May 3 – 9, 1999

from the Up-To-Date dept

Still here… Discussing all sorts of fun things from AT&T/Microsoft forcing WinCE down our throats, to plant closings to crazy partnerships. Click below for more…

The not always serious,
not always weekly update
on the High-Tech Industry
May 3rd - May 9th, 1999
Still here...

Goings and Comings...
Apologies for the increasingly intermittent nature of Up-To-Date. Unfortunately, looking at my schedule over the next few weeks I can't say it's going to be any more regular than it has been. I hope to return to a more reasonable schedule some time in June.

Techdirt on the Web
Attempting to tie the Techdirt website into the Up-To-Date list, I'll probably add this as a more regular feature, as I link to stories that are posted on the website. By the way, we *are* looking for more people who would like to have posting privileges on the web site. If you're a web news junky and don't mind speaking your mind occasionally, please send email to

Some of the articles listed on Techdirt:

Jay Walker's Patent Machine:

Backlash To the Backlash of Internet Paranoia

High Tech PR Strategies

Pathfinder,, AOL and AT&T

Say that again...
"Going up against Intel is like beating your head against a wall, and it feels pretty good when you stop."
- Brian Halla, CEO of National Semiconductor on the decision to get out of the PC processor business.

"Personally, I don't think day-traders are speculating, because traditional speculation requires some market knowledge. They are instead gambling, which doesn't."
- Arthur Levitt, Chairman of the SEC.

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
Microsoft considering a tracking stock for its Internet properties (to prove that no one cares about Microsoft's Internet properties?)... beats estimates, but (of course) is still losing plenty of money... Liquid Audio files to go public... Be files to go public... files (again), and we see (again) how far behind it really is... Big Star Entertainment files to go public... CyberSource files to go public... Talk City files to go public... Northpoint has a nice IPO... MapQuest has a nice IPO... Flycast had an okay IPO... Silknet Software had a nice IPO... Media Metrix has a very nice IPO... But, check this out: has a *bad* IPO (ending two dollars down). What a concept! (the world must be ending)... Priceline making more money than expected, but still losing ridiculous sums...

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
------------------------------------------------ has to get rid of CEO Scott Blum in order to IPO... Idealab to buy Pointcast (why?)...

News you should have read elsewhere
Philips and VLSI finally agree to merge (does anyone care?)... Intel and Motorola finally agree to stop wasting each other's money (for now) on lawsuits... MediaOne, of course, chose AT&T over Comcast, though the FTC may have a few issues with the deal... Following that closely was Microsoft's little investment in AT&T - and the resulting deal that will make WinCE a little more unavoidable. The bigger they get, the more they're just asking to be brought down... The World Intellectual Property Organization announces plans to stop cybersquatting (brilliant plan guys: basically it gives big companies automatic rights to any domain that touches on their name. Ahhhh, I see, cybersquatting is only a problem if it happens to big companies)... Adi Shamir (the S in RSA) has designed a system that can break codes easier... Interesting that this comes the same week that the courts said that the crypto code of Professor Daniel Bernstein is free speech, and not necessarily a weapon (Louis Freeh must be having a bad week)...

News you could do without
Iomega closing factories (I like the spin on this one: "to better position Iomega for profitable growth and improved asset management". This, of course, means: "We're losing money like gambling addicts in Vegas and no one is buying our products any more")... eBay goes down (again); users angry (again)... Checkfree went down for a ton of time over the course of a week (Okay, I can understand the occasional downtime that an eBay or a E*Trade has, but to be down for the better part of a week; that's a sign of pure incompetence)... April Fool's jokes gone wrong: The Australian Securities & Investment Commission built a fake web site on April Fool's asking people to buy into Millennium Bug insurance, and they were pledged up to $4 million. Of course, people found it funny. Back here in the U.S., however, a similar web site is being investigated by the FBI and accused of fraud. Who says we Americans have no sense of humor? (Then again, Australia is the country that is currently reviewing legislation that, let's face it, would basically outlaw the Internet)... The DOJ is looking into Network Solutions for violating antitrust laws (it's tough to give up being a government sponsored monopolist, apparently. Good thing the Government is trying to help out.)... MCI has decided not to buy Nextel (wireless? Who needs wireless?)... awarded yet another patent (does this bother anyone else?)... Red Hat hires Eric Hahn...

News Corp. quietly sneaking in to the Internet as they buy into and Juno... Darryl Peck looking to step aside as Cyberian Outpost's CEO (yes, but will he still appear in the "send complaints to..." commercials?)... CNet buys Sumo Inc (who thought a bunch of random lists were worth so much?)... The FCC, who monitors the airwaves for "indecent" language, accidentally sent an "indecent" email out to its public email list (someone just got seriously fired)... Wang is worth $2 billion?... Congress thinking about making electronic signatures the equivalent of a printed signature... AOL is cutting back on its spam team (anyone else notice their spam quotient increase this week?)... Intel "accidentally" sues a Taiwanese company it was negotiating a licensing deal with (power? Who says they have too much power?)... MIT's Sloan School considers innovative... Lockheed to work with TRW and Telecom Italia for a broadband satellite system... Starbucks and TalkCity? (my God, is that a TalkCity icon appearing on *every* damn corner of the Internet?)... Merchants are apparently pulling out of Amazon's auctions, after just a short while (ah, isn't it nice to live in an age of short-term only thinking?)... Linuxcare gets money from Kleiner Perkins (and, *not* - as reported by the savvy folks at Techweb - KPMG)... Informix CEO resigns... Paul Allen doesn't get as much of Go2Net as expected... PrizePoint, the new company from Chris Hasset of Pointcast (a fact that gets more attention than what the company does) has already been sold to Uproar (apparently, after the Pointcast debacle, Chris has learned the meaning of "sell early!!")...

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
The movie, "Dead Broke" to be downloaded and played through a digital projector at the Tribeca Film Center (I hope they run into buffering problems, and having the associated RealNetworks "hiss")... Digital Ink used on posters in J.C.Penney's in Massachusetts (ah, but when it starts appearing on price tags, then I'll be impressed)... Plastic, durable transistors from IBM that will let us throw our laptops around... Dell's "next-generation" search engine to be built with the company Fast Search and Transfer... Lucent and Netcenter to develop a wireless portal?... Isn't "AOL for Dummies" redundant? (cheap shot)...

The Internet Advertising Bureau claims that ad revenue on the net climbed 112% (but is anyone measuring returns on these ads?). However, it also shows that the major advertisers spent less on online advertising, and instead put that money towards their own corporate sites... Just as everyone was starting to calm down about Y2K ("ha, ha, it was all a big joke"), new studies are scaring everyone again, saying that most companies think they're okay, but aren't... According to IVANS Inc. 61% of consumers want to buy stuff online (over 50% last year)...

RealNetworks' MP3 "Jukebox"... W3C using "open source-style Internet army" to try to dismiss patent... Java as a standard, not as a standard, well, maybe as a standard (do we care? Yes, I know some of you will send me email explaining why we should care, but I don't.)...

Is it just me, or are these big media & tech mergers becoming less and less fulfilling? It used to be when a Compaq bought a DEC that was big news, but the AT&T/MediaOne deal just doesn't strike the same nerve. I've become merger jaded.

Too much free time:
Be careful who you flame. They might know how to search the Internet:

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.

If you would like to subscribe to the email version please send an email to with "Subscribe Up-To-Date" in the subject heading. Up To Date is also available on the web at

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