11th > November > 1998 Archive

The Register breaking news

Intel demos four-way Xeon Linux system

Linux credibility in the enterprise market was boosted yesterday by an Intel demonstration of a data warehousing application running on a four-way Xeon server, Red Hat Linux and Oracle 8.05. The demo, which took place at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, used Torrent Systems' Orchestrate to boost multiprocessing capabilities. Many business intelligence processes execute sequentially, despite running on multi-processor systems, but by Orchestrate-enabling them the demonstration was able to increase processing speed dramatically. The application accessed 180GB of retail warehouse data and performed loading, sorting and indexing at an average throughput of 11.7GB/hour. "The combination of Intel and Torrent's technologies will enable users to realise the benefits of fully parallel, high-performance business intelligence solutions," said Allen Razdow, president and CEO of Torrent Systems. "Organisations are asking questions like 'Who are my most profitable customers?' 'What products do they buy and when?' 'How can I keep my customers from switching to another vendor?' Intel and Orchestrate will enable them to answer those questions--quickly and cost effectively." Orchestrate is a development and runtime environment for high-performance business intelligence. Torrent meanwhile is part of the Intel venture capital 'magic circle,' having received equity investment from the chip giant last month. Red Hat received a similar investment in September. ®
John Lettice, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Windows Everywhere takes to the airwaves

Microsoft and Qualcomm yesterday announced the formation of a joint venture wireless data company, WirelessKnowledge, but the pair steered clear of a direct assault on the rival Symbian alliance - WirelessKnowledge's business plan seems to be a lot more like Microsoft's networking strategy than that of a pocket device manufacturer. The company intends to offer end-to-end wireless services to businesses, using wireless infrastructure to extend the reach of corporate networking systems out to mobile users. The transportation is not, they claim, important -- the company will produce systems for CDMA, TDMA, GSM and whatever G3 systems appear. It will also support a variety of client devices, smartphones, CE devices, and mobile computers, and it is claimed to be based on open industry standard. That however is something of a movable feast. The architecture will be based, the company says, "on industry-standard te hnologies including the Microsoft Windows CE operating system, the Microsoft BackOffice family and Microsoft Commercial Internet System (MCIS). What we're therefore talking about, from Microsoft's point of view, is a rollout of the Windows networking strategy into the mobile device and cellular market. The system will require NT servers, Exchange Server for the email and contact book systems, and the ability of devices to use it will depend on the production of appropriate client software. There is as yet no indication of whether WirelessKnowledge will produce, say, clients for Symbian or not, but this is at least doubtful. It wouldn't be an obvious priority unless there was a clear Symbian rival (although a recent Oracle-Symbian deal may produce just that), and actually, the Symbian phone companies are quite likely to withhold the necessary data for client production. The gap in the market this would create may give Qualcomm a leg-up and, despite the claim that we're being transport-neutral here, boost CDMA. WirelessKnowledge will be rolling its systems out in the US first (early next year), and we can expect all the bits to be in place earlier for CDMA, with Qualcomm handset units being used for it, and maybe CE getting leveraged into some handset manufacturers it hasn't got to yet. The puzzle for the Symbian mob will be to figure out whether this is going to work or not. If it starts to gain momentum next year, then Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson will have to consider either pulling forward their own plans (they haven't so far seen a need to roll before late 99), or putting some work into making their designs work with WirelessKnowledge. The new venture certainly seems to have some momentum, having already signed up AirTouch Communications, AT&T Wireless Services, Bell Atlantic Mobile, Bell Mobility (Canada), BellSouth, GTE Wireless, Leap Wireless International, Sprint PCS and US West Wireless for its services. That'll be a immediate worry for Motorola, as this is happening on its home (somewhat scuffed) turf, but Nokia and Ericsson have been making massive efforts in the US, and certainly don't want it escaping. ®
John Lettice, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Hyundai, LG appoint US third party to broker merger

