August 17 – 23, 1998

from the Up-To-Date dept

Warning you: Don’t booze and ban…

The not always serious, 
not always weekly update
on the High-Tech Industry
August 17th - August 23rd, 1998
Warning you: Don't booze and ban...
Say that again...
"I once drank three pints of beer in an hour. My rhythm didn't match, and I was denied entry to my computer, because I was impaired."
- Gordon Ross, CEO of NetNanny. Yes, that's right, this is the man deciding what our kids are allowed to surf, talking about their new "biopassword" system. I wonder what gets banned after the third pint...

"The restructuring solves problems of spending money in areas we don't have to spend money in."
- Larry Rosen, CEO of N2K, in the Industry Standard, explaining the way business *should* be done.

"We're not going to run an ad that crashes someone's machine."
- Bob Pittman, President of AOL. Of course not: their client software has been proven to do it effectively all by itself...

iMac, uMac, we all Mac...
Lots of hype over the iMac release. Lots of sales. Lots of defects. Lots of "hey that actually *does* look kinda cool". I still stick by my call that the iMac is no savior. It's a funky looking computer, but I still think they'd be better off starting from scratch than trying to salvage a dying company...

Intel's Inside a lot these days...
This week had a whole slew of reports about companies that received money from Intel. This is a bit of a change from the usual Intel policy of "we'll give you money if you don't tell anyone about it". What's this an indication of? Perhaps Intel is realizing that it's in bigger trouble than it thought, and now needs to find more companies to help push processors to the limit. The more folks know your investing, the more folks start coming to you asking for investments...

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
HP is in trouble because it doesn't know how to handle investor expectations... Dell continues to beat estimates (and they understand the market's irrational love for stock splits)... Netscape breaks even (well, $80,000 - though of course, if they actually paid Bark anything there would have been a loss. I guess his lack of salary does make a difference)... Entrust IPO'd rather quietly all things considered... losing more money than ever, but that's okay: they're an "internet" company... Lycos beats the street as it gets closer and closer to almost profitable... NatSemi expects to lose more money than originally expected due to weak sales... Novell is making money (and growing revenue -- so it's not just a cost cutting trick)...

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Fires at recently sold Motorola factories in Taiwan blamed on "disgruntled workers"... Intel artificially creating a Pentium II shortage to make demand look strong... id is preparing to release Quake III -- Arena in early 1999. Why didn't they get it out in time for the Christmas season? Rumor has it that the fun folks at Intel paid them a ton of money to wait until Katmai comes out in early 1999... Bertelsmann, who has been having lots of trouble getting its "Books Online" online, is talking with Amazon and Barnes & Noble about a possible "partnership"...

News you could do without
The next version of the PalmPilot is going to be smaller, faster, and cooler (and in color)... Cisco is launching its first ever consumer ad campaign ("Cisco Outside"?)... Excite launches its "self building" communities, and a day later, Yahoo! claims to have the same thing -- in testing both they seemed more than a bit buggy... Since Yahoo! can never be satisfied to "just" match services, they announce their calendaring service as well (seems like a great idea until your friendly neighborhood thief checks your online calendar to see when your vacation is)... Jamaica should be just fine concerning the Y2K deal (of course that won't be until 2004)... Spyglass in a deal with Motorola as they attempt to see if two struggling companies struggle better together... Pitney Bowes claims patents for PC metering technologies (the "pay up, suckers" method of business)... Lucent and Sun to work together on unified messaging systems... British company fined for selling a copy of Duke Nukem to a 13-year-old... Compaq says Alpha is better than Merced... Intel swears that Intel and Compaq are still friendly, (nervous glance) right Compaq? (see where this is going?)... N2K's own music label ditched for a mere $7 million charge... NT 5.0 betas are out crashing systems everywhere - don't miss it... Netscape 4.06 is out, but those who care have already downloaded 4.5 beta... People are still pissed at Intel's "optimized for Intel" ad campaign... Excite names a new President... Major Yahoo! email outage... Okay, now the press *isn't* allowed to the MS depositions, which will be delayed for no reason, and then maybe will be made public to the press later via videotape, but possibly not. Get it?... @Home has service outage... ISPs don't have to pay local phone companies access fees... Barnes & Noble to spin off its online portion (as if anyone couldn't have called for that one)... First Virtual, a company in search of a business model, has acquired Email Publishing Co... Norton Utilities bug freezes Windows (I love when programs do the opposite of what they're supposed to)... Autodesk (still around?) buys Discreet Logic (still around???) for $530 million... AT&T not impressed by Ciena's products (investors simply "not impressed")... Cisco buys American Internet Corp... needs an "emergency" $26 million to stay in business (hey, come to think of it, I could use an "emergency" $26 million to stay in business as well -- any takers?)... Oracle acquires Versatility for $1.50 a share (ouch)... Analog Devices to shut down plants due to "under utilization"... USWeb buys Metrix Communications...

Cendant to market NetMarket to Juno customers. That's a lot of eyeballs, but mostly eyeballs that have chosen a "free" service. Are they likely to be the type willing to pay for a service? We'll see... Westwood Studios sold to Electronic Arts (is there any reasons most reports focused on the fact that Westwood was owned by Spelling Entertainment Group more than what the company did?)... Liquid Audio gets lots of new money from lots of big name folks with money... Java 1.2 delayed by another 2 months (at this point, I don't think Sun really should be pumping vaporware if it can't deliver)... Bristol Technologies made a lot of news this week filing anti-trust charges against Microsoft. MS, true to form, basically did the T2 evil finger wag back at them, as they prepare to crush them into mere pulp with their expensive lawyers... Excite's senior VP and co-founder is selling $2.8 million worth of shares, just as the company was beginning to look interesting. Does he know something we don't?... P&G holds an "Internet Advertising Summit"... Both Hearst and CBS are interested in taking a stake in iVillage. Could it be that people are realizing women use the Internet, too?...

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Activision is bringing back Space Invaders... The McSmartCard... Racing to be the "first" on the Internet to do something stupid. Last week I mentioned the open-heart surgery, which was planned for this past Wednesday. Well, some other rebel doctor went ahead and did a different open-heart surgery on the web on *Tuesday*. This can't be a good thing...

USA Today is making nearly 30% of its revenue from e-commerce (anyone have an idea how this effects editorial control?)... According to IDC, the fact that there will be more ways to access the internet will lead to more e-commerce (amazing what they think up these days)... 17% of all stock trades were done online last year, according to Piper Jaffray, though others think the number is higher... Forrester predicts online ad revenue will grow to $15 billion in the next five years... Media Metrix has released their latest "no surprise there" rankings: Yahoo! and AOL continue to lead... Here come more intrusive ads: a study by Ipsos-ASI has proven that people react better to bigger, more intrusive ads (personally, I think the "reaction" is to click away from them, but that could just be me)... At Plan has shown that there are plenty of senior citizens on the Internet, and they have money to spend... According to an NYU professor's study, the rich have better access to the Internet...

We've passed the 500 day mark to Y2K... IBM's Cobra computer...

We're getting to the point where investors are a little too dumb. If Reuters can get away with a report where they simply compare the *price* of Amazon's stock to B&N and consider it a direct comparison, and no one catches this, we've got problems...

Too much free time:
For all you paranoids out there (you know who you are -- and so do they): 

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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