Februrary 22 – 28, 1998

from the Up-To-Date dept

Just waiting for someone to bid $9.8 billion In an attempt to buy me out…

The not always serious,
not always weekly update
on the Hi-Tech Industry
February 22nd - February 28th, 1998
Just waiting for someone to bid $9.8 billion
In an attempt to buy *me* out...
Say that again...
"There are squishier levels of transactions in this world than buying
things with money. Everything does not have to fit into a double-column
bookkeeping system."
- John Perry Barlow, EFF founder and always good for a strange word or two on technology

"We're intentionally vague as to when we're actually shipping this product."
- Bob Herbold, Microsoft COO, basically saying that the shipping date for NT 5.0 has slipped again.

"We know investors are unhappy. We're trying to fix it."
- J. Daniel McCranie, Senior VP of Sales at Cypress Semiconductor, who seems to be fixing the wrong thing.

"Customers do not just buy, they win."
- Jerry Kaplan, CEO of OnSale, explaining why customers keep coming back to his online auction (apparently, three quarters of sales come from repeat customers).

"Microsoft doesn't have a drunken captain who ruined the environment.
Microsoft doesn't kill people..."
- Pam Edstrom, VP of Microsoft's PR company

"On the Internet, the cost is $0,"
- Brad Burns, MCI Spokesman, explaining business on the web.

Simply Sad
Microsoft has released the beta of Windows 98 only to selected customers. Other people can *buy* the beta, if they so chose. I don't know about you, but I'm certainly not going to go out and pay money to Microsoft to find their bugs for them... Thieves in San Francisco stole 47 boxes of DRAM (apparently they haven't been keeping up on the DRAM market). Even news.com reported that "the thieves could have targeted better booty"...

That's not the way to do it...
Amazing. Content online doesn't work the same way as content in other forms. Would you believe it? Microsoft ditched its attempts at content because they simply didn't work... New Century Networks is reorganizing and focusing more on advertising rather than content (does something seem wrong here? I thought so, but analysts thought they made the right decision)... Time Warner is planning to stop publishing the Netly News (which wasn't "net"ly, nor was it always "news"). Apparently, they realized they needed to double their audience to make a profit... Meanwhile, AOL continued to chop away at its content staff, laying off 80 people at Digital City...

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
Sybase to lay off 600 employees (10% of its work force) and add a co-CEO... Micron Electronics warned of a "significant" second quarter loss. Analysts were predicting a down, but still profitable, quarter... Intuit beat estimates by a penny, but is down from last year... Novell beat estimates, but is very far down from last year... USWeb, which recently went public, has announced plans for a second public stock offering...

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Now that AMD made a deal to have its manufacturing outsourced to IBM, it's looking for someplace to outsource its chip design (hrmmm...)... Intel is having a few problems. Apparently, they're having trouble convincing people that it makes sense to upgrade processors any more. To move the process along, they've been leaking their "top secret" roadmaps (though this seems to only make people want to delay, as they see prices falling drastically). Furthermore, sources that have tested the upcoming 100Mhz bus release say they see no real performance gain over the standard 66Mhz bus. Uh oh... The phone companies' claims that they are running out of phone numbers is a hoax, used to hide the fact that their switching equipment is unsophisticated, and needs to be updated... One of the people who helped develop MS IE for Unix was a well-known developer of Java for Linux. Some are suggesting that MS hired him to slow down Java for Linux...