Hyundai and LG appear to have narrowly averted stern action from the South Korean government, and have appointed a third party to oversee the merger of their chip businesses. According to US reports, the companies have appointed a US company, Arthur D. Little, to oversee the negotiations. Both companies have dug their heels in to merge their lucrative semiconductor businesses, with one of the issues being which would hold the majority share. Earlier this week, the South Korean government, frustrated by the stalemate, threatened to take measures against both of the chaebols (family concerns) unless they swiftly moved to appoint a third party. However, the appointment of the US consultant does not necessarily mean that the bitter struggle between Hyundai and LG will end. Any negotiations are bound to be protracted as both jockey for the controlling position. And if the merger does finally come off, it may trigger external anti-trust action by the US government, worried about alleged anti-dumping issues. ®
Mike Magee, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Intel predicts brighter Q4 than expected

Chip giant Intel said that it expected to turn in stronger than expected results for its fourth quarter, giving the semiconductor sector a long-awaited boost. The reason for the upturn, Intel said, was stronger than anticipated demand for PC products across all of its market segments. A statement from Intel said that it expected revenues for the quarter to rise by ten per cent from its Q3 figure of $6.7 billion. Gross margin is also expected to rise by two points from 53 per cent said Intel, but expenses will also rise by ten per cent in Q4. The company is continuing to reduce staff and will meet its target of losing 3,000 jobs by the end of the year. Intel currently employs over 64,000 people worldwide. Capital spending in 1998 will be around the $4.2 billion mark, the company said, while R&D spending for Q4 only will be $650 million. ®
Mike Magee, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

A year ago: Digital dating finds Intel unexpected partner

Hats off to the brave team from Samsung Semiconductor, who gamely battled through a "why Alpha isn't dead really" presentation in London just a couple of days after Digital had thrown the switch on the cryogenic chamber. Alpha licensee Samsung can't be too thrilled about the Intel Digital deal (see previous issue); Digital is at the very least offering its customers IA-64 as an alternative upgrade path to Alpha, and at worst letting the line gently wither. This is meanwhile strike three for Samsung, which built Risc workstations with the Intel i960, then licensed PA Risc but forgot to license any software from HP, and now looks in good shape to be the only company still trying to evangelise Alpha. But Samsung might get something more useful out of the Intel-Digital treaty, as it also seems to take Digital out of the frame as far as StrongARM, its development of the ARM processor, is concerned. Along with Mitsubishi, Samsung is a StrongARM manufacturer, and StrongARM is a processor that quite a lot of people actually want. Intel doesn't want it, or at least it doesn't think it does. It quite possibly didn't register on Intel's radar screens when the deal to buy Digital's semiconductor operations was struck, but the StrongARM manufacturing operation nevertheless came along with the rest, and now Intel is scratching its corporate head about what to do. We're not sure either. Digital can't have sold its rights to StrongARM to Intel outright, and might not even have included it in the licence deal that was part of the package (under the terms of its own licence agreement with Advanced Risc Machines, it might not have been allowed to). So Intel probably isn't in a position to just sit on StrongARM, and if it is, ARM should sue its own lawyers for not allowing for this eventuality in its licences. And if Intel doesn't want to continue development of StrongARM, then it's probably possible for an eager Samsung and/or Mitsubishi to pick up the ball instead. Which doesn't help Intel either, does it? ® From The Register No. 61
John Lettice, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

NT Unix pack shipping next month

Microsoft is to follow up the release of Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4 with a new add-on that will provide greater interoperability with Unix systems. Windows NT Services for Unix is scheduled to ship in four to six weeks and, according to the tool's project manager at Microsoft, Greg Sullivan, won't be bundled with future versions of the OS. A second version of Windows NT Services for Unix will ship soon after the full release version of Windows 2000 debuts, he said. The add-in will allow NT clients and servers to access files stored on Unix systems, courtesy of technology bought in from Intergraph. Software from Mortice Kern Systems will provide NT users with a basic Unix equivalent of NT's MS-DOS Command Prompt window. The Unix command line will support 25 scripting commands and "common" Unix commands. Windows NT Services for Unix will also allow passwords to be synchronised across the two Oses -- though only from Windows NT to Unix; change your password on a Unix box and it won't be reflected on the NT system -- and let users on either platform remotely administer machines running the other OS via a Telnet connection. ®
Tony Smith, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Iomega makes Irish eyes smile

