3rd > September > 1998 Archive

The Register breaking news

Internet domain tax to be used for proper means

The Internet domain tax is once again being used for its intended purpose -- building a higher-speed network. Federal Judge Thomas Hogan had ruled in April that the tax was unconstitutional because the National Science Foundation had no authority to impose it, but he has now confirmed its legality after Congress retroactively approved the tax three weeks later. The purpose of the infrastructure tax is to make $23 million available for President Clinton's Next Generation Internet project for a faster net. There will be no refunds for registrants during the time that the tax was illegal. Network Solutions, the much-criticised NSF-appointed administrator of domain names in the US whose contract ends this month, had not been collecting the so-called infrastructure fee of $15/year since April. Some $56 million had accumulated before the collection was suspended. The American Internet Registrants Association had challenged the legality of the tax. AIRA is concerned at what it calls "the control of the Internet by a private clique of insiders" and is opposed to renewal fees ($150 a year) for each domain name registration. It also wants to see the process of Internet registration improved. Yesterday, William Bode, AIRA's lawyer, said AIRA will appeal the decision. Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium, said yesterday at the DCI eBusiness conference in Boston that he was "confident that the US government would not impose excessive legislative constraints on the Internet". ®
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Ballmer suggests NT 5.0 delayed

Windows NT 5.0 may be further delayed. Microsoft president Steve Ballmer, speaking after the Seybold conference in San Francisco yesterday, seemed to be preparing the ground when he said: "We're still a little bit away, longer than we'd like, from shipping NT5." He told the conference that Microsoft expected to ship NT5 "the top half of next year". The previous time Ballmer had spoken at the conference was in 1991, when he found that on polling the audience of publishing-oriented people "My sister and I, and maybe two other people, were all the Windows users in the audience." When he polled this time, he found around a third of the audience used Windows. Ballmer's sales talk included reassuring messages for Mac users ("We're 100 per cent committed") and he added that Microsoft had more than nine million Mac customers. "We're also very committed to working with the standards bodies that have grown up particularly around the Internet", Ballmer said. He then went on to demonstrate chrome effects, which uses the W3C standard extended mark-up language XML inside the browser, and requires a 300 MHz processor with a 4 Mb 3D video card to render the 3D effect graphics. Closely questioned about whether there would be a Mac plug-in, or a stand-alone version, Ballmer was non committal, claiming diplomatically that it would depend on developer demand. The Mac-dominated audience was hostile to the XML standard being embedded in Windows 98 only. Ballmer referred to the increasing interest by enterprises in freeware such as Linux, Apache, SendMail and Perl. Microsoft was "worried" about the trend, Ballmer admitted, but claimed that the free price was not "a customer plus in many cases" because of support issues. Tackled about the open source code and whether IE source code would be released, Ballmer ducked the question, saying only that Microsoft had released some source code for drivers, libraries and DLLs. With Apple moving to replace Quick Draw with Adobe's PDF format, Ballmer was asked if Microsoft would be providing better support for PDF. He said Microsoft would continue with GDI, but although Microsoft had no clear plan, discussions were continuing with Adobe. ®
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Seybold delegates just say no to Adobe-Quark merger

It's a thumbs down by users to a merger between Adobe and Quark, to according several hundred attendees at a user session at the Seybold 98 publishing conference in San Francisco yesterday. No Adobe or Quark representatives were present, on legal advice, while Quark is trying to acquire Adobe. There was more sentiment for Adobe taking over Quark -- especially in view of the relative sizes of the companies. Adobe had 1997 revenues of $912 million, whereas Quark's undisclosed revenues are put in the $200 to $400 million range by analysts such as Suzanne Snygg of Dataquest. Any potential synergy from the a takeover -- which is looking increasingly unlikely in view of Quark's failure to name a price, and doubts as to whether it could raise more than $1.5 billion to pay a sufficient premium -- were likely to be dissipated by the need for Quark to divest itself of Adobe's PageMaker for antitrust reasons, even if its bid were successful. Opinion was divided as to whether Quark had made the bid because of the threat posed by Adobe's K2 technology for page layout, and demonstrated at the meeting for the first time. Steve Jobs, interim CEO of Apple, finished his keynote by reminding the audience that "you saw [K2] first on the Macintosh". There was criticism that both Adobe and Quark had fallen behind in providing support for web-based publishing. But when it came to customer service, Quark service was regarded by the user audience as poor or non-existent, whereas Adobe was praised: "they really do act like they're on a mission," said Michael Case of Hallmark, a customer of both companies. Meanwhile, Quark has announced that it has purchased, on undisclosed terms, a majority stake in German software developer and publishing specialist Silent GmbH. ®
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IBM couple with C&W in widely leaked deal

