July 19 – 25, 1999

from the Up-To-Date dept

iBooks ugliness, new chief execs at all your favorite big PC companies, more earnings reports than you could possibly want to see, the latest crazyness in IPOs, preparing for Viking raids, quotes, and plenty of other fun stuff you might have missed in last week’s news. Click below for this week’s Up-To-Date…

		The not always serious, 
		not always weekly update
		on the High-Tech Industry
		July 19th - July 25th, 1999 
	Am I the only one who thinks the ibook is ugly?

Techdirt on the Web
Okay, so Up-To-Date hasn't been around much in the past few weeks, but the
Techdirt web site has been picking up the slack, as more than a few people
pointed out the content over the past few weeks has been great.  So, if you
haven't been keeping up on the latest tech scoop, you should definitely
head on over to https://www.techdirt.com/

Next point.  This one surprises me a bit, but a number of people have
recently asked me if it was "okay" that they passed along Up-To-Date or
told people about Techdirt.com.  It is more than okay, it is encouraged.
Please, if you like this stuff, tell others about it.

Our latest poll:
What *is* the most pretentious way to sign off your email?

If you have missed out on any of our past polls, they're all available at:

Some of the fun stories we covered this week:

AOL keeping Microsoft and Yahoo's hands off its instant messaging.  I think
this is childish.  Others seem to disagree with me (and damn them for
making good arguments).  Voice your opinion:

Internet Execs have just as little a clue as the rest of us:

It sucks being a Netslave, until you write a book about it and get rich:

Of course, these and plenty of other great stories appear on
https://www.techdirt.com most every weekday (and if you find a story that
should be there, you should submit it at https://www.techdirt.com/submitstory.php).

Say that again...
"AOL's approach is to dumb down the Internet experience. People actually
aren't dumb."
- Sky Dayton, Earthlink chairman.

"The Unix phenomenon is scary.  It doesn't go away.  Linux is a serious,
albeit crazy, implementation of Unix on the Intel platform."
- Steve Ballmer, Microsoft President, who is a serious, albeit crazy
implementation of mega-company President.

"Don't be fooled by the Internet. Use the computer - don't let the computer
use you. Y'all all saw 'The Matrix.'"
- The Artist formerly known as Prince telling us all how it is.

"No, you don't understand our business -- we don't make money."
- Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO joking about how he responded to
early critics telling him he'd never make money selling books online.

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
DoubleClick met expectations on much higher revenues, but, of course,
they're still losing quite a bit of money... Microsoft, as always, beat
expectations significantly... IBM beats estimates and profits are way up...
E-trade losing lots and lots of money, but not as much as expected...
Lucent beats estimates slightly (but loses an exec)... Excite@Home is
losing a ton of money... Infoseek is losing a ton of money (the weaker
portals begin to fall)... RealNetworks broke even, and everyone was
expecting a loss... Gadzoox lived up to its name with a somewhat stunning
IPO... CMGI's Engage (the DoubleClick killer?) had a pretty nice IPO...
Talk City had a pretty good IPO... Be who lowered their offering price to
just above silly, still rose a bit in its debut... MP3.com however, had the
hype of plenty of buzzwords which was good for a great IPO (despite revenue
in the "damn that's not much" range)... Amazon.com is still losing more
money that you thought possible, and hopes to keep doing so...
Barnesandnoble.com surprised everyone as it's not losing money at an
Amazonian rate, and had much greater revenue than expected... Onsale losing
more money (that's okay, since it's Egghead's problem now)... SGI surprised
everyone by showing a profit... Sun beat estimates slightly... AOL is
making a ton of money... UPS (yes, the brown truck people) files to go
public... The SEC is cracking down on "free stock" giveaways... Webvan, a
relatively new company, raises $275 million and is valued at $4 billion
(for a business proposition that has failed many times in the past - I want
to see what these guys have up their sleeves)... Sybase beats estimates
(people still buy Sybase?)... Other fun IPOs included InsWeb (more than
doubled) and Hoovers (tripled)... 

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Texas Instrument considering buying National Semiconductor... Deutsche
Telekom thinking about taking a stake in AOL... Amazon.com is talking with
a brick-and-mortar bookseller about a partnership of some sort (hmmmm)...
Acer looking into buying IDT... 