Storage company Iomega said that it will open a 22,500 square foot facility in Dublin's Citywest Business Campus. It is investing I£400,000 in the facility, it said. The office will include a call centre for customer inquiries, a so-called "training academy" for Iomega employees and reseller partners, and a testing and quality unit. The call centre will field enquiries from across Europe, and the company said it had plans to provide an online support system from the centre. ®
A staffer, 11 Nov 1998

Torch the emails? Intel exec claims Gates considered it

Showing less than his usual prescience, the author of The Road Ahead seems to have mislaid his maps back in mid-1995. At a meeting with Intel executives that July, Bill Gates is claimed to have said: "This antitrust thing will blow over," and added that the battle with the DoJ so far meant that "we may change our email retention policies." Judging by the blizzard of emails the DoJ is using against it, Microsoft's policy on email retention does not seem to have changed, although in the Caldera case there have been some allegation of destruction of evidence. But if Bill really said this, the inescapable conclusion must be that he was thinking about torching internal communications which the DoJ might use against him later. The matter of email retention would certainly have had some piquancy in the context - Intel bosses Andy Grove and Dave House had previously been right-royally skewered by juicy Intel emails subpoenaed by AMD. But by 1995, even if Bill could bring himself to do such a thing, destruction of email probably wasn't an option. The consent decree with the DoJ was finally being settled, and although from Gates' point of view it might have looked like the whole thing was on the point of blowing over, if it didn't the discovery of vast lacunas in Microsoft's documentation would have gone hard for the company. Another interesting quote from the meeting (handwritten notes were taken by Intel VP Steve McGeady, who's currently testifying in the case) has Gates saying: "We haven't changed our business practices at all." So what could he have meant by this? The Consent Decree with the DoJ was signed that year, and although in the way of Consent Decrees it didn't actually constitute an admission that Microsoft had been doing anything wrong, there were things it was promising not to do, or to stop doing. For example: B. Microsoft shall not enter into any License Agreement that by its terms prohibits or restricts the OEM's licensing, sale or distribution of any non-Microsoft Operating System Software product. C. Microsoft shall not enter into any Per Processor License. . . E. Microsoft shall not enter into any License Agreement in which the terms of that agreement are expressly or impliedly conditioned upon: (i) the licensing of any other Covered Product, Operating System Software product or other product (provided, however, that this provision in and of itself shall not be construed to prohibit Microsoft from developing integrated products); or (ii) the OEM not licensing, purchasing, using or distributing any non-Microsoft product. . . . (iv) All OEMs with existing Per System Licenses, or Per Processor Licenses treated by Microsoft under Section IV (J). as Per System Licenses, will be sent within 30 days following entry of this Final Judgment in a separately mailed notice printed in bold, boxed type which shall begin with the sentence "You are operating under a Microsoft Per System License," and shall continue with the language contained in the first four quoted paragraphs below. All new or amended Per System Licenses executed after September 1, 1994 [NB the Decree was written in 94, signed in 95] shall contain a provision that appears on the top half of the signature page in bold, boxed type, shall begin with the sentence "This is a Microsoft Per System License," and which shall continue with the language contained in the first four quoted paragraphs below. There are obviously some changes necessary there, and no doubt they were all made in accordance with the Decree. So what Bill must have meant when he said 'no changes' was that the Decree was not a significant obstruction to Microsoft doing business the way it had always done business. He might also have meant that there were plenty of areas in the text where Microsoft could interpret it in such a way as to avoid having to make significant changes in the way it did business (e.g. the 'integration' thing). We certainly don't believe he was just ignoring it. No sir.®
John Lettice, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Iomega sued over Zip-zapping ‘click of death’

