February 1 – 7, 1999

from the Up-To-Date dept

Please note, this week’s Up-To-Date is simply a “dramatization” of a newsletter. A real newsletter will be produced next week under the watchful eye of both government and Microsoft lawyers.

The not always serious,?
not always weekly update
on the High-Tech Industry
February 22nd - February 28th, 1999?
Please note, this week?s Up-To-Date is simply a?
?????????? ?dramatization? of a newsletter.? A real newsletter
?????????? will be produced next week under the watchful eye
????????????? of both government and Microsoft lawyers.

? --------------?
? Contest?
? --------------?
? Two of my favorite high tech CEOs sounded off on what should happen to
? Microsoft.? Scott McNealy is against splitting up MS into "Baby Bills", but
? his buddy Larry Ellison has a more innovative solution.? He suggests
? splitting MS in half: Steve Ballmer runs one half and Bill Gates leads the
? other half.? Then, let the battle begin.? This is a pretty creative solution,
? which brings up Up-To-Date's first ever contest: can you come up with a
? more innovative/creative solution on what should be done with Microsoft??
? This does not have to be plausible, just creative.? Assuming any of you
? actually enter, I will probably post the winning answers (if there are any) in
? two week's time.? Being that this is a not-for-profit (hell, not for anything)
? operation, I have nothing to give out except getting your name and idea
? published here.? Lame?? Yes.? Do I care?? Not really... Send contest entries
? to ms@techdirt.com.?

? --------------------?
? Say that again...?
? --------------------?
? "This is sick. This reeks of greed. Boy, these lawyers are sticking up for
? their own, aren't they? I don't think they're representing you or me."?
? - Ann Stephens, President of PC Data, on the Texas judge's decision to ban
? legal software such as Quicken Family Lawyer because it amounts to the
? "unauthorized practice of law".?

? "It should be understood by those skilled in the art that a Web browser,
? such as Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer ... is separate from the
? operating system."??
? - Microsoft?s patent lawyers in a 1998 patent application.? Aren?t lawyers
? wonderful??

? "It's like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. You can pull over
? whoever you want to."?
? - Bill Burnham, Credit Suisse First Boston, on picking on E*Trade for its
? outages...??

? "I think I will ask my lawyer about that tomorrow."?
? - William Tucker, founder of The Elevator, a Garage.com wannabe, when
? asked about the fact that his site may violate SEC rules, by not
? pre-screening investors.?

? "My first impression of the deal was almost no impression at all."?
? - Scott Smith, director of Internet business strategies at Current Analysis on
? the AOL MovieFone deal.?

? ------------------------------------------?
? Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like?
? ------------------------------------------?
? Apple cutting jobs in Ireland (that?s what happens when you post nice
? earnings that are based solely on cost cutting ? to do it again, you have to
? keep cutting)... Oracle, appearing a week late in the split announcement
? business, plans a 3-for-2 stock split... Later on in the week, Oracle Japan
? had its IPO, making it the highest valued stock on Japan?s over-the-counter
? market... Sprint PC lost over half a billion dollars in their last quarter as they
? prepare to go public... More IPO madness: Perot Systems had their
? impressive debut, as did ModemMedia.PoppeTyson or whatever it they?re
? called.? The most impressive, though, was Pacific Internet, a Singapore
? based ISP that priced at $17, opened at $88 and spent the rest of the
? dropping to about $48 (and without the obligatory .com!)... Cisco beats
? estimates as its revenues shoot up (but investors are pissed off that they?re
? not splitting the stock)... Qualcomm has decided to lay off almost 700
? people, and ?reassign? another 250... Intel to sell over 300,000 shares of
? Broadcast.com... Lots and lots of problems at AMD (has this company ever
? had a good reputation?)... CompUSA earnings less than half of last year?s,
? as they announce (ooh, how original) plans to spin off their online unit... N2K
? beats estimates, but is still losing a ton of money... Infospace.com beats
? estimates, but is still losing a ton of money... Paul Allen invests $104
? million in Ziff-Davis (is there anything he hasn?t invested in?)... Mellon Bank
? has bought nearly 6.5% of Apple Computer... Microsoft planning a
? reorganization to place more focus on the Internet... NetObjects files to go
? public...??

