March 20 – 26, 2000

from the up-to-date dept

It’s back again, after a brief hiatus. Click below to check out the latest Up-To-Date complete with the latest funky quotes from the high tech world, pointless lawsuits, amazing changes in corporation value, and plenty of other fun snippets of high tech news. As always subscribing to the email version is as easy as sticking your email address in the Up-To-Date box to the right…

				The not always serious, 
				not always weekly update
				on the High-Tech Industry
				March 20 - March 26, 2000 
				Shorter than the Oscars

Random Notes
Okay, okay, so it's been a while since Up-To-Date has come out.  I
apologize.  Other projects have taken over plenty of time.  I am still
interested in seeing if there are folks who might be able to help out with
the newsletter.  Send email to if you're interested.

Techdirt on the Web
Techdirt Poll: What's your opinion of Napster:

Plenty of articles recently about Napster, but here's one that I thought
was particularly interesting.  The writer first admits that he thinks
Napster is a terrible idea, encouraging piracy and all that.  Then, he
complains that songs he likes aren't even available via Napster:

Are technology business magazines getting too big?

Are cell phone and palm devices converging?

And, as always, there's plenty more stuff at
updated most every weekday.

Say that again...
"It feels like nothing, actually."
- Michael Saylor, MicroStrategy CEO on what it feels like to lose over $6
billion in personal value in one day

"I've never spent so much time on rules since I was on student council."
- Michael Armstrong, AT&T CEO on the internet tax committee discussions.

"Let the inmates run the asylum! Let the passengers steer the bus! Don't
redesign your Web site. Redesign your company."
- David Siegel, big name consultant spewing the type of sayings that get
him the big bucks.

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
The big news of the week was MicroStrategy's little story where it lost a
ridiculous amount of its value by restating earnings due to new, more
reasonable, accounting methods.  Michael Saylor received a ton of press for
losing the second most money of any single person in any single day (he's
still a multi-billionaire, so there's not much to feel sorry for there)... files to raise a cool $150 million in an IPO (it certainly beats
having a business model that includes profits)... Lycos Europe had their
IPO to much hype... Cisco passed Microsoft on Friday to be the most
valuable company in the world... Caldera had the happy Linux IPO of the

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week... 
Everyone wants to buy GM's DirecTV satellite business... Yahoo and eBay are
talking merger again (isn't it amazing how quickly this info gets out?)...
Via and AMD to merge at least partially (gets the big denial out of both
parties, which doesn't mean a damn thing)... Microsoft and the Gov't
getting closer to settlements (blah, blah, blah, yeah, yeah, yeah, no one
really cares)... Bank One thinking about selling Wingspan... 

News you should have read elsewhere
Microsoft lobbyists under investigation for a dinner held in NY (is it ever
a surprise when a sentence begins with "Microsoft so-and-so's are under
investigation"?)... 3Com is so happy with their Palm spinout that they
decide to spin off the rest of their business.  Whatever they're doing, it
looks like it involves getting rid of a lot of jobs, and conceding that
Cisco beat them up pretty badly (maybe it's time for Techdirt to spin off
the "dirt" side of the business)... That damn internet tax panel and the
fact that they decided absolutely nothing (something I'm good at, perhaps
they should hire me)... 

News you could do without
-------------------------- dumps a ton of money into Kozmo so that you can get your books
delivered in an hour (for the absolutely, positively lazy people who can't
bother to go to the bookstore if they need a book right away)... HP and
Xerox decide to drop all the various patent lawsuits they have against each
other as they realize that no one actually cares at all about either of
them... Internet pharmacies based in Thailand getting in trouble for
selling illegal prescription drugs... Yahoo! and Palm team up so that you
can instant message from your palm device (for the 30 or so people who want
to do this - and I realize that half of you are on this list and will email
me to tell me)... Disney is not a big fan of the proposed AOL-Time Warner
deal (well, duh)... is facing plenty of lawsuits and now Paul
McCartney is suing them also (what to do when you have nothing better to
do: come up with lawsuits)... Yahoo buys to allow person to
person transaction billing (because Yahoo doesn't have access to yet enough
of our daily lives)... Washington State Superior Court rules that spam laws
are too burdensome (too burdensome not to fake the return email address or
leave a clear way to opt-out?  What were they thinking?)... The FTC is
going after 1,600 "get rich quick" sites (maybe I should start billing
Techdirt as the "lose money quick" site)... WebTV hit with Melissa-like
virus.  Microsoft acts innocent, claiming that "virus" is too strong a word
(just like "monopoly" is too strong a word, right?)... All the little
nobodies trying to get some publicity by saving Iridium from a fiery
death... CompUSA finally ditches and decides its online presence
should be under the CompUSA brand (brilliant folks, there)... 