A group of Iomega customers are seeking unspecified damages from the company over the so-called 'click of death' fault, which destroys data stored on Zip cartridges, the group alleges. Members of the group claim the fault is endemic in all Zip drives constructed after January 1995. Particles of metal and lubricant accumulate on the drive's read head, a process that eventually ensures that "all data stored on the affected drive become irretrievable", according to the suit, filed with the Delaware Superior Court. The fault initially manifests itself as a continuous clicking noise while the drive is in operation. The fault "manifests itself without warning", so it's impossible to trust valuable data on Zip cartridges. Presumably, the damages that the suit fails to state in full will, if the group wins the case, include a court order forcing Iomega to re-engineer its drives to eliminate the problem and possible to supply users with 'safe' units. Iomega responded to the suit by denying the allegations and stating it will defend the suit vigorously. It claims less than half of one per cent of Zip users, of whom there are millions of around the globe, have complained about the problem. Regular Register readers will recall an Iomega Europe spokesman who blamed the problem on users spilling coffee on their drives -- and a source close to the company who claimed it was receiving and repairing a very large number of clicking units every week (see Iomega blames coffee for Zip failures). At the time, Iomega Europe refused to comment on the number of returns. Perhaps the new suit will bring that information out into the open. ®
Tony Smith, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

LG to intro 18.1in LCD

LG said it has developed an 18.1in LCD monitor which it will show at Comdex/Fall next week. The unit, called Studioworks 800LC, has a diagonal length of 460mm and is 70mm thick. It weighs 10.5kg. The monitor uses optical viewing angle technology, which it claims offers 160 degrees of viewing from all four sides. The product has SXVGA resolution with a maximum display of 1280x1024 pixels, and includes a built-in USB port, allowing the connection of four other peripherals. The company did not say what price it is pitching the unit, but said that the estimated annual growth rate for the TFT LCD market is over 170 per cent. That will lead to "fierce competition" among world monitor makers. ®
Mike Magee, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Conexant non exact Texan con

The spun off division of Rockwell dealing in semiconductors has decided to re-name itself Conexant. According to the company, the Conexant name was chosen to represent the company's strategic positioning in comms technologies. More. "Conexant is a newly coined word from three key components -- the verb 'connect', the adjective 'next' and the suffix 'ant'... The suffix 'ant' implies a proactive action-oriented approach to business." Dear me. If you go over to the Anagram Server you will discover that reasonable anagrams for Conexant are 'Texan Con' and 'Non Exact'. And if 'ant' implies a proactive action-oriented approach to business, then what about other words such as rant, descant, and perhaps even elegant... ®
Craig Scatsit, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

IBM prepares 25GB drive for consumer PCs

IBM is readying the release of a PC-oriented hard drive which, it claims, offers the highest storage capacity of any drive in that market segment. The 5400rpm Deskstar 35GP offers 25GB of storage space, three times the capacity of drives found in most of today's consumer PCs. A faster (7200rpm), less capacious (22GB) version called the Deskstar 22GP, is also being prepared, and will be aimed at the business PC market. The Deskstar will be made available in volume to large PC manufacturers in time for the Christmas sales period, said IBM. Gateway, Hewlett-Packard and IBM's own PC operation will be offering machines containing the new drive. The wider channel will receive units in the first quarter of next year, the company added. ®
Tony Smith, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Split-up Microsoft, says Ellison