? ------------------------------------------------?
? Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...?
? ------------------------------------------------?
? Microsoft's plans to bring together its 9x and NT architecture further off than
? originally thought.? Expect at least one more consumer Windows not based
? on NT (suggesting that NT 5.0 is more screwed up than we already
? assume?)... Okay, would this one just happen already: NBC to buy 25% of
? Lycos and merge Snap! into Lycos (this has been over reported)... Of
? course, this puts the Yahoo! to buy CNet rumor into a different perspective,
? but who knows... Dell has recently registered dellauction.com... MTV Online
? is planning on buying Imagine Radio (after talks fell through with
? Spinner.com)... Compaq putting desktop AMD chips into portables (wonder
? why that laptop?s on fire?? Now you know)... @Home is still looking into the
? idea of buying Road Runner (buy the competition while they?re cheap, and
? your stock is over inflated.? What could possibly go wrong?)...??

? ----------------------------------------?
? News you should have read elsewhere?
? ----------------------------------------?
? AT&T in a deal with Time Warner to offer telephone service over coax...
? Microsoft admits to making a "dramatization" instead of an evidentiary video
? (say what?)... AOL bought MovieFone, leading to painful jokes about
? combining two of the world's most famous voices... E*Trade gives the world
? a little lesson on testing your software upgrades before you release them
? (three days of outages, pissed off investors, and E*Trade?s fairly obnoxious
? replies has many investors looking for other ways to piss away their
? money)... AT&T doesn?t have to open up its high speed Internet network to
? greedy other companies (go build your own, dammit)... MCIWorldcom jumps
? back into the Internet space by teaming with CompuServe (so when do we
? get the big merger of MCIWorldcom/AOL/Netscape/CompuServe?)... US
? Department of Commerce and the FTC to track e-commerce in their monthly
? economic indicators...??

? --------------------------?
? News you could do without?
? --------------------------?
? ICG dumps off the Canadian bit of Netcom (as if this matters)...
? TheGlobe.com buys Azazz.com (the online department store you probably
? never heard of) for plenty of inflated stock... Seems as though CDA II (aka
? COPA) is doing a repeat of CDA I... Sony and Intel, along with Amerindo
? Investment Advisors dumps $12 million into Spinner.com... TV Guide Online
? relaunches again (again)... CNet buys little known NetVenture's for their
? ShopBuilder technology... Network Solutions makes a deal with Netcom so
? that Netcom can sell domain names (yes, this is the same Netcom that
? doesn't really exist any more)... Apparently TV advertising wasn?t the only
? place that made big money during the Superbowl: SportsLine raked in
? nearly a million dollars in sponsorships for their coverage of the game...
? eBay continues to shell out cash to Netscape to be a ?distinguished?
? provider on Netcenter (?distinguished? meaning what exactly?)... CDNow is
? giving its one-millionth customer a free CD each day for a year... OnSale
? reaches its one-millionth registered user (but did they give them
? anything?)... Amazon.com admits that they?re not even *trying* to become
? profitable (yet)... Eolas Technologies is suing Microsoft for patent
? infringement for making ?plug-ins? and ?applets? (I sense quite the uphill
? battle)... Auctioning off eBay?s ?Cool Shopping Site of the Year? award
? (which they couldn?t be bothered with picking up) on eBay (Todd Levin gets
? an A for concept, but a C on execution ? besides, how many of those bids
? do you think are from his friends?)... First USA to pay AOL $500 million
? dollars for an advertising/co-branding partnership (um... no, it can?t be worth
? that much)... Borders.com has become the exclusive bookseller for go.com
? (wow, two sites that no one visits have found each other)... GoodNoise feels
? the pressure of the Harry Fox Agency and will start making royalty
? payments for downloaded music (and reels in Rykodisc to provide
? content)... Intel to work with Analog Devices on DSPs... Yahoo! to create
? co-branded home pages for members of Gateway.net (while I understand
? that people are lazy, and unlikely to change their default home page, I still
? don?t see how this is that big of a deal)... FAO Schwarz?s web site
? accidentally displays personal info about customers... Sony doesn?t get its
? temporary restraining order against Connectix for its Playstation emulator...
? Companies don?t feel Priceline deserves a patent for its reverse auction
? business model... Intel is pissed off that computer manufacturers are
? already selling Pentium III based machines (get over it)...??