Berating the obvious: (they call this news???)
More storage thanks to the folks at IBM and Maxtor. Their new hard drive holds 11.5 Gigs, so we will be able to handle larger and larger bloatware, while we lose more and more important data... MS buys messaging/buddy system from Flash Communications... Network Associates, showing they're not a company to be trifled with, bought Trusted Information Systems this week, building up their powerhouse position, as a software company *not* competing with Microsoft (yet)... MS says NT 5.0 is on schedule (just like Windows 97 - oops)... AOL thinks that storing images online will be a "a real killer application" (um, yeah, okay)... WebCrawler to be "redefined"... Qualcomm's stock drop was short lived, thanks to some pretty big contracts... Computer Sciences *really* does not want to be taken over by Computer Associates. First they filed a lawsuit, and then they offered a reward to Golman Sachs or JP Morgan if they can prevent the takeover... Computer Associates, meanwhile, is taking the fight directly to shareholders, telling them that CSC executives don't have their interests in mind... AOL pays you to sign up friends (just what we need, people who fall for multi-level marketing schemes added to the ranks of AOL folks)... A bug in AOL's software found by a 14-year-old... AOL also had a pretty severe email outage last Monday... Also, Egghead (on the weekend in which it closed down the last of its physical stores to focus solely on the web) has a *two day* web outage (though they also made a deal to become the "exclusive" supplier on Yahoo!)... US Governors make plans to get taxes out of Internet commerce... President Clinton proposes law that would thwart Governors... Europe just generally pissed off at US plans for the Internet... Intel is gung ho on networking. Networking companies scared to death (what was that thing about paranoia again?)... The European Union (really, really, really) promises to do more about the year 2000 problem... AOL reaches one hundred European users... The NFL, which apparently couldn't sucker enough money out of the networks, has now created a bidding war among online entities as to who gets to build their web site... Microsoft to announce an online store... More and more corporations using Java (come on, you knew it would happen)... The Department of Defense totally blew out of proportion some teenagers trying to hack into its machines this week. Some think this is simply a ploy by the government to try to get more power in monitoring what happens online... IE 4.0 is popular with net newbies, says CNet... ISPs can't handle the massive influx of new customers they're getting... In related news, Best Internet Services (a very popular SF ISP and hosting service) and Hiway (a Florida ISP and hosting service) have decided to merge. This way, they feel that they'll be able to protect each other's data from earthquakes and hurricanes, respectively... Netscape officials deny that all Java Navigator has stopped production, and then, well, 'fessed up... Bloomberg, fresh off its deal with CNet, becomes the financial news supplier of AOL... A severed cable in Illinois disrupted phone service along the East Coast... That's nothing, though, compared to the poor city of Auckland in New Zealand, which has apparently lost almost all power for over a week now, and no one is sure when power will return... The FTC is beginning an investigation on how commercial web sites use the data they collect from visitors... Yet another big name bookstore on the net: Bertelsman A.G. is planning a web-based bookstore... Next Generation PalmPilot to be released sometime within the next two weeks. Supposedly it will be smaller, have more memory and a revised OS... RSA 56-bit encryption cracked faster than last time... HP gets export approval for its strong encryption technology (though some are saying it really isn't so strong)... Teledesic launched a "test" satellite this week, which received way too much publicity. It's only purpose was to test the frequency... MCI cuts long distance service prices due to "the lower cost of doing business online"... Hilton is "very pleased" with their online reservation system, which is generating tens of millions of dollars in revenue... Way too many reports on how the Olympics boosted traffic at sports sites. Of course it did. What did everyone expect?... The big lawsuit between Sun and Microsoft began this week, for a moment taking attention away from the DOJ suit... The U.S. Defense Department, the Justice Department and the Secret Service are "combining efforts" to fight electronic crime... The IRS admits that it probably won't be able to fix all of its computers of the Y2K problem in time... Microsoft kindly points out that no one has taken them up on the offer to supply a sans-IE OS... John Doerr says that while all companies are for sale, Netscape isn't...

Just as everyone thought that Intel was just going to toss StrongARM in a ditch, they come back and make a deal to use the chip in low cost handheld devices. Who cares that all the developers have left? The chip is designed, and Intel's got plenty of chip designers for future developments... RealNetworks buys Vivo (trying to build up that moat to keep Microsoft from crushing them)... The Yahoo! Visa card... Lycos to create a branded browser... Microsoft actually released IE for Sun Solaris... DEC has ordered a company-wide spending freeze. They have put a stop to hiring, travel, and even the use of cellular phones. They claim it has nothing to do with the Compaq acquisition (yeah, sure)... Apple made more revenue off of retail machines than HP or IBM in January. They came in third behind Compaq and Packard Bell. Though, in actual number of units of sold, Apple came in fifth... Amazon.com is thinking of expanding into the music business as well... Some grad students at University of Texas, working with Dupont have figured out a way to etch semiconductors with .08 micron technology, which might throw Gordon Moore for a loop... Steve Jobs finally got around to scrapping Newton OS development, as the company plans to focus on MacOS... Netscape thinks about commercial web hosting...

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Heard about this one from a number of you: British companies are starting to keep on record a DNA profile of top executives, so that in the event they are kidnapped, kidnappers can simply send a hair to prove they have them. This is, of course, instead of cutting off a finger or an ear (which was, apparently, standard practice before)... The Russian Defense Ministry has a web site (and some officers aren't happy about it)... Matt Drudge gets a TV show on Fox... Quickscape. A new browser designed specifically for slower machines lets you surf only the links on pages until you get to the point you want, and then load the full page in your regular browser... A Sudanese engineer has patented a technology to put in traditional Arab headdress to protect cellular phone users from radiation...

A report by Shelley Taylor & Associates says that many corporate web sites are failing to serve their audiences (made up of customers, investors, and potential employees)... A study by Keynote Systems shows that ADSL and Cable Modems really won't help speed up the Internet. There are some other fundamental problems that need to be fixed first... According to a study at the University of British Columbia, online courses need to be aesthetically pleasing to be effective... Technology spending was the top area for company spending, according to a study conducted by Robert Half International... Media Matrix has reported that AOL's personal finance area is its most popular... "Paperless society is *not* imminent" claims a brilliant study from the University of Virginia...

With MS buying a messaging/buddy system, I think soon folks will start clamoring for more of a standard. ICQers will want to talk with the Netscape/AOL system, or iChat. Eventually, I see this capability being incorporated directly into the browser...

Memes o' the week:
Encryption is your friend. Not a bad meme, mind you. A group of folks from all over are going rather mainstream in their approach to get this across. Get ready for television, radio, magazine, and newspaper ads to get you onto the crypto bandwagon... Computers in cars. Clarion Cop. is looking to replace factory-installed radios with a PC. Ford is looking to add a car PC, as is General Motors. Also, Sun has been working on a system that uses Java to talk to all of the car's computer systems...

Too much free time:
Tired of tricky mind puzzlers? Check out games you can't lose:

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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