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has been going for Microsoft again, claiming it's been using a monopoly illegally, and calling for it to be split into two parts. This is a pretty moderate stance by the standards of the day -- current thought is that it should be split into lots of parts: Baby Bills, in fact. But Ellison has plenty reasons to smile at the moment. Microsoft has been taking heavy fire in the antitrust case, and although he expresses himself ready and willing to testify if he's asked, he hasn't been, and he says that Oracle hasn't been injured by Microsoft, so it hasn't been sucked in. Larry's definition of injury, however, seems somewhat flexible. He yesterday repeated his claim that Gates told Bob Palmer, then boss of Digital, to stop making network computers, and that subsequently Bob stopped. That particular Digital project was the Shark NC (see Gates forced Digital to kill NC, says Ellison), and Oracle had been heavily involved in it. So the derailment of a major plank of your NC strategy wasn't injury, Larry? Radical. But a rather more interesting Oracle development started to emerge yesterday as well, when the VP of Oracle Intel Technologies Division Kevin Walsh was telling people that Sun should loosen-up on Java, adding that the success of Linux and the open source model could be seen as a reaction to the way Sun controls Java. The Oracle Intel division, naturally, has a lot to do with Linux these days, and comparing and contrasting the business models must have got Walsh thinking, if he wasn't doing it already, about prying Sun's fingers loose from Java. He doesn't seem to want a completely independent standards body, as HP and Intel have demanded, but he does want some change in the way Sun handles it. With Oracle starting to put its weight behind the other camp, Sun may soon find the pressures for change too great to resist. ®
John Lettice, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

‘Gates unplugged’ session sheds light on 1995 strategy

Bill Gates gave a wide-ranging briefing to Intel on 11 July 1995, and 15 pages of handwritten notes taken at the time by Steven McGeady have just been released by the court. They are entitled by McGeady "Gates unplugged" and reveal some interesting insights as to Gates' more private views at that time, a few weeks before the release of Windows 95. It is clear that several entrenched theories about Microsoft's strategy at the time will need to be revised. We have had our best stab at deciphering some of the more interesting notes. Gates evidently remembered well the day he had forked out $360 for the Intel 8008 chip that he and Paul Allen used for the Traf-O-Data car-counting device, since he told Intel: "I've written as much code for the 8008 as anything." Sidenote: it is believed that the chip was priced at $360 as a hint that the IBM/360 era was at an end. Gates offered a range of comments about the development and then-current state of the industry. It is "one of the great mysteries of the computer industry that Unix has not taken off", he mused. So far as IBM was concerned: "In the final analysis, [it was] unclear who divorced who... the press was a significant factor... IBM execs [were] just reading the newspaper... I don't understand IBM's strategy. $50 billion in revenue... nobody expects them to make money, so that's $50 billion to spend. They can destroy anything they want to. Having a common enemy creates some of the best relationships in our industry. If [IBM] ever spoke with one voice [they'd be dangerous]". Gates said he told Compaq, in the early days: "You just stand for 'clone', so go to 386." In 1995, he admitted: Compaq is an adversary... when you say a computer, we want them to think of Windows." Compaq is "proof that [Microsoft] is not good at predicting things... thought they were dead... All the things they're trying to do are dangerous... [they] own the shell." Apple: "Majority share in K-12, college, etc. niches... not 12 per cent of mass market. These [markets] are self-sustaining... will keep them a wild card and dangerous. Top of the list of Windows competition." Intel: "You're not a diversified company... it's scary." Novell: "A wounded bear... how will they come back? Frankenberg is a reasonable guy -- he's no Philippe Kahn." And, finally, Gates on Microsoft: "We're very market-share oriented, we'll do with prices what we need to [to] retain market share. "We're 'open'... but that's the most abused word in our industry." Resellers of Microsoft software should be aware of the writing on the wall so far as selling application upgrades are concerned. Gates foresaw the "on-demand download of demo and application upgrades... we're just a bits company -- our channel is the information highway... in the interim, we need a few more channels." And the truth about NT: "We blew it -- too big, too slow... Chicago [Windows 95] is our answer to OS/2." If only the latter remark were true... Gates is clearly concerned (or likes people to think he's concerned) about the dangers of success: "In this industry, you're dead before you know it -- need early-warning systems." Gates repeated a remark he had made immediately after Microsoft had signed the consent decree: "We haven't changed our business practices at all." Gates was concerned at the revelations contained in emails, however. He said that Microsoft "may change email retention policies". Gates finished his presentation by making some remarks about the DoJ: "If she [either Janet Reno, the attorney general, or Anne Bingaman, the deputy for antitrust] understood the presentation I just made... we'd have no problem... this business is unbelievably competitive." But Gates was completely wrong when he forecast that "this antitrust thing will blow over". ® Complete Register trial coverage
Graham Lea, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

