Up-To-Date – January 4 – 10, 1999

from the Up-To-Date dept

Claiming that Microsoft owes us each $10 billion simply for the aggravation factor

The not always serious, 
not always weekly update
on the High-Tech Industry
January 4th - January 10th, 1999
Claiming that Microsoft owes us each $10 billion
   simply for the aggravation factor
Back with a new batch   
Back after my holiday vacation.  Only somewhat amazed at the number of you who asked if I would ever write another issue.  Do these come out that fatigued?  I told you that nothing happened at the end of December, and I was going to spend my time ignoring anything having to do with the high tech world and I did (yeah, sure).  Special thanks to Danny and crew over at ntk.net for making sure that everyone who didn't subscribe to Up-To-Date in April did so on Christmas day.  The list is taking on so many subscribers from the British Isles, I might just have to start reviewing BBC program(mes).  I expect the mail bomb from Danny to arrive shortly.  On a more technical note, the influx of subscribers has me questioning my current system of managing the mailing list.  Anyone with knowledge/suggestions on mailing list management systems should feel free to contact me.  Thanks.  No matter what, welcome to the large number of new subscribers, and a big *phbbbbbbbt* to anyone who participated in the attempted hi-jacking of the Up-To-Date mailing list.  Okay.  On with ranting buzzwords (screw the explanations)...

Say that again...
"There are very few people who are thinking of Dilbert and thinking, 'Let's get it on.'"
- Scott Adams, Dilbert creator, explaining why they chose against creating Dilbert lingerie.  This suggests, of course, that Dilbert inspires heart burn, as we anxiously await the Dilburito (no joke).

"People are willing to serve up a lot of marketing information about who they are and where they live because if we don't know that, we can't send them their prizes."
- Mark Herman, Director of Sales and Marketing at NineCo.  I feel like I should comment, but the comment speaks volumes by itself.

"The Pope and our company share many of the same interests.  Sex is what drives our business and sex is a main concern of the Catholic Church."
- Seth Warshavsky, CEO of Internet Entertainment Group, one of the most recognized online porn companies, explaining why they are creating a site to "chronicle" the Pope's visit to St. Louis.

"If Microsoft forced upon the world a single browser, that would make things simpler, but that's not what choice is about. If Henry Ford had a monopoly, we'd all be driving black cars."
- Dr. Franklin Fisher, MIT Professor, at the DOJ trial, possibly rewriting history a bit, but it sure makes a nice sound-bite.

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
SpyGlass (yes, still in business) warns of a bigger than expected loss... CompUSA not doing all that well (gee, wonder why?)... Earthlink more than doubles revenue for the quarter, but is still losing money... Amazon is doing well, and had their stock split (3 for 1).  Investors apparently interpreted this as a way to jump back a month in history and bid it back up to pre-split levels... SAP warns that their earnings really aren't very good... Hyperion warns of less than expected earnings... Mentor Graphics says they'll have better than expected earnings, and finally gives up their hostile takeover attempt of Quickturn... AT&T is thinking about putting out a tracking stock to follow its TCI acquisition... 

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Excite and Lycos up for sale (well, we *knew* that!).  Sony talking with Excite, but they're less excited following AOL/Netscape.  AT&T also in the running, though, more recent rumors showed AT&T looking at MSN.  Of course, in the end everyone says all those talks are over anyway, so who cares?  As for Lycos, Bertelsmann or possibly News Corp are apparently in the running... Quark and Corel to join forces... Cabletron for sale... SyQuest about to get money and return to some sort of business... The Mining Company files to go public... Lucent to buy Ascend... 

News you should have read elsewhere
Who the hell isn't trying to buy AirTouch?  Oh, okay, MCI isn't (really).  Bell Atlantic and Vodaphone continue the battle in the meantime... AOL reports that AOLies were suckered out of $1 billion of their hard-earned cash this holiday season by purchasing stuff online (just how did they track all this?)... Microsoft bidding for British Telecom's cable TV franchise... AT&T in some insanely long contract to build out @Home's backbone... Echostar and WebTV to offer Internet access over satellite... 

News you could do without
AOL can't stop AT&T from using the terms "You Have Mail", "IM" or "Buddy List" (and I thought Tom Hanks was on WorldNet)... Go2Net shells out $13 million for Web21, more popularly known as 100Hot.com, whose lists seem to be based on the highly scientific "order found" method... Chalk it up to having no clue about their audience: eBay has difficulty trying to auction off various McGwire and Sosa home run balls... Entrepreneur Mag agrees to pay tons of cash to get a preferred spot on AOL... Comcast launching their own broadband portal (yawn)... AOL has drained ABC dry, and is now sucking the blood from CBS... Compaq pushing home networked PCs... WalMart sues Amazon again, but in a different state (if Dad says no, ask Mom?)... Netscape claims 10 million registered users for NetCenter (so, I assume, AOL will now think they have 25 million users?)... Microsoft Office 2000 will still be expensive... Bug found in Microsoft Excel... "Trojan Horse" email virus wreaking havoc on AOL users (or, so claims Network Associates, who make a pretty penny from virus scares)... Finjan hypes up a security hole ("Biggest ever!  We swear!") in IE that Microsoft posted a fix to a month ago... Microsoft suing folks who registered microsoftwindows.com and microsoftoffice.com... Oracle delays shipment of 8i... Adobe buys GoLive... Abortion clinic sues AOL because anti-abortion activists use the service to access the internet to look up info about abortion doctors (oh that's right, it's America, so sue the company that has the money, no matter how distantly connected they might be)... Lycos to be the "portal of choice" for IBM Aptivas... Katmai to be Pentium III... Charles Schwab web site went offline for a few hours Friday as the stock market shot up (and people are pissed)... GeoCities to work with InterWorld to integrate their technology for e-commerce... Starwars.com cracked, but not much is done (insert force joke here)... 