IBM is to manage Cable & Wireless Communications' computers in an outsourcing deal worth $3 billion over ten years and finally agreed yesterday after five months of negotiation. The deal was comprehensively leaked last month. The agreement is said to be the largest ever between a telco (C&W in number two in the UK) and an IT services provider. There will be a transfer of 1,000 staff to IBM Global Services, and it is expected that 400 additional jobs will be created. C&W will retain control of strategy with a small in-house team to manage the relationship with IBM and have the final say on hardware and software choice. IBM's telecommunications industry unit will be setting up an international customer support operation in the UK. The move was characterised as a way of increasing efficiency and service to customers as a result of being able to draw on IBM's resources, rather than to save money. The Communication Workers Union had expressed concern at the outsourcing. Meanwhile, a consortium including AT&T, BT, C&W, Deutsche Telecom, France Telecom, KPN Telecom, MCI, Pacific Gateway, Sprint, Swisscom and Telia agreed a $1.5 billion project yesterday for the TAT-14 640 Gbps fibre-optic cable between Europe and the US. The good news is that 80 per cent of the capacity will be used for the Internet, but it will not be in service before the end of 2000. ®
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Microsoft licence policy crumbles under fire

Microsoft has no plans to change its thin client licensing policies - but under heavy fire from users at this week's Citrix Thinergy conference in Orlando, Florida, the company conceded that this and other licensing issues were under review. Many observers felt the current policy was unsustainable, and that Microsoft would shortly buckle under pressure. Speaking in the wake of a coded attack on Microsoft's policies by FedEx CTO Robert Carter, company Terminal Server Product Manager Solveig Whittle said: "We don't have any plans to change our model and move to concurrent licences at this point." She did however concede that Microsoft had "a number of different licensing schemes," and that it was looking at ways to converge them. Unlike partner Citrix, which operates a concurrent licensing scheme for its thin client product lines, Microsoft insists on each client, whatever the actual hardware, having an NT Workstation licence and an NT Client Access Licence (CAL). Effectively, Microsoft's approach is designed to bring the company precisely the same amount of revenue as it would derive from a full-scale PC running NT Workstation and connected to an NT network. Whittle's justification for this is that the client is gaining access to all of NT's services and to NT software, is therefore effectively equivalent to an NT PC, and should be charged for equivalently. Concurrent licensing as practised by Citrix however can support a far larger total number of users at lower cost. Citrix, which announced its two millionth licence earlier this week, estimates that this represents a total of eight million users. Numbers of this sort would clearly damage Microsoft's revenue base, so you can see Whitttle's point. But having set out her policy clearly, and having stated that it wasn't going to change, Whittle proceeded to undermine it again. She told the audience she runs Windows 98 at home, connecting to Terminal Server, but "I don't have a Windows NT Workstation licence". Does that mean she's breaking her own licence agreement? "I asked that question," she said. "And so we've got people working on it." In reality, it's perfectly clear that Whittle is breaking her own licence policy, and that the two main issues she identifies as needing to be resolved, the Internet and home working, are likely to contribute to its ultimate demise. The ability of large and increasing numbers of diverse and special-purpose devices to connect to NT networks and run NT applications remotely makes it less and less likely that Microsoft can continue to apply a corporate seat licensing policy. Especially when its customers are also increasingly chafing at the notion that a user working from home as well as the office should have to pay through the nose for the ability to do so. ®
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Novell snuggling up to Citrix for enterprise pitch?

