Up-To-Date – November 30 – December 6,1998

from the Up-To-Date dept

Waiting for Victoria’s Secret to spin off its online counterpart for a multi billion dollar valuation

The not always serious, 
not always weekly update
on the High-Tech Industry
November 30th - December 6th, 1998
Waiting for Victoria's Secret to spin off its
  online counterpart for a multi billion dollar valuation
Say that again...
"You are going to put me in the Windows box. I am not going to do shit for you because I am king of the world. You know, I am AT&T."
- Tom Evslin, apparently said while head of AT&T WorldNet to Microsoft folks a while back (as reported during that damn trial).     

"I want Lara Croft to be an ambassador for British scientific excellence."
- Science Minister Lord Sainsbury of Turville.  I sincerely hope that one of the many British readers of Up-To-Date will let me know that this was a joke (please!!).  If you happen to be a reader who doesn't understand why this is hilarious, I urge you to figure it out (homework, for ya)...

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
IDT is considering IPOing off its Internet communications business... More Internet related IPO lameness: TicketMaster/CitySearch, e-Tek and uBid all have ridiculous openings (is anyone else getting tired of this?)... Apparently struggling Internet companies find it encouraging, as Vignette re-files to go public... Stock shenanigans: Reuters mistakenly prints Ticketmaster's symbol as TMCO (Temco Service Industries International) and the stock (does no one check these things before they buy?) zips up to a mighty $65 from $23 (think of how much better the actual stock, TMCS, could have done)... Also, WavePhore flips out when James Cramer of TheStreet.com says nasty things about them on CNBC (he admitted he shorted the stock) and the stock tanks.  Looks like JC might be talking to the folks at the SEC again... NEC cutting 13% of its work force... 

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Everyone's expecting PointCast to be sold off to BellSouth (why?).... Quote.com to be bought by Intuit, no wait, that's off, now it's E*Trade, no that won't work, and oh, shit, they're pretty much out of money... Despite Marc Andreessen's recent comments about how Washington DC is likely to be the next Silicon Valley (proving that he's never really been to DC), the latest rumor is that he's going to jump ship to Sun (where, by the way, they've finally promoted Bill Joy to Chief Scientist)... 

News you should have read elsewhere
NBC "buys" a stake in iVillage by offering free advertising (demonstrating confidence, though not necessarily intelligence, on the part of iVillage)... Apple to lower the price on the iMac and offer a new, higher end one for the current price... EchoStar buys the third US license for satellite TV from Rupert Murdoch and MCI WorldCom... AOL offers Netscape employees an extra month's salary if they stick around (apparently showing the price of selling one's soul)... Cisco buys PipeLinks Inc. for lots of stock... Oracle jumps into online billing by integrating with CheckFree's payment service... In order to "level the playing field" the US convinces too many countries that they should use the same ridiculous export laws on encryption... 

News you could do without
Oh darn, looks like we all missed yet another chance to go to the International Symposium on Wearable Computers (while the geek in me thinks wearable computers are cool - a conference of folks like that scares me to no end)... Imatec and Apple don't settle their patent infringement lawsuit, meaning yet another annoying lawsuit to deal with... Compaq starts dumping Digital workers in Germany... Microsoft to distribute MetaCreations' MetaStream with Windows 98 and everyone goes crazy...  CoolSavings sues H.O.T! Coupons Inc., CouponSurfer, and emaildirect for patent infringement (apparently we've got a case of the poor suing the poorer in a desperate attempt at belittling the already stupid concept of patenting business models)... GeoCities has a new look and feel (that oughta really help differentiate them)... Corel agrees to license Hedy Lamarr's picture that they used for years on the CorelDraw box to avoid a lawsuit... Hotmail hits 30 million accounts and, to celebrate, their servers go haywire, sending many copies of each email sent, clogging the Internet for (just) a few hours on Friday... Microsoft and Citibank team up, so that Citibank customers can automatically download statements into Money 99... Imagine Radio will let you pick specific albums that you like to be part of your own personal "Imagine Radio Station" (but they promise to do it in a way that encourages you to buy the album - followed with a "please don't sue us, RIAA" type of comment)... It takes the judge in the Microsoft case a week to realize that MS is just stalling by continuing to question a pointless government economics witness... Diamond decides to countersue RIAA for trying to block the RIO... Big Entertainment Inc. pulls an Egghead.com and shuts down its retail stores to focus only on the internet... Victoria's Secret online.  How could it *not* do well while mixing sex and e-commerce?  All they need to do is add in stock quotes and they'll have another Amazon or Yahoo (or eBay, these days)... Kevin Mitnick's trial delayed (again)... Windows 2000 beta delayed... 

British Telecom opening up their telephone network to, well, it seems to be to crackers... Intel buys iCat (rumored to be in serious trouble).  Rumor has it that they'll combine it with Pandesic (sounds like a plan: combine two failed e-commerce software concepts and see what you get)... Cyberian Outpost (or just Outpost.com according to their latest, quite funny, TV commercials) had a happy Thanksgiving weekend hitting $1 million in sales on one day alone... Virginia thinking about throwing spammers in jail... The SEC approves Internet stock markets, meaning that it will be even easier for clueless retail traders to drive the values of stocks such as eBay up to $9 billion... RoadRunner claims it has more users than @Home... MiningCo adds an e-commerce component where guides make money by getting people to buy stuff (editorial integrity flies out the window when you realize it doesn't pay the bills, I guess)... The IRS plans to have 80% of taxes filed electronically by 2007 (let's just focus on making it through 2000 before we start leaping too far ahead, guys)... New book from Joe Firmage of USWeb is as wacky as predicted, including such things as implying microprocessors are an offshoot of alien technology...

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Building supercomputers out of DSPs... Apple's P1 wireless palmtop device.  From what I've heard it will probably be too big, too expensive, and too pointless to get much attention from anyone other than the Mac faithful... NTT looking to sell mobile phones for pets (apparently this is serious)... 

Semico Research warns that we could run into a wafer shortage for semiconductor manufacturers in the next few years (I have to admit I only read the overview of the study, and the claims don't make much sense the way that they're worded.  Does anyone have any more details?)... A study by ZD Market Intelligence claims that almost 50 percent of households in the US own a PC... 61% of companies do not use any metrics for measuring and justifying their web businesses according to Mainspring Inc.... Dataquest points out that cable modem sales worldwide doubled this past year... But, before you think the revolution has begun, Cable World magazine reports a study saying that 73% of people surveyed don't want cable modems... Lucent study finds that record labels are likely to lose out thanks to the Internet (ooh, they must have spent a long time figuring that one out)... A recent study by D.H. Brown Associates tells us what we knew all along: when compared to just about any flavor of Unix, MS NT sucks... 

The PalmVII (and what of IV through VI?).  Looks cool.  Seems cool.  But $800?  Ouch.  Then per *character* charges?  Ouch.  Not sure if it's worth it just so I can instant message somebody when away from my desktop... Amazon.com to be the exclusive bookseller of Broadcast.com (why is this big news?)... Anything involving the words "Furby" and "Internet"... 

The flare-up this week about the Linux "worm" (despite the fact the worm was discovered six months ago) will be used by MS supporters about the lack of security found in open source projects... 

Too much free time:
Really not much to say about this one:

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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