April 12 – 18, 1999

from the Up-To-Date dept

Sponsored by the Steve Jobs for Compaq iCEO committee

The not always serious,
not always weekly update
on the High-Tech Industry
April 12th - April 18th, 1999
Sponsored by the Steve Jobs for Compaq iCEO committee

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Say that again...
"Those of us who follow workstations think this is sort of a ho-hum announcement."
- Jay Moore, Aberdeen Group analyst, on SGI's name change to... er... SGI.

"I worry that investors are being influenced too much by analysts whose evaluations read like they graduated from the Lake Wobegon School of Securities Analysis - that's the one that boasts that all securities are above average."
- Arthur Levitt, U.S. SEC Chairman.

"The entire economy of the United States is basically being propped up by people buying other's people's garage-sale trash on eBay."
- Gersh Kuntzman, columnist for the NY Post.

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
Freeserve looking to IPO (IPO fever spreads east, first from silicon valley to NY, and now across the ocean?)... @Home reported a bigger loss than expected... Infoseek lost a ton more money than expected... Intel beat estimates slightly... Broadcast.com not losing as much as expected (not aggressive enough, eh?)... Apple surprised folks with earnings well above estimates (though their year to year revenue growth still isn't that impressive)... Compaq is being faced with a class action suit from anyone who bought their stock before it tanked last week... Internet.com files to go public... Onsale losing a little more than expected... Excite missed earnings slightly (but they really are making money)... Sun beat earnings slightly... AMD is losing a LOT of money... Both Ameritrade and Charles Schwab beat estimates... Viant filed to go public (I could have sworn a few weeks back, when Scient filed, that they claimed they wouldn't follow suit just yet - I guess when bankers swarm, things change)... Salon raises another $15 million and plans to go public soon... VocalTec warned that its losses would be nearly double the original estimates... Motorola beats estimates... Inprise warned that it's expecting to lose quite a bit, while analysts expected break even. Also, they're deciding whether or not to split the company in two...

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Time Warner looking to buy into CDNow... Disney trying to increase its Infoseek stake... More Netscape employees quitting. Now, high profile Mike Homer is apparently taking a sabbatical and few expect him to return... Yet another Transmeta rumor: they're working on upgradeable CPU's...

News you should have read elsewhere
The securities industry, electric utilities, and the airline industry all passed Y2K simulations last weekend, so it appears we'll have to leave it up to mass hysteria to cause the end of civilization as we know it... AOL volunteers feel that AOL's practices violate the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (okay, it's been a long time since I took that labor law class in college, but it seems to me that if you're a volunteer and feel like you're not being treated fairly, you stop volunteering. If AOL can't find volunteers to do the dirty work, then they'll have to pay people to do it. Case closed)... AOL Anywhere (I'll believe it when I see it)... One FTC member questions the Intel settlement... Cisco buys GeoTel for $2 billion... Bell Atlantic and GTE need more time before they can merge...

News you could do without
The Wall Street Journal says e-commerce companies are putting more money and effort into marketing than the return that they get from such advertising (welcome to the world of irrational "aggressive spending")... IBM and RealNetworks to work together to create a music delivery system that foils Microsoft... IBM and Sony to work together to create music delivery system that foils Microsoft... Microsoft working to create a music delivery system that will allow it to rule the world (some more)... Playstation emulator is okay (court realizes that Sony was being stupid)... New Diamond Rio gets a little more memory and goes for the snazz factor by copying the iMac's look (this "iMac" look is getting to be sickening - I'm still waiting for the iMac look to hit cars)... CBS tries to bulk up their severely lacking web presence with investments in hollywood.com and storerunner.com (hmm... cbs.techdirt.com? nah)... Lawsuit blames video games and porn sites for the shooting deaths of students in Kentucky... Microsoft bullying Linux sites for coming up with a better slogan... Excite finally decides to offer calendaring services... Much further behind, Lycos, finally decides to offer personalization in the form of "My Lycos" (how extraordinarily original)... Intuit's online tax site goes offline for 14 hours two days before the tax-filing deadline (ouch)... Symantec hires IBM exec to replace Gordon Eubanks... AOL gets up to 17 million users... Amazon Bookstore in Minneapolis is suing Amazon.com for trademark infringement... CNNfn has formed a "strategic business partnership" (read "given much needed financial support") with PCQuote.com... Compaq to offer DirecPC with Presarios (does anyone actually want this?)... Spinner.com attempting to become a "non-browser music portal" (say what?)... Portals go international: Excite is opening up shop in Spain while Infoseek heads to Germany... Yet another privacy hole found in IE 5.0... Nissan and AT&T send email with all other recipient names exposed... EBay teams up with Butterfield & Butterfield for auctions... Michael Crichton forms a software company (let's hope he can code better than he writes)... Palm Computing agrees to pilot clones... Biased study claims NT beats Linux. Linux fans worldwide rip study to shreds... Network Associates execs start a company to give away free PCs along with internet service (how original)... Pointcast is still looking for an investor... Bank of America to add online bill payment... iMall & founders have to pay $4 million fine for misleading and false claims for investors to sell web pages within the iMall site... Priceline.com suckers FirstUSA into a co-marketing deal, after the previous resident realized they weren't making any money... Audiohighway.com purchased Mass Music...