The late arrival of Novell as a sponsor for Citrix's first Thinergy thin client-server computing conference this week surely means that Eric Schmidt and his company are planning a rapprochement with the Florida company. Speaking to The Register last night Citrix chairman Ed Iacobucci claimed only a passing acquaintance with Schmidt, and denied all knowledge of what Novell was up to, but he conceded that working together could bring advantages for both companies. Although Citrix is generally perceived as being a Win32-NT company, Iacobucci and other company executives have repeatedly (and with increasing frequency) pointed out that Citrix isn't just about Win32. Citrix ICA (Independent Computing Architecture) is now being presented as an end-to-end architecture rather than just a thin client protocol that allows low-resource platforms to run Win32 applications remotely, while company president Mark Templeton (who we note is growing his hair in an attempt to deyuppify himself) has started referring to 'server-based computing' as an alternative to 'thin client-server computing.' Server-based computing is obviously about all kinds of different servers rather than just the one, and Novell could therefore be seen as something of a catch for Citrix. Nor indeed are all Citrix partners down-the-line NT operations; IBM marketing VP for the network computer division Dave McAughtry points out that "the thin client paradigm is extending to other platforms, including Java". He describes the area more as a spectrum, with Windows thin clients and network computers blurring into one another, and a whole range of different servers, not just NT, out there. Aside from helping offset whatever's left of Citrix's dependence on Microsoft, a Novell deal would be mutually beneficial in server ways. Citrix itself is running hard to diversify into other platforms (acquiring for example a Unix capability from Insignia earlier this year), and to move up the network food chain, talking increasingly of 'server farms' and manageability software (see separate story) as it does so. But as McAughtry points out the company is still going to face troubles in dealing with the higher echelons of enterprise networking. Partnership with Novell would therefore be helpful in beefing-up its capabilities and in getting it into this class of account. Novell on the other hand is poised to pitch a highly-specified set of enterprise networking systems centred around NetWare 5, and key sales points for this are the web, manageability, Novell Directory Services and digital personas (the ability to log on from any client, anywhere). All of these could fit very nicely with all of the technologies Citrix has and is working on. Synergy at Thinergy?
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Citrix to intro high spec network management tools

Citrix's drive to evolve itself into a far broader-based networking company will be reinforced via two new systems currently under development, and demonstrated at Thinergy this week. The products currently codenamed Ascot and Gemini are both aimed at easing network administration problems, and will both beef-up Citrix's own portfolio and position the company for deals and alliances with enterprise management software suppliers (see separate Novell story). Ascot basically monitors the use of applications and allows administrators to set rules to control the way they operate. So, for example, if the administrator doesn't want users to change setting in a particular application it can be used to disable the relevant menus and/or check boxes. According to Dave Weiss of Citrix the system is highly granular, allowing administrators to disable or remove highly detailed aspects of applications. Rules can be applied in response to applications starting, buttons being clicked or even when particular keystroke sequences are pressed, and if necessary Ascot can go as far as reacting to Windows messages. It can operate within standard NT groups, or separate Ascot groups can be set up for particular classes of user. "This is not a Big Brother tool," said Weiss. "Oh yes it is," said at least two members of the audience. Gemini hits another one of the network admin hot buttons by providing replication and installation services, so allowing administrators to perform fast multiple installs, upgrades and configuration changes.®
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Add on memory modules get price hike