W3C proposes XML query language spec

The World Wide Web Consortium has introduced XQL, a querying language for Extended Mark-up Language (XML), the proposed feature-rich successor to HTML. The move paves the way for the replacement of HTML, the page design language of the Web, by XML. XML provides content creators define mark-up languages for information specific to their site. So a Web site that displays music notation could use XML as the basic for a notation display language. At the moment, that kind of data would have to be converted into text or graphics, the only core data types supported by HTML. XQL makes that approach work, by allowing sites access data encoded in an XML-derived form which they may not know about. "XQL allows developers to quesry XML data the way [they] would query an SQL database," said Microsoft product managerm, David Wasch. "It lets you type in requirements for the data you want to get out." XML was originally championed by Microsoft as a way of moving beyond the limits of SGML (Standard Generalised Mark-up Language), of which HTML is simply a sub-set. HTML will effectively become XML's page data component. The W3C has posted the current XQL specification as a document for consideration -- it will be discussed and debated at a W3C query language workshop early next month. A final spec will then be submitted to W3C members for recommendation. If it gets that far, it will be placed on the W3C's 'recommended' list -- as near as the W3C gets to making a technology a standard. ®
Tony Smith, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Microsoft Web head quits

Pete Higgins, the head of Microsoft's online activities, has quit his post and been given an "extended leave of absence" while a successor is found. News of Higgins' decision emerged after he emailed his staff with details. According to a CNet-quoted interview, Higgins said now is "as good a time as any to take a break" which he intends to spend with his family. Higgins' time off from Microsoft is open-ended -- he said he expects to be away for at least six months, though he also claimed he was "committed" to returning to the company. As VP of Microsoft's Interactive Media Group, a post he has held for two of his 15 years at Microsoft, Higgins has been in charge of the development of MSN and, more recently, the company's attempt to become a leading Web portal. The Group also handles multimedia CD-ROM and games products. Yet analysts claim the Group has lost over $1 billion, which suggests the company's attempts to capitalise on the growth of the online world have largely failed despite some very high-profile manoeuvrings. The Beast of Redmond may want to dominate the Internet, but there's little sign beyond the widespread use of Internet Explorer that it has a real hold on the online community. "We're making great progress [in controlling costs]," said a Microsoft spokesman announcing Higgins temporary departure. Talk of cutting expenses, even when accompanied by claims that revenue is growing, is usually a sign that a company is tackling a part of its business that has run into problems --problems that may have proved too much even for an executive of Higgin's experience. ®
Tony Smith, 11 Nov 1998
The rolly keyboard er, more folds than rolls

Compaq UK assembles anti-direct case against Compaq US

Compaq Europe is not going direct as fast as the US but is maintaining it still has the option to so do. That follows an announcement in the US earlier this morning, as revealed here on Monday, that Compaq will go head-to-head against Gateway and Dell.
Mike Magee, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

SEC rules-change nets Motorola $99 million

Never let it be said accountancy isn't amazing. Merely tweak the rules, and -- bingo -- Motorola suddenly finds itself $99 million richer. Back at the beginning of October, the phones-to-processors giant posted Q3 1998 results containing a write-off covering in-process R&D relating to its purchase of Starfish Software. Then the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) changed the rules outlining how such write-offs must be handled, allowing Motorola to now report its windfall. The upshot of which is that Motorla made $27 million in Q3 instead of losing $42 million. ®
Tony Smith, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

