January 18 – 24, 1999

from the Up-To-Date dept

Thinking that Jini-HAVI really isn’t that catchy…

The not always serious,?
not always weekly update
on the High-Tech Industry
January 18th - January 24th, 1999
Thinking that Jini-HAVI really isn't that catchy...?
'Fessing up
So, it turns out that great story about Chinese airline chiefs having to be in the air on January 1, 2000 is a fake.? Of course, lots of folks fell for it, including Reuters and the Financial Times.? And, how many of those sources recanted the story?? Too bad...?

Say that again...
"They [Microsoft] record operating system sales by hand on a piece of paper."
- Richard Schmalensee, on Microsoft's accounting practices.?? While I'd bet this isn't true, it's fascinating to see the dogs rejecting their own dog food...?

"Searching will maybe happen twice as fast, but results won't be terribly different."?
- Andy Halliday, VP at Excite, discussing why the deal with @Home is so valuable.

Zero Margins
Okay, a special section for all this talk of zero margin companies brought on by OnSale's atCost program and Buy.com's program of selling many items at wholesale prices.? There have been way too many articles from journalists who don't understand what's going on, and causing people to walk around and shake their heads wondering what this world is coming to.? All that's happening is these companies are learning what the direct mail order catalogs discovered years and years ago: low barriers to entry leads to increased competition leading to decreased margins (you know, that perfect competition stuff).? End result?? Make vendors pay for preferred placement in catalogs (slotting fees).? It's been happening for years in the catalog business, and now just because a few websites realize it makes sense, journalists are going crazy, thinking some bizarre (and ridiculous) new business model has been created.? Obviously, the circumstances are slightly different, but it's not such a ridiculous idea... Does this mean OnSale and Buy.com will succeed?? Not necessarily, but they're not as crazy as everyone's making them out to be...

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
N2K pre-released some pretty good numbers for its fourth quarter (full details next week)... Microsoft destroyed analysts estimates again (you'd think the analysts would catch on after 27 straight quarters of beating estimates)... DoubleClick beats earnings estimates, but is still losing money... SGI beats estimates, but is still losing money... Sun barely beats estimates, but they're certainly making money... Of course, try matching IBM's $2.3 billion in quarterly *profit*.? Investors, however, didn't like it one bit (obviously, they need to change their name to ibm.com and start *losing* money, like any real tech company)... Though, investors certainly weren?t pleased with Baan's loss of $250 million on $142 million in revenues (do we hear baan.com?)... Lucent destroys estimates... Excite and @Home both matched estimates (already in tandem)... The SEC is investigating Network Associates (that's what you get when your CEO admits in an interview that you use illegal practices to pump up your earnings in bad quarters)... Computer Associates beats estimates... Western Digital beats estimates, but is still in pretty serious trouble... Go2Net is making money... Gateway beats estimates... Iomega beats estimates, but warns that they're on a sinking ship (with two execs leaping overboard)... In the IPO market, Allaire had a nice start, as did nVidia and Covad...?

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Not even going to mention Lycos rumors... Apple thinking of buying Connectix (or maybe Sony will buy them)... Virgin Entertainment Group going online (expect full hype-fest on this one)... AMD to manufacture Compaq's DEC Alpha's (this is funny all by itself if you know anything about AMD's chip manufacturing expertise)... @Home to "buy" AT&T's Worldnet service (really just AT&T shifting assets around, but it makes sense)... AOL to make a deal with DirecTV...?

News you should have read elsewhere
Intel numbering chips and building encryption in and all the consequences and sound bytes from industry folks and civil libertarians, etc... @Home paying way too much for Excite, just to get their hands on some eyeballs and (more importantly) their next door neighbor's building (look, property is expensive out here)...?

News you could do without
Is it just me or did sixteen new "online calendaring" products show up this week?? As if WebCal, Visto, and When.com weren't enough, now there were new entrants like SuperCalendar, AnyDay.com, and Jump.com (located in, get this, Ithaca, NY).? Amazingly enough, Jump (which has the balls to claim they're the only one's doing this) wasn't working a week after launch (sorry guys, try again)... Sun, Sony and Phillips to use Jini and create wonderfully cool and connected home electronics (yes, but will anyone buy them?)... Either way, Microsoft made a deal with 3Com to develop products that would compete with the Jini'd devices... Vodafone and Bell Atlantic try to kiss and makeup following their battle for AirTouch... It takes HP 23 days to answer the question "What is your corporate headquarters' address?"... Canada realizes its "digital storage tax" might be dumb, and agrees to reconsider... Sotheby's to launch online auction (welcome to the party)... RoadRunner was all excited to announce 180,000 customers (just one day before @Home's big announcement)... Psychologist claims hackers are typically socially inept, obsessive compulsives (how much do you want to bet this description will come up in the next key encryption battle?)... Travelocity says they received over $9 million in sales the first full week of January (not bad)... Network Solutions makes a few database changes and now suddenly they're having all sorts of registering problems (hmmm...)... Music industry meanies shut down the International Lyrics Server... DLJ thinking of spinning of DLJdirect (so long as they call it DLJdirect.com they'll be fine)... Not done yet: Larry Flint's lawyer is taking on Seth Warshavsky's case to allow a web page about the Pope's U.S. visit adorned with ads for porn pages... Ion Storm apparently has no sense of humor, whatsoever (don?t sue me, please)... Amazon to sell home furnishings?... The Palm IIIx to come out slightly before the Palm V, and way before the Palm VII, but no one has any clue what features any of them will really have at release (talk about confusing your customers)... Gateway dumps (and sues) Web America Networks from providing Internet access for Gateway purchasers... Prodigy "Classic" not Y2K compliant, and so out it goes (as if anyone cares)...?

Intel invested $30.5 million in PictureTel (can someone explain why?)... While they're throwing money away, Intel also decides to put $100 million into Samsung...? SBC buys Comcast's wireless subsidiary... AltaVista agrees to renew their deal with DoubleClick, and lock themselves in for 3 years (considering they have the power position here, I imagine the deal leaves DoubleClick with much less than their previous deal)... Compaq cut the price they were offering to pay for Shopper.com (that's right, wait until *afterwards* to do your due diligence)... DirecTV buys Primestar (shocked to find out they were still in business)...?

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
IDT's EZsurf (well, I'll hold out final judgment until I see it)... AOL to deliver news, e-mail and web searching to Lotus Notes users... NetStudio letting you design web graphics online (pretty cool, actually)... Enron's Intelligent Network (is there any business this company isn't planning on getting in to?)... A comic book about superheroes who get their powers from the Internet, created by comic legend...?

With all the hype about e-commerce being such a big success over Christmas, it turns out that many shoppers hated the experience, according to the folks at Jupiter... Media Metrix shows AOL at the top of sites visited, followed Microsoft, Yahoo, and Lycos... A study from Healtheon says doctors are using the Internet a lot more often (you gotta question that source - they didn't even hire a research company to pretend it was impartial)... A study from Killen & Associates predicts that companies who use Internet billing will save billions of dollars by 2001... Zona Research claims that e-commerce was the third most popular way of buying products this holiday season (following brand name stores and discount stores)...?

AOL turning off their thesaurus for its questionable synonyms... The Windows refund for alternate OS users (Linux is nice, but sometimes you really wish those kids would shut up)... COPA...?

Snap's Cyclone will be downgraded fairly quickly...?

Too much free time:
Okay, I realize this might be a niche site for the week, but for anyone familiar with Carl Steadman I found this particularly amusing: http://rhumba.pair.com/carl/date/
Now, the betting begins: how long until Carl becomes like Rick Wallace?? (Okay, okay, that might make it too obscure for too many folks: http://forbidden.dough.net/~archon/rwallace/)

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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