January 18 – 24, 1998

from the Up-To-Date dept

In a show of solidarity, Up-To-Date will continue to distribute its source code, free of charge

The not always serious, 
not always weekly update
on the Hi-Tech Industry
January 18th - January 24th, 1998
In a show of solidarity, Up-To-Date will continue
to distribute its source code, free of charge
Say that again... 
"We're having to lay off 400 people. In some companies, that takes six months. In Netscape, that takes three weeks." 
- Mike Homer, VP of Marketing at Netscape showing that efficiency is 
everything in this business, in the San Francisco Examiner 

"Scott McNealy and Larry Ellison are motivated not by their concern for their customers, but by their desire to be the new dictator." 
- Jesse Berst and Annette Hamilton, two reporters for ZDNet, in the Red Herring 

"Giving away the source code is not something our customers have asked for. They don't want to plow through it." 
- Dave Fester, Microsoft Internet Explorer group product manager in response to Netscape's decision. 

"It's kind of like Microsoft vs. mankind--and mankind is the underdog." 
- Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, in Business Week 

A Week of Big News 
These three stories probably fit under "surprises" but I felt were big enough to call out separately:  Netscape's decision to release their browser for free was non-news (and should never have even come into question, as they never should have started charging for the browser) but their decision to release the source-code for future versions was huge news.  Now developers all over will be able to get their hands on the source code and (hopefully) push on the development of this free software, much along the lines of Linux or Apache.  The potential here is huge, but the questions remain.  Can Netscape really act in a Linus role?  Can they really handle a GNU type license?  I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they will do the right thing, but I will keep in mind that they thought charging for Navigator was a good idea... Microsoft's "backing down" to the Justice Department on the browser included on the desktop thing shows, for the first time in this ordeal, a sign of Microsoft not acting like an elementary school child caught cutting class... SGI found a CEO!  Rick Belluzo, who I think is both crazy for taking the job and the right person to do so, jumps ship from HP.  I'm still hesitant to raise my estimates on SGI's chances of a comeback, but this new leadership might provide the shot in the arm and direction that the company needs... 

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like 
IBM has warned that its profits will be a "little off" this quarter, causing its stock to drop nearly 5% in one day... Texas Instruments missed earnings expectations, though they beat last year's numbers handily... Good week for box-makers: Compaq's bottom line was above expectations and Gateway2000 surprised the analysts (and me) by beating last year's numbers easily... Bay Networks beat earnings estimates by a penny, but CEO David House's warnings about Asia cause the stock to drop nearly 10%... Microsoft beat estimates easily, but warned that its next two quarters would show flat earnings (due to Asia, and *not* any DOJ problems)... Sybase took quite a dive after announcing it would have to restate its first three quarters' revenue and earnings reports due to a "small group of people [who] willfully...lied to us."  How long before the class-action suit on behalf of investors?... SGI reports a loss while analysts (why?) were expecting some profits... Iomega missed expectations, but beat last year's numbers easily.  The Street didn't particularly care, as they knocked a good 30% off the stock... Infoseek, announces losses, and attempts to raise some capital with another common stock offering (good luck)... Xerox posts some nice earnings, beating estimates and last year's numbers... 

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week... 
Netscape's cutting back is actually an attempt to attract a suitor (such as IBM).  While I have no clue if it's true, it seems to me that IBM would make the perfect suitor for Netscape.  Combining Netscape with their Lotus Division could give IBM a strong competitive position in the enterprise software market... Tripod.com, that hip, home of twenty-somethings is for sale... The labor shortage in the tech industry that everyone keeps talking about is just a sham to increase the number of cheap college graduates, and allow companies to bring in more foreign (cheaper) workers... AT&T is going to cut 15,000 to 20,000 jobs this week... Microsoft is rumored to be interested in buying British Telecom (denied by both sides)... 