Two Japanese companies have taken a unilateral decision to raise the price of add on memory modules for PCs from the beginning of this month. Melco and IO Data Devices raised the price of their 64Mb and 128Mb modules by around 20 per cent, suggesting that demand for servers which use the parts is great. Roy Taylor, joint managing director of Vanguard Microelectronics UK, said: "There are certain products where there is a genuine shortage. In particular, 256Mb server modules are in short supply." He said that 64Mb parts were still in relatively good supply and he thought that the Japanese companies were making "a pre-emptive strike" on this segment of the market. The 128Mb PC 100 parts, however, were in short supply, he said. Hugh Jenkins, enterprise product manager at Compaq UK, said: "We've seen our mix of memory modules shift throughout the year from 64Mb, to 128Mb, to 256Mb and above." That, he said, was not driven by the cost of memory, but by software applications including SAP, Oracle and other similar products which performed better the more memory they could use. According to the reports, this is the first price rise Melco and IO Data Devices has made in the last 18 months. ®
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Cyrix wins Casio as customer

Chip company NatSemi-Cyrix has won Casio as a customer for a new version of its Media GX processor. The company said that Casio will use its MMX enhanced low voltage Media GX processor in a range of A5 mini notebooks, which will become available in Japan towards the end of this year. The chip, which includes MMX instructions, multimedia and system logic functions, as well as a PCI controller, reduces system power needs by as much as 75 per cent over competing processors from Intel and AMD, claimed Cyrix. It gives a 50 per cent reduction over previous version of the Media GX. According to Masami Chikauchi, director of information technology systems at Casio: "The Media GX has all the attributes we required for our new A5 mini-note book PC." Other companies, including Acer, are also understood to be evaluating the low power Media GX. ®
The Register breaking news

LG Semicon and Hyundai to merge

The big five South Korean conglomerates (chaebols) have struck a deal in which they will swap businesses, including semiconductor manufacture. Hyundai and LG Semicon have struck a last minute deal to create a single chip firm but have not yet resolved their differences over who has the majority ownership. (See story, yesterday). That could be bad news for the UK. Hyundai had planned to open a chip fab in Scotland while LG Semicon has a factory in Wales. The Scottish fab could now be put on the back burner. The deal will be welcomed by the memory industry which has suffered for a year from a glut in product and a slump in prices. The agreement will leave a Hyundai-LG Semicon company competing against Samsung. The world rankings for DRAM are now Samsung at $3.9 billion, Hyundai-LG at $3.3 billion, Micron-TI at $2.9 billion and Japanese company NEC at $2.5 billion The other elements of the deals between LG, Hyundai, Daewoo, SK and Samsung, will mean swapping industries in the aerospace, ship building, petrochemicals, power generation and oil refining sectors. No deal is yet struck in the automotive sector. Roy Taylor, joint MD of DRAM company Vanguard in the UK, said: "Speculation will lead to price increases. People are looking for good news and will take advantage of this. Mergers and takeovers are not easy at the best of times, especially when they're not welcome. Customer service and R&D will suffer." ® Some of our many related stories: Korean chaebols to shrug off government demands Big SK five come under financial scrutiny Siemens steps up attempt to sell fab Hyundai puts Scottish DRAM fab on ice Korea's Kim gets DRAM result Korean deal to go down on Saturday, maybe
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Compaq first off block with mobile PII/300

Compaq is set to be first off the block with a range of Armada machines to be launched the same day as Intel introduces its PII/300MHz mobile on September 9. Channel sources said that on that day Compaq will introduce the Armada 6500, based on Digital's Ultra 2000, the 3500, which will use the PII/300MHz mobile chip and the Armada 7400. A Compaq distributor, who did not wish to be named, gave the details and said the Armada 7400 will cost £2,395, come with many megabytes of DRAM, and use Windows NT as its operating system. The news comes as no surprise to the distributor. He said three weeks ago that Compaq was keen not to consign the Ultra range to the dustbin of history. Intel said yesterday that it was on target to introduce the PII/300MHz mobile into the market on September 9th and denied that the introduction had been pushed backwards to distract attention from its Celeron-Mendocino offerings. * Reports said that Compaq had increased the price of its desktops using the 266MHz and 300MHz Pentium II parts two weeks ago. The reason was the shortage of such parts. Compaq is increasing the price earlier, rather than later, according to the same source. ®
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IBM Micro denies it will stop making CPUs

