January 17 -23, 2000

from the Up-To-Date dept

Happily Haphazard. This week’s Up-To-Date has a whole bunch of earnings reports (it seems as though just about everyone is beating estimates – which says something about the estimators). Also, lots of new lawsuits this week (and I even left out a bunch) as well as silly things up for auction. Click below for this week’s Up-To-Date newsletter, or just subscribe to the right…

				The not always serious, 
				not always weekly update
				on the High-Tech Industry
				January 17 - January 23, 2000 
				Happily Haphazard

Random Notes
Up-To-Date is still here and it's still not spam.  No one 'fessed up to
reporting me as spam, but I haven't been shot by my ISP yet, so I'm hoping
all is well.  And, for those of you who claimed I was "whining too much"
about the spam episode, I know who you are too... 

Now, the nice news of the week is that Techdirt received a nice mention in
an article in Inter@ctive Week.  It's one of the more accurate descriptions
of the site (haphazard being the key word), I think:

Also, Techdirt.com has been added as a content provider for Geekboys.org...

Techdirt on the Web
Techdirt Poll: We had a bit of a debate among Techdirt admins this week
concerning toysrus.com and their handling of their holiday mess up.
Figured it might be interesting to find out opinions of the rest of you for
this week's poll question: https://www.techdirt.com/pollBooth.pl?qid=toysrus

These days it's popular to write stories about the IPO process.  How about
the process behind actually launching a dot com?  Here's the story of

Everyone's favorite study of the week (because none of us believe we're
incompetent, so it's funny to laugh at those who are).  It seems that
incompetent people are less likely to realize they're incompetent (get that?):

The article that inspired this week's poll.  Should we care that Toys 'R'
Us messed up this holiday season?  Join the debate:

And, as always, there's plenty more stuff at https://www.techdirt.com/
updated most every weekday.

Say that again...
"It's an upscale audience that has the disposable income to pay monthly
dues to health clubs.  And you have them when they are totally captive,
bored out of their minds, actively seeking distractions."
- Tom Proulx, CEO of Netpulse, on their plans to put internet terminals on
exercise equipment.

"If you read it literally, he would probably have to stand in one place for
three years.  This would probably include refrigerators and garage door
openers. Forget about a cellular phone."
- Donald Randolph, attorney for finally free Kevin Mitnick, the "convicted
cyberspace bandit" on the restrictions that bar Mitnick from approaching
anything computer-like for 3 years.  Lawyers are always good for silly quotes.

"People think of Bill Shatner as the head of a starship from the future.
That is a great image for the kinds of customers that we want."
- Jay Walker, founder of Priceline.  Once again, the punchline is too obvious.

"Our industry is made up of a bunch of lemmings. When was the last time you
heard an original idea from a venture capitalist?"
- Andy Rachleff, Venture Capitalist for Benchmark.  Of course, it's
tempting to point out that even this is not an original idea... 

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
Microsoft (of course) beat earnings estimates (though a lot of that is due
to its equity portfolio and not sales - which might not be a good sign)...
SGI reports a slight loss (surprising those who forgot they were still in
business)... Apple beats estimates (and to celebrate they give Steve Jobs a
jet and lots and lots of money in the form of stock options - what's the
fun of profits if you can't squander it?)... IBM beats estimates... AMD
beats estimates... AOL earnings double and beat estimates by a bit...
Excite@Home breaks even (meeting analyst expectations) and Tom Jermoluk
fades away a bit giving up the CEO spot to George Bell... Sun beats
estimates by a bit... With all these folks beating estimates it's nice to
see Lucent miss even its *revised* estimates... DoubleClick still losing
money (but less than expected)... Gateway's profits fall (and can we shoot
the Register editor who used the headline: "Don't Have a Cow, Man"?)... 

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Been mentioned in too many places already (and NTK gets the nod for being
the first one I saw to mention it) but Microsoft, Apple, and (soon enough)
AOL-Time Warner will all be run by guys named Steve (if you can't come up
with a good conspiracy theory out of that one then you need an imagination
upgrade)... The US Department of Justice has signed a contract to use
WordPerfect instead of MS Office (does this disprove part of their monopoly
claim?)... Drugstore.com, which made such a big deal of its partnership
with Rite Aid, is apparently working on getting itself out of the deal... 

