May 17 – 23, 1998

from the Up-To-Date dept

Blaming my one day delay on the Galaxy-IV Satellite

The not always serious,
not always weekly update
on the High-Tech Industry
May 17th - May 23rd, 1998
Blaming my one day delay on the Galaxy-IV Satellite
Say that again...
"People think Bill Gates is rough, but he's a powder puff compared with Rockefeller."
- Ron Chernow, author of a biography of John D. Rockefeller Sr.

"We don't and haven't ever called it push technology.... It's always been for us Internet Broadcast News,"
- A spokeswoman for Pointcast, trying to distance themselves from the carcass of buzzwords-past

"There was no such thing as the Internet five years ago."
- Neil Herman, technology analyst for Salomon Smith Barney, giving "Internet time" an entirely new meaning, in CNNfn

"I think Apple should be the Apple of this business."
- Steve Jobs, Apple CEO (let's ditch the interim already), on Apple's brilliant new strategy, in Business Week

Isn't it funny...
... that a few weeks ago Microsoft was warning that any delay in the delivery of Win98 would spell catastrophic doom for the world economy, and now that the case has been brought forward they announce that it will have no "material impact" on any of their earnings... And, now, according to CompUSA, the lawsuit has actually turned into a great marketing ploy, as more people than expected have purchased advance copies of Windows 98... Microsoft claimed they needed at least 7 months just to gather the documents to answer charges (come on), and didn't get it. Of course, they also didn't receive an injunction to stop shipping Windows 98, even though some fairly incriminating memos were put forth...

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
------------------------------------------ has filed for an IPO. Expect another hypefest of some magnitude... Zip2 and CitySearch decide not to merge after all. Ha ha, it was just a big joke... Games publisher Interplay files for an IPO (hell with titles such as Descent, Redneck Rampage, and Carmageddon, why not?)... Intuit had a damn nice quarter (and uses their good fortune to buy Lacerte software) and announces plans to sell more even more shares than planned in its latest public offering... NetGravity, hoping to build on DoubleClick's successful IPO, files for their own... Dell reports better than expected earnings and the stock goes down... Ciena reports better than expected earnings and the stock goes down... Autodesk reports better than expected earnings and the stock goes down (sense a pattern? This is not a particularly happy market)... Excite files to sell more shares (not, however, to Zapata - the wonderful fish oil processing company - founded by George Bush - that suddenly has decided it's an Internet company and has put full pages ads saying "We'll buy your web page" all over)... Informix, once again, needs to restate earnings (keep on trying until you get it right)... Zenith Electronics files for bankruptcy, but then, maybe doesn't?... As all the technology stocks had fun in free fall this week, Com21 went public and shot up...

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Microsoft is looking to buy RoadRunner - Time Warner's high speed Internet access service... 90% of pagers went out this week due to the Galaxy IV satellite spinning out of orbit. True conspiracy buffs said it was to lessen drug dealer communication as drug raids increased early this week (okay, that's probably ridiculous, but 90% of pager traffic through one satellite? Isn't there someone who thinks about these things ahead of time?)... AOL, realizing they'd been destroyed by ICQ, decides they might as well just buy Mirabilis (makers of ICQ). ICQ users are "pissed off"... IBM has been more or less "borrowing" Cyrix technology before NatSemi takes over all of Cyrix fabrication...

News you could do without
Seagate claims that the disk drive storage industry has seen its worst (gotta say something nice to calm the fears of people on a sinking ship, I guess)... The Leaders of the G8 countries say they've agreed to take "urgent" action to combat the Y2K problem (um... if they really wanted to take urgent action they'd get to work instead of holding press conferences)... Microsoft expects to be sued over Y2K problems (and just why do I expect their response to be childish, at best?)... Mecklermedia buys the ISPCON trade shows and Boardwatch Magazine (attempting to hide further losses?)... Network Solutions announces its 2 millionth domain name registration (yippee)... Microsoft Sidewalk has a new business plan and will be revamped over the summer to be more e-commerce focused (apparently Microsoft has decided that Sidewalk must be continually buzzword compliant)... IBM to push the Internet telephony of IDT... to use IDT for its internet telephony needs as well... Network solutions has started an advertising campaign that they are the "dot com people" (why yes, I almost did throw up when I heard that)... Quantum is buying ATL... Lotus buys DataBeam and Ubique in an attempt to add real-time communication and collaboration tools to its software (about time)... Umax slashes prices on Apple clones, and then decides they don't want to sell them anyway... continues to rock. In its first six weeks over 10,000 airline tickets have been sold through them and was one of the 10 most visited web sites last month... Perfect timing: just as Priceline seeks to undercut them, United Airlines has invested in the Internet Travel Network... Fidelity Investments has over one million online accounts... AltaVista, apparently a year behind everyone else in this business, has decided to add "channels" to its web site... Ooops. Turns out that 3Com switches have a pretty big security hole in them... AT&T is trying to make the same exact deals that it recently tried to prevent Qwest for establishing (and now, after a judge originally refused, the FCC agrees to look at the Qwest deal)... Juno is up to 5 million subscribers... MCI follows AT&T in getting rid of flat rate service for people who use their Internet service for more than 150 hours a month... BellSouth to rollout ADSL in August... AT&T starting Internet telephony trials... Snap, the struggling wanna-be portal owned by CNet, has added free email... Sharper Image to go online... WTO decides that the Internet should be duty-free for a year (ooh, big concession)... Packard Bell looking to make super-cheap (<$500) computers with Cyrix chips... Yahoo! and Netscape ditch Netscape Guide by Yahoo! only one year into the process when they realize that, well, no one used it... Infoseek claims it has "breakthrough" new search technology that will make its search engine have greatly improved searching results... Fujitsu predicts weak sales in semiconductors (seems like a popular move)... AMD will officially release the K6-2 this week...