AMD takes brown box route

AMD is conducting a campaign to convince trade journalists to get its own message across, given its marketing budget is far smaller than Intel's. It does not have Intel's marketing budget and is considered a minnow compared to a shark. On Monday, The Register heard that AMD was selling plain brown boxes containing its K6 chips, in a bid to prevent re-marking. AMD refused to discuss the matter on Monday or yesterday, saying the matter was one between it and its distributors. But stories run in UK trade papers PC Dealer and Microscope show that channel titles in the UK -- apart from Computer Reseller News UK, launching next week, were comprehensively briefed by AMD. The grey market is the real issue, said Rana Mainee, AMD's strategic analyst in Europe. He said: "We wanted to make sure our microprocessors did not go wayward. " Mainee added that there have been instances of re-marking. An Intel spokesperson said that he thought AMD's policy was daft. "Who'd want to steal them anyway," he said. AMD was merely taking a copycat stance. ® Intel and AMD are not investors in The Register
Mike Magee, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Datatec says g'day to CNI

South Africa's third-biggest IT company, Datatec Ltd, has said it will pay up to $25.9 million for Australia's CNI Group (Pty) Ltd to expand its network services activities in Asia. The acquisition represents the next step in Datatec's strategy of creating a world-wide network-based systems integration group under the company's global Logical brand. CNI is one of Australia's leading network system integration businesses with headquarters in Melbourne and offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Working alongside companies such as Compaq, IBM, Microsoft and Lotus, its customer base includes Schweppes, SmithKline Beecham, Mobil Oil, Walt Disney and Kraft. In its interim results published last week Datatec posted another strong set of results. Turnover and operating profit were up significantly at 405 per cent and 513 per cent respectively on the corresponding period last year. Datatec has a strong presence in the UK with a number of companies including Logical Networks plc, Network SI and Bluepoint under its corporate umbrella. ®
Tim Richardson, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Microsoft said drop NSP or MMX gets it, says Intel exec