Berating the obvious: (they call this news???) 
Intel has a new "Quick Web" caching system to "double" the speed with which you browse the web (only if you look mainly at pictures, and don't mind them being of crappy quality - oh yeah, and you have to pay for it)... Borland finally realizes the days of shrink wrapped software sales is going away (really?)... Microsoft "pressured" customers away from using Novell's networking products... Microsoft, Compaq, and Intel promise a standard for DSL.  4 of 5 regional Bells join immediately, as does Bell Atlantic, a day late (my guess is they missed the news altogether until everyone started writing stories on how dumb they looked)... At the same time, Lucent and Rockwell decide to work together on DSL... Microsoft Sidewalk to revamp,  add more cities, and lose some staff... It only takes a day for anti-spammers to shut down Sanford Wallace's (king of Spam) new website (though it did take them a week to find it)... AOL is up to 11 million (misguided) users... Digital Equipment has started testing its new MilliCent electronic commerce software... JavaScript bug found in Netscape Navigator 4.04... Sun promoted Edward Zander to COO, possibly as a reward for not jumping ship to take the Apple CEO position (hey, I turned down the Apple CEO position, too!)... AOL admits that it messed up in giving out sailor's personal info, but says "the Navy (illegally) made us do it!"... Prodigy gets rid of its content business (surprising those of us who forgot Prodigy was even in *any* business)... DEC to cut prices on its desktop systems... Wired really is for sale (pay no attention to that Louis Rossetto guy in the corner)... IBM has decided to donate $3.5 million to US Universities in support of Internet 2... 

NBC bought shares of the Mining Company... NetChannel, maker of set-top internet boxes that compete with Web-TV has sold out... Fox News Online will be the first free site to display real-time stock quotes... @Home has doubled its subscriber base over the last quarter... Someone hired former Apple CEO, Gil Amelio (while Ellen Hancock, former Executive VP of Technology is still passing around resumes)... PSINet receives and spurns an unsolicited $400 million offer from U.S. Internetworking... 

(Mis)Uses of Technology: 
According to CyberPsychology (yes, a horrible name, and it makes me distrust them immediately) we have college campuses to blame for the "rapidly growing epidemic" of internet addictions.  Well, hell, I guess we should ban internet access at college... Russia is apparently thinking about extending the life of the Mir space station, as apparently, it hasn't put enough lives in jeopardy... Israelis will soon allow you to file divorce papers over the internet, so you don't need to go through the hassle of going to court... 

According to Netcraft, the number one web server is neither Microsoft nor Netscape, but Apache, the freely distributed, mass developed web server with just over 50% of the market... A study by Andersen Consulting (paid for by Peapod - the online grocer) says that online shopping will grow 100 times over the next ten years... Olsten Staffing Service has conducted a study of software usage, showing us what we already knew: people are using the Microsoft Office products a great deal more than any competitive offerings... Apple admitted this week that its market share is down to 3%... The consumer software market saw revenue hit $5.5 billion this year. Educational software showed the largest jump, followed by games... 

Intel's QuickWeb is going nowhere, quickly... The Air Force will, indeed, ban numerous internet related products as a security hazard, and other armed forces will follow suit (if you're wondering I think it's a good idea)... 

Memes o' the week: 
More on internet addiction.  At Alfred University, administrators apparently have found a correlation between high internet use and academic dismissals (I must be an anomaly at Cornell)... Cheesy puns.  If I had a billion dollars for each time a news service reported that Microsoft Sidewalk was to be "re-paved" this week, the Department of Justice would probably be investigating me, too... "Open" Netscape development.  With the announcement of plans to release Netscape's source code, developers are already planning what they are going to do with the browser.  Openscape.com was put together within 24 hours of the announcement in an attempt to bring all such developers together... Spam is okay when "good" people are behind it.  Wired spammed its readers this week (I received 3 copies, unfortunately) to tell us all about Wit Capital - something that was in their last issue - and something which Wired owns a share of.  Conflict of  interest?... 

Too much free time: 
A long, but quite amusing, story about the fun you can have with junk mail. Don't try this at home:  http://www.dnai.com/~pcombs/$$tablecontents.html

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.  

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