Motorola and Teledesic to work together on Teledesic's Internet-in-the-sky (so, let's see, Motorola gains access to a satellite system that actually has bandwidth, and Teledesic gains access to... er... oh yeah, Motorola's experience in failing to put up a good satellite system - and $750 million)... Yahoo! and AT&T in an Internet marketing pact (and just why is it that no one seems concerned about MCI's feelings in this matter?)... The European Union says that Microsoft anti-trust issues are the US's problem, and not theirs (makes you wonder who MS might have bribed)... The online version of the San Jose Mercury News has dropped their subscription policy, so that the content is now free for all to see (moving in the *right* direction, as opposed to Slate and BusinessWeek)... Yahoo! switches to powerful (and soon to be public) Inktomi's search engine technology for its guide pages... CDNow has a huge market share lead over Music Boulevard (33% to 12%)... Intel is canceling plans for a mobile version of its Katmai processor... Intel, in an obvious effort to throw the DOJ off of their trail, has licensed some of their Pentium II technology to other companies... MCI might be selling off their backbone (not to be confused with their spine) to ward off the DOJ as well... Intergraph notebooks?... Citibank chooses Netscape over Microsoft for its electronic commerce software... Mindspring says it has too many customers in some areas, and stops signing up new folks... Just a week after IBM CEO Lou Gerstner said that all is beautiful with IBM's future, it turns out he just sold a bunch of shares... Sega powered by Windows CE (is this a joke?)...

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
The Imagek EFS-1 Electronic Film System, which gives you a nice cartridge that fits into a regular 35mm film camera where the film should go, but lets you take digital pictures. Fascinatingly cool. ( ... Bluetooth wireless technology from IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba. It actually does sound rather cool. One step closer to a totally connected world... A special hologram to be used in the new design of the euro currency to prevent counterfeiting is missing... Computer and robot assisted open-heart surgery in France... If you can't prevent your kids from surfing to bad sites, you might as well spy on them so they lose all trust and respect for you. Thanks to a new product called Prudence parents can spy on where their kids surf...

Workers receive an average of 190 messages a day (email, phone calls, faxes, voice mail, etc) according to a Pitney Bowes study... According to eMarketer, e-commerce will be a $26 billion market by 2002... Meanwhile, digerati guru Nicholas Negroponte predicted that online commerce could reach $1 trillion by 2000... According to the Economic Strategy Institute, the US policy on encryption will cost US companies $9 billion over the next five years (could someone hand Louis Freeh a clue?)... 23% of the adult population uses the Internet according to Mediamark Research Inc... According to Ovum, by the year 2003, there will be as many smart cards in the world as there are people...

Apple incorporating some Wintel technologies was hyped to the point where you could have thought that Apple was simply going to become another PC maker... AOL and Kodak's "You've Got Pictures!" deal. Is it really that exciting that you can deliver pictures online?...

I'm actually wondering why this hasn't already happened (though perhaps it has?). Why is everyone waiting for the US Government to solve Netscape's woes with Microsoft? Why isn't there a real grass-roots campaign that tells companies like Dell and Compaq that they won't buy computers from them unless it includes Netscape? Then we wouldn't have companies like NEC and Gateway feeling like they need to "quietly" add back the option to have Netscape pre-installed on their machines...

Too much free time:
Time to take some quizzes:

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. Finally, an explicit warning about investing: I do not, under any circumstance, consider any piece of information in this newsletter "investment advice" and neither should you.

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