"[Bill Gates] was very upset we were making software of any sort... He became quite enraged." So said Steven McGeady, the Intel VP who led the development of Intel NSP software (to make a computer "dance and sing"), as he continued to give testimony to DoJ trial attorney David Boies. McGeady said that Gates had "made it very clear that Microsoft would not support our next processor offering" unless Intel realigned its software development to meet Microsoft's requirements. Microsoft viewed Intel as a competitor, he said. It was "Microsoft's desire we clear and essentially get approval for our software programs before proceeding with them", McGeady testified. An email from Gates noted that "Intel feels we have all the OEMs on hold with our NSP chill", and that would continue "unless we say it is OK". Andy Grove thought NSP was important. He emailed Gates on June 1995, saying: "Merely being critical of what we have undertaken is not helpful. Telling us to go away is not helpful; nor is it practical: we genuinely believe that the end results of the NSP initiative are vital to our long-term success, so we have to persevere." Steven Holley of Sullivan & Cromwell, Microsoft's principal outside lawyers, was put up by Microsoft to cross-examine McGeady. Before Holley started, there was legal argument as to the admissibility of videotaped deposition from Intel VP Ron Whittier, McGeady's then boss. Holley claimed that Whittier probably had better knowledge of conversations between Microsoft and Intel. A showing was eventually allowed by Judge Jackson, but it is not known if any conditions were required, such as allowing the DoJ to choose passages, as Microsoft had been able to do in the case of the Gates' videos. Holley then continued, following the same pattern that Microsoft has used previously in such examinations: first, an attempt to show there was no threat from Microsoft and, finally, trying to make the witness' company seem to be an aggressor, daring to compete with Microsoft. However, this time there was also an attempt to discredit the witness as a junior, not privy to management processes. Whittier was asked if Intel had made "any decisions in the 1995 time frame with respect to NSP, because Mr Gates or someone else at Microsoft wanted Intel to do that?" Whittier replied: "We were looking out for our own best interest, and it was in our best interest not to compromise the Windows 95 programs and, if the introduction of NSP was going to compromise Windows 95, it was not in our best interest. And that was the determining factor: not because Mr Gates was upset." Ignoring the innuendo that Intel's best interest was not to have Microsoft as an enemy encouraging the development of the Alpha, Holley asked McGeady if Whittier's statements were wrong. Holley had reached what he hoped would be the moment, trailed by Microsoft spin out of court, that he had refuted the accusations against his client. McGeady was ready and, with appropriate sarcasm, said: "As I already testified, we had some help in determining what our business interests were." McGeady explained that Whittier was using "PR spin". Summoning all his acting skills, and turning the incredulity dial to maximum, Holley asked: "At his deposition?" "Yes," McGeady replied, and seemed to win the point. At one point, McGeady humiliated Holley by accusing him of using a term from computer science "which I'm sure you don't understand". Asked why Intel had not told Microsoft about software projects it had under development, McGeady responded with spirit: "The fear that was ultimately realised, the fear that Microsoft would stomp it out of existence". Holley tried to win points with a line of questioning designed to dismiss the evidence that Microsoft had threatened to withdraw support for MMX if Intel did not drop NSP software development. McGeady was able to reinforce his earlier evidence in response, repeating that he knew from minuted top-level meetings and email from Microsoft that Microsoft was concerned that NSP [native signal processing, being developed by Intel to overcome Windows deficiencies in playing audio or video, because of interrupts] could undermine Windows. Developers would use NSP instead of Windows APIs. Microsoft made the valid point that Intel was developing for Windows 3.1 some four months before Windows 95 was released, which McGeady admitted was a mistake, but there was no examination as to how much work would be required to convert the software to Windows 95. What misfired for Microsoft was that McGeady said that Intel did this because it was convinced that Microsoft would miss its announced date for Windows 95 release. This is interesting: Intel (of Wintel, a senior partner) thinking that Windows 95 would not be ready for the market. McGeady also added that Microsoft had what he described as a "pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today" policy that resulted in Microsoft urging the cancellation of a project with the promise that it could be reincorporated in the future. This gave Holley a chance to introduce a dig against Intel about the FTC antitrust investigation that it is facing: "Isn't this a common pattern, to deny technology to companies that Intel seeks to punish?" McGeady denied this. McGeady's cross-examination will continue on Thursday as Wednesday is the Veterans Day holiday, so the court will not sit. Meanwhile, the DoJ allegede Microsoft has decided to attempt to intimidate the witness by having a senior Microsoft executive who supervises the business relationship sitting in the front row at the court. The practice has resulted in an unsuccessful complaint from the prosecution, but should there be any signalling or the waving of family snapshots at the witness in some attempt to cause their accusations to be toned down, perhaps the matter will be reconsidered. Elsewhere, Microsoft has filed a Motion to have Apple VP Avie Tevanian's testimony struck from the record. Evidently Microsoft did not like Tevanian's accusations that Microsoft sabotaged QuickTime (see earlier story). Microsoft also claimed that it its attorney had not had enough time to question Tevanian because of Judge Jackson's desire that he should get on with his examination. ® Complete Register trial coverage
Graham Lea, 11 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

CMG SAPs German market

Anglo-Dutch IT group CMG has bought the CMS Data Consult GmbH for DM 9.25 million. The acquisition extends CMG's base of SAP business and strengthens one of its most important strategic business lines in Germany. Established for more than ten years, CMS provides SAP consultancy and services to companies in the utilities and automotive sectors. With turnover in the first half of the year running to DM 4.2 million, CMS is expected to make a positive contribution to CMG's 1999 earnings. As well as a presence in Germany, London-based CMG has offices in the Benelux region and France. ®
Tim Richardson, 11 Nov 1998