IBM Microelectronics has formally denied it is to exit the processor market after first NatSemi-Cyrix and then AMD disclosed details of their future plans. A representative of the Geneva-based company in Europe said: "There has been no agreement made to sever the relationship between Cyrix and IBM. Nothing has happened." That follows earlier reports here, and widely on the World Wide Web, that NatSemi-Cyrix had said it will be able to produce its own processors by year-end, using its own state-of-the art technology. A source close to AMD told The Register that his company was also backing off using IBM as a second source fab as its capacity ramped up. If AMD and Cyrix decide to dispense with IBM's services, that will leave Big Blue without any processor design capability of its own, a source said. It is committed to using Intel chips. The surprise for most outside observers has always been why IBM did not use its own x86 chips in its own low end Aptivas, preferring to source them from outside. However, it could lead to job cuts because IBM Micro has agents within Europe and in other territories which sell on the chips to third parties. One distributor of non-Intel chips said: "It's virtually done. They've done a deal. NatSemi is a big supplier to IBM at a corporate level. IBM Microelectronics was a licence to print money." No one from AMD nor Cyrix was willing to comment at press time. ®
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3Com has 56K patent in its pocket

The battle over who owns 56Kbps modem technology took a further turn yesterday when Stanford University associate professor Brent Townshend was granted a patent for his pulse code modulation (PCM) technology. Townshend and his corporate sponsor, 3Com, which last year bought the exclusive rights to Townshend's patents, both claim PCM is essential to the way all 56kbps modems work, specifically those from rival modem chipset developers Lucent and Rockwell. Last year, after his deal with 3Com, Townshend began proceedings against Rockwell alleging the company had used proprietary technology belonging to him. The suit threatened to derail negotiations seeking a global 56kbps standard uniting 3Com's x2 technology with Rockwell and Lucent's k56flex system, which is incompatible with x2. The case has yet to be settled. Agreement on the new standard, dubbed V.90, was only reached by allowing companies to retain control of patented elements of the specification for which they can charge other modem vendors "reasonable" licence fees. Townshend's PCM patent could further delay the spread of V.90 by forcing Rockwell and Lucent to negotiate licensing rights. They are very unlikely to do so willingly. Lucent has already said it las long owned patents on PCM technology -- Rockwell claims there are nine other companies, in addition to Lucent, that have patents related to V.90. Both it and Lucent have said they will only be able to respond to Townshend's patent once they have had a chance to review it in detail.®
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VESA flat-packs monitor standard

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has approved a proposal, submitted by Compaq and Hewlett-Packard, to begin work on the DFP interface. The immediate aim of the project is to make DFP proposal and P&D standard fully compatible standards, and in the long term, to shift the industry to the P&D standard. The DFP proposal is therefore a way to help digital displays develop into desktop products, say Compaq and HP. IBM said that although it was going straight to the P&D implementations of digital flat panel monitors, it would work with all other companies through VESA to ensure interoperability between the two standards. Compaq and HP said that until at least 2000, they are committed to DFP products. The VESA display committee said that it welcomed the proposal and the opportunity to address the state of confusion that has existed in the industry for the past few months. The submission was targeted to take advantage of the PlugTest that VESA is sponsoring September 9 - 11 in San Francisco. Although not yet a draft standard, Compaq has indicated it will have its DFP products there to test with P&D systems. A federal judge has thrown out a suit brought against the US National Science Foundation (NSF) seeking to prevent it from spending domain name registration fees on improving the Internet. In a case brought by a consortium of nine Internet users earlier this year, Judge Thomas F Hogan ruled that such fees amounted to an illegal tax and therefore must no longer be collected. The so-called tax covered $15 out of the $50 registration fee. That $15 was passed on to the NSF and added to a fund ring-fenced for the improvement of the Internet infrastructure in the US. The fee itself was collected by Network Solutions, appointed in 1995 by the NSF to handle all US registrations. However, the US Congress recently approved a retroactive tax on domain name registration, ensuring Judge Hogan's original ruling no longer applied. Last week he finally dismissed the case. The plaintiff's lawyer will be appealing against the judgement, and will continue to seek a refund of the $60 million the NSF has so collected so far. Projects awaiting the release of those funds when the case officially ends include Internet 2, the high-speed network planned to link the US' colleges and universities, said an NSF spokeswoman.®
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French language discovers email