Big big BIG surprise of the week is CEO Eck resigning from Compaq along with his CFO. Wow... Outpost.com drops all shipping charges. Very cool for me as an end user (and I've already tested it out), but I wonder what it will do for their business... Amazon.com bought LiveBid (not just because they're in Seattle), which helps auction houses go online... Intel (through iCat) to provide Excite with their way of competing with Yahoo stores... Real Networks buys Xing (to stop the production of MP3's?)... Intel using Caymen Island shell companies to bully other companies for patents... CitySearch bought the official tourism site of the NY Convention and Visitors Bureau (which brings up an interesting business opportunity: privatizing public web sites)... Economic study finally says that computers are (okay, maybe, just maybe) adding to the productivity of the economy... Siemens spun off its semiconductor company and renamed it Infineon (catchy)... Typo web site found guilty of trademark violation... Looking for funding via billboard along Silicon Valley's 101 (anyone seen it yet? I was looking, but almost crashed into the BMW in front of me, so I stopped)...

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
So called "digital immune systems" that will automatically update your anti-virus software to determine new viruses, without first being reviewed by a human. Does anyone else find it amusing that essentially we're creating viruses to create anti-virus software to find viruses?... Public Enemy to release their new album exclusively on the net...

The U.S. Internet Council has found that the gap in gender and race online is narrowing... IDC has released a study saying that major technology projects are more likely to be approved if they requests focus on benefits rather than costs. This is news? People need to be told this? We are in worse shape than I thought... Advertising Age has found that companies spent more than twice as much on online advertising in 1998 as they did in 1997... Lloyds of London predicts there could be over $1 trillion in Y2K lawsuit claims... 45% of large companies monitor employee email according to the American Management Association... The Meta Group has released a study saying that US programmers are less productive than those outside the country. Of course, they judge this in terms of lines of code produced. They even suggest that companies look outside the US for better programmers who aren't so pampered. Um, guys, doesn't code efficiency matter any more? Just because you code more lines, doesn't mean you're more productive...

VcallApolooza turns into Vcall-a-Loser. Anyone notice that despite the hype machine that went into overtime pitching this thing to everyone who would listen, absolutely nothing of interest came out of it?... AltaVista selling advertising based on searches totally blown out of proportion to make it sound as if they'd switched to a GoTo.com business model... The PairGain employee who posted the fake news story about PairGain being sold to ECI Telecom has been arrested and faces up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $1 million. Come on, people! It was a lame move, but it certainly doesn't constitute that sort of punishment. He should simply claim it was a parody (which in some sense it was), and the people who fell for it (it was on *angelfire*, dammit) deserve what they got...

Network Solutions is in bigger trouble than it appears. With each step they mess up a little bit more. Recently they incorrectly deleted webtechs and the Aberdeen Group's web page claiming that they had not paid, despite proof in both cases. They have proven unresponsive in at least one of these cases, and have also shown that they're having problems keeping track of who they're supposed to be billing for what and when. It seems they're focusing more on "new" services they should offer rather than making sure their core services work (they don't)...

Too much free time:
Get a cable modem, go to jail: http://members.home.net/maycomp/cablemodem.htm

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,
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