News you should have read elsewhere
Microsoft (of course) tries to explain why it's not a monopoly by taking
statements out of context... BulkRegister messes up in bulk: they
apparently released domains for sale after they'd already been bought
resulting in multiple owners of the same domains (oops)... Ah, now here's a
fun one.  I always enjoy when a company pops up suddenly remembering that
they've patented something that everyone is already using, and then tries
to collect royalties.  The latest is Geoworks (reinventing themselves yet
again) claiming they have patents on some important WAP components... RIAA
finally gets around to suing MP3.com for their new site... 

News you could do without
The Supreme Court says that the fees Network Solutions used to charge were
not an illegal tax, and thus the country has lost out on an insane amount
of money for domains registered over the past two years... WebTV's founder,
Steve Perlman's new gig is an incubator (these are getting way too
popular)... AOL and Gateway to jointly sell DSL service... Priceline's
YardSale finally comes on line the same week that Half.com (yes, the
company that convinced a town to change its name to Half.com) announces
that they too want to create yard sales on the net (never realized there
was such big money in dolls with missing heads and old board games)...
Beyond.com's CEO finally steps down, as the company lays off 20% of its
workforce (and, oh yeah, despite their attempts at consumer branding
they're now a strictly B2B company - it's great to see when companies shift
strategies to remain buzzword compliant)... New York Times is building its
own online community (they're just trying to take on Techdirt)... Engage,
an online advertising company owned by CMGI, buys Flycast and Adsmart, two
more online advertising companies owned by CMGI (this announcement serves
no purpose)... RealNetworks to allow music subscriptions (no, stop, don't
call it push technology!)... AOL 5.0 disables other online services.  AOL
says they don't care (and, I'd bet they don't, really)... IcraveTV.com is
finally sued by TV networks for rebroadcasting copyrighted programming...
About.com bought ExpertCentral - one of about a thousand similarly named
"expert" sites (it's tempting at this point to tie this story to the study
of incompetent people... Rambus getting lawsuit happy... 

Ask Jeeves thinking about setting up a site for porn searches (borders on
overhype)... MGM and Blockbuster in a deal to allow people to download
movies over the internet... The online version of "Who Wants to be a
Millionaire" has been played over 8 million times despite there being no
cash prizes (perhaps this belongs under too much free time)... Microsoft
invests $100 million in VerticalNet, which will use Microsoft
technologies... Canada trying to set up a tribunal for settling web
disputes and most people ignore them... Pseudo, which always seems to be a
company set up to throw parties rather than to actually build a business,
has hired a real life CEO?... 

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Inktomi now claims there are more than 1 billion unique web pages on the
internet (think of what that means in terms of the absolute number of
ridiculously pointless web pages)... Musicmaker claims they have a patent
on creating custom CDs on demand over the internet... This is sickening:
Pets.com (mostly owned by Amazon.com) is now auctioning off the annoying
(yes, I know everyone loves it) sock puppet from its commercials via
Amazon.com Auctions... More Japanese robots!... Georgetown University
auctions off spaces in a class on multimedia... The whole virtual
newscaster thing (how quickly will that one disappear?)... Illegal
endangered species trade on eBay... A company has created DVDs that
self-destruct (no, no, no, it's not Divx)... The LA Times, in a fit of pure
stupidity, will now email you stories if you pay $0.20... 

Online advertising revenue was well over $1 billion in the third quarter of
last year according to the Internet Advertising Bureau...
Nielsen/NetRatings reports that online shopping comparison sites will be
the hottest internet sector this year, and as if to prove them right,
online shopping comparison site mySimon convinces CNet to shell out big
bucks to buy 'em (take the money and run)... Andersen Consulting study says
that 88% of online buyers abandoned shopping carts at some time during the
holiday shopping season... 

What this category was invented for: Transmeta.  When the best Wired can do
is discuss the food served at the launch you have to wonder... Stories
about dot com commercials during the Super Bowl (yawn)... BeOS for Free
(sorta)... Women.com's list of Silicon Valley's top 10 bachelors... 

What's with this new trend for publicity auctions?  The latest is, of
course, the T-Rex skeleton.  So far, the only real reason to set up such an
auction is for the PR value.  That can't last much longer... 

Too much free time:
Growing up on the east coast I always thought of California as "the land
where the earth shakes" and had no plans on ever living here.  For those of
you fortunate enough to live elsewhere, check out this next site for an
idea of what you're missing:

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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