It's official-'email' is now a legitimate word in French, following its inclusion in the latest edition of the Robert dictionary, France's equivalent to the language-defining Oxford English Dictionary. 'Surfer' too is now acceptable to French speakers describing Web users. Well known for their disapproval of the inclusion of English words, particularly those of American English etymology, French linguists have often attempted to terminate the use of US-derived IT terminology. However, the global Internet seems to be ultimately frustrating their efforts, with Francophone Net users-les internautes-increasingly picking up and using English IT argot. Still, they aren't giving up the fight easily. The Robert dictionary lists 'courriel' as an alternative to 'email' for those who prefer something sounding a little more Gallic. Ironically, the word used in English to descrive such terminology, 'jargon', is itself a French word, used to describe words which mimic the sounds, such as a bird's 'cheep' or a dog's 'woof'.®
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SCH Technologies touts storage management consultancy

SCH Technologies, the US provider of storage management software solutions and services, today announced the launch of a new storage-specific consultancy unit, the Trilliant Group. SCH says the launch is in response to growing customer demand for outside help in finding the staff with the level of expertise needed to properly protect their data and leverage their storage assets. The Trilliant Group will provide a range of storage-specific consulting services, aimed at helping organisations to manage their current storage environments and plan more effectively for future operations. "IT executives are finding that their data center personnel simply cannot absorb the plethora of storage challenges without additional assistance and expertise," said Dale Miller, VP of the Trilliant Group. He said the initial response from customers had been overwhelming. Industry analysts have applauded the move: "The timing is definitely right for this announcement. The market has been crying out for just this type of third-party assistance," said Michael Peterson, president of Strategic Research. The Trilliant Group is also working with StorageTek on a project called Trisource Storage Service. This will allow companies to outsource all aspects of storage management. Trilliant will provide the analysis, design, and implementation and StorageTek will deliver storage management outsourcing services and ongoing project management.®
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Quake founder fakes death

John Romero, co-developer of ultra-violent shoot-'em-ups Doom and Quake, was the subject of widespread panic among the PC gaming community when news leaked out that he had been shot dead. The co-founder of games developer Ion Storm was pictured on a pathologist's slab, apparently the victim of a bullet wound to the head. Two Ion Storm staffers were reported to have confirmed the news, broken on a game news Web site. However, suspicions arose when Dallas police were unable to find any record of the developer's demise, but it emerged another John Romero had met with a grizzly end. Romero himself finally broke silence on the Ion Storm Web site, and admitted he was partly to blame for the wild speculation concerning his fate. "Maybe I shouldn't have taken that morbid picture for Texas Monthly magazine," he confessed -- the photo was originally snapped for a feature on Romero's company.®
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STMicroelectronics tipped to buy Siemens fab

Sources at chip distributors said today that the likely candidate to buy the state of the art fabrication plant that Siemens said it would close in early August is STMicroelectronics. The French company, formerly called SGS Thomson, has the funds and the will to snap the company up, one source close to the discussions said. But if a deal emerges, it is likely to be part of a joint venture. The so-called Blackfriars project is likely to be concluded with the aid of an Italian and a Dutch company. DTI minister Peter Mandelson is understood to be involved in brokering the deal. As DRAM prices will rise because of the merger between LG Semicon and Hyundai, the investment is likely to have much funding from Europe. ®
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4Front posts improved Q2 profits

