June 7 -13, 1999

from the Up-To-Date dept

Microsoft being evil, MP3’s everywhere, new companies launching, smart microwaves and more. Just click below…

The not always serious,
not always weekly update
on the High-Tech Industry
June 7th - June 13th, 1999
Smuggling PalmVII's to all parts of the world

Techdirt on the Web
Traffic to the techdirt web page has more than doubled over the past couple of weeks, which scares the hell out of me. Oh well. I guess I'll keep it going. A few things worth checking out:

Who wins the e-commerce battle? Vote on the different business models:

Third Voice is "stunned" that people don't want riffraff defacing their web sites. What do you think?

Lots of music stories. Three for the price of one can be found here:

These and plenty of other article blurbs can be found just about every weekday (and the occasional weekend, when we get up the nerve) at https://www.techdirt.com/. Check it out. It's not your father's Techdirt anymore.

Say that again...
"Amazon.com should change its name to Amazon.org. It's like a non-profit organization."
- Michael Murphy, editor of Overpriced Stock Service

"Etoys is a $30-million-a-year business, and that's what we make in two of our stores."
- Robert Nakasone, CEO of Toys R Us

"The whole process has brought chutzpah to a whole new level for me."
- Rob McGovern, CEO of CareerBuilder on the phone calls he started receiving from "long lost" friends as he got ready for CareerBuilder's IPO.

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
The Brits apparently feel as though they're missing out on the IPO fun, as Dixons decides it's time to take Freeserve public... Cox Enterprises new media group invested about $45 million in MP3.com... Drkoop.com went public and made the good doctor filthy stinking rich.... CMGI has its stock get clobbered when its earnings are weaker than expected (they should've just sold off some more stock)... Backweb and Phone.com each have pretty good IPOs...

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
This one was all over the place: Disney thinking of buying up the rest of Infoseek, merging it with all its other net properties and spinning of a brand new net co... Qwest might buy US West... But, oh wait, BellSouth might be buying Qwest... Ah, but wait again, as I get ready to send this out we see that Qwest has made the bid for USWest (sorry BellSouth)... CitySearch might be buying Sidewalk as Microsoft decides it needs to get out of the content business (this one seems more like wishful thinking than a realistic rumor)... The rumors of Apple selling themselves off to a company such as Disney or Sony are popping up all over again... Compaq looking to sell off its Alpha chip business to Samsung... Amazon.com about to announce that it's getting into the toy selling business (watch out eToys)...

News you should have read elsewhere
IBM and Acer and lots of zeros after a dollar sign... Motorola and Cisco buy a company together (it's more fun that way)... AT&T has to share its cable lines according to some judge, but that doesn't mean they will... The NYTimes is apparently getting a bit snotty (just now?) and has complained about Amazon.com's decision to refer to a book as a NYTimes best seller (and, of course, the NYTimes claims, they were not put up to this by their partner, Barnes and Noble)... Microsoft Office 2000 and the second release of Windows 98 were both released this week and most all of us couldn't care less... eBay spent most of the week resting its servers, which apparently may have cost the company millions. It certainly pissed off a large number of customers... Della & James, the online bridal registry site with a ton of money (and they intend to spend it) from Kleiner Perkins, debuted this week... Yet another silly virus for all you people who automatically click on whatever attachments your Microsoft Outlook shows to you...

News you could do without
More MP3 sites that you can shake a mouse at... Software pirates nabbed in California, and no doubt will be charged with costing Microsoft millions upon millions of dollars they never would have seen anyway... Jeff Bezos to personally deliver product to Amazon's 10 millionth customer (who of course will be at work somewhere, and Jeff can hang around on someone's porch all day)... Dell is offering free net access in the UK (as if you can offer ISP service in the UK and actually charge for it?)... Register.com finally figures out Network Solutions instructions on how to set up their own domain name registry... NBC finally gets its act together and does deals with Tivo for digital video recording and AT&T for digital television... Europeans skipped out on the web for about 24 hours and no one really noticed (can't wait for all the Europeans on the list to start mailing me about this one)... Intel didn't really have the license to use Intergraph's patented technology (must have misplaced it, eh, Andy?)... GeoCities CEO Tom Evans didn't waste much time clearing himself out of there once Yahoo! completed the acquisition... Pitney Bowes is suing e-stamp for patent infringement... Both Sony and Amazon.com have digital music download plans... Iridium cuts prices from ludicrous to merely ridiculous... The FCC finally wakes up and realizes that mobile phone users should pay air time for incoming calls... Autobytel trying to convince Volkswagon that it's really (really!) okay to sell cars over the internet... WebTV sued for bogus late fee charges... Microsoft losing executives left and right...

Oracle bought Thinking Machines (they still exist?)... Inprise, perhaps the most wishy-washy company of the year, decided to go back to operating as one company despite the decision a month or so ago to operate as two, and then decided to accept a hundred or so million from Microsoft, the company that killed them in the first place... Lou Dobbs is going to run space.com? Is Little Green Men really about him? Perhaps he should hire Joe Firmage... Ticketmaster/CitySearch who just spent a bit of money on Match.com, spent $40 million on oneandonly.com which seems like quite a bit for a site that looks like it was designed by a couple of guys so hard up for a date that they forgot to learn HTML... Pharmaceutical company Parke-Davis makes a questionable deal with PlanetRx to advertise on PlanetRx sites leading to conflict of interest questions...

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Smart microwaves that will read cooking instructions and tell you when your food is dangerous (as in, we've just radiated your food to glowing green or as in this is fattening?)... Garry Kasparov is going to play chess against everyone on the internet. Apparently it's going to work on a voting system, thereby ensuring the lowest common denominator wins, and Kasparov should have a pretty quick victory...

Pitney Bowes (who should know better) commissioned a study which shows that technology distracts people by interrupting workers an average of once every 10 minutes (the assumption being that these interruptions only have a negative effect on productivity)... A study by the Business Software Alliance (who have no bias whatsoever - of course not) claims that nearly 40% of all software is pirated. What they don't say is how many of those who use pirated software would actually go out and buy the same software if forced to... Compaq has sponsored a study showing that office workers are getting more and more frustrated with their computers leading to abuse of the machines (from yelling at it to actually hitting it). Hell, Compaq's board got so frustrated with their computers that they fired the CEO... Nearly 16% of stock trades occur online, which is almost a 50% growth from last quarter... The percentage of companies in the US advertising online has dropped to 61% from 68% last year, and they're each spending less on average... The Semiconductor Industry Association (who seem to have a reasonable reason to hope it comes true) is saying that the worldwide market for semiconductors is on its way up again... How many people slurped up the latest study from the University of Texas that said the internet generated $300 billion in revenue last year?...

Why does this need so much evidence? Microsoft is a bastard of a company. They're mean, and they like to beat on other companies. Please, end this trial already... Electronic Communications Networks, and the fact that everyone is falling all over themselves to invest in them...

Onebox's free unified messaging service finally launches to quite the hype machine, claiming that they are going to be bigger than Hotmail. How many companies made this claim and have backed it up so far?

Too much free time:
For those of you made physically ill by the ridiculousness of the Cluetrain (http://www.cluetrain.com/) we have the folks at Gluetrain: http://www.gluetrain.com/.
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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