Multi-colored iMacs are actually considered big news (*sigh*)... Hayes really, finally, (seriously!) closes down... Mindspring buys up Netcom's customers... PlanetRx scoots in before Drugstore.com can even wake up to solidify a costly AOL spot (but who cares about the money?  It's just the VC's.)... Apple has announced that they've removed their price restrictions on iMacs.  Resellers can sell them for whatever price they see fit.  Isn't this illegal?  Since when can a distributor set prices for a reseller?  I thought there were laws against that sort of thing, but I guess laws don't apply to Mr. Jobs... Cisco to enter the consumer market with co-branded modems and other devices... McAfee invests in Bigfoot's NeoPlanet, a browser enhancement (that only works with MSIE)... Intergraph is kicked out of Mac Expo for displaying a machine running NT (What's wrong Steve?  Afraid to test those speed comparisons in front of people?)... Mitch Kapor joining Accel Partners (despite being an investor at Kleiner Perkins)... 

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Mercedes adding emergency navigation systems to their cars, so more folks can be led astray by computers... TalkNetRadio.com has opened up.  Anyone can have his or her own online radio show.  Of course, the better you are, the more you pay.  How's that for incentives?... Iridium satellites reflect the sun at the right angle (can shine for up to 20 seconds in some locations)... British Airways to install heart monitors and cardiac resuscitation devices (in preparation for Y2K ?)... Elron Software making a utility to specifically block access to info about the Clinton impeachment for corporations to install... What the hell is Microsoft's "Universal Plug and Play"?... Robokoneko, the robotic artificially intelligent cat with a "tabula rasa" brain... Itsy's Rock 'N' Scroll feature is actually kinda cool (now, all they need is a shake to erase feature and we'll be all set)... 

We stupid Americans aren't the slightest bit worried by the Y2K problem (except those of us who need to be on planes at the moment of truth) according to a recent poll... Media Metrix found that women are shopping online more than men are.  60% of online shoppers in the holiday season were women... From the folks at Zona we find out that nearly 60% of online shoppers during the holiday season were new shoppers (combine these studies and you get... oh, nothing)... Nearly one third of small business owners don't plan on preparing for Y2K at all, according to a study by the National Federation of Independent Business (N-FIB?)... Forrester claims that online advertising revenues will double in 1999, while Jupiter says they'll only go up from $2 billion to $3 billion.  Meanwhile, everyone else says that advertising is becoming less important, but they aren't big name research corporations, so who cares... 

Making cool, iMac like computers.  Everyone's talking about how beige is out, and we need cool looking computers.  Um, duh?  I remember this conversation 4 years ago... All the Y2K failures caused by the dawning of 1999.  What?  Civilization, as we know it, didn't even crumble just a little bit?  How disappointing... Sony Playstation emulator for the Mac (and, while we're at it, LinuxPPC has a bit of overhype to it as well).  On the Sony PSX front, the latest rumor is that Sony will sue Connectix for the emulator, even though it should only drive demand for PSX games (where they make their money from anyway)... 

The level of understanding the press has of this industry continues to deteriorate.  Take, for example, this week's fiasco with zap.com and Amazon.  Zap.com (the "internet powerhouse" of Zapata Corp) announced in a press release "Amazon to work with Zap.com!".  Reading the press release it's pretty easy to see that Zap simply filed to be an Amazon affiliate, which anyone with a web page can do, and was approved (hell, I'm approved to be an Amazon affiliate).  Too many news sources picked this up as a story (the Zap to work with Amazon part - not the stupidity).  As a result, the stock shot up.  I'm feeling sick.  I really (really) want to believe people are smart, but I'm proven wrong time and again... News.com is claiming that with the death of the word "portal" the new buzzword is going to be "destination"... 

Too much free time:
If jodi.org or superbad.com weren't enough for you, take a gander at http://www.absurd.org/ 

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. 

To subscribe to Up-To-Date type your email address in the box below and press enter: 

Click here to return to the Up-To-Date index.  

Comments are always welcome! 

If you would like to discuss this article with others, feel free to go to the Diner, or to e-mail our discussion list, backstage.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...