4Front Technologies has posted its results for the quarter ending July 31, showing a 46 per cent increase in revenue on the same period last year. Net income in Q2 was $1.235 million on total revenue of $27.42 million. In the comparable period last year, net income was $677,000 on revenue of $18.8 million. Anil Doshi, chairman and CEO of the storage distributor to help desk firm, commented: "The second quarter saw strong market demand and further successful implementation of our growth strategy resulting in another record revenue and profit quarter." He said the company's growth prospects were strong, pointing out that revenues for the first six months of this fiscal year exceed total revenue for the 1997 fiscal year. Revenue for the first six months was $54.1 million, up 45 per cent on the same period last year. Net income shot up 78 per cent to $2.5 million. To build on the success of the last year in the UK, the company is now looking to expand operations in the rest of Europe. "We now have annual revenue of over $20 million in France," Mark Ellis, VP and chairman of 4Front said.®
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Creative proposes Value for SoundBlaster Live!

Creative Labs has launched a lower-cost version of its new Sound Blaster Live! audio card. The "Value" version of the card will start shipping next week in the States at an RRP of $99.99, the company said. A Spokesman for Creative Labs said that a Pan-European release is planned for some time before Christmas, but that no dates have yet been finalised. The delay in bringing products to Europe was due mainly to translation time, he said. The company says the new card is comparable in performance to its more expensive predecessor, as it incorporates environment audio technology and has interactive gaming capability. It differs in that it does not have the same professional level digital I/O card and related high-end software found in Sound Blaster Live. The original sold for $199.00. Despite the launch of new products analysts do not expect the company to grow as strongly as it did last year, citing sliding prices in the graphics market and a difficult economic environment as causal factors. The card will be sold through Creative's normal retail distribution channels.®
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Eicon name removed from Holocaust slave labour suit

A subsidiary of Eicon Technology was wrongly named in a Holocaust slave labour lawsuit, but the company has now been removed from the list of defendants. The complaint, filed against the company last Sunday in the US District Court, Eastern District of New York, accused it of the use of slave labour during World War II. The lawsuit was filed against a number of German and Austrian companies. On Monday this week, Chris Chiltern, Eicon's corporate marketing manager discoverd his company had been named as a defendant in the case when a journalist called to ask him for comment. "I immediately contacted the plaintiff's lawyers and explained that it had to have been a case of mistaken identity," he said. "This was very quickly substantiated and to their credit, they acted very quickly to remove Eicon from complaint." The mis-identification caused the company little or no damage, beyond the embarrassment factor, and the only the press have responded to the news. "We had no calls from any member of the public, and we have not seen any fall out from the incident," Chiltern said. By Tuesday, lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case filed an amended complaint removing Eicon Technology Diehl GmbH Co. & oHG from the lawsuit. "It is clear that a mistake had been made, which has now been corrected," the company said in a statement.®
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Big Blue offers "try and buy" for thin clients

IBM today said it was offering a "try and buy" scheme for Network Stations, with the offer aimed at the reseller market. The company said that it will offer Network Station Manager Software (Release 3.0 for NT) which will include MetafFrame Systems, WinCenter for MetaFrame, SmartSuite from Lotus. Resllers will be offered the products for 45 days on a trial basis and IBM will offer SmartSuite on a 30 day trial basis. The products are on a CD ROM. While Network Station Manager software is free, the others will be charged for after the trial period. SmartSuite will cost $695 per server processor, so each client does not have to be licensed. The company did not say how much the tin that runs the software will cost on top of the trial offer. ®
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In-Stat gives Intel No.1 position on Lan/motherboard solutions

A market research company has said that Intel is the number one provider of Lan on motherboard solutions. The In-Stat groups quarterly report on the NIC market said that Intel had a 44 per cent market share in the second quarter of this year, with its nearest competitor lagging behind it with a 12 per cent market share. According to In-Stat, Intel attributes it growth to design wins with PC OEMs, including Dell. Other of Intel customers include both IBM and Compaq. The news will dismay 3Com. Said Shannon Pleasant, a networking analyst at the company: "We believe that Intel will expand this market leadership with additional OEM design wins, highly integrated silicon designs, and compelling price/performance value." ®