredible amounts of excess inventory (rumored to
be made up of USRobotics modems)... goes down for half a
day with no explanation... Massive layoffs (37% of workforce) at AST
computer... Kodak files suit against 3M and Imation for trade secret
theft... Intel develops own design for Network Computer (not surprisingly,
this design requires Intel architecture, as compared to all the original
processor-independent designs)... Cadence expects to continue to grow at
30-35% a year in sales, even without Joe Costello... Ascend sued by
shareholders for withholding "valuable" information... Yet Another
Financial News Site: ZDNet is going to launch Inter@citve Investor...
Europe has not prepared itself for convergence, says the European
Commission... Dell reduces prices... Louis Rosetto, the founder of Wired,
once again steps (is pushed) further away from control of the magazine and
related businesses... ZDNet asks "Is Wired in Trouble?" (wake up, folks)...
Disney chief, Michael Eisner becomes wealthier... Steve Jobs to give
keynote at Macworld Expo (who else could they get?)... SGI shareholders sue
about "misleading statements" made this summer.  Hell, after the stunts SGI
played this summer to boost their numbers, I'd probably sue too... Copper,
copper, copper.  Texas Instruments announces copper chip breakthrough along
with everyone else... If you want to upgrade NT4.0, you need to have IE4.0
installed.  Hrmmm... Government officials consider the Internet to be a
"ticking time bomb"... Executive search at Apple "not progressing as
rapidly as planned" says search firm... 

Modem companies agree on "tentative" 56-kbps standard (finally)... Axent
buys Raptor in more consolidation of network security firms... Siemens AG
and Newbridge Networks buys RADNet Ltd... Free access to the Wall Street
Journal Interactive via WavePhore... @Home, who had been working closely
with Netscape, makes an agreement to work with Microsoft on broadband
software... IBM puts $10 million towards an E-commerce "think tank"... An
engineer from Qualcomm has been accused of being a U.S. spy by the
Russians... Qualcomm (totally unrelated.... I think) acquires Now Software,
to incorporate Now Up-To-Date (no relation) into the Eudora email
program... Toshiba changes its mind.  Suddenly starts denying reports from
last week saying that they were dropping out of the desktop business.  Now,
they claim, they've just "delayed" their new product introduction... 

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Motorola introduces a "two-way" pager... Playboy adds 3D "virtual bachelor
pad"... Digital information pheromones.  Researchers are trying to create
search engines based on the way ants find food... ATMs that will scan your
retina to be introduced in the U.K.... Software program can look through
source code to detect software plagiarism... 

PC World ranks AOL the worst online service (no surprise there), while
IBM's Internet Connection ranks first... Rising salaries for tech workers
"upsets" non-techies... Online shopping sites start the holiday season off
with 30% higher sales... A recent study from the Yankee Group suggests that
while people want faster internet access, they don't want cable modems...
According to Media Matrix, is the most often visited news site,
followed by and Gartner Group says Network
Computers aren't very useful, and won't be accepted, especially with
today's bandwidth constraints.  While I agree with this viewpoint, I find
it interesting to note that Gartner Group started the whole damn Network
Computer Craze in the first place with their ridiculous study on how
expensive PCs were to manage... New study by the authors of "TechnoStress"
shows that technology training through "immersive" workshops "doesn't
work".  People need the chance to "explore and play" in order to learn
technologies (well, duh)... CMP Research released a study showing that
electronic commerce will grow more than 50% next year and only 18% of
companies expect to lose money through their online businesses (and how
many companies do *you* think will be dispappointed?)... A study from
DISK/TREND predicts that 986,000 disk arrays (RAID subsystems) will be sold
this year, up nearly 30%... 

Cable companies pushing back against Microsoft.  Even as Bill Gates
continues to look for more cable firms to pay off to support his WebTV
project, the cable companies are resisting.  This week 31 cable companies
agreed to test out WorldGate's "Internet TV Over Cable" at $4.95/month...
BusinessWeek's plan to charge for access to their website starting in
January will fail miserably.  Haven't people realized?  The only online
content people are paying for is critical, time-sensitive data and porn... 

Memes o' the week:
Software piracy crackdowns were all over the news last week.  The one that
got me was the bust in Miami for a company selling illegal copies of
Windows 3.1 and DOS.  I mean, look, if I were Microsoft, and I found anyone
who could *sell* old crappy operating systems, I'd *hire* them, dammit.
Not arrest them... Cyber activism!  Plenty of reports surrounding the
online rallying against Disneyland for the plan to remove Mr. Toad's Wild
Ride (my favorite Disney ride)... 

Too much free time:
Yes, it's exactly what it says.  It's Stick Figure Death Theater (not
recommended for the weak of heart):

Up To Date is written by Mike Masnick from whatever news he hears from 
whatever sources they happen to come from.  It is not intended for any uses 
other than as one of many possible ways to follow what's going on in the 
hi-tech industry.  I certainly wouldn't rely on it as your only source of
info.  And, of course, my comments may not accurately reflect reality. 

If you would like to subscribe to the email version please send an email to with "Subscribe Up To Date" in the subject heading. 
Up To Date is also available on the web at 

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