Microsoft's next operating system source code out in the open (how buggy
must that be?)... The Industry Standard seems to have dropped their fact
checkers: in talking about rival CNET's recent top management shift they
discussed new CEO Shelby Bonnie's previous roles at the company including
"vice chairwoman".  Shelby, as far as I know, has always been male (not
that I have any fact checkers here - but then again, I'm not a big famous
company, either)... Peapod loses its CEO (to health reasons) and its latest
investment (I'd have health problems too if my investors pulled out on the
$120 million they'd promised) and everyone else decides to sue them...
eToys decides that enough is enough and they restructure their affiliate
program so that all the folks who gave them nice leads in the past no
longer get paid (if had any brains they would be all over the
eToys affiliates getting them to switch their allegiance)... 

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Yahoo and Pepsi in a co-marketing agreement (so long as I never have to
drink, I'm okay with it)... Netpliance has made changes to its
i-opener box so that you can't turn into a functional computer any more
(taking away the main reason most folks were picking them up)... Japan now
claims they've built the world's smallest helicopter (basically a chair
with propellers), which they'll be selling on the internet (of course)...
NEC printers with their own IP address... Napster tries to change so that
it's not so bandwidth intensive... At the same time hacks such as Wrapster
are allowing folks to exchange (read: pirate) much more than just mp3s...
Emailing subpoenas... It is now possible (though of questionable taste as a
role model) to bet on your childrens' future via the internet... 

If you didn't see or hear about this study then you obviously live under
some sort of rock far, far away from any sort of internet access: at least
51 dot com companies are predicted to run out of cash within the next year,
according to Pegasus Research.  The companies responded and said it wasn't
true.  For example, good old CDNow said that despite the study's claims
they only had enough cash on hand for one month, they've got *at least* 6
months to go... Excite@Home had the biggest gain of any of the major online
properties last month according to Media Metrix... Primix Solutions has
done a study showing that 71% of online shoppers consider price to be the
most important factor in deciding what to buy online (though it's less
important for repeat business)... More than half of all U.S. adults are now
online according to Strategis Group (of course, another study has shown
that 40% of people worldwide know about the internet, but have no desire to
actually use it)... Forrester has discovered that those young folks out
there still prefer going to movies, listening to CDs and going to stadium
events to online entertainment... The Computer Security Institute has
estimated that computer crime has cost companies over $10 billion (but,
then again, they would have incentive to show that number to be pretty damn
high, wouldn't they?)... PricewaterhouseCoopers says that big companies
still suck at e-commerce, finding that only 28% of them conduct
transactions through their websites... 

How many industry groups "teamed" up this week to create an online B2B
"powerhouse"? (read: the FTC will soon be looking into all of them for
collusion)... Yahoo and AOL announcing B2B strategies (can anyone tell me
what they are without looking them up?  Anyone?  Does anyone care?)... More
and more big companies get into the dot com funding business.  The latest
entrants: Compaq, HP, and Macromedia... 

You think NASA is having trouble hiring quality scientists?  First they had
problems deciding between feet and meters and now it appears they added a
zero in determining how hard to shake a spacecraft they were testing.
Perhaps it's time they started sending their scientists back to remedial
math classes... Accompany gets a business model patent for their
"volume-based pricing technology".  How long until their lawyers are
swarming all over Mercata?... 

Too much free time:
Okay, okay, I try to avoid sites that I know may have already been seen by
the majority of you, and this one may have been passed around quite a bit
already, but it's too damn addictive not to pass on to those of you who
might have missed it.  Have fun:

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. 
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