? ------------?
? Surprises:?
? ------------?
? Lycos decides to get into the MP3 portal business (and faster than you can
? download a song, the fun folks at the RIAA freak out - but it's okay now,
? because Lycos will only point to "legal" MP3 sites)... Macintoshes, which
? claim to be Y2K compliant, are only partially so: apparently after next year it
? will interpret many two-digit dates as starting with 20.? Thus, those files you
? saved from 1995, are really waiting to be created in 2095... Qwest beats out
? AT&T, Sprint and GTE to upgrade the Treasury Department?s
? communication infrastructure... Lycos to tie in Open Market?s ShopSite to
? their e-commerce infrastructure (Massachusetts based companies have to
? stick together, apparently)... Government lawyer in the MS trial so
? unaccustomed to techno-speak that he pronounced ?log-in? as ?lojun?... Yes,
? it was only a week ago that AT&T WorldNet was having trouble handling
? their load of users.? Yet, this week they?re ranked the top ISP in the country
? by PC World (they say the Internet world changes quickly, but, that?s a little
? too crazy)... Sierra actually recalls NFL Football Pro 99 and offers a full
? refund, apologizing for releasing a game that?s ?too buggy? (now, you know
? there?s a company that has no former Microsoft folks near the top)... Every
? time you try to like Microsoft (and, believe it or not, I sometimes do try),
? they do something like telling all their employees to fake posts to online
? forums rooting for Microsoft... Microsoft wins a patent for stylesheets? (No, I
? don?t know what the patent office was smoking)...??

? -------------------------------?
? (Mis)Uses of Technology:?
? -------------------------------?
? Building Audible's technology into WinCE machines (yet another weird
? attempt at taking on MP3)... Divx hacks (do we care that much?)... Intel and
? Mattel to work together to create new toys (but will they fight with
? Microsoft's Barney?)... Bell Atlantic and IBM to create ?smart homes?
? (having once lived in Bell Atlantic territory, I can safely suggest *not* being a
? part of the beta tests for this)... My Ticketmaster (and the fact that it took
? them nearly a year and a half to actually implement the 360 degree photos
? of event venues)... MIT?s Sloan School creating an Internet Time Capsule to
? record the state of the Internet for five years (as if any of us would like to go
? back 5 years and relive the fun of gopher?)... It?s been so long since my
? weekly Mir jokes: but this week they attempted use a giant mirror to shine
? reflected light on the earth (sound like the plan of an evil genius in some bad
? movie?).? Of course, in typical Mir fashion, nothing worked, and the whole
? thing was aborted (keep up the good work, guys!)... Hearme.com discovers
? the wonders of party lines on the Internet... Starbucks to start opening up
? Internet cafes (but will they give confusing names to normal internet
? functions so we?ll be even more confused?)... PalmPilots being used in
? British supermarkets for personalized shopping lists...??

? ----------?
? Studies:?
? ----------?
? A Stanford University exercise expert has determined that if you spend 2
? minutes a day emailing colleagues instead of walking over to talk to them,
? you will add about 11 pounds over the course of a decade.? Damn, I think
? that means if I stopped emailing folks at work, I'd weigh nothing within just a
? few years - what a diet...The General Accounting Office's study of welfare
? readiness for Y2K finds that Medicaid systems are only 16% ready...
? According to eMarketer seven times as many emails were sent than first
? class snail mail over the past year... IDC has found that nearly $100 million
? was spent in 1998 on home banking applications, and expect that number
? to more than triple this year... A study by IDG has found that e-commerce
? sites cost an average of $6 million to build and $13 million to maintain on an
? annual basis... Demand for cable modems beating xDSL 14 to 1, according
? to Broadcom (let?s see, considering the fact that most consumers will make
? the decision based on price, and phone companies have been too stupid to
? realize this, while cable modems are being offered at reasonable prices,
? yeah, that makes sense)... Edison Media Research and Arbitron have
? released a new study showing that nearly 13% of people in the US listen to
? radio on the Internet... According to Piper Jaffray the number of accounts at
? online brokerages nearly doubled over the last year, making 1998 the year
? that ?individual investors discovered the power of trading online? (and online
? brokerages discovered the problems of crappy software ? and 1999 can be
? the year they discover lawsuits)...??

? -----------?
? Overhype?
? -----------?
? The Victoria's Secret fashion show webcast.? No matter if a million people
? saw it or couldn't see it because the video was too choppy to get a "clear"
? picture of the material, this was talked about way too much.? How many
? reporters chose to write about this, just so they could justify their own
? chance to look at half naked women on the web?...??

? --------------?
? Predictions:?
? --------------?
? As if this isn't obvious: but the term Portal has to start going away.? Now
? that Weatherlabs has announced plans to make a "Weather Portal", it has
? become abundantly obvious that this term has outlived its usefulness (if it
? ever had any)...??

? ------------------------?
? Too much free time:?
? ------------------------?
? If you were a disgruntled Blockbuster Video employee with an AOL account
? and too much free time, what would you do??
? http://members.aol.com/caly5150/index.html??

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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