News you should have read elsewhere
Two big computer companies finally find their CEOs and both are a bit of a
surprise.  HP which was expected to promote from within, tapped Carleton
Fiorina, a VP from Lucent and Compaq, which was expected to hire from the
outside, promoted their CIO, Michael Capellas, from within... Qwest and
Global Crossing split the loot, with Qwest taking US West and Global
Crossing taking Frontier and no one being really happy... Apple finally
gets around to launching the iBook, and people are excited about it?  It
really doesn't seem that cool folks (someone forgot to deliver my

News you could do without
Microsoft finally gets around to selling Sidewalk to CitySearch, a deal
that's been rumored for too long for it not to happen... AOL, after
thinking about it for way too long, is going to offer some free ISP
services in the UK, but tells the US not to even think about it (and
claims, oh so believably, that the decision had nothing to do with the
success of free ISPs in the UK)... Dell auctions... It's okay for Excite to
sell ads linked to the term "Playboy" and "Playmate" even if it's to folks
other than Playboy... Computer Associates is looking for more companies to
acquire (how else can they keep their name in the news?)... AT&T Worldnet
goes down in some areas for over 3 hours... Newsweek.com redesigned (does
anyone actually go to this site?)... E-Trade redesigned its site... CMGI
and CNet dumped $20 more million into Raging Bull (can someone explain this
one to me?)... Cincinnati Bell bought IXC Communications... Compaq gets
into the cheap PC business (how original)... News Corp getting into the
electronic coupon business... Clinton signs Y2K bill so companies are now
free to screw up and not face legal consequences (phew, time to stop making
sure techdirt.com is Y2K compliant)... Drugs.com sold for $200,000... AOL
and Ameritech in a deal to offer DSL in the Midwest... Delta's online sales
not doing well (maybe if they stopped flip-flopping their online sales
policy people might feel a bit more comfortable)... US Government helping
to keep Iridium alive... Slightly cheaper PalmIIIe available (for you cheap
laggards)... Network Solutions finally decides to make domain buyers pay up
front to avoid speculators (it's about time)... Y2K may cause problems with
student aid (hey, time to stop those student loan payments, everyone!)...
Microsoft has changed its vision statement to "Empower people through great
software anytime, anyplace on any device" (I think they have a bit of ways
to go and a bit of history to rewrite)... AltaVista finally gives up on its
"paid searches" policy that they did a terrible job explaining in the first

Lycos is forming a venture capital wing as they now think they can be CMGI
also... Universal Music Group is planning to make many of its recordings
available for download (using SDMI, of course)... MTV Networks Online is
taking an equity stake in Rioport in return for providing content and
"promotional support" of the company... Could it be that Circuit City has a
clue?  They're adding functionality to their web page that will let you
order a product and pick it up at a local store... Follow this one: Micron
Electronics is buying Micron Internet Services from Micron Technology Inc.
It's all in the family... MCI buys bankrupt Wireless One... American
Express launches an online bank... AOL and Sun have decided that the
Netscape brand name has too much of a negative connotation and will be
switching most products over to the iPlanet brand (starting from scratch,
eh?)... Excite's traffic was down nearly 20% last month (ouch)... Starbucks
invests in a web furniture company (uh, what?)... CBS buys into rx.com, yet
another online pharmacy... Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures has backed out of a
planned investment in Datek because of concerns about the companies
regulatory problems (if I recall correctly, these concerns came out a week
*before* the investment was announced)... 

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Moletronics... Guy in the UK gets a year in jail for refusing to turn off
his cell phone after getting on an airplane... This.com (supposedly a
"family friendly ISP") uses a non-filtered search engine making it easy to
find porn (should your friendly family be into such things)... 

A shop.org study got a lot of press this week for saying that e-commerce
was expected to be a $36 billion market this year... Nielsen has released a
new study saying that people in online homes watch significantly less
television... Jupiter suggested that MP3s increase the sale of CDs, going
against the silly thoughts to the contrary of most big company record
execs... Dataquest says that Linux will account for 24% of revenue of
servers by 2003... PC Data is surprised at the number of PCs sold last
month, and attributes the large number to all these free and super cheap

NSI and ICANN fighting it out before clueless Congressmen... 

Even with the new Y2K "frivolous lawsuit" law, there will be *plenty* of
frivolous lawsuits, and more than a few legitimate lawsuits will get thrown

Too much free time:
Okay, this one showed up all over the place this week, but in case you
missed it, it's too important not to share.  Yes, that's right, the
official NASA policy for dealing with a Viking raid (unfortunately this is
a copy, as the original version on NASA's